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Windows 7 versus Mint Linux :)

Posted by lazygardens (My Page) on
Thu, Jun 12, 14 at 11:48

I'm moving off a 9-year old laptop - it was the SO's old business machine and I've been hauling it around for a few years. The fan began whining, the batter charge chip lies to me, etc ... it's lasted far longer than most laptops.

Windows 7 came with the new machine ... lots of setup had apparently been done by Lenovo. It's pretty much self-installing.

Although, the install kept trying to sell me Lenovo's "cloud storage" plan for $$$.

Unfortunately, after an easy install, I had ZERO in the way of work tools ... no Office suite, no graphics tools except Paint, and only their virus-prone browser and e-mail software. They provided some multimedia stuff (watch/burn DVDs, play music). And their wimpy IM software.

Full vulnerability to all ads, pop-ups, and all the annoyances of the web.

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I downloaded Mint version of Linux (their "cinnamon" user interface) and I installed it. "Mint" has a very Windows NT/XP look and feel to it, and I hate having to learn new interfaces.

The install is almost as easy as Win7 ... it detected Windows and offered to share space or wipe it out. I shrank the Windows space way down and installed Mint.

Extremely easy: It spotted the wireless networks, recommended I connect so I could get updates and MOAR SOFTWAREZ easily, and all I had to do was click a few buttons.

Here's the main difference: I got an office suite (Libre Office), a superb photo editor (the GIMP), a close to virus-proof operating system, several varieties of multimedia software, the best IM (Pidgin), Firefox, Thunderbird, and an easy menu to download anything I want or need, like games. FREE!

And WINE so I can install and run all my old windows software!

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For now it's a dual-boot system. If I restart, I have my choice of Mint or Win7.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Windows 7 versus Mint Linux :)

If you are adept enough to install a dual boot setup with Linux, you certainly know how to remove trial and ad offerings that most new PCs ship with.

All the apps you cite or equivalents are also available and free in Windows versions.

I'm not sure what you've accomplished is an improvement and not just a change. I suspect it's just a change that makes linux available for your use, presuming that was the goal.


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RE: Windows 7 versus Mint Linux :)

If you are adept enough to install a dual boot setup with Linux, you certainly know how to remove trial and ad offerings that most new PCs ship with.

No 'deptitude required. The Linux MINT installer told me it detected a Windows 7 installation and asked one question - whether to preserve the other OS or kill it - and created the dual boot installation for me when I said "preserve it". If I had not resized the slider, Win7 would have had half the disk, and Mint the other half.

In my previous Linux experiences, most of the distributions assassinated the existing OS without asking permission. This refinement makes Mint a good distribution for anyone who wants to keep an existing Windows setup because they have some Windows-only software.

Yes, removing the bundled "crapware" is easy. But, how would you remove the LENOVO ad that LENOVO inserted into the middle of the installation procedure? Without borking the install?

It was a pointy-clicky minimal intervention required kind of installation, which is not true of all Linux distros. Mint is worth posting about in areas where novices hang out
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Yes, I can get Libre Office, the GIMP, and all the rest for Windows by downloading and installing them ... the point is that I didn't have to. They "came with" the OS, as usual. Unless I need to do something most users don't, such as video editing, I had not only a working OS, but a system that could do real work with no further effort. Getting more software for Linux is usually just opening the software installer and clicking "Install" in what you want.

I'm not sure what you've accomplished is an improvement and not just a change.

Read the threads here about browser hijacking and viruses and malware and bad links and google for zero day exploits in Windows and IE. It's definitely an improvement, and perhaps knowing there is a easy to install Linux version out there may help someone get into a safer computing environment.

Or update the OS on an old machine to get a couple more years out of it? Or get the whole office on a single OS without spending oodles of money?

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NOTE: I'm a long-time Linux fan. The last Windows OS I installed as the primary OS on a personal machine was Windows 95, although various jobs have had Windows on the office computers. I have Windows only because some software I have to run can't work under WINE.


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RE: Windows 7 versus Mint Linux :)

I realize that this is basically a Windows forum but what lazygardens says is true. Linux used to be strictly for "geeks" and unless one learned to use dos like commands he would be lost in the woods. I started playing around with Linux several years ago and it now surpasses Windows in ease of use and security.

I can buy any old laptop from a pawn shop and have it running like a new machine within minutes. I can choose to keep the old Windows system and dual boot to Linux or simply let Linux take over the entire hard drive. There is hardly anything that can't be done in Linux that can be done in Windows and done better. You don't even need to install Linux. You can run it right off the CD or DVD to surf the internet and everything else.

Once again I know this is a Windows forum but it would be a shame for people to not know the options they have especially when it comes to older computers.


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RE: Windows 7 versus Mint Linux :)

This is a "Computer Help" forum, regardless of the OS.

My favorite way of fixing Windows problems is with Linux :)

My SO began using Linux in the mid-to-late 1990s to get his children's computer use under control ... Windows had/has no way to prevent one kid from filling up the entire hard drive, for example, and at the time, the security was zero ... if you could get to the keyboard, you owned it. They did the usual deleting files and other stupid sibling tricks, and would be up all night playing games. It was virus-infested, and a hazard to his own computer because they would come over and read or print from a floppy and leave him with a boot sector virus.

He installed Linux on the computer/s they shared, with disk space quotas, user schedules, print queues, and lock-down times. He was sysop.

Quotas: If one filled his/her space and didn't have enough room to save the latest whatever ... too bad. Learn what the delete key is for and maintain your file systems.

User schedules: Designated times when only that user could log on, enforced by terminating the previous user's session after two warnings. If the scheduled user didn't want/need the computer, user could sell or barter for the time with a sibling. NOTE: because of system logs, SO could see whether a child had really been working on schoolwork or not. If they had been playing games, no extra time - explain to your teacher that you wasted computer time and didn't get to print your homework.

Shut-down times: The system would warn them 5 minutes and 1 minute before it killed all processes and shut down at bedtime ... apparently the first couple of times they lost a few hours of game play because they ignored the warning were pure teen angst and drama.

That is a feature of Unix/Linux that I wish there was a better tool to set up. It's intimidating to write the "chron jobs" and set up the rest of the parameters.


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RE: Windows 7 versus Mint Linux :)

I've been using Ubuntu (in a dual boot with Windows) since v8.04 and like it but I would never recommend Linux to anyone, especially to users of this forum. Why? It has been my observation that a sizable number of people who find their way here are at a novice-level when it comes to computers, are already frustrated by a problem they don't understand and can't cope with and have difficulty even providing enough info to adequately describe their problem. They are also too eager to blame Windows-their browser or some other piece of software-their ISP-the computer manufacturer or someone/something else instead of realizing that what they really need to do is have more patience and learn more about how the computer / Internet works and what their particular computer can and cannot do. They are also woefully ignorant about security risks, free software that comes bundled with undesirable add-ons, toolbars. etc.

The other side of the coin is that anyone who does make the effort to learn has probably at least heard about Linux and can decide about it for themselves. Linux does offer a world of possibilities, but not everyone benefits from a multitude of choices. As always, YMMV.

This post was edited by azinoh on Sat, Jun 14, 14 at 11:55


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RE: Windows 7 versus Mint Linux :)

I agree completely, azinoh. The audience of this forum is ill-suited to get themselves into a fringe DIY OS. The same is true of the general population.

Linux offers a lot to hardcore hobbyists and people who want to get into the details to control how their PC works. As indicated by the percentage of linux users in the desktop segment (something like 1% and with no likelihood of becoming a significant fraction), almost everyone has no interest in doing that.


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RE: Windows 7 versus Mint Linux :)

Everyone should read and digest azinoh's post of Saturday June 14th.

A very thoughtful post that sums the situation up nicely.


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RE: Windows 7 versus Mint Linux :)

Posted by snidely (My Page) on
Sat, Jun 14, 14 at 11:56

I agree completely, azinoh. The audience of this forum is ill-suited to get themselves into a fringe DIY OS. The same is true of the general population.

Linux offers a lot to hardcore hobbyists and people who want to get into the details to control how their PC works. As indicated by the percentage of linux users in the desktop segment (something like 1% and with no likelihood of becoming a significant fraction), almost everyone has no interest in doing that.

I pretty much agree with what snidely is saying above but everyone knows that older systems will not run later versions of Windows and if they will everything is very slow. I had a friend who bought an old laptop from a pawn shop with no backup copy of Windows and the system was so corrupted as to be unusable. Within minutes I had it up and running with an LXDE desktop and it ran like a brand new computer. That is the point I would make. Old computers don't have to be thrown out just because they can't run the latest version Windows. I still contend that Linux Mint (among others) is easier to use than any version of Windows.


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RE: Windows 7 versus Mint Linux :)

" Old computers don't have to be thrown out just because they can't run the latest version Windows."

A couple of charities in Phoenix accept working, but old, computers. They wipe the drives and install one of the user-friendly versions of Linux with the basic home user and Internet software. .

Keeps them out of the landfill, and gets computrs into the hands of people who don't need the lastest and fastest.


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RE: Windows 7 versus Mint Linux :)

Using a Linux OS to extend the life of older computers is certainly worthwhile, as is keeping the kids computer use under control. Given some time, I could probably think up a few other reasons but it's my gut feeling that an entirely new operating system is just not the solution most users expect when they come to this forum and ask for help. it's like having the doctor offer you a facelift and a tummy tuck when all you really wanted was an eye exam and a new prescription.


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