last used LINUX over 20 years ago

Susan48

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20 years ago, this was easy to start and use, not so today. Just bought a new laptop LENOVO. It is time to install MS home version or find a better one. All the forum discussions are a bit too complicated for me. One of the good things about MS is the ease of installation. It makes all the decisions and I just press download. Here there is so much information yet so little. I am totally confused. I want to go to one spot download the office programs and start using it to decide to change away from MS Office. I am fed up with MS, but I cannot figure out how to get started with Linux. Is there some simple instructions somewhere that I seemed to miss.
 


wizardfromoz

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My Goodness, Susan, what Linux were you using in 1998? And welcome to linux.org :)

(Wizard appears in a puff of smoke, trips over Susan's old 1998 computer, curses and turns it into a toad)

Can you give us the brand name and model number of the Lenovo, and we can check out the specs?

Which version of Windows are you using, I am guessing 8.1 or 10 if the lappie is new?

Linux Mint and Ubuntu are popular choices these days for "beginners", they are Debian-based, but if your old Linux was something like Mandrake or Red Hat or SUSE then we are talking RPM-based and you may be more comfortable with that family?

Make friends with

https://distrowatch.com/ and its page hit ranking gives a good idea of what people are using

https://distrowatch.com/dwres.php?resource=popularity

AlternativeTo provides options for applications you are used to. The link I provide is for MS Office

https://alternativeto.net/software/microsoft-office-suite/

And for DEs (Desktop Environments) an idea of the look and feel

https://renewablepcs.wordpress.com/about-linux/kde-gnome-or-xfce/

I want to go to one spot download the office programs and start using it to decide to change away from MS Office.
The majority of Linux Distributions (Distros) ship with their own Office Productivity Suite, usually LibreOffice, already installed.

Your thread title is broad, so ask any questions, and we'll try to answer them.

I used Windows for 25 years and blew it away 4 years ago, for going totally Linux. I'm from Australia.

Cheers

Chris Turner
wizardfromoz
 

arochester

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Further to @wizardfromoz

If you use the link https://alternativeto.net/software/microsoft-office-suite/ click on "all platforms" and choose "Linux". On my Desktop I have LibreOffice, WPS Office and Only Office. (You can of course still use the online version of many Microsoft products by going to https://outlook.live.com ---the grid of squares top left!)

I haven't seen the link https://renewablepcs.wordpress.com/about-linux/kde-gnome-or-xfce/ before and need to bookmark it. Makes me feel a bit odd though because I use LXQT and none of those, although Lubuntu 18.04 ( a more lightweight version of Ubuntu) is going across to LXQT from LXDE.
 

Condobloke

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JasKinasis

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Welcome to the community.

If you found Linux easy to set up and use 20 years ago - when from my memory - the install process involved a LOT of manual tinkering - it should be an absolute doddle nowadays.

If you can install Windows, then you can just as easily install Linux!

Sure, there are a lot more distros to choose from than there used to be and a lot more desktop environments available; but all modern Linux distros are more or less the same underneath. The only real differences are cosmetic (the default desktop environment, the packaging systems used etc.)

AS wiz pointed out, I'd take a look at starting out with something Debian based (e.g. Debian, Mint or Ubuntu), or if you were using something Red-Hat/rpm-based before - perhaps try something like Fedora or Suse.

The install process is usually:
1. Download a .iso of your chosen distro from their official website.

2. (optional, but advised) Verify the downloaded file using a tool to create an md5 checksum and compare it against the checksum provided by the download site. This helps to ensure that your download is genuine, isn't corrupt and hasn't been tampered with in any way.
https://www.lifewire.com/validate-md5-checksum-file-4037391

3. Burn the .iso to a DVD or a USB stick.
There are various tools available for windows and Linux that can do this. If you are burning to DVD, then you would use your usual DVD burning software.
Here is one tutorial which explains how to burn a Ubuntu .iso image to USB from windows, using a program called Rufus:
https://tutorials.ubuntu.com/tutorial/tutorial-create-a-usb-stick-on-windows#0

NOTE: It doesn't matter that the above tutorial is for Ubuntu - you could substitute the Ubuntu .iso for the .iso for any other distro. The process of creating a bootable USB drive would be exactly the same.

4. Ensure your PC is set up to boot from USB (or DVD) - this typically involves opening your BIOS/UEFI settings and setting the boot device order, to ensure that you are able to boot from the relevant device.

The exact instructions for this step would vary, based on the make/model of your PC.

5. Insert the DVD/USB drive and Reboot into your chosen Linux distro.

Most Linux live/install media will give you the option of to "try linux" without installing anything, or "install linux". Though some only have the "install" option.

If your chosen distro gives the option to "try" without installing, it would be advisable to try that first in order to:
A: Ensure that you can boot to the desktop and that your media burnt/copied cleanly
B: Give your chosen distro a test-drive, familiarise yourself with the desktop environment etc.

If you are happy with your choice and want to install it, reboot again and select the "install" option. (And if you don't like it, perhaps try downloading and burning a .iso for a different Linux distro)

Most distros have user friendly installers that will ask you a few simple questions (about partitioning, time-zone, user-name, password etc) and will automatically install/configure your install with minimal input from you.

The only confusing step might be the initial partitioning related questions. If you understand partitioning, then you should be fine.
If not: at this point, many installers will give you the option to "use the entire disk" - which is a good default for people starting out (unless you want to dual boot, in which case, this is NOT the option for you). The use entire disk option will do exactly that and will overwrite any other OSes on the drive you are installing to.

If you want to dual boot with windows - setting up dual boot is a little more involved. I completely ditched Windows many years ago, so I've never had to do this. But there others here with more experience of that. So if you want to set up dual boot, by all means ask and someone here should be able to help!

But that is it. It's really not any different to installing windows. You'd still have to go through similar things to download and verify a Windows .iso file and burn it to a bootable DVD or USB. You'd also have to ensure that your BIOS/UEFI is set up correctly to boot from the relevant device, before booting into the installer.

It's pretty much exactly the same process.

And once you have installed Linux - you will have access to a huge repository of free software - all downloadable from one place. No more visiting random websites to find the software you want/need.

Most distros ship with a sane set of general purpose software. But anything you feel that you are missing can easily be installed via the built-in package management tools.

And nowadays there are graphical desktop applications that can aid you with package management and installing/upgrading/uninstalling software. You don't have to use commands in the terminal unless you want to. Personally, I find it quicker and easier to do it via the terminal. No waiting for the GUI to load, no clicking through menus or scrolling through icons etc. But some people prefer the graphical/GUI approach!

Again, exact instructions for installing/uninstalling/updating software will depend on the distro you decide to install.

If you have any problems, please feel free to post questions and the rest of the community here will try to answer them as best we can.

We currently only have a small number of regular, active members in the community ATM - all spread through different time-zones - so answers may not be immediate, but we do try to answer all questions.

[edit]
That said, there seem to be a few regulars here today.
A fair few replies came in while I was writing my usual wall of text... XD
[/edit]
 
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atanere

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20 years ago, this was easy to start and use, not so today. Just bought a new laptop LENOVO. It is time to install MS home version or find a better one. All the forum discussions are a bit too complicated for me. One of the good things about MS is the ease of installation. It makes all the decisions and I just press download. Here there is so much information yet so little. I am totally confused. I want to go to one spot download the office programs and start using it to decide to change away from MS Office. I am fed up with MS, but I cannot figure out how to get started with Linux. Is there some simple instructions somewhere that I seemed to miss.
Hi Susan, and welcome! Loads of good advice from all here already! One thing hasn't changed in 20 years: computer manufacturers are still holding hands with Microsoft so that "ease of installation" (and use) seems to go smoothly.... most of the time. Linux developers always seem to be in the position of figuring out how to make things work after the fact, and they really do an outstanding job.

One design aspect that we are still dealing with (has been going on for years now) is changes demanded by Microsoft to the system BIOS. In theory, at least, these changes are good and were needed to keep up with modern changes to hard drives. But this transition that we're now in leads to some confusion in terms too. BIOS is now more properly called UEFI, except that it often is not. You'll hear these used interchangeably and with variations like, "Legacy mode" (meaning backward BIOS compatibility in a UEFI system).

How all this most directly affects you is this: within the UEFI specification is a thing called "Secure Boot." Since you have a new Lenovo, you have UEFI, and assuming you have Windows 10 preinstalled, you also have Secure Boot enabled. And, if you have Windows 10, you most likely also have a setting called "Fast Boot" enabled. For the geeks among us, these are easy to bypass to install Linux... but for you it is probably better to use a Linux that can handle these issues better.

Erasing Windows completely and installing Linux is the easier way to go (make a Windows Recovery USB first!), but if you want to keep Windows working and "dual-boot" between them, that requires more care. As mentioned above, Ubuntu Linux and Linux Mint are both excellent choices to get started with, and I would suggest the MATE desktop for both of those as it will be very familiar to using a Windows desktop. Both of these "distros" (Linux distributions) can boot and install without making changes to Secure Boot. And the simplest trick to bypassing Fast Boot is when ready to boot up on a Linux DVD or USB... you should "restart" from a running Windows, and not boot up from a fully powered down state. This is because Windows 10 does not fully power down at all... it goes into a sleep mode called "hibernation" instead of powering down, which is what makes it boot up faster with "Fast Boot." Booting on Linux when Windows is not truly powered down can cause problems, but Linux will usually warn you of this condition.

Also as mentioned above, please try out Ubuntu and/or Mint in the "live mode" first by booting on the DVD/USB and hold off on installation for just a bit while you get familiar with them and make sure that they work with everything on your laptop... the speakers, the wireless networking, etc. Make sure you like the look and feel of the Linux you're trying.... and if not, there are many others that you can try.

One more quirky think you might find, no matter which Linux you try: they sometimes seem to start up with the very maximum screen resolution that your laptop will be capable of. What this means is that when you get to the desktop, everything will be super small... so tiny as to be unreadable. I have a Lenovo laptop and it behaves this way, which made me think to warn you. Have a magnifying glass handy, open the start menu (in Mint, Ubuntu might be different), type Displays (hit enter) and you can change the resolution there to something more reasonable. When you actually install Linux it will remember the new screen resolution, but you'll have to set it each time that you boot on the DVD/USB. There is a special way to create the Linux USB, however, that will let you save changes like screen resolution... it is called "persistence." I don't think the Rufus software allows persistence, but others can set this up if you would prefer to keep changes that you set during your Linux trial period.

So, welcome back to Linux! If you were geeky enough 20 years ago, you're still geeky enough now! I think that Linux is far easier to install and use now that back then (yes, I was there too). But it is different for sure, just as Windows 10 is nothing like 3.1 or 95/98. All of us here will be happy to help guide you along as needed.

Cheers
 

Susan48

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Can you give us the brand name and model number of the Lenovo, and we can check out the specs?

Which version of Windows are you using, I am guessing 8.1 or 10 if the lappie is new?
 

Susan48

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The Lenovo model is V110-151Sk, and has windows 10

There is nothing saved on it yet. I started the 30 trial for Home office which expires June 1, 2018.

You say essentially If I was savy 20 years ago then I can do it today. Well I have to tell you way back computers were still developing and the language was limited. Today there is a whole new language and alphabet that left me behind about 10 years ago.

I wil await a Reply to the Model number info, and follow your advise. Remember I am a user and my contributions to this will be on making things more user friendly in everyday language if thats possible. Appreciate the help
 

atanere

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Remember I am a user and my contributions to this will be on making things more user friendly in everyday language if thats possible.
We will certainly try to speak plainly, but at the same time part of the lesson may require you to learn new terms. There's just no way around that at times, especially if you have problems and need specific troubleshooting help. No need to let that scare you away though. Please, if you don't understand anything, ask about it (or check with Google... Google knows everything). Much of the Linux lingo is the same as it was way back when, but you may have forgotten it! :D
 

Susan48

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That is a given. Going on 70, the brain is not as sharp. I am reading everything and repition helps me understand more. Thank you all for the help.
 

VP9KS

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the DVD/USB
Just for clarification, what he is talking about with the USB is a USB thumb drive. The advantage of using a thumb drive, is that if you decide to try another Linux distribution, you can burn it over the top of the old one. As the other guys have said, you can test drive most distributions from the "live DVD" or "Live USB stick" without affecting your current operating system.

As far as Office, I have an old Compaq laptop with Win XP on it. I have both Office 2000 and Open Office 4.1.3 on it. Open Office will read and write the same files as MS Office. Oh, yeah, did I mention that Open Office is FREE?:):)

Good luck with your learning curve, and don't be afraid to ask question. Let the fun begin!

Happy Trails (to you)
Paul
 

atanere

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Just for clarification, what he is talking about with the USB is a USB thumb drive.
Just to confuse and un-clarify what Paul said, those little things are also called flash drives, and pen drives (or pendrives), and jump drives, and USB sticks, and memory sticks, and even more than that. See what fun you're in for, Susan?!?! :eek::confused::D

I didn't look up the specs on your computer yet, but I'm guessing that it does not have a DVD drive, and we will need to steer you to some Windows software (free) that will let you create the bootable Linux USB... thingy. :D

But there is another way to test drive some Linux, if you prefer. You can install a free program called VirtualBox in Windows... and you can then install many different Linux distros to test them out, each in their own "virtual machine." They weren't doing this 20 years ago, but it is a pretty neat method. It kind of lets you run Linux as if it were a Windows program (in a small window or full screen). And you can install the Linux .iso file direct into VirtualBox without needing to burn it to removable media. Even if you aren't familiar with "virtual machines" yet I think you probably get the idea. If not, or if you want to know more... we'll be happy to explain more thoroughly.

One bit more for clarity... you may not yet be familiar with what a .iso file is. Basically all Linux distros come packaged in a large, single, compressed file that uses a .iso file extension. The usual method of installing Linux is to get that .iso file stored on a DVD or USB drive, but it has to be done in a special way so that the DVD/USB is bootable. In other words, you can't just copy the file to the DVD, or else it would not boot. These .iso files are now usually over 1 GB, and sometimes over 2 or 3 GB. So depending on your internet connection it might take awhile to download those that you want to test. We like to have folks "verify the checksum" (Linux lingo check!) of the file you download so that you know that it downloads completely and without corruption... it verifies the integrity of the file and that you received exactly the same file as what was sent. When installing an operating system, it's kind of important that the file not be corrupted! But if you have a good solid internet connection, you can probably safely skip this step and just get the .iso file onto the USB or into VirtualBox since neither of these testing methods will cause your system to crash. When you're ready to install permanently on your hard drive, we might bring you back to this step to have you verify the download, but it is up to you whether to take the chance with it if you don't.

[EDIT]
Oops. @JasKinasis already did a nice job of describing the initial install steps above in post #5.
[/EDIT]

Cheers
 

Susan48

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Just for clarification, what he is talking about with the USB is a USB thumb drive. The advantage of using a thumb drive, is that if you decide to try another Linux distribution, you can burn it over the top of the old one. As the other guys have said, you can test drive most distributions from the "live DVD" or "Live USB stick" without affecting your current operating system.

As far as Office, I have an old Compaq laptop with Win XP on it. I have both Office 2000 and Open Office 4.1.3 on it. Open Office will read and write the same files as MS Office. Oh, yeah, did I mention that Open Office is FREE?:):)

Good luck with your learning curve, and don't be afraid to ask question. Let the fun begin!

Happy Trails (to you)
Paul
After all day gong over and over the same pages, downloaded 3 times. Followed the instructions and formatted the flashdrive successfully, rebooted compu, backed up my compu, etc. Etc. ETC. Never found the option to use the thumb drive. It went to desktop.

Will see when it is done if the option appears. Have to say it laid out for people that understand the lingo AND knows what they are doing. There is a lot of info, but all about options. The basic set up info doesnt end with “download now”. Neither do the other options for that atter.

Example: final windows dont close when finished with a nice “download completed successfully”.

Have no idea what I missed or what I messed up!
 

Susan48

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Just for clarification, what he is talking about with the USB is a USB thumb drive. The advantage of using a thumb drive, is that if you decide to try another Linux distribution, you can burn it over the top of the old one. As the other guys have said, you can test drive most distributions from the "live DVD" or "Live USB stick" without affecting your current operating system.

As far as Office, I have an old Compaq laptop with Win XP on it. I have both Office 2000 and Open Office 4.1.3 on it. Open Office will read and write the same files as MS Office. Oh, yeah, did I mention that Open Office is FREE?:):)

Good luck with your learning curve, and don't be afraid to ask question. Let the fun begin!

Happy Trails (to you)
Paul
After this difficult experience today with UBANTU, It is doubtful I did anything right.

i may try open office. Also used that years ago.
Thank you
Susan
 

Susan48

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Just to confuse and un-clarify what Paul said, those little things are also called flash drives, and pen drives (or pendrives), and jump drives, and USB sticks, and memory sticks, and even more than that. See what fun you're in for, Susan?!?! :eek::confused::D

I didn't look up the specs on your computer yet, but I'm guessing that it does not have a DVD drive, and we will need to steer you to some Windows software (free) that will let you create the bootable Linux USB... thingy. :D

But there is another way to test drive some Linux, if you prefer. You can install a free program called VirtualBox in Windows... and you can then install many different Linux distros to test them out, each in their own "virtual machine." They weren't doing this 20 years ago, but it is a pretty neat method. It kind of lets you run Linux as if it were a Windows program (in a small window or full screen). And you can install the Linux .iso file direct into VirtualBox without needing to burn it to removable media. Even if you aren't familiar with "virtual machines" yet I think you probably get the idea. If not, or if you want to know more... we'll be happy to explain more thoroughly.

One bit more for clarity... you may not yet be familiar with what a .iso file is. Basically all Linux distros come packaged in a large, single, compressed file that uses a .iso file extension. The usual method of installing Linux is to get that .iso file stored on a DVD or USB drive, but it has to be done in a special way so that the DVD/USB is bootable. In other words, you can't just copy the file to the DVD, or else it would not boot. These .iso files are now usually over 1 GB, and sometimes over 2 or 3 GB. So depending on your internet connection it might take awhile to download those that you want to test. We like to have folks "verify the checksum" (Linux lingo check!) of the file you download so that you know that it downloads completely and without corruption... it verifies the integrity of the file and that you received exactly the same file as what was sent. When installing an operating system, it's kind of important that the file not be corrupted! But if you have a good solid internet connection, you can probably safely skip this step and just get the .iso file onto the USB or into VirtualBox since neither of these testing methods will cause your system to crash. When you're ready to install permanently on your hard drive, we might bring you back to this step to have you verify the download, but it is up to you whether to take the chance with it if you don't.

[EDIT]
Oops. @JasKinasis already did a nice job of describing the initial install steps above in post #5.
[/EDIT]

Cheers
You all gave me some good chuckles!
So much of what was said went zip overhead. I got about 20% of it. I downloaded (by mistake) to my desktop. Now to see if I can use it is the next challenge.
 

wizardfromoz

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Good afternoon Susan :), I note The Cavalry has arrived in strength :D. And you could note that everyone involved is over 60, and one is 70.

If your laptop is similar to this

https://www.cnet.com/products/lenovo-v110-15isk-15-6-core-i3-6100u-4-gb-ram-500-gb-hdd/specs/

... I see no problems, if you wish to install Linux

For those who like to move faster, Susan has at her disposal:
  • a USB 3.0 port
  • USB 2.0 port
  • 4-in-1 card reader
  • DVD writer (tray)
BUT (I always have a but), if you are simply looking for an office suite, then Apache Open Office is a good one. I started using OO just after it was released, in the early "Noughties", and stopped using MS Office. Didn't miss it, used OO for 11 years or more then in late 2014 started using LibreOffice.

https://www.libreoffice.org/download/download/

LibreOffice was forked from OO, and is also available for Windows at the above link.

On the botched install:

If you did not disable Fast Boot, you would likely not be able to access the BIOS setup to disable Secure Boot, and then the stick would not be recognised.

The following article tells how to access your setup, if you wish to pursue the LInux install option sometime.

http://www.tomsguide.com/answers/id-3414710/lenovo-v110-access-boot-menu.html

Cheers

Wizard
 

atanere

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The following article tells how to access your setup, if you wish to pursue the LInux install option sometime.
But wait... there's more! Late last night I found the Users Guide for your laptop, and I see that it has a "Novo" button like my Lenovo model. This tiny button is on the right side edge, near the front (next to a speaker jack). It is small so you don't press it by accident... it can actually be difficult to press. With the laptop powered off, press this Novo button instead of your normal power button... it should start up to a simple screen allowing you to access your BIOS settings or your Boot Menu. The Boot Menu should let you boot on a Linux DVD or USB stick (since we also know now that you probably have a DVD drive too). The Novo button may also let you disable Fast Boot, which is a good idea too.

At work on my phone, but can attach the Users Guide later tonight if needed.

Cheers
 


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