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Martin Young

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Hello All:

A little background first. I'm a retired accountant and I have several "retired" Windows 7 machines that I put away when updates ceased to continue. I am fairly educated with many, but not all things computer. I have been, throughout my career an administrator, the SQL Guy, an Oracle guy, a Cost guy and a corporate controller.

Is there source information here on this site that can guide me to the best variant of Linux for my intended future use? I have 25 years of excel spreadsheets, emails and corporate information that, on occasion, people ask me questions about. I would need a variant that has the ability to run MS Office 2010 or newer. I refuse to use Office 365. I also have disks that go back to Windows 3.1, books, games...nothing was ever thrown away. I even have recovery disks from my very first machine and a full working copy of Lotus 123

The first machine I intend to convert is a Lenovo T510 Think Pad, I7 gen5, 64 bit, 750GB HDD, 8GB DDR3, purchased new March 2011. All of the current data on the machine has been archived, so I will start clean and stupid.

I would prefer to use a GUI type environment and be able to attach to and print through my home network. I also have the external dock, so I would also like to be able to use two external monitors.

Your guidance is appreciated

Martin
 


captain-sensible

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excel is ok and does not require a database server, as MySQl does , but imagine there is a database that is basically a file but you can create the fields you want for the database. You can populate that database manually or via a GUI . You can search and run create RUD operations, you can add update and delete via php and just like excel it doesn't need a database server- sqlite3

in terms of Distro i think you can't go wrong with Mint to start; either you stick with it or after some experience you find something that suits you better
 

Martin Young

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I guess a follow up question would be: once installed, how easy is it to change to something else. Are tools available to predicate the removal of a rejected OS for a new OS and are those tools consistent across distros? Does each and every variant have it's own tool set that is unique?
 

captain-sensible

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The common element in all Linux distros is the kernel . Basically they are all controlled by that. The kernel is involved in things like allocating time to processes i.e time the CPU spends on doing tasks and also communicating and making hardware work. For me i mostly only know about Slackware which is the oldest Linux Distro ; Debian is a close second.

In terms of your computer hard drive you will install a Linux Distro to "partitions" on your HD. I have a "minimal" install with not much to play with HD size wise.

My Laptop a cheap and cheerful H.P has following set up -see image .Even though I only have circa 60 gig I have an Apache set up with virtual hosts where I am playing with 6 web devs using CodeIgniter php framework.

I have some pentesting software such has crunch and a gui to edit and access sqlite3 database. MP3 player and cinelerra video editor. So to a large extent its the "thinking, approach and attitude" to make the most of a distro no matter what it is.

To chnage to something else it will mostly involve wiping the install and installing something else. There are tweaks that can be made however. For instance i did a full install of Slackware which enable me to choose from XFCE (choleserol free) Desktop or a decadent eye candy of KDE.

The way to approach your next step is either put a Linux Distro or two onto a usb and boot from it or to have a look at : https://distrotest.net/ where you can play with distro live.

To put it simply if you search on google for a Graphic alternative to say photoshop you will bring up GIMP. Basically you will be able to get GIMP whatever Distro you choose and use.

each Distro has its own way of package managment.
 

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KGIII

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... how easy is it to change to something else.
Learn to partition manually and then you can easily preserve /home across myriad installs. Generally speaking, all your goodies are stored in /home - including configurations for various installed applications. This makes switching to something else pretty easy and you'll get comfortable with it in time.

Remember: It's easier to learn good habits than it is to unlearn bad habits.
 

Martin Young

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Learn to partition manually and then you can easily preserve /home across myriad installs. Generally speaking, all your goodies are stored in /home - including configurations for various installed applications. This makes switching to something else pretty easy and you'll get comfortable with it in time.

Remember: It's easier to learn good habits than it is to unlearn bad habits.
It is also easier to ask forgiveness than it is to ask permission...

Since my heavy usage days are over, I just want to be able to see the hardware I have run till it dies with something safe rather than fire up a Windows 7 machine that has holes in it. Unfortunately, I think my machines will outlive me. I have 3 laptops and 2 desktops to convert and only two users in the house. The XP email collector is still running...18 years and counting...
 

Vrai

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I would need a variant that has the ability to run MS Office 2010 or newer.
MS Office will not run on Linux natively. It may run on Linux using an emulation application such as "Wine" or ""PlayOnLinux". That being said, there are 'Office Suites' available for Linux which are able to work with Microsoft Office files (for the most part).

I would prefer to use a GUI type environment and be able to attach to and print through my home network.
Linux Mint would probably be the easiest variant to start with.

I guess a follow up question would be: once installed, how easy is it to change to something else. Are tools available to predicate the removal of a rejected OS for a new OS and are those tools consistent across distros? Does each and every variant have it's own tool set that is unique?
It is actually quite easy. The tools to do so are pretty much consistent across distros. There are three or four "main" distros upon which many of the variants are built. The tools within each 'main distro variant' would be consistent.
 

70 Tango Charlie

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@Martin Young @Vrai @captain-sensible
Welcome Martin!
I have been using Linux Mint for about 4-5 years.
During that time I have used Open Office and then gravitated to Libre Office (now on the latest LO).
I started using MS Office in Office 97.
I have found that Libre Office is very compatible with MS Office.
I did quite a bit of simple work in Excel and Word. I still do monthly proof-reading which the guy sends me in MS Office. No problem using it, correcting it, and saving it in MS Word (Which LO gives you the option to do), and sending it back to him.
Unless you are doing something really weird or far-out in Office, LO should cover almost anything you do in spreadsheets and written documents.
As per Cap and Vrai above, I would suggest Linux Mint as your first choice of Operating Systems.
I believe you will absolutely love Linux Mint and Libre Office.
In regard to your comment about changing distros; very easy, peasy! I'm 85 years old and have installed about 25 different distros in the past few years.
Aside note - I came from Windows 7 also.
Just call me Old Geezer, Tango Charlie
 

KGIII

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If you're used to installing Windows, you're in for a treat. Installing Linux is a fairly trivial affair and over quite rapidly. This is especially true with Mint's installer. With Mint, once you're done entering information you're done with the installer. Some installers have you answer questions throughout the process, but Mint gets the data right at the start.
 

wizardfromoz

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G'day Martin and welcome to linux.org :)

I have input to provide on all your questions, including the ease of swapping out one Distro for another.

Rather than reinvent the wheel, given Ulyana Cinnamon may satisfy you, I'll hold on those as you have chosen a course of action.

I have Ulyana Cinnamon, MATE and Xfce in my stable (I run about 60 - 80 Linux typically) and it is a good product.

Let us know how you go, and fire any questions at us.

Cheers

Chris Turner
wizardfromoz
 

jglen490

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Once you have Linux installed, there are - as previously stated - Office suite that have MS Office equivalents. Depending on the formatting complexity of your files, such as .docx, .xlsx, etc., the Linux office suites will pull in a operate on those files. Libreoffice is good (I would say 95% +/- compatible w. MS Office), others such as WPS may be more compatible and there are paid options that are probably 99.9%+/- compatible. MS office uses some proprietary coding that is very difficult to engineer without having a license to the patented/copyrighted MS products. Just be aware.
 


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