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#1 2013-12-23 16:27:51

MartinRF
#! Junkie
From: Stockholm, Sweden
Registered: 2009-01-23
Posts: 451
Website

Beginners Linux for HP nc8430?

One of my sisters won an 'old' laptop recently and it came as HW only -- no OS what so ever.

What Linux would you recommend on this HW for someone who is not interested in computers and operatings systems, who only wants it to work?

/Martin

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#2 2013-12-23 16:31:56

snowpine
#!-a-roo
Registered: 2008-11-24
Posts: 2,984

Re: Beginners Linux for HP nc8430?

Crunchbang?


/hugged

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#3 2013-12-23 16:41:24

PackRat
#! Die Hard
From: USA
Registered: 2011-03-03
Posts: 1,572

Re: Beginners Linux for HP nc8430?

A second vote for #!

Maybe Salix OS if your sister is more comfortable with xfce - (the 14.1 release is in alpha right now).


"It does not require many words to speak the truth." - Chief Joseph, Nez Perce tribe

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#4 2013-12-23 16:42:54

CSCoder4ever
BL Keyboard Troll
From: /dev/zero
Registered: 2013-09-03
Posts: 2,256

Re: Beginners Linux for HP nc8430?

xubuntu, crunchbang... that's my top 2 for people who aren't interested in computers whatsoever

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#5 2013-12-23 16:43:02

damo
#! gimpbanger
From: N51.5 W002.8 (mostly)
Registered: 2011-11-24
Posts: 5,434

Re: Beginners Linux for HP nc8430?

Why not crunchbang indeed! (I guess the OP was expecting that anyway, in a crunchbang forum smile )

Maybe with xfce for a more familiar desktop/menus/panels. Or pure #! Openbox which will work like a dream with only a bit of practice. You will need to be around to maintain it though....


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#6 2013-12-23 16:56:53

pvsage
Internal Affairs
From: North Carolina
Registered: 2009-10-18
Posts: 13,970

Re: Beginners Linux for HP nc8430?

I'll refrain from making a recommendation at this point, as all we know about this laptop is that it is "old".  A few years ago I ran across a still-functional portable computer that could arguably have been called a "laptop"...IIRC it was the same vintage as the Macintosh Portable and had a 386 processor.

EDIT: ...or I could read the thread title and say "Old?" :8
CrunchBang or Debian would be a good fit on that hardware.

Last edited by pvsage (2013-12-23 17:00:10)

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#7 2013-12-23 18:03:00

dot|not
#! Junkie
From: /dev/null
Registered: 2013-09-05
Posts: 371

Re: Beginners Linux for HP nc8430?

Looking at the specs I would go for plain Debian with Xfce installed. It's very easy to make Xfce, from the layout of the menus, look like Windows XP / Vista / 7. If your sister is used to Windows that might help making the transition easier for her.  smile

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#8 2013-12-23 18:17:30

MartinRF
#! Junkie
From: Stockholm, Sweden
Registered: 2009-01-23
Posts: 451
Website

Re: Beginners Linux for HP nc8430?

I think those of you who suggest a user interface that is not too far from the mainstream in terms of menus etc are on the right track. This sister is used to Windows at work but she has endured some Ubuntu exposure (version 9.something if memory serves) already.

/Martin

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#9 2013-12-23 18:38:32

dot|not
#! Junkie
From: /dev/null
Registered: 2013-09-05
Posts: 371

Re: Beginners Linux for HP nc8430?

I think those of you who suggest a user interface that is not too far from the mainstream in terms of menus etc are on the right track. This sister is used to Windows at work but she has endured some Ubuntu exposure (version 9.something if memory serves) already.

9.xx would be Gnome2. SO MATE/Xfce would be the best fit for her.

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#10 2013-12-23 21:02:14

pvsage
Internal Affairs
From: North Carolina
Registered: 2009-10-18
Posts: 13,970

Re: Beginners Linux for HP nc8430?

If a typical DE is desired, it's hard to beat XFCE.

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#11 2013-12-23 21:30:20

MartinRF
#! Junkie
From: Stockholm, Sweden
Registered: 2009-01-23
Posts: 451
Website

Re: Beginners Linux for HP nc8430?

I am a bit of an XFCE-fan myself, maybe because I have lots of exposure to CDE and at least early on XFCE looked like CDE did on my SUN at work.

No one suggesting Linux Mint XFCE? Too heavy for the HW or something else amiss?

/Martin

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#12 2013-12-23 21:36:24

dot|not
#! Junkie
From: /dev/null
Registered: 2013-09-05
Posts: 371

Re: Beginners Linux for HP nc8430?

It's basically because I don't see a point in chosing Mint over Debian.

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#13 2013-12-23 21:42:02

snowpine
#!-a-roo
Registered: 2008-11-24
Posts: 2,984

Re: Beginners Linux for HP nc8430?

MartinRF wrote:

No one suggesting Linux Mint XFCE? Too heavy for the HW or something else amiss?

/Martin


7-month support distro is hard to recommend for an "install on a non-techie relative's PC" situation.


/hugged

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#14 2013-12-24 01:08:14

anonymous
The Mystery Member
Registered: 2008-11-29
Posts: 9,419

Re: Beginners Linux for HP nc8430?

Maybe Linux Mint Debian Edition? Otherwise I will throw my vote for #!. Just add Xfce on top of it.

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#15 2013-12-24 03:54:53

cpoakes
#! CrunchBanger
From: Tucson, Arizona
Registered: 2012-05-19
Posts: 202

Re: Beginners Linux for HP nc8430?

I had this same machine until last year.  It ran statler and wheezy (as testing) very well.

Though I love Crunchbang, I find it intimidates naive (XP) users because it doesn't look or act familiar.  If this sounds like your sister, choose the familiar desktop icons/metaphor and menu actions you find in an Xfce or LXDE desktop.  For minimum fuss,  I'd also select a Debian Stable or Ubuntu LTS base for security updates and to avoid the surprises of Debian rolling releases (testing/sid) and the 6 month release thrashing of Ubuntu non-LTS.

Unfortunately, I find the default Debian Wheezy LXDE installation fugly and the process of "fixing it" with new backgrounds, icons, and themes may be more than she wants to deal with.  The Lubuntu look is clean albeit a monotonous blue, but does not have LTS status.  LXLE is a LXDE, Lubuntu AND Ubuntu 12.04 LTS derivative with usable landscape wallpapers, icons, and a clean theme. The install image includes a good selection of desktop/office applications (it won't fit on CD-R).  It is likely to meet her needs as installed. And the Ubuntu GUI software installer is easier for newbies and compatible with synaptic/apt-get.  I recommend it.

For an Xfce distro, I have used and can recommend Xubuntu 12.04 LTS.  I have never done a Debian Xfce install for comparison. 

I also assume you provide her "technical support", so you might consider your strengths.  I like Salix Xfce, but if you don't know the Slackware tools and philosophy and Salix layers on top of this, the learning curve will increase your time spent helping her.  Ubuntu derivatives still provide Debian tools for package management if Debian/Crunchbang is a native environment for you.


programming and administering unix since 1976 (BSD, System III, Xenix, System V, Linux)

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#16 2013-12-24 06:34:57

intoCB
Scatweasel
Registered: 2012-10-25
Posts: 2,412

Re: Beginners Linux for HP nc8430?

If it's a toss up between Xubuntu 12.04 LTS and Debian 7 Xfce, I'd say Xubuntu, simply because the support framework is better for new users. But you know your sister better than we do and I'm guessing she's not just a woman but a person in her own right with her own individual tastes.

Actually, why not Linux Mint Maya LTS, supported until 2017? On second thoughts, I don't think Cinnamon plays well with ATI graphics. You could give it a go though. The specs tell me it should be ok. Get rid of DuckDuckGo, though, or that will be a "What the duck?" moment for her.

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#17 2013-12-24 10:03:43

dot|not
#! Junkie
From: /dev/null
Registered: 2013-09-05
Posts: 371

Re: Beginners Linux for HP nc8430?

Actually, why not Linux Mint Maya LTS, supported until 2017? On second thoughts, I don't think Cinnamon plays well with ATI graphics. You could give it a go though. The specs tell me it should be ok. Get rid of DuckDuckGo, though, or that will be a "What the duck?" moment for her.

It's not that Cinammon generally works bad with ATI, it's just that Cinammon is somewhat of a ressource consumer, even after all the improvements that have been made. So it might be too heavy for this machine.

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#18 2013-12-24 13:43:49

MartinRF
#! Junkie
From: Stockholm, Sweden
Registered: 2009-01-23
Posts: 451
Website

Re: Beginners Linux for HP nc8430?

I have just down-loaded Xubuntu 12.04 LTS images (32- and 64-bit).

Is it only the Cinamon variant of Linux Mint Maya that is LTS or are all Mayas LTS -- which would open for Mate or XFCE. Someone somewhere wrote that the XFCE varsion of Mint is what Xubuntu should have been.

/Martin

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#19 2013-12-25 03:45:56

coffee_guy
Member
Registered: 2013-10-30
Posts: 36

Re: Beginners Linux for HP nc8430?

I vote for Linux Mint Debian.  Get her comfortable with linux and move her over to crunchbang.

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#20 2013-12-25 04:53:12

cpoakes
#! CrunchBanger
From: Tucson, Arizona
Registered: 2012-05-19
Posts: 202

Re: Beginners Linux for HP nc8430?

LMDE seems like a good option, but can anyone speak to Debian testing (not stable) being the base distro for LMDE?  I believe Mint vets Debian testing with snapshots called Update Packs whose goal is mitigating the instabilities of testing.  Seems this could also delay security updates (compared to stable)... does anyone know?


programming and administering unix since 1976 (BSD, System III, Xenix, System V, Linux)

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#21 2013-12-25 05:00:46

anonymous
The Mystery Member
Registered: 2008-11-29
Posts: 9,419

Re: Beginners Linux for HP nc8430?

iirc, LMDE has different levels of update packs. By default it will install levels 1-3 only; however, you can change a setting so it will install update levels 4 and 5 as well. I'm not familiar with the differences between these levels though. Seeing as LMDE is based on testing, it may not be a bad idea just to leave it as-is. I think it provides a decent balance between stability and having updated program, and you wouldn't have to reinstall the OS for newer versions.

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#22 2013-12-25 12:48:05

ew
#! Die Hard
Registered: 2012-09-27
Posts: 1,975

Re: Beginners Linux for HP nc8430?

My recommendation for a Windows-user, is the latest Linux Mint with the "MATE" desktop.  Without a doubt, that`s the closest you get, and it has familiar gui`s for everything. Personally I don`t like LM or Mate, but I have to admit that it`s the easiest distro for newbies. The question though, is how old the laptop is, because it isn`t lightweight, and it will not be especially snappy on extremely outdated hardware. But that`s the price that you`ve got to pay if you want something that`s very easy to use...


- apt-mark hold account

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#23 2013-12-25 17:39:57

anonymous
The Mystery Member
Registered: 2008-11-29
Posts: 9,419

Re: Beginners Linux for HP nc8430?

@ew - You can just google for HP nc8430. It seems to have a Core 2 Duo processor, 1 GB of memory, and ATI Mobility Radeon X1600 graphics. I particularly like that its a business laptop and has a nice display resolution of 1680x1050.

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#24 2013-12-25 18:29:47

snowpine
#!-a-roo
Registered: 2008-11-24
Posts: 2,984

Re: Beginners Linux for HP nc8430?

cpoakes wrote:

LMDE seems like a good option, but can anyone speak to Debian testing (not stable) being the base distro for LMDE?  I believe Mint vets Debian testing with snapshots called Update Packs whose goal is mitigating the instabilities of testing.  Seems this could also delay security updates (compared to stable)... does anyone know?

You'd be insane to install Debian "Testing" on a non-Linux user's PC, unless you have easy daily access and are personally available for troubleshooting, IMHO.


/hugged

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#25 2013-12-25 18:39:16

porkpiehat
#! Die Hard
Registered: 2012-10-02
Posts: 1,007

Re: Beginners Linux for HP nc8430?

MartinRF wrote:

Is it only the Cinamon variant of Linux Mint Maya that is LTS or are all Mayas LTS -- which would open for Mate or XFCE. Someone somewhere wrote that the XFCE varsion of Mint is what Xubuntu should have been.

All the Maya versions are LTS -- they are all based on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS. Mint Maya Xfce would be a very good choice for your sister.

Last edited by porkpiehat (2013-12-25 18:45:21)

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