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With my wife's laptop just died and she using mine, I would have to jump on some linux ship. Cr0sh, what version of linux do you recommend for a beginner. What I hate about unix is the need to know so many commands that I don't use everyday. I want something easy to use with good GUI.

I will say that, for my purposes, I'm looking for something other than Ubuntu. However, to get your feet wet with Linux, I think it might well be the best choice. Or, some other distribution based on Ubuntu, such as Mint. One thing you will want to bear in mind is that with Linux, you can choose from many different desktop environments. The 2 biggies are Gnome and KDE. Ubuntu, by default, comes with the Gnome desktop environment, except that in the latest release, they've stuffed in their own "shell" called Unity, instead of using the Gnome shell. I won't say "don't even bother", because you might find you like Gnome just fine. But do remember that alternatives exist, if you find that you hate it. I recommend installing the Kubuntu variant of Ubuntu, which is same in terms of system startup, which kernel, and all the base stuff, but it uses KDE applications instead of Gnome applications. Note also that you can run apps written using the KDE libraries and/or Gnome libraries, irrespective of which desktop environment you use. A lot of people get confused by this, which is unfortunate. I don't run either the Gnome or the KDE desktop. But I run KDE and Gnome apps.

Part of me wishes I was more of one of those "configuration freaks" - the one thing I -don't- like about Gnome on Ubuntu is how much the Gnome people have "dumbed it down" and taken away certain config options in areas that you have to do backflips to get around; but I do like the "lightweightness" of it compared to KDE (just lightweight enough, IMHO).

Now - if I were one of those "configuration freaks" - there is only -one- WM for you:

http://www.enlightenment.org/

I don't know about today - but waaaay back in the day, enlightenment was considered to be the 400 lb gorilla of window managers; it was a super heavy beast that required a "top machine" to run it properly; and talk about configuration options...

smiley
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Part of me wishes I was more of one of those "configuration freaks" - the one thing I -don't- like about Gnome on Ubuntu is how much the Gnome people have "dumbed it down" and taken away certain config options in areas that you have to do backflips to get around; but I do like the "lightweightness" of it compared to KDE (just lightweight enough, IMHO).

Now - if I were one of those "configuration freaks" - there is only -one- WM for you:

http://www.enlightenment.org/

I don't know about today - but waaaay back in the day, enlightenment was considered to be the 400 lb gorilla of window managers; it was a super heavy beast that required a "top machine" to run it properly; and talk about configuration options...

smiley

I haven't used Enlightenment much. Waaaaay back, I tried it out briefly on a Sun workstation. I didn't care for it much. Haven't looked at it for quite a while, but I don't recall finding it useful to me the last time I tried it. I run Fvwm now. It's completely configurable via a plain text .rc file. It has tons of modules, so there's very little you can't make it do. It also supports pipe reads, so you can, for example, tell it to execute a Perl script and then do something with the output. (The output would be, presumably, Fvwm commands.) The thing I really liked about it was when I switched back to it after some years of using KDE. My old config files were 95% good, and the Fvwm folks supplied conversions scripts which didn't just blow everything out. I was very quickly running my desktop just the way it was when I stopped using Fvwm, with a few enhancements thrown in for good measure.

BTW, Linus called Gnome 3 "the unholy mess".
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Thank you cr0sh and justjed. I am downloading the ubuntu live cd. I will give it a try and if I can bare with it I will install it in a box.

My favorite IDE was the turbo C. It is simple and good. I remember you can call up help on any functions or statement you write. Maybe it also included dos and bios interrupt helps but I don't know. I liked turbo assembly or TAMS too but it most certainly doesn't do rep movsd correctly in 386 protected mode. No dos compilers did it correctly anyway. I learned BASIC a long time ago and can still read and write in it a little bit when it comes to programming excel or other M$ office tasks for processing grades and lecture simulations. It's not my favorite. My favorite is still C. Yes, I remember QB for dos and I used it quite a bit before finally switched to C.

OK, now the live cd is downloaded. Time to burn it and try!
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Wow.  That little camera he's using has to have the worst automatic white balance I've ever seen.  I have an old broken 35mm camera that does a better job.
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OK, so far so good. Somehow the CD verify process failed during burning but the ubuntu still booted up. Should I be burning another copy?

I'll be exploring software options and enumerate a list of software I have to have running on my computer and some replaceable ones that I can live with a similar software. It is worth trying. It looks like mac though.

Anyone running ubuntu on laptops? I know laptop hardware drivers could be hard to seek.
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Quote
worst automatic white balance I've ever seen.
Yeah, I won't be getting one for my wildlife shots that's for sure smiley

______
Rob
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OK, so far so good. Somehow the CD verify process failed during burning but the ubuntu still booted up. Should I be burning another copy?

Well - I wouldn't trust it, personally - but if you get it going and installed to the point of being able to pull the rest down off the internet, then it's probably fine.

I'll be exploring software options and enumerate a list of software I have to have running on my computer and some replaceable ones that I can live with a similar software. It is worth trying. It looks like mac though.

Depending on what you are looking for, I might be able to give some reccommendations...?

Anyone running ubuntu on laptops? I know laptop hardware drivers could be hard to seek.

I tried out the netbook version of Ubuntu once on my EEEPC - though it was pretty nice, but didn't go all the way with installing it (this was an early version, too - I ran it off of a USB stick), because my original SSD wasn't big enough (I could've installed it, but I wouldn't have had any room for anything else).
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Part of me wishes I was more of one of those "configuration freaks" - the one thing I -don't- like about Gnome on Ubuntu is how much the Gnome people have "dumbed it down" and taken away certain config options in areas that you have to do backflips to get around; but I do like the "lightweightness" of it compared to KDE (just lightweight enough, IMHO).

Now - if I were one of those "configuration freaks" - there is only -one- WM for you:

http://www.enlightenment.org/

I don't know about today - but waaaay back in the day, enlightenment was considered to be the 400 lb gorilla of window managers; it was a super heavy beast that required a "top machine" to run it properly; and talk about configuration options...

smiley

I haven't used Enlightenment much. Waaaaay back, I tried it out briefly on a Sun workstation. I didn't care for it much. Haven't looked at it for quite a while, but I don't recall finding it useful to me the last time I tried it. I run Fvwm now. It's completely configurable via a plain text .rc file. It has tons of modules, so there's very little you can't make it do. It also supports pipe reads, so you can, for example, tell it to execute a Perl script and then do something with the output. (The output would be, presumably, Fvwm commands.) The thing I really liked about it was when I switched back to it after some years of using KDE. My old config files were 95% good, and the Fvwm folks supplied conversions scripts which didn't just blow everything out. I was very quickly running my desktop just the way it was when I stopped using Fvwm, with a few enhancements thrown in for good measure.

BTW, Linus called Gnome 3 "the unholy mess".

Hmm - I checked out that link; I'll have to look at what is running under Ubuntu 10.04 LTS, but I think it's Gnome 2 and not 3 - actually, from what I've seen of the next Ubuntu version, it has Gnome 3 - I'm thinking I might investigate XFCE or FVWM this weekend...

Thanks for the tip...

smiley
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OK, so far so good. Somehow the CD verify process failed during burning but the ubuntu still booted up. Should I be burning another copy?

I'll be exploring software options and enumerate a list of software I have to have running on my computer and some replaceable ones that I can live with a similar software. It is worth trying. It looks like mac though.

Anyone running ubuntu on laptops? I know laptop hardware drivers could be hard to seek.

You can check the MD5sum of the ISO image, and the CD, and compare both to the published MD5. Might not matter, if there's a bad bit here and there in a JPG or a file you're not using anyway. Of course, I don't how you'd determine that.

Once you install (assuming you go with Ubuntu) first thing once that's finished is to open up whatever they're using for package management, update your package cache, and upgrade all your installed packages. I use Synaptic, which is, I think, the default for Kubuntu. If you'd rather just open up a terminal ...
Code:
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade
Well, that works on any Debian-based distro.
Next thing will be to enable the Universe, Multiverse, and non-free repositories. Again, use the gui package manager. You can edit the sources files directly, bit it's easier in the gui.

Actually, you can enable all the repositories first. Just remember you need to apt-get update anytime you add a repository.

Also, the Linux boot process does a checksum on the kernel, and if it's bad, it dumps you into a recovery shell (IIRC, I think it doesn't just quit in a puddle).

Lots of people use Linux on laptops. The hardware compatibility issues are much less so now than in the past. When you consider that HP and IBM both have employees contributing to the kernel, it's not so surprising.


Hmm - I checked out that link; I'll have to look at what is running under Ubuntu 10.04 LTS, but I think it's Gnome 2 and not 3 - actually, from what I've seen of the next Ubuntu version, it has Gnome 3 - I'm thinking I might investigate XFCE or FVWM this weekend...

Thanks for the tip...

smiley

NP. Yeah, 10.04 IIRC is still at Gnome2. Not sure about 10.10, but 11.04 is Gnome3 with the Unity shell.
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I am happy to see this thread morphing into an Ubuntu thread
(running 11.04 here)
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I am happy to see this thread morphing into an Ubuntu thread
(running 11.04 here)

Well, apparently, the overpriced Gadgeteer isn't very interesting.  smiley-razz

I still haven't figured out what I'm switching to, to get away from Ubuntu.  smiley-cool
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OK, so far so good. Somehow the CD verify process failed during burning but the ubuntu still booted up. Should I be burning another copy?
Not necessarily: it depends on how you verified it.  For years, nearly all the CDs and DVDs I've burned have failed to verify unless I'm careful about how I do it.  My best guess is that the utilities I've been using don't properly write an EOF, because the system tends to read too many blocks when doing the MD5 sum.

If you don't have a way to be sure you're verifying the real data,  instead of "real data + stuff-that-shouldn't-have-been-checked", I suggest proceeding with caution: you're probably okay, but there's a small (but real) risk.  Feel free to play around with what you've got, but make sure you have a clean copy for the permanent installation.

My recommendation: install Ubuntu Desktop 10.04 (the previous "stable" release).  If you're installing on a fairly "muscular" system (a gig or more of RAM, and a 1.5GHz P4 or faster CPU),  follow the instructions available online for adding KDE 3.5.  That will let you try out both the more-resource-frugal, but less feature-rich, Gnome desktop,  and the all-the-bells-and-whistles KDE.

Avoid installing  recent versions of Kubuntu if you're going to try KDE, because KDE4 sucks if you use your PC for engineering: it appears to have been designed by kids who shower with their smartphones because they can't stand to be away from Facebook and Twitter for that long. 
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