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Main - General Forum - Thoughts on Linux
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Posted on 02-08-20 11:21 PM Link | ID: 154483

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My friend is suggesting that I give Linux a try, so I wanna ask all of you which version of Linux should I get into for a beginner like me? Do any of you use Linux, and what are the pros and cons?

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Posted on 02-08-20 11:29 PM Link | ID: 154484
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I would say elementaryOS; being Linux beginner friendly is a big focus of there; I used to use it when I last used Linux as a main OS; it has a very macOS-like feel if that's something you're familiar with.

Ubuntu is probably also a good option; it's more popular so there are more docs out there. But I think they're not as desktop-focused as they used to be, judging by their website.

Posted on 02-09-20 07:51 AM Link | ID: 154491

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I used to be an avid Lubuntu user. It has a more Windows feel (system tray, start menu, taskbar) and is more lightweight than a lot of other distros.

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Posted on 02-09-20 08:48 PM Link | ID: 154505

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i recommended Ubuntu MATE since it's more lightweight than the standard GNOME or KDE distros and can be easily configured to look like WIndows or Mac with mate-tweak

Posted on 02-10-20 06:31 PM (rev. 2 of 02-10-20 06:31 PM by Kak) Link | ID: 154521
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I haven't tried Linux in a couple of years, but I remember trying out Mint MATE on a VM back in the "college" days and it was a good option with good customizability and a recognizable interface coming from Windows.
It also wasn't trying to be a tablet interface on a desktop machine, which was (and still is) always a good thing in my eyes.

I should get back into this, but probably this will only happen once I'm forced off the Windows 7 laptop

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Posted on 02-23-20 04:03 PM Link | ID: 154869
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I used Windows 7 until 2019 when I switched to "Linux Mint w/ Cinnamon" because I could not stand Windows 10. I have been using Mint for a while now and I have no real desire to go back. Sometimes I miss the compatibility I had on Windows 10, but I started to like Mint too much to go back.


As far as choosing a Linux distribution:

If you're starting out on Linux, I'd say that you'd probably want to stick to the "easier to use" distributions. Stuff like elementaryOS (if you're used to Mac, that said I don't actually have any experience with it), Mint or Ubuntu (if you're used to Windows). It's also important to learn about desktop environments. Basically, a distribution only dictates stuff like what apps and games you can install, hardware compatibility, how things will be organized internally and how stable your system will be. The actual look of your system comes down to your DE (desktop environment).

Linux Mint is a bit easier to use and configure, it's meant to be a system that "just works, out of the box" without giving you any headaches. It still will sometimes, but they're rare, much rarer than I expected. It's geared more towards desktop users, but it also has decent touch support as well. Being used to Windows, I'd say it feels pretty familiar. It comes with Cinnamon as its default DE which I find to be an absolutely wonderful replacement for Windows. A few apps may look and feel a bit odd at times, but for the most part, Cinnamon was exactly what I needed/wanted when I had to switch away from using Windows, and it's more lightweight than it as well!

Ubuntu tends to do its own thing most of the time, focusing more on the bleeding-edge (such as their focus to become a distribution for cloud computing, IoT devices, phones, servers AND desktops). For that reason, it's likely to be more unstable or need frequent updates. That said, it's much more popular and has a much bigger community for support. I'd personally only recommend it you're looking for a development studio or looking to work with anything extremely recent. By default, Ubuntu comes with GNOME as its DE, which is pretty much it's own thing and very unlike anything else. Menus are not where you expect them to be, windows behave on their own special way, etc. GNOME breaks a lot of traditional desktop conventions and it may take a while to get used to the GNOMEness of it all. GNOME is also a bit heavy, maybe more-so than Windows.

Because Mint is based on Ubuntu, most Ubuntu resources also work on Mint as well, but not the other way around. Also, both have alternative desktop environments as well. MATE is a good one that's officially supported by both Mint and Ubuntu. It looks and feels similar to Cinnamon, but with a few differences, and you can also customize it a lot more than Cinnamon. MATE is also more stable than Cinnamon, but also looks slightly more dated than it by default. This page offers a good comparison between both.

Another alternative desktop environment is LXQt/Lubuntu. LXQt is very lightweight and a pretty good choice for lower-end computers, but you'll notice the lack of customization fairly quickly. Overall, I'd only recommend it if you have a machine that can't even run Windows properly.


As far as things you should know about Linux:

If you ever run into an issue, the internet is your friend! is going to be one of those friends (even if you're not using Ubuntu), but really, there's resources and help articles spread out everywhere. And in this case, they actually ARE made to help you rather than just being generic "reboot your computer" advice that's common to hear with Windows issues.

Get comfortable with some command-line stuff. You won't need to use it often, in fact, you'll probably only need to remember half a dozen commands, if that. But it's going to be very helpful. The command-line on Linux is also a lot more powerful (and user-friendly!) than on Windows. Just don't delve too deep into it at first.

Know that most apps will either be compatible with Linux or have suitable replacements, but not all of them. For the stuff that doesn't have a replacement, you can use PlayOnLinux (or directly use Wine) to try running them, but expect new issues and glitches to happen when you run them. It'll work well for simpler apps, but anything complicated enough might catastrophically fail.

If you're very used to Microsoft Office, specially with its advanced features, you'll struggle with LibreOffice. And Wine will not help you here, it simply won't run properly on Linux. There's an alternative: WPS Office, which is as close as you can get, but it's also got its own share of odd issues. If you barely use Office, then you'll do just fine.

Surprisingly, Linux has pretty good game support nowadays, specially indie games and Steam games. Some AAA+ titles might not bother with Linux ports though, so it'd be a good idea for you to keep a Windows dual-boot, in case you need/want to play those games (and also, if you happen to need any programs which simply don't run on Wine). Chances are, you'll have to boot up Windows only a few times a month, but it unfortunately is still a a necessity.

"The quieter you become, the more you are able to hear." --Ram Dass

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