Author Topic: Linux Corner  (Read 5727 times)

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Offline Pangaea

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Re: Linux Corner
« Reply #30 on: September 22, 2015, 12:42:26 PM »
Linux Mint is still built on Ubuntu/Debian, that is true, but there are some significant changes too. Did a little reading and it looks like Ubuntu may have made the "phoning home" opt-in now, but still, I don't like it and won't use it. Also like the UI of Mint much better. Perhaps a Windows sickness, but I like to have a menu in the bottom left :D

Admittedly the situation may be a little different now, since the last time I tried a non-Mint Linux distro was a couple of years ago, but back then it was a real hassle to get basic things working, so for me as more or less a noob to Linux, it's easier with Mint because so many things come pre-installed, like codecs and drivers.

Could well be I should just upgrade to 17.2. I've been worried it would mess up some things, like primarily the Civ 4 installation, which was a bit of a pain to get working properly.

Offline A Nonny Moose

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Re: Linux Corner
« Reply #31 on: September 23, 2015, 11:01:43 AM »
I wouldn't worry too much if you have your Civ installation working under wine.  It should be static under the Mint upgrade.  I've been on Ubuntu for quite a while and it has developed quite a bit.  It now asks permission to phone home even for a crash.  Here is a shot of my desktop with the launcher showing (normally hidden on the left).

http://i.imgur.com/bDvFLf8.jpg
Linux Corner


I don't mind having the panel at the top, but I do turn on the general menu (red dot).
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Offline Paeng

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Re: Linux Corner
« Reply #32 on: September 24, 2015, 07:12:23 AM »
urks... your discussion reminds me why I never warmed up to any Linux system... and I tried a few (some years ago, though)...

But recent developments around Win10 are so alarming --built-in key loggers, dozens of un-blockable host names that are connecting on their own, and such-- that some German Universities have already prohibited win10 use on any of their networks...


I started reading up on some stuff again... still, alone the language used around Linux is putting me off, it's so horribly "geeky" - sorry guys, nothing personal  :) - but an operating system that forces users to communicate in code snippets is just not feasible for "ordinary mortals"...

That really worries me - unless there is some usable alternative once MS stops support for win7, I see myself returning to pen and paper for anything but some basic forum communication...  :-\


Is there any hope for stuff like X Windows or Wayland to become a new standard in a time near enough for us to still use it?

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Offline A Nonny Moose

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Re: Linux Corner
« Reply #33 on: September 24, 2015, 09:36:44 AM »
@Paeng old friend, fear not.  Ubuntu is one of the answers. http://www.ubuntu.com/desktop

Things have really developed over the years.  Sure I am a geek, and I like consoles, but that is because I grew up toggling programs into machine in machine code, and thought assemblers were the last word in software. (1965)

Ubuntu using X-org is very much like Windows for the regular user who doesn't want to be bothered with stuff outside the Graphic User Interface.  It is, perhaps, a little more sophisticated than the marching morons of Redmond, WA could ever anticipate, but that is due to its being derived from UNIX which was in business long before Bill Gates was out of short pants.  And before Bell pulled out of Project MAC at M.I.T. the forerunner was the Desk Side Computer System (DSCS) which was based on Multics (Multiplexed Computer System).  UNIX, by the way, actually means Uniplexed Computer System, but most of us old guard Multicians pronounced it as if it were the noun for a harem guard.

Like any other GUI system, of course, a program being launched by Ubuntu (or Mint or Debian) uses a short script that you don't ever need to see.  There is about a one-day learning curve for users who want to use the Internet (Firefox, Chromium, Empathy) and e-mail (Thunderbird, Empathy).  You really don't have to know anything about the system other than it will do what you want, when you want, and doesn't have a license fee for individuals.

Now, if you want to access a Windows file, go right ahead.  gvfs the GNU Virtual File System handles many different file layouts and decors including NTFS.  You just have to tell it that that disk partition over there is NTFS, and all is cool.  This makes dual boot with both Windows and a Linux decor a push over.  If you do that as part of your install, you will also get GRUB the Grand Unified Bootloader which will normally choose the last Linux system loaded, but you have 10 seconds to just cursor down to cancel the timer, when you can then choose among the bootload options.

Of course, you only get GRUB if you choose a dual boot.  Take the tour, link above.

You can see from the tour that obtaining the software is pretty easy.  You download the ISO, pick up its checksum (MD5) given on the site, burn it onto a DVD, then boot your machine with the DVD (or memory stick) loaded.  The system loads 100% into memory and will not affect your disks unless you install and give instructions.  You can play with this test system to your heart's content.  It knows nothing about your storage devices unless you tell it, which is probably more than you'd like to do.

After your test run, you can pull the media and boot your old system or use one of three choices to install Ubuntu:

  • In the same partition as your existing system
  • In a new partition parallel to your existing system
  • Clobber your old system and make a total Linux box. (Better backup your files, first)

I would chose option 2 provided you have that extra partition.  The system will make another partition for swap space, because swap space is a partition on Linux.  Mine, by the way, is 20GB.

Once you get installed you should request an update.  There will be lots of them if you pick a release that is not the immediate one, because you get a couple (you choose to get them and how) every week or so.  Linux like other systems is an ongoing project, and new features and fixes show up regularly.

I haven't said anything about the Office suite.  It is Libre Office, and it quite happily reads in stuff from MS Office.  However, it uses the ISO (proposed?) standard formats.  You can write several different MS Office formats at need. https://www.libreoffice.org/

If you go this route, you will find yourself in a system that is essentially in the public domain but very, very secure.  There is a firewall (ufw) and a virus scanner (CLAM-AV) but also a kernel item called apparmor which uses a set of (default) profiles to control execution of programs.  If you are very paranoid you can learn how to mess with this.  I haven't found it necessary.

You can get into "safe mode" called superuser in Linux, but this is definitely not recommended.  To execute something that needs superuser permissions the sudo command handles this.  You will be asked for your login password if you invoke this, and you should set a good one.

If you do decide to go with Ubuntu or another distribution, I will help you.  Just ask.
Go not to the oracle, for it will say both yea and nay.

Offline Paeng

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Re: Linux Corner
« Reply #34 on: September 24, 2015, 11:30:43 AM »
Nonny, thanks for my personal little update on things Linux...  :)

Well, you make it all sound so easy, but from personal experience (and disposition LOL) I know that it is not... there is my software base for one, my peripherals, drivers and and and... and then some. Beside the fact that (as often mentioned) I'm a slow poke - new software does not come easy to me...

I've been on Win systems for over 30 years - not necessarily by choice "but by my client's will", so to speak... In all those years I never (never!) had a single client who would run anything but Win...

* You know, like they bought MS Outrage for Mail, so they want to use it, too...  in turn I have to learn all about it, and teach their whole outfit, too...

So I and most of my work flows are pretty much imprinted... and now this old dog is supposed to learn  new tricks? I would not dare to compromise my setup by fiddling with a second OS, dual boot, Wine and stuff... anyway, my primary HD is only 75 Gb (by choice, to keep it tidy), the rest is a wild array with two or three Tb of secondaries and externals and... nah, that stays as it is...  :o


What I plan right now is to buy a not-too-pricey laptop with nothing but Linux, where I can fiddle around without fear, and slowly change over bit by bit and get familiar. Anything else would just eat up my nerves...  ;D
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Offline A Nonny Moose

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Re: Linux Corner
« Reply #35 on: September 24, 2015, 01:21:34 PM »
@Paeng : Well, whatever floats your boat.  You can actually create a boot partition on one of your other disks with the Linux loader if you have an unused partition.

I was pretty much Windows while I was a college teacher, but shortly after I retired the Vista fiasco put me into Linux and I've never looked back.  I suppose it was easier for me since I was teaching operating systems for many years and most of it wasn't Windows.  After you've slugged your way though one of the big mainframe proprietary operating systems (GCOS 8 ) it becomes pretty easy to swat up another one.  When I was working in a university for a couple of years, the campus O/S for the grad school was either UNIX or GCOS.  We persuaded GCOS to mostly look like UNIX using the POSIX standard for the time-sharing executive.  Only the cognoscenti knew about the JCL oriented batch system.  We hid it behind a programmable text editor.

Operating systems I have known: UNIVAC II, GECOS 200, GECOS 400, GECOS 600, Multics, Minix, UNIX, GCOS 3, GCOS 8, Windows from 3.1 forward to XP.  With these I have more than a passing acquaintance including some serious networking.  So, when it comes to a new O/S I am pretty much fearless.
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Offline Pangaea

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Re: Linux Corner
« Reply #36 on: September 24, 2015, 03:42:11 PM »
If you are to have another go at Linux, I would recommend Mint over Ubuntu. One of the reasons I like it so much, is that it's a smooth transition from Windows. It sort of looks the same, with the "start" menu in the bottom left, all programs there, the equivalent of the control panel, and so forth. But more importantly, Mint comes with many applications and drivers already installed, which isn't common for most distros (including Ubuntu I think). It makes things a lot easier for newbs like me (and possibly you).

You don't really need to dive into terminal and write code. You can use the menu to get to everything. When there are updates you click on an icon in the bottom right (similar to the area in Windows with the clock and so forth - though it's all messed up in Win10 I suppose), a window pops up with updates you can select and install. Hit the install button, and Linux downloads and installs them for you. It's pretty easy and straightforward.

Honestly, the biggest issue I had, at least this time around (had much bigger issues a few years ago, last time I tried Linux), was to sort out the partitions during install. It's not difficult, but can be confusing when one are not used to the new 'rules'. So much conflicting advice online too, regarding number of partitions and their sizes.

I ended up doing it pretty basic, not using a /tmp or /boot partition for instance. Did use a small (1GB) /swap partition, but it was probably unneeded. I have a 30GB root partition ("/"), and a 140+GB "/home" partition, for personal files and such. You can put the whole shebang on one partition, but splitting up root and home means more security for your files in case the system crashes for whichever reason and you need to re-install.

I practically never use the terminal. Did use it recently when trying to get Banished to work in wine, but normally PlayOnLinux works very well, for games that aren't made for Linux (natively).


If you choose to have another go, I would recommend to download a few LiveDVDs first, at least of Linux Mint and Ubuntu. Then you can test it out yourself, see how it is to manoeuvre around, how it works. There may still be a frustrating steep learning curve to begin with, but it has improved a great deal. Most things work "out of the box" now, though I agree Linux still has a way to go before it's easy to pick up for everybody, independent of skill level.

Then again, put somebody that has never used a computer before in front of a Windows PC, and they'd probably struggle too. We're just more used to its odd ways from years and years of practice. In that sense Microsoft's policy of not following standards and so on has worked.

Sorry if this too was geek-talk :blush:

Offline A Nonny Moose

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Re: Linux Corner
« Reply #37 on: September 25, 2015, 05:45:52 AM »
Everyone to his taste.  Mint seems to satisfy some cravings for people who have developed a heavy windows habit.  When I ran it for three months or so, I found it to be rather tedious and not really ready for people but that was some years ago.  I gather from other correspondents who persisted with it that it is now better.

I have never had to load drivers for Ubuntu unless there was a proprietary driver from a device vendor.  The last time was from AMD who discontinued support for my chip set about a year after I purchased my machine.  Before that, there was a catalyst driver that needed a separate download.  I don't miss it.  The present default driver supplied by X-org does well in both directx, opengl and native mode.  I have no problems with either windows or standard GTK applications.

From the conversation, it seems that Ubuntu is a happy medium between Debian (too sparse) and Mint which didn't please me sometime ago.
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Offline Paeng

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Re: Linux Corner
« Reply #38 on: September 25, 2015, 06:14:00 AM »
Sorry if this too was geek-talk

No, or at least it was understandable  ;)
Thanks for your input, too...

Well, how difficult/complicated is it to switch between various versions of Linux?
Can one easily go from Ubuntu to Mint to Debian to whatever?
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Offline A Nonny Moose

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Re: Linux Corner
« Reply #39 on: September 25, 2015, 09:20:17 AM »
It depends on how you want to do it.  You can set them all up on your disks (separate partitions is best) and use GRUB to switch from Windows to any of the others at will.  It does require a boot.

At the moment I have two different copies of Ubuntu loaded on my local hard disk, but I am probably going to drop my test partition because I have found I don't really need it.  This will double my local space from 250 GB to 500 GB.  I also have a 1 TB disk on-line set up in six partitions.  One of these days I am going to overhaul the whole works.

If you really want to dig into it, GRUB is fully documented and you can learn to customize it to your heart's content.
Go not to the oracle, for it will say both yea and nay.

Offline Pangaea

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Re: Linux Corner
« Reply #40 on: September 25, 2015, 04:40:46 PM »
As mentioned, it's easy to switch between different operating systems with GRUB. You need to install them to different partitions, but that's it. Also, if you want to run Windows as one of the operating systems, make sure to install Windows first, otherwise it will overwrite GRUB and really mess up your day. When you later install linux, it will recognise the Windows partition and put it in the startup menu in GRUB, allowing you to boot into Windows.

Live and learn, ho-hum...  :-X

Offline Paeng

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Re: Linux Corner
« Reply #41 on: September 26, 2015, 04:35:39 AM »
Yeah, I guess I have to come down from some of my expectations... they are probably too black and white...  :)

To me, for 30 years the whole alien-ess of windows shows here: "Click on Start to shut down your computer"... I don't know if they kept that as a running gag or if they were really not able to come up with sth better...  ???
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Offline A Nonny Moose

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Re: Linux Corner
« Reply #42 on: September 26, 2015, 07:50:57 AM »
There is something about Linux that isn't documented unless you really dig for it.  This is how to get past a full system hang.  As long as the Linux kernel hasn't been stepped on (very unlikely) you can use this sequence of keystrokes to boot your machine safely.

http://i.imgur.com/spuyQal.jpg
Linux Corner



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Offline A Nonny Moose

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Re: Linux Corner
« Reply #43 on: May 28, 2016, 08:15:08 AM »
Ubuntu 16.04 with wine-1.9.10 (Staging) on i5 4 core processor with an AMD (Radion) R7 240 2GB on board runs this program at full speed.  This is a step up from earlier when it ran at 10x as if it was 1x.

Other stuff under this combination of hardware/software runs fine as well.  All things come to him who waits.
Go not to the oracle, for it will say both yea and nay.