Which Operating System

grebeman

Old Codgers Group
My own recommendation would be Linux Mint, the 19.2 version has just been released. Distribution Release: Linux Mint 19.2 (DistroWatch.com News) I find it very straightforward and things like permissions just seem to be taken care of behind the scenes so I find it the easiest distro to work with and very easy for a former windows user to adapt to. The installation process is also very straightforward. I would go for the cinnamon desktop edition, that's more memory intensive but I find it again the best to use.

Barrie
 

MoonMind

Hall of Famer
Dec 29, 2013
Switzerland
Matt
Ubuntu MATE is a good choice, as is Mint. However, depending on the hardware, Ubuntu MATE may perform better than Mint. Xubuntu is a good choice if you want to run a full-featured system on lower-spec hardware. If you want something really attractive, look into elementary as well ...

I use a modded Ubuntu with Cinnamon on top - Mint proper is a bit more streamlined, but Cinnamon is still pretty resource-hungry. I personally prefer the Debian/Ubuntu approach because that's what I've been using since 2002 (I still prefer Synaptic to any of the App and Software stores), but, like @merlin, really dislike Unity. However, some of the tablet crowd might even prefer ist.

Overall, honestly, I don't think that you can go wrong with Mint as long as it runs smoothly on the machine in question. Ubuntu lets you choose your poison - but that goes beyond simplicity pretty quickly. And elementary is slim and elegant - but a bit more limited.

M.
 

rayvonn

Hall of Famer
Jan 19, 2015
I've been a Mac user for 20 or so years, but will likely change to a Linux system when it eventually brakes, so this is thread is extremely useful. I suppose another question would be which laptop maker is best suited to run Linux. Any ideas on that?
 

grebeman

Old Codgers Group
I suppose another question would be which laptop maker is best suited to run Linux. Any ideas on that?
I tend to use secondhand laptops usually bought with no operating system on them. I have Mint running on a Lenovo R61 which like most of my cameras is now long in the tooth. It only has 2Gb of memory but Mint runs on it without complaining although I'm not using for intensive work. There are web sites which list Linux hardware compatibility but most kit on them seems to be very out of date in my experience. There have been one or two companies offering new laptops with a Linux system pre-installed, mostly Ubuntu I think, but I wonder if they run into trouble if they also offer Windows machines, Microsoft are probably not impressed with that idea.

You might have problems with Linux in general if you're used to using high end photographic inkjet printers. I only print in monochrome and use a run of the mill HP Officejet 7110 which reports it's own ink levels for example, it can be a problem in Linux to get ink level reports and using some of the Epson built in applications might also be problematic. You'll need advice from someone with better knowledge on that score than I possess.

Barrie
 

rayvonn

Hall of Famer
Jan 19, 2015
I tend to use secondhand laptops usually bought with no operating system on them. I have Mint running on a Lenovo R61 which like most of my cameras is now long in the tooth. It only has 2Gb of memory but Mint runs on it without complaining although I'm not using for intensive work. There are web sites which list Linux hardware compatibility but most kit on them seems to be very out of date in my experience. There have been one or two companies offering new laptops with a Linux system pre-installed, mostly Ubuntu I think, but I wonder if they run into trouble if they also offer Windows machines, Microsoft are probably not impressed with that idea.

You might have problems with Linux in general if you're used to using high end photographic inkjet printers. I only print in monochrome and use a run of the mill HP Officejet 7110 which reports it's own ink levels for example, it can be a problem in Linux to get ink level reports and using some of the Epson built in applications might also be problematic. You'll need advice from someone with better knowledge on that score than I possess.

Barrie
Appreciated, thanks. I vaguely recall Dell selling some laptops pre-installed with Linux.
 

MoonMind

Hall of Famer
Dec 29, 2013
Switzerland
Matt
I've been a Mac user for 20 or so years, but will likely change to a Linux system when it eventually brakes, so this is thread is extremely useful. I suppose another question would be which laptop maker is best suited to run Linux. Any ideas on that?
I'm basically with @grebeman - if you use slightly dated machines, compatibility issues ... aren't, usually. As for new machines, as long as they don't run any fancy SoCs ("fancy" meaning extremely exotic and/or cheap), you'll probably be fine.

As for brands, well, YMMV. I usually end up with whatever has sufficient specs; the only thing I tend to splurge on somewhat is RAM (and maybe a non-Atom and non-Celeron CPU) - I try to go for 8GB, but 4GB is okay. Number of cores doesn't matter, though screen does (FHD or better, IPS) - because of post processing.

Brands I have been sufficiently happy with in the past: Lenovo (Thinkpads!), Acer (even cheap ones are well made and often well spec'd for the price) and also Asus, but they tend to be bleeding edge if you buy new - so GNU/Linux support can be a problem.

For example, the Acer Swift 1 that replaced my cracked Lenovo Thinkpad (2013!) and my flaky 14" Chromebook (another Acer - oops ...) has a low midrange CPU (a N5000 Pentium) and runs GNU/Linux live systems just fine. It's got a nice enough FHD IPS screen, is made mostly of aluminium and has 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD (and none of those pesky eMMCs, either!). For a new laptop, it wasn't that expensive, and for something I keep isolated from my work stuff, it's mostly fine. That was the whole point of the Chromebooks when I started that experiment - a dedicated, relatively frugal system that nevertheless was up to the things I usually do for myself; and I quite liked their performance, too. Too bad about "planned obsolescence". At the moment, the Acer is running Windows 10 because some camera-related software doesn't run (well or at all) on GNU/Linux systems. But 256GB are plenty to run both OSes side-by-side (though I'd recommend 500GB for this). The Swift 1 will most probably end up as a GNU/Linux system - as soon as I have secured access to all tools/functions/apps I want.

Good luck with the experiment; after nearly 17 years, no regrets from me (even though Windows 10 is a far more usable system than anything M$ brought out before).

M.
 
Jan 31, 2011
Newcastle, Australia
Sue
I've been a Mac user for 20 or so years, but will likely change to a Linux system when it eventually brakes, so this is thread is extremely useful. I suppose another question would be which laptop maker is best suited to run Linux. Any ideas on that?
Maybe you should join Appletalk (AppleTalk) as there's someone in there who has installed Mint on her 2009 Macbook. There are issues of course but apparently it went well. She's experimenting with other Mac devices as well. I had thought I might give it a shot on my 2010 Macbook but I tried in a VM first and it was not happy at all, so decided against. I used to run Linux and also MacOS (Leopard IIRC) on an old Asus eeePC. Both worked quite well.
 

agentlossing

Top Veteran
For computers, I have always used Windows, am on Windows 10 on both the desktop and laptop. The desktop does the editing: I built it myself with a Corsair casekit which included power supply and motherboard, added my own processor, RAM, video card and storage. And a nice clean installation of Windows.

My phone is currently an Android ROM, LineageOS 16.1 on a refurb Nexus 6. Second time around using this phone and I still love it. LineageOS is a nice clean version of Android P.
 

SLLCS

New Member
Jun 23, 2011
For ordinary document writing on my Macs, almost nothing beats Nisus Writer (or the upgraded version I have: Nisus Writer Pro) - which is a combination of simple, organic, but also astoundingly powerful. It does 95% of the important stuff that Word does, and does it far better and far more enjoyably IMHO.

Nisus Writer Pro 3.0 for Macintosh is superb. Microsoft Word, though powerful, is clumsy.
 

phigmov

Probably Not Walter Kernow
Mar 23, 2015
Aotearoa
Another Ubuntu user here. Also use 2nd hand kit - you can get enterprise grade laptops in good nick a few years behind the curve that are good for 5-10yrs casual use and readily upgradeable with RAM & SSD + plenty of spares. Originally I bought used for budgetary reasons but now its more about keeping this stuff out of land-fills and re-using equipment - given 90% of everything I do can be achieved in a web-browser an old i3 or i5 is plenty (even have an old c2d as a security NVR & file-server).

For the 10% of my time spent processing pics, or as a media-centre for music/video, I have a bunch of old Macs (although with Front-Row long dead this is increasingly a hassle; Plex/Kodi just isn't the same).
 

MoonMind

Hall of Famer
Dec 29, 2013
Switzerland
Matt
I'll probably put Gallium OS on my older Chromebook soon - that's a version of Xubuntu with Chromebook compatibility enhancements. I know my way around Ubuntu and Debian so well that I don't think Mint will represent any kind of real update for me - even though I find Cinnamon quite attractive, I have to say.

I wonder if I should try Ubuntu MATE for real - MATE seems to be a very solid and remarkably lightweight solution. I think that's what I'll try next - and it may end up being what gets installed on the Switch 1. I like the fact that all those GNOME tools I usually rely on (Nautilus and its many extensions being the most important one) are fully integrated. I still can't warp my head around KDE ...

M.
 

MiguelATF

Hall of Famer
Aug 27, 2013
Talent, Oregon (far from the madding crowd)
Miguel Tejada-Flores
For ordinary document writing on my Macs, almost nothing beats Nisus Writer (or the upgraded version I have: Nisus Writer Pro) - which is a combination of simple, organic, but also astoundingly powerful. It does 95% of the important stuff that Word does, and does it far better and far more enjoyably IMHO.

Nisus Writer Pro 3.0 for Macintosh is superb. Microsoft Word, though powerful, is clumsy.
I have to agree 1000 % with what SLLCS says - for Mac users, who are also writers - and I am a writer by both inclination and profession (it's my day job), Nisus Writer - and its slightly more powerful cousin Nisus Writer Pro - is (and has been, for some time) far and away one of the most powerful - yet simple - and user-friendly writing tools ever developed for serious writers, for any 'platform'. Many of us are required to use MS Word because of its omnipresence - but Word tends to be complex, clunky and confusing compared to Nisus Writer. I do use Word when I am obliged to - but the cool thing about Nisus is that it can easily output either to Word-compatible rtf (rich.text.format) formatted files - or, when necessary, to .doc Word format.

I realize this thread is primarily dedicated not to different Apps or Programs, but rather to Operating System choices and issues - but since many of us need to use different writing tools or Apps, I can't help but agree with the previous new member in touting the coolness of Nisus for fellow Mac users :)
 

Kevin

Code Monkey 🐒
Nov 3, 2018
Reviving an old topic, I'm downloading a copy of Mint 19.3 as I type this. I'm finally getting around to wiping those old machines from my BIL and it turns out some of the really old ones are 32-bit processors and there is no way I'm going to even bother playing with 32-bit Win10 as doing so would just be a hassle for somebody else down the line wherever these things end up.

The first machine was a desktop with an Intel Pentium E5400 (64-bit) and after cleaning up all the junk on it I was able to do a Win10 upgrade in place over Win7. That machine isn't speedy but it'll work nicely for somebody as a school machine or surfing the net. The next machine is an Lenovo laptop with an Intel Core Duo (32-bit) running Vista that was left password protected. Mint, here we come! :D

I'll be ending up with several systems at the end, mostly desktop, a few laptops. If they're running Win7 I'll try the Win10 route, else if they're running Vista then it'll be Mint.
 

BrianS

Legend
Jul 7, 2010
I've bought a couple of EBOX "thin client" VortexMX based systems off Ebay "dirt-cheap" to repurpose them as embedded processors.
DOS, baby, DOS! Whether or not the manufacturer states it, most Intel based systems can boot and run DOS.

Kevin... stare into the screen while I launch the RFC 1097 IP option.
 

William Lewis

Regular
Feb 10, 2020
Hayward WI
William Lewis
I've got Windows 10 on my main machine mainly due the game Warframe that my son and I play together and my copy of Photoshop CS2. My old laptop changes with need and for fun. Currently I have FreeBSD 12.0 on it and find it much more interesting than any version of Linux. That said Linux is MUCH easier to set up, get and keep running so there is that.

Last is my DEC Alphastation 200 4/233 with a 768 mb of ram and 19 gb disk. It runs Tru64 Unix 5.1B Patch Level 4 so that I can run my copy of Open Genera 2.0. Open Genera remains the best LISP system ever made and is still my preferred LISP hacking environment when I have it running but it's a pig to keep running.

And, as has been mentioned before :ninja: having a DOS environment available is a must.
 

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