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Old 04-20-2011, 05:33 PM   #16
MTK358
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Bill View Post
I've never used a Mac either, but my own personal experience with "widgets" was with Puppy Linux. It's still a point-and-click icon, but more highly configurable. (open widget manager, select the one you want to alter, click "edit"...) There's not very much that you can't change. Just guessing it might be the same with Mac.
Do you mean like little desktop applets?

Still, I don't understand how that would change the way you would use your computer.
 
Old 04-20-2011, 08:34 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by savona View Post
I have only been a member here for a short time but already have seen a few dozen threads with this exact question. I vote we all pitch in to make a "pinned" thread that answers this question and just point people to it.

Thoughts?
That's actually a great idea. however, rather than all the "this one or that one is the best" that you see with each one, and the majority "vote" being different depending on who's on when the question is asked, just tell the truth--- The Linux kernel is at the heart of every distro, and each one can be configured to be whatever you need. My idea of "the best" is the one that works with my hardware "out of the box". From there, one can addor remove packages and change virtually anything, including desktop managers, file managers, etc, etc, etc, and most of these can also be configured to suit individual tastes. There is no one distro where you have to settle or make due with what you get.
 
Old 04-20-2011, 08:42 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MTK358 View Post
Do you mean like little desktop applets?

Still, I don't understand how that would change the way you would use your computer.
It doesn't.
 
Old 04-20-2011, 09:10 PM   #19
chrism01
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@OP: most distros come with a 'Custom' install option, so you can trim down what you want to install.
However, as you're new to Linux it actually makes sense to do a Standard install and try out the various editors etc until you find the one you like. Then you can un-install the rest if you really want.
Given that the modern Standard install is about 5-6GB (<=10GB) and most disks are in the 100s of GBs these days (& rapidly heading into TB territory), I really wouldn't worry about 'bloat' in that sense.
You should definitely take a few Live CDs for a spin before installing though.
Remember that although most distros default to installing a GUI on top of the OS, the cmd line is easy to get at; just open up an terminal window (xterm) and away you go.

Usual reading recommendations
distrowatch.com - list of distros avail and links to downloads etc
http://rute.2038bug.com/index.html.gz - good tutorial
linuxtopia.org - huge set of online books/manuals/howtos
tldp.org - often dated, but 'The Linux Doc Project'
 
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Old 04-25-2011, 03:04 PM   #20
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Oh! One big, big question I forgot to ask, and actually I might need to make a new topic. I don't like making tons of topics, but this is a biggie -- as a lifetime Windows user (well, 10+ years, but it's the only system I've ever used) I've become quite versed - and some might say, dependent upon - the Windows Task Manager and regedit.

What are the Linux equivalents and how do most distros allow me to access them? I'm a Ctrl-Alt-Del fiend, and I practically can't survive without regedit (not to mention msconfig). I need to know essentially right off the bat how do do similar things in Linux.

Another another thing -- I have a WiFi hotspot using a Linksys router and a Linksys Air PCMCIA card thingy. My new laptop has a PCMCIA slot. I know if I'm running any version of Windows and I stick that bad boy in, it'll auto-detect and I can use a Wizard to set up my wireless connection in a flash. Is the Linksys Air commonly supported by Linux distros? Dare I hope it might even be plug-and-play with some of them?

snowpine, I spent a couple minutes browsing that Gnome Do website and...I can't really figure out what it is or does. It just looks like it makes common menu commands into giant, iPhone-style buttons. The major thing I want with a "tag" system is the ability to put (essentially) unlimited metadata onto any file, and search my metadata. Can Do do that? That "clean" CrunchBang (very clever name) screen does look pretty sexy. Presumably, though, the system would be all menu-based? Right-click into stuff? I've never been fond of that style.

reed9, thanks for the info. I'll definitely look for a "light" installation of whatever distro I end up going with.

MTK358, thanks for the link. Looks fierce, but I'll definitely give that Beginner's Guide a glance. By "widget-based" I meant the main desktop interface uses those widget things, along the bottom of the screen, right? Whereas the main desktop interface of Windows is folders; you put files and folders on your desktop just like it were any other folder. Obviously Mac ultimately uses folders. I was talking about the main interface -- the thing you first look at when you turn on the compy. My dream interface would be a tag cloud, with a tag-search bar as part of the basic interface (rather than being a program like any other that you start up).

thund3rstruck, one of the main reasons I'm converting to Linux is specifically because I'm concerned with open source vs proprietary politics. Thanks for the suggestion, though.

bret381, is there any relationship between Arch, ArchBang and CrunchBang? Sounds like ArchBang would either be a hybrid, or CrunchBang a fork.

Edit: Another quick question. My new laptop (which finally got here today) has multimedia buttons. You know, Play, Stop, Next Track, Previous Track, Email, Web Browser. I know of a way to actually edit these by messing with the Windows registry, so that I can make them do whatever I want, essentially. The thing is, most such multimedia buttons - and thus probably the ones on my new lappy - use hard-coded Windows commands. Is it at all possible to use multimedia buttons with Linux?

Last edited by Hufflepuff; 04-25-2011 at 03:31 PM.
 
Old 04-25-2011, 03:27 PM   #21
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Well, there's no registry in linux like in Windows. The GNOME desktop has something vaguely similar, with a number of changes able to be made through the gconf-editor.

Different desktop environments have varying ways to control startup services. In Arch based systems, no services start by default - you have to manually add them to the file /etc/rc.conf.

Wireless can be hit or miss as far as plug and play. Many times you need to install some extra firmware to get it going, so it's helpful to have a wired connection post-install. The two most popular network manager apps are the appropriately named networkmanager (default in most distros) and wicd. A lot of good info on identifying your wireless card, much of it useful for any distro, can be had at the Arch Wireless Wiki.

Archbang is based on Arch Linux, with a preconfigured openbox environment. It was also inspired by Crunchbang, which is based on Debian (and based on Ubuntu in the past) with a preconfigured openbox environment.
 
Old 04-25-2011, 03:30 PM   #22
MTK358
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hufflepuff View Post
Oh! One big, big question I forgot to ask, and actually I might need to make a new topic. I don't like making tons of topics, but this is a biggie -- as a lifetime Windows user (well, 10+ years, but it's the only system I've ever used) I've become quite versed - and some might say, dependent upon - the Windows Task Manager and regedit.
Linux is so fundamentally different from Windows that it doesn't really have anything equivalent.

About Task Manager, most desktop environments come with something similar. For the command line, there's "top", "ps", "kill", and "killall".

And about the registry: Linux doesn't have anything remotely similar to a registry. Instead, programs have their own, independent, human readable and editable text files for configuration. System wide config files are in /etc, and user-specific ones are in your home directory, with their names starting with a period (in Linux there is no true concept of hidden files, instead files beginning with a dot are not shown by default by file management utilites).
 
Old 04-25-2011, 03:53 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hufflepuff
By "widget-based" I meant the main desktop interface uses those widget things, along the bottom of the screen, right?
If you're referring to the OS X "Dock", then there are actually a number of Linux dock programs available: Docky is one particular example, and there are many others.
 
Old 04-25-2011, 03:57 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hufflepuff View Post
snowpine, I spent a couple minutes browsing that Gnome Do website and...I can't really figure out what it is or does. It just looks like it makes common menu commands into giant, iPhone-style buttons. The major thing I want with a "tag" system is the ability to put (essentially) unlimited metadata onto any file, and search my metadata. Can Do do that? That "clean" CrunchBang (very clever name) screen does look pretty sexy. Presumably, though, the system would be all menu-based? Right-click into stuff? I've never been fond of that style.
I will confess I am not a Gnome Do user myself, I experimented with it about 2 years ago and remember it being kind of like what you're looking for. You just start typing and it finds the application or document that is the best fit.

I am however an everyday CrunchBang user and highly recommend it if you're looking for a clean, minimalist desktop. It is however, very right-click driven, maybe not exactly what you're looking for?
 
Old 04-25-2011, 04:21 PM   #25
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Speaking about task manager alternative - try System monitor. If you add it to Gnome panel you can monitor not only CPU usage but also RAM, Swap, network, hdd usage and system load.

Last edited by Arcane; 04-25-2011 at 04:21 PM. Reason: typo
 
Old 04-25-2011, 04:26 PM   #26
MTK358
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arcane View Post
Speaking about task manager alternative - try System monitor. If you add it to Gnome panel you can monitor not only CPU usage but also RAM, Swap, network, hdd usage and system load.
That's for GNOME only.
 
Old 04-25-2011, 04:27 PM   #27
Hufflepuff
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Here's another important question. Let's say I install Arch (just for example) and start using it for awhile and eventually decide I don't like it. Would I easily be able to completely wipe it from my system, install another distro and have all my files (image, music, text, saved webpages, that kind of thing) in tact? By which I mean, I wouldn't have to copy all my files off the system first, then wipe Arch, then install something else, then finally put all my files back on, right?

That's one of the big things about Linux, right? You aren't locked-in, you can easily switch distros?

reed9, thanks for the info. I'm glad the Arch distro has no default startup behavior, that's exactly what I'm looking for. Is it relatively easy to edit rc.conf?

I'm not gonna have a wired connection, though, no way no how. Linksys seems to be very, very popular, so I'm hoping for plug-and-play. Well, Arch probably won't plug-and-play, since it's minimalist, but a driver should be easy enough to come by, I hope.

Also, what's the main differences between Arch and ArchBang? The fact that ArchBang uses "a preconfigured openbox environment" doesn't mean anything to me (it's all Chinese to me). If Arch is already minimalist, what's the main purpose of ArchBang?

MTK358, that's awesome that all the config files are human-readable. What's top, ps, kill and killall, by the way? I can guess that kill is like choosing to forcibly close a program in the Windows Task Manager. I could guess that killall kills all non-essential processes (essentially putting your machine back at the startup state). What about top and ps?

MrCode, yes, I was talking about the dock. Not fond of stuff like that. Too flashy, "hey, look how user friendly we are," not enough configurability and control. I'm not an "app" enthusiast, I like to do my own thing, not select from among pre-fab buttons and widgets and so forth. 'swhy the iPhone doesn't thrill me.

snowpine, the important thing for me is, does Gnome Do simply search filenames and content? Or metadata? If it's the former, I'm not interested. If it's the latter, I'll start giggling like a school girl. Although, importantly, how does Do display search results? A list? In a folder? Or is it perhaps configurable?

As I said, I'm not fond of right-click heavy interfaces, but pretty much all Linux distros are flexible enough for me to change the basic way I interact with the system, aren't they? Like, I could get CrunchBang, and then install some window system?

Arcane, thanks for the info. Though I think I'm more interested in one of those dealies where all that info is displayed on the desktop itself.
 
Old 04-25-2011, 04:41 PM   #28
MTK358
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hufflepuff View Post
Here's another important question. Let's say I install Arch (just for example) and start using it for awhile and eventually decide I don't like it. Would I easily be able to completely wipe it from my system, install another distro and have all my files (image, music, text, saved webpages, that kind of thing) in tact? By which I mean, I wouldn't have to copy all my files off the system first, then wipe Arch, then install something else, then finally put all my files back on, right?
Yes, just create a separate partition for /home. But I still strongly recommend you back up when switching distros in case something goes wrong.

[quote[Also, what's the main differences between Arch and ArchBang? The fact that ArchBang uses "a preconfigured openbox environment" doesn't mean anything to me (it's all Chinese to me). If Arch is already minimalist, what's the main purpose of ArchBang?[/quote]

ArchBang is Arch pre-configured with a basic Openbox-based GUI.

Quote:
MTK358, that's awesome that all the config files are human-readable. What's top, ps, kill and killall, by the way? I can guess that kill is like choosing to forcibly close a program in the Windows Task Manager. I could guess that killall kills all non-essential processes (essentially putting your machine back at the startup state). What about top and ps?
"kill" kills a process by its ID. For example, "kill 4586" will kill process #4586.

"killall" kills all processes whose name match what you typed. For example, "kill firefox" will kill all instances of firefox.

Note that "kill" and "killall" don't forcibly kill the process, they send it the "SIGTERM" signal to the process. If the process doesn't respond, it will still run. By passing the "-9" option to kill or killall, it will directly tell the kernel to let go of the processes. But I recommend that you first try without "-9", since some programs will intercept SIGTERM and do some final cleanup before exiting that could otherwise mess something up.

"top" lists the processes that are currently using the most resources.

"ps" lists all processes.
 
Old 04-25-2011, 04:41 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hufflepuff View Post
Here's another important question. Let's say I install Arch (just for example) and start using it for awhile and eventually decide I don't like it. Would I easily be able to completely wipe it from my system, install another distro and have all my files (image, music, text, saved webpages, that kind of thing) in tact? By which I mean, I wouldn't have to copy all my files off the system first, then wipe Arch, then install something else, then finally put all my files back on, right?
You should always have a full backup of your system on an external drive, no matter what operating system you are using!

That being said, Linux allows you to split your file system over multiple partitions. If you create a separate /home partition for your user data, theoretically it is possible to re-use your existing /home partition when you install a different distro. In practice, however, I cannot recommend this as your only form of backup.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hufflepuff View Post
snowpine, the important thing for me is, does Gnome Do simply search filenames and content? Or metadata? If it's the former, I'm not interested. If it's the latter, I'll start giggling like a school girl. Although, importantly, how does Do display search results? A list? In a folder? Or is it perhaps configurable?
Honestly it's been 2 years since I tried Gnome Do, I just can't remember.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hufflepuff View Post
As I said, I'm not fond of right-click heavy interfaces, but pretty much all Linux distros are flexible enough for me to change the basic way I interact with the system, aren't they? Like, I could get CrunchBang, and then install some window system?
Personally I primarily use hotkeys with my CrunchBang system. For example super+w for my web browser, super+f for my file manager, etc. because I am not a big fan of the mouse--I like to keep my hands on the keyboard.

CrunchBang is available with either the Xfce or Openbox environments. You can install others (Gnome, KDE, etc.) from the Debian repository if you choose.
 
Old 04-25-2011, 04:44 PM   #30
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Can't comment on arch since haven't used it yet - but i heard they have great documentation.
Quote:
Originally Posted by MTK358 View Post
That's for GNOME only.
Yes but other DE have similar programs.
edit: Nope. It works for other environments aswell once installed. It's just program.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hufflepuff View Post
{...}Would I easily be able to completely wipe it from my system, install another distro and have all my files (image, music, text, saved webpages, that kind of thing) in tact?{...}
I think it depends on distro..most distributions will want format before install but backup is always good idea - if you don't have storage device upload on some file hosting site or get GParted to resize partition and create new slice for storage.
Quote:
{...]Arcane, thanks for the info. Though I think I'm more interested in one of those dealies where all that info is displayed on the desktop itself.
Hmm..something like this(top of desktop)?

Last edited by Arcane; 04-26-2011 at 09:35 AM. Reason: edit
 
  


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