Linux distro to run on VMware Workstation 10

I have only limited experience of Linux so am looking for a light, easy to use distro that I can run as guest within VMware workstation 10.

Does anyone have any suggestions on which distro would be the best for a relative beginner?

Heh, you’ve asked the one question that’s going to get you as many different suggestions as response … and probably leave you non the wiser after receiving them :wink:

You should be able to run any distro in a VMware VM

Best for a beginner … recently that’s become a harder question than it used to be :o

Previously I’d unequivocally have said “Ubuntu” as there’s more help, documentation, tutorials, etc. available … but the Ubuntu UI has gone that far off in a Win8 weirdness kind of way that it’s hard to advise it as a “transition” distro any more (particularly if you’re used to the Win95 —> Win7 desktop style UI).

So I’m now advising Mint or Peppermint

Mint is more fully featured out of the box

Peppermint is more nimble and easier on system resources

Both have a fairly “normal” desktop, so shouldn’t be too difficult to transition to, and both are Ubuntu based so most Ubuntu docs, help, tutorials, etc. can easily be adapted to fit

There are however loads of others … the good thing about VM’s is that you can easily wipe and start again, so why not try a few and make up your OWN mind.

Ditto the above + Zorin o/s (Ubuntu based).

Zorin has a nifty Win 7 looky-likey desktop that helps ease the way for newbies! :wink:

Echo both of the above, but I’m slightly uneasy with Zorin as they have a slightly overbearing commercial aspect compared with the others. That UI is nice though!

I still don’t get why people think Zorin is more like Windows than say Mint or even Peppermint ??

All have a bottom panel, mouse pointer, icons, menu that arises from a bottom left “start” type button, windowed file manager.

The Differences in software names also spans all 3

I just don’t get it … why is Zorin more “Windows” like than say Mint ? … I’ve not got anything in particular against Zorin other than they seem to be selling themselves on a misrepresentation that borders on a lie about other distros, Zorin is no easier to transition from than any Cinnamon/Mate/LXDE distro … unless of course blue and grey are what make Windows (incidentally one of the things drives me up the wall about Lubuntu) :wink:

I think it’s the syndrome ‘looks the same’ = ‘is the same’ that gives ex-Windows users comfort. I agree entirely with your point about the other distros - but with Zorin you can choose a desktop that is almost identical to W7, straight off, with no configuring necessary from the user.

For example - I’d been banging on for ages to a pal about changing to Linux but he just couldn’t believe what I told him - still locked into the Microsoft bubble. Anyway, he had an old laptop with XP on it that I persuaded him to give up on and put Zorin on that. He’s as happy as Larry with it. Never touches the Terminal, just browses and emails as normal and updates when asked to - which is what probably 95% of computer users do anyway? He’s not interested in what goes on ‘under the bonnet’, just that it works.

Hopefully, sometime soon, he’ll realise he hasn’t had a virus warning or security scare for ages and, then, the true conversion will begin! :wink:

but with Zorin you can choose a desktop that is almost identical to W7, straight off, with no configuring necessary from the user.

But that’s my point … besides blue and grey, how is Zorin more like Win7 than say Mint out of the box?

He's as happy as Larry with it. Never touches the Terminal, just browses and emails as normal and updates when asked to

And why wouldn’t he have felt the same about Mint ?

My point is that by claiming to be “the easiest for Windows users”, they’re intentionally colouring other distros as “less easy” … which is untrue.

I tend to think “Linux is not Windows”, so why try to con people that it is with misleading claims and superficial graphics … personally I think that’s asking for trouble, anyone moving to Linux from Windows needs to understand and accept it’s different, if they can’t accept that they WILL be disappointed.

Windows users will only stick with Linux when tey’re fed up with Windows and want something different (and better) … by which time there’s no need to give them a windows-alike
Now whilst I don’t think Linux should make it hard for Windows users to transition I remain convinced that nearly all Zorin users will return to Windows as they’re plainly looking for a Windows-alike, and Zorin is as much Linux as any other distro … selling it as anything else is misleading at best, or plain lying.

You see, I both agree and disagree there Mark. I agree with you in principle, but there is a case where people in Rich’s scenario might not go the same way. If all you want out of a computer is web browsing & e-mail, there’s no difference from the end users perspective whether you’re running Linux or Windows. If Windows folk are resistant to Linux, due to fear of change (it’s rife everywhere - business, government, and consumers), then I think you can make the experience as comfortable for them by making things look the same. It’s a bit like emigrating to a foreign country - it’s a lot easier if there are a load of ex-pats to knock about with

I’m not disagreeing with you… it’s resistance to change

But tell me what Zorin does that makes life easier than Mints Cinnamon ?

I’m not saying lets make it difficult, in fact I think Windows (before Win8) settled on the (so far) best desktop layout so I have no problem going with the same … but how does Zorin do this “better” than Mint ?

At the end of the day it’s rarely the desktop UI that puts people off Linux, that’s as “point and click” as any other, it’s the foreign sounding applications, not knowing how to install them, and not knowing what to do or where to turn when things go wrong … AFAIK Zorin does nothing to address these perceived problems … all they do is make it blue and grey and “say” it’s more Windows like.

If someone can show me how Zorin makes life easier for a windows user than Mint (or Peppermint) I’ll shut up … but if all you can offer me is a colour scheme and menu skin, I think it’s Zorin that should shut up with the false claims.

I’d have no problem if they said “Our desktop layout is similar to windows” … I just get annoyed with “easiest for Windows users”.


Having looked around their website it does seem that it may be Zorin advocates that make these claims more so than the Zorin authors themselves, so maybe I’m on a bit of a crusade without a need, but they still kinda base their whole existence on the premise that they’re somehow the easiest “transition” distro … I still disagree.

Colour & theme may not seem that big a deal to you, but as a “computer noob”, people appreciate things that are familiar. The kinds of people that don’t want to move from XP to Vista or 7 (definately not 8!), because it’s too different. Give those people a Linux distro that looks very similar to the default XP theme (these people don’t change themes either), and they’ll be happier than the default Mint UI. This is exactly what I’ve done with my in-laws PC as they are computer-illiterate, except with LMDE. I installed an XP theme, and it looks near identical to XP - hell, I’ve even got the e-mail client and browser on auto-start for them, so they don’t have to find the icons.

The different applications…well, Firefox & Thunderbird, and LibreOffice to a certain extent, are well-known Windows applications too, so there’s no issue there. Even if there was an issue, distros can fudge it by just saying “Internet Browser” rather than Firefox/Chromium/etc.

I agree that Zorin shouldn’t make those claims as such, but it’s all marketing in the end of the day. They know their target audience; at least they spread a lot less FUD than M$. And they’re much better than Robolinux, those guys are the absolute worst. I wouldn’t mind if they didn’t make it commercial, but charging for their product along with all the marketing crud - it’s almost like the project was created by an ex-Microsoft employee.

As I said in the edit above … Zorin themselves no longer seem to be making those claims, so all is well with the world again :slight_smile:

And I have no problem with the commercial aspect … you are allowed to make money for your efforts you know, even in the Linux world … maybe that’s how it’s more Windows like :wink:


Colour & theme may not seem that big a deal to you, but as a "computer noob", people appreciate things that are familiar.

I still fail to see this … are you saying if you just change the Windows colour scheme user would be confused ?

Stardock would be surprised to hear that.

If you were talking about “Layout” I’d agree, but the Mint desktop layout and menu are pretty much the same as the Zorin one … just green/silver instead of blue/silver

Don’t Zorin throw in the Compiz cube … surely that should confuse the hell outa Windows users then ?

Thanks for the replies and suggestions so far guys. When I first posted I knew that it would garner various responses and even some disagreements haha!

Anyway, I decided the best way to go was simply to take the first suggestion and see how I got on with that.
So I now have Mint Cinnamon 64bit v2 installed plus VMware Tools. It’s the third install as the first two kept giving me the problem with running in software rendering mode, although I haven’t done anything different apart from re-installing… strange.

I’ve been using Windows desktops for several years from XP through to Win 8.1 Pro which I’m on right now. But I felt like a change so want to give Linux a try. I have some basic experience of terminal from using my rooted Nokia N900 and N9 smartphones but I’m definitely a novice.

Some of you have mentioned similarities between Windows and particular Linux distros, but that doesn’t necessarily bother me; there’s a lot of difference between 7 and 8 but I’ve managed to settle in to it just fine. And if Mint isn’t for me I’ll just try one of the others suggested in this thread - but at least I now have a starting point.

So thanks again for your help, and try not to get into any arguments, at least not on my account ;D


“Discussions” are common in the Linux world, it’s a bit like…if you like football, you’ll watch it while it’s on the TV, but if someone who doesn’t know about football asks who the best team is, you’ll tell them the best team is whoever your favourite is. Doesn’t have to be football, works with any sport really

Mark - I don’t have a problem with Zorin and the way they go about it, I dislike Robolinux and the way they go about it. Plus, one of the biggest selling points I’ve found when converting people from XP, is that Linux is free. To try to suggest people pay for it, you’re met with the argument “I might as well buy Windows then” ::slight_smile:

@ rubiicon

As chemicalfan says … no argument going on here, just a friendly discussion :wink:

@ chemicalfan

Zorin is free … they just offer a non-free version with added content … can’t see a problem there, kinda what Google do with Android.

Personally I think Linux strongest selling point should be security … not “free”.

"I might as well buy Windows then"

doesn’t get them the security … so if they feel that way, Linux wasn’t “sold” to them properly (or of course they’re just stupid/lucky) :slight_smile:

True, security is a decent factor, I just find it an easier sell to say that it’s free, when supporting users that couldn’t care less about their computers, and have the view that “I don’t go on dodgy sites, I’ll be fine”.

Windows security isn’t THAT bad when properly locked down with UAC. There’s still holes in the kernel etc, and dodgy browser plug-ins, but it’s a lot better than it used to be. As with Linux, just don’t let people that don’t know what they’re doing, have the root password (or group access).

To be totally honest, it’s because Linux is free that I use it. Both in that it costs me nothing, but also in the the community of hobbyists that surround Linux and donate their time for free, is something that it’s nice to be part of :slight_smile:

Couldn’t agree more, and well said :slight_smile:

I agree wholeheartedly. I was a member of for a few years, and also where we did a lot of WinCE coding on Pioneer satnav systems. You can’t beat good community forums.

And this seems like a good forum too so no doubt I will be back here soon for more advice…

And a +1 from me too! (I love this site… ;))

Just to round things off… ::slight_smile: In my view, anything that can get people weaned off Windows is a good thing and should be applauded. ‘Softly, softly, catchee monkey…’ :wink:

I’m surprised you didn’t get more different distro suggestions I was gonna suggest Gentoo but that’s just because I’ve got a sick sense of humour :slight_smile:


OK, you want to let me in on the Gentoo ‘joke’?