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Linux questions.

Discussion in 'The Main Board' started by Atlas, Dec 12, 2018.

  1. Atlas

    Atlas Administrator Staff Member

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    I'm getting close to being at a spot where I can play with Linux. Where do I start?
     
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  2. soyer38301

    soyer38301 Member

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    What distro are you going with? Ubuntu seems to be the most popular.

    With most of the desktop versions (regardless of the distribution) you can usually run them live without installing to get a feel for them. Does run slower but runs none the less.

    Sent from my SM-G892A using Tapatalk
     
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  3. twp

    twp Administrator Staff Member

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    What hardware platform are you planning on using?
    Is it 64bit?
    While it is possible to do a dual boot with both Windows and Linux, I don't recommend it. Windows can be a pain to restrain; it wants to be the only one...

    If you would be more comfortable with something which kinda looks like the Windows User Interface, there are several Linux desktop Environments (DEs) which might work for learning how to use Linux.

    I recommend Linux Mint using the XFCE Desktop.
    If you have a 64bit machine then Linux Mint with the KDE Desktop is also good.

    The Linux kernel itself is currently up to Version 4.19 and that is a Long Term Support (LTS) version (5 years of security fixes and update support).

    If you want to get more adventurous, Ubuntu offers several Desktops and I would stay with the 64bit versions if your hardware can support it.

    To start, you can test your system without needing to remove Windows or to install Linux.

    You download a disk image and write that image to a USB drive (Min. 4GB) in Live mode. It will run your computer without installing to the harddrive. This will allow you to test various Desktops on your hardware. It will be slower than a harddrive install, but it is for testing...

    [edit] I see soyer beat me to it... :D
     
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  4. Atlas

    Atlas Administrator Staff Member

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    I'm only in the very beginning phase of learning this, so I have no idea. This is going to be on a backup laptop, so I dont really feel the need to keep windows.

    @twp I would prefer to try something different than windows all together. I might as well go all the way.

    This is going to be my prep laptop, so I'll want it for the internet, downloading files, opening .pdf files, playing mp4 videos, and probably running fldigi for ham radio stuff.

    What is a good OS for that?
     
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  5. soyer38301

    soyer38301 Member

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  6. twp

    twp Administrator Staff Member

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    All Linux distros can run software that does what you list. I don't know about "fidigi" but they claim to have a Linux version...

    I still need to know if your laptop is 32 or 64bit? It makes a difference because some Linux distros are either no longer supporting 32 bit or are planning on dropping support in the future.

    My systems are all 32 bit. So I run Linux Mint with the XFCE desktop environment.

    Here is a list of what is currently available:

    https://www.linuxmint.com/download_all.php

    Note that the older versions of the LTS releases are near end of life. I would NOT try any of the short term support / Development versions.

    There are several Linux apps for both creating/editing/reading PDF files. Mostly I use Okular to only read PDFs and Libreoffice to save files as .PDF format.

    I use:
    Kate for editing code (HTML, PHP, Javascript...)
    Apache 2.4 web Server
    MySQL database Server and Client
    PHPMyAdmin Graphical User Interface (GUI) to manage my many database sets.
    Libreoffice for regular document creation
    Thunderbird (mozilla) for my local email client
    GIMP for image creation and editing
    SMPlayer for viewing videos
    ARK for extracting/creating archived files such as .zip, .tar and .gz.
    Firfox's webbrowser is included by default. I have it installed but don't use it anymore. I use the Palemoon browser which is a fork of Firefox which does not use the newer webextensions addons.
    For security, I've installed ClamAV (antivirus), and use a Firewall (UFW).

    That list is just what I use day-to-day. I have several web browsers installed and working, at least three word processors, the Dolphin file manager, Gparted (partition manager) to do deep format work on the harddrive and much else.

    Linux Mint is NOT the only option for you, it just is my current choice on my systems.

    I expect to be getting a 64bit laptop in the next week or so and I will probably go with KDE Neon as the Linux distriution and format my drive with the BTRFS. I'd be running Neon now but they only have a 64bit version.
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2018
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  7. soyer38301

    soyer38301 Member

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    +1 for what @twp listed.

    There are many flavors of linux out there.

    Best bet would be pick a few that have live versions so ypu can at least look at them prior to install.

    Sent from my SM-G892A using Tapatalk
     
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  8. Atlas

    Atlas Administrator Staff Member

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    Cool. I hope to get this going in a couple weeks here. I just ordered another laptop for work, when it comes in I'll get everything off of this one and give Linux a try. I wanted to do some reading before I start, so thanks for that.

    This laptop is 64 bit @twp. It's about a 3 year old ASUS.
     
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  9. twp

    twp Administrator Staff Member

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    Ok, ASUS has been used by some people. I don't recall any particular problems, but testing is where it's at.
     
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  10. Atlas

    Atlas Administrator Staff Member

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    Great. When I get this new one in hand I will be back to this thread with more questions! Thanks fellas!
     
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  11. hypnos

    hypnos Talkative Member

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    Great plan! Linux is absolutely fascinating. It's amazing just how fast it is to rewrite a hard drive now. Before messing with linux it was like a 6 hour ordeal to install windows xp! Hahaha. I rewrote and encrypted my entire hard drive in about 2 hours for Kali linux. If you ever want to understand how vulnerable we really are install Kali, and watch YouTube tutorials on the software.
     
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  12. twp

    twp Administrator Staff Member

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    Agreed on the speed of install. Note that you should have a working network connection when you decide to install to the hard drive as some files will be updated during the install and you may choose to install other files which are not on the install dvd/usb.

    I've looked at Kali, which is oriented to security testing, I'm not doing much right now which needs that particular set of tools, but they are available whenever I need them, mostly for fee.

    Which brings up another point. Linux is mostly FOSS (Free and open-source software) but there are also a set of tools, drivers and libraries which are Not open source. They work but you cannot obtain the source code nor can you modify them.

    For instance, I have an NVidia video card in this laptop and the source code for the NVidia drivers is proprietary... So I use the Open Source Nouveau video driver instead. The Nvidia driver also has some trouble running on this hardware.

    Another example are a set of video display libraries which may be needed to view/listen to some media files. Some are proprietary... free but not open source.

    So, when you run into a file which needs one of those proprietary drivers, you will be notified of this and may then dig around in the repositories for the needed files.
     
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  13. Atlas

    Atlas Administrator Staff Member

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    For the record, here is the info on this laptop.
    20181212_185713.jpg

    Why I have stuck with Windows so long is another story. I do a lot of photo and video work. Photoshop, lightroom and maybe Capture One are pretty much it for stills. GIMP is ok, but it's not overly easy to use. I've tried switching over a couple times, and it hasn't gone well.

    I have not tried open source video editors yet, but a casual glance doesn't look real exciting.

    But now I'm looking to use this as an experiment and see what I can come up with. So much of the photography world is centered around Adobe, I really hate them almost as much as Apple. If I can move away from that I would be very happy. For now I plan to set this older (much slower) guy up as my "survival" laptop and see what happens from there.
     
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  14. twp

    twp Administrator Staff Member

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    You will likely find support for that video card as part of the basic installation.
    8GB RAM is also good.

    This is an advanced topic and I don't use it myself... But you can install a virtual machine and run Windows, if you absolutely must use a windows app.
    I don't recommend that on a single core processor.

    There is also WINE (Windows Emulator), which may run your Windows programs but I make no attempt at guaranteeing that will work. It is not always able to handle the newer programs.

    Also, be prepared to get used to using password and account protection in most situations. There is a learning curve on this... I can lead you through it but I recommend locating some good tutorials (W3Schools.com is one source).
     
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  15. Atlas

    Atlas Administrator Staff Member

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    I do plan on wading into this really slow. I have nothing but time. The new laptop is going to be pretty fast, if I like all this enough I could probably run two OS for a while as well.

    Here's the specs.
    Screenshot_20181212-194358_BlueMail.jpg
     
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  16. twp

    twp Administrator Staff Member

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    It looks good ('cept for the Win 10 part of course :rolleyes:) You'll have a system to fall back on if you can't immediately find Linux software that will do what you need.
     
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  17. Atlas

    Atlas Administrator Staff Member

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    I thought that you would say that.

    These things are super fast and the monitor is incredible. 4k video is awesome. They also have some of the best color of any laptop, ever. It's supposed to be the "Macbook killer", I sure hope it is.
     
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  18. hypnos

    hypnos Talkative Member

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    I use virtual box. It is the easiest way to have a virtual PC. But, you lose system resources as it partitions off resources for the other machine. For i instance it will reserve 4gb ram and 500gb for your hard drive. But you may only have 8gb ram and a 1tb hard drive...basically you now have two machines running at half power in one computer. You can set the partition at any specification you wish but realize you may have usability issues.
     
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  19. hypnos

    hypnos Talkative Member

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    My old machine was cheap but grossly underpowered. It had boot leg windows, etc. I won't buy another used laptop.
     
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  20. twp

    twp Administrator Staff Member

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    I'm in favor of used/refurbished laptops, in general. They fit my budget and are readily available.

    Another point in their favor is that the low price point lets a prepper stock more than one in the Faraday cage emergency stockpile of electronic gear.

    I not opposed to buying a high price point machine for day-to-day usage, but do caution that regular backups, safe stored in the Faraday cage, are just a wise idea.

    I would feel less impacted if an EMP hit took out my used laptop than my expensive system.