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Old 02-14-2013, 12:08 AM   #1
grayghost2
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Which Linux OS to use? On a (2007) Acer laptop


I am a Linux virgin.

I have an Acer Aspire 5315 laptop (purchased 2007) -- standalone. Originally factory loaded with Vista.
Vista was taking 20 minutes to open Explorer window. So I dumped Vista and had a PC-tech install WinXP Home.

The Acer has always been unstable and has been clean re-installed with WinXP about once each year when its instability was intolerable.
The Acer is used for:-
browsing (Firefox) + desktop-email (PostBox) + downloading Windows based tools + downloading code snippets + copying uTube media.
No MS Office, no games.
I am a heavy user of Metapad + ClipX.

Unfortunately all my work is AutoCad 2006 on other freestanding WinXP machines.
(I write VBA code for AutoCad/Excel + Excel addins + some VBScript tools for system/registry manipulation ... BUT that is where my expertise ends. I do not know how to install an OS nor how to clean re-install, but I would like to learn)

What Linux OS would you recommend ?

I can read so I don't need "pictures" to prompt me. I do not like Vista/Win7/Win8 desktops nor start menus.
(On a new Win7 PC I have installed "Classic Shell" -- to give you an idea of the simplicity I prefer)

Before this last Xmas I tried Open Office -- I discovered there are two, distantly or closely related ?
OO spreadsheet program left me cold because I could not find any help and OO was so slow to open (Excel on a WinXP PC was supremely faster)

BUT I would dearly love to escape MS and give Linux (or whatever you recommend) a try.
This Acer is to be the test bed until I feel safe enough to swing my small business office over to Linux where ever possible.
My comments are not meant to be critical or offensive ... only to give you an idea of my needs and preferences.

I am diving into the deep end with Linux and will need some help to start.

I look forward to your comments, thank you ...

Last edited by grayghost2; 02-14-2013 at 12:13 AM.
 
Old 02-14-2013, 12:15 AM   #2
EDDY1
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Acer Aspire 3620 running Debian wheezy runs great, just got a used Dell laptop which will be running wheezy or debian sid. The Acer Aspire is definately a better machine than mine & the debian installer is a lot easier now than when I started.
OpenOffice has been replaced by LibreOffice
 
Old 02-14-2013, 02:59 AM   #3
kooru
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Hi,

you can try Salix
 
Old 02-14-2013, 07:13 PM   #4
grayghost2
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Thanks Eddy1 for your response,
After some trawling I found "wheezy" is next generation (test) of "squeezy" and warning about wheezy-test security.

Also had a look at "http://www.debian.org/releases/stable/debian-installer/" PLUS a Linux uTube "What sucks about Linux"
(A follow on utube ... "what is awesome about Linux" mentioned "Wine" to access MS apps. Would that require MS OS to be on the same PC? I have dozens of Excel XLA, XLT, XLS files with integrated VBA code. I also use about 10 VBScripts triggered by keyboard and I wonder if my VBS files will work in Linux/Debian/Ububtu/Mint/Salix ???)

It is all starting to look a bit complex (my time is money, so spending days trying to get my head around a fragmented approach to installing is off putting. Although to be honest it took me about 3 weeks to get my head around the Win7 (after WinXP). Win7 default UI is not "clean" -- a lot like play blocks for 3 year olds)

One serious concern I have is creating a "partition" (as I understand it). I vaguely recollect that partitioning a hard-drive wipes the HD. ??

So far I am still totally lost.

Sorry kooru "Salix" lost me. A uTube "how to install "Salix" was (looked like) DOS, partitions, Virtual Box ... etc.
Means nothing to me.

I am a dinosaur. A grandfather, with an honors degree in Engineering, I will not give up.

I am still keen to learn more and try and get away from M$ bloat-ware.

Last edited by grayghost2; 02-14-2013 at 07:23 PM. Reason: corrections
 
Old 02-14-2013, 07:33 PM   #5
EDDY1
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Quote:
what is awesome about Linux" mentioned "Wine" to access MS apps. Would that require MS OS to be on the same PC? I have dozens of Excel XLA, XLT, XLS files with integrated VBA code. I also use about 10 VBScripts triggered by keyboard and I wonder if my VBS files will work in Linux/Debian/Ububtu/Mint/Salix ???)
No you don't need windows to use apps in wine, wine an run some of windows apps. As far as MS Offie Linux has quite a few programs that can open & save documents in windows format.

Quote:
It is all starting to look a bit complex (my time is money, so spending days trying to get my head around a fragmented approach to installing is off putting. Although to be honest it took me about 3 weeks to get my head around the Win7 (after WinXP). Win7 default UI is not "clean" -- a lot like play blocks for 3 year olds)
It's not as complex as you think it is. Time is money, how much did you spend on wins7? With linux atleast you can try it out, learn from it & switch OS if not satisfied all for free.

Quote:
One serious concern I have is creating a "partition" (as I understand it). I vaguely recollect that partitioning a hard-drive wipes the HD. ??
All you have to do is use wins7 disk manager to resize disk to create unallocated space & install to unallocated space.
 
Old 02-14-2013, 07:37 PM   #6
snowpine
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Welcome to the forums!

My recommendation is to ease into Linux slowly. One suggestion to do this is to choose 1 specific task (such as: web surfing, downloading, games---perhaps something you're having trouble with in Windows?) and try to do just this 1 specific task in Linux for a couple of weeks. Then over time you can gradually migrate to Linux until you are confident enough to make the switch full time. (Many of us, myself included, do what's called a "dual boot" setup so we can choose between Linux or Windows depending on our needs that day.)

Here is a tutorial how to install Linux "inside of" Windows (assuming you have powerful, capable hardware that's up to the task of running two OS's simultaneously). This is a totally safe and reversible process that does not require you to alter any partitions or risk the integrity of your existing Windows software/data: http://www.psychocats.net/ubuntu/virtualbox

Another option is to run Linux as a Live CD or Live USB (try without installing). This is a great way to test-drive Linux to see whether you'll like it. Just be cautious that there are utilities on the Live disc that can change/reformat your Windows data/partition, if you choose to do so.

Also consider the possibility that your computer problems are hardware-related, not software. If this is the case then switching to Linux will not solve the underlying hardware problem (such as a failing hard drive, bad RAM chip, overheating power supply, etc.)

Good luck!

ps I have a Vista-era Acer laptop as well, model number "Aspire 5630." I've found it to be very Linux compatible with no major headaches. I have tried several distros, and am currently using Debian Testing/Wheezy, which definitely has a few bugs, but nothing that is a "show stopper" for me as an amateur home user. I would not recommend Debian Testing for a hospital/bank/nuclear facility.

Last edited by snowpine; 02-14-2013 at 07:43 PM.
 
Old 02-14-2013, 09:33 PM   #7
frankbell
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I have an Acer Travelmate 1000 with 1GB RAM of about that vintage. I have run Fedora and Slackware on it.

Any mainline distro should work. I learned on Slackware and it is still my favorite for its elegant simplicity, but many persons believe for good reason that Mint is good place to start.

Mint goes out of its way to make its interface similar to Windows in terms of the menu placement and formatting and so on, and it is a good solid distro.

As regards partitioning, most Linux distros have very user-friendly installation routines, because they know that the user, not the manufacturer, will be doing the partitioning--most of them will offer to partition your disk automatically, to replace the existing OS or place the Linux along side your existing OS, as you wish. (Slackware does not offer such automatic options, but, when I started with Slack, I already was familiar with installing DOS and Windows, so I got the hang of it pretty quickly.)

I would suggest picking one distro and sticking with it for a while until you get right-side up using Linux. Linux is not hard, but it is different. Expect a learning curve, but don't make it into some mysterious monster, because it isn't; it's just different.

These links from about dot com should make a good starting point; the content is specifically oriented towards persons new to Linux. Some of the information may be a little dated, but it's all solid.

Last edited by frankbell; 02-14-2013 at 09:37 PM.
 
Old 02-15-2013, 01:00 PM   #8
DavidMcCann
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As many people have said, Mint (Mate version) is a pretty good distro. Another is Fuduntu, which takes extra care over power saving for laptops. But since your computer has only a Celeron CPU, perhaps something a little lighter would be better, such as ZorinOS Light.
http://www.linuxquestions.org/review...page/15/sort/7
 
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Old 03-11-2013, 02:05 AM   #9
grayghost2
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Wink Looking for a basic Linux OS

Thanks to all for your responses.

My appologies for the delay at acknowledging every ones ideas (Cancer has slowed me down a bit ... like a lot)
I would like to configure an old PC for my retired sister inlaw.
She is bored out of her mind so I am trying to coax her into the virtual "world-out-there"

I am a self taught AutoCad and Excel developer. But I have only ever learnt what I needed.
(Excel addins, VBScript, bat files, reg files -- for AutoCad clients)
(Starting at Win95 and before that a dreaded ASCII based Amstrad word processor, now that gives my age away !)
But I have never learnt to install OS leaving that to a tech geek -- I know nothing about BIOS etc)
I have an engineering consultancy business so time was always against me. It was cheaper for me to employ a geek.

Now I have some time on my hands and chemo therapy has destroyed some brain cells. So while I have been layed up I decide to rewrite some of my Addins, Templates etc to reconnect the synapses.

Two of my PCs are WinXP and two others are Win7 with "Classic Shell" start menu.
I have always liked the simplicity of classic XP -- I can get down to business without the clutter of play-block icons.

I do understand that Linux is a plethora of operating-systems but where to start is my concern.

Can I boot any Linux OS from a thumb-drive (several years ago I tried Ubuntu from a CD but it was very slow) ??
Screenshots of "Mint" did not inspire me -- particularly for my sister in-law who is put off with all the "activity" on screen while she is trying to sort out what to do next.
I no longer have the OEM disc for the failed XP machine (HD died)
(If I had a spare WinXP I would use it) I have always had a need-it hate-it affair with Windows.

One thing I am concerned about is that I have never installed an OS in my life. Only 2 days ago a new high-end PC (for AutoCad) chucked a wobbly -- the two week old mother board was faulty, thankfully all my installs on the SSD remained intact, but the geek (under warrantee) fixed the new Win7 PC)

Can a portable Linux OS be launched without Windows being launched, or would that require the Linux OS to be installed for dual boot setup ??

I am about to download "Mint" and give it a go ... be assured I will be back to haunt you

Thanks to all for your help so far
 
Old 03-11-2013, 02:37 AM   #10
tommcd
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grayghost2 View Post
Can I boot any Linux OS from a thumb-drive (several years ago I tried Ubuntu from a CD but it was very slow) ??
You may want to consider trying Slax if you would like to boot Linux from a usb flash drive: http://www.slax.org/
The current version of Slax is based on the current Slackware 14. Although I have never tried Slax, it has an excellent reputation among Slackware users from what I have read.
Quote:
Originally Posted by grayghost2 View Post
Can a portable Linux OS be launched without Windows being launched, or would that require the Linux OS to be installed for dual boot setup ??
As long as your computer can be set to boot from a usb drive in the computer's BIOS, you do not even need to have a hard drive installed in your computer to boot a Linux OS from a usb flash drive. You could run Slax from a flash drive no matter what OS is installed on your computer's hard drive.

You may also want to have a look at Unetbootin: http://unetbootin.sourceforge.net/
UNetbootin will allow you to install many Linux distros on flash drives.

For an older laptop, you may want to consider Lubuntu if you choose to install a Linux OS to your internal hard drive: http://lubuntu.net/
Lubuntu is the fastest and lightest member of the Ubuntu family. I currently have Lubuntu on an aging Acer 3680 laptop and it runs quite well.
Windows Vista moved at a glacial pace compared to Lubuntu on my Acer 3680.
 
Old 03-11-2013, 03:22 AM   #11
grayghost2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frankbell View Post
These links from about dot com should make a good starting point; the content is specifically oriented towards persons new to Linux. Some of the information may be a little dated, but it's all solid.
2002 is a little more than slightly dated in IT.
Is Debian as relevant today in 2013 or has it been surpassed by more contemporary developments?

Thanks for your input
 
Old 03-11-2013, 03:45 AM   #12
grayghost2
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@DavidMcCann for "ZorinOS"

Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidMcCann View Post
... since your computer has only a Celeron CPU, perhaps something a little lighter would be better, such as ZorinOS Light.
http://www.linuxquestions.org/review...page/15/sort/7
Thanks David for your response.
Where can I download "ZorinOS" ? Any screenshots of the desktop ?
One page I read today claims "Slackware" (mother of "ZorinOS") is command based. Does that mean Run-command?
If so hardly suitable for a 70 year old newbie.

Just had a quick look at "http://iso.linuxquestions.org/" but no "ZorinOS"
Found "http://www.linuxquestions.org/reviews/showproduct.php/product/2117/si/zorin/perpage/15/sort/7"
- dated early 2012
- no download button

Regards
bawldiggle
 
Old 03-11-2013, 04:37 AM   #13
grayghost2
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What is KDE and XFCE ?

Trying to find a point-and-use Linux OS
Have read about:- Slackware, Puppy, ZorinOS, Mandrake, Debian and Mint. (5 hours of trawling thru Linux forums)

Finally found a download site for "Puppy" -- three choices at the top of an undated list (I presume old versions)

What is KDE and XFCE ?
Is Puppy freeware ?
Can Puppy be portable on a USB thumb drive?
 
Old 03-11-2013, 10:01 AM   #14
rokytnji
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Quote:
What is KDE and XFCE ?
Simply. It is what your eyes are looking at. The Desktop. KDE and XFCE are Desktop Enviorments.

Quote:
Is Puppy freeware ?
Simply,yes.

Quote:
Can Puppy be portable on a USB thumb drive?
imply

Simply, yes.

Here is a PDF download link for installing Puppy 528 to pendrive.
 
Old 03-11-2013, 01:26 PM   #15
DavidMcCann
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KDE and Xfce are desktops, user interfaces, GUIs. Unlike Windows, you get to choose. KDE would not run happily on your computer and it's certainly not the classic look which you prefer. Xfce would be fine. ZorinOS Lite uses LXDE, which is even less demanding.

Puppy is not really meant to be installed (although it can be) but run off a usb stick as a portable system. It doesn't have the full range of features and is not really suitable for business purposes.

Quick links to distros (including reviews) are found at
http://distrowatch.gdsw.at/

The Zorin OS site is http://zorin-os.com/
Installing: http://zorin-os.com/installguide.html

The partitioning tool will let you create free space alongside Windows or re-use the whole disk. Create 3 partitions:
1 for the directory "/" — root — where the OS and software goes. 10GB should do.
2 for the directory "/home" where your files go
3 for a swap partition, as a fall-back if you run short of memory. 1GB should do.
 
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