Linux for beginners

Discussion in 'all things UNIX' started by Krusty, Jul 2, 2016.

  1. Krusty

    Krusty Registered Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2012
    Posts:
    2,875
    Location:
    Australia
    Hi,

    I'm interested in learning how to use Linux, probably Mint Cinnamon. I've used a Live CD / DVD a few times but am thinking of taking the plunge and installing Mint Cinnamon. Rather than mess with my Win10 machines I'm thinking of buying a cheap second hand laptop and replacing the drive with a brand new SSD. What I'm wondering is what are the recommended spec's to look for? I'm thinking a machine that comes with Win7 pre-installed and perhaps 4GB RAM would do the trick. I know lower spec machine will run this OS OK but I do want something slightly above base level.

    Any suggestions or recommendations welcome.

    Thanks.
     
  2. zapjb

    zapjb Registered Member

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2005
    Posts:
    3,518
    Location:
    USA - Back in a real State in time for a real Pres
    http://blog.linuxmint.com/

    System requirements:

    • 512MB RAM (1GB recommended for a comfortable usage).
    • 9GB of disk space (20GB recommended).
    • 1024×768 resolution (on lower resolutions, press ALT to drag windows with the mouse if they don’t fit in the screen).
    Notes:

    • The 64-bit ISO can boot with BIOS or UEFI.
    • The 32-bit ISO can only boot with BIOS.
    • The 64-bit ISO is recommend for all modern computers (Almost all computers sold in the last 10 years are equipped with 64-bit processors).
     
  3. Krusty

    Krusty Registered Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2012
    Posts:
    2,875
    Location:
    Australia
    Thanks. Yeah, I have read the minimum system requirements but I was hoping to hear from those actually using the OS to see whether, say 1GB RAM was sufficient or maybe 2GB / 4GB was recommended, or whether an i3 / i5 processor would be more capable than an Intel Celeron. For my usage it certainly does not need to be a super-computer, just not a slug. It would mainly be used just for browsing and perhaps watching youtube videos, but more importantly, I'd like to learn how to use Linux.
     
  4. Krusty

    Krusty Registered Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2012
    Posts:
    2,875
    Location:
    Australia
    I know for example that Win7 x64 runs better on a minimum of 4GB RAM but less can be used. And that's what I'm trying to find out about Linux Mint Cinnamon.

    Thanks.

    Oh, I should mention Cinnamon will be the 64-bit version.
     
  5. lotuseclat79

    lotuseclat79 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2005
    Posts:
    5,097
    The more RAM the better especially with more than one core processor and 64-bit processing.

    For your goal, i.e. that you would like to learn how to use Linux, Linux Mint with Cinnamon is a very good choice.

    -- Tom
     
  6. Krusty

    Krusty Registered Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2012
    Posts:
    2,875
    Location:
    Australia
    Yes, I should perhaps mention that I've been reading this thread about Google's Chromebook and noticed a post mentioning a lower spec'd machine running as well as a higher spec'd machine with a different OS and wondered whether that applied to Linux as well.
    Awesome! Thank you Sir. I think I've got a lot to learn. ;)
     
  7. fblais

    fblais Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2008
    Posts:
    837
    Location:
    Québec, Canada
    The Cinnamon DE requires more horsepower than say, MATE and XFCE. Mostly graphic horsepower.
    I have a dual-core desktop computer with 4GB and on-board Intel graphics, and Cinnamon doesn't run well.
    It may work ok for a little while but then it begins to behave weirdly. Black windows, that sort of thing.
    A good GPU is probably to be recommended for Cinnamon.
    I use MATE, which is similar to Gnome 2, and it works great with my computer.
    Mint has a great menu panel plug-in which makes it different than standard MATE, and it comes standard with one panel at the bottom instead of the two we used to have with Gnome 2 and standard MATE.
     
  8. Cache

    Cache Registered Member

    Joined:
    May 20, 2016
    Posts:
    217
    Thanks for starting this thread Krusty as I am in the same boat. I have plenty of room on my Win7 hard drive and have been toying with the idea of trying Linux in a virtual partition first before buying a second PC.

    Also after considering the various choices, I landed on Zorin and would like to hear from anyone with their views on this.
     
  9. zapjb

    zapjb Registered Member

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2005
    Posts:
    3,518
    Location:
    USA - Back in a real State in time for a real Pres
    I've found Mate the easiest although I thought that about Cinnamon before. As mentioned RAM requirements or smooth non hiccup RAM amounts vary with the DE. Mate is lighter than Cinnamon.
     
  10. Anonfame1

    Anonfame1 Registered Member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2016
    Posts:
    194
    Any intel graphics or nvida graphics card will be fine. There should be more than enough horsepower on any PC made in the last 8-10 years.

    I understand the idea of getting a separate computer for this, but that will encourage you to use your already setup Windows 10 PC instead of sticking with Mint and it will cost you money. Dual booting is not something to be feared, especially if you use UEFI (since you dont need 1 bootloader to do all the work- the UEFI menu in your firmware can load Windows Boot Manager or Grub/systemd-boot/rEFInd, etc). You just use a LiveUSB to resize the existing NTFS partition and setup Linux mint in a new partition. It seems really intimidating at first, but its not. Just make sure, in case something goes wrong, that you have a backup of all your data. I have been doing dual boots for at least 8 years and have resized Windows installs many times and I have never had a problem, and thats with the typical gparted application.

    Either way, Mint is a nice distro. Theyve had some recent security issues (due to somebody hacking a server hosting their install ISOs) which honestly I think is a good thing (please bear with me): while it sucks it happened, Mint devs are now bound to be very focused on security in that way. This is good because prior Mint's policies were fairly lax. Please do make sure to enable ALL updates. See: http://www.howtogeek.com/176495/ubuntu-developers-say-linux-mint-is-insecure-are-they-right/

    Its a pretty poor security policy to say that "casual home users" dont need certain security updates because it might ostensibly lead to some stability woes, and for anyone on this site they need to be aware that Mint does this by default. However, once you enable all tiers of updates, youll be fine.

    Looks pretty polished, plays nearly all content out of the box, remains pretty stable, and has a lot of software available for it. Once all the updates are enabled, its among the best. If you like Mint, you might at some point consider Debian or Fedora- both have great security as one of their selling points (Debian has grsecurity kernels and a great Debian Security Team, while Fedora has great package hardening [full relro/canary/PIE for all packages by default] and SELinux).

    Good luck with Linux :D
     
  11. Krusty

    Krusty Registered Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2012
    Posts:
    2,875
    Location:
    Australia
    Great info guys! Thanks. :thumb:

    I have thought about dual booting but I think I'd get sick of having to choose which OS I wanted to boot to.

    I'm not really concerned about the Win10 machines. I have two which are used for different things and I can ignore them while I learn Linux.

    I think my biggest challenge will be getting my head around Terminal. I guess it is similar to Command Prompt and I hardly use that on Windows.
    Yes, like Windows I guess Linux will still need updating, which is something else I'll have to learn fairly quickly. Reading that article it seems unless someone has access to my machine then some updates are really necessary, or am I reading this wrong?
    I see what you mean. ;)

    I'll be mulling this over for a few days so I'm happy with whatever way forward I choose.
    Nice to see I'm not alone. :)
     
  12. SirDrexl

    SirDrexl Registered Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2012
    Posts:
    545
    Location:
    USA
    I would suggest this site: https://linuxjourney.com/

    A lot of it is the command line, but it deals with basic concepts that will help you learn about how it works, regardless of distro.
     
  13. Cache

    Cache Registered Member

    Joined:
    May 20, 2016
    Posts:
    217
    Thank you for the link - that should prove very helpful.
     
  14. Krusty

    Krusty Registered Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2012
    Posts:
    2,875
    Location:
    Australia
    Excellent! Thank you, Sir. :thumb:
     
  15. Palancar

    Palancar Registered Member

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2011
    Posts:
    1,594
    Krusty, you may be wary of trying this but I find it works extremely well for me.

    I use my Win 7/10 machines and simply peal off 100 Gig on a separate partition of the hard drive. Then I use Debian (partition only) and I even select to have /boot (usb to boot linux system) NOT on the hard drive's MBR. Nothing is changed on the windows OS or the MBR to mount windows. My system is totally independent and since windows and Debian are absolutely fully encrypted there is no cross talk between them - ever. This would allow you to experience how Linux will run on your machine (bare metal) without buying another one. Also, only one machine to carry around if its a laptop. Easy to backup and restore either system independently.

    100 Gig may seem like overkill but I use many virtual machines on a Debian host. If you are not using virtual machines you could use much less space.

    If you don't like it just delete the partition and start over, or return the space to windows. Little risk if you have a good backup before starting out.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2016
  16. Krusty

    Krusty Registered Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2012
    Posts:
    2,875
    Location:
    Australia
    Guys,

    I've found a cheap laptop [AU$150] and will [hopefully] pick it up in two weeks. It might be a shame to remove the original HDD and replace it with a SSD as it is a newer, all be it lower spec'ed machine than my Win10 machines. Anyhoo...

    It is an almost brand new Lenovo B50 in case anyone is interested. I have seen it and it is in great condition. I haven't got the exact specifications for it just yet but I'll find that out in the next couple of days. I believe it will be a low-end machine because it was given out to job seekers by the Australian Government [apparently].

    So once I grab a new SSD and perhaps upgrade the RAM I'll be a member of the Linux family. :)
     
  17. AutoCascade

    AutoCascade Registered Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2014
    Posts:
    626
    Location:
    United States
  18. NormanF

    NormanF Registered Member

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    Posts:
    1,441
    Cinnamon, MATE and Budgie are all good choices for Linux beginners.

    They all offer a feel comparable to Windows/Mac OSX.

    If you've used either one of them, you'll be right at home in the above desktop environments.
     
  19. Windows_Security

    Windows_Security Registered Member

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2013
    Posts:
    3,081
    Location:
    Netherlands

    Don't want to discourage you, but read this on a Lenovo G50, not a B50 as you are buying, but still. . .: http://www.ocsmag.com/2016/07/13/linux-2017-the-road-to-hell/
     
  20. Krusty

    Krusty Registered Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2012
    Posts:
    2,875
    Location:
    Australia
    Yeah, that is a little discouraging.

    Only a few more days now before I receive my new SSD and pick up the [near] new lappy.
     
  21. Krusty

    Krusty Registered Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2012
    Posts:
    2,875
    Location:
    Australia
    Today's the day... provided my SSD arrives on time. I'll be picking up the laptop in any case.

    I was wondering if this advice is sound, remembering that I am an absolute newbie / novice when it comes to Linux. EG, it says:
    Thanks.
     
  22. Kerodo

    Kerodo Registered Member

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2004
    Posts:
    7,785
    @Krusty13 When you run Mint's update manager for the first time, it offers you a settings screen with (I think) 3 possible settings, depending on whether you want everything that comes thru including kernel updates, or whether you want something less aggressive and hopefully more stable. I personally just choose what it defaults to, which is basically an intermediate setting.
     
  23. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2005
    Posts:
    8,644
    Location:
    NSW, Australia
    Krusty13,

    If you have a 120 GB SSD you could have Win10 and 8 different Linux distros on the drive. No need to devote the entire drive to one Mint.
     
  24. Krusty

    Krusty Registered Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2012
    Posts:
    2,875
    Location:
    Australia
    Yeah, I know Brian. That has been mentioned above, but this machine is going to be just for Linux and I've already got two Win10 machines (probably one more than I need). Cinnamon to get started and perhaps once I'm a little more experienced I could install some other distros.

    This machine I believe comes with Win8 or Win8.1 and it looks like I've missed the official upgrade deadline. Yeah, I have heard a couple of work-arounds for that. I'll be pulling the HDD out and putting it in storage in case one of my other Windows machines dies.

    FYI, it is a Crucial 240GB SSD, so plenty of room.
     
  25. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2005
    Posts:
    8,644
    Location:
    NSW, Australia
Loading...