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Old 01-18-2011, 11:38 PM   #1
Changes
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Newbie distro: Ubuntu or MintDebian?


I have a friend whose notebook is in the sad state so common to clueless Windows users; suffice to say, when she turns it on there's very literally time to make and drink coffee before it becomes usable.
I've offered to zap and reinstall it, on the one condition that she lets me install Linux as the main system (I'll probably install VirtualBox and Windows XP for some apps she has that I'm fairly sure can't run under Linux). Now, she isn't the first person I do this for, and the distro I usually install is Ubuntu. However, I've recently had a go at MintDebian, and I like it a lot - especially since it's a fair bit lighter, and since this notebook is a *shudder* Celeron M, every little bit of speed helps. The Mint people seem to have fixed the problems it had in its first release version, too.

The only thing that's giving me doubts is that, should problems develop, Ubuntu has a lot more support, and is normally considered the most user-friendly distro around.

What do you think? Keep in mind that the person in question is a bit of a n00b, but isn't *completely* computer-illiterate.
 
Old 01-18-2011, 11:47 PM   #2
MS3FGX
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The issue of support seems moot. Would the person be able to search for a solution, find it on a message board or in the documentation, and then apply it on their system? If they don't have sufficient computer/Linux knowledge to fix a problem on their own, it doesn't seem like the distribution will matter much. There may be more available information and guides for Ubuntu, but unless the user has the skills and confidence to apply them, it doesn't matter.

As for usability, Ubuntu is pretty hard to beat. Though I have often heard that Mint gives you a better out of the box environment, with less configuration and updating than you have on Ubuntu or other distributions.
 
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Old 01-19-2011, 05:45 AM   #3
TobiSGD
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Linux Mint Debian Edition is a rolling release distro based on Debian Testing. Soon Squeeze, the current Testing, will become the new Stable, and shortly after that their will be a lot of movement in the Testing repositories. So it can come to issues that are unsolvable for a newbie Linux user. If you already have to solve this persons Windows problems, and have to install Linux for her, I doubt that she will be able to solve any problems on herself, so the support will be up to you. Since you seem to be able to get solutions for problems on the web, it doesn't matter wich distro you install.

If it is a machine with not so much power, as you stated, I would go for a relative stable lightweight distro, like Lubuntu in the LTS version.
Besides that, the Celeron M has no hardware support for virtualization, so it may be that the performance of Windows XP in a VM really sucks.
 
Old 01-19-2011, 05:54 AM   #4
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Ubuntu is absolutely user-friendly system where users can feel themselves "like in Windows". But I would say that Mint guys added even more to that, if that is at all possibl.
I also agree that LMDE is not for starters, because it is based on rolling release.
In your case I would either use *buntu or Linux Mint Julia.
 
Old 01-19-2011, 12:10 PM   #5
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Quote:
If it is a machine with not so much power, as you stated, I would go for a relative stable lightweight distro, like Lubuntu in the LTS version.
I tried Debian LXDE in the past, and my conclusion was that LXDE has issues. I had to edit files and use up some of my profanity allowance just to let it see my Italian keyboard - it actually, seriously lacks a preinstalled config utility that'll let me set it in an easy way, and other installable utilities wouldn't work. I like lightweight window managers, but LXDE needs more work before it's really useable for a newbie.

Quote:
Besides that, the Celeron M has no hardware support for virtualization, so it may be that the performance of Windows XP in a VM really sucks.
I seriously doubt it'd be slower than it is now - even non-supported virtualization would probably be a significant upgrade for her. I can always dualboot it if need be, though I'd much rather not.

I hadn't considered that Squeeze is about to become the new Stable. Hmm... this might cause trouble. Perhaps I should stick to Ubuntu 10.04.1 LTS...
 
Old 01-19-2011, 04:17 PM   #6
JNKlikesLinux
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Changes View Post
I have a friend whose notebook is in the sad state so common to clueless Windows users; suffice to say, when she turns it on there's very literally time to make and drink coffee before it becomes usable.
I've offered to zap and reinstall it, on the one condition that she lets me install Linux as the main system (I'll probably install VirtualBox and Windows XP for some apps she has that I'm fairly sure can't run under Linux). Now, she isn't the first person I do this for, and the distro I usually install is Ubuntu. However, I've recently had a go at MintDebian, and I like it a lot - especially since it's a fair bit lighter, and since this notebook is a *shudder* Celeron M, every little bit of speed helps. The Mint people seem to have fixed the problems it had in its first release version, too.

The only thing that's giving me doubts is that, should problems develop, Ubuntu has a lot more support, and is normally considered the most user-friendly distro around.

What do you think? Keep in mind that the person in question is a bit of a n00b, but isn't *completely* computer-illiterate.
Ubuntu is definitely the most user friendly, and has the best support. You should ask her to go to this website: http://www.zegeniestudios.net/ldc/
and tell you her results.
 
Old 01-20-2011, 11:53 PM   #7
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I installed Ubuntu. It wouldn't boot from USB, so I pulled the HD, installed the system on it on another computer and put it back in. It also kept overheating and shutting down as the fan didn't work, but a BIOS update fixed that.

The CPU seems fast enough for general use. I set up the system in the most newbie-friendly way I can think of, and it should last a while. My only worry is that the hard disk got quite a hammering due to swapping nonstop back when it had windows installed, and so might not have much life left in it... oh well, time will tell.

I also cleaned the fan and heatsink from a compacted layer of dust, reapplied the thermal goop and added a 1GB stick of RAM, bringing the total to 2 (the stick will be paid to me, of course).

The result is good enough that I wouldn't mind using it myself if I had to. I'm officially satisfied.
 
Old 01-21-2011, 04:41 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Changes View Post
I'm officially satisfied.
That's the best news!
 
Old 01-21-2011, 05:53 AM   #9
salasi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Changes View Post
I also cleaned the fan and heatsink from a compacted layer of dust...
...good move...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Changes View Post
and added a 1GB stick of RAM, bringing the total to 2 (the stick will be paid to me, of course).
...another good move... Too little RAM will always hit performance hard, and that is often more important than having the fastest, spiffiest, processor.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Changes View Post
The result is good enough that I wouldn't mind using it myself if I had to. I'm officially satisfied.
Excellent news! Now to hope that the end user is also satisfied and doesn't make too many support calls.
 
Old 01-21-2011, 09:56 AM   #10
TobiSGD
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Changes View Post
I'm officially satisfied.
Then please mark your thread as solved using the thread tools.
 
  


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