(My) Linux User-Friendliness Report for MDL.

Discussion in 'Linux' started by smallhagrid, Jan 1, 2020.

  1. smallhagrid

    smallhagrid MDL Addicted

    Sep 14, 2013
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    (Posted here just in case anyone may care to see this...)

    Back in the days of DOS prominence Linux came along - and admittedly, for all of its comparative power, I was not impressed...mostly because of having the need to work with DOS - so why learn something that was known of only by a very select few ??

    Fast forward a bunch of years and windoze had unseated DOS (despite its constant unreliabilities, etc. etc...) while Linux sort of chugged along rather quietly in the background, steadily & strongly for the most part - but still just about unknown.

    Later still, it became more GUI oriented & some folks (myself included) dared to hope that it could one day be as simple as XP, such that anybody's grandpa could just sit down and use it without trepidation(s).
    (This had me telling folks that I was waiting for the day when it became grandpa-friendly.)

    It did IMO - back around the time of Ubuntu 11.04 - and:
    Such a delight that was for me to help some totally non-technical folks to have that as their main desktop OS !!

    Those same very 1st folks had their same version of that for years - literally100% trouble free, and truly came to being very comfortable in their daily computer usages.

    For these folks:
    This was as perfect as needing to use a PC could ever be - doing their undemanding & routine tasks - no 'antivirus taxes' to be paid, and never, ever any BSODs to scare the wits right out of them, ever again !!

    Using Ubuntu with a lightweight, classically styled DE made their ease & comfort possible.

    For me, it was very interesting to see whilst keeping any support concerns to myself and also supporting quite a number of other users who were totally rooted in using windoze, and staying resistant to any possible changes.

    Specifically what I refer to in keeping any support concerns to myselfis the more technical stuff which I am inclined to get into...like Ubuntu Mate's need of having Numlockx present to enable dedicated number keys at login time - but it ain't there; and why that same distro was released with a truly ancient version of Libreoffice - rather than the current & vastly improved version.

    Also related with support is the (still, in almost 2020) inherent snarkiness shown as present when folks like myself ask a distro's community for help and/or answers for such things as already mentioned, or less common problems like permissions affecting shares in a secured (behind a dedicated firewall PC...) LAN.

    Just use Samba - it is simple, they might say...sure, just as simple as deciding how to ignore a raging toothache or the banging headache it brought on - or just shooting oneself instead !!

    More soon, I have other things to do right now...
     
  2. TinMan

    TinMan MDL Member

    Jul 31, 2009
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  3. smallhagrid

    smallhagrid MDL Addicted

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    OK, I'm back for at least a small bit of addition here...

    I'll start here with some goofy little stuff:

    Event sounds=>
    Barely any method of dealing with them - sure there is, someone may say - OK, I'll play=>

    Sound preferences ??
    Yeah right...no sounds or default...which is what ??
    A singular alert sound; that's IT.
    And a checkbox for 'enable window & button sounds'
    Truly pathetic.

    Animated mouse cursors=>
    Sure, they sorta exist and they even sorta work...sometimes...maybe...I think.

    Example:
    Open a PDF reader & the little spinny cursor actually spins for the 2 seconds until it shows, BUT;
    Open a browser that takes ~1 minute to start ??
    NOTHING DOING.

    Also pertinent here is that I have 2 seriously favourite animated cursors which have been delightful for busy & working in background which I cannot reuse by any means that I've found thus far.
    I asked at a user forum some time ago and was told to use some arcane method to convert to the needed format, but I stopped right there as I didn't need to get into a new hobby for 2 seemingly LITTLE details.

    A sadly funny detail is how it is so often said that in using Linux there is practically unlimited customization possible - but the truth is that UNLESS it is built-in to, or invented & added by the distro's dev(s), fuggedaboudit.

    Lastly here, for now=> Launcher icons.
    My best/worst example was regarding Seamonkey.

    I made a launcher for it to open directly to email which of course defaulted to the ridiculous, generic springy icon - whereas I wanted the app's OWN icon...so where is that ??
    Took a while to figure it out & finally found it's PNG file buried FOUR LEVELS under the opt directory !!
    ARGH.

    (More sometime later - time for me to do other stuff, again.)
     
  4. smallhagrid

    smallhagrid MDL Addicted

    Sep 14, 2013
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    ALERT !! ALERT !!
    (Never mind...we ain't got any steenken alerts.)

    Such a seemingly simple subject - email alerts...right ??
    Nope, not simple a'tall.

    Of course over 90% of any/all blame in this gripe points STRAIGHT to the Mozilla folks.
    In their hurry to lobotomize Thunderbird they made it almost impossible to customize & something like 90% of its addons are no more...including the tray notification addon I enjoyed for years & years.
    Being forced to switch into the latest version of TB & Seamonkey to cover my emailing needs is a huge disappointmet to me.

    Of course the Linux world has several separate email alerter apps one may use - if one is patient enough in tolerating their foibles;
    This used to be sort of a built-in function, but those far-sighted devs also decided to remove the OS's notifier due to no apparent abilities at reasoning whatsoever.

    Of the (small) lot, the closest to actually working is an unsupported app called Unity Mail.
    It works splendidly for gmail - but if you have a 3rd party email server other than that - fuggedaboud it.
    There used to be 'popper', but it went extinct, then got updated to 'mailnag', which is a complete hassle to try to use.

    Does any of the above get me to lean towards moving backwards to some sort of windoze ??
    Nope.
    But it sure does shine a light upon some things that would make Linux users very happy if they could have them.
     
  5. smallhagrid

    smallhagrid MDL Addicted

    Sep 14, 2013
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    And right now - I want to mention simultaneous file usage in a shared environment...

    Getting back to the situation of the friend whom I've been helping (mentioned above), on those few times that he and his assistant have unknowingly opened the same file for editing - resulting in the latter of the 2 seeing Libre Writer crash hard.

    A multi-user OS & a shared file situation - but MINUS the real ability to do that - how silly can we get ??

    Under windoze this was literally NEVER a problem - because the very worst it would do was to open the file read-only for 1 of the 2 users, prompting a query - but NOT causing any real problems.

    Also under windoze there was no such thing as any snafu with permissions, which made for a very smooth work flow - this has been just a fond memory under Linux - where perms have been a large irritant in such a small place.

    Some things seem to sort of slide around a bit randomly as well - the aforementioned perms being one of those - and when Libre Writer crashes, the user's PC then changes the default app opening DOCX files all on its own...
    Not helpful.

    It is a good thing that for me - this is sort of a 'labor of love', simply because the endless amounts of time & efforts I've poured into working to find good ways to work around the seemingly arcane problems that always bring up equally arcane solutions - would have to be paid for with huge sums if done at any consultant's rates !!!
     
  6. ktgrrl

    ktgrrl MDL Novice

    Feb 18, 2013
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    It's not always easy being a penguin adoptee, but the way I see it at least we have choices, and it's wonderful that the smart & persistent ones among us can tweak, repair, rebuild so many features in Linux that are much harder to access in Windoze. In many ways it was easier to get my work done in DOS instead of having to fight with Windows system problems and updates that so often broke something or installed something intrusive on my privacy. I've been on Linux almost exclusively for several years (I do have DOS in DOSBox, and Win 98, XP and 7 in VirtualBox for a few old games and such) but I'm still not very skilled in the terminal because I haven't really needed to do much there except the basics. The GUIs for most typical purposes in Linux have made it seem less important to learn & use terminal commands. But though convenient, it's an attractive deception to believe those skills are obsolete or too arcane to bother with. For instance, my latest (small) endeavor and learning experience is figuring out how to get Ungoogled Chromium working in Debian from files on Github (not in Debian repository and the Ubuntu build sent it chasing its tail in dependency hell). Wouldn't be a big deal if I'd put more effort into learning the essential commands in a more systematic way, but it sure would have been nice to find an idiot's guide for ordinary mortals like me to perform what should be a relatively simple task without taking all day and risking damage to my OS.

    I find it just as frustrating when my most used programs are updated with even more bloated features I don't want and can't turn off and that slow to a crawl or crash and lose my work in the middle of a project (particularly LibreOffice and Firefox). Asking for help on some (not all) of the dedicated forums is not for the faint of heart. Lots of snarky know-it-all responses and sometimes really bad advice (but in fairness, worth what I paid for it -- free isn't always a bargain), so I mostly just search and read, search and read, then try to work it out myself. I USED to be computer literate and thought I was a reasonably competent pc engineer back in the early days. Now with Linux I'm back to learning the basics! I suppose my motto should be "Live and learn, try to find some reward in the effort or give up living." But at my age it takes a toll on time and patience when I just want to get something done!

    That said, I think Linux is great when it works. Even then, I just can't seem to keep from poking around under the hood to see HOW it works. When I break something I can't blame my near-novice skills on Linux and the software devs, but I do wish there was better documentation and a little more help and less snark on some of the "user support" forums! And I especially wish we had more fully Linux compatible hardware & drivers. That won't happen while MS is king, and IMO an Android tablet isn't worth the trouble to put a full and reasonably secure Linux OS on and do any real work. My biggest concern for Linux is that MS is snaking its tentacles into establishing a too-cozy relationship that will strangle Linux as MS pulls more and more bits of it into its own OS. MS doesn't share.
     
  7. dreamydreamy

    dreamydreamy MDL Junior Member

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    I think linux needs to be viewed as a side hobby, something that your trying to build, to get working. Just switching to linux and thinking it can replace windows, is not possible, at least not yet.
    It should be viewed as a hobby, otherwise people will get frustrated with it. Its kind of like the electric car, it has problems, serious problems associated with it, but its the future. Its just not yet ready for mass adoption.


    We need to keep driving those combustion engine cars as a daily driver, while slowly building up the electric wonder in the garage. :)
     
  8. nodnar

    nodnar MDL Expert

    Oct 15, 2011
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    user-friendliness?? not a question for me...lets face it;linux is not at all user friendly.hundreds of distros,,, steep learning curves.. for every fool his own linux..but once you have concluded that windose is a sinking ship, [and it really is, full of spyware,crashing updates, a backdoor around every corner,] the water is already sloshing in the gangways, one is left empty handed when looking for alternatives...i seem to have no choice, i will have to learn to live with it. until someone makes a viable alternative, that is.
     
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  9. smallhagrid

    smallhagrid MDL Addicted

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    Great replies - Thanks Folks !!

    The car<=>Linux comparison is hugely funny to me because better alternatives for cars have been discovered and buried starting around 100 years ago - better ways to burn less fuels especially - but also some amazing total substitutes - but all have vanished in 'accidents' or mysteriously, etc...

    Close to that subject I was lucky enough to get some used military tires for a big stakebody truck I had & they were amazing - didn't wear even under heavy loads - those outlasted the truck !!

    Nodnar - after spending so many years taming windoze, the process of helping others in their Linux conversions has been mostly a joy to me, and given enough time I do find the solutions that are needed.

    Yes, I agree that for many reasons that the Titanic windoze ship is very slowly sinking - and those I've helped into Linux (and myself by now too) are either offended by what windoze has become - or just want to escape the BSODs & the antivirus 'tax' & endless, daily malware worries.

    Despite my gripes about Linux - it has definitely surpassed the level of my Grandpa Friendly test, and though this may sound unhappy - the oldest man I had helped into Linux had it running daily without problems for almost 10 years - right 'till the day he passed away at almost 90 years old. (And he was totally non-technical...but didn't break it.)
    That is ~10 years in which he never had to pay the antivirus tax again, which made him very happy with it and it was a happiness for me also being able to give him that little gift.
     
  10. Tiger-1

    Tiger-1 MDL Guru

    Oct 18, 2014
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    :clap3:yep I agree ;)
     
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  11. Kim100

    Kim100 MDL Senior Member

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    I have to disagree regarding user friendlyness, the learning curve is now as steep as you want to make it. Install Mint or MX Linux and all the hard work has been done for you, just add a few apps and off you go, easier than Windows. Start off with Arch or similar and it's a very different story. The vast number of distros is a pain but at least there is a choice in the Linux world, with Apple or MS its just take it or leave it, and its a doddle to try out different Linux distro from a live pen drive.
     
  12. nodnar

    nodnar MDL Expert

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    :g: not all the hard work....i decided to install mint, made a usb sick ready, booted my machine with it, and looked for a wifi signal...and dammit...
    mint had never heard of the usb wifi dongle that i use in windose....:D so back to the drawing board untill i find something that mint supports..
    and easier than windose? i get very p***.ed off when the browser that comes with mint starts yapping to do an update when i have umpteen tabs open. firefox is possibly worse than win 10 in that respect, and i will need to replace it pronto i hate to critisize mint, but easier than windose?? sorry, nope...
     
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  13. ktgrrl

    ktgrrl MDL Novice

    Feb 18, 2013
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    I wrote this ofline earlier today in a few sittings while I thought about what others have said and my own experience. Please forgive me if I repeat some things. I did try to edit before sending! Life is short, but I'm sorry that my message ended up so long.

    I think part of the underlying problem Windows wanna-be ex-pats have with embracing Linux is that there are so many distro spins a beginner can choose from without a lot of unbiased (?) comparative info to make that first choice. "You only get one chance to make a first impression." I'm pretty sure most novices choose their first distro for its purported simplicity or user-friendliness or visual elegance. "It's just like XP" (or 7) is probably the most common one. On the other end of the spectrum, maybe the neighbor who lives in his mom's basement and codes all night recommends you should just dive in at the deep end because once you learn a few terminal commands you can do anything better and faster without all that GUI stuff in your way. To which I say, by all means learn to use the CLI, but I'm also happy to have easy-to-use tools, with the understanding that the more complex the tool, the more specialized is its function. Some tweaking may be required to adapt it for better use, and it may occasionally break. Most Windows ex-pats haven't needed to do much in the terminal, and there's a lot they can't access anyway without knowing the arcana. That's OK as long as everything works, but when a Linux user looks online for a solution to what seems to be a simple problem (maybe getting your printer to work), the typical answer is to open the terminal and enter some gibberish without explanation of what it means. The right(?) typo can wipe out your system. That doesn't inspire confidence in a Linux newbie, or even one who has "used Linux" for years with only minimal use of the terminal. Some laptops can't use the wifi drivers provided (or not) in the distro they just installed, so without a second computer or dual-boot installation with Windows how are they supposed to get help online and download anything? It's all those little things that drive Linux newbies back to the familiarity of Windows in spite of its own crazy-making issues.

    ------------------------------------------------------

    Here's a scenario I've seen again and again. You want to migrate from Windows to Linux, so you pick a distro that promises a fast learning curve. You're proficient in Windows and your shiny new Linux distro has lots of the same familiar apps (LibreOffice, VLC, Firefox, T-bird etc) and it looks just like good old XP, so how hard can it be? Once you start down the rabbit-hole you quickly become aware of the idiosyncrasies of the distro you've chosen. You only know if it will fit YOUR needs & hardware (Printer, anybody? graphics driver? touch pad? fan control? How about WIFI?!?!) after you've installed and worked with it a while. Meanwhile, you assume whatever doesn't work right MUST be due to your inexperience, so you ask for help on that distro's forum and ... well, you know how that can go! For example: distros born of the same "mother" can't reliably borrow packages from a common repository, and a printer or other device that works OK in one distro doesn't work so well in another. You can't find a solution in the distro you're using, so after a while you do a little distro-hopping to find the "best" one to suit your needs. It's frustrating to discover that THIS one does A,B,C well but isn't up to the tasks of X, Y, Z , and THAT one has a different set of good, meh, missing, and broken features. (Does this sound familiar: "Thanks for reporting your problem; we're aware of it and working on it, but be patient because there's only one or two of us that maintain the distro; we hope we'll soon have a work-around..." Later: "Oops! You say fixing that broke something else? OK, thanks for reporting; we'll work on that..." etc) With so many past & present garage-band variations on a theme, it's sometimes hard to recognize that they were built on the same Linux kernel without looking under the hood. That can be fun and instructive, but sometimes I just need to get my work done!

    It's no wonder to me that migrants from Windows often install as a dual-boot with their familiar Win system and only use Linux with the same or highly compatible apps they know from Windows, while also claiming the desire to "someday" leave MS behnd. Or maybe they use it now and then for its novelty (Linux-as-a-hobby), or to troubleshoot Windows or for data recovery.

    -----------------------------------

    Kim100, I hear what you're saying and agree for the most part. Choice is good, and the level to which we learn is up to each of us, given cognitive ability, willingness, and available time, nowadays also internet access! On the other hand, it seems to me that with so many distros the everybody-his-own-flavor approach has led to painful splinters among what might otherwise be a more cohesive community working together to improve and maintain a few well-established and pretty stable ones that are still well-maintained, developed and updated with new features by a large community of contributors under agreed-upon terms, and that are the foundations for nearly all the hobby spins. I'd rather see the distro-spinners add their efforts to improving those "mother" distros, offering their unique bits and bobs as available options in shared repositories. It can drive Linux newbies crazy when the "official" repository for one distro-spin can't reliably be used with another without dependency problems the typical newbie doesn't know how to resolve. Sure, newbies can learn to work around those issues if they don't give up and go back to MS or Apple. Problems like that hold Linux back from being considered a serious contender, relegating it to a status that I've often heard mocked as a hobby for dissident computer geeks but not for getting work done! (There's also the claim that you can't play games on Linux.) I know better, but the impression is out there, and the distro cowboys aren't helping much if they won't join ranks to develop & share their strengths instead of just accentuating all those micro differences that makes them "special."

    I love that we have choices, and I agree that it's not hard to distro-hop. Been there, done that more than a few times, but after the novelty wore off and things I need didn't work in one or another distro I've gone back to the tried-and-true oldies. It's great that some hardy entrepreneurs enjoy making their own spin-offs, but it's just not worth my time to distro-hop when so many leave me with the impression that they're just somebody's personal hobby-distro-in-progress offered for public consumption while the dev is still figuring it out and with little or no support to fix what doesn't work. A lot of the distros aren't much more than different flavors of eye-candy and maybe a different list of apps pre-installed. OK, that's cool if it fits a niche, but otherwise so what? I'm NOT advocating for commercializing Linux, but in a marketplace face-off I doubt most of those distro-spins would survive. There are notable exceptions, of course, with many users and decent support. IMO most of the rest are flash-in-the-pan novelties. I'd rather see the devs pool their talents, but I understand the power of ego and the desire to create something unique. I'm not suggesting that there should be a one-distro-fits-all -- I've had more than enough of that with MS and Apple -- but I do think having so many do-my-own-thing hobby distros is more of a bane than a benefit to the advancement of Linux as a viable OS to be taken seriously in contrast to omnipresent and monolithic MS & Apple.

    End of rant! Nice day outside for a change; off to enjoy it while it lasts!
     
  14. nodnar

    nodnar MDL Expert

    Oct 15, 2011
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    and it is a rant that should be appreciated..actually, i am not a windose migrant at all, i am a dos migrant.[still know dos commands by heart, including some undocumented options...] had to move on. from dos to w 3.11 and on to 9.x [ tried linux once, and only once. , was not what i needed at all. was reasonably happy with that, until xp came along. moved on to 7, i liked 7. after that snowdon came along.and m$ came with 8
    and in 2015, 10. never bothered with that.meanwhile i had tried mint on an old lappy and was impressed by the progress it had made. installed
    flawlessly.worked ditto. was stable. and now, i will have to move on. i am fed up with m$ malware, so i will start with mint again, if i can get wifi working.
    what i merely tried to say with my post was that all those distros are counterproductive for the average user.better concentrate the efforts.
    and what linux is offering; the price is right, but there are just too many unpractical people who take its flaws far too lightly. i did not mean to
    critiiitise at all.. but as easy as windose?? better get practical..
     
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  15. ktgrrl

    ktgrrl MDL Novice

    Feb 18, 2013
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    Nodnar, I wouldn't say Linux is as easy as Windows (Win can be rather difficult for some folks if they want to do something not presented as a point&click option, and drivers can still be a hassle if not included or auto-detected & downloaded; same for getting updates but that's a different can of worms),. I think at least the Linux distros I know in the Debian & derivatives world SEEM to be as easy as Windows as long as everything works out of the box or can be tweaked with menu-guided settings. That is, most Linux installations and updates are pretty straight-forward now, updates aren't as prone to break things as they are in Windows, and the menus, repository interfaces like Synaptic, and GUIs for popular apps have made it so that we seldom really NEED to use the terminal. But then some people won't know what to do when there's no other way, and then they complain that it's too hard! A little learning can fix that. Backups are a whole 'nother story. In any case, I wouldn't trade Linux back for Win, especially for the Linux advantage in privacy & security, though vigilance still is key.

    You mentioned getting rid of Firefox; IMO it has steadily degenerated since v,56. I don't know what (or if) Mozilla is thinking! I'm using FF-ESR (built on FF v.56 with only security updates) and a few security/privacy add-ons but it's on the edge of obsolescence and probably won't last much longer. Waterfox Classic is built on ESR with some added security (doesn't seem to phone home and easier than FF to lock down) but only one person maintains it and seems to be struggling to keep up. When I get a chance I plan to install Ungoogled Chromium and Iridium browsers to see how they do. And I'm looking for a better search engine. Turns out DDG and StartPage have sold out to corporate interests, so no safer than Google. I'm not a fan of anything Google does but they, MS, Amazon, and a few others rule the world these days.

    It seems you and I have had about the same history with MS. Before Gates left ABQ he offered me a job with his new start-up, but I didn't admire him much even then and turned him down to work for Digital instead, writing microcode for their new LSI-11 desktop computer. Every tech I knew then was playing with Sinclair or similar 8-bit kits. A few years later I was given a couple Commodores -- it was fun to write code for it! No hard drive yet, only 5.25" floppy disks and either 64 or 128 K RAM so programs had to be very efficient, but you could do a lot with a C64 and its "smart" color monitor. It taught me to disdain lazy, bloated programming! I think my first MS PC was DOS 2 or 3, eventually DOS 5 or maybe 6, then forced into Win 3.11 to keep using MathCad which I loved and probably still have archived. Moving to Win made me mad but what to do? (in the days of DOS we laughed at Mac users having GUI brains). Skiped everything in between Win 3.11 and XP, except 98 now and then to help a friend, then 7. A few forays into Ubuntu all along the way. New desktop came with Win8.1, didn't like 8.1 and dumped it for Linux Mint, also dual-booted Mint & Win7 on a laptop. Everything worked OK in Mint on both systems, and almost no learning curve except terminal commands as needed or just trying new things but no serious effort to learn until recently. Now all my PCs are Linux only, and I have DOS in DOSBox, Win 98, XP, 7 in VirtualBox if needed for Rufus and a few other utils, also some old off-line games. I have no Win skills beyond 7, so I'm no longer asked to give Windows help -- hurrah!!!

    I'm sorry you're having trouble with Mint on your laptop, since it seems you like it otherwise. IMO Mint is pretty good in general, based on Ubuntu with pretty good support, sends security updates a few days (usually) after Ubuntu releases them, most (not all) of Ubuntu's repository works as-is on Mint, and the info on Ubuntu's forum usually is good for Mint users as well. Mint was fine on my older PCs and laptops, but I've had problems with both Mint and Ubuntu on my newer Dell laptop. That wifi thing for one, also my newer laptop lacked some functionality in both distros, so I've moved to their "mother ship" Debian. I'm on v10 now, and after the usual settings-tweaks almost everything works out of the box. Still no auto screen rotation or accelerometer but those aren't essential to me, and the touchpad is a little TOO touchy and sporadic (really annoying when it suddenly highlights and deletes a block of text), but it was worse in Mint and Ubuntu. U is too bloated for me anyway, and Canonical has done a few shady things with user data in the past, so no thanks! My problem child is a Dell laptop, and I blame Dell for their proprietary hardware and drivers on my and other folks' PCs that I maintain. Even Dell's BIOS (or UEFI now) has some things that are odd; e.g., my newer laptop has its own power scheme and Linux sees it as an ACPI failure on start-up. I could probably look at the BIOS code but I'm not sure what to look for even if I could mod it. Or maybe it's because my laptop is afflicted with that cursed Intel BayTrail chip. I'd like the laptop a lot more if I could fix those things. Aside from that, everything I've read complains that temp control & power management are both terrible in ALL Linux distros! Maybe something in (or not in) the kernel.

    Since you've liked Mint, perhaps you could see if Debian has what you need. Or if you have nothing else to do for a while, maybe try Arch or a derivative on it. or first ask in their forums how to know if your wifi is supported (beware: in Arch forum there be dragons). I think you said your wifi problem is related to a dongle you need to use that Mint doesn't support; maybe there's a different dongle that would work with the available drivers? I have one that goes the other way (laptop is wifi only; the dongle adapts to wired ethernet when I need better download speed). Some Amazon reviews for mine said it was Windows, Mac, and Linux-compatible out of the box, so I'm guessing it doesn't need a driver or it's an old generic one that every OS provides. It would be good if you can keep using Mint if you like it otherwise.
     
  16. smallhagrid

    smallhagrid MDL Addicted

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    I totally agree that there are WAAAAY too many distros on the whole - and this is why I finally limited myself to Debian variants & eventually to Ubuntu, because it has the largest userbase & is the best when it comes to finding actual solutions for problems.
    That choice changed to Ubuntu Mate when they went to that horrid Unity thing that was even a PITA to remove.
    I have never regretted these choices as they have worked well for me & all those I've assisted.

    As to Mint, they have about the friendliest forum ever, but I've found their releases to be very touchy about the h/w they run on - which has seemed odd to me as it is in the same family as what I have almost zero troubles with.

    Wifi is the ONLY exception to that, of course, and I have provided a list of confirmed working dongles here:
    https://forums.mydigitallife.net/th...ble-for-many-people.78605/page-8#post-1551825

    I have advised ALL my prior windoze clients for years that in-built wifi is always insipid - and even back then if they HAD to use a notebook I changed it to a dongle & they always had better results.

    In recent years when Ubuntu would not recognize the in-built ones, I tried at 1st to make them work as a curiosity project, and got a few to work - but it was silly & onerous to do - so I took that as an opportunity to test a bunch with very good results.

    Here at home copper is the rule, simply because wired beats wireless EVERY time - no contest there.

    But as to the rest of the h/w ??
    Wired ethernet, sound, displays, pointing devices & even printers - for the most part zero problems and I even go so far as to re-use the same, tweaked up OS configuration on different h/w via Systemback's liveboot installer - and those just start right up with zero troubles...EXCEPT for in-built notebook wifi, of course.
     
  17. Kim100

    Kim100 MDL Senior Member

    Jun 17, 2009
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    If you decide to look at Debian give MX Linux a go, good solid version of Debian that needs very little work after installation. I have had driver issues with Ubunutu based distos but MX has never let me down. As for the Terminal, I use Command Prompt as much in Windows as I use the Terminal in Linux, which isn’t much, when I do its a google copy and paste exercise.
     
  18. ktgrrl

    ktgrrl MDL Novice

    Feb 18, 2013
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    Kim100, thanks for suggesting MX Linux! I've tried it and liked it, agree to recommend it to Nodnar over Ubuntu or Mint. I think it's closer to Debian than they are.

    For myself, I'm an old-school sort of person, so I prefer to go straight to Debian instead of its offspring. I don't mind the time to set it up to my liking after installation; after that I seldom need to tweak except LibreOffice and browser updates that change my preferences every time (grrrr). I especially like that everything is looked at & tested by more than just 1 or maybe 2 devs before release. Sometimes that takes a while for non-security stuff, but security releases are quick with lots of eyes on them. Updates are stupid-simple, can get automatically or with the terminal. They don't interrupt my work like MS, and reboots can wait until convenient. (Browser updates & restarts mid-project are just too annoying, so I set mine to notify me of updates but let me choose when to install them. Or turn them off and get them with ordinary daily system updates.) The software repository is big, ridiculously easy to use via Synaptic but some pkgs I use aren't always the newest release, so a couple of months after a new version of Debian is out I'll switch from Stable to Testing to get new releases sooner, or go to the dev site if the new one has some feature I've been waiting for. But aside from security, nothing I do on my computer needs bleeding-edge updates. I do wish some of my favorites were included in the repository, but each one has to go through a vetting process first, and meanwhile I can get them from the originator.

    Ubuntu & Mint don't float my boat any more since I started using Debian, although U and M both have more responsive user forums. Occasionally there's also useful info on Reddit's Linux subforums and various other Linux blogs. I read everything I can find to see if there's a solution I can use or modify for my need, then do only what I'm comfortable trying. I've found U and M's repositories have some modified or at least repackaged apps for use in their own distro, not always compatible with other distros in the Debian family. I understand why they have to do that (another cost of "unique" distros) but undocumented changes plus chasing after dependencies is a no-go if I can avoid it.

    I've had driver issues with both U and M; can't say about MX. It's been a while since I used MX and I forgot to try it on my newer Dell laptop. Everything I have works with the drivers in Debian, except a couple proprietary features on that Dell that AFAIK no distro supports (somebody said he got them to work in Arch but his script didn't work for me. That's OK, I don't need them.)

    Wouldn't it be nice if Linux drivers were written & made available for every new piece of hardware! There ought to be a law!!! (but MS would lobby hard against it and win) Or at least get the manufacturer to declare if the thing has been tested & works in Linux and offer a download link for the drivers if proprietary. Instead we have to read user reviews (Amazon?!) to find out if somebody got it to work in Linux, but often no hint as to how. I'm casually looking at Pine64 laptops that work with Linux by design. HP printers can usually work with CUPS, but not necessarily all features work. That's another rabbit-hole. Printers are built to be disposable these days, anyway. MY old HP scanner still works, so if I need a hard copy I take my USB stick into town and print or copy there; probably cheaper in the end.
    ---------------------------------------
    Smallhagrid, I really appreciate the link re. wifi dongles that actually work with Linux! I agree that wired is the way to go for reliability and relative speed over wifi but sometimes wifi is the only way when traveling etc. I live way out next to nowhere, which I like a lot, but I can walk about as fast as my DSL internet (just a little better than dial-up), satellite is $$ on my income, and they won't run cable out here. Oh, and no cell towers or over-air TV either! But it's beautiful and peaceful, paid for, and my well water is perfect! Slow internet is a small sacrifice for that. Wired connection helps, but wifi is convenient so I think I'll get a wifi dongle; probably better than the built-in wifi card in either of my laptops.
    ----------------------------------------
    The first thing I was told when I "discovered" Linux: The Terminal is your Friend. True, and worth the effort to learn & memorize or make a cheat sheet of the most useful commands, what they do & real examples. An essential skill if you care to know what's going on under the hood or want to customize something not in the menus. I'm a bit skittish about copy-pasting terminal commands I find online unless I can decipher them first. Otherwise it's easy to inject some command string that wasn't checked by the author for typos (with luck you'll just get an error msg and it will fail) -- OR it might do something just flat-out bad, whether intended or not!
     
  19. smallhagrid

    smallhagrid MDL Addicted

    Sep 14, 2013
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    A little Linux bit to add here concerning PDFs:
    As many here must surely know - PDFs are actually a sort of OS agnostic container file rather than being actual documents themselves, and as such, what someone gets as a 'document' nowadays can easily be made up of scanned graphical pages as opposed to text of any sort.

    So what does one do if they open a PDF in, say - PDF Studio, then try searching for a word in it, only to be informed that:
    'This file contains no text'
    Huh ?!?

    Of course not, because it is a lightly skewed collection of TIFFs or the like - end of searching story right there.

    BUT:
    This leads to a valid use for the recent/latest version of Firefox - ready ??

    Use file=>open in FF and point it at the desired PDF, such that it opens with its plugin for that - hit CTRL+F - type in your desired word, and presto !!
    It works.

    That's it - Firefox may be a real stinker now in the browser realm, but makes a very handy PDF viewer/searcher.

    How funny is THAT ??