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Linux: which? And how!


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#1 Fidcal

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 07:20 AM

The Ubuntu live cd desktop looks limited in configurability (though it might just be because it's not easy to find out how to configure!) The top bar looks rigidly fixed. The left bar is a launcher. When I set it to auto hide it worked once then failed thereafter. No obvious way to move anything and resize where I want (including a second monitor.)

 

Then I got Knoppix. This looks better but still not easy to see how to configure how I want.

 

So I google for best linux for configuring and one is Fedora. But their download page is so obscure. I can't see any desktop live cd at all. There's a workstation, a server, and something called Atomic (best platform for your Linux-Docker-Kubernetes (LDK) applications stack.) WTF does that mean?

 

Any ideas if I should bother with Fedora?

 

What I want is to be able to configure a minimal desktop. I want three separate moveable (including more than one display monitor), dockable resizable (in height, text, and icon size) popup bars or panels, one (or several) as a launcher (for anything: app, doc, whatever), one showing running apps, and one for software running in the background (system tray in Windows.) I don't mind default clutter so long as I can easily remove it to just leave what I want.

 

If anyone knows of a Linux setup I can configure like that (especially if it's got a live cd I can look at first) then please let know.

 



#2 freyk

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 08:23 AM

..No obvious way to move anything and resize where I want (including a second monitor.)

Yes, that is for-windows-uers-"userfriendly" unity desktop of ubuntu.
You could try an other desktop enviroments, like KDE or Gnome. (or others).
 
I advice windows switchers to use opensuse, because of yast, a gui to configure them all.
And as desktop environment KDE.

Edited by freyk, 07 December 2017 - 09:13 AM.


#3 s.urfer

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 09:29 AM

I've migrated some Windows user to Xubuntu and Linux Mint without much issues.

 

Out of the box, Linux Mint feels pretty similar, but there are rumours, that the maker of this distro sometimes takes short-cuts in terms of security.

 

I run Xubuntu on my internet machines, both desktop and laptops, with only minor tweaks.

 

But I never used multiple monitors, I reckon it should work. In terms of customising menu-bars, I have not much experience either, but in Xubuntu moving the menus around and adding stuff seems easy enough for me.

 

Both have a try before install mode.



#4 Maxwell16

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 09:49 AM

I always recommend Xubuntu, its lightweight and up-to-date,
and runs good on old/slow computers too.
 
 
Download via torrent or choose a mirror site in a country near you.
 
It is recommended to use the latest LTS version, named as follows:
 
xubuntu-16.04.3-desktop-i386.iso    <--- 32-bit
xubuntu-16.04.3-desktop-amd64.iso   <--- 64-bit
 
Burn a dvd or make Live USB drive. USB is faster than optical media.
 
How to Create Ubuntu Live USB in Windows
 
Tips after installing Xubuntu
Spoiler

Edited by Maxwell16, 07 December 2017 - 09:50 AM.


#5 kano

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 11:54 AM

I use Debian with LXDE. But LXDE might be *too* minimalist for you. The MATE desktop environment sounds like it'd do what you want. I would try to avoid Unity/Gnome3/KDE, because (at least the first two) mandate the use of 3D acceleration for the desktop. That means less performance for games and 3D applications, because the desktop environment is sapping it away.

 

It does seem to me that mainstream Linux distros are heading in the direction of Windows too much, with excessive bloat. The only thing that many (most) computer users want is a simple desktop that will run efficiently on as broad a range of hardware as possible. MATE does not require 3D acceleration to run and the requirements are not (too) high. This goes for XFCE as well.


Edited by kano, 07 December 2017 - 11:57 AM.


#6 Fidcal

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 03:43 PM

OK thanks all. So far I've tried KDE, Pearl, Ubuntu, Knoppix with mixed reactions. All have potential but none are helpful and I was blundering around with little idea how to configure anything. Tiny black pointer on a dark desktop is not my first choice I must confess. Only Pearl had a user guide and I only stumbled upon a subsection of that sideways from a help link in another program, but once I closed that I lost sight of the whole guide. Seems odd none of them want to promote their stuff to newcomers. Some software wouldn't even close nor even the desktop so I had to pull the plug out the back on all of them to close down then snatch the dvd out as it was rebooting to get back to Windows! Myself, I'd have a user guide right in the middle of the desktop at first boot! But then I'm stupid like that and these people must be really clever so I'll shut up.

 

Anyway, as suggested, now downloading Xubuntu then will look at the others tomorrow.



#7 kano

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 05:22 PM

I love Knoppix, but it's not really intended to be a daily driver. It is intended to be installed to external media like a DVD or USB and then run from there. The system is compressed, making installing routine updates somewhat difficult to do when compared to a traditional system that is permanently installed onto a hard drive.



#8 Fidcal

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 05:41 PM

Made some progress with Xubuntu because I found a help link. Finally learned how to drag the top bar down to the bottom and resize it! Maybe that's possible in Ubuntu but I never found how. Tomorrow I look at the launcher options. I'll be going over the others again too.

 

kano, can you tell me a little more about LXDE. In what way is it 'minimal'? Do you mean minimal config possibilities or minimal desktop? My current set up is Windows 7 with the SharpEnviro shell on top and two monitors. I don't have ANY icons on the desktop. I have NO taskbar. I have a small popup 'system tray' bottom right corner of right hand side monitor. I have my own popup program I wrote with most common stuff I launch. So, by default, both screens are entirely empty of anything but nice wallpaper to enjoy without clutter! Minimal enough for yer? In addition, SharpE lets you make any bars or menus you want. The only one I have is triggered by a right click anywhere on the desktop. I've put links in it to Control Panel, command prompt 'run', shutdown etc. and the old Windows Start Menu which I rarely need. Of course, my own launcher won't work in Linux which is why I must have a desktop that provides a good popup launch bar or panel separated from 'running tasks' and sys tray ideally.

 

 



#9 kano

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 08:12 PM

LXDE is kind of like Windows 95. There is a "start" menu. Things pop up and close instantly (or almost instantly) when clicked. Memory and CPU usage are minimal, meaning that it will run well on very junky machines. But I am using it on a Ryzen 8-core. :)

 

The best part about it, I think, is the file manager PCManfm. Like the rest of the LXDE environment, it is really fast, much faster than the Nautilus file manager of gnome. This is especially evident with directories containing thousands of files. The only two knocks I have against LXDE are that you can't press a letter to select an item in a menu, like "I" for Internet, and in the file manager, when you traverse into a folder and then go back out of it, the folder is not still selected. These make using the system with a keyboard only somewhat annoying at times.



#10 teh_saccade

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Posted 08 December 2017 - 01:53 AM

If you've used OSx and bash, certain linux will feel intuitive.
Regardless, it does require RTFI in many instances.

Mint
Zorrin
Ubunt(ewww)
Elementary

All good starters.

If you can run VMware - test it out - use a torrent download (lot faster than the website transfers) and something like oracle virualbox is simple (make sure to get right image for setup - or make sure it is set for linux x64/x86 on setup)

http://www.osboxes.org/vmware-images/

Personal recommendation is Kali or Hackintosh for alternative to Windows. Kali, steep learning curve (that said, there's often a GUI alternative for most things, but will need terminal for escalated privs, switches, grab the bare-bones, etc..), hackintosh, pain the arse to set up.

(I can't use most adobe software as easily nor play most of my steam library on anything but windows - tools for the job).

// also its great fun to install weird OS or win 95 VM and get scammers to connect and try to fix it before playing along, subscribing to their "security" and persuading them they need to copy the file, "online banking security check.exe" from your desktop that is a RAT with redirect to fake banking site where they have to enter their paypal details and then trash their machine / syskey.

 

// (not that I'd ever do that).


Edited by teh_saccade, 08 December 2017 - 02:07 AM.


#11 freyk

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Posted 08 December 2017 - 04:34 AM

Do you mean minimal config possibilities or minimal desktop?

If you want to go window minimal (in screenfilling), take a look at window managers like blackbox, icm xvm and others.

Edited by freyk, 08 December 2017 - 04:47 AM.


#12 Fidcal

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Posted 08 December 2017 - 12:08 PM

Thanks kano, LXDE seems to tick most of my boxes. I can configure launch bars with a taskbar and a separate sys tray. Some reservations. Kept losing sight of the tiny black icon on dark screen. I have found a setting where it seems I can install new pointers so I'll check that out some time. The main 'panel' can show large text and small icons but limited items to add directly to it, whereas a launch bar within the panel can have any installed app but is icon only! That's where I want large text but get none at all. I think many hands worked on different parts of those systems so its inconsistent. Still better than M$oft but not as good as my own launcher which has well over a hundred items in coloured group columns. So, if I want Firefox, I click on 'Firefox' in the internet column. I don't have to wonder which icon does what because there aren't any! Icons are great in their place where space is restricted (like Dark Radiatn), but you have to slowly learn them all. It's funny that the LXDE panel can let you set icon only, icon with text (side or below) or text only. Why can't everything have that? The launch bars are icon only. So close to being ideal but not quite. I've not given up on it yet though.

 

I'll check out the others as I find time. Thanks everyone. :)



#13 Springheel

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Posted 08 December 2017 - 12:54 PM

Hey Fid, good to see you.  Does this mean you'll be hanging around more?


TDM Missions:   A Score to Settle   *   A Reputation to Uphold   *   A New Job   *    A Matter of Hours
 
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#14 Fidcal

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Posted 08 December 2017 - 04:27 PM

Hi, Springheel. Well, I've not done any mapping or anything like that for quite a while but I do play a mission now and again! :) I sometimes come here to browse around and see what I'm missing or to use this off-topic thread to get some friendly free advice. I'm mainly still preoccupied with writing fan fiction, and getting good reviews for my stories too which is very rewarding.


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