Using Linux Mint (18) on a daily basis or weaning off from Windows

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Using Linux Mint (18) on a daily basis or weaning off from Windows

Postby Gerrit » Mon Oct 17, 2016 6:57 pm

Having been a Windows user ever since MS released version 2.0 back in 1987 I recently decided to (try to) live without it.
I liked XP a lot and I still like and use Windows 7. Windows 8 was a disaster and Windows 10, although better than 8 is not what I hoped/expected. Add to that MS's data gathering hunger and there you have the reasons that I want another everyday OS on my machines.
1 ½ year ago I bought a Macbook Pro and I use and like it a lot. When in the office I have it connected it to a monitor, external keyboard and a mouse so I can use it as a desktop.

For my day-to-day use I need a little more power and more screen infrastructure. One of the things I do for a living is making websites and for that I have some special software and a pretty powerful work station with three screens. Next to that there's a network with a server and a NAS box here in the office where tons of data is stored. I also host websites and have some tools for that running on my main rig.
The price of the Apple hardware is keeping me from getting the desktop system that I would want to have (for now at least) so that's where Linux came into play. The hardware I have is just fine and if I can get Linux to run on it and find all the software to replace my Windows-only programs I will have achieved my goal.

I'm not really a Linux noob having used several Linux distros casually over the last 12 years or so, also the web servers I lease all run Linux (CentOS, Ubuntu server) and I have been installing, setting up and configuring Linux servers (Red Hat) for clients as well.
Having said that, I have never used Linux for all my computer needs on a daily basis and that is what I'm trying to achieve right now.

In this thread I plan to discuss the transition from being a Windows user to becoming a Linux user. I will be discussing the problems I came across, the solutions I found (or not :)).

I chose Linux Mint because it is close to the Windows 'look and feel', it has been around for quite some time and it has been developed and getting new releases all the time. There is good community support coming from developers and the solid user base. It's based on (one of) the most popular Linux flavors, Ubuntu. I installed version 18 "Sarah" the latest long time support release which will be supported until April 2021 and started using it.
HP Z220CMT workstation
Core i-7 3770 @ 3.40 GHz
16 GB RAM - 2x2 1TB RAID1 HD
Linux Mint 18.3 "Sylvia" &
Windows 7 Professional &
Windows 10 Professional

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Re: Using Linux Mint (18) on a daily basis or weaning off from Windows

Postby Gerrit » Mon Oct 17, 2016 7:39 pm

Installation.

I wanted to install Linux Mint next to the Windows 7 and 10 installations that I already had on this computer. I need to have both Windows versions available, 7 because I'm still running quite some software on it on a daily basis, 10 because I need to stay current so I can support clients who use it.
Windows 7 and 10 are using the Windows boot loader, and upon installation Linux should use the Grub boot loader.
I prepared a partition on the second hard disk for Linux, made a live USB stick and booted from it.

To my surprise it recognized my two (NVIDIA) graphics cards out of the box and I could setup the three screens to work with the included X org X server driver (version 1.0.12-1 build 2). The right resolution was automatically detected, no additional software was needed to use a triple screen wide wallpaper.
The wireless keyboard (Logitech K350) was detected and worked out of the box, my Logitech MX revolution bluetooth mouse was not working. Google came with some possible solutions, the most promising of them being HIDpoint. The latest update for this package is from 2012 and maybe that's why when trying to use it I couldn't get it to work. I may end up trying another mouse that uses the Logitech unifying receiver. According to what I read it should work out of the box like it did with the keyboard. For now I'm using a wired mouse.

Since everything looked fine I went ahead and installed Linux on the hard disk. The installation was simple and painless. the grub bootloader was installed and works like it should. Next to the Linux and memory test options the Windows boot loader is there in the menu. The (wired) network connection (onboard Broadcom gigbit) was plug and play as well so within 45 minutes I had a working Linux installation on the hard disk. My Schiit Modi DAC (digital to analog converter for sound) was recognized, too and setting it as the default audio device took a couple of clicks.

For most users this is where the story ends since Linux Mint (like most other Linux flavors) comes loaded with a pretty complete package of software for daily use.
Let me mention a few that I used in the past couple of days:

- Firefox for browsing the web
- Thunderbird email program
- Libre Office, a complete modern office suite
- VLC media player, plays music and videos

and there's a lot more included.

Parallel to the installation on my main rig I am doing more or less the same on my "Windows" laptop, a 5 y/o HP Probook (core i3, 8GB RAM, 500 Gb hard disk, Windows 7 & 10 in dual boot). I like to have the same environment that I use in the office available when I'm on the road, working at offices of my clients so the laptop will be a triple boot machine, too.
Actually it already had Linux Mint (17.2) installed next to the two Windows installs but I wanted to increase the size of the Linux partition. That didn't work (using Gparted from a live USB bootable Linux stick) so I decided to make an image of the three partitions. The idea is to update 17.2 to 17.3 and from there to version 18.

Normally I would use Acronis True Image for backing up the partition that but being in the Linux mood I searched, found and decided to use Clonezilla which should be able to make image backups from partitions. Next I would delete the extended partition where Linux was installed, shrink the Windows 10 partition, make a new Linux partition and restore the image back in the new partition.

-- to be continued..
HP Z220CMT workstation
Core i-7 3770 @ 3.40 GHz
16 GB RAM - 2x2 1TB RAID1 HD
Linux Mint 18.3 "Sylvia" &
Windows 7 Professional &
Windows 10 Professional

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Re: Using Linux Mint (18) on a daily basis or weaning off from Windows

Postby Salmoneye » Tue Oct 18, 2016 1:14 pm

I have used the latest Mint 64 bit as a live CD a couple of times...As an OS that could easily suffice for the majority of people that use PC's, I believe it is an alternative...If you have special software needs, it may not work for everyone...For general use to surf, eMail, Skype, write a resume, and keep in touch with the grand-kids, it can easily step into that roll...

The thing I do not like about most recent live distros is the constant access of the optical and the hard drives...If you want to test a hard drive for its robust nature, try Ubuntu or Mint as live discs...

It has been some time since I installed any Linux version on any machine, but I have always been impressed with Grub...

I am always impressed with Puppy...Small, quick to boot, runs completely in RAM, and finds darn near every piece of hardware on any rig I have tried...The one issue I have with most versions of Puppy, is that they don't load the 'tap to click' on touch-pads...

Keep us informed as to how you like Mint...Your adventure may inspire me to install something in one of the old rigs I have laying around...
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Re: Using Linux Mint (18) on a daily basis or weaning off from Windows

Postby Salmoneye » Tue Oct 18, 2016 1:24 pm

BTW

Which desktop version are you using?

I'm downloading the KDE version now...

I always liked KDE back when I ran Mepis religiously...
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Re: Using Linux Mint (18) on a daily basis or weaning off from Windows

Postby Gerrit » Tue Oct 18, 2016 6:52 pm

Salmoneye wrote:The thing I do not like about most recent live distros is the constant access of the optical and the hard drives...If you want to test a hard drive for its robust nature, try Ubuntu or Mint as live discs...
:mrgreen:
Salmoneye wrote:I am always impressed with Puppy...Small, quick to boot, runs completely in RAM, and finds darn near every piece of hardware on any rig I have tried...The one issue I have with most versions of Puppy, is that they don't load the 'tap to click' on touch-pads...
Yeah the touch-pad click not working is annoying but for the rest Puppy is really nice. Recently I installed 6.3 Slacko on an Acer netbook that was given to me. The poor thing was struggling to run Windows 7 with the maxed out RAM (2Gb) and a 1.33GHz Atom processor but it is running like a champ on Puppy :D
Salmoneye wrote:Keep us informed as to how you like Mint...Your adventure may inspire me to install something in one of the old rigs I have laying around...
No progress today - on the road all day, making some $$. 8)
HP Z220CMT workstation
Core i-7 3770 @ 3.40 GHz
16 GB RAM - 2x2 1TB RAID1 HD
Linux Mint 18.3 "Sylvia" &
Windows 7 Professional &
Windows 10 Professional

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Gerrit
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Re: Using Linux Mint (18) on a daily basis or weaning off from Windows

Postby Gerrit » Tue Oct 18, 2016 6:54 pm

Salmoneye wrote:BTW

Which desktop version are you using?

I'm downloading the KDE version now...

I always liked KDE back when I ran Mepis religiously...

Never been a real KDE fan, dunno why. I will download the KDE version to see how it developed. Right now I'm using Cinnamon which I also used on Mint 17.2. I like it. :)
HP Z220CMT workstation
Core i-7 3770 @ 3.40 GHz
16 GB RAM - 2x2 1TB RAID1 HD
Linux Mint 18.3 "Sylvia" &
Windows 7 Professional &
Windows 10 Professional

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Re: Using Linux Mint (18) on a daily basis or weaning off from Windows

Postby Salmoneye » Thu Oct 27, 2016 4:38 pm

Yeah, I tried the KDE and went back to playing with Cinnamon...

I need to load it on a rig so I don't have to deal with the accessing of the optical, but I don't have a machine that I want to dedicate right now, and truthfully, most of my stuff is so old, some will not even run 64-Bit OS's lol...
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Re: Using Linux Mint (18) on a daily basis or weaning off from Windows

Postby Gerrit » Thu Oct 27, 2016 5:43 pm

Ayayay..
I'm using a pretty good machine where I'm doing this, my HP workstation (see sig), although right now I'm having problems with the motherboard. The Workstation is still under warranty and I already have the third (refurbished I guess) motherboard installed by a tech in two months. Problem seems to be the RAM, we can't get it to run with all 4 4GB sticks. 3 (random) sticks (in random slots) works, 4 does not. Another new (or refurbished) MB installed today has the same problem.
Right now I'm doing memory tests, stick by stick in every slot. Gonna be a looong evening I'm afraid.

Anyway, in the Mint project next is storage. I'm on two things, permanently map network drives and setup connections to cloud storage (Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive). The latter being the most important since I have 1TB there, comes with Office 365, and all important business files are there. There's no MS OneDrive client for Linux but it looks like I have found a working alternative. Stay tuned! :D
HP Z220CMT workstation
Core i-7 3770 @ 3.40 GHz
16 GB RAM - 2x2 1TB RAID1 HD
Linux Mint 18.3 "Sylvia" &
Windows 7 Professional &
Windows 10 Professional

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Gerrit
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Re: Using Linux Mint (18) on a daily basis or weaning off from Windows

Postby Gerrit » Fri Jan 05, 2018 7:56 pm

After the problems with the motherboard (got it fixed under warranty!) work got in the way and then two back to back hurricanes hit Puerto Rico. Meanwhile we're sort of back and I just upgraded to Mint 18.3 "Sylvia". Parallel I installed it on a laptop in triple boot with Windows 10 and Windows 7.

I found and installed a package to synchronize OneDrive which I'm testing right now. OneDrive is my main cloud storage solution, I have 1 TB as part of my Office 365 subscription (that I need to support clients who use Office). It also runs on my MacBook Pro and my Android phone.
So I need OneDrive to synchronize on Linus, too.

The Onedrive-d package for Linux looks promising! I'll be back with a report.
HP Z220CMT workstation
Core i-7 3770 @ 3.40 GHz
16 GB RAM - 2x2 1TB RAID1 HD
Linux Mint 18.3 "Sylvia" &
Windows 7 Professional &
Windows 10 Professional

User avatar
Gerrit
Posts: 10989
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Re: Using Linux Mint (18) on a daily basis or weaning off from Windows

Postby Gerrit » Mon Feb 12, 2018 10:16 am

Installed ondrive-d and it's working like advertised! Happy camper here since all my important work files are in OneDrive.
Next I want to get Google Drive and Drobox (I use both but not so extensively as OneDrive.

Meanwhile my "WIndows" laptop is running Mint most of the times, I only start WIndows when I have to (and then I have to go through all the updates they're pushing to me before I can do something. :? )
HP Z220CMT workstation
Core i-7 3770 @ 3.40 GHz
16 GB RAM - 2x2 1TB RAID1 HD
Linux Mint 18.3 "Sylvia" &
Windows 7 Professional &
Windows 10 Professional


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