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Old 11-08-2012, 01:50 PM   #1
zardthebuilder
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Default Linux, For Real This Time - Zorin?

my wife and I have been using Windows operating systems for as long as I can remember. Maybe starting with Windows 3.1. Over the years, we have switched to firefox, open office, and pidgin. we have a computer in the kitchen that is a bit sluggish. It is used mostly for the above applications, plus looking at pictures.


I just bought an Intel 330 SSD. Instead of installing Windows on the SSD, I figure I might as well try Linux. I have installed Ubuntu 8.04 on another very, very old system, but didn't do much with it. Compared to this community, my technical skills are below average. My wife is not technical at all, so I was thinking that Zorin would be a good start. Since I plan to eventually pay 10 euros to upgrade to premium, I figure I should try Zorin OS 6 (32-bit).


Any advice before I get started?


Specs of the computer that I have gathered:
Lenovo ThinkCentre A61 (bought 8/2008)
AMD Athlon 64 X2 4400+ AM2 Processor (2.3GHz, 2x512KB L2)
Windows Vista Home Premium
4GB PC2-5300 SDRAM
ATI Radeon HD 2400PRO 128M ATX
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Old 11-08-2012, 02:17 PM   #2
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Why does Zorin look like a scam?

I recommend Mageia.
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Old 11-08-2012, 02:31 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Jodell88 View Post
Why does Zorin look like a scam?

I recommend Mageia.
i don't think it's a scam. they have been reviewed by CNET, PCWorld, and others. and their core is free. pretty hard to scam when most people will send you money only after they are happy with the free version. they also have a wikipedia entry.

sure, i'll take a look at Mageia.

http://zorin-os.com/reviews.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zorin_OS
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Old 11-08-2012, 03:06 PM   #4
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The core version isn't the problem, it's the "premium" versions I have a problem with. They're selling you software that you can easily get for free on any Linux distro. Oh, and the use of "donations" in order for you to get support irks me. Five dollars gets you "three support questions per one computer." DAFUQ?

I don't mind at all if they ask for donations as this is mainly the way most open source projects get funds, but to me they are preying on the very customers they plan on attracting.

And they never tell you what their "premium" software is.
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Old 11-08-2012, 04:40 PM   #5
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Zorin seems legit. I've seen it mentioned before. They're another company trying to sell GNU/Linux, with value addons. The problem is these companies don't really add value. They tend to take it away to make things "easier", but it ends up being harder, or less featureful than a proper distro.

Their particular shtick is making it look like Windows. It's supposed to be easier for people coming from Windows, but you'll eventually run into the fact that it isn't Windows. All the major desktops are fairly intuitive for basic operation, so a Windows look-alike isn't that useful imo. You'll also run into trying to do something the Windows way, and the fact it looks like Windows could make the experience more frustrating. If you use something normal and native to GNU/Linux, you'll already be primed for the fact you aren't running Windows, so the differences will be less jarring.

Mageia is a good one to try, and I'd try a few from the Ubuntu family. Ubuntu, Kubuntu, and Xubuntu. See which you like best. To draw a comparison...

Ubuntu - closest to OSX Uses the Unity desktop
Kubuntu - closest to Win7 Uses the KDE desktop
Xubuntu - Closest to Win 9x Uses the Xfce desktop
Mageia uses KDE also I believe, but I haven't used it in a very long time.

Don't take the above descriptions too literally. They were just given for the general "feel". Actual operation will be very different from the descriptions provided.
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Old 11-08-2012, 05:55 PM   #6
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Why not just try out an Ubuntu 12.04 variant (other than server or minimal)? As long as you have your data backed up, and a Windows OS disc handy, you've got nothing to lose but your time, and it will be a good learning experience one way or the other.

8.04 is awfully old, now, and 12.04 should have excellent FOSS video card support.
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Old 11-08-2012, 06:04 PM   #7
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Personally I would go with ubuntu 12.10, and 64bit no need to hold back with 32bit on that computer.
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Old 11-08-2012, 07:14 PM   #8
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i really appreciate this feedback. zorin might not be the right choice. if my wife clicks on a Windows-looking button, but gets a different behavior, yes, she might get frustrated. i didn't think about that before. my wife's transition from MS Office to OpenOffice was amazingly smooth, so maybe she will be okay with a different looking OS. the Mageia website said, "you'll see that Mageia users are spoiled for choice". too much choice might not be good for me right now. i'll take another look at ubuntu and family. i didn't think my computer can handle 64-bit, but i'll give that a try.
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Old 11-08-2012, 07:21 PM   #9
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It's an Athlon 64, it was the first x86 processor to have the 64bit extensions.

With all the suggestions in this thread you can burn the image to a dvd, or create a bootable thumb drive and test them out without installing it on your computer.
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Old 11-08-2012, 07:59 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Jodell88 View Post
It's an Athlon 64, it was the first x86 processor to have the 64bit extensions.

With all the suggestions in this thread you can burn the image to a dvd, or create a bootable thumb drive and test them out without installing it on your computer.
oh, that's what the 64 means. a few days ago, i went to windows help about 32 bit vs 64 bit and followed the instructions, which led me to the wrong conclusion on 32 bit.

testing via dvd makes a lot of sense.
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Old 11-09-2012, 07:51 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zardthebuilder View Post
i really appreciate this feedback. zorin might not be the right choice. if my wife clicks on a Windows-looking button, but gets a different behavior, yes, she might get frustrated. i didn't think about that before. my wife's transition from MS Office to OpenOffice was amazingly smooth, so maybe she will be okay with a different looking OS. the Mageia website said, "you'll see that Mageia users are spoiled for choice". too much choice might not be good for me right now. i'll take another look at ubuntu and family. i didn't think my computer can handle 64-bit, but i'll give that a try.
Ubuntu might look a lot different, but that may also be a good thing. Also right out of the box Firefox and the office apps are stickied on the launcher on the left. I figure if you take a bit of time to find all the programs she'll need and shortcut them either on the desktop or launcher you should be fine.

Also if you plan on using an ssd, Ubuntu is super fast on one of those!

I also agree with the above in that if you want to easily check them out just burn what's called a 'live CD/DVD' ( Ubuntu may no longer have this option, but pretty sure its built into the standard download), pop that in the comp, boot it and you'll be in a full that you can test. Restart the comp and eject the CD and your back to as it was before.
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Old 11-09-2012, 01:36 PM   #12
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Ubuntu might look a lot different, but that may also be a good thing. Also right out of the box Firefox and the office apps are stickied on the launcher on the left.
Or just go straight for Xubuntu or Kubuntu, to avoid the Unity weirdness (Lubuntu might be too much of a change, despite its initial appearance).

Ubuntu got rid of live CDs, but the DVDs are live+install, just as they have been for years. Not something the OP needs to care about, but Ubuntu Server still has a CD image, and there is a net-install image, too (ideal for USB/SD installation).
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Old 11-30-2012, 12:32 PM   #13
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i tested Ubuntu via DVD, and didn't like the launcher fixed on the left. tried Kubuntu and liked it enough to install it on the SSD. i was amazed that i didn't have to install any drivers to get the system to work.

pidgin and firefox installed very easily with the software center. i made the mistake of trying to use the profile from firefox on windows. a lot of weird behaviors, so i reinstalled. i'm still manually installing the extensions, but it is working fine.

installing openoffice was difficult. i can see why users would be intimidated to try linux. the official documents were vague. it took me a while to figure out "terminal" and get a basic understanding of packages. i found detailed instructions in the openoffice forum, but it still didn't work. i made a guess that i needed to uninstall all the LibreOffice packages too. i did that and openoffice finally installed and worked.

i still can't get BOINC to work. user reviews say that it is a problem with 64 bit. so, it might not be a problem with me and my lack of knowledge about linux.

i wanted to see if using kubuntu was self-explanatory and user-friendly. it is easy if one is happy with the software included in the software center. in some ways, it was easier than installing windows where i had to find the CD's for the drivers.

bottom line: my wife has been using the computer for about two weeks and is fine with it. the performance went from poor to very good -- but part of the improvement is due to the SSD. when i eventually need to retire this computer, at least i won't need windows on the new system and can save a few bucks. thanks all for your help!
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Old 11-30-2012, 12:36 PM   #14
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Why would you install OpenOffice over LibreOffice anyway?
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Old 11-30-2012, 01:01 PM   #15
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Why would you install OpenOffice over LibreOffice anyway?
+1

Also, even if you really wanted to, check out Muon or Synaptic. Nothing against using the command line for package management tasks, but there are good GUIs.
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Old 11-30-2012, 02:18 PM   #16
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Quote:
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Why would you install OpenOffice over LibreOffice anyway?
+2
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Old 11-30-2012, 02:44 PM   #17
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Why would you install OpenOffice over LibreOffice anyway?
i made the assumption that LibreOffice is sufficiently different than OpenOffice. we have been using OpenOffice for several years already. i didn't want too many changes for my wife. after my wife is familiar enough with kubuntu, it might make sense to try LibreOffice. in hindsight, i probably should have played around with LibreOffice before installing OpenOffice.

earlier today, i read the wikipedia entry for KDE. Matthias Ettrich founded KDE to make UNIX easier for his girlfriend. it is funny to see how our women drive our technical decisions.

after i downloaded OpenOffice, i couldn't figure out how to use Muon or Synaptic to install the software. maybe next time.
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Old 11-30-2012, 02:58 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zardthebuilder View Post
i made the assumption that LibreOffice is sufficiently different than OpenOffice. we have been using OpenOffice for several years already. i didn't want too many changes for my wife. after my wife is familiar enough with kubuntu, it might make sense to try LibreOffice. in hindsight, i probably should have played around with LibreOffice before installing OpenOffice.

earlier today, i read the wikipedia entry for KDE. Matthias Ettrich founded KDE to make UNIX easier for his girlfriend. it is funny to see how our women drive our technical decisions.

after i downloaded OpenOffice, i couldn't figure out how to use Muon or Synaptic to install the software. maybe next time.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LibreOffice

You might want to put libreoffice back since openoffice kind of dead.
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Old 11-30-2012, 03:36 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zardthebuilder View Post
i made the assumption that LibreOffice is sufficiently different than OpenOffice. we have been using OpenOffice for several years already. i didn't want too many changes for my wife. after my wife is familiar enough with kubuntu, it might make sense to try LibreOffice. in hindsight, i probably should have played around with LibreOffice before installing OpenOffice.

earlier today, i read the wikipedia entry for KDE. Matthias Ettrich founded KDE to make UNIX easier for his girlfriend. it is funny to see how our women drive our technical decisions.

after i downloaded OpenOffice, i couldn't figure out how to use Muon or Synaptic to install the software. maybe next time.
LibreOffice is a fork of OpenOffice to save it from Oracle. The UI should be nearly identical and you'll get much, much, much better support with LibreOffice.

Synaptic is only used to install software from the configured repositories, you can't just install anything with it. Generally if something isn't in the repository you should look for either a README or INSTALL file or some docs on the web for how to install it. And generally it's not worth it and you should stick to what's in the repos because they're going to be better integrated with the system and just generally work better overall.
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Old 12-04-2012, 01:07 PM   #20
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i'm thinking about switching from Kubuntu 64-bit to 32-bit to be able to run BOINC. since we are only using firefox, pidgin, and word processing, we shouldn't really notice too much of a difference, right?
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Old 12-04-2012, 01:27 PM   #21
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I'm partial to Linux mint for new Linux users to be honest.
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Old 12-04-2012, 05:01 PM   #22
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Quote:
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i'm thinking about switching from Kubuntu 64-bit to 32-bit to be able to run BOINC. since we are only using firefox, pidgin, and word processing, we shouldn't really notice too much of a difference, right?
I just checked the site, and it offered me a 64bit download. What leads you to believe it won't work? To answer your question, 32bit will work fine, and if you use a pae kernel, it'll give better performance(more available ram) than Windows, but you shouldn't have to do that.
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Old 12-04-2012, 05:38 PM   #23
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I just checked the site, and it offered me a 64bit download. What leads you to believe it won't work? To answer your question, 32bit will work fine, and if you use a pae kernel
No if about it. Kubuntu will not launch on a CPU that does not support PAE, such as mine (Core Duo). You can add the Kubuntu desktop to a working install, but the Kubuntu 12.10 32-bit disc was a no-go, due to PAE.

Quote:
it'll give better performance(more available ram) than Windows, but you shouldn't have to do that.
That depends on use-case and mobo. If it was 8GB of RAM, PAE would offer a more for non-application uses. At 4GB, the mobo may or may not leave the hidden RAM hidden. IIRC, allowing dirtiable highmem can help, too, but I'm not sure if kernels come with it built in by default or not (it will be in /proc/sys/vm, if so).

Still, the differences are going to be minimal/none with the OP hardware and usage, even if all PAE is doing is allowing the NX bit to be used.
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Old 12-04-2012, 10:12 PM   #24
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Quote:
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I just checked the site, and it offered me a 64bit download. What leads you to believe it won't work? To answer your question, 32bit will work fine, and if you use a pae kernel, it'll give better performance(more available ram) than Windows, but you shouldn't have to do that.
i started with the version that came with Kubuntu (7.0.27). it installed fine and worked fine. but, after i shutdown the computer and start it up again, the BOINC manager cannot find the client. there were user comments that this version is for 32 bit.

so, i downloaded the 64 bit version (7.0.28) directly from BOINC. the same exact problem happened. maybe BOINC works fine with Ubuntu 64-bit, but something screwed up along the way, and doesn't work with Kubuntu 64-bit?
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Old 12-04-2012, 10:40 PM   #25
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I wouldn't expect a difference between Ubuntu and Kubuntu. Can you start the client manually?

sudo /etc/init.d/boinc-client start

Taken from this page...

http://wiki.debian.org/BOINC
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