Going to install something for a co-worker

Forum: LinuxTotal Replies: 20
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slacker_mike

Jan 31, 2013
10:47 PM EST
Hi LXers,

So a guy at work wants me to install Linux on his old XP laptop. He says the thing just boots to a BSOD mostly, and because of that he doesn't even really use it anymore. He didn't know offhand what the specs were other than it is an Intel processor and he thinks it has 2GB of ram and it runs or did run XP. I told him I would bring a usb stick with something to see if it would boot and look alright for him.

At work he is a Win7 user so at first I was thinking something with KDE, but not knowing what the specs of the machine are I am unsure. Do any of you that install something for a friend or co-worker stick to Ubuntu or Mint variants mostly? I have read good things about Mageia but I am tpretty unfamiliar with their repos, urpmi and the MCC. Outside of Slackware I know Fedora the best followed by Debian, so I kind of want to put something on there I wouldn't mind answering questions on.

So anyway, suggestions?
BernardSwiss

Jan 31, 2013
11:44 PM EST
If he's got 2 GB of RAM, that's generally plenty (could get by with half of that).

The CPU might be a bit slow for running KDE though -- ditto for running Ubuntu/Unity, actually.

I know someone who refurbishes laptops, and he puts Ubuntu on everything that can handle it -- and if that turns out to be too slow (older laptops, generally), he goes with Debian and XFCE.
linuxwriter

Feb 01, 2013
12:14 AM EST
I'm running Debian testing on an IBM Thinkpad that is seven years old. It has a Pentium M 1.70GHz processor and 2GB of RAM. I use LXDE as the DE. It runs at an acceptable speed. I don't think Ubuntu will run at the same speed.

Sam Varghese
slacker_mike

Feb 01, 2013
12:55 AM EST
Thanks for the feedback. I'll take a Mint usb with MATE, a usb stick with Debian and see how it goes.
tracyanne

Feb 01, 2013
2:12 AM EST
My partner's machine which is about 5 years old is running xubuntu quite nicely with only 2 gig of RAM and a 1.5 gig single core.
CFWhitman

Feb 01, 2013
8:59 AM EST
Yes, Xubuntu is a favorite of mine for semi-old/underpowered machines, especially those I build for other people. If something is particularly underpowered, I tend to lean toward Crunchbang, but I wouldn't feel confident giving that to someone else (perhaps if you put XFCE on it you could get away with that).

I think Debian with XFCE is a fine choice in general, though. The only issue with that is the choice between stable, and perhaps somewhat outdated desktop software, and testing or unstable with the obvious possible stability and update issues. Debian is just plain faster than almost any *buntu, though.

Another option would be Bodhi if E17 doesn't scare you away (which it shouldn't as far as I can tell).
jdixon

Feb 01, 2013
9:06 AM EST
At that age, it could very well have a Celeron processor. I'd probably try Debian for another user. For myself, I'd run Slackware, of course.
CFWhitman

Feb 01, 2013
9:16 AM EST
I used to run Slackware for everything. Though I still do almost always have it on at least one machine (including now, though I think it might still be 13.37), I started using Debian based distributions because I didn't feel like putting the time in required to maintain the software on all the machines I keep a Linux install on (and no, they're not all the same configuration).
Fettoosh

Feb 01, 2013
10:22 AM EST
Quoting:At work he is a Win7 user so at first I was thinking something with KDE,


First impression usually is most accurate. I would try with Kubuntu first and if it doesn't work out try others.

Kubuntu is Debian based and your familiarity with Debian comes in handy. Also it does get good community and on the Internet support beside your support.

It is also pretty competitive and superior to Win 7 ergonomically and feature wise.

Plenty of good applications from Ubuntu repositories and APT is pretty easy to use.

2GB memory for day to day usage is plenty and CPU should be sufficient too. But if it doesn't work out, you always can choose to use XFCE.

The final choice should be his to make. His preference might be different from anyone else. Show him how easy it is to download and create a USB and let him test out multiple Distros.

caitlyn

Feb 01, 2013
11:22 AM EST
One thing you can do if KDE is a bit slow is to disable akonadi and nepomuk. That will boost performance on an older machine.
Steven_Rosenber

Feb 01, 2013
12:11 PM EST
For a new user, I'd go with Xubuntu. It's Xfce implementation has only improved over the years, and you can leverage the huge Ubuntu repos plus the whole PPA architecture to get a whole lot of flexibility in terms of applications.

cmost

Feb 01, 2013
5:36 PM EST
While everyone has their favorite Linux distribution and a favorite DE, I tend to stick with something that will be immediately familiar to Windows users when converting a former Windows user to Linux on an older machine. I have personally found that most people find KDE to be very familier as it can be configured to resemble Windows 7 to a very accurate degree. If you go that route, you won't go wrong with Mageia or even PCLinuxOS. That being said, I have also found that ZorinOS, which is based on Ubuntu, works very well for Windows converts. That distribution is setup out of the box with a theme configuration that does a great job of aping Windows 7. Couple that with Ubuntu's capable software center and myriad available help on-line and you'll have a winner. For Mac converts, I usually go with Pear Linux as it is also based on Ubuntu but configured out of the box to accommodate Mac users.
HoTMetaL

Feb 01, 2013
7:26 PM EST
Ubuntu repos + XFCE speed & themes + updates for three years = Xubuntu 12.04 LTS. I've done this XP-to-XFCE conversion for people 3 times already, and no problem for them at all.
slacker_mike

Feb 01, 2013
9:20 PM EST
Hey all thank you so much for all the suggestions.

I brought three usb sticks with me and showed him how to boot them on his laptop. When I came back from a meeting he had installed Mint by himself with Cinnamon because he liked the look. The specs on the laptop weren't all that bad, something like an Intel T5200 2Ghz processor with Intel graphics. All his hardware was detected. He seems pretty happy with it thus far and seems intrigued by Linux in general now. So it worked out well. Thanks again!
caitlyn

Feb 02, 2013
1:55 PM EST
Thanks for letting us know it all worked out.
notbob

Feb 04, 2013
9:38 AM EST
slacker_mike wrote:So it worked out well.


Tres cool!

A new linuxer joins the fold. Keep him warm and fuzzy til he can drive without training wheels. Don't want no backsliding cuz of confusions like those crazy file permissions, etc. ;)
slacker_mike

Feb 04, 2013
10:15 PM EST
Yeah it is funny because I basically never try and convert anyone to Linux. Everybody at my work knows that I run Linux at home, but I don't try to push it on anyone else because to me Linux is something you have to want to use or want to learn a little bit about.
jdixon

Feb 05, 2013
4:34 AM EST
> ...because I basically never try and convert anyone to Linux.

Since most people at my work locations have needed their home computers to be compatible with work, and the companies have been solidly Windows oriented, I've pretty much given up on converting them too.
CFWhitman

Feb 05, 2013
8:49 AM EST
I don't generally try to actively convert anyone to Linux either. However, if someone has an older computer that they keep around as a second computer, but they've been having software problems with it, sometimes I'll help them put Linux on it to get it working with less worry that it will go down again. Also, sometimes I give old computers (usually laptops) to nephews and nieces, and they generally have Linux on them. That doesn't seem to inhibit their use in those households at all. In fact, I hear that all the family ends up using them to some extent or another.
jdixon

Feb 05, 2013
8:54 AM EST
> Also, sometimes I give old computers (usually laptops)...

Yeah, I've had some success doing that. And a couple of people have actually tried and like Linux, after my explaining the limited compatibility with work issues.
Fettoosh

Feb 05, 2013
9:33 AM EST
I gave my niece and nephew a brand new small form factor computer with Linux installed. It was an option they couldn't refuse. Now they love it.

My daughter used my laptop and when she bought her own, she insisted on Linux. She initially bought an Asus but returned it because its wireless was flaky and bought an HP Pavilion dm1z 11.6", which has been working great for her.

So I use what works for the situation. :-)

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