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Old 05-02-2014, 06:29 AM   #1
MacLinDroid
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Linux Small Business Solutions For Newbies


A layman's guide for laymen; experienced Linux geeks please give this a wide berth, it is not for you.


I have compiled this because these are the things needed by newcomers and it can take very long to find a practical solution. This could save newbies time & effort!

Linux really is easier to use than some Windows versions. Distro's like Zorin and Mint already include much of what the business user needs, such as Thunderbird mail, LibreOffice, etc. Another office suite that works well is Kingsoft and you can download .deb installer from here.

Email: If you are using a Google account and an Android phone, you can sync email, calendar & contacts with add-ins for Thunderbird, also tasks. Thunderbird as a good mail client supporting POP and IMAP. The Android alternative with enhanced functionality is MailDroid

Calendar: Your Google calendar opens in a tab in Thunderbird and it can be made accessible off-line as well. In Android, I use BusinessCalendar as it works better and it is free.

Notes: I am also using ThunderKeep for which there is an add-in for Thunderbird although you can sync that through a browser app as well. Of course, there is Keep in Android!

Accounting-wise, there is Grisbu or GNUcash that will address most or all of your bookkeeping requirements.

Local sync is possible and you will need a very basic computer to set up as a server to run ownCloud. With this tool, you can sync PIM organizer data, documents, audio, video, etc., between your computer/laptop, tablet and phone without needing to take data off your premises or using the internet. Your own private wireless network will do just fine.


PIM - Personal Information Manager eg MS Outlook.


There are other solutions but the set-up above is aimed at former Windows XP users who need a new home, or others wanting to board the Linux train, but get lost amidst the myriad distro's, strange jargon and too many opinions from geeky enthusiasts. It is not meant as being authorative; just entry level solutions that can be put in place by an average Windows user.


Having tried and tested a host of Linux distro's since around 2006, I could form a fairly good opinion of the most widely used ones.

If it is a Windows-like experience you want, Zorin 8.1 is best, followed by Mint Cinnamon and UltimateOS. Also consider the locally developed MakuluLinuxOS, an excellent project deserving applause. Interestingly, these are all Debian/Ubuntu based.

The above ones are easier to get used to and have little or no hardware issues. My Windows 7 Ultimate 64 had serious hardware compatibility issues, needing some level of expertise to get some devices running. Linux is not more difficult than Windows, it is just different.

I have also tried openSuSe, PCLinuxOS and a few other non-Debian ones. Always, graphics were pixelated or downright crappy, so I'd steer clear of them unless you like fiddling under the hood. There are better things to do than having to get an OS to display more than half a screen, etc., so I give these a wide berth. From this family, I understand that Fedora is quite good, but I never tried it.

Do you want to get your hands dirty and learn to hack your way through a terminal window? Then go for Arch or Slackware.


Finally, if your computer is ten to twelve years old, try Ubuntu versions 9 - 12.04. From 12.10 onwards, graphics display issues and incompatibility with old computers.

Linux in general: each of the 100+ distro's have its own disciples who may disagree with me. My approach here is to inform wannabe Linux users migrating from Windows or, like I did, from Mac. Mint remains the safest option.

Please do not confuse the issue by posting negative comments or a myriad of "better solutions" which may be well-intended but that will only confuse new users. Only post when you really have a better yet simple solution and when you really have something constructive and positive to contribute. Posts that do not meet this requirement will have to be removed by a moderator.
 
Old 05-02-2014, 07:40 AM   #2
rtmistler
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I think this is a helpful start. I think two possible things could make it a more helpful guide.
  1. Rather than have it a thread, create a blog entry, Typical LQ User's Blog Control Page. Because to me the perpetual information here won't be lost in the variety of threads and in fact may be more accessible to you in making references when you answer questions. This is what I do when answering certain questions about bash scripting, I have a blog entry for bash scripting and as part of some answers, I refer the OP to that blog entry, if it applies in their case.
  2. Adding more hyperlinks within your recommendations here would also be helpful. You've mentioned quite a few software tools as well as distributions. Yes I do realize that links get out of date, but I still feel that it's useful to post them now, because the intended audience also may need some guides to get them started, whereas this is for new persons embarking on conversion from Windows to Linux.

My added thinking here is to point out that the open Office style of tools used in most distributions are very good. The ODT standard used by OpenOffice is not just something random, it's a widely accepted standard and so as a result if you create a document in that word processor under Linux, it will be readable for Windows users, using MS Office. Similarly the spreadsheet utilities and presentation utilities will also be able to work in conjunction with the MS variations.
 
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Old 05-02-2014, 07:49 AM   #3
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OpenOffice

Quote:
Originally Posted by rtmistler View Post
My added thinking here is to point out that the open Office style of tools used in most distributions are very good. The ODT standard used by OpenOffice is not just something random, it's a widely accepted standard and so as a result if you create a document in that word processor under Linux, it will be readable for Windows users, using MS Office. Similarly the spreadsheet utilities and presentation utilities will also be able to work in conjunction with the MS variations.
Thanks for the suggestions, rtmistler I just told my son that I should do a blog instead, so thanks for the link to that.

OpenOffice and LibreOffice are direct siblings and I use either/both, depending what came with the installation disk/.iso. Libre was just ahead of OpenOffice in some respects, such as doing the MS Office "X-files" such as .docx, xlsx, etc. (OpenOffice caught up a few years later, luckily.)

Many Mac users also do not know of their own version of OpenOffice called NeoOffice.

Last edited by MacLinDroid; 05-02-2014 at 07:53 AM.
 
Old 05-02-2014, 08:14 AM   #4
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Blog created here http://www.linuxquestions.org/questi...newbies-36019/
 
Old 05-02-2014, 04:43 PM   #5
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I'm wondering.

I have to inquire out your statement about Africa. USA isn't a continent. North America is. I don't get the comment that Africa is 3x larger than the USA. North America is smaller than the moon would be similarly confusing to me. Africa is larger than N.America by about 9 to 11 ratio. Arable land, resources and other metrics may be quite different.

Last edited by jefro; 05-02-2014 at 04:48 PM.
 
Old 05-02-2014, 04:51 PM   #6
MacLinDroid
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Originally Posted by jefro View Post
I'm wondering.

I have to inquire out your statement about Africa. USA isn't a continent. North America is. I don't get the comment that Africa is 3x larger than the USA. North America is smaller than the moon would be similarly confusing to me.
Of course the USA is but one of many countries on the North American continent. I made the comparison because I am in contact with numerous US citizens who have very little understanding of Africa and who also do not have an idea of its size. It is a different topic altogether but recent polls showed that Europeans, US citizens and, to my horror, the majority of people in my country still believe that the sun orbits Earth! Many people think that Africa is a village somewhere..........seriously!

Once people have a better understanding of geography and demographics, they will most likely better understand what kind of infrastructure is needed to create a fully functional cloud.

Last edited by MacLinDroid; 05-02-2014 at 04:53 PM.
 
Old 05-02-2014, 09:11 PM   #7
jefro
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So, how long have you lived in the USA or in a European country?

What country do you call home? I have to admit that it is odd that a person claims to be from Africa singularly. I'd suspect that the thoughts and feelings of a person in Egypt would be as far away from a person in the Congo as they'd be from Nigeria or South Africa. While I might identify in some ways with a Canadian, I'd also be unlikely to identify with someone from El Salvador.
 
Old 05-02-2014, 09:32 PM   #8
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So, how long have you lived in the USA or in a European country?

What country do you call home? I have to admit that it is odd that a person claims to be from Africa singularly. I'd suspect that the thoughts and feelings of a person in Egypt would be as far away from a person in the Congo as they'd be from Nigeria or South Africa. While I might identify in some ways with a Canadian, I'd also be unlikely to identify with someone from El Salvador.
Even though Cairo differs from Cape Town in most respects, some aspects are the same anywhere on the continent. I have friends in 28 countries in Africa and, as far as the need to become involved in the global economy is concerned, the challenges are about the same. I am at the tip of Africa, but I have been abroad half way around the world and have noted that some situations are the same in Australia and Oceania. I could perhaps easier identify with someone from El Salvador than with a Briton.


There is an awakening in the ICT arena and mobile phone market grows with 3,600 per cent, mostly dual-SIM feature phones. It is the telecoms infrastructure that is still missing and it keeps people oppressed economically and also open to exploitation by foreigners diligent enough to visit in person. The 1st world component of African society is quite limited, mainly to South Africa. However, some areas are waking up from a medieval hibernation and economic growth is steadily improving.
 
Old 05-03-2014, 05:08 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MacLinDroid View Post
Only post when you really have a better yet simple solution and when you really have something constructive and positive to contribute. Posts that do not meet this requirement will have to be removed by a moderator.
And in behalf of whom do you claim this? Have you talked to a moderator or to the LQ administrator?
 
Old 05-03-2014, 05:13 AM   #10
MacLinDroid
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And in behalf of whom do you claim this? Have you talked to a moderator or to the LQ administrator?
I won the thread.
The thread was started to educate newbies, as is clearly stated.
On a similar blogpost, geeks soon invaded it and boasted their capabilities working sans GUI.
That is not exactly how to comfort newcomers to Linux.
When we post too much clutter, the thread is devaluated as readers need to sift through pages of irrelevant opinions and only get confused.
My request therefore is valid and a practical consideration.
You are under no obligation to either read or comment.
Please respect the purpose of this thread which is to offer concise, practical advice to newcomers to Linux.
It is NOT for geeks.
 
Old 05-03-2014, 09:01 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MacLinDroid View Post
Posts that do not meet this requirement will have to be removed by a moderator
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacLinDroid View Post
My request therefore is valid and a practical consideration.
Sorry, but I think you haven't got the point. You claim (not ask) a moderators' activity that should be applied here to "protect" your thread from pollution of any sort. That's not the case, unless new posts infringe any of the LQ rules. Hence my question "Have you talked to a moderator (before)...?"

Furthermore, you should consider to submit your article to Linux Answers or to the LQ wiki and this thread could serve as an open discussion to improve and refine the provided information.
 
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Old 05-05-2014, 05:57 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MacLinDroid View Post
Finally, if your computer is ten to twelve years old, try Ubuntu versions 9 - 12.04. From 12.10 onwards, graphics display issues and incompatibility with old computers.
Uubntu 9.XX, 10.10, 11.XX are all 'end of life, out of support' and nobody should be using them if they are _ever_ going to get online. 10.04 is sort of still supported, butonly in server. The 10.04 desktop is end of life as well, and also shouldnt be used.

12.04 is still supported, but its version using 'unity' and will not run well on 10-12 year old computers. Its also a RAM pig, and 2002-2004 computers generally dont have that much RAM.

IMO one of the main reasons why ubuntu got anywhere was 'jockey' the hardware drivers install tool. Its pretty much useless on a 10-12 year old computer, there wont many closed source drivers avaible for hardware that old. Might as well use debian, which tends to be lighter than the *buntus, and debian isnt a rich kids pet project to get more rich.
 
Old 05-05-2014, 11:41 AM   #13
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Most users in the developing world hardly ever get connected to the internet and, if they do, it is for a few minutes at a time to handle email via POP. They are not bothered about updates at all as long as the hardware can drive the OS and applications along.
 
Old 05-05-2014, 12:44 PM   #14
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Prior to me posting on my blog, I have made use of normal threads on various IT forums. A frequent rap over the knuckles came from the academics who maintained that such old versions are no longer supported and therefore should not be used. I beg to differ.


As I am from Africa, I understand all too well that many farmers, for instance, do not have broadband and hardly ever go online. This is because the cost of dial-up connectivity is hugely expensive as much of it happens over 2G mobile networks. Due to copper cable theft, vast areas are without fixed line connections. In the same vein, small business owners, doctors, lawyers, land surveyors, informal traders and everybody else could not care less whether their distro is up to date or not. As they are off-line users, updates are not really required as long as software and hardware work together. We in the third world are used to the creed of "adapt or die."


Of course, when one has the physical means to update regularly, it will always be better to have your system up-to-date. Some of the benefits include hardware compatibility with peripheral devices such as modems and printers, or enjoying the benefits of security updates.


There is, however, nothing wrong with running Ubuntu 10 on a computer from 2002, for example, if you are one of the majority who hardly ever go online.


In the past, the Shuttleworth Foundation / Canonical sent CD's or DVD's to end users around the globe AT NO COST. This is how we managed to lay our hands on Linux, as we had no way of downloading it. Just this week I could not download ZorinOS as my connection was too bad and also a download of Ubuntu 10 timed out after three hours, at 108MB out of 670MB. Mr Mark Shuttleworth, formerly a South African, devised the Ubuntu brand and distro, in the true spirit of "ubuntu." It is an ethnic African term meaning "I am, because we are." Mark Shuttleworth understood the need of people in developing countries and ensured that Linux was freely available and he even distributed it for free at public libraries. If he never did that, hundreds of thousands, may be millions, of users would never have had access to Linux. Those who bash the Ubuntu brand and those who have petty issues of how I get the message across, should rather be quiet as they are harming the cause and damaging the progress of humanity.


Also from South Africa and in keeping with being selfless, comes Makululinux which once again is a labour of love. We South Africans seemingly have a heart, even when we aren't always "politically correct."
 
Old 05-05-2014, 01:08 PM   #15
MacLinDroid
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Originally Posted by cascade9 View Post
Uubntu 9.XX, 10.10, 11.XX are all 'end of life, out of support' and nobody should be using them if they are _ever_ going to get online. 10.04 is sort of still supported, butonly in server. The 10.04 desktop is end of life as well, and also shouldnt be used.

12.04 is still supported, but its version using 'unity' and will not run well on 10-12 year old computers. Its also a RAM pig, and 2002-2004 computers generally dont have that much RAM.

IMO one of the main reasons why ubuntu got anywhere was 'jockey' the hardware drivers install tool. Its pretty much useless on a 10-12 year old computer, there wont many closed source drivers avaible for hardware that old. Might as well use debian, which tends to be lighter than the *buntus, and debian isnt a rich kids pet project to get more rich.

Read my post below......I posted it well before I even read here. Neither Ubuntu not Shuttleworth were/are for getting rich. Mark Shuttleworth does not have to work and he never asked your money nor mine. His organisation sent me numerous FREE disks from Netherlands to Cape Town, not by mail but by courier, which costs a lot. That is selfless service. Today, I prefer Mint or Zorin, but I do respect the Ubuntu team, Canonical and Mr Shuttleworth, for their effort to make life a better place for humans.
 
  


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