Author Topic: Newbie trying to decide which distro to use - Zorin, Mint or other?  (Read 3890 times)

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Offline Lez

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I'm a newbie exploring which Linux distro to use to replace Windows XP.  I like the look of Zorin because it seems the easiest to use and most like Windows -  I'm not a programmer and don't want to be.  But it's only supported for 6 months - does this really matter?  If, for example, the pre-installed virus software is no longer supported after 6 months then I guess I could download another free virus software such as Comodo (or isn't it that simple?).  Linux Mint looks like a good alternative to Zorin, which looks like it's supported for longer, if that really matters?  As long as I have an OS that I can use for a couple of years before considering an upgrade/replacement I'll be happy.  Rather than download the OS I'd prefer to purchase a DVD to ensure that it installed properly, which is partly why I wouldn't want to have to do this every 6 months. Can anyone recommend best sites to purchase a DVD? Any comments on my queries/observations appreciated.  Thanks

Offline Mark Greaves (PCNetSpec)

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Re: Newbie trying to decide which distro to use - Zorin, Mint or other?
« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2013, 12:32:49 pm »
Linux doesn't work that way .. there's no "included AV software" as such .. it doesn't need any :)

There is AV software available, but it is NOT currently necessary for desktop systems (a server may run AV if it serves Windows clients) .. I know that may be hard to get your head around being used to Windows, but it's true.

If you're paranoid about security, and want a Linux distro that will be supported for another 3 years and 6 months .. look for something that's based on Ubuntu 12.04 as that's a long term support release.
(Mint 13 / Peppermint 3 / Ubuntu 12.04 / Zorin OS 6  are examples)

It's a weird quirk of the way Ubuntu (and its derivative distros) is released that every 2 years they create an LTS (long term support) release that has 5 years suppoort .. the next release in 6 months will be the next LTS, so Mint 17 / Peppermint 5 / Ubuntu 14.04 / Zorin OS 8 / etc will also have 5 years support.

Can I ask what the spec of the PC is that you're planning on putting Linux on .. if it's an older machine (and if it's running XP I'm guessing it is), then one of the light weight distros would probably be a better bet.

Specs to include .. how much RAM, what CPU, if possible which graphics card.
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Offline Lez

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Re: Newbie trying to decide which distro to use - Zorin, Mint or other?
« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2013, 12:45:02 pm »
Thanks for your advice.

My PC spec is:
2.20 gigahertz AMD Athlon 64
1536 Megabytes Installed Memory
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 7600 LE
(do you need any further info?)

So I could hold on for 6 months to gain an OS with LTS, but if the AV isn't really needed would it really matter if I used a OS with short support and didn't upgrade for a couple of years?

Cheers

Offline Mark Greaves (PCNetSpec)

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Re: Newbie trying to decide which distro to use - Zorin, Mint or other?
« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2013, 01:14:53 pm »
OK, that spec can "probably" handle Zorin .. flash video "may" be a bit jerky, and I'd advise you to switch to the Google Chrome browser as it has its own built in flashplayer that's better than the Adobe one.

Quote
So I could hold on for 6 months to gain an OS with LTS

Yes if you wish

Quote
but if the AV isn't really needed would it really matter if I used a OS with short support and didn't upgrade for a couple of years?

Depends how paranoid you are .. you're unlikely to get a Linux "virus", but occasionally there are security fixes for known exploits, but you are NOT as a desktop user usually the target for those .. in a sentence, "I'd rather use a 5 year old Linux that hasn't been receiving updates for 4 years than XP with the latest AV and anti malware" ;)

So up to you really :)

As I said, if you go for something 12.04 based you're covered for 3+ years (until April 2017) anyway .. but your call.
« Last Edit: November 30, 2013, 01:18:45 pm by Mark Greaves (PCNetSpec) »
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Offline Lez

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Re: Newbie trying to decide which distro to use - Zorin, Mint or other?
« Reply #4 on: November 30, 2013, 01:35:42 pm »
Much appreciated  :)

I'll consider what to do.
I'm aware that from the DVD I can run the OS without installing it, so can give it a go to see what I think, which is great.  But by using the OS in this way would I still be able to link to other hardware, such as my Printer (HP PSC 1402), USB ports etc to test connectivity of other devices, or would I need to at least install the OS on a partitioned part of the harddrive to be able to do this?
If the OS is on a partitioned part of the drive and I then wish to make it my only OS, is it simple enough to remove the partition and enable the OS to utilise all of the harddrive?

Cheers

Offline Mark Greaves (PCNetSpec)

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Re: Newbie trying to decide which distro to use - Zorin, Mint or other?
« Reply #5 on: November 30, 2013, 01:53:22 pm »
Much appreciated  :)

I'll consider what to do.
I'm aware that from the DVD I can run the OS without installing it, so can give it a go to see what I think, which is great.  But by using the OS in this way would I still be able to link to other hardware, such as my Printer (HP PSC 1402), USB ports etc to test connectivity of other devices, or would I need to at least install the OS on a partitioned part of the harddrive to be able to do this.

This is a tough one .. remember a CD/DVD is non writeable so you cannot install anything, or configure anything, or save anything and expect it to survive a reboot .. so if the drivers for your printer/wireless/etc. are already included yes they will work after configuration but will need reconfiguring every boot .. if they're NOT already included then no.

If your system is able to boot to a USB memory stick, you can create a LiveUSB stick "with persistence" meaning it will remember stuff across reboots.

another option if your system cannot boot from a USB stick, but can boot from an external hard drive (and if you have one) would be to install Linux to the external hard drive.

Quote
If the OS is on a partitioned part of the drive and I then wish to make it my only OS, is it simple enough to remove the partition and enable the OS to utilise all of the harddrive?

I take it you mean a dual boot setup keeping Windows for now ?

if so, yes it's "reasonably" easy to remove Windows later and expand Linux to fill the drive .. but you'll probably require assistance to do this, but that's what we're here for.

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« Last Edit: November 30, 2013, 02:09:33 pm by Mark Greaves (PCNetSpec) »
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Offline Lez

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Re: Newbie trying to decide which distro to use - Zorin, Mint or other?
« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2013, 02:25:18 pm »
Many thanks  :)

Yes I do have an external harddrive, which I use to back up stuff - it's large (250GB), so plenty of space to partition some of that (leaving the rest to continue using it to back up stuff).  If I can't get it to boot from the harddrive I can come to the forum to seek support on how to do this (I guess by changing the BIOS) from helpful forum members, such as yourself   ;D.  I may also buy a USB stick to try it that way - they don't cost much now.  Yes, I was referring to dual booting by the way.

Really appreciate your help.  It's given me the confidence to dive in - whether sooner or later after Windows XP isn't support any longer.
I was going to purchase a new computer - apart from XP dying soon my computer's getting slow anyway (it's 6 years old).  But after realising how much they add to the cost of a computer for the Operating System (Windows 8) I decided to explore replacing XP on my current computer with Linux.  No harm giving it a go and if it works out I'll have a re-vamped computer at little or no cost - no brainer really!

Thanks again  ;D

Offline Mark Greaves (PCNetSpec)

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Re: Newbie trying to decide which distro to use - Zorin, Mint or other?
« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2013, 02:31:14 pm »
A lightweight distro will make that fly  .. quicker than XP was new.

Sommat like Zorin will hopefully make it perform similarly to a fresh XP install

Any questions .. you know where to find us :)
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Offline Rich J

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Re: Newbie trying to decide which distro to use - Zorin, Mint or other?
« Reply #8 on: November 30, 2013, 10:12:28 pm »
Many thanks  :)
I was going to purchase a new computer - apart from XP dying soon my computer's getting slow anyway (it's 6 years old).  But after realising how much they add to the cost of a computer for the Operating System (Windows 8) I decided to explore replacing XP on my current computer with Linux.  No harm giving it a go and if it works out I'll have a re-vamped computer at little or no cost - no brainer really!

Thanks again  ;D

Hi - I hope you don't mind me popping in a comment?

I'm a relatively new Linux user, currently running Linux Mint 13 KDE. I had the same experience as you (though with Vista) plus I got fed up with the constant updating of security, the endless 'warnings' about the latest threats and the frequent BSOD's that I was plagued by! 

In contrast, Mint runs very smoothly and fast with little or no interruptions to my work.  For sure, it is different to Windows in the way that it works and it does take a bit of time and patience to get to grips with it.  But Mint KDE is very 'Windows-like' in appearance so the transition is easier than you might expect initially.  The great beauty of Linux for me is, I can have exactly the system I want, running the software I desire and at no cost!  (Contributions are always welcome to the developers but compare that to what you'd pay for a commercial o/s!) There are literally thousands of programmes to choose from that will tailor your system perfectly to your specifications - compare that to commercial o/s's where 'you get what you are given!  (plus a whole lot of stuff that you don't want or need but still have to pay for?)

Good luck in your search!

Rich

PS - I forgot to say that Mint also ships with all the 'bits and bobs' in place that you need to play videos and music etc etc so there's no searching about before it will work!
« Last Edit: December 01, 2013, 09:02:49 am by Rich J »

Offline chemicalfan

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Re: Newbie trying to decide which distro to use - Zorin, Mint or other?
« Reply #9 on: December 02, 2013, 11:07:43 am »
+1 for Mint, although it (like Ubuntu), is only supported for 9 months. HOWEVER - in May next year, they will release the LTS release, which will be supported for 5 years! Debian is supported for ages too, but it's not as user-friendly (it's not hard, just needs a bit more reading/forum work than the average)

OpenSUSE has only just been released, and that will be supported for 3 years (via Evergreen). I'm not a SUSE user myself, but I know they have a similar view to user-friendliness that Ubuntu has. Might be worth playing with a liveDVD, see if it floats your boat.

Offline Lez

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Re: Newbie trying to decide which distro to use - Zorin, Mint or other?
« Reply #10 on: December 21, 2013, 12:26:06 pm »
Thanks for the last couple of posts - haven't logged on for a bit so only just picked up on them.
Now I have a couple of weeks off for Christmas I'll play around with Linux distros.

Cheers & Merry Christmas :D

Offline Mark Greaves (PCNetSpec)

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Re: Newbie trying to decide which distro to use - Zorin, Mint or other?
« Reply #11 on: December 21, 2013, 12:42:46 pm »
Have fun .. good luck .. and remember, we're here if you have any other questions ;)

And a Merry Christmas to you too.
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