Moving to Linux Part 1, The Best OS for this Machine

Discussion in 'all things UNIX' started by MisterB, Sep 18, 2020.

  1. MisterB

    MisterB Registered Member

    Joined:
    May 31, 2013
    Posts:
    1,240
    Location:
    Southern Rocky Mountains USA
    I haven't been posting much on Wilders the last couple of years for the simple reason that the interest I formerly had in computers and software got shifted elsewhere along with the money I had been spending on computer hardware. Just before the shift occurred, I got interested in mini computers as an alternative to the ex corporate Thinkpads I had been buying. I first got a low spec Lenovo Ideapad with Windows 8.1. With the approaching end of Windows 7, I took advantage of GPT partitioning and Grub2 multibooting and put all the major distros of 2018 on it along with some minor ones just to get a feel for what I might be using in a couple of years as I have no intention of using Windows 10 in a serious fashion ever. I was looking for a faster mini and there were lots of Intel Nucs out there but they were fairly pricey and I stumbled upon a mini PC with similar specs for less than $200, a Tangent mini PC. It came with a 64gb SSD with Windows 7 installed. The motherboard has 4 SATA connectors and a mini PCI slot and I put a spare 256gb mSata drive in it and copied the Windows 7 system to it and then upgraded Windows 7 to Windows 10 and copied it again to the mSata drive and removed the 64gb SSD and set it up to mulitboot Windows 7 and 10 from the mSata drive. I then upgraded the Ideapad to an SSD and put the original 500gb spinner in the Tangent without deleting anything. Much to my surprise, all the Linux partitions booted in a completely different computer with no issues whatsoever. No missing hardware, no reboots, no hangs, they all just worked like I had installed them on the Tangent in the first place. To be fair, Windows 8 and 10 would also boot but it wasn't quite as easy and required at least one reboot and then they wouldn't activate because I had Windows 10 Pro activated on the Tangent and the Ideapad came with the home versions. So Linux is the unquestioned champion of easy hardware migrations hands down no matter whether is is Debian, CentOS, Suse, Mint, or Ubuntu. They all passed that unintentional test with flying colors.

    And then, my attention was shifted elsewhere and for the next two years, both computers sat idle. In the spring of this year, with the pandemic raging, one of my jobs switched to a new cloud based POS system that I could manage from home and I found myself overseeing quite a volume of transactions. The old Thinkpad I was using for it wasn't holding up too well under the load. The problem wasn't the POS system which was browser based but the social media posting I was doing on the same computer. Facebook was doing a code update that made it even more of a resource hog than it already was in spite of restraining it as much as possible with uBlock origin and uMatrix. So I fired up the Ideapad and moved social media to it on Windows 8. For forums and downloading large files, I was using another Thinkpad running vms in Windows 7 and I decided it was time to retire that system and move the VMs to the Tangent. That ended up being another unintentional test. After resolving a couple issues caused by a flaky power adapter and dead BIOS battery, I got the Tangent up and running. Windows 7 was fine but Windows 10 was stuck in an endless upgrade loop where it couldn't download the files it needed to upgrade but kept trying and sucking up all the available bandwidth in the attempt. It was promptly deleted as useless and I copied the Debian 9 Mate partition to the mSata drive which was my favorite of the different Linux distros I had on the other drive. So I had Windows 7 and Debian 9 Mate as the main OSes for this machine. I like to use hibernation for what I'm doing with it so I can freeze a session and come back to a few days later. On the old Thinkpad, hibernation worked well but I found out that the industrial Tangent had a BIOS that didn't support hibernation and hibernation didn't work in Windows 7 on it. Not so for Debian. In spite of the BIOS, hibernation worked flawlessly and I kept a session going from late May all the way into September when I had to end it to do some hardware upgrades. So another win for Linux and it was clearly the best OS for this particular machine hands down. Apart from hibernation, it just performs better all around. This is a fast computer to begin with and running Linux makes all that much faster. Updating a system that hadn't been touched in a couple of years was painless compared to Windows. All it took was putting "apt update" and "apt upgrade" in a command prompt and a few minutes. Windows 7 took some tweaking and patience and Windows 10 failed completely.

    It's not an absolute abandonment of Windows. I installed Wine so I could run a few Windows apps I'm fond of and I'm running the same Xp Vms I was running on the old Thinkpad including the one I'm posting this with. That being said, this machine is now a Linux machine because it is the superior OS for it just as it is for all the servers in the cloud running most of the web sites we visit.
     
  2. fblais

    fblais Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2008
    Posts:
    1,261
    Location:
    Québec, Canada
    Interesting reading, thanks for taking the time to report your findings!
     
  3. Gringo95

    Gringo95 Registered Member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2009
    Posts:
    149
    Some good observations.

    A neighbor of mine bought an LG AIO desktop with N4100 processor and Windows 10. After only a week he was moaning how slow it was. I offered him half what he paid for it and he accepted (the display on these is very good). So I got a week old PC for half retail price. I changed the BIOS settings to enable a Linux installation and stuck the KDE5 version of Q4OS on it. It flies so long as I don’t want 50 tabs open. Something like BunsenLabs would be even faster but I prefer KDE. What makes me smile most is all the stuff he wanted to do I now do on his ex machine but twice as quick.
     
  4. Iangh

    Iangh Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2005
    Posts:
    820
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    You didn't offer to put Linux on it for him?:) Wife's N4100 cam equipped with Win10 - it got swapped to Kubuntu straightaway.
     
  5. Gringo95

    Gringo95 Registered Member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2009
    Posts:
    149
    LOL it’s mostly a lost cause. People are so conditioned to Microsoft marketing it’s often difficult to achieve a change and even so they tend to drift back later anyway.
     
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