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Old 03-27-2014, 04:21 PM   #1
prb123
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Question I installed Ubuntu - but perhaps Puppy would have been better?


Hello Everyone!

On my netbook - an ASUS Eee 1005HA with 2GB of RAM and a 160GB HDD - I've just removed WinXP completely and replaced it with Ubuntu (being totally new to the Linux world, I did a bit of research and felt that Ubuntu was the best choice).

Ubuntu installed with no problems - but then I discovered Puppy, and now I'm thinking that perhaps I should have installed Puppy instead of Ubuntu.

So, how can I replace Ubuntu with Puppy - it should be easy, hopefully? My machine may well be fast enough for Ubuntu, but I'd like to see just how FAST I can get my little netbook to run.

However, I'm concerned that after installing Puppy I may end up thinking "gee, I wish I'd stuck with Ubuntu" because Puppy can't do something important that Ubuntu can. I'm not really a "power user"; most of my work is simply browsing the web and doing word processing, spreadsheets, managing email, and so on. But I *would* like to be able to run WINE, in case I have to (reluctantly) use a Windows program sometime. And LibreOffice would be great too - although I understand that Puppy can run OpenOffice. Which one is better - LibreOffice or OpenOffice? Unfortunately, file compatibility with Microsoft formats is important because my clients all run Windows.

Also, where can I learn exactly what programs Puppy is capable of handling?

Many thanks for your assistance (and I hope it's OK to use boldface like I have). Have a great day and a great weekend, everyone!
 
Old 03-27-2014, 04:34 PM   #2
TroN-0074
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Welcome to the world of Linux.
What you are going through right now is perfectly normal with most Linux users. Always going from distribution to distribution until you get that one that makes you feel like home. You would settle for few months and then you start over trying something new here and there. It is fine because really it doesnt cost anything other than the cost of you blank disk or flash drive.

So if you feel like trying Poppy I would suggest that you go for it. Just make sure you save all your important documents out to a external hard drive so you can get then back to you machine once you have completed the installation.

It wont be the last time anyway.

Few things that would make it easy for that next time is if you partition your hard drive in a way that you allocate a portion to be use as swap, another portion to be use as home and another portion to be use it for the root of the OS. So when it is time to re install you tell the installer that only override the portion of the root file system and use the existing swap and home.

another thing to keep in mind is that if the OS is lite it will make it easy on your machine processor but it wont make it faster. What I mean is that the speed is already determinate by the hardware and it cant go beyond that. like if you have a CPU with the speed of 1.6Ghz that is all you will get.

So good luck and enjoy.
 
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Old 03-27-2014, 04:44 PM   #3
snowpine
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So called "distro hopping" is a rite of passage around here!

My advice is to try Puppy as a "Live USB" for a while for evaluation purposes.

I personally do not like Puppy and find their "always root" to be a poor security practice. I've always considered Puppy as a good Live CD/USB but not suitable for permanent install and everyday use. Your mileage may vary.

ps I also do not like Ubuntu.
 
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Old 03-27-2014, 05:12 PM   #4
joe_2000
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Consider trying various distros in a virtual machine. virtualbox is in Ubuntu's repositories. You can directly mount iso files into the virtual cd drive and try them in live sessions. It saves you the hassle of making bootable flash drives or burning cds.
If the distro looks promising try it in a live session on your actual computer. If that goes well (hardware supported etc...) install it. Possibly in a separate partition while preserving your current system so you can dual boot...

I typically have 4 distros on my machine in parallel...
 
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Old 03-27-2014, 06:17 PM   #5
TobiSGD
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There seems to be a misconception about Puppy. Puppy is not faster than any other distro (how would they even achieve that?), its main advantage is that it runs from RAM and therefore starts applications faster, at least the first time you start an application (after the first start it is likely that caching will make the differences non-existent). All other functions of the system will run as fast as on any other distro, but in the long run Puppy may even be slower, for example if you run a workload that needs as much RAM as possible.
 
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Old 03-27-2014, 06:41 PM   #6
haertig
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If you are just moving to Linux from Windows, you're probably going to be wanting/expecting something that is close to Windows in operation. Linux is not that in any distro, but Puppy is even less so than Ubuntu. Ubuntu is more a general purpose distro. Puppy is more specialized. Puppy will run on lesser hardware than Ubuntu, but it does that by trimming features. You get simpler word processing, simpler email clients, etc. Before switching to Puppy, I would first see if Ubuntu runs acceptably fast for you. If not, again, before switching to Puppy, I would try a distro with a lighter desktop environment - say, LinuxMint with the Xfce desktop. If the lighter desktop distros still don't run fast enough for you, then and only then would I start looking at Puppy, Damn Small Linux, etc. These are small and ultralightweight distros, but that comes with a price - simple applications rather than full-featured ones. Simple may be all you need. But if coming from Windows, many new Linux users tend to expect flashy/bloated applications that sing and dance and cook dinner while you're using them.
 
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Old 03-27-2014, 07:22 PM   #7
bcwagne
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I definitely second the idea of trying LiveCD/LiveUSB. As someone who spent YEARS hopping from one distribution to another before finally settling (mostly) on Debian, I spent a lot of time installing and reinstalling, partitioning, erasing, etc. I wish I could have had the good fortune to have live environments to try.

I have settled on Debian, but it took a long time, and anyway, I'm always trying some other distribution in a virtual machine, including multiple installs of Debian, Mint, PCBSD, FreeBSD, FreeDOS, Fedora, etc. So "settled" is a relative term.

Anyway, if you're not sure about Ubuntu, there's no harm in installing something else for a while. The worst that can happen is that everything is erased and you have to reinstall. Just keep good backups of your important documents, and there's no problem.

Good luck!
 
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Old 03-27-2014, 09:08 PM   #8
prb123
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Question thanks... a few more questions!

WOW! What a wonderfully responsive forum!

Thanks to all of you for your great advice. I have now realized that Puppy may not be the ideal solution, and perhaps something like LinuxMint may be a better one to try.

Another total-newbie question: so, it looks like there are basically 4 ways to run a distro on my machine:
  1. install it right onto the hard disk (e.g., the usual way)
  2. run it in a virtual machine
  3. run it LiveCD-style, from a USB stick
  4. run it LiveCD-style, from a CD
... did I get that right? And speed-wise, I believe I've listed them in decreasing order of speed. Am I correct?

I think I'm going to stick with Ubuntu for the time being, and if that's sluggish I might try a few others using the “virtual machine” method, starting with LinuxMint (thanks for this idea, joe_2000!)... Hopefully I'll be able to set up a VM without any glitches! Lol

TroN-0074, you advised me to “partition your hard drive in a way that you allocate
  1. a portion to be use as swap
  2. another portion to be use as home
  3. another portion to be use it for the root of the OS

Being a newbie, I don't understand what you meant by this, so how and when would I do this partitioning? Would I do it from Ubuntu (which is on my netbook right now) prior to replacing my Ubuntu with another distro (say, LinuxMint)? Or, would I do this while I'm installing LinuxMint?

TroN-0074, you also said “...so when it is time to re install you tell the installer that only override the portion of the root file system and use the existing swap and home...”
... once again, unfortunately, I have no idea what you mean by this (but thanks for the idea anyways!)...


I guess the most burning issue for me right now is this (let's assume that I've decided to go with LinuxMint instead of Ubuntu): Given that I have Ubuntu already installed on my netbook, would you recommend that I install LinuxMint *alongside* Ubuntu (i.e. a dual-boot scenario) or *replacing* Ubuntu with LinuxMint? And finally... how would I do this?

Sorry for asking so many questions, but perhaps this discussion will be helpful to the tidal wave of people that will be ditching WinXP in the very near future!

Once again, thanks for your support.
 
Old 03-27-2014, 09:11 PM   #9
aristocratic
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I'm a big Puppy fan. I run Puppy Lucid from a live CD on my old Compaq Presario, which has 512MB RAM, 2.0GHz processor. I love the speed. I just use it for web surfing. It plays video clips with no problem at all.

I tried Puppy after I was having intermittent internet connectivity problems with openSUSE.
 
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Old 03-27-2014, 09:25 PM   #10
colorpurple21859
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if you want to stay with ubuntu you can install the xfce and/or lxde desktop. Either one of them should be faster than the unity desktop.
 
Old 03-27-2014, 09:54 PM   #11
TroN-0074
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Quote:
Originally Posted by prb123 View Post
  1. install it right onto the hard disk (e.g., the usual way)
  2. run it in a virtual machine
  3. run it LiveCD-style, from a USB stick
  4. run it LiveCD-style, from a CD
... did I get that right? And speed-wise, I believe I've listed them in decreasing order of speed.
Installed in the hard drive is always the fastest for what I understand. Even faster if the hard drive is an SSD (Solid State Drive)

Quote:

TroN-0074, you advised me to “partition your hard drive in a way that you allocate
  1. a portion to be use as swap
  2. another portion to be use as home
  3. another portion to be use it for the root of the OS

Being a newbie, I don't understand what you meant by this, so how and when would I do this partitioning?
Swap is a virtual memory used by the OS in case it runs out of RAM while processing data or doing whatever. Also it uses that memory during hibernation or when the computer goes to sleep so it resumes at the same task it was running when it when to sleep. usually 2 GB is enough for it.

Home is the part of the OS that storages user data like: Documents, Downloads, Music, Pictures, and Videos. it also storages some config files under hiding directories (You can hide directories in Linux by starting their names with a dot). For the home directory is good to leave a good among of space for large files and data.

Root is the directory where the OS keeps all the system files in order to function properly. Whenever you isntall a new application it get installed in the root directory and its configuration files are storage under the home directory. Usually 15 to 20 GB is a good size for this partition.

You create this partitions during installation time. There is a step at installation where the script ask you where you want to install the OS it gives you the options of side by side with current OS, or take the entire hard drive or something else. There you select something else and create the partitions

Quote:
TroN-0074, you also said “...so when it is time to re install you tell the installer that only override the portion of the root file system and use the existing swap and home...”
... once again, unfortunately, I have no idea what you mean by this (but thanks for the idea anyways!)... .
You do that at installation time if you have partition already created from a previous installation then you just go and select these existing partition and choose to format or not. So if you have a home partition full of data you choose not to format it, same with the Swap however you tell the installer to mount these partition and the mount point should be like
/root --------------> format it ext4 is a good format
/home --------------> Dont format it if you already have Data what you want to keep
swap --------------> Dont format it if already exist.

Ofcourse you don't have to do any of that but it is a good idea and a good practice.
 
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Old 03-27-2014, 10:31 PM   #12
haertig
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Quote:
Originally Posted by prb123 View Post
Another total-newbie question: so, it looks like there are basically 4 ways to run a distro on my machine:
  1. install it right onto the hard disk (e.g., the usual way) yes
  2. run it in a virtual machine yes, but a "netbook" doesn't have much horsepower, and you only have 2Gb of ram, so your virtual-machine'ing on this computer will be limited
  3. run it LiveCD-style, from a USB stick yes, but sometimes getting a system to boot from a thumbdrive involves Black Magic, incantations, chanting, etc.
  4. run it LiveCD-style, from a CD yes
Many LiveCD's have a boot option to "load into memory". It takes longer to boot that way, but once it does, it runs like a scalded ape since it finds everything it needs in memory and doesn't have to access the hard disk, the CD, the thumbdrive, etc. You need to have sufficient memory to run this way however (your 2Gb should be sufficient). Also, when you reboot, all the changes you made to your system are lost (since they were only in memory, not on disk). Some distros have methods to save your changes to disk however, even when running them from memory.

Quote:
I think I'm going to stick with Ubuntu for the time being, and if that's sluggish I might try a few others using the “virtual machine” method, starting with LinuxMint (thanks for this idea, joe_2000!)... Hopefully I'll be able to set up a VM without any glitches!
VM setup is easy. First, install "VirtualBox", which is a free application that manages virtual machines. You will probably be limited to running only one virtual machine at a time given your hardware and ram. But that's fine. You can create many virtual machines, a different Linux distro in each one, but then only run one at a time. Each VM will take up disk space, but you have plenty of that. Assign 1Gb of ram to each virtual machine, leaving the remaining 1Gb of ram to run your main (host) operating system. So when you are running your host computer (1Gb) plus one VM (1Gb) you have used up all your 2Gb of ram.

Quote:
...you advised me to “partition your hard drive..." Being a newbie, I don't understand what you meant by this...
Do you mean you don't understand partitioning in general, or just not doing partitioning using Linux?

Most Linux installers allow for partitioning as part of the installation process. Usually there are a couple of choices: (1) Use the entire hard disk to install the distro (wiping out everything else that is there), (2) Install the distro alongside some other OS that is currently installed, and (3) "Do something else". The "Do something else" choice sends you to partitioning and probably LVM ("Logical Volume Management") too, so unless you already understand these things in a generic sense, this choice may be bewildering to you.

Quote:
“...so when it is time to re install you tell the installer that only override the portion of the root file system and use the existing swap and home...”
This falls in with what I said above about "do you know partitioning in general?" it kind of sounds like you may not know this. Windows allows for partitioning too. But you may not have used that before, or maybe you always just stuck with Windows as it came installed from your computers manufacturer.

Quote:
I guess the most burning issue for me right now is this ... Given that I have Ubuntu already installed on my netbook, would you recommend that I install LinuxMint *alongside* Ubuntu ... or *replacing* Ubuntu ...?
The way I would personally approach this would be to create a boot partition and then an LVM partition, which is just any old partition flagged as a "physical volume". Then I would divy up that LVM PV ("physical volume") into a bunch of VG's ("Volume Groups") and LV's ("Logical Volumes") and install various distros to those LV's. Your boot manager (probably GRUB) would exist on the standalone boot partition and control which distro you boot. This gives you the option of deciding you don't like a distro and then reallocating its space to a different LV for a different distro.

All that above paragraph being said, nobody in their right mind would understand what I just said unless they were already well-versed in Linux. Which, unfortunately, you are not (yet). So I think your best option is to run different distros from LiveCD's, pick the one you like best, and then install just that one to your netbook.

I think your second best option will be to leave your current Ubuntu in place, read up on how to use "VirtualBox" and install that in Ubuntu and try some VM's with a different distro in each one.

Your third best option would be to partition your hard disk into several partitions of 10 to 20Gb size each. And install each distro side-by-side to these partitions. Remember: ONE of these partitions will hold your boot loader (GRUB), and if you later decide you don't like the distro installed in that partition that holds GRUB and delete it, you will wipe out your boot loader and you won't be able to boot your system. This is a fixable error, but will be tough for a new Linux user who doesn't already understand all of this. However, if you don't understand partitioning, and aren't willing to learn GRUB (which can be trying for a new user), then this partitioning option may be out of reach for you.

Your fouth best option is the way I describe that I would have done it. Using LVM. If you are a masochist, try this option first.

I think the first two options are most viable for you. The second two options are almost like chicken/egg scenerios given what I think your level of computer experience may be. You already have to know how to do it, before you can learn how to do it. Not a good situation for a newbie to be in. Perhaps do you have a friend who already knows Linux and can be there with you physically to help you along?

Quote:
And finally... how would I do this?
And that, my friend, is the million dollar question. It will be very tough to learn that in a forum thread like this. You would certainly need to have access to another computer to come here and ask questions, as no doubt you will run into some "issues" (meaning the computer you are doing all this installing on will be FUBAR'ed and you'll need some expert guidance to resusitate it).

The safest way to try out different distros will be for you to boot LiveCD's. This will not require you to have any knowledge about partitioning, LVM, the boot process, etc. LiveCD's will give you a good feel for each distro, but they will not, repeat, will not, give you an idea of how fast that distro will run once you decide you like it and install it on your hard drive. Running an operating system from a CD is slllooowww... So searching around to see if there is a boot option on the LiveCD to load it into memory may be worthwhile, since then the LiveCD will run like a scalded ape.

Last edited by haertig; 03-27-2014 at 10:47 PM.
 
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Old 03-28-2014, 06:46 AM   #13
TobiSGD
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The Atom N280 CPU in your netbook lacks any type of hardware virtualization support. This means that any desktop system you will try in a VM will run really slow. I recommend to forget about the ideo of testing distributions in a VM on that machine, rather go with Live-USB or native installs.
 
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Old 03-29-2014, 08:11 PM   #14
prb123
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THANKS so much to ALL of you guys for giving me a hand here! Especially TRon-0074 and Haertig, for your lengthy and helpful answers. May the Force Be With You All!.
 
  


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