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#1 2012-12-08 23:08:08

MartinRF
#! Junkie
From: Stockholm, Sweden
Registered: 2009-01-23
Posts: 385
Website

Distro to replace ailing Ubuntu on relatives' box?

Background:
Sister and brother-in-law has a computer I helped them build several years ago (HW: generic MSI motherboard, AMD Sempron 2600+, 512 MB RAM...). It is now running a dated Ubuntu and they are starting to have compatibility issues with some web-sites. As far I see there is no easy way to only up-date the web-browser(s) so I think spending a little time, while visiting during x-mass, on up-grading their OS is needed. They and their kids are not heavy computer users and they have been pretty happy with the functionality of that old Ubuntu (version 8-something or 9-something).

Status:
Now that Ubuntu has re-vamped the UI experience so much and having seen so much good about Mint both here and elsewhere I decided to try out version 14.1 on my secondary computer (similar performance as their box) -- no I don't consider #! an option since they are occasional users and I don't expect them to be happy with dmenu or non-automatic desk-top menu up-dating. (I'd love to have dmenu on my W7 at work)

It turned out there are some problems with the install script of later Mints, see this Mint forum topic. As you see I found a work-around but en route I saw others had encountered other problems and they seem to exist for Ubuntu as well.

Question:
Although Mint 14.1 seems to run just fine on my old box there is the possibility of an install failure on my sister box and I need a 'plan B'. Any suggestions for alternative distro? It should live happily on older HW (I think I should buy some RAM in any case) and the user experience should be 'main stream'. I kind of like the noob friendly SW centre of Mint -- good if you don't know the names of packages and are looking for something with a certain functionality.

TIA

/Martin

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#2 2012-12-08 23:39:47

brontosaurusrex
#! Red Menace
Registered: 2012-06-15
Posts: 1,123

Re: Distro to replace ailing Ubuntu on relatives' box?

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#3 2012-12-08 23:42:19

lcafiero
The #! Guy
From: Felton, California, USA
Registered: 2011-07-21
Posts: 2,196
Website

Re: Distro to replace ailing Ubuntu on relatives' box?

Sorry, MartinRF, but how old is the Ubuntu distro, and is it a LTS? It's generally not a good idea to run a non-LTS version of Ubuntu after its end of life (which I don't know off the top of my head).

Having said that and at the risk of starting a flame war, it's good that you're avoiding the newer Ubuntu with the Unity desktop like the plague. There are also other issues around Ubuntu that have been pointed out by others around their security, however I've never had a problem with some of other mainstream *buntu variants -- for example, Xubuntu, with the Xfce desktop environment, especially is most friendly to those who are not too computer savvy. Although it's somewhat bloated (right, el_koraco? big_smile ), it still works on a lot of older hardware.

But I would be surprised if Linux Mint -- I'd use Linux Mint Debian Edition myself -- didn't work on the sister box, as you say, and I would be hard pressed to think of a "Plan B" distro.


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#4 2012-12-09 01:04:36

CJHolderUK
Member
Registered: 2012-11-22
Posts: 12

Re: Distro to replace ailing Ubuntu on relatives' box?

How about Kubuntu, perhaps that's too heavy. Xubuntu is a very good choice too. Or let them try Ubuntu. Seriously Unity is great for the less-tech-savvy. My Grandad has a Laptop that originally come with Windows XP and Ubuntu (12.04) runs painlessly on it. I didn't even need to find any drivers it was plug and play with the LiveUSB then a very easy install. Back to the point, he picked Unity up within a couple hours and he couldn't be happier. The Dash can get a little bit sluggish but that's due to 5 year old hardware but it's nothing to complain about, and he doesn't. Applications load snappy and he finds the Dash pleasing to use, especially if he's trying to find some old family photos. So put that sucker on a live CD or USB and let them have a go. Heck, they may like it.

Unity isn't as bad as people make it out to be wink I still prefer Openbox and such however if I had to use Unity I would with no complaints.

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#5 2012-12-09 01:34:39

lcafiero
The #! Guy
From: Felton, California, USA
Registered: 2011-07-21
Posts: 2,196
Website

Re: Distro to replace ailing Ubuntu on relatives' box?

CJHolderUK wrote:

Unity isn't as bad as people make it out to be wink I still prefer Openbox and such however if I had to use Unity I would with no complaints.

Actually, it is as bad as people make it out to be, CJHolderUK, in my opinion. It's a tablet interface crammed onto a laptop/desktop environment. I tried it and wanted to like it, but it is lacking in so many ways, to say nothing of being foreign to the what the average computer user might be used to. But it's not as bad as Windows 8. big_smile


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#6 2012-12-09 01:52:21

pidsley
Window Mangler
Registered: 2012-05-23
Posts: 1,752

Re: Distro to replace ailing Ubuntu on relatives' box?

lcafiero wrote:
CJHolderUK wrote:

Unity isn't as bad as people make it out to be wink I still prefer Openbox and such however if I had to use Unity I would with no complaints.

Actually, it is as bad as people make it out to be, CJHolderUK, in my opinion. It's a tablet interface crammed onto a laptop/desktop environment. I tried it and wanted to like it, but it is lacking in so many ways, to say nothing of being foreign to the what the average computer user might be used to. But it's not as bad as Windows 8. big_smile

You are of course entitled to your opinion, but I would ask you, as a moderator, to refrain from such inflammatory comments about other distros and operating systems, even with smileys attached. These comments belong in your blog, not on the forum, in my opinion smile

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#7 2012-12-09 02:07:43

august
#! Member
From: Brooklyn
Registered: 2011-05-26
Posts: 62

Re: Distro to replace ailing Ubuntu on relatives' box?

Lubuntu.

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#8 2012-12-09 03:27:55

lcafiero
The #! Guy
From: Felton, California, USA
Registered: 2011-07-21
Posts: 2,196
Website

Re: Distro to replace ailing Ubuntu on relatives' box?

So noted, pidsley. However, if you're saying that I'm not entitled to make a comment or offer an opinion because I'm a moderator, then I'd have to disagree.


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#9 2012-12-09 03:35:15

pidsley
Window Mangler
Registered: 2012-05-23
Posts: 1,752

Re: Distro to replace ailing Ubuntu on relatives' box?

lcafiero wrote:

So noted, pidsley. However, if you're saying that I'm not entitled to make a comment or offer an opinion because I'm a moderator, then I'd have to disagree.

I'm not saying that at all, but I do hold you to a slightly higher standard of fairness and objectivity. I just get a little tired of Ubuntu and Windows bashing, in any form. I think we should all respect other distros and operating systems, and recognize that they are built by people who are trying to do what they think is best for their users.

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#10 2012-12-09 03:36:08

lcafiero
The #! Guy
From: Felton, California, USA
Registered: 2011-07-21
Posts: 2,196
Website

Re: Distro to replace ailing Ubuntu on relatives' box?

OK then.


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#11 2012-12-09 10:34:15

machinebacon
#! unstable
From: China
Registered: 2009-07-02
Posts: 6,619
Website

Re: Distro to replace ailing Ubuntu on relatives' box?

I recommend SolusOS for the 'typical desktop user' who needs the Holy Trinity (browsing, office, media)

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#12 2012-12-09 16:02:26

lcafiero
The #! Guy
From: Felton, California, USA
Registered: 2011-07-21
Posts: 2,196
Website

Re: Distro to replace ailing Ubuntu on relatives' box?

That's a good option, machinebacon. Ken Starks at Reglue puts SolusOS on the machines he refurbishes and gives to underprivileged kids in the Austin, Texas, area. I'm told the kids pick it up pretty quickly, so it shouldn't be a problem for adults.


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#13 2012-12-09 16:37:21

MartinRF
#! Junkie
From: Stockholm, Sweden
Registered: 2009-01-23
Posts: 385
Website

Re: Distro to replace ailing Ubuntu on relatives' box?

Great response, mostly... :-)

Yes, the old Ubuntu is way beyond its support life time. No up-dates in maybe two years now.

No, new Ubuntu is probably not a wise fall-back if there are problems with installing since at least some of the reported problems seem to stem from Mint's Ubuntu heritage. I need something unrelated and by the looks of it Solus may be it. I will try it out.

Mint 13 XFCE isn't a bad call. XFCE is lighter on resources than Cinamon (I think) and the Mint team warns that 14 has a PAE kernel and if the CPU does not support PAE they recommend 13. I think Sempron do do PAE but I am not sure. I trust the guys I bought the computer from can tell me -- a proper brick and mortar store with people who actually know about computers including Linux! And within crawling distance from home!

/Martin

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#14 2012-12-09 16:43:18

dura
Bloated Gimp
From: interzone
Registered: 2012-09-15
Posts: 2,106

Re: Distro to replace ailing Ubuntu on relatives' box?

Why don't you add that debian menu updater thing to #!, or put xfce over debian sid or something? VastOne's netinstall how to is great. My girlfriend uses #! Waldorf and is disinterested/unwilling in engaging in code, etc., but loves it. I think it's great for 'normal users' and recommend it for anyone wanting to try gnu/linux. Course, if you go outside of debian then you will also have to learn another language too.

Last edited by dura (2012-12-09 16:44:46)

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#15 2012-12-10 01:01:47

august
#! Member
From: Brooklyn
Registered: 2011-05-26
Posts: 62

Re: Distro to replace ailing Ubuntu on relatives' box?

The question is how much support you want to put in. If you just want to set it and forget it k/x/buntu LTS 12.04 might be worth trying to install. I personally like Lubuntu better as lightweight distro but it dosen't currently have an LTS. If you don't have a problem with the installer you can just set that up and not have to think about it for four and half years, which is probably longer that the remaining lifespan of that hardware.

I also would not put it past Mint to introduce bugs and make weird decisions, which is why I wouldn't be entirely suprised if the installer problem wasn't specifically their doing in this instance.

Also Mint Debian releases massive updates on an unreliable and irregular basis. The last time I tried it out It took me about two hours to download and install the latest update pack because they hadn't bothered to update the .isos and when all was said and done I was greeted with a broken desktop. I'd suggest Mint Debian to pretty much no one.

Last edited by august (2012-12-10 01:05:46)

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#16 2012-12-10 01:07:48

el_koraco
#!/loony/bun
From: inside Ed
Registered: 2011-07-25
Posts: 4,749

Re: Distro to replace ailing Ubuntu on relatives' box?

august wrote:

I'd suggest Mint Debian to pretty much no one.

Very true. Put Wheezy on it, install XFCE and configure packagekit or update manager to check for updates weekly. Debian also has the software center, just without the name "ubuntu" in front of it.

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#17 2012-12-10 02:10:32

KrunchTime
#! Die Hard
From: Not Where I Belong
Registered: 2012-03-02
Posts: 1,847

Re: Distro to replace ailing Ubuntu on relatives' box?

I can't speak from experience, only on what I've read, but one of the following distros may fit the bill:

Zorin
Bodhi
Puppy
SolusOS
MEPIS
PCLinuxOS
Snowlinux

Order means nothing.  I just listed as they came to mind.

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#18 2012-12-10 02:14:22

KrunchTime
#! Die Hard
From: Not Where I Belong
Registered: 2012-03-02
Posts: 1,847

Re: Distro to replace ailing Ubuntu on relatives' box?

lcafiero wrote:

I'm told the kids pick it up pretty quickly, so it shouldn't be a problem for adults.

That's not a good assumption to make.

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#19 2012-12-10 02:20:39

KrunchTime
#! Die Hard
From: Not Where I Belong
Registered: 2012-03-02
Posts: 1,847

Re: Distro to replace ailing Ubuntu on relatives' box?

pidsley wrote:
lcafiero wrote:
CJHolderUK wrote:

Unity isn't as bad as people make it out to be wink I still prefer Openbox and such however if I had to use Unity I would with no complaints.

Actually, it is as bad as people make it out to be, CJHolderUK, in my opinion. It's a tablet interface crammed onto a laptop/desktop environment. I tried it and wanted to like it, but it is lacking in so many ways, to say nothing of being foreign to the what the average computer user might be used to. But it's not as bad as Windows 8. big_smile

You are of course entitled to your opinion, but I would ask you, as a moderator, to refrain from such inflammatory comments about other distros and operating systems, even with smileys attached. These comments belong in your blog, not on the forum, in my opinion smile

I don't see what lcafiero said that caused your comment.  If he/she had said something like "Windoze" or mentioned the now-tired "blue screen of death," then maybe you would have a point, but all he/she said was that Windows 8 is worse than Unity.  I haven't used Unity, but I have played around with previews of Windows 8 and the chicklet interface leaves a lot to be desired on a desktop or laptop.

Last edited by KrunchTime (2012-12-10 02:21:19)

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#20 2012-12-10 05:29:09

machinebacon
#! unstable
From: China
Registered: 2009-07-02
Posts: 6,619
Website

Re: Distro to replace ailing Ubuntu on relatives' box?

KrunchTime wrote:

I can't speak from experience,...
Snowlinux.

What's the difference between this one and Linux mint? I ts a shameless rip off of other people's work. He didn't even bother to remove the green highlighting in the mint themes :-(

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#21 2012-12-10 06:58:32

intoCB
Scatweasel
Registered: 2012-10-25
Posts: 1,905

Re: Distro to replace ailing Ubuntu on relatives' box?

Solus OS sounds a good idea.

Mageia as an easy RPM distro if you want a non-Ubuntu/Debian system? Just don't blindly remove those orphaned packages.

XFCE is not a default but it is available in the repos, as are LXDE and Openbox (I think) and some others, if you want something light.

It's not got as many packages as other distros like Debian or Fedora. But it has some nice touches. Who else packages Celtx, for example, or Freetuxtv?


$ cat */*

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#22 2012-12-10 17:24:07

VastOne
#! Ranger
From: #! Fringe Division
Registered: 2011-04-26
Posts: 10,163
Website

Re: Distro to replace ailing Ubuntu on relatives' box?

pidsley wrote:
lcafiero wrote:
CJHolderUK wrote:

Unity isn't as bad as people make it out to be wink I still prefer Openbox and such however if I had to use Unity I would with no complaints.

Actually, it is as bad as people make it out to be, CJHolderUK, in my opinion. It's a tablet interface crammed onto a laptop/desktop environment. I tried it and wanted to like it, but it is lacking in so many ways, to say nothing of being foreign to the what the average computer user might be used to. But it's not as bad as Windows 8. big_smile

You are of course entitled to your opinion, but I would ask you, as a moderator, to refrain from such inflammatory comments about other distros and operating systems, even with smileys attached. These comments belong in your blog, not on the forum, in my opinion smile

I do not like Windows 8 and am entitled to say so.

I find it more disturbing you trying to moderate this forum than anything lcafiero said.

If you want or need more responsibilities here, PM corenominal.

I apologize to anyone on this thread seeing this but pidsley has chosen to ignore PM's


VSIDO | SolusOS

Words That Build Or Destroy

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#23 2012-12-11 22:09:18

DapperMe17
#! CrunchBanger
From: Todd's Gang
Registered: 2012-10-19
Posts: 219

Re: Distro to replace ailing Ubuntu on relatives' box?

Hi MartinRF,

We had some folks having a bad day take your thoughtful thread off a cliff...so, let's get this bad boy back on track where it rightfully belongs wink

Nice question!

Here's a couple options involving bright developers and active, knowledgable communities...

Debian(Gnome) = SolusOS
Debian(XFCE)    = SalineOS (Dev. 2 is already rock solid)
Debian(OB)       = #!

A few other Debian/*buntu-based alternatives that "may" be nice options for your specs...

Lubuntu(LXDE)
Peppermint(LXDE)
Bodhi(E17)
WattOS (LXDE/OB)

Burn a few and have a good time with it!

Happy Holidays
smile

Last edited by DapperMe17 (2012-12-11 22:42:41)

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#24 2012-12-11 22:41:21

dura
Bloated Gimp
From: interzone
Registered: 2012-09-15
Posts: 2,106

Re: Distro to replace ailing Ubuntu on relatives' box?

DapperMe17 wrote:

Debian(OB)       = #!

Though people including corenominal will modestly say that debian + openbox is just #! it isn't. I have a debian netinstall with opebox running on a machine and the difference is staggering. Corenominal does so much that makes it great to use.

The greatest thing of course is the support from the forums. There isn't anything like it. For that reason alone, I wouldn't leave, and recommend #! to anyone.

Last edited by dura (2012-12-11 22:42:23)

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#25 2012-12-11 22:41:40

bigbenaugust
#! Junkie
From: the 919
Registered: 2009-03-04
Posts: 341

Re: Distro to replace ailing Ubuntu on relatives' box?

el_koraco wrote:
august wrote:

I'd suggest Mint Debian to pretty much no one.

Very true. Put Wheezy on it, install XFCE and configure packagekit or update manager to check for updates weekly. Debian also has the software center, just without the name "ubuntu" in front of it.


Once I realized Waldorf existed, I dropped LMDE like a bad habit. It is the red-headed step-love-child of Linux Mint and Debian Wheezy, and the Mint guys get to it when they get to it.

(yeah, I mixed a metaphor there.)


--Ben
Debian: II   Arch: II   openSUSE: I

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