call for advice

Forum: LinuxTotal Replies: 11
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May 14, 2013
11:51 AM EDT
With the Ubuntu version on Mom's desktop now reaching EOL, and Mom not wanting to upgrade to Prickly Publisher with its GNOME 3 madness, the best option I can come up with is switching her system to Debian Squeeze. I think I'm familiar enough with the apt-tools to keep the system up and updated. I've also advised her that a full wipe and fresh install will probably be the best approach. Her home directory, and the /etc/ configurations, are all backed up externally, so retaining that stuff won't be an issue.

Her system is an Asus Eee Desktop PC, with 512MB(?) and an Intel HT CPU.

Any installation advice?

(Edited to clarify.)

May 14, 2013
12:01 PM EDT
Install something based on the latest Ubuntu LTS with LXDE or E17 desktop. 12.04 will be getting support through 2017 - that is awhile yet.


May 14, 2013
12:05 PM EDT
The preference is to keep GNOME 2 if possible, with a system that's still getting updates. Squeeze is getting updates AFAICT.

May 14, 2013
12:50 PM EDT
Linux Mint with Mate. Using it at home and at work. Now it is mature, it is indistinguishable from Gnome 2.

May 14, 2013
3:09 PM EDT
As I understand it, the Debian GNOME in Wheezy has a "Classic Mode" easily selected at login time, which acts like GNOME2, and Wheezy will be supported for quite a while.

...but that's just me. Debian! Debian! Rah Rah Rah!

May 14, 2013
3:43 PM EDT
I think I'd try Wheezy with Mate ( and see how it works.

May 14, 2013
3:52 PM EDT

A CentOS base with GNOME 2 for a long, long time.

May 14, 2013
5:10 PM EDT
Me: <Mumbles something barely audible about the stability of XFCE & SolydXK or LMDE>

May 15, 2013
10:38 AM EDT
If she likes GNOME 2, and she wants to deviate as little as possible, then there are a few options.

I believe that Squeeze is getting updates for a while yet, that's true, so that's an option. I would hesitate to take that option with Wheezy just released, but I know that the point is to continue with GNOME 2. The only issue I would have with that is that GNOME 2 itself is on life support right now, but it has no direct future. I think this is a viable option, but of course it has no further upgrade path.

If you decide to try something else, then your options to stick close to something similar to GNOME 2 are Mate, Cinnamon, XFCE, and GNOME 3 with a classic interface.

For Mate, you can go with Mint (or possibly Ubuntu with Mate installed, or even Fedora). With her somewhat dated hardware, the only real issue I foresee is performance, but it probably won't be much different than what she's been using.

For Cinammon your options are similar, but I'd guess that it is more likely to take a performance hit on dated hardware.

XFCE gives you the options of Xubuntu, LMDE, Debian, Fedora, etc. In some ways going with Xubuntu (or possibly Mint with XFCE or Ubuntu Studio) would make this the closest to an updated version of what she has now. Of course, the Xubuntu desktop isn't quite as light as a generic XFCE install.

GNOME 3 with whatever they're presently calling the option to get a more GNOME 2 like interface could work, but it's most likely not going to be the easiest on resources, so the older hardware may come into play again.

May 15, 2013
6:40 PM EDT
I think I'll give Linux Mint with MATE hybrid ISO a test drive on it. There is one other caveat: no DVD installer, because, well, no DVD drive, only an external CD. So it's either that or SD card.

May 15, 2013
7:47 PM EDT
MATE on Mint looks a bit weird when you first fire it up. I prefer the setup as Ubuntu used to have it by default, mainly because that is what I'm used to.

I generally put a new panel at the top and add "Menu Bar" top left, and remove the Mate Menu from the bottom left. After that, it's mostly a bit of tweaking.

As caitlyn has commented previously, there are some 3rd party applets and shortcut addons that don't work out of the box (like TortoiseHg) because it's not Gnome 2, which are a nuisance but I find they are few and far between these days.

May 16, 2013
5:34 PM EDT
Try Linux Mint 15 (RC just released today, final to arrive shortly.) It still uses Ubuntu's base packages but comes with either the much improved MATE desktop (forked from Gnome 2.2x) or the innovative Cinnamon desktop which is based on Gnome 3 but with a much more familiar layout and feature set (think Gnome 2 but modernized.) Of course you can always use LXDE, KDE or LMDE which are community supported editions. Plus, Mint contains many custom Mint tools like Mint sources, Mint menu, Mint update, Mint drivers, etc., that make using it a breeze, especially for Windows converts. 64 Bit and 32 Bit editions available and (usually) smooth upgrades from version to version. If you want to stick with Debian, then I recommend Linux Mint Debian edition. All the above Minty goodness but a rolling release model (controlled via Update Packs which are highly tested for stability before released). You only need to install it once and it will always be up to date. Try it, you'll like it.

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