Jan 30, 2014

Linux Adventures! Chapter One: to Pick and to Install (Jun 2015)

linux mario
Hallo there!

This here two-part post will describe my current attempt at successfully discarding all my power-user knowledge of Windows and becoming a successful Linux guy.

Part one is about picking and installing. If you already did this, just go to part two, it's where the juice is.

So, ok! Here we go!

Picking your distro! 


Linux is cool cause you can see more of the stuff working, like a car that can turns its parts transparent whenever you want. "Whenever" is the key word for me. You may preach all you want, it still requires a bit too much information for Linux to be fun to use. And like all machines, it lies to you.

It starts with picking your Linux flavor. Too much choice! Not only that, there's also the legions of fanboys and guys that just want to belong to a club or show off their arbitrary skillzs. Eish... :(

From much reading I can now say the good easy and safe distros for newbies are Fedora, Debian, openSuse, and maybe Mageia. You then can pick variations of them, like Ubuntu, Mint or whatnot. Which in turn can have variations, like Lubuntu, Xubuntu. And then sometimes you can pick the graphical environment you want: Gnome, XFCE, LXDE.

lots of linuxesSo much choice. So, how to chose? Best way to chose, pick what your friends are using. Second best way to chose, pick the one that works for what you are going to use.

Most of my friends don't like Linux. I want to use Steam, some Windows applications and games, have good driver support, have a large user-base to draw knowledge from, lots of applications to try and use.

Also, I wanted a light graphical interface, but a non-distro specific one, so that I can eventually try other distros but keep the same interface.

So, until SteamOS stops being Beta, the logical choice would be Ubuntu LTS (long term, which usually means that it's a bit last year) and is the only distro officially supported by Steam. But yeah, I was not gonna do that. So instead, by looking around the logical choice I found the most recent Lubuntu. And if it works: close enough.

Installing your distro!

Installing Linux? Easy.

If you are on windows just Google the appropriate website. Choose between the 32bit or the 64bit version (32bit if you have 4GiB or less memory, else 64bit). Then you need to put that file you got into a pen that you can boot from. For that you need software. If you are on Windows use the universal usb installer.  On Linux there's a bunch of stuff, but for example, the Ubuntu family has its own way to do this, you can run the Usb Creator, or usb-creator-gtk.

So now you boot from the pen, if you don't know how to do this, ask a friend to do it. But it usually involves just pressing a key on the keyboard during computer startup and/or changing a setting inside the BIOS.

When you enter the installation, make sure you pick all the optional stuff. It doesn't hurt to have, it can hurt not to have.

The only part that can be problematic if you take the custom path is the partitioning.  I will now show my way of creating things for a single boot system (this means no Windows). Skip this step if it seems complicated and just select one of the default installation paths.

type     format  mount
primary  EXT4 -> root (or .)
primary  SWAP -> swap
extendable (and inside that):
extended EXT4 -> home

try understanding that text above by looking at this graph:

the partition I dedicate to the home folder gives me the ability to keep my stuff when I format (which on a non LTS version of Linux should be about once every 6 months). Speaking in Windows terms: it's like I reserved a special place in the hard disk for the My Documents folder, so I can upgrade easily and keep all my stuff.

If you want to take it slow and keep Windows, you should plan ahead when you install Windows and leave some space on your disk for Linux. And then you can install Linux on that empty space.

This is all for part one. When it finishes installing, it will seem ready but it ain't.

Welcome to Linux, newbie.
"Go back to Windows, you fruit-tart!"

Click here for Linux Adventures: Chapter Two: The art of making it all work better.

fullmooninu, 2014
images by their respective  creators
mario-tux by santang

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