Go Back  DVD Talk Forum > General Discussions > Tech Talk
Reload this Page >

Best version of LINUX for a PC with...

Tech Talk Discuss PC Hardware, Software, Internet and Other Technology

Best version of LINUX for a PC with...

Old 01-31-20, 10:07 PM
  #1  
kd5
DVD Talk Hall of Fame
Thread Starter
 
kd5's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Ohio, USA
Posts: 9,716
Likes: 0
Received 5 Likes on 4 Posts
Best version of LINUX for a PC with...

a 2.53 ghz P4, 1gb of PC2700, 80gb hard drive, NVidia GeForce4 MX 4000, for testing purposes.

I'm looking for a version of Linux that most closely resembles Windows, insomuchas you don't need to futz with editing code, no command line stuff, a person can just turn on their computer and get online or run a simple office program, do basic stuff without having to rewrite shit.

Linux for dummies in other words. Something I can download onto a CD/DVD, boot the computer to, and install without a whole lot of muss or fuss.

Preferably something dependable that will deliver a decent experience for a long period of time. I have no experience with Linux so I would very much appreciate if you would go easy on me.

Thank you!
Old 01-31-20, 10:19 PM
  #2  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 18,003
Received 24 Likes on 22 Posts
Re: Best version of LINUX for a PC with...

I haven't used Linux much, but the most user-friendly distro I've read of is Linux Mint. It's based on Ubuntu, a very popular Linux distro that's fairly user friendly itself, but just adds a bit more user friendliness.

Take this review:
https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2019...mall-upgrades/
When I watch a Linux tutorial or screen cast on YouTube, odds are I'll see the Linux Mint logo in the toolbar. When I see someone using Linux at the coffee shop, it usually turns out to be Linux Mint. When I ask fellow Linux users which distro they use, the main answers are Ubuntu... and Linux Mint. All of that is anecdotal, but it still points to a simple truth. For a distro that has seen little press lately, Linux Mint manages to remain popular with users.

There's a good reason for that popularity: Linux Mint just works. It isn't "changing the desktop computer paradigm," or "innovating" in "groundbreaking" ways. The team behind Mint is just building a desktop operating system that looks and functions a lot like every other desktop operating system you've used, which is to say you'll be immediately comfortable and stop thinking about your desktop and start using it to do actual work.
Linux Mint has been around for 13 years, almost as long as Ubuntu itself, so it's likely to be around for a long while to come.

You can download the ISO (1.9 GB), which you can burn to DVD, here:
https://linuxmint.com/download.php
Old 02-01-20, 04:50 AM
  #3  
DVD Talk Platinum Edition
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 3,798
Likes: 0
Received 10 Likes on 7 Posts
Re: Best version of LINUX for a PC with...

I would also suggest Mint. Very user-friendly and "Windows-like", and it will run well on vintage P4 machines. Why not add a 1-2 GB to that one GB, though? All versions of Linux need less RAM than Windows, but even so, I'd still recommend 2 to 4 GB for the ideal Linux experience. 1 GB will be fine, though for light work.
Old 02-01-20, 06:46 AM
  #4  
kd5
DVD Talk Hall of Fame
Thread Starter
 
kd5's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Ohio, USA
Posts: 9,716
Likes: 0
Received 5 Likes on 4 Posts
Re: Best version of LINUX for a PC with...

Thanks guys. The actual computers this OS will end up on have 4 and 2 gb of RAM, 160gb hard drives, one has a 3.4 ghz P4 Prescott, the other has a 2.4 ghz AMD Athlon64, respectively. I don't have the money to upgrade these computers right now, but with Windows 7 having no additional support from M$ (in addition to the OS getting slower on the internet day by day, despite cleaning/defragmenting regularly) and a firm dislike for Windows 10's many anomalies, I think that when/if we do anything, it will be to abandon Windows altogether.
Old 02-01-20, 07:07 AM
  #5  
kd5
DVD Talk Hall of Fame
Thread Starter
 
kd5's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Ohio, USA
Posts: 9,716
Likes: 0
Received 5 Likes on 4 Posts
Re: Best version of LINUX for a PC with...

Next question: Will Cinnamon run well on these older computers or would you suggest Xfce? I read Xfce is not as fully featured as Cinnamon, but is lighter on resources.
Old 02-01-20, 07:12 AM
  #6  
kd5
DVD Talk Hall of Fame
Thread Starter
 
kd5's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Ohio, USA
Posts: 9,716
Likes: 0
Received 5 Likes on 4 Posts
Re: Best version of LINUX for a PC with...

This is an example of what I mean when I said Linux for dummies: What does that mean?

To check the integrity of your local ISO file, generate its SHA256 sum and compare it with the sum present in
Code:
sha256sum.txt

Last edited by kd5; 02-01-20 at 07:20 AM.
Old 02-01-20, 09:37 AM
  #7  
DVD Talk Hall of Fame
 
joeblow69's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Palm Springs
Posts: 9,656
Received 23 Likes on 10 Posts
Re: Best version of LINUX for a PC with...

Originally Posted by kd5 View Post
This is an example of what I mean when I said Linux for dummies: What does that mean?
Basically, this is something that people do to make sure that the .iso file you download hasn't been modified by some hacker or something. Their .iso file has some kind of signature on it, so you download the .iso, run some tool on it to get the .iso's signature, and compare it to the signature that they say it SHOULD have. If they are the same, then the file is intact/non-corrupted.

More info here: https://www.howtogeek.com/246332/how...tampered-with/
Old 02-01-20, 12:41 PM
  #8  
kd5
DVD Talk Hall of Fame
Thread Starter
 
kd5's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Ohio, USA
Posts: 9,716
Likes: 0
Received 5 Likes on 4 Posts
Re: Best version of LINUX for a PC with...

Seems to me that if I download from the linuxmint.com website it should be clean, shouldn't it? Would I really need to run a tool to verify its validity? Serious question...


Also, still wondering about Cinnamon (vs. MATE) vs. xfce.
Old 02-01-20, 04:16 PM
  #9  
DVD Talk Hall of Fame
 
joeblow69's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Palm Springs
Posts: 9,656
Received 23 Likes on 10 Posts
Re: Best version of LINUX for a PC with...

Originally Posted by kd5 View Post
Seems to me that if I download from the linuxmint.com website it should be clean, shouldn't it? Would I really need to run a tool to verify its validity? Serious question...
There are web vulnerabilities that can allow someone to replace what is on their website. (like it says in the first paragraph of that link )
Last month, Linux Mint’s website was hacked, and a modified ISO was put up for download that included a backdoor. While the problem was fixed quickly, it demonstrates the importance of checking Linux ISO files you download before running and installing them. Here’s how.
Old 02-01-20, 05:07 PM
  #10  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 18,003
Received 24 Likes on 22 Posts
Re: Best version of LINUX for a PC with...

Here's a tool to check the SHA256 sum of the ISO:
https://bhoover.com/how-to-verify-checksum-windows/
Old 02-01-20, 06:26 PM
  #11  
DVD Talk Legend
 
E Unit's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Behind Wolf in the Situation Room
Posts: 13,939
Likes: 0
Received 20 Likes on 19 Posts
Re: Best version of LINUX for a PC with...

I use Ubuntu. I think it's a good Linux OS, and serves all my needs. And I like being able to pick between Windows and Linux when I boot up.
Old 02-01-20, 10:45 PM
  #12  
kd5
DVD Talk Hall of Fame
Thread Starter
 
kd5's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Ohio, USA
Posts: 9,716
Likes: 0
Received 5 Likes on 4 Posts
Re: Best version of LINUX for a PC with...

Originally Posted by Jay G. View Post
Here's a tool to check the SHA256 sum of the ISO:
https://bhoover.com/how-to-verify-checksum-windows/

So, using that file, I just browse to the .iso, have it generate a hash, then copy/paste it into the verify box and click Verify? That's all there is to it?
Old 02-01-20, 10:48 PM
  #13  
kd5
DVD Talk Hall of Fame
Thread Starter
 
kd5's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Ohio, USA
Posts: 9,716
Likes: 0
Received 5 Likes on 4 Posts
Re: Best version of LINUX for a PC with...

Between Ubuntu and Mint, which is the most Windows-like and has the least learning curve? Also, which flavor of Mint (or Ubuntu, if there are different flavors) for an older machine?
Old 02-02-20, 07:24 AM
  #14  
kd5
DVD Talk Hall of Fame
Thread Starter
 
kd5's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Ohio, USA
Posts: 9,716
Likes: 0
Received 5 Likes on 4 Posts
Re: Best version of LINUX for a PC with...

Another question: What about the prospect of installing Mint/Ubuntu as a dual boot with Windows 7 (for the applications that have no software/driver support for Linux - not sure about my printer) on a 160gb hard drive?

And if I decide eventually that I can do without Windows 7, can I just eliminate that partition without having to re-install Linux?

As with Linux, I have no experience with dual booting.

Last edited by kd5; 02-02-20 at 07:29 AM.
Old 02-02-20, 09:47 AM
  #15  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 18,003
Received 24 Likes on 22 Posts
Re: Best version of LINUX for a PC with...

Originally Posted by kd5 View Post
So, using that file, I just browse to the .iso, have it generate a hash, then copy/paste it into the verify box and click Verify? That's all there is to it?
You'd browse to the ISO, and it'd generate the hashes for that tile. Then you open the sha256sum.txt, copy the hash included in there, and paste that into the "Hash" box, then click verify, to confirm that the hash generated from the ISO matches the hash that the website says it should have.

Originally Posted by kd5 View Post
Between Ubuntu and Mint, which is the most Windows-like and has the least learning curve? Also, which flavor of Mint (or Ubuntu, if there are different flavors) for an older machine?
Ubuntu and Mint are very similar and "Windows-like." It's more that Mint just has a few more user-friendly features.
https://itsfoss.com/linux-mint-vs-ubuntu/

As for "flavor," the above article shows the different memory usages of the different "desktop environments." The below link show screenshots of each. They all look Windows-like with a taskbar and start menu, but each is a little different in styling. I'd say for everything other than your 1GB RAM machine, Cinnamon would probably be fine. You may also want to keep Cinnamon because it's the most popular,so will likely be easier to find help about it if you have questios.
https://linuxmint-installation-guide...st/choose.html

Finally, regarding whether 32-bit or 64-bit, for you P4 machines, you may be stuck with 32-bit, while the AMD Athlon64 should be able to handle 64-bit Linux. 64-bit is the future and will have better long-term support, but 32-bit isn't dead yet. You can check to see what the hardware can support using this Windows utility:
https://www.grc.com/securable.htm

Originally Posted by kd5 View Post
Another question: What about the prospect of installing Mint/Ubuntu as a dual boot with Windows 7 (for the applications that have no software/driver support for Linux - not sure about my printer) on a 160gb hard drive?

And if I decide eventually that I can do without Windows 7, can I just eliminate that partition without having to re-install Linux?
If you want to dual-boot Linux and Windows 7, with the option to remove the Windows 7 partition later, you'd have to install both from scratch. I'd recommend making two primary partitions on the drive and installing Windows 7 on the second, then Linux on the first. The order you install determines which OS's bootloader is installed at the end, so you'd want to install Linux second, so its bootloader is the one that's left. Also, you want Windows 7 on the second partition so that you can delete it later and expand the Linux partition to fill it. There's lots of guides on how to dual-boot Linux and Windows, but unfortunately most have Windows on the first partition because most use Windows as their main OS that's already installed, with Linux an supplement.

However, considering your circumstances, I'd recommend not installing Windows at all. It sounds like these PCs may be used by people not that tech savvy, and you want Linux to replace Windows 7 as their primary OS since Windows 7 is now out of support. However, if you give them an option to boot into Windows 7, they'll likely end up just always booting into Windows 7, and forgetting the Linux install. Better to just force them to use Linux. Maybe include Windows 7 on just one PC as an extreme backup scenario, on the PC with the most drive space. However, for applications people need, there's likely a Linux alternative people can get used to using.
Old 02-02-20, 12:10 PM
  #16  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Albuquerque, NM
Posts: 491
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Re: Best version of LINUX for a PC with...

I wonder of the P4 you mentioned is a "64 bit" processor (I believe the AMD is based on the name) as that may also limit the Linux that will run. Some are eliminating 32 bit from their releases. In addition to the recommendations mentioned above check out https://www.linuxliteos.com/ as an option. I used it on an older dual core AMD processor and it ran fine but I had a total of 3GB RAM on that system. Heck, depending on the motherboards and number of memory sockets I bet a few of us here could scrounge RAM from our stashes of parts we keep around.
Old 02-02-20, 03:21 PM
  #17  
kd5
DVD Talk Hall of Fame
Thread Starter
 
kd5's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Ohio, USA
Posts: 9,716
Likes: 0
Received 5 Likes on 4 Posts
Re: Best version of LINUX for a PC with...

The P4 on the test machine is 32-bit, both processors on my wife's computer and mine are 64-bit.
Old 02-02-20, 08:42 PM
  #18  
DVD Talk Hero
 
Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 39,465
Received 30 Likes on 26 Posts
Re: Best version of LINUX for a PC with...

If we're talking Desktop, Ubuntu is more aesthetically pleasing but Mint is much lighter weight and would likely run noticeably better on a P4.
Old 02-03-20, 11:15 AM
  #19  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Albuquerque, NM
Posts: 491
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Re: Best version of LINUX for a PC with...

Originally Posted by kd5 View Post
The P4 on the test machine is 32-bit, both processors on my wife's computer and mine are 64-bit.
I'd grab Linux Lite, follow instructions and install on a USB/Thumb Drive. Boot existing machines to the USB drive and give it a go and you won't change/install anything. Commonly called a "Live Distro" to try before installation. Many others work the same way. Won't be as fast as installing on HD (or SSD for that matter) but still able to give them a test drive.
Old 02-03-20, 12:40 PM
  #20  
kd5
DVD Talk Hall of Fame
Thread Starter
 
kd5's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Ohio, USA
Posts: 9,716
Likes: 0
Received 5 Likes on 4 Posts
Re: Best version of LINUX for a PC with...

^ But I need to find out how this computer will perform with its current specs, if I do it from a flash drive it won't be a true test. Sure, I'll get to take a look at Linux, but I won't know precisely how it will perform. I'd like to install it onto the hard drive, hence the test machine. I have no doubt it will perform at least as well if not a little better on the 2 PCs I ultimately want to run it on. My goal being to slowly navigate away from Windows altogether.
Old 02-06-20, 02:31 PM
  #21  
kd5
DVD Talk Hall of Fame
Thread Starter
 
kd5's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Ohio, USA
Posts: 9,716
Likes: 0
Received 5 Likes on 4 Posts
Re: Best version of LINUX for a PC with...

Downloaded Mint 32-bit, verified SHA256, installed it on my test machine (connected to a WS LCD monitor). installation went well, chose to have it install hardware drivers/software during install, downloaded updates once it was up & running, started looking around. Noticed when I went to shut down that the start menu is a jumbled mess, about 15 or so O's and S's scattered about and nothing else. If I hover my mouse over these random characters, icons appear, but go away once I move on. When I hover my mouse over an icon in the tray (or the Start menu icon) a pastel yellow box with nothing in it appears. I get no icons in the Start menu (but for the momentary appearance as I slide my cursor over them), no idea where the Shut Down or Restart buttons are or what they're supposed to look like.

And how do I get rid of having to enter my password every time I want to do something. It's only my wife and I here, I don't think I need to worry about unauthorized access.
Old 02-06-20, 04:12 PM
  #22  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 18,003
Received 24 Likes on 22 Posts
Re: Best version of LINUX for a PC with...

Originally Posted by kd5 View Post
Downloaded Mint 32-bit, verified SHA256, installed it on my test machine (connected to a WS LCD monitor). installation went well, chose to have it install hardware drivers/software during install, downloaded updates once it was up & running, started looking around. Noticed when I went to shut down that the start menu is a jumbled mess, about 15 or so O's and S's scattered about and nothing else. If I hover my mouse over these random characters, icons appear, but go away once I move on. When I hover my mouse over an icon in the tray (or the Start menu icon) a pastel yellow box with nothing in it appears. I get no icons in the Start menu (but for the momentary appearance as I slide my cursor over them), no idea where the Shut Down or Restart buttons are or what they're supposed to look like.
I assume you downloaded the one with Cinnamon? I don't have direct experience, but this article seems to be describing something similar to yours and offers a solution:
https://chronologicaldot.wordpress.c...nt-menu-panel/

Originally Posted by kd5 View Post
And how do I get rid of having to enter my password every time I want to do something. It's only my wife and I here, I don't think I need to worry about unauthorized access.
You really don't want to do that. It's asking for a password due you making system changes. This is probably annoying during the initial setup process where you do it a lot, but once you've got it set up and you're mainly just opening and running already installed programs, it shouldn't be that bad.

It's also not just for physical access. That password request is stopping any remote exploits from getting root (admin) access and wrecking havok with your PC and your personal information. Granted, due to running Linux there's going to be less exploits and malware targeting your platform, but better safe than sorry.
Old 02-06-20, 10:08 PM
  #23  
kd5
DVD Talk Hall of Fame
Thread Starter
 
kd5's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Ohio, USA
Posts: 9,716
Likes: 0
Received 5 Likes on 4 Posts
Re: Best version of LINUX for a PC with...

^ I've tried typing various combinations of that command ( 1| cinnamon --replace &, and just cinnamon --replace & ) with no success: while the Terminal box is still open I check the Start menu, it's still filled with jibberish. Once I close the Terminal box the desktop goes black, the taskbar loses any icons it had, and there's nothing but the desktop icons (which excludes any way to shut the computer down).
Old 02-07-20, 07:45 AM
  #24  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 18,003
Received 24 Likes on 22 Posts
Re: Best version of LINUX for a PC with...

This is where my expertise falls short, because I don't personally use Linux. However,maybe there's an issue with your hardware not being compatible with Cinnamon. You could try an alternate desktop environment like XFCE instead. There's no need to do a full re-install of Mint, just add XFCE to your existing install and swtich to it.

This guide seems the most straightforward:
https://www.everything-linux-101.com...side-cinnamon/

Otherwise, this might work:
https://www.howtoforge.com/how-to-in...-linux-mint-14
Old 02-08-20, 11:09 AM
  #25  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Albuquerque, NM
Posts: 491
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Re: Best version of LINUX for a PC with...

I'd open a terminal and type lspci to see what graphics card/chip is being used. Might need sudo lspci I can't recall. I suspect it might be a graphics driver incompatibility and that may be easier to resolve.

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.