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Getting Started in Linux

I get the whole month of January off uni and I don't have a job for this time so I'm gonna try and get into Linux but I don't really know where to start having been using various versions of windows from age 4 onwards. I don't really know what Linux distro to try first (I think the school of Physics and Astro at my uni use Ubuntu on their machines in the labs and at the observatory) but I don't really know where to start. I'm planning to get better acquainted with Python as well if that makes much of a difference.

 

Thanks in advance from this windows pleb who's finally trying to join the dark side (well not totally. I'm dual booting cause I game on windows)

|| CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 1600 (@3.9GHz) || Motherboard: ASUS Prime B350 Plus || Cooler: Arctic Freezer 33 eSports Edition || GPU: EVGA GTX 1070 SC || Memory: 16GB G.Skill Trident Z RGB C16 (@2933MHz) || SSD: SanDisk 128GB || HDD: WD Blue 2TB, Toshiba 2TB, Transcend 1TB || PSU: Corsair RM550x || Case: Fractal Design Focus G || Monitor: 2x AOC 23” I2369VM IPS Full HD, Samsung 32" LED TV Monitor || Mouse: Logitech G703 Wireless || Keyboard: Cooler Master MK750 RGB (Cherry MX Brown) || Speakers: Dell Stereo Speakers || Headphones: Sennheiser HD 4.40 BT / Samsung Galaxy Buds ||

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Try Linux Mint or Ubuntu (and it's flavors).

Main PC:  MacBook Air (M1, 2020), 8GB of RAM, 256GB of storage; running macOS, but waiting for Linux to be ported to the M1

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Ubuntu 18.04 LTS is a decent operating system. As a user who frequently uses macOS I found it reasonably easy to get into, as far as the GUI is concerned. Mint is also a good distro as it's more natural to Windows users, from a UI stand point. 

 

That goes without saying that, in my opinion, Windows does a lot wrong in terms of its UI but it's something most people are comfortable with it, so they assume that's the norm.

PC Specs - AMD Ryzen 5 5600X MSI B550M Mortar 16GB Crucial Ballistix DDR4-3600 @ CL15 - RX5700XT 660p 1TBGB & 256GB 600p Fractal Define Mini C CM V550 - Pop!_OS 20.04

 

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For a new user I'd recommend Mint, Ubuntu Mate, Elementary or Zorin. The best way to start is to just install it and try using it.

 

One tip: unlike windows, you don't need to go search the internet for program installers; you can install everything through the command line using the

sudo apt install <x>

command (where <x> is the name of the program). If you aren't sure of the exact name, use apt search <x>.

Don't ask to ask, just ask... please 🤨

sudo chmod -R 000 /*

What is scaling and how does it work? Asus PB287Q unboxing! Console alternatives :D Watch Netflix with Kodi on Arch Linux Sharing folders over the internet using SSH Beginner's Guide To LTT (by iamdarkyoshi)

Sauron'stm Product Scores:

Spoiler

Just a list of my personal scores for some products, in no particular order, with brief comments. I just got the idea to do them so they aren't many for now :)

Don't take these as complete reviews or final truths - they are just my personal impressions on products I may or may not have used, summed up in a couple of sentences and a rough score. All scores take into account the unit's price and time of release, heavily so, therefore don't expect absolute performance to be reflected here.

 

-Lenovo Thinkpad X220 - [8/10]

Spoiler

A durable and reliable machine that is relatively lightweight, has all the hardware it needs to never feel sluggish and has a great IPS matte screen. Downsides are mostly due to its age, most notably the screen resolution of 1366x768 and usb 2.0 ports.

 

-Apple Macbook (2015) - [Garbage -/10]

Spoiler

From my perspective, this product has no redeeming factors given its price and the competition. It is underpowered, overpriced, impractical due to its single port and is made redundant even by Apple's own iPad pro line.

 

-OnePlus X - [7/10]

Spoiler

A good phone for the price. It does everything I (and most people) need without being sluggish and has no particularly bad flaws. The lack of recent software updates and relatively barebones feature kit (most notably the lack of 5GHz wifi, biometric sensors and backlight for the capacitive buttons) prevent it from being exceptional.

 

-Microsoft Surface Book 2 - [Garbage - -/10]

Spoiler

Overpriced and rushed, offers nothing notable compared to the competition, doesn't come with an adequate charger despite the premium price. Worse than the Macbook for not even offering the small plus sides of having macOS. Buy a Razer Blade if you want high performance in a (relatively) light package.

 

-Intel Core i7 2600/k - [9/10]

Spoiler

Quite possibly Intel's best product launch ever. It had all the bleeding edge features of the time, it came with a very significant performance improvement over its predecessor and it had a soldered heatspreader, allowing for efficient cooling and great overclocking. Even the "locked" version could be overclocked through the multiplier within (quite reasonable) limits.

 

-Apple iPad Pro - [5/10]

Spoiler

A pretty good product, sunk by its price (plus the extra cost of the physical keyboard and the pencil). Buy it if you don't mind the Apple tax and are looking for a very light office machine with an excellent digitizer. Particularly good for rich students. Bad for cheap tinkerers like myself.

 

 

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For a new user I recommend OPENSUSE Leap or Mageia with custom selected for the desktop- then select cinnamon

 

Mind is a popular and pretty good choice, I just don't care for it

 

Use etcher.io to create the USB

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Ubuntu or Mint. for new folks. Anything else will just yield tears. Personally I use Ubuntu 14.04LTS (and to a lesser extent 16.04LTS) for my Machine Intelligence work, I do not like the changes they made to 18...

So rise up, all ye lost ones, as one, we'll claw the clouds

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People say anything other than Ubuntu or mint are too hard for new users are just plan wrong.  Sure, I wouldn't reccomend gentoo or slackwear, even fedora can be a bit daunting

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I used Mint 18 when I started because I liked the cinnamon desktop, but in my opinion it has no real benefits over something like KDE Neon/Kubuntu or base ubuntu. In fact, it is worse because you have to jump through hoops to do an upgrade (which isn't supported) between major versions of mint, while pure ubuntus are a one-line job. Mint is a frankendebian and should IMO be avoided.

 

If you want a good place to start, try out stock Ubuntu and Kubuntu. I've used both, the first is a bit alien but easy to get used to, the second looks familiar but you will need to spend some time working out how to make it fit your personal tastes (it's massively configurable).

 

I'd advise trying these distros out in a virtual machine first (VirtualBox etc), to see if you'd like to try them for real. VMs have very poor performance but give you a safe place to test things out.

 

As for gaming... I think that's getting better and better on Linux. Proton has only been out a few months but already allows half of all games on steam to run.

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Hi. Avid Linux user here. If this is your first adventure into Linux, I would highly recommend using Ubuntu. With Ubuntu, there are several versions available, but I would recommend trying the default 18.04 LTS as your first distro. The desktop environment (GNOME 3) is great, and there is a fairly strong portfolio of software support.

 

I personally use Pop_OS by System 76, which is an Ubuntu 18.10 derivative.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Agree with the previous post. If you have fairly recent hardware, Ubuntu 18.04LTS is a good place to get started as a first Linux distro to try. It presents a decently polished user experience and many technical aspects are taken care of behind the scenes. Yes, there is a bit of bloat in comparison to its base OS, Debian, but you can uninstall most unwanted stuff easily using the GUI-based "Software Center" application. If you need to install proprietary Nvidia drivers, for example, that too is pretty straight forward. Not to mention the great amount of support available online. A quick net search will usually reveal several solutions to try for any issue you may face. Good luck!

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My usual advice:  Don't marry your first distro, play the field.  Go get a copy of VirtualBox, go get half a dozen distros each with different desktop environments, and play around in each for awhile.  Try Ubuntu/Gnome.  Try Mint/Cinnamon.  Try Manjaro/KDE.  Try ElementaryOS.  They've all got their own cool stuff going on.

 

If you want to get into Linux, go get a Raspberry Pi. Even if you want to dual boot.  Having that other little Linux box will give you even more opportunities to learn useful things like SSH.  It's also handy because you then have a little box that you don't really care about.  Using your main computer, you're sort of afraid to break stuff.  Using a Pi or other SBC, with your main computer safely on the other side of the room, you feel the freedom to do silly things and break the OS.  You can learn a lot just by watching things break.

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I would recommend just installing Linux Mint or whatever is #1 on Distro Watch. You wont really notice this differences at first. Just be careful installing alongside windows 10 ( windows 10 updates don’t always play nice ).

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9 hours ago, georgezilla said:

No, no no, JUST NO! That is not the best way.

 

Download a live version, most distros have them. It will be a bit slower when using it, but it makes NO CHANGES to your system. So if you don't like it, no problem. And you have the advantage of trying several different distros / DEs to see what works best for you.

 

Again .....

 

No, no no, JUST NO!

 

You can do it that way, but DON'T! Not if you are a new user.

 

Most current distros have package managers. Or repos with basically one-click installers. Both of which also take care of any dependencies for you.

 

And God only knows how much it pains me ......

Nope. Can't do it. Won't do it. I will not recommend it. No, no no, JUST NO!

 

Download any or all of the distros people have recommended before my comment. But download the live version, give them a try, and install the one that you think fits your needs the best.

 

And most importantly ...

 

DON'T PANIC!

Uh, ok... he said he's looking to dual boot and learn how to use linux, I'm sorry but that's not going to happen on a live environment. Those exist to see if you superficially like a distro before installing it, nothing more. They are slow and not representative of the final experience, not to mention anything you change will be reset upon restarting.

 

As for the command line, there is quite literally no difference between using the apt command and the softwatre center other than the graphical interface. It's still one command/click and if anything there are more chances of something going wrong with no explanation if you use the software center. If this was someone installing it for their grandmother, sure, no need to bother with the command line at all - but he said he wants to learn. You won't learn anything about Linux without touching the command line.

Don't ask to ask, just ask... please 🤨

sudo chmod -R 000 /*

What is scaling and how does it work? Asus PB287Q unboxing! Console alternatives :D Watch Netflix with Kodi on Arch Linux Sharing folders over the internet using SSH Beginner's Guide To LTT (by iamdarkyoshi)

Sauron'stm Product Scores:

Spoiler

Just a list of my personal scores for some products, in no particular order, with brief comments. I just got the idea to do them so they aren't many for now :)

Don't take these as complete reviews or final truths - they are just my personal impressions on products I may or may not have used, summed up in a couple of sentences and a rough score. All scores take into account the unit's price and time of release, heavily so, therefore don't expect absolute performance to be reflected here.

 

-Lenovo Thinkpad X220 - [8/10]

Spoiler

A durable and reliable machine that is relatively lightweight, has all the hardware it needs to never feel sluggish and has a great IPS matte screen. Downsides are mostly due to its age, most notably the screen resolution of 1366x768 and usb 2.0 ports.

 

-Apple Macbook (2015) - [Garbage -/10]

Spoiler

From my perspective, this product has no redeeming factors given its price and the competition. It is underpowered, overpriced, impractical due to its single port and is made redundant even by Apple's own iPad pro line.

 

-OnePlus X - [7/10]

Spoiler

A good phone for the price. It does everything I (and most people) need without being sluggish and has no particularly bad flaws. The lack of recent software updates and relatively barebones feature kit (most notably the lack of 5GHz wifi, biometric sensors and backlight for the capacitive buttons) prevent it from being exceptional.

 

-Microsoft Surface Book 2 - [Garbage - -/10]

Spoiler

Overpriced and rushed, offers nothing notable compared to the competition, doesn't come with an adequate charger despite the premium price. Worse than the Macbook for not even offering the small plus sides of having macOS. Buy a Razer Blade if you want high performance in a (relatively) light package.

 

-Intel Core i7 2600/k - [9/10]

Spoiler

Quite possibly Intel's best product launch ever. It had all the bleeding edge features of the time, it came with a very significant performance improvement over its predecessor and it had a soldered heatspreader, allowing for efficient cooling and great overclocking. Even the "locked" version could be overclocked through the multiplier within (quite reasonable) limits.

 

-Apple iPad Pro - [5/10]

Spoiler

A pretty good product, sunk by its price (plus the extra cost of the physical keyboard and the pencil). Buy it if you don't mind the Apple tax and are looking for a very light office machine with an excellent digitizer. Particularly good for rich students. Bad for cheap tinkerers like myself.

 

 

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On 12/12/2018 at 3:32 PM, Sauron said:

For a new user I'd recommend Mint, Ubuntu Mate, Elementary or Zorin. The best way to start is to just install it and try using it.

 

One tip: unlike windows, you don't need to go search the internet for program installers; you can install everything through the command line using the


sudo apt install <x>

command (where <x> is the name of the program). If you aren't sure of the exact name, use apt search <x>.

I would suggest using snap to install stuff if available.

                     ¸„»°'´¸„»°'´ Vorticalbox `'°«„¸`'°«„¸
`'°«„¸¸„»°'´¸„»°'´`'°«„¸Scientia Potentia est  ¸„»°'´`'°«„¸`'°«„¸¸„»°'´

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When I started with linux I just dove head first into arch linux.

 

which at that point didn’t have any automagic installer, unsure how it is now.

What I thought was great with that approach was that I learned alot on the way.

But I would highly recommend you to install any distro and use it as your main OS as far as possible. Just install linux on another hdd/ssd. No dualboot in the usual sense but you’ll have the possibility to select bootdrive instead and be able to use windows alongside any other os without the hassle of crazy updates/ broken bootloaders and what not.

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On 1/18/2019 at 2:19 PM, vorticalbox said:

I would suggest using snap to install stuff if available.

No, use AppImage.  It's even worse.

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6 hours ago, captain_aggravated said:

No, use AppImage.  It's even worse.

Snap is great anything in snap will n any distro. Plus it all installs to the same folder so no more scattered apps and settings.

                     ¸„»°'´¸„»°'´ Vorticalbox `'°«„¸`'°«„¸
`'°«„¸¸„»°'´¸„»°'´`'°«„¸Scientia Potentia est  ¸„»°'´`'°«„¸`'°«„¸¸„»°'´

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On 1/10/2019 at 8:26 PM, shahaan said:

Agree with the previous post. If you have fairly recent hardware, Ubuntu 18.04LTS is a good place to get started as a first Linux distro to try. It presents a decently polished user experience and many technical aspects are taken care of behind the scenes. Yes, there is a bit of bloat in comparison to its base OS, Debian, but you can uninstall most unwanted stuff easily using the GUI-based "Software Center" application. If you need to install proprietary Nvidia drivers, for example, that too is pretty straight forward. Not to mention the great amount of support available online. A quick net search will usually reveal several solutions to try for any issue you may face. Good luck!

I second this

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On 1/18/2019 at 3:06 PM, Magnus_swe said:

When I started with linux I just dove head first into arch linux.

 

which at that point didn’t have any automagic installer, unsure how it is now.

What I thought was great with that approach was that I learned alot on the way.

Pretty much the same, there are more distros based on arch with easy installers

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Take ubuntu, open suse, fedora or mint. You can even go with debian or centos. Both are easy to install and easy to manage.

 

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6 hours ago, georgezilla said:

So you would suggest starting with Arch or Gentoo? I mean if you really want to "learn" Linux, what better way then that ( fallowing you logic ).

Why not, that's what I did... it sure got me there faster. It's not what I was proposing though, all I said is that it's a good idea to get a feel for the command line, regardless of what distro you use.

6 hours ago, georgezilla said:

I want people to "use" Linux. Once they have, then I want them to "learn" Linux. I want them to succeed. I don't want them to "try" Linux and fail. Then stop, never to try it again, because they couldn't get it to work, the "last" time.

OP specifically said he wants to learn, not necessarily replace windows tomorrow.

Don't ask to ask, just ask... please 🤨

sudo chmod -R 000 /*

What is scaling and how does it work? Asus PB287Q unboxing! Console alternatives :D Watch Netflix with Kodi on Arch Linux Sharing folders over the internet using SSH Beginner's Guide To LTT (by iamdarkyoshi)

Sauron'stm Product Scores:

Spoiler

Just a list of my personal scores for some products, in no particular order, with brief comments. I just got the idea to do them so they aren't many for now :)

Don't take these as complete reviews or final truths - they are just my personal impressions on products I may or may not have used, summed up in a couple of sentences and a rough score. All scores take into account the unit's price and time of release, heavily so, therefore don't expect absolute performance to be reflected here.

 

-Lenovo Thinkpad X220 - [8/10]

Spoiler

A durable and reliable machine that is relatively lightweight, has all the hardware it needs to never feel sluggish and has a great IPS matte screen. Downsides are mostly due to its age, most notably the screen resolution of 1366x768 and usb 2.0 ports.

 

-Apple Macbook (2015) - [Garbage -/10]

Spoiler

From my perspective, this product has no redeeming factors given its price and the competition. It is underpowered, overpriced, impractical due to its single port and is made redundant even by Apple's own iPad pro line.

 

-OnePlus X - [7/10]

Spoiler

A good phone for the price. It does everything I (and most people) need without being sluggish and has no particularly bad flaws. The lack of recent software updates and relatively barebones feature kit (most notably the lack of 5GHz wifi, biometric sensors and backlight for the capacitive buttons) prevent it from being exceptional.

 

-Microsoft Surface Book 2 - [Garbage - -/10]

Spoiler

Overpriced and rushed, offers nothing notable compared to the competition, doesn't come with an adequate charger despite the premium price. Worse than the Macbook for not even offering the small plus sides of having macOS. Buy a Razer Blade if you want high performance in a (relatively) light package.

 

-Intel Core i7 2600/k - [9/10]

Spoiler

Quite possibly Intel's best product launch ever. It had all the bleeding edge features of the time, it came with a very significant performance improvement over its predecessor and it had a soldered heatspreader, allowing for efficient cooling and great overclocking. Even the "locked" version could be overclocked through the multiplier within (quite reasonable) limits.

 

-Apple iPad Pro - [5/10]

Spoiler

A pretty good product, sunk by its price (plus the extra cost of the physical keyboard and the pencil). Buy it if you don't mind the Apple tax and are looking for a very light office machine with an excellent digitizer. Particularly good for rich students. Bad for cheap tinkerers like myself.

 

 

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2 hours ago, Sauron said:

OP specifically said he wants to learn, not necessarily replace windows tomorrow.

Yeah given how often I use computers in my studies and that all my games are currently set up on windows and I need to use Microsoft Office in a lot of my classes. I want to learn how to use Linux because it's used in the labs at my university. Not because I want to adopt Linux unilaterally

|| CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 1600 (@3.9GHz) || Motherboard: ASUS Prime B350 Plus || Cooler: Arctic Freezer 33 eSports Edition || GPU: EVGA GTX 1070 SC || Memory: 16GB G.Skill Trident Z RGB C16 (@2933MHz) || SSD: SanDisk 128GB || HDD: WD Blue 2TB, Toshiba 2TB, Transcend 1TB || PSU: Corsair RM550x || Case: Fractal Design Focus G || Monitor: 2x AOC 23” I2369VM IPS Full HD, Samsung 32" LED TV Monitor || Mouse: Logitech G703 Wireless || Keyboard: Cooler Master MK750 RGB (Cherry MX Brown) || Speakers: Dell Stereo Speakers || Headphones: Sennheiser HD 4.40 BT / Samsung Galaxy Buds ||

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I'm definitely in the "Get neophytes into the terminal on day one camp, for the following reasons:

 

Most Windows/Mac users are already afraid of the terminal, and they don't need that fear reinforced.  That included me when I first started using Linux, and I might have avoided it altogether if certain use cases hadn't forced me to practice.  Raspbian was my first distro, and at the time it had no graphical package manager or system settings dialog. You HAD to use the shell.  Then, because it was such a pain to use it in standalone headless mode, I started to use the Pi via SSH.  I eventually got comfortable with it.  

 

The Linux graphical experience is not particularly strong.  The DEs themselves are mostly okay.  Most of them look like Windows or MacOS did a couple years ago.  There's nothing really there that sets Linux apart, and all the little differences are going to feel frustrating and uncomfortable.  I'm remembering the time I had to google how to put a shortcut (launcher) on the desktop.  It's like a vacation to England; there's interesting things to see but the switches on the outlets just won't stop tripping you up.

 

Desktop Linux has a negative number of killer apps.  No one has ever converted to Linux for the software library, and in fact the software library is the number 1 reason people give for avoiding Linux.  I spent a couple years googling things like "paint equivalent Linux."  Sometimes, especially with simpler programs, the FOSS alternative is better than what comes with Windows.  Pinta and Gedit both kick the crap out of Paint and Notepad.  The farther up the complexity ladder you go, the more it falls apart.  Web browsing is better on Linux (Edge is unavailable on *Nix systems AFAIK). LibreOffice is perfectly adequate for most people who haven't heard of VBA.  GIMP and Inkscape are famously "similarly capable but nowhere near as usable as Photoshop/Illustrator."  Gaming is another argument that happens a lot.  Though, Windows users lie a lot about what software doesn't run on Linux.  I've been told by Windows users that Blender, Audacity, VLC, Krita (a KDE app), Chrome (!!!), and KiCAD are not Linux compatible.

 

The real cool Linuxy stuff is all in the shell.  Come on, who doesn't like piping fortune | cowsay | lolcat?  Also...most computer users don't know how to batch process anymore.  My boss tried to stop me when I opened the shell to flip and crop some pictures--until I had all 900 of them done in one line of bash a lunch break.  I've done that with converting .doc to .pdf and a few other cases.  Using the terminal lets you automate things on the fly in ways that a GUI just can't do.  Yes, Windows and MacOS can both get that done, Mac even uses the same default shell.  But Linux actually encourages normal users to use it.  That's when it sinks in, you actually figure out what computers are for.

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