prospective linux user

How do I learn about linux? Books? Manuals? Articles?. Not particularly computer literate but familiar with Fortran and Basic in the very distant past (that dates me). Requirements are Internet access, e-mail, word processing, spread sheets. printing (HP All-in-one 4280). Entroware (is this an American company?) offer laptops with Ubuntu which would be a straightforward introduction. Also quite taken with Asus Zenbook 305 but this would mean installing linux and getting rid of Windows 10. Judging by Ed’s problems with Peppermint (“going over to linux”) I don’t think I would want to go there (the technical jargon is impenetrable in any case). Grateful for any comments.

Incidentally, are there any linux devotees in the Market Rasen, Lincolnshire,UK area?



seems to suggest any Ubuntu 16.04 based distro (including Peppermint 7 or Mint 18) should “just work” on the Zenbook UX305

There were issues with distros based on earlier versions, but the 4.4 kernel used in 16.04 seems to have solved them.

It really isn’t hard to install (usually much easier than Windows) and we’re here to help … but your call :wink:

Thanks Mark. I’ll log your suggestion. Collecting as much information as I can prior to making a decision


For word processing and spreadsheetes … LibreOffice or WPS office are your best bet, installable on pretty much any Linux distro.

Email … Thunderbird for a mail client if you’re not talking about webmail which is handled in the browser anyway.

HP 4280 Printer … you’ll probably need to install hplip-gui which is very easy to do with a single command, or via the GUI package manager (think “app store”) and we can help.

Don’t be put off by what seems like impenetrable jargon, and the fact that forums seem to be all “command line” … Linux rarely “requires” the command line, but it’s used a lot on forums because commands are easier to type, leave less room for “misinterpretation”, and can be copy/pasted.
The “jargon” you’ll soon get to grips with, and we’re here to a nswer any questions :wink:

Thanks again Mark. More useful info to be filed. Are you familiar with the supplier Entroware?

Hi Osmond and welcome to the forum!

For Entroware, see here - Entroware - Ubuntu Desktops, Laptops, and Servers

Before you go shelling out on a new piece of kit, have you got a redundant Windows machine sat gathering dust? Or a relative/friend who might pass one on? I’m writing this from a 10yr old ex Vista desktop with Windows gone and Mint 17 installed - does everything I need and more with no major hassles. Ditto an even older ex XP laptop… :wink:

With reference to your 1st post - in my opinion you would learn more about Linux (and faster) by installing an OS yourself rather than going for one pre-installed. It’s really quite straightforward these days, especially with the more ‘mainstream’ OS’s and if you do encounter any hiccups, then this site is the ‘go to’ for advice, in the first instance.

Just keep in mind that Linux is NOT Windows - and is all the better for it! It works differently ‘under the hood’ but to all practical purposes, browsing/document writing/spreadsheets etc etc, is just the same. Also you can forget the need for antivirus and the like - yes, really!

There are, literally, hundreds of different incarnations of Linux and that can be quite daunting to a ‘newbie’! Try to see that as an advantage. With Windows you ‘get what you are given’, ie no choice; with Linux, you are free to choose whatever suits you and your particular needs and can modify, remove and install any and all of it as you desire. Plus the fact it’s free…

Research, ask as many questions as you like before you make up your mind on what to do and I’m sure all will be well as it has been for those of us who have gone through exactly the same process before you.

Good luck!


Thanks for your interest Rich J. I have an ancient Toshiba 200 W7 but my wife likes it so it’s likely to remain in use for the foreseeable future. As to installing a linux OS I don’t think I’m quite there yet but I take your point; at least that would give me a wider choice of machines. Still collecting information and advice.
Thanks for your good wishes.


Can’t say I have any personal experience with them, but if you post a link to the hardware you’re specifically looking at we can probably advise on whether it’d save you much or be worth buying similar Windows hardware and installing yourself.

A “quick” browse of their website doesn’t seem to suggest they are too overpriced, but I can’t personally vouch for their returns policy and/or support.
(though they are by no means cheap)

[s]Ebuyer also do Ubuntu pre-installed hardware, and I can guarantee theirs.

BRB with further info[/s]


Hmm, it seems they no longer have any listed … I’ve emailed them to ask if this is temporary (out of stock), or a permanenet dropping of the lines.

Hi Osmond

I am new to these forums, but have been using various flavours of Linux (in combination with more mainstream OSes) since the 90s.

If you wanted to try out Linux without having to install it yourself, I would be happy to lend you one of these:

It runs Xubuntu which is XFCE + Ubuntu. XFCE has a fairly standard and easy to use interface, and Ubuntu is well supported. PM me if interested, I will pop one in the post.

Regards Lee.

Good morning Lee.
Thanks for your offer. I don’t think I’m quite ready for this yet. Still feeling my way.

That was a very kind offer there Lee H … very community minded, I’m impressed :slight_smile:

Greetings to all advisors,
Ministry of Freedom offer laptops withTrisquel GNU/linux pre-installed and with a wide choice of Ram and storage. The processor is Core 2 Duo P8400 2.2GHz. Is this the kind of set-up to suit a beginner like…


Looking at the Ministry of Freedom laptop appears to be reconditioned unit.

The Libreboot X200 is a modified ThinkPad X200 (itself a rebranded Wistron design) containing reconditioned parts, with libreboot and Trisquel GNU/Linux-libre 7.0 LTS pre-installed.
The processor is Core 2 Duo P8400 was released in 2008 see here I have never tried Trisquel so cannot comment on it. IMHO if you are a freedom warrior then this is to go with. Otherwise the offer from Lee H is a good one.

I agree Lee H’s offer looks better to me (and may I add, very community minded) … Trisquel is one of those distros that refuse to include proprietary codecs or drivers so might give you problems with some things like mp3 playback, etc.
It’s not that they can’t be added, but something like Xubuntu will certainly make life easier.

Lee H was also only asking around ?50 If I remember correctly, and that’s also a core2duo like the T400 from Ministry of Freedom.

Even if I were to go down the T400 route I’d still get one with Windows pre-installed
then install Linux myself.

But your call.

I know I keep saying this but installing Linux is ridiculously easy these days … and it’s fairly easy to research how well most laptop models will run it … there’s nearly always someone who’s posted any problems or not, or we can look up the hardware spec.

I ran an HP core2duo machine for donkeys years - :slight_smile: initially with Ubuntu 10 on, and then moved to peppermint. :wink: It was so good, i used it for more or less everything, and literally “wore it out” :frowning: - I replaced it with a more modern machine, but am still running linux - peppermint 6 currently ( of course!). :slight_smile:

Linux is very easy to get on with now - I have switched many of our friends over to it too!! none of have gone back, one went to Apple ( he’s got too much money!) the remaining friends running windross ( not many, thankfully ), seem to have too many problems for my liking - and always “moaning” about something called “antivirus” ??? ;D ::slight_smile:

I’d try and stick to a mainstream distro for your first experience of linux… my choice would be peppermint, but there are several other good suggestions above :slight_smile:

Sorry about the delay-domestic commitments. Thanks for your comments Sim. Peppermint seems to be a much quoted version and I’ll bear this in mind if I proceed further.

Mark: Referring back to your suggestion about Ubuntu and Asus there appear to be some problems concerning touchpad, Wi-Fi, screen brightness to mention but a few. Also on there is a blow by blow account of installing Ubuntu on the 305 which is largely incomprehensible to me and does little for my confidence in proceeding with the project. Incidentally, during my internet searches I stumbled upon a website which mentioned a perceived arrangement between Microsoft and Lenovo to prevent Linux installation on Lenovo computers. Unfortunately I failed to note the name of the website and cannot now find it. Is there any truth in this?

I am committed to getting a new laptop but the foregoing has left me wondering what to go for.

As I said, a quick “Google” seems to suggest the 4.4 kernel currently used by most recent (ubuntu based) distros seems to have solved issues the 305 had with earlier kernels.

So if you’re finding different info, it may be out of date … but the only way I could be sure is if you provide links.

My last post has not appeared. Neither has Mark’s posted at 6.13 pm yesterday. Am I doing something wrong?

I’m not sure what you mean … I can see them :-\

Have you tried clearing your web browser cache, then restarting your browser ?

Sorry Mark, back in contact now. I got the info on Asus 305 and Ubuntu from www.liliputing .com and Most of the reviews dated back to 2015 so as you point out things may have improved by now.