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The 5 Will Survive
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
About 4 years ago I got a Acer Aspire for my birthday. In less than a year, I managed to bend the screen too far back and broke the video cable.

Long story short, I just realized how cheap a video cable was.

The current operating system is Vista, but I desperately want to get rid of it.

I burnt Mint 16 codename "Petra" onto a dvd and I'm going to boot from the disc.

My question is, what do I need to really get started with Linux?

I know there are terminals and commands but I don't know where to start. Any help would be appreciated. :)
 

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Just That Guy
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First thing to know is that even though its "Mint" you are actually using Debian. So any type of program install or help that you will need to look at will be more of the Debian.

Next, is it KDE? This would be the Graphical User Interface, the thing that actually uses the mouse and has pictures.

Finally, and this it the big thing, the command line is backwards from windows and there are no drive letters like c:

To cd into another directory would be something like <cd /etc/apache2/conf.d>
not cd etc, cd apache2, cd conf.d (the last one wouldn't work in windows anyways)

and one more thing, the capitalization in the file names needs to be recreated.
For example you could have a file like Linux and a file named linux.

Most help will come from the net on what you would like to do and then there is always the irc chatrooms

irc.freenode.net #mint-linux

Have fun.
 

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Well, first question I would have is if you are familiar with a Command Line Interface (CLI)?

If so, then you are already ahead of the curve. Lunix is based upon Unix, which was also the source of inspiration for CP/M, and through it DOS. There are some differences in syntax, but most of it should seem familiar.

If not, then a good place is a good instructional book. The appropriate Linux for Dummies is always a good start, because it will step by step you through some of the most important things to learn.

http://www.iiitd.edu.in/~amarjeet/Files/SM2012/Linux Dummies 9th.pdf

Even though modern Linux has a GUI, at the heart it is also a powerful command line OS. And to really utilize it to it's potential, you need to at least be familiar with it.

You can also install a virtual machine (VMWare is free and runs on Vista). That way you can run and play with the various versions of Linux before you find the one you like best. You can even do the reverse, blow away everything and go full-blown Linux, then install a virtual machine and run Vista through it.

Welcome to the next step of computer user, of running multiple operating systems.
 

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Registered
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First thing to know is that even though its "Mint" you are actually using Debian. So any type of program install or help that you will need to look at will be more of the Debian.

Next, is it KDE? This would be the Graphical User Interface, the thing that actually uses the mouse and has pictures.

Finally, and this it the big thing, the command line is backwards from windows and there are no drive letters like c:

To cd into another directory would be something like <cd /etc/apache2/conf.d>
not cd etc, cd apache2, cd conf.d (the last one wouldn't work in windows anyways)

and one more thing, the capitalization in the file names needs to be recreated.
For example you could have a file like Linux and a file named linux.

Most help will come from the net on what you would like to do and then there is always the irc chatrooms

irc.freenode.net #mint-linux

Have fun.
Petra is Version 16, and it is KDE.

However, 2-12 (Barbara through Lisa) were GNOME.
You guys are getting too technical...and you're not exactly correct anyway.

Mint has a Debian version, but the 3 main Mint distros are based on Ubuntu (which is originally derived from Debian, yes, but is pretty far removed at this point isn't it?).

You can get Mint in either MATE, Cinammon, or KDE desktops. (I'm sure you two know that any of these can be changed for another after install, but I'm saying that Mint has a distro for each available.)




To the OP...don't worry so much...just install and use it. I know practically nothing of the command line (though I'm working on learning). I just use it like I would a Windows machine. Mint is pretty good for that.

I'm completely switched to Linux now (as of a week or so ago). My main desktop pc currently has Ubuntu installed. My desktop pc connected to the TV in the living room has Mint 16 Cinnamon installed. (I stopped paying for TV service long ago and just use the internet for TV.) And, my netbook now has Lubuntu installed.


edit: I forgot about Mint also being available in XFCE (I wanted to put that on my netbook, but I seem to have trouble installing Mint from a USB drive on my computers and my netbook doesn't have a cd/dvd drive.)
 

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tinfoil bandana
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While using the command line is more efficient and filled with geeky goodness, you can use the GUI for just about everything- it's just a layer on top of the command line. If the majority of what you do is WWW, you may never need to use the command line.

However, sometimes it's fun just to amaze your windows using friends.

This will resize images in the command line. First line gets imagemagick: (note: I'm using Ubuntu, but the command should be the same)

sudo apt-get install imagemagick
mogrify -resize 320x240 Image.png
mogrify -resize 50% Image.png

Works for .jpg as well.

You can even resize an entire folder of pics with this command- a lot faster than any graphical program.

The first line- sudo- is commonly referred to as 'do as superuser', even though the su part of the command really means 'switch user'. Using sudo means you do not have to log in as root to do jobs that require root access. You should avoid logging in as root, and NEVER go online as root. Root access goes even deeper than admin in windows- you can access the kernel as root, and bad things can happen with that much power.

There's much more, things like hdparm that can be used to really customize how linux controls the hard drive.... for the uber geeky only, LOL.

hdparm - get/set hard disk parameters - version v9.43, by Mark Lord.

Usage: hdparm [options] [device ...]

Options:
-a Get/set fs readahead
-A Get/set the drive look-ahead flag (0/1)
-b Get/set bus state (0 == off, 1 == on, 2 == tristate)
-B Set Advanced Power Management setting (1-255)
-c Get/set IDE 32-bit IO setting
-C Check drive power mode status
-d Get/set using_dma flag
-D Enable/disable drive defect management
-E Set cd/dvd drive speed
-f Flush buffer cache for device on exit
-F Flush drive write cache
-g Display drive geometry
-h Display terse usage information
-H Read temperature from drive (Hitachi only)
-i Display drive identification
-I Detailed/current information directly from drive
-J Get/set Western DIgital "Idle3" timeout for a WDC "Green" drive (DANGEROUS)
-k Get/set keep_settings_over_reset flag (0/1)
-K Set drive keep_features_over_reset flag (0/1)
-L Set drive doorlock (0/1) (removable harddisks only)
-m Get/set multiple sector count
-M Get/set acoustic management (0-254, 128: quiet, 254: fast)
-n Get/set ignore-write-errors flag (0/1)
-N Get/set max visible number of sectors (HPA) (VERY DANGEROUS)
-p Set PIO mode on IDE interface chipset (0,1,2,3,4,...)
-P Set drive prefetch count
-q Change next setting quietly
-Q Get/set DMA queue_depth (if supported)
-r Get/set device readonly flag (DANGEROUS to set)
-R Get/set device write-read-verify flag
-s Set power-up in standby flag (0/1) (DANGEROUS)
-S Set standby (spindown) timeout
-t Perform device read timings
-T Perform cache read timings
-u Get/set unmaskirq flag (0/1)
-U Obsolete
-v Use defaults; same as -acdgkmur for IDE drives
-V Display program version and exit immediately
-w Perform device reset (DANGEROUS)
-W Get/set drive write-caching flag (0/1)
-x Obsolete
-X Set IDE xfer mode (DANGEROUS)
-y Put drive in standby mode
-Y Put drive to sleep
-z Re-read partition table
-Z Disable Seagate auto-powersaving mode
--dco-freeze Freeze/lock current device configuration until next power cycle
--dco-identify Read/dump device configuration identify data
--dco-restore Reset device configuration back to factory defaults
--direct Use O_DIRECT to bypass page cache for timings
--drq-hsm-error Crash system with a "stuck DRQ" error (VERY DANGEROUS)
--fallocate Create a file without writing data to disk
--fibmap Show device extents (and fragmentation) for a file
--fwdownload Download firmware file to drive (EXTREMELY DANGEROUS)
--fwdownload-mode3 Download firmware using min-size segments (EXTREMELY DANGEROUS)
--fwdownload-mode3-max Download firmware using max-size segments (EXTREMELY DANGEROUS)
--fwdownload-mode7 Download firmware using a single segment (EXTREMELY DANGEROUS)
--idle-immediate Idle drive immediately
--idle-unload Idle immediately and unload heads
--Istdin Read identify data from stdin as ASCII hex
--Istdout Write identify data to stdout as ASCII hex
--make-bad-sector Deliberately corrupt a sector directly on the media (VERY DANGEROUS)
--offset use with -t, to begin timings at given offset (in GiB) from start of drive
--prefer-ata12 Use 12-byte (instead of 16-byte) SAT commands when possible
--read-sector Read and dump (in hex) a sector directly from the media
--security-help Display help for ATA security commands
--trim-sector-ranges Tell SSD firmware to discard unneeded data sectors: lba:count ..
--trim-sector-ranges-stdin Same as above, but reads lba:count pairs from stdin
--verbose Display extra diagnostics from some commands
--write-sector Repair/overwrite a (possibly bad) sector directly on the media (VERY DANGEROUS)
 

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The 5 Will Survive
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the info, most of what I do is the web, but I also need to be able to upload pics. Will I run into any problems connecting my cannon powershot?
 

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tinfoil bandana
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1,164 Posts
Thanks for the info, most of what I do is the web, but I also need to be able to upload pics. Will I run into any problems connecting my cannon powershot?
I usually just put the card in the card reader- windows or linux.

Never much cared for the 'photo software' that comes with most cameras.

Linux will probably recognize the camera and treat is as a USB drive.

Oh- and linux is the best for printers- with a few exceptions *kodak* it recognizes and loads drivers automatically, no need for an installation disc.

BTW- I've been using linux since 1999..... back when command line was all there was....
 

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Registered
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something else to add that might be relevant for you....

The Cinnamon and KDE editions (and even MATE to some extent) use up more system resources than you might be able to bear on an older laptop. That's the reason I wanted to install Mint 16 XFCE on my netbook (uses less resources).


and another thing to remember/keep in mind....the next release of Ubuntu (14.04. a long term support or lts edition...meaning it'll be "supported" with updates and such for 5 years) comes out in less than a month (April 17?). Mint 17 in MATE and Cinnamon will be out not too long after that (as I said before, Mint is based on Ubuntu). Next will come out Mint 17 XFCE and a little after that Mint 17 KDE. Following up those will be the next release of Mint LMDE (the Debian version).
 

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tinfoil bandana
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1,164 Posts
Linux is generally on a 6 month update cycle.

You can choose whether or not to update.

And yes, you will want a lightweight GUI on a netbook. My Asus EEPC is running easypeasy- another Ubuntu fork. I have not updated it in 4 years for two reasons:

1) It works.
2) It works

When you first get into linux, you may be tempted to update every cycle- but remember, updates are generally there to accommodate newer hardware... and may require resources you can't spare.

Like the saying goes, if it ain't broke, don't fix it!
 

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Registered
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Linux is generally on a 6 month update cycle.

You can choose whether or not to update.

And yes, you will want a lightweight GUI on a netbook. My Asus EEPC is running easypeasy- another Ubuntu fork. I have not updated it in 4 years for two reasons:

1) It works.
2) It works

When you first get into linux, you may be tempted to update every cycle- but remember, updates are generally there to accommodate newer hardware... and may require resources you can't spare.

Like the saying goes, if it ain't broke, don't fix it!
That's all true, but there are security updates involved as well (just like windows). Those are only made available for "supported" versions (from what I can tell). So...if you want to not upgrade* regularly, you'll want to install the lts (long term support) version.




(I think we should distinguish between regular "updates" vs the 6 month "upgrade" cycle)
 

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tinfoil bandana
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That's all true, but there are security updates involved as well (just like windows). Those are only made available for "supported" versions (from what I can tell). So...if you want to not upgrade* regularly, you'll want to install the lts (long term support) version.




(I think we should distinguish between regular "updates" vs the 6 month "upgrade" cycle)
D'oh!

Your right, "6 month UPGRADE"

I blame being tired, and it's late, but mostly I blame Obama.
 

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100% gulf coast bad ass
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I hope it has a GUI of some time, I use SUSE which is Debian with RPM sources. I like it, and I run KDE GUI interface, very nice, very fun to use, although it can tax older computer, you may want to stick with a simpler interface, or set the parameters once it's loaded up and running to a lower end computer in the GUI tweaks.
 

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Master Mariner- retired
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I've been running Mint almost since it first came out. Absolutely love it. My preference is the Mate desktop. It operates very close to the same way that XP does.
I very rarely ever have to use the command line.

Once you have it installed, you can choose which desktop version you want to run at the log in screen.
 

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You guys are getting too technical...and you're not exactly correct anyway.

Mint has a Debian version, but the 3 main Mint distros are based on Ubuntu (which is originally derived from Debian, yes, but is pretty far removed at this point isn't it?).

You can get Mint in either MATE, Cinammon, or KDE desktops. (I'm sure you two know that any of these can be changed for another after install, but I'm saying that Mint has a distro for each available.)
I am actually trying to not be to technical. If what little I mentioned is to technical, then I pray for somebody who wants to get into Linux. Virtual Machines are all to common in LinuxLand, most of us run them for various reasons.

In fact, there are a lot of people that only run their operating systems in virtual machines.

In the case of a beginner, I encourage them so they can play with the various versions and builds of Linux, so they can find one they like before switching over. Plus there is much less worry of "screwing it up". Just build a VM, copy it, work on the copy. If you screw it up, delete, make another copy and go again.

I have VMs of at least 6 OS on my home desktop. It runs 7, but I have VMs for DOS, Win 3.1, Win98, 8, SCO, Maya Mint, Ubuntu 10+13, Server 2008, Server 2012, and a few oddball systems (like Corel Linux).

To the OP...don't worry so much...just install and use it. I know practically nothing of the command line (though I'm working on learning). I just use it like I would a Windows machine. Mint is pretty good for that.
Which I bet is a lot more then you think.

Most people who use Windows are even amazed that there is a command line there at all. Most have no idea how to reach it, or what to do once they get there.

sudo apt-get install imagemagick
 

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Layman
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2,945 Posts
in my opinion learning the command line is great. but in general computer use you don't really need it that much if your going to be surfing the web with your computer for the most part.

i would say focus on getting a firm understanding of how the file structure is laid out.
there are no drive letters in linux.

nixie pixel has a good video on this subject.

 

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Layman
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surprisingly the linux filesystem is standardized but dristo's don't have to comply with the "Filesystem Hierarchy Standard"

There are many different distro's of linux you can see a bunch of them at http://distrowatch.com/


there are many different camp's for distro's and people will base other distro's off of the most popular. the main distro's are... Debian, gentoo, red hat, SUSE, and slackware.


my favorite distro is Debian, but i use knoppix a lot. and I am looking into clonezilla for HD imaging
 
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