I want to setup a linux distro on my thumb drive. [new to linux]


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Oct 29, 2023
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A new laptop
OS Name: Microsoft Windows 11 Home
Manufacturer: DELL
Model: Inspiron 15 3535
Type: x64-based PC
Processor: AMD Ryzen 5 7530U with Radeon Graphics, 2000 Mhz, 6 Cores, 12 Logical Processors
CPU Cores: 6-cores
CPU Threads: 12
BOIS Version: Dell Inc. 1.2.0, 3/14/2023

Total Physical Memory: 7,528 MB
Available Physical Memory: 2,118 MB
Virtual Memory: Max Size: 10,378 MB
Virtual Memory: Available: 2,028 MB
Virtual Memory: In Use: 8,350 MB
SSD Capacity: 512 GB

Type of Memory: DDR4
System Memory RAM Speed: 3200 Mhz

Network Cards: 2 NICs
[01]: Realtek 8821CE Wireless LAN 802.11ac PCI-E NIC
[02]: Bluetooth Device

Touch Screen: Yes

This seemed like the most relevant system info.
I would like to try out a couple linux distributions' on my thumb drive (not downloaded yet).
I am thinking I want to try linux Mint, and curious of other suggested distributions.

I don't have any experience with changing OSes, but I want to get away from Windows - at least a little bit.

I will be using this laptop for work and programming. Maybe some lite gaming.

Insert another USB that has the .iso written to it and then choose the second USB drive as the install location. This is usually easily done during the installation phase.

As for Linux Mint, remember that it's a derivative of Ubuntu (unless you pick LMDE). So, if you want something that's usually easily dealt with, you can consider other distros in the official Ubuntu family. Those include things like Lubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu, etc...
Welcome to the forums
first, you will need either a hard-wired [Ethernet] connection or a tethered data mobile to download and install the drivers for the [01]: Realtek 8821CE Wireless LAN 802.11ac PCI-E NIC

your choice of distribution can only be yours, download half a dozen or so and test them from a live pen-drive
I looked through many Ubuntu flavors and was really intrigued by Ubuntu Studio 22.04.3-dvd-amd64.iso - It's downloading to the pen-drive.
I was able to use BelenaEtcher to flash Ubuntu Studio onto the pen-drive.
In the BOIS [F2] I did not find a windows quick-start option, to be disabled.
The Boot options [F12] I was able to pick the pen-drive and ubuntu launched, with an error, then it gave me options:
  • try or install Ubuntu Studio
  • Ubuntu Studio (safe graphics)
  • OEM install (for manufacturer)
  • Boot from next volume
  • UEFI Firmware Settings
[enter] Boot, [e] edit commands before boot, [c] command-line

I picked option 2 (Ubuntu Studio (safe graphics))

[ 1.038355] pcie_mp2_amd 0000:03:00.7: amd_sfh_hid_client_init failed
Then it boots anyway.

I was able to connect to the wifi, and open firefox.
When I shutdown the screen showed logs like the following:

[775.376875] Buffer I/O error on dev sda2, loglcal Block 2465, async page read
[782.933206] I/O error, dev sda, sector 13904080 op 0x1: (WRITE) flags 0x4800 phys_seg 30 prio class 2
[782.933240] sd 2:0:0:0: [sda] tag#0 access beyond end of device
[789.077203] Buffer I/O error on dev sda4, logical block 3178496, lost sync page write
[789.077229] JBD2: I/O error when updating journal superblock for sda4-8.

Next steps for me will be to download some more distros' and try them.


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You should choose try first, this gives you a chance to try sound/graphics/ wi-fi etc to make sure everything will work on your machine
I picked option 2 (Ubuntu Studio (safe graphics))
this will only run in very basic graphic support
Welcome to the Forum.

Linux Mint Cinnamon is an excellent Distro...just download the Mint ISO and burn it to a Flash Drive.

With Linux you can download the ISO...burn it to a Flash Drive boot to it and try the Distro before you install it...this is called a Live Session...you can do other things you can't do with windowz...that's another story.
@tlatitude :-

Welcome to the forums.

I wouldn't worry TOO much about error messages. In over a decade of running Linux, I've never yet seen a distro that doesn't appear to complain about something.....if not several "somethings"!

Most of this is the kernel running through its initialization and set-up routines.....with a ton of what are mostly advisory "messages" every step of the way. Hardly surprising, when you consider that the kernel attempts to contain the drivers for almost every piece of hardware out there on the market; as it is, it works a small miracle every time it boots up on any one of the hundreds, if not thousands of different machines/hardware combinations that exist.

As already stated above, download and try out half-a-dozen or so. As a beginner, you'll want to stick to easy-to-use, "user-friendly" distros. Don't be tempted to try the more advanced distros until you've got at least some experience under your belt.....

We'll try to help with friendly advice wherever we can. You're right at the beginning of what should prove to be a most interesting "journey".....so hang in there, and enjoy it. Linux isn't necessarily any "better" OR "worse" than Windows.....but it IS different, and will take a while to get your head round what we all think is a far better way of computing!

Mike. ;)
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So far, I liked the speed of Lubuntu 23.10
I liked the ease of finding system settings in ubuntu studio 22.04.3
and linux Mint didn't work at all.

Next I'm gonna try MXLinux 23.1_fluxbox_x64
"liked the speed" doesn't read nor sound good. You might become miserable distro-hopping trying to get it "just right" with "liked the speed", if Lubuntu won't be the one according to your comments. IJS.

A Linux OS has to be installed and used for a while in order to get any sense of speed. Eventually Linux, like Windows, dumps on itself after several times restarting and shutting down. I have seen this the most clearly with MX Linux which is just a shame. A few distros don't make the user notice as well as others that start-up is taking minutes rather than 30 seconds or less, and even on an internal SSD.

BTW I have the same exact MX Linux as what you say you will try, but with "Bullseye" base, ie. the previous version. By what you have written already, you might prefer full desktop environments. However I found the flagship XFCE bloated with a couple of annoying inconsistencies.

Which "branch" of Linux Mint did you try? The original one (based on Ubuntu) or LMDE? Because that could be the difference right there.

Ubuntu Studio is great but bloated and full of Snaps. I tried it last year but I had really high expectations for it, and so it's my fault. I would have to suck up the Snaps and other things if I could have enough money to pre-order a computer that has only that operating system installed by request.
'Which "branch" of Linux Mint did you try?' I tried: Linux Mint 21.2 mate 64bit

The speed I was referring to was like windows opening and navigation in windows.
Are windows still called windows in linux?

Lubuntu is still an option, just trying to do some quick tests of several distros. I definitely need to use them all more to really find ones I want to keep on using.

MXLinux was nice because of the introduction / tutorial menu. It also felt really fast.

I did notice using a touch screen with linux on scrollable pages, finger drag does selection rather than scroll.
Is this configurable?
My first Linux Distribution as a newbie was CentOS, you should give it a go.
CentOS is no longer a thing. Discontinued.

As far as many are concerned, that's the case. But, CentOS still exists. It's just different and they formally call it CentOS Stream instead of CentOS Linux (the prior full name).

I'm not recommending this. I'm just sharing information.

I loved the prior CentOS because you'd get an insane amount of stability. The version support was legendary, like almost 10 years in some instances.
I don't really consider Redhat and CentOS, "thumbdrive" distro's. You can do it, but they are more datacenter/server
distro's. They simply don't have all the games, graphics, audio tools, and educational tools that a lot of other distro's

If you want to go with a user friendly RPM based OS. go with Fedora. It's easier to install that CentOS, has tons more
packages, and works well with newer hardware.
MX-Linux is not for me, as far as I can see. I seem to struggle with running executables, settings get reset on boot, and desktop shortcuts are difficult to make.

I'm gonna try Lubuntu again as a side boot.

Edit: for excecutable I messed up in the terminal by forgetting the ./
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I do want a linux version that is easy to setup programming languages and to write code in. I am accustom to VS code as a code editor.

There is a mess`BKSP BKSP BKSP BKSP`conflict about "branding" but otherwise this is the same product as VSCode. Might even be able to get VSCode itself, but with M$ "branding". It might be available as Snaps for Ubuntu, but I don't know anything about that.

Pretty much there is a ridiculous amount of support for Python v3.11. Especially to do antics on the terminal like games and JPEG-to-text-picture stuff. I downloaded something yesterday but installing it, I almost borked one of my installations and didn't give a report of what it was downloading and installing additionally. I don't dare give its name unless you ask me. This is searchable in EndeavourOS forums, one of the topics of the past two days. :)

If you could switch to Kubuntu (like Lubuntu but with KDE Plasma) then Kate is pretty darned good and close to VSCode/VSCodium. But might come with its own learning curve if you are determined to use one product.

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