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Curious about Linux? Try it with out installing it.

Discussion in 'Computers, Hardware, and Operating Systems' started by KX4OM, Jan 18, 2020.

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  1. KX4OM

    KX4OM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Just in case some Windows 7 "left behind" users are at least curious about Linux, the website HowToGeek.com has an article today on "How to Upgrade From Windows 7 to Linux." Their language, not mine. It introduces the concept of dual-booting an alternate operating system to those who may not be aware of it. You can download a Linux OS, burn it to a DVD or USB stick and boot from that to try Linux out. These Linux trials have been available for several years. To get the trial running, boot off the DVD (or USB stick) and run it from the DVD and RAM. Some of these trial DVDs will let you install the OS permanently from the media, but for the sake of this post, I'll ignore that option. The DVD may include some of the popular software packages such as LibreOffice and the Firefox web browse. The HTG article explains it all using Ubuntu 18.04, a long-term support (LTS) version that is supported for 5 years...10, in some cases. When done with the tryout, reboot without the DVD into Windows, and Linux is gone.

    A problem for some may be that stock Ubuntu does not look much like Windows. That may make some folks shy away from it. I do have Ubuntu 18.04 installed alone on a big, former gamer PC down in the basement. I use the "Mate" desktop environment on that machine which departs from the standard Ubuntu to look more Windows-like. I am a long term user of another Linux distribution, and I wanted to get more familiarity with Ubuntu under the hood. There are Ubuntu online forums that are very deep in useful information.

    A distribution that does look a lot like Windows is Linux Mint. It is based on Ubuntu (which itself is derived from Debian Linux), and Mint has an LTS 5-year version based on Ubuntu 18.04. That is the Mint version I'm using on this laptop, Version 19.2. I started out with Linux last century (RedHat), and then put it aside for about 10 years. I've used Mint since Version 11. The early-adopter and more "bleeding edge" versions, now at Version 19.3 are typically 6-month support versions. I would not consider upgrading to that one. The next time Mint releases the next LTS, and probably again 2 years after that, I may or may not upgrade. I use the Mate desktop on Mint as well, as this laptop is 9 years old, and Mate is more limited resource-friendly than Cinnamon, which was developed originally by Mint as an advanced and somewhat "prettier" option. They would look almost identical to a casual observer. Other desktops are even lighter on resources, and they can be installed, even alongside other desktop environments. Linux is big on choices and the user experience. Want to move the locations of the "tray" and other panels to the top, side or bottom of the screen, you can do it. I like to create shortcuts ala Windows on my desktop. Other distributions can create more of a Mac look.

    Upstairs on the main floor, I'm 95% on Linux on this laptop, with 5% on Windows 10, mostly booting to it to keep the virus checker and the updates reasonably current. I do support 3 other PCs that are Windows 10, and my "Lab" PC down in the basement shack, an old Dell tower with original XP and MS Office installations. I use LibreOffice on all of them, and I save all of my documents whether from LibreOffice or MS Office in Office 2003 format because of that old Dell.

    Bottom line, one can try Linux with the "no install" preview. Many other distributions offer that, not just Ubuntu and Mint. The website DistroWatch is updated daily with the Linux distribution rankings based on page hits on the site.

    Ted, KX4OM
     
  2. KK4NSF

    KK4NSF Ham Member QRZ Page

    you can also get a Linux CD in many of the popular Linux magazines on the market. The last few I've seen have a bootable linux version on them. You just pop it into your computer and reboot it. PLUS you get a good tutorial on how to use it.
     
  3. ND5Y

    ND5Y Ham Member QRZ Page

    How about a persistent live USB thumb drive that even allows software and kernel upgrades and a separate partition so you can still use the USB thumb drive to store stuff, and the whole thing can be encrypted.
    https://mxlinux.org
     
  4. W9WQA

    W9WQA Ham Member QRZ Page

    i very carefully did a dual boot on a new win 10. followed instructions exactly. i could see partitions for win and mint as i proceded.
    it boots mint.
    can no longer find win 10.
    my advice,never install, boot from cd/thumb

    i have a linux 14.? that workes flawlessly on another machine for 19 years. its a great os...
     
  5. W4EAE

    W4EAE Subscriber QRZ Page

    Once you boot up Mint, look at the hard disk and see if there is still an NTFS partition or two. If so, Windows is still there; the bootloader just isn't seeing it (it can be refreshed). If it erased Windows altogether, it did so because at some point you told it to.
     
  6. W9WQA

    W9WQA Ham Member QRZ Page

    ill try, been a while.
    how to refresh?
     
  7. KX4OM

    KX4OM Ham Member QRZ Page

    You can look at this instruction for installing Mint 19.2 and review the Linux Mint dual boot install process. Here is Step 12:

    "12. After finishing creating the partition layout, select the Windows Boot Manager as the device for installing the Grub boot loader and hit on Install Now button in order to commit changes to disk and proceed with the installation."

    https://www.tecmint.com/install-linux-mint-alongside-windows-dual-boot-uefi-mode/

    Mint 19.2 Mate is the OS and desktop environment I'm using on this laptop.

    Ted, KX4OM
     
  8. KX4OM

    KX4OM Ham Member QRZ Page

    The process for update of grub (from Linux) should show which options of grub are in the menu. In Linux Mint 19.2, the command in the terminal is:

    sudo update-grub

    The result in the terminal will show the kernel version(s) that are bootable, a memory test, if enabled and other OS versions that may be present. For my Mint 19.2 the last lines in the terminal results are:

    Found linux image: /boot/vmlinuz-4.15.0-54-generic
    Found initrd image: /boot/initrd.img-4.15.0-54-generic
    Found memtest86+ image: /boot/memtest86+.elf
    Found memtest86+ image: /boot/memtest86+.bin
    Found Windows 10 on /dev/sda1
    Found Windows 10 on /dev/sda2
    done

    Ted, KX4OM
     
  9. KA2IRQ

    KA2IRQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Timely post as my 6 year old Win7 laptop hard drive just died. I was going to replace the failed drive with an SSD drive and install Ubuntu. I have one of the Ubuntu "demo" disks I created when Win7 was still alive... can I do an install from that disk or do I need to create a new ISO disk? The laptop does not seem to be able to boot from a memory card or flash drive, just the CD.
     
  10. KX4OM

    KX4OM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hi Mario,
    Ubuntu has one feature in that has been removed from Ubuntu 16.04 and later: the Ubuntu Software Center. That was the feature that that launched from the menu that listed a GUI interface for lot of the available software for installation (or removal). Ubuntu now uses "Gnome Software" which must be manually installed. Also, the Unity desktop that Ubuntu created and was installed by default was cancelled from official releases as of 17.1. The base desktop that is installed of subsequent versions is based on Gnome 3. It looks somewhat like Unity, but is is not the same thing. I have Ubuntu 18.04 Mate edition on one of my PCs, and I installed Gnome Software on it yesterday. With the Mate version, I was able to move the panels to the bottom of the screen to get away from the Unity look. Mate, which is now available on many distributions, is based on Gnome2. Confused yet?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GNOME_Software

    Linux Mint, at least through 19.2 LTS (based on Ubuntu 18.04) installs its Software Manager by default. With most software, Mint can install from Ubuntu Software and through apt-get from the command line many packages directly from Debian.

    Ted, KX4OM
     

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