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#146389 - 11/08/19 07:54 PM Before Windows 7 'strikes out', consider this..
Az4x4 Offline
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Registered: 08/18/08
Posts: 4335
Loc: Heber/Overgaard, AZ

You may already know that a Linux "distro" is a careful selection of software packages running on top of the Linux kernel. Each distro is maintained by a group of software developers, with each developer focused on different software packages that go to make up that distro. These individuals make sure the software they're responsible for is up-to-date and doesn't conflict with other software included in that distro.

The latest Debian Linux 10, for example, has more than 13,370 new software packages, with a total of over 57,703 software packages available in Debian's "repositories".

A software "repository" is an online directory filled with software packages. Debian Linux sorts its packages according to their state of development. Their primary repository is named "Stable". It contains current releases of stable software packages. Debian also has repositories named "Testing" and "Unstable", reflecting the state of development the software in those directories is classified as.

A typical Linux distro consists of, among other things, the Linux kernel, a boot loader, various tools and required libraries, a graphical desktop environment (DE), a windows manager, a web browser, an email client, databases and essential documentation.

Depending on the focus of a particular Linux distro, it may contain software packages for network administration, desktop applications, forensic tools, scientific and research software, educational software, multimedia applications, server software, etc.

Linux started some 25 years ago, initially focused on server systems. Today it's in use world wide powering web servers, file servers, mail and news servers, internet gateways, wireless routers and firewalls. Likewise it powers all of the world's 'Super Computers', plus it's now widely used for desktop computing as well.

Linux powers the software that renders the CGI video we enjoy in movies these days, and has processed entire movies beginning as far back as Titanic, Toy Story and Shrek.

Linux powers automotive applications, on-board computers, NASA's space related projects, military, governments, logistics and engineering environments at every level. Linux servers run the world’s stock exchanges as well as its internet search engines.

This past decade has seen Linux move forcefully into personal computing, challenging the 'big boys' who for so long a time felt they exclusively 'owned' that market, treating their users as simply cogs in their corporate wheels. However, with its unmatched flexibility and rock solid stability, desktop Linux has become a highly favored platform for text processing, graphic design, desktop publishing, spreadsheet calculations, email, web surfing, audio, chat and video. Additionally Linux powers multiple billions of Android phones, countless Smart TVs, plus the fastest growing segment of today's PC market in Google's Chrome OS powered computers.

Distrowatch lists hundreds of Linux distros in various stages of development and use. Major desktop distros include, among others, Debian Linux, Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), Fedora, CentOS, openSUSE and Arch Linux.

People interested in Linux often ask which distro they should begin with? My suggestion, based on years of experience with Linux on the desktop, would have Linux Mint, MX Linux and Ubuntu at the top of that list, in that order. Each of these distros is highly stable, regularly updated, freely available to download, install and share with others, and flexible enough to fit virtually any purpose a desktop computer can be used for.

If as a Windows 7 user you'd like to quit worrying what the next 'curve ball' Microsoft is preparing to throw at you will mean, or how much it will cost to stay somewhat ahead of the Windows 'curve balls' you know are coming, and you're feeling the heat as Microsoft winds up to deliver its final "end of life curve ball" pitch for Windows 7 on January 14, 2020, then consider this - with winter's ice and snow in the northern hemisphere beginning to take hold, and bikes being put away till spring, take some time and give Linux on the desktop a go for yourself!

Put the fun back in personal computing for a change! Don't simply settle for what Microsoft wants to saddle you with in Windows 10 and beyond with their 'strike three end of life curve ball' for Windows 7 coming your way the 14th of January.

There are outstanding desktop OS options, modern, secure, easy to use, flexible, fully capable operating systems available with Linux Mint, MX Linux, or Ubuntu. As you prepare for the inevitable "end of life" for Windows 7 that you know is coming, these freely available desktop Linux OS options will open a whole new personal computing door to you that you previously may not have even imagined existing!..



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#146392 - 11/09/19 05:21 PM Re: Before Windows 7 'strikes out', consider this.. [Re: Az4x4]
Muniac Offline


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Loc: Montrose, CO
I sprung for a Raspberry pi 4 which is their newest board will more HP than the pi 3. They recommend Raspbian Buster (Linux 10) as the sanctioned O/S. It's a 6.8 Gb image file that you burn onto a MicroSD card. The dope on this board is HERE. Amazon has a selection of CanaKits for just under $100. You can pick what options you want.

I use this as a work station to run LibreCAD and the Libre Office Suite. The board supports 2 HDMI monitors, USB 3.0 (X2), USB 2.0 (X2) ethernet, wifi, bluetooth and upto 4 Gb of memory. So far the board runs well. Chrome is the default browser. You can load CUPS to get printers installed.

I use 32 Gb cards. There is an SD card copy utility which will duplicate a 32 Gb card in about 15 minutes. You'll need an SD card to USB adapter. Note that the HDMI ports are a micro style on the board side.
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#146394 - 11/10/19 12:26 AM Re: Before Windows 7 'strikes out', consider this.. [Re: Muniac]
Az4x4 Offline
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Registered: 08/18/08
Posts: 4335
Loc: Heber/Overgaard, AZ

The Raspberry pi based systems you use are fantastic little machines. So much can be done with them that it's staggering!

I keep coming up with pennies on the dollar laptop buys that are impossible to say no to. The latest is a ASUS ZenBook UX31A with an 3rd Gen Intel i7 processor, 13.3" full HD display, 250GB SSD and 4GB RAM. Great condition, very little use, works like a charm. I'll delete Windows 10 and put Linux Mint 19.2 MATE on it for Sharon to use, a replacement for her old laptop that went belly up hardware wise and died on her a couple of weeks ago.

For the most part, those most impacted by Microsoft no longer supporting Windows 7 come January 14 are using desktop and laptop computers which, truth be told, are ideally suited to installing desktop Linux and breathing fresh new life into these older machines.

The ASUS ZenBook I just bought is one the guy installed Windows 10 on, replacing Windows 7, only to be disappointed with what he had when it was done - not with the computer itself but with the way Windows 10 rudely intruded in everything he tried to do with it. For some untold reason he then ordered a brand new high dollar Windows 10 laptop, apparently thinking it would somehow solve his problems. Now he's kicking himself for that decision as well. Oh, well..

Would love to see someone here give Linux a real tryout on the hardware they already have, instead of trying to replace Windows 7 with an expensive, bloated, heavyweight Windows 10 installation and ending up disappointed with what they find when that's all said and done.

Windows 7 was, by all accounts and by personal experience, the last truly user oriented OS that Microsoft has offered. From Windows 8 on Windows abandoned its 'user first' orientation to finally arrive where Windows 10 now is, entirely a 'corporate first' oriented OS bearing so little resemblance to Windows 7 that it's a whole different ball game.

If you've stuck with Windows 7 for the past decade or so, and you're not aware of what moving to Windows 10 will mean as far as the personal computing you're used to is concerned, you'll be in for a big shock if you simply opt to move to Windows 10 without a second thought.

All things considered, what's there to lose by giving desktop Linux a chance to impress on hardware you already own? If it works out for you like it has for us and millions of others, so much the better! If not, if you simply 'don't get it', so what? You're no further behind with the zero out of pocket you'll have into such a trial run than you'd have been not trying Linux, plus you can turn around and install Windows 10 on your existing computer if that's the cup of tea you opt for. Most everyone here is adept enough with DIY projects that a winter's afternoon spent discovering something new personal computing wise would seem a natural extension of a bike rider's mindset!..


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Lovin' life in Arizona's Mogollon Rim Mountain Country!!

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#146397 - 11/10/19 03:33 PM Re: Before Windows 7 'strikes out', consider this.. [Re: Az4x4]
Muniac Offline


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Registered: 01/16/04
Posts: 5834
Loc: Montrose, CO
I know back in the day, ASUS made good mother boards. Both my home built work stations have ASUS mother boards. I've been running them for 25 years! Even back then you could get an Intel processor with a lot of HP. Mine run at about 2.5 GHz. Size, cost and power requirements have come down considerably since then.

My Windows 10 experience on an HP Elite Book (gotten for free) hasn't been bad. A small amount of invasive messaging but I'd image it can be turned off. I run a single development application and don't use the internet on that machine.

I'm still partial to older Dell hardware as they made top notch stuff. The newer PCs are now cheapened. That started when Dell removed the HD activity light.

I've got a guy in Denver that specializes in used PCs. For about $90 (delivered) you can get a good used PC in excellent condition. Some people want brand new and that's fine. For me I want self supporting systems that are cost effective and reliable. The Dells are so cheap you can get two of them and make one a complete hardware/software backup. FileZilla can be used for HD image copy and restore. If the HDs are different sizes you'll need to get a gparted boot disk to manage partition sizing.

I installed CUPS and CUPS-PDF yesterday on the pi 4. Some gyrations to manage with adding your printer. But it did recognize my old HP6940 series printer. You select and configure through the browser. Some command line stuff required too. HP has a comprehensive library (hplip) that needs to be installed to get all their printer models.

Printer is up and running now after a relatively painless install of CUPS. You can print directly to a PDF which is nice. I'm working on some architectural drawings (ARCH D) which are 3' x 2' in size. Office Depot has a printer to print these out. So I bring them a PDF file(s) for that. Works out nice.

As for FF and Thunderbird they have ARM7hf versions out for the pi. They come under a different name I'm told. Haven't tried to install these yet. The perk with the pi board is it supports a large HDMI monitor which really helps with detailed drawings. Chrome seems OK and I've got Thunderbird running on my Dell so installing them on the pi 4 is basically just playtime. Time that's in short supply as of late.

Let me know how the ZenBook conversion goes.
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Be There or Be Nowhere! A Few Adventures & Video

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#146398 - 11/10/19 04:51 PM Re: Before Windows 7 'strikes out', consider this.. [Re: Muniac]
Az4x4 Offline
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Registered: 08/18/08
Posts: 4335
Loc: Heber/Overgaard, AZ

The original RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computer) boards, together with today's ARM (Advanced Reduced Instruction Set Machine) boards, have long been touted as a wave of the future. ARM now seems to have found its 'sweet spot' with tiny form factor computing, opening a whole new world of possibilities - some of which you're taking advantage of right now.

Personally I'm not aware of any serious user of an ARM powered machine that uses anything other than Linux as their OS of choice. Not saying someone may not have played with installing some version of Windows on an ARM machine to see what they'd have if they did, only saying that the ARM powered hardware manufacturer's themselves universally promote the installation and use of cutting edge Linux on their machines.

With the incredibly expensive, often troublesome Windows/Mac PC market a slowly dying breed, with the only sector of that market showing any real year to year growth being Google's slick, fast, trouble free and relatively inexpensive Linux based Chrome OS powered laptops (much to the chagrin of the two Big Boys who've long dominated that market), the many free and/or extremely low cost options available to knowledgeable users today simply can't be ignored.

If 'Bang for the Buck' along with maximum personal computing power and no 'Big Brother' breathing down your neck while looking over your shoulder is still important, then today's tiny form factor ARM powered machines along with little used Intel or AMD powered PCs their owners have become disenchanted with (they're out there guys, on a shelf somewhere collecting dust!) are there for the asking.

Linux is ready and able to turn these 'pennies on the dollar' machines into powerful personal computing platforms that you can shape and mold to any need you may have!..

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Lovin' life in Arizona's Mogollon Rim Mountain Country!!

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