Computers and Technology

Thinking about switching to Linux. Advice needed.

  • Author
  • #193103

    Ohio Barbarian
    • Total Posts: 12,962

    We still have Windows 7, and understand that it will be dead at the end of the year in an attempt to force us to go to Windows 10, complete with all of its inevitable back doors. I’m a programming ignoramus, but have read some good things here about Linux.

    They have several packages available, and I have a couple of questions. First, how hard would it be to install and learn? Which package would you more knowledgeable types recommend for someone like me, who has very limited programming skills?

    It is better to vote for what you want and not get it than to vote for what you don't want and get it.--Eugene Debs

    If Democrats don’t stand for the people, why should people stand for them?--Jim Hightower

  • #193146

    • Total Posts: 1,607

    Windows 7 will work for a while. I think M$ will end up supporting it for several more years just like they had to do with XP. It won’t magically stop working just because they won’t support it any longer-it will probably work better since they won’t screw it up with an update.

    For Linux, I’m partial to the various Mint Editions since when you install it it, all the media formats are playable right away and you won’t have to download and install various packages. Mint comes with Firefox as the browser, LibreOffice, and various other packages so you can go online, do word processing, read pdf, and play music and video files immediately.

    I don't waste my time teaching pigs to sing.

  • #193155

    • Total Posts: 4,417

    Here’s a good link for you. The writer also has good things to say about Mint. Check it out. I may be going down the same road soon. My desktop is running Windows 7 and though I like it, maybe it’s time for a change.

  • #193159

    • Total Posts: 3,857

    I second Linux Mint. Since you’re coming from a windows machine, Mint will most likely be the easiest adjustment for you.

    Ubuntu is not far behind…

  • #193249

    • Total Posts: 539

    I suggest creating a new partition for the Linux distro, then install Linux to dual boot.  This should be an option on installation.

    If you do, since you don’t want Linux to format your Windows partition (you’ll never get it back) or any partition having needed programs and files, be absolutely sure Linux is set to install to the new empty partition.  Best to unplug any external HD’s to simplify the scene.  Stop the install and double check everything if there’s any doubt at all.  Sometimes the numbers/letters the installer uses to name the different partitions are unfamiliar, not naming them the old Windows ‘c-drive’ ‘d-drive’ etc.  — but the different partition sizes gives a clue.

    It’s been a few years since I ran Linux so don’t have a clue which is best.  Look for a distro that has good package management (app installation) system – they probably all do nowadays.  There’s a lot of good online info because the Linux community is relatively small and helpful.


  • #193250

    • Total Posts: 2,800


    Hi ob,

    As a newbie Linux user I would recommend MX Linux.  I have found it to be even better than Mint.  If you want to read about different distributions the best place to start is DistroWatch.  They track the popularity of all the major distributions on a weekly basis.

    The link for Distrowatch and MX Linux are provided below.

    With respect to programming, one does not need programming skills with any of the mainline distributions. (Ubuntu, Mint, Debian, MX)  All of these distributions are for the most part very much like using a Windows machine.  Initially the biggest part of the learning curve will be understanding different file locations and names and different commands one may use from time to time.  By and large the mainline distributions are all mouse driven just like Windows.

    For what it is worth, I use MX Linux as my daily driver and have two other hard drive partitions setup for experimental Linux distributions where I explore things like kernel compiling, shell scripting, programming and alternate application software.  None of that is necessary to use MX daily.

    Unlike windows one of the biggest things worth exploring is different desktop environments (DE).  With Windows one gets one choice.  With Linux one has at least half a dozen to choose from.  Examples include KDE Plasma, XFCE, Mate, Gnome, Cinnamon and Enlightenment.  Many of the mainline distributions provide several options.  Over time you will pick your own favorite. (Cinnamon DE developed by Mint)

    Hopefully some of this has proven useful.

    Have fun.


    PS – I no longer use Windows at all.  Went cold turkey about three years ago.  Just no longer necessary for the types of applications I use.  If one is a heavy gamer, then there is a case to be made for keeping Windows around.


    "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
    - John F. Kennedy

    "In a Time of Universal Deceit - Telling the Truth Is a Revolutionary Act."
    - George Orwell

    "They must find it difficult ... Those who have taken authority as the truth,
    Rather than truth as the authority."
    - Gerald Massey

    "It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society."
    - Jiddu Krishnamurti

  • #193333

    • Total Posts: 612


    A big  thing to check before switching is – do you use any applications that require Windows and for which there are no Linux equivalents?

    Otherwise, as others have said, Mint and Ubuntu would be okay, and MX Linux looks okay, too.

    I have set up Linux boxes (Ubunti or Mint) for several naive users and they’ve never had any major problems.  In most of those cases, all they really needed was a browser and the OS was irrelevant.


  • #228064

    • Total Posts: 2,782

    Good thing about the Linux Mint installer is that it can auto-partition your hard drive so that it can share the drive with Windows, assuming you’re not ready to completely wipe Windows yet. And that you have enough hard drive space, of course.

    MX Linux is also pretty good, if you’re going for a complete replacement, but Mint would still be my recommendation for a “dual boot” system (Windows/Linux)


    "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable". - John F. Kennedy

  • #255575

    Snort McDork
    • Total Posts: 3,539


    I just the other day switched over to Linux. I like it so far, but I am still trying to figure out some stuff. My neighbor upstairs from me told me I should make the switch. With support gone for 7, it was easy for me to decide what I wanted to have as an OS. I am in the process of getting new DL’s of CCleaner, Chrome, although I’m not sure about Chrome at this point. I used an old photo editor called ACDSee. Perfect for Win 7 (which is what I had before). But now I’m not able to get an .exe file to open for ACDSee for some strange reason. I loved the software for managing my photos and editing. Now I may have to find something else. And as deadpool said, with Win7, it will be easy to make the change over. And yes, there are no “C” drives or “F” drives or any of the other lettered drives as on 7, Vista, etc. I’m on that leaning curve myself. So perhaps we can learn this OS together. But I think @deadpool is more of an expert than I. So you’ll have to defer to his expertise.

    I'm Snort McDork and I approved this message.

    "I like birdy num-nums"

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.