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Old 06-11-2013, 10:05 AM   #1
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Installing a 'lotus flower' Linux for a newbie


Perhaps this belongs in the 'Newbie' thread, but that one seems more tech questions oriented. Moderators: feel free to move.

My partner has a Samsung R519 laptop. It 'runs' (crawls) Windows Vista with aggravating lags, too many popup messages to stomach, etc. She has a bit of an aversion for computers and machine-like things, which isn't helped by the current OS experience. I would like to (1) co-install Linux on this computer so she can give it a spin; while (2) helping her to be more at ease with this computer thing. She happens to know a lot about how humans work physiologically and mentally, and has a 'buddhist' sort of attitude towards life. It would be great if she could transfer that attitude to working with the computer -- not to become a power user, but to have basic fluency and survival skills, to open the perceived black box and 'see the lotus within'.

  1. In 'showing the lotus' I'd really like to keep it simple on the one hand, but go to the core too. Meaning: I would like to work up all the way from bits and bytes and the mechanical things inside a computer, via a sprinkling of computer history and open source philosophy, right up to the apps relevant to the chosen distro -- but not with an overload of detail and dull-sounding terms. So that it sounds curious and even beautiful rather than messy and problematic. I am wondering if anyone knows of existing 'guides to the computer' of this sort. It would fall somewhere between the perhaps more common 'power guide' which spells out all the anatomical detail, and the 'pedestrian guide' which only mentions surface functionality, precluding a somewhat deeper understanding and, hence, self-reliance.
  2. For a distro I'm thinking Mint, mainly because it is user-friendly and quite stable, and I am most familiar with it myself (I'm a semi-experienced user: use the command line but often have to look things up; heard about kernels but can't tell you much about them; etc). Less keen on Ubuntu and its Unity desktop as it may be more confusing coming from Vista -- and in my use of it I've found it less apt for a non-touchscreen device; but the update scheme seems attractive. The theme of Bodhi Linux looks appropriate!, but here the minimalist base package may needlessly complicate matters. Any other suggestions? Stability is very important, as starting out with a lot of troubleshooting will be off-putting (as educational as it can be, in itself). There would not exist some educational distro, that explains things from the ground up...? ;-)

Comments, ideas, links most welcome. Thank you!
Old 06-11-2013, 10:22 AM   #2
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Mine is a Samsung RV510. So I am talking apple and oranges here. Mint 14 Mate 64 bit installed and ran just fine out of the box, (no tweaking needed from me), next to Windows 7 on this Laptop. Specs:

$ inxi -Fxz
System:    Host: biker Kernel: 3.5.0-17-generic x86_64 (64 bit, gcc: 4.7.2) Desktop: MATE 1.4.2  Distro: Linux Mint 14 Nadia
Machine:   Mobo: SAMSUNG model: RV410/RV510/S3510/E3510 Bios: Phoenix version: 02UC.P026.20100916.LX date: 09/16/2010
CPU:       Dual core Pentium CPU T4500 (-MCP-) cache: 1024 KB flags: (lm nx sse sse2 sse3 ssse3) bmips: 9177.06 
           Clock Speeds: 1: 1200.00 MHz 2: 1200.00 MHz
Graphics:  Card: Intel Mobile 4 Series Integrated Graphics Controller bus-ID: 00:02.0 
           X.Org: 1.13.0 drivers: intel (unloaded: fbdev,vesa) Resolution: 1366x768@60.0hz 
           GLX Renderer: Mesa DRI Mobile Intel GM45 Express GLX Version: 2.1 Mesa 9.0.3 Direct Rendering: Yes
Audio:     Card: Intel 82801I (ICH9 Family) HD Audio Controller driver: snd_hda_intel bus-ID: 00:1b.0 
           Sound: Advanced Linux Sound Architecture ver: 1.0.25
Network:   Card-1: Atheros AR9285 Wireless Network Adapter (PCI-Express) driver: ath9k bus-ID: 06:00.0
           IF: wlan0 state: up mac: <filter>
           Card-2: Marvell 88E8040 PCI-E Fast Ethernet Controller driver: sky2 ver: 1.30 port: 3000 bus-ID: 04:00.0
           IF: eth0 state: down mac: <filter>
Drives:    HDD Total Size: 320.1GB (6.4% used) 1: id: /dev/sda model: SAMSUNG_HM321HI size: 320.1GB 
Partition: ID: / size: 18G used: 4.2G (26%) fs: ext4 ID: /home size: 163G used: 16G (10%) fs: btrfs 
           ID: swap-1 size: 4.19GB used: 0.00GB (0%) fs: swap 
RAID:      No RAID devices detected - /proc/mdstat and md_mod kernel raid module present
Sensors:   System Temperatures: cpu: 40.0C mobo: 40.0C 
           Fan Speeds (in rpm): cpu: N/A 
Info:      Processes: 155 Uptime: 1:10 Memory: 586.9/3887.8MB Runlevel: 2 Gcc sys: 4.7.2 
           Client: Shell (bash 4.2.37) inxi: 1.9.7
My suggestion before any install. Use Windows 7 Disk Management to shrink Windows Partition. Pay attention to how many partitions are shown in Disk management as only 4 primary partitions are allowed on 1 hard drive. That is where you need to put linux on a extended partition. Google it and read up on that.

When done shrinking partition. Schedule a Windows chkdisk on reboot so windows can fix itself (it has a hissy fit when shrinking partitions it sits on). Reboot, let it do the chkdisk and finsih. Then it is save to boot the live linux medium of your choice and test drive it in live mode before you decide to install as a dual boot.

If really really nervous. You can go for a


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