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post #1 of 142 Old 03-27-2014, 09:04 AM - Thread Starter
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A HOWTO for XP users looking for a free cost, modern, up-to-date Operating System upgrade for a perfectly fine PC made in the past 8-10 years or so:

~2.0Ghz dual core or higher for HD media playback
Single core and/or less speed for simple browsing, Office style apps and SD audio/video playback.
Minimum CPU Mark score ~250 (use Search):
http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu_list.php

XP support has ended:.

http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9246719/Update_Microsoft_reacts_to_XP_upgrade_critics_with_free_file_transfer_tool?source=toc

Due to lack of ongoing security updates on XP, it would be dangerous to continue using an internet connected XP PC, HTPC or not.

http://linux.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=4870837&cid=46429649
Quote:
"After next month there will be no more patches period. Mean while Windows Server 2003 which is based on the same exact source code will be getting patched for years more. These Windows Server 2003 patches will essentially be giving a security exploit guide to crackers and will leave millions of [XP} computers with absolutely no protection whatsoever. "

This site ranks and reviews Linux distributions, or “distros”
http://distrowatch.com/

A “distro” is a pre-packaged, pre-configured and ready to install Linux OS with common apps and drivers included. A distro is equivalent to a store bought version of Windows or OSX on a CD/DVD disc , USB stick or download. Distros vary in their desktop graphical layout ("look"), preinstalled apps and preinstalled drivers (support for specific hardware like printers, scanners, motherboard devices, etc), and also in their ease of installing apps & drivers and quality of their app store ("repository" in Linux lingo).

For most normal computer users and especially former Windows users, the best family of distros to use IMO are based on Ubuntu.
http://www.ubuntu.com/

When I say “family” of distros, this means distros that are binary executable ("app") compatible, i.e. they can use the same app installers and app stores or repositories.

Here is a "family tree" of most known Linux distros from the Linux Creation through 2012:

http://futurist.se/gldt/wp-content/uploads/12.10/gldt1210.svg
http://futurist.se/gldt/wp-content/uploads/12.10/gldt1210.png
http://futurist.se/gldt/

As you can see, there are only 3 major "root" distros from which most common, user friendly distros are derived- Debian, Slackware and Red Hat. Notable smaller trees are Arch, Puppy, and the Suse branches. This does not diminish the relevance or importance of these independant distros, or others like SystemRescueCD and similar utilitarian tool distros.

Also note the size and depth of the Ubuntu sub-tree. In general, all distros branching from the Ubuntu "root" or "seed" should be app, driver and repository compatible. The same could be said for other "seed" distros and their descendants or branches moving to the right.

Most of the top distros that normal people (non technical or semi technical users) should consider using are available in several “flavors”, using a different desktop GUI and/or preinstalled apps and hardware support (drivers, or "modules" in Linux-speak).

Win and Mac users are restricted to one desktop- the desktop GUI shipped by MS or Apple.
(not counting third party desktop add-ons, etc that most people don't use)

Common Linux distros have 5-6 stable desktop GUI’s normal users can pick from:

Unity (Ubuntu only) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unity_(user_interface)
Gnome 3 http://www.gnome.org/gnome-3/
KDE http://www.kde.org/
XFCE http://www.xfce.org/
LXDE http://lxde.org/
MATE http://mate-desktop.org/ ( pronounced mah-tay)

and several other minor lesser used desktops, which you can ignore as a new Linux user.

A desktop GUI is just another "app" that runs automatically when you turn on your computer.

An "Operating System" (OS) technically refers to the "kernel" and related components, usually not directly "seen" by regular users:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kernel_(computing)

Apple's and Microsoft's marketing have made the term "OS" effectively synonymous with the graphical desktop interface most consumers see and use daily.

All the top Linux distros worth considering offer most/all of these desktops as a separate distro for a given release level, or OS version.

Fedora calls them “spins”

http://spins.fedoraproject.org/

while Ubuntu desktop variations each have their own project name and web site:

http://ubuntu.com (Unity desktop)
http://www.kubuntu.org/ (KDE)
http://ubuntugnome.org/ (Gnome)
http://xubuntu.org/ (XFCE)
http://lubuntu.net/ (Lubuntu)

For Linux noobs, I would suggest starting with Xubuntu (Ubuntu with XFCE desktop instead of Unity), which is based on and compatible with the current Ubuntu 14.04:

http://xubuntu.org/news/14-04-release/

Linux distro OS versions are usually given both names and version numbers, just like Android, Windows or Mac OSX. Except Linux distros have been doing the funky "name" thing long before the Mountain Lions, Vista's or Jelly Bean's of the world biggrin.gif

Coming from XP (or Win9x/Win7/Vista), I recommend the XFCE desktop, similar to XP/Win9x desktop functionality and look, or easy to make them look and act like Win9x/XP//Win7.

Even though your CPU can probably use the 64bit version, just use the 32bit for now- no functional benefit with 64bit at this time for normal users, and you may run into a few remaining bugs or driver issues with 64bit, which will probably be resolved in another year or so.

http://cdimage.ubuntu.com/xubuntu/releases/14.04/release/xubuntu-14.04-desktop-i386.iso

Simplest thing to do would be to install the Xubuntu ISO (an archive file that represents a CD or DVD, similar to a .zip archive file) to a USB stick and boot and run Xubuntu from that, before installing to your hard disk:

Use Unetbootin in Windows to create the bootable USB stick:
http://unetbootin.sourceforge.net/

How To Access the BIOS Setup Utility on your PC
http://pcsupport.about.com/od/fixtheproblem/ht/accessbios.htm

How To Boot From a USB Device
http://pcsupport.about.com/od/tipstricks/ht/bootusbflash.htm

If your PC can't boot from USB, burn PloP Linux ISO to a CD, boot from the CD, and it shows a graphical menu to allow booting from USB, whether your motherboard supports USB booting or not biggrin.gif

http://www.plop.at/en/ploplinux/index.html
http://www.plop.at/en/ploplinux/download.html

Direct download
http://download.plop.at/files/ploplinux/4.2.2/ploplinux-4.2.2/ploplinux-4.2.2.iso

Burn the distro ISO (Plop or Xubuntu) file to a blank CD (Plop) or DVD (Xubuntu) and boot your PC from the CD (Plop if needed + USB stick) or DVD (Xubuntu directly) and try Xubuntu running from the DVD or USB stick without installing to your computer drive.

Use IMGburn in Windows to burn the ISO image to a CD or DVD.
http://www.imgburn.com/

Use the Write image wizard in IMGburn. Burn no faster than 4x or 8x max. Check the Verify box.

How To Boot From a CD, DVD, or BD Disc
http://pcsupport.about.com/od/tipstricks/ht/bootcddvd.htm

You can choose to install from the Xubuntu desktop GUI with the Install icon. Be sure to backup/copy all your data from WinXP before overwriting your XP load or installing alongside XP.

I use Xubuntu and Ubuntu Studio myself. UbuntuStudio is Xubuntu with lots of preinstalled technical Audio/Video apps and drivers:

http://ubuntustudio.org/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ubuntu_Studio

You can install the Chrome browser after installing Mint-
https://www.google.com/intl/en/chrome/browser/?platform=linux

and have the equivalent of a Chromebook/Chromebox wink.gif

Just download the 32bit *.deb app installer and double click the deb file to install- .deb files are like Windows .msi or .exe app installers (or Mac .dmg installers), and work on Ubuntu, Mint and some other distros based on Debian.

For the privacy conscious, you want to stick with Firefox browser preinstalled in Xubuntu with the top security+privacy add on Extensions (plugins):

http://www.notebookreview.com/news/top-10-best-firefox-security-add-ons/


A HUGE bonus in using Linux/Xubuntu is no meaningful concerns over malware/viruses in any practical sense.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linux_malware
Quote:
However, few if any are in the wild, and most have been rendered obsolete by Linux updates or were never a threat

This means no resident antivirus apps needed, which incur monetary and computer responsiveness/speed/stability costs.

NOTE re: vintage PC hardware and minimum RAM and CPU speed-

No one should be using a CPU slower than ~2.4Ghz P4 with HyperThreading (HT), or a CPU/PC dated no earlier than 2002:

http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=Intel+Pentium+4+2.40GHz

A Pentium 2.4Ghz CPU has a CPU Mark score of 235, an absolute bare minimum for current web use.

Any PC slower than a CPU Mark of ~250 shouldn't be used for current web use. Office apps maybe, but Java, Flash and video on the web demand a CPU Mark of ~250 or higher. Most PC hardware from ~2003 and later should have a CPU Mark >250, and it would be safe to assume any PC after ~2002 can boot from USB sticks, though there are always exceptions.

You can't judge a CPU by Ghz or #cores alone- the CPU Mark score is the best single measure I've seen. Many AMD single core CPUs (XP, Athlon, Sempron, etc) and some Intel (newer mobile P3 cores, Core/Core2) that are less than 2Ghz have CPU Mark scores >300. A lowly Athlon XP 1900+ 1.6Ghz single core has a CPU Mark of 304, easily beating the 2.4Ghz Pentium 4!

http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=AMD+Athlon+XP+1900%2B&id=222

whereas a Celeron 3.06Ghz is scored at 301

http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=Intel+Celeron+3.06GHz&id=647

so you see, there is no real correlation between Ghz and real world PC speed you "feel" with day to day apps.

You should be able to get by with 512MB RAM minimum with Xubuntu, but as of 2014, 1GB should be your target, though 768MB should be comfortable with Xubuntu. Old DDR or DDR2 256MB-512MB sticks are easy to find and low cost from used sources- ebay, Amazon used/refurb, 3btech.net, local Mom & Pop computer repair/sales shops, local thrift stores and yard sales, discarded PC's from coworkers/friends/family, etc.


Good Luck with your Windows to Linux transition!
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post #2 of 142 Old 04-22-2014, 12:57 AM
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Great post! , I'll refer XP refugees here.

 

I don't think recommending Linux Mint 16 Petra is a great idea though. If someone is still with XP I'm guessing they don't like change and just want an OS that works and one they don't need to think about. Linux Mint 16 is only supported to July 2014. It's kind of out of the frying pan into (a much much nicer) fire.

 

I'll always recommend a long term support distribution from the Ubuntu family. At this stage Xubuntu 14.04, that's supported until April 2017  

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post #3 of 142 Old 04-22-2014, 10:07 PM
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Coming from Xp Ubuntu would feel very foreign. I always point people to Mint, it's a very comfortable transition and is a bit more user friendly than Ubuntu even though it's based on it. I've had people take one look at Ubuntu and run away quickly, not so with Mint.
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I agree the "main" Ubuntu (the one that uses Unity as it's desktop manager) is so unfriendly to users in general, especially Windows refugees, quite simply I hate Unity.

 

Xubuntu has a basic Windows like GUI similar to Linux Mint. Simply saying "Linux Mint" doesn't actually describe the distribution your talking about though as you need to choose a Window Manager too. Hence the options given on the official Mint download page.

 

It's amazing how the Mint team has made them all look so similar though, the generic LXDE, XFCE, Gnome 2 (Mate), Gnome 3 (Cinnamon), and KDE environments are massively different looking in there default state yet somehow Mint makes them look so similar.

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post #5 of 142 Old 04-24-2014, 03:04 PM
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I always recommend Xubuntu or Mint XFCE for XP conversions. Simply because they're lighter distributions that require less resources. Computers still using XP are almost invariably older computers that can benefit greatly from the freeing up of resources.
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post #6 of 142 Old 04-24-2014, 07:36 PM
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Agreed Xubuntu 12.04 (and even more so with 14.04 from what I can tell so far) is the OS of the gods :P

 

I recommend it to everyone I you like big icons with a vertical task bar like Ubuntu you can set that up in a couple minutes, with a nice transperancy effect to boot. That's more for Apple refugees and Linux users in general though. For XP users just bring the task bar to the bottom, 14.04 has gotten rid of the auto-hiding 2nd

 

taskbar too which is a good move IMO.

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post #7 of 142 Old 04-27-2014, 04:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CloudDenton View Post

Great post! , I'll refer XP refugees here.

I don't think recommending Linux Mint 16 Petra is a great idea though. If someone is still with XP I'm guessing they don't like change and just want an OS that works and one they don't need to think about. Linux Mint 16 is only supported to July 2014. It's kind of out of the frying pan into (a much much nicer) fire.

I'll always recommend a long term support distribution from the Ubuntu family. At this stage Xubuntu 14.04, that's supported until April 2017  

Thanks

Good points. I updated my post to clarify and simplify, only recommending Xubuntu 14.04.

This means we will need to field questions for those unfamiliar with codec/driver installations, plus some A/V related app installs via repository additions.

Great timing re: the XP phase out, coinciding with an LTS release for newcomers wink.gif

While I've always respected the Mint guys for their work, until Cinnamon, the value they brought to the base Ubuntu was questionable. Mint has upped its game in the past couple of years with a lot of in house development work, like CInnamon and config apps they developed.

Long gone are the days when just re-arranging taskbars and menus, preinstalling some apps easily installed from repositories, debs or the Ubuntu Software Center, and including wallpapers and themes could be construed as "adding value" to users or the base distro it is built on.

This is 2014- the bar has been raised. A distro needs to bring something more substantial to the table to be a worthwhile alternative to the established distros with large user bases.

In that light, distro families like Arch/Manjaro and Puppy compatibles have been a welcome alternative to the established distro families in FOSS land.
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post #8 of 142 Old 04-27-2014, 04:45 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CloudDenton View Post

Agreed Xubuntu 12.04 (and even more so with 14.04 from what I can tell so far) is the OS of the gods :P

I recommend it to everyone I you like big icons with a vertical task bar like Ubuntu you can set that up in a couple minutes, with a nice transperancy effect to boot. That's more for Apple refugees and Linux users in general though. For XP users just bring the task bar to the bottom, 14.04 has gotten rid of the auto-hiding 2nd


taskbar too which is a good move IMO.

I actually like the transparent, auto hide bottom taskbar! biggrin.gif

Trivial to add it back, so no big deal. I like to put the Trash there in the bottom right corner, plus launcher icons for my most used apps, grouped by type. I used to just place icons for frequently used apps on my desktop in my Win and early Linux days, but I now keep my desktop clean and put all "quick" launchers in the bottom taskbar. I still use the top bar for Window lists/notifications area/main menu plus 3-4 critical app launchers like Firefox, Chrome, App Finder, etc. Another benefit of putting the Trash can and app launch icons in the bottom taskbar vs on the desktop is that they will stay in the same position through screen resolution changes or other actions that may re-arrange desktop icons. You want frequently picked icons to be located in the same spot for muscle memory.

Big thumbs up on the addition of Whisker Menu in the default Xubuntu install. To Mint's credit, Mint added the Whisker menu some time ago to Mint XFCE. But this also highlights another example of duplication of effort, a common issue in FOSS land. For example, I think the MATE devs should abandon MATE and work with XFCE, but that's just me wink.gif

Next, Xubuntu needs to add Slingshot or Slingscold launcher in the default Xubuntu install.

https://launchpad.net/slingshot
http://www.noobslab.com/2013/09/slingscold-launchpad-launcher-for.html
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post #9 of 142 Old 04-27-2014, 05:07 PM - Thread Starter
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If you want Xubuntu 14.04 with extra bling and pre-installed media apps, try Voyager 14.04

http://distrowatch.com/?newsid=08409
http://voyagerlive.org/

I was impressed the last time I played with a liveUSB, though I only tried it for a few minutes.
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post #10 of 142 Old 04-28-2014, 05:39 AM - Thread Starter
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For those familiar with Win7, DockbarX gives you Win7-like taskbar functionality re: app/window launcher and icon grouping
http://gnome-look.org/content/show.php?content=101604

DockbarX is available as an XFCE panel plugin
http://www.webupd8.org/2013/03/dockbarx-available-as-xfce-panel-plugin.html

I think Xubuntu should include DockbarX in the default install.

For Apple Mac OSX refugees (or Mac users wanting to try Linux), Macbuntu is an XFCE theme and app pack that converts XFCE into a Mac look/work alike

http://news.softpedia.com/news/Xubuntu-13-10-Can-Look-like-Mac-OS-with-quot-Macbuntu-like-for-XFCE-quot-Theme-423389.shtml
http://opendesktop.org/content/show.php/Macbuntu+like+for+XFCE+?content=160569
http://sourceforge.net/projects/macbuntu/

I used to be "against" these kinds of OS-mimic-ing utilities and theming, opting for a native Linux/FOSS experience (really a native Gnome, KDE, or XFCE experience).

However, for normal, non-technical users with years (Or decades) of muscle memory and exposure to one way of doing things, there is a lot of value in the ability to customize a Linux distro to mimic what a user is familiar with, if needed. It demonstrates the versatility of FOSS at minimum.

Though I think Macbuntu goes *too* far in changing logos to Apples rolleyes.gif

Arranging things into a familiar look/feel/functionality and branding are two different things.
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Caught another one in your original post. Booting from USB. Most older machines running XP could run into issues with that as older BIOS's may not support USB booting.

You did really well with the post, I just wish there was an easier way to convey the terminology. I do conversions for people all the time and getting them to understand that computers are a collection of parts and software is confusing to most.

Of course, I think the industry has done a great job confusing the masses into thinking like this. It's a "Windows computer" or a "Mac computer". People just don't realize that the "computer" is just a collection of hardware. The O/S, which for the most part is interchangeable among "computers", is the only thing that distinguishes whether or not it's a Mac or Windows machine. (Understanding of course the Mac hardware requirements).
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post #12 of 142 Old 04-28-2014, 12:17 PM - Thread Starter
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cool.gif
Quote:
Originally Posted by minivanman View Post

Caught another one in your original post. Booting from USB. Most older machines running XP could run into issues with that as older BIOS's may not support USB booting.

You did really well with the post, I just wish there was an easier way to convey the terminology. I do conversions for people all the time and getting them to understand that computers are a collection of parts and software is confusing to most.

Of course, I think the industry has done a great job confusing the masses into thinking like this. It's a "Windows computer" or a "Mac computer". People just don't realize that the "computer" is just a collection of hardware. The O/S, which for the most part is interchangeable among "computers", is the only thing that distinguishes whether or not it's a Mac or Windows machine. (Understanding of course the Mac hardware requirements).

Yes, us "old timers" recall when PC computers were sold as OS-less machines- you had to buy the OS as a separate line item and often install yourself. This was common through at least the mid 1990's and even later for small mom and pop shops. Yes, Windows or DOS was often bundled and/or pre-installed at the major national chains, but prior to 1995 or so, even CompUSA sold "empty" PC's that required a boxed DOS or Windows, or other choices like OS/2, GeoWorks, Novell, DR-DOS, CP/M, etc.

That was the *point* of the "PC revolution"- giving choice and power to the individual user. Sad that Apple/MS and now Google with Android has systematically taken consumer power away.

Getting a refund for forced Windows installs remains an issue, as it has been since the 90's

http://www.zdnet.com/linux-users-get-your-windows-refund-today-4010015089/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bundling_of_Microsoft_Windows
http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2145916
http://marc.merlins.org/linux/refundday/

WOW- Acer has an official Windows Refund policy, though you need to pay to send your PC to them-
http://acer.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/280/kw/windows20refund

Anywho- I updated my XP migration guide with a comment about USB boot compatibility, which is why I put the burn to CD/DVD option in originally.

I don't think the lack of USB boot capability is a significant issue. XP was sold on retail PC's at least through 2006/2007 or later (netbooks).

No one should be using a CPU slower than ~2.4Ghz P4 with HyperThreading (HT), dated no earlier than 2002 for retail purchase.
http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=Intel+Pentium+4+2.40GHz

which has a CPU Mark score of 235.

Any PC slower than a CPU Mark of 235 shouldn't be used for current web use. Office apps maybe, but Java, Flash and video on the web demands a CPU Mark of ~300 or higher. Most PC hardware from ~2003 and later should have a CPU Mark >300, and it would be safe to assume any PC after ~2002 can boot from USB sticks, though there are always exceptions.

You can't judge a CPU by Ghz or # cores- the CPU Mark score is the best single measure I've seen. Many AMD single core CPUs (XP, Athlon, Sempron, etc) and some Intel (newer mobile P3 cores, Core/Core2) that are less than 2Ghz have CPU Mark scores >300.
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post #15 of 142 Old 04-28-2014, 01:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt L View Post

Coming from Xp Ubuntu would feel very foreign. I always point people to Mint, it's a very comfortable transition and is a bit more user friendly than Ubuntu even though it's based on it. I've had people take one look at Ubuntu and run away quickly, not so with Mint.

You mean "Unity" may feel foreign to new users.

Remember, any distro worth using by former Windows users offers KDE, Gnome, XFCE, LXDE and perhaps other desktops. This includes Ubuntu, Mint, Fedora, Suse, Arch, Puppy, Gentoo and their derivatives/compatibles.

I think Ubuntu gets WAY too much heat for Unity, given the massive amount of distros based on Ubuntu that *don't* use Unity.

Unity is just one OPTION for desktops for distros based on Ubuntu. There are a LOT of distros based on Ubuntu sans Unity-

http://distrowatch.com/search.php?ostype=All&category=All&origin=All&basedon=Ubuntu&notbasedon=None&desktop=All&architecture=All&status=Active
Quote:
1. Linux Mint (1)
Linux Mint is an Ubuntu-based distribution whose goal is to provide a more complete out-of-the-box experience by including browser plugins, media codecs, support for DVD playback, Java and other components. It also adds a custom desktop and menus, several unique configuration tools, and a web-based package installation interface. Linux Mint is compatible with Ubuntu software repositories.

2. Ubuntu (2)
Ubuntu is a complete desktop Linux operating system, freely available with both community and professional support. The Ubuntu community is built on the ideas enshrined in the Ubuntu Manifesto: that software should be available free of charge, that software tools should be usable by people in their local language and despite any disabilities, and that people should have the freedom to customise and alter their software in whatever way they see fit. "Ubuntu" is an ancient African word, meaning "humanity to others". The Ubuntu distribution brings the spirit of Ubuntu to the software world.

3. elementary OS (7)
elementary OS is an Ubuntu-based desktop distribution. Some of its more interesting features include a new GTK+ and icon theme for GNOME, the Midori web browser, new applications developed in-house (e.g. Dexter, an address book and Postler, an email client), and Nautilus Elementary, a simple file manager.

4. Zorin OS (11)
Zorin OS is an Ubuntu-based Linux distribution designed especially for newcomers to Linux. It has a Windows-like graphical user interface and many programs similar to those found in Windows. Zorin OS also comes with an application that lets users run many Windows programs. The distribution's ultimate goal is to provide a Linux alternative to Windows and let Windows users enjoy all the features of Linux without complications.

5. Lubuntu (15)
Lubuntu is a fast, lightweight and energy-saving variant of Ubuntu using the LXDE (Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment) desktop. It is intended to have low-resource system requirements and is designed primarily for netbooks, mobile devices and older PCs.

6. Ultimate Edition (18)
Ultimate Edition, first released in December 2006, is a fork of Ubuntu and Linux Mint. The goal of the project is to create a complete, seamlessly integrated, visually stimulating, and easy-to-install operating system. Single-button upgrade is one of several special characteristics of this distribution. Other main features include custom desktop and theme with 3D effects, support for a wide range of networking options, including WiFi and Bluetooth, and integration of many extra applications and package repositories.

7. Xubuntu (19)
Xubuntu is a Linux distribution based on Ubuntu. Unlike its parent, however, Xubuntu uses the light-weight Xfce desktop environment and is optimised for lower-end machines. The distribution includes only GTK+ applications where possible.

8. Bodhi Linux (24)
Bodhi Linux is an Ubuntu-based distribution for the desktop featuring the elegant and lightweight Enlightenment window manager. The project, which integrates and pre-configures the very latest builds of Enlightenment directly from the project's development repository, offers modularity, high level of customisation, and choice of themes. The default Bodhi system is light -- the only pre-installed applications are Midori, LXTerminal, EFM (Enlightenment File Manager), Leafpad and Synaptic -- but more software is available via AppCenter, a web-based software installation tool.

9. LXLE (25)
LXLE is an easy-to-use lightweight desktop Linux distribution based on Lubuntu and featuring the LXDE desktop environment. Compared to its parent, LXLE has a number of unique characteristics: it is built from Ubuntu's LTS (long-term support) releases, it covers most users' everyday needs by providing a good selection of default applications, and it adds useful modifications and tweaks to improve performance and functions.

10. Ubuntu GNOME (26)
Ubuntu GNOME (formerly Ubuntu GNOME Remix) is an official flavor of Ubuntu, featuring the GNOME desktop environment. It is intended as a mostly pure GNOME desktop experience built from the Ubuntu repositories.

11. Kubuntu (27)
Kubuntu is a free, user-friendly Linux distribution based on KDE's desktop software and on the award-winning Ubuntu operating system. It has a biannual release cycle and at least 18 months of free security updates for each release. Besides providing an up-to-date version of the KDE desktop at the time of the release, the project also releases updated KDE packages throughout the lifetime of each release.

12. Peppermint OS (35)
Peppermint OS is a Lubuntu-based Linux distribution that aims to be lightning fast and easy on system resources. By employing Mozilla's Prism technology Peppermint integrates seamlessly with Cloud and web-based applications. The distribution's other features include automatic updates, easy step-by-step installation, sleek and user-friendly interface, and increased mobility by integrating directly with Cloud-based applications.

13. Linux Lite (36)
Linux Lite is a beginner-friendly Linux distribution based on Ubuntu LTS and featuring the Xfce desktop.

14. Pinguy OS (38)
Pinguy OS is an Ubuntu-based distribution targeted at beginning Linux users. It features numerous user-friendly enhancements, out-of-the-box support for multimedia codecs and browser plugins, a heavily tweaked GNOME user interface with enhanced menus, panels and dockbars, and a careful selection of popular desktop applications for many common computing tasks.

15. Ubuntu Studio (49)
Ubuntu Studio is a variant of Ubuntu aimed at the GNU/Linux audio, video and graphic enthusiast as well as professional. The distribution provides a collection of open-source applications available for multimedia creation.

16. Netrunner (55)
Netrunner is a Kubuntu-based distribution featuring a highly customised KDE desktop with extra applications, multimedia codecs, Flash and Java plugins, and a unique look and feel. The modifications are designed to enhance the user-friendliness of the desktop environment while still preserving the freedom to tweak.

17. Voyager Live (57)
Voyager Live is an Xubuntu-based distribution and live DVD showcasing the Xfce desktop environment. Its features include the Avant Window Navigator or AWN (a dock-like navigation bar), Conky (a program which displays useful information on the desktop), and over 300 photographs and animations that can be used as desktop backgrounds.

18. Deepin (63)
Deepin (formerly Linux Deepin, Hiweed GNU/Linux) is an Ubuntu-based distribution that aims to provide an elegant, user-friendly and reliable operating system. It does not only include the best the open source world has to offer, but it has also created its own desktop environment called DDE or Deepin Desktop Environment which is based on HTML 5 technologies. Linux Deepin focuses much of its attention on intuitive design. Its home-grown applications, like Deepin Software Centre, DMusic and DPlayer are tailored to the average user. Being easy to install and use, Linux Deepin can be a good Windows alternative for office and home use.

19. wattOS (64)
wattOS is a fast desktop Linux distribution based on Ubuntu. Using the lightweight Openbox window manager as its default user interface, the distribution strives to be as energy-efficient as possible so that it can be used on low-specification and recycled computers.

20. BackBox Linux (68)
BackBox Linux is an Ubuntu-based distribution developed to perform penetration tests and security assessments. It is designed to be fast and easy to use. It provides a minimal yet complete desktop environment, thanks to its own software repositories, which are always updated to the latest stable versions of the most often used and best-known ethical hacking tools.

21. Snowlinux (70)
Snowlinux is a set of Linux distributions based on Debian's latest stable release and featuring four different desktop environments - GNOME, KDE, LXDE and Xfce. It aims to be user-friendly, incorporating many useful tweaks and carefully selected software applications. The project also develops a separate, Ubuntu-based edition featuring the MATE (a GNOME 2 fork) desktop.

22. Trisquel GNU/Linux (84)
Trisquel GNU/Linux is a 100% libre Ubuntu-based Linux distribution. Its main purpose is to provide an operating system for varied audience, including home and office users, educational institutions, multimedia workstations, etc. The project is managed by independent developers and is partially funded by donations.

23. SuperX (86)
SuperX is a desktop-oriented computer operating system based on Ubuntu and Debian GNU/Linux, using a highly customised KDE desktop environment. It was originally developed in India by a teenager who built it using free and open-source software. SuperX is highly modular, flexible and cloud-centric, with a desktop user interface especially designed with Linux beginners in mind.

24. Ubuntu Kylin (88)
Ubuntu Kylin is an official Ubuntu subproject whose goal is to create a variant of Ubuntu that is more suitable for Chinese users using the Simplified Chinese writing system. The project provides a delicate, thoughtful and fully customised Chinese user experience out-of-the-box by providing a desktop user interface localised into Simplified Chinese and with software generally preferred by many Chinese users.

25. Zentyal (96)
Zentyal (formerly eBox Platform) is a unified network server that offers easy and efficient computer network administration for small and medium-size businesses. It can act as a gateway, an infrastructure manager, a unified threat manager, an office server, a unified communication server or a combination of them. These functionalities are tightly integrated, automating most tasks, avoiding mistakes and saving time for system administrators. Zentyal is released under the GNU General Public License (GPL) and runs on top of Ubuntu.

26. ZevenOS (99)
ZevenOS is an Ubuntu-based GNU/Linux distribution with focus on providing a fast and easy-to-use system with BeOS-like user interface and support for older hardware. The distribution is built on top of a recent Linux kernel and includes a large number of popular open-source software applications for office use, multimedia playback and software development. ZevenOS also ships with MAGI, a tool for starting applications and managing the system. The project's "Neptune" edition is a separate built based on Debian GNU/Linux and featuring the latest KDE desktop.

27. DreamStudio (100)
DreamStudio is an Ubuntu-based distribution containing tools to create stunning graphics, captivating videos, inspiring music, and professional websites. Some of the included and pre-configured applications include Cinelerra (a powerful non-linear video editor), Ardour (a professional digital audio workstation), CinePaint (a tool for motion picture frame-by-frame retouching), Blender (a 3D graphics application), Inkscape (a vector graphics editor), Synfig Studio (a vector-based 2D animation software), Kompozer (a complete web authoring system), and many others.

28. ExTiX (102)
ExTiX is a desktop Linux distribution and live DVD based on Ubuntu and featuring a customised GNOME 3 desktop.

29. Centrych OS (108)
Centrych OS is an Ubuntu-based Linux distribution that provides a unified look & feel, as well as support for both KDE/Qt and GNOME/GTK+ applications. It uses the Xfce desktop environment with two distinct profiles - one that has the Oxygen/Qt look of KDE, while the other provides the Greybird/GTK+ look of Xubuntu. Some other interesting features of the distribution include the ability to do a simplified sign on and quasi two-factor authentication for systems with full-disk encryption, and the availability of the latest versions of certain high-profile applications, such as GIMP or LibreOffice.

30. Emmabuntüs (114)
Emmabuntüs is a desktop Linux distribution based on Xubuntu. It strives to be beginner-friendly and reasonably light on resources so that it can be used on older computers. It also includes many modern features, such as large number of pre-configured programs for everyday use, dockbar for launching applications, easy installation of non-free software and media codecs, and quick setup through automated scripts. The distribution supports English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish languages.

31. Mythbuntu (125)
Mythbuntu is an Ubuntu-based distribution and live CD focused upon setting up a standalone MythTV system similar to KnoppMyth or Mythdora. It can be used to install a standalone frontend, backend, or combination machines. Mythbuntu uses Xfce as its default desktop and provides a graphical Control Centre to configure the system.

32. Edubuntu (126)
Edubuntu is a partner project of Ubuntu, a distribution suitable for classroom use. The aim is that an educator with limited technical knowledge and skill will be able to set up a computer lab, or establish an on-line learning environment, in an hour or less, and then administer that environment without having to become a fully-fledged Linux geek.

33. CAINE (129)
CAINE (Computer Aided INvestigative Environment) is an Ubuntu-based GNU/Linux live distribution created as a project of digital forensics. It offers a complete forensic environment that is organised to integrate existing software tools as software modules and to provide a friendly graphical interface. The main design objectives that CAINE aims to guarantee are: an interoperable environment that supports the digital investigator during the four phases of the digital investigation, a user-friendly graphical interface, and a semi-automated compilation of the final report.

34. CAELinux (131)
CAELinux is a live DVD Linux distribution dedicated to computer-aided engineering (CAD) and finite element analysis. Based on Ubuntu, it features a full software solution for professional 3D FE analysis from CAD geometry. It includes the Salome 3D pre/post processor, Code_Aster non-linear/multi- physics FE solver, Code-Saturne and OpenFOAM CFD solvers, Elmer multiphysics suite, GMSH, Netgen and enGrid 3D meshers, GNU Octave, Rkward, wxMaxima, Scilab, and more.

35. Ubuntu DesktopPack (135)
Ubuntu DesktopPack is an Ubuntu remix built by Ukraine's UALinux, an official partner of Canonical. It comes with extra applications, drivers and media codecs, and includes full support for English, Russian and Ukrainian languages. Besides the default Ubuntu build, the project also releases variants based on Kubuntu and Xubuntu, as well as a free extension CD for schools and commercial CD/DVD packs with extra software for desktops, servers and gaming stations.

36. DEFT Linux (137)
DEFT (Digital Evidence & Forensic Toolkit) is a customised distribution of the Ubuntu live Linux CD. It is an easy-to-use system that includes excellent hardware detection and some of the best open-source applications dedicated to incident response and computer forensics.

37. EasyPeasy (141)
EasyPeasy (formerly Ubuntu Eee) is an Ubuntu-based distribution for netbooks. It uses Ubuntu Netbook Remix graphical user interface and includes open source as well as proprietary software.

38. ArtistX (150)
ArtistX is a Ubuntu-based bootable DVD containing many free multimedia software packages for audio, 2D and 3D graphics, and video production. The goal of this project is to showcase the variety of multimedia software available on the GNU/Linux platform and to enable creative individuals to accomplish their tasks with the help of Free Software.

39. UberStudent (154)
UberStudent is an Ubuntu-based distribution on a DVD designed for learning and teaching academic computing at the higher education and advanced secondary levels. UberStudent comes with software for everyday computing tasks, plus a core set of programs and features designed to teach and make easier the tasks and habits common to high-performing students of all academic disciplines. Lifelong learners, as well as any sort of knowledge worker, will equally benefit. UberStudent is supported by a free Moodle virtual learning environment.

40. Runtu (155)
Runtu is a Russian desktop Linux distribution based on Ubuntu. It features full support for Russian and a variety of extra applications, tools and media codecs.

41. NexentaStor (158)
NexentaStor is an enterprise-class unified storage solution built upon the foundation of the open-source file system Nexenta Core Platform, including the ZFS file system. NexentaStor adds to the open source foundation a complete set of managed features, including ZFS and synchronous block level replication, integrated search, console and graphical user interfaces, and optional advanced features, such as management of storage for leading virtualised environments, enhanced mapping and management for Fiber Channel and iSCSI environments, and active/active high availability. A free "developer's edition" based on the most recent stable Nexenta Core Platform is available free of charge for users with less than 4 terabyte of used disk space.

42. SalentOS (168)
SalentOS is an Ubuntu-based GNU/Linux distribution that uses Openbox as window manager. SalentOS has been designed to embrace lightness (hence the choice of Openbox), but at the same time it maintains the completeness and features of Ubuntu. The system includes elements of GNOME and Xfce desktops. A separate edition featuring the Qt-based Razor-qt desktop environment is also provided.

43. Hybryde Linux (170)
Hybryde Linux is an Ubuntu-based distribution for the desktop. Its most unusual feature is an option to switch rapidly between multiple desktop environments and window manager without logging out - the list includes Enlightenment 17, GNOME 3 (GNOME Shell and GNOME 3 "Fallback" mode), KDE, LXDE, Openbox, Unity, Xfce and FVWM. This is achieved via a highly customisable Hy-menu, which also allows launching applications and configuring the system. All open applications are carried to any of the available desktops. The system offers an interesting way to work fluidly in a multi-desktop environment.

44. Linux Caixa Mágica (171)
Caixa Mágica is a Portuguese Linux distribution for desktops and servers. The project's early versions were based on SUSE Linux and later on Mandriva Linux, but starting from version 16 Caixa Mágica is built from Ubuntu. It features the GNOME desktop environment.

45. Bio-Linux (172)
Bio-Linux is a full-featured, powerful, configurable and easy-to-maintain bioinformatics workstation. Bio-Linux provides more than 500 bioinformatics programs on an Ubuntu base. There is a graphical menu for bioinformatics programs, as well as easy access to the Bio-Linux bioinformatics documentation system and sample data useful for testing programs. Bio-Linux packages that handle new generation sequence data types can also be installed.

46. Leeenux (182)
Leeenux is an Ubuntu-based commercial Linux distribution tailored to netbooks. Several editions, depending on the user interface are available; these include Unity 2D, MATE and LXDE desktop environments.

47. AriOS (183)
AriOS is a user-friendly, Ubuntu-based distribution containing extra applications, multimedia codecs, Flash and Java plugins, many tweaks and a unique look and feel.

48. Greenie Linux (189)
Greenie Linux is a Slovak desktop distribution based on Ubuntu and optimised for users in Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Created as an operating system for every-day use, Greenie Linux combines a set of applications for home use, out-of-the-box functionality and Ubuntu repositories. The goal of this distribution is to create a user-friendly desktop system and a useful live CD.

49. Ubuntu Christian Edition (191)
Ubuntu Christian Edition is a free, open source operating system geared towards Christians. It is based on the popular Ubuntu. Along with the standard Ubuntu applications, Ubuntu Christian Edition includes the best available Christian software. The latest release contains GnomeSword, a top of the line Bible study program for Linux based on the Sword Project. There are several modules installed with GnomeSword including Bibles, Commentaries, and Dictionaries. Ubuntu Christian Edition also includes fully integrated web content parental controls powered by Dansguardian. A graphical tool to adjust the parental control settings has also been developed specifically for Ubuntu Christian Edition. The goal of Ubuntu Christian Edition is not to bring Christianity to Linux but to bring Linux to Christians.

50. LuninuX OS (195)
LuninuX OS is an Ubuntu-based Linux distribution designed to be beautiful, clean, simple, fast, and stable.

51. APODIO (199)
APODIO is a Linux live and installation DVD with a large collection of open source audio and video software, as well as graphical utilities for making system administration as simple and intuitive as possible. It is based on Ubuntu.

52. Guadalinex (203)
Guadalinex is a Linux distribution based on Ubuntu and developed by the government of Andalucía (Junta de Andalucía) in Spain.

53. Oz Unity (205)
Oz Unity is an Ubuntu-based distribution with the goal of creating an operating system which would target new users to Linux or computing in general. An easy-to-install system which is inviting and intuitive to use, enhanced with applications that the majority of users would require on a day-to-day basis and which could easily be tailored to any individuals needs. Oz Unity includes all the features of Ubuntu with enhanced usability. Many tools have been added for new and advanced users. The Ubuntu repository also includes the latest updates, as well as software that is not included in the official release.

54. BigLinux (211)
BigLinux is a Brazilian Linux live CD with support for hard disk install and localised into Brazilian Portuguese. It is based on Kubuntu.

55. Comfusion (223)
Linux Comfusion (previously known as Uberyl) is a desktop Linux distribution that combines an Ubuntu base system with the latest 3D desktop technologies on a live DVD.

56. AbulÉdu (227)
AbulÉdu is a French Linux distribution, specifically designed for children and educational institutions. Originally based on Mandrake Linux, the most recent releases have been based on Ubuntu.

57. Madbox Linux (232)
Madbox Linux is a lightweight, Ubuntu-based Linux distribution featuring the Openbox window manager, the SLiM display manager, and a simplified desktop configuration system.

58. OpenLX (237)
OpenLX is a beginner-friendly Linux distribution made in India. Based on Linux Mint, it includes many additions, updated packages and user-friendly enhancements designed specifically for desktop use. It also comes with a number of games, multimedia and graphical programs, development tools, and support for Indian languages.

59. Ubuntu Privacy Remix (244)
Ubuntu Privacy Remix (UPR) is a modified live DVD based on Ubuntu. Its goal is to provide a completely isolated working environment where private data can be dealt with safely and to protect data against unsolicited access. Networking is intentionally disabled and saving data to mounted volumes is not allowed. The live CD is not installable to hard disk.

60. Vinux (246)
Vinux is an Ubuntu-derived distribution optimised for the needs of blind and partially sighted users. By default Vinux provides two screen readers, Braille display support and a friendly community. When booting the live Vinux image, the users are greeted by the Orca screen reader that enables them to navigate the graphical GNOME desktop using keyboard commands. Additionally, Brltty provides grade 1 and 2 Braille output via Orca.

61. Kiwi Linux (248)
Kiwi Linux is a modified Ubuntu live CD for the i386 architecture. It includes Romanian and Hungarian localisations, multimedia codecs, encrypted DVD support, Flash and Java plugins for Firefox, PPPoE GUI for accessing local Internet services (Clicknet and RDS) and write support for NTFS partitions.

62. Tuquito (254)
Tuquito is a Ubuntu-based distribution and live CD made in Argentina. It features automatic hardware detection, excellent support for scanners, web cams and digital cameras, and compatibility with MS Office file formats. It is designed for beginners and intermediate Linux users.

63. Ankur Bangla (257)
Ankur Bangla is a desktop Linux distribution localised into Bengali. The project's earlier versions were based on Mandriva Linux, but later it switched to Ubuntu as its preferred base.

64. iQunix OS (261)
iQunix OS is a 64-bit Linux operating system based on the popular Ubuntu distribution. Its unique design offers to experienced Ubuntu users a bare-bone operating system in which nothing is pre-installed.

65. REMnux (267)
REMnux is a lightweight, Ubuntu-based Linux distribution for assisting malware analysts with reverse-engineering malicious software. It incorporates a number of tools for analysing malicious executables that run on Microsoft Windows, as well as browser-based malware, such as Flash programs and obfuscated JavaScript. The toolkit also includes programs for analysing malicious documents, such PDF files, and utilities for reverse-engineering malware through memory forensics.

66. Redo Backup & Recovery (268)
Redo Backup and Recovery is an Ubuntu-based live CD featuring backup, restore, and disaster recovery software. It centres around an easy-to-use graphical program for running bare-metal backup and recovery on hard disk partitions, as well as on external hard drives and network shares. The CD also includes several popular data recovery programs and a web browser.

67. MAX: Madrid_Linux (271)
Madrid_Linux, or MAX for short, is an GNU/Linux distribution created by the Council of Education of Madrid, Spain. It is a live operating system based on Ubuntu. Besides the ability to boot the operating system on any computer, the distribution includes a graphical installer with an option to resize FAT or NTFS partition and create space for installing MAX on a hard disk.

68. Baltix GNU/Linux (274)
Baltix GNU/Linux is an Ubuntu-based distribution designed primarily for Lithuanian and Latvian speakers, as well as other users from Europe's Baltic region. Besides standard software found in an Ubuntu release, Baltix also includes a variety of educational programs, games, vector graphic and diagram drawing software, WINE integration for running Windows applications, office clipart, and internationalisation features for the supported languages.

69. Bardinux (280)
Bardinux, a project of the Office of Free Software at the Universidad de La Laguna, Canary Islands, Spain, is a Kubuntu-based distribution. It follows Kubuntu's long-term support release and is designed primarily for the students of the university.

70. LliureX (282)
LliureX is a project of the Council of Culture, Education and Sport at the Municipality of Valencia, Spain. The LliureX distribution is an Edubuntu-based live and installation DVD with support for the Valencian and Spanish languages. It is intended as an operating system for educational institutions in the Valencia region. LliureX uses exclusively free software and is distributed free of charge.

71. Karoshi (285)
Karoshi is a free and open source school server operating system based on Ubuntu. Karoshi provides a simple graphical interface that allows for quick installation, setup and maintenance of a network.

72. Ulteo Open Virtual Desktop (289)
Ulteo Application System (Ulteo AS) is a Debian/Ubuntu-based Linux distribution created by Gaël Duval, the original founder of Mandrake Linux (now Mandriva Linux) and co-founder of MandrakeSoft (now Mandriva). It is a hybrid, network-oriented and mostly automatic computing system that ships with hundreds of applications and innovative features. The basic version of the Ulteo AS provides a choice of applications for daily use, such as Firefox, Thunderbird, OpenOffice.org, etc., but can be easily extended with a set of applications from the Ulteo panel. It also provides document and panel content synchronisation capabilities between a local installation of Ulteo AS and Ulteo Open Virtual Desktop.

73. SymphonyOS (292)
SymphonyOS is a Ubuntu-based desktop Linux distribution featuring a custom-built desktop environment called "Mezzo". Written in Perl and Gtk2::Webkit, Mezzo uses the lightweight but highly configurable FVWM window manager to create an unusual and eye-catching desktop user interface with focus on simplicity and usability.

...and this list is missing some like Precise Puppy, etc

http://puppylinux.org/wikka/PuppyPrecise?redirect=no

I suspect the list omits other Ubuntu compatible distros.
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post #16 of 142 Old 04-28-2014, 01:30 PM - Thread Starter
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User interfaces are highly subjective. Here is a current positive review of Unity in Ubuntu 14.04

http://distrowatch.com/weekly.php?issue=20140428#feature
Quote:
Some people, myself included, often feel migrating to Unity from another desktop environment is a jarring experience. In my case I believe most of my issues with Unity come from twenty years of habit. I am accustomed to having window control buttons on the right-hand side of a window, not the left. I am accustomed to having the application menu at the bottom of the screen, not the top. These little differences mean I regularly find myself moving my mouse pointer in the wrong direction as habit is causing me to move to the wrong part of the screen. It tends to take around a week for me to break this habit.

In order to get a fresh perspective on Unity I asked someone who had never used it before to sit down and try the controversial desktop environment. This person had mostly used Windows and had spent a little time with LXDE and Android, but had not used any other GNU/Linux-based desktops. Their first reaction was, "It's upside down," referring to the application menu and system tray being at the top of the screen. However, in short order they had launched some programs, found the settings panel and the Logout button and discovered how to install software through the Software Centre. All of this was without prompting or help. After five minutes they declared Unity attractive and easy to use. Oddly enough they did not use (or even notice) the Unity dash, thinking the button for opening the dash was part of the background decoration. Once I showed them the basics of how the dash worked, they said it seemed easy enough to utilize and soon felt at home with the dash interface.

My belief is that for users familiar with iOS or recent Android devices (tablets or phones), Unity may be friendly for them.

It is easy to install XFCE with a few mouse clicks and have both Unity and XFCE on the same PC.

https://sites.google.com/site/easylinuxtipsproject/alternative

though the link above uses a terminal method. I would advise NOT to execute the Cleanup tips if you plan to keep Unity.

You should be able to install xubuntu-desktop from the Ubuntu Software Center "app store" via point and click.
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I think this is something us "Linux" users take for granted in many instances. With "choice" comes complexity. No choice, simplification. Something Microsoft and Apple have kind of perfected, or at least steered the market to accepting.

"Here's our desktop environment. Look what it can do." as opposed to the Linux equation of "What's most important to you, and we can tailor a desktop for you. Don't worry though, you can always load desktop specific applications across different desktops because the O/S is still the same."

I love demonstrating ArchLinux because of this. I don't expect newcomers to Linux to use Arch, but it's a great tool to show the different parts that make a computer work. Working from the command line to build the O/S. Then picking and customizing your desktop. Integrating and using your hardware.

Yeah, Arch is more complex to set up, but with the automation that Windows, Mac, Ubuntu, etc use in loading your system, you lose control over what goes on your computer. It's a great educational tool.
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Nice post Rgb
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Originally Posted by Rgb View Post

You mean "Unity" may feel foreign to new users.

Remember, any distro worth using by former Windows users offers KDE, Gnome, XFCE, LXDE and perhaps other desktops. This includes Ubuntu, Mint, Fedora, Suse, Arch, Puppy, Gentoo and their derivatives/compatibles.

Unity would be quite foreign to any windows users I know. Mac refugees would be quite at home, but mac refugee may be a paradox


Also, when I think of xp machines, the only use it seems like they have these days is browsing (which takes care of email and music for a big majority of the population between spotify, pandora, grooveshark, google music, etc). That being said, I always try to think of a re-purpose for old machines that my parents could and would use.

The one that comes to mind (that will eventually be what their current machine is transitioned to) is a browser based distro. I'm not up to date on browser based distros, but I don't think they would have any problems with Chromium OS. Not sure what it's based on though. I know there's also jolicloud and browserlinux. I looked at both of those just now and Joli-OS looks like another contender for their box, but browserlinux is using Firefox 5? Hardly a security improvement

Anyway, my parents and cousin have both moved to tablets because they fit the niche they always looked for in computing. They really don't need office apps, don't want to be bothered with or see updates, wanted portability, great battery life, etc. However, for me browsing is just barely becoming a pleasant experience on current top end tablets, and they of course have the older obscure models. I think a simple browser-based "terminal" would be used quite often in their case, and I wouldn't mind forking over a flash drive to get them going.

Are there other good browser distros I'm not aware of
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Nice post Rgb
Unity would be quite foreign to any windows users I know. Mac refugees would be quite at home, but mac refugee may be a paradox


Also, when I think of xp machines, the only use it seems like they have these days is browsing (which takes care of email and music for a big majority of the population between spotify, pandora, grooveshark, google music, etc). That being said, I always try to think of a re-purpose for old machines that my parents could and would use.

The one that comes to mind (that will eventually be what their current machine is transitioned to) is a browser based distro. I'm not up to date on browser based distros, but I don't think they would have any problems with Chromium OS. Not sure what it's based on though. I know there's also jolicloud and browserlinux. I looked at both of those just now and Joli-OS looks like another contender for their box, but browserlinux is using Firefox 5? Hardly a security improvement

Anyway, my parents and cousin have both moved to tablets because they fit the niche they always looked for in computing. They really don't need office apps, don't want to be bothered with or see updates, wanted portability, great battery life, etc. However, for me browsing is just barely becoming a pleasant experience on current top end tablets, and they of course have the older obscure models. I think a simple browser-based "terminal" would be used quite often in their case, and I wouldn't mind forking over a flash drive to get them going.

Are there other good browser distros I'm not aware of


IMO, the idea of a "browser based distro" is moot. Just use Xubuntu or similar, with Firefox or Chrome/Chromium, without installing anything else (other than codecs/drivers).

Just disable Auto updates and/or distro upgrade notifications (other than critical security updates), and lock it down (don't give them an acoount password, lock down GUI objects, etc) , and it would be functionally the same as a Chromebook or tablet browser.

If you're asking for a low resource (CPU/RAM) distro option, my picks would be:

Lubuntu
http://lubuntu.net/

WattOS
http://www.planetwatt.com/

Simplicity 14.04
http://distrowatch.com/table.php?distribution=simplicity

with the nod to the latest WattOS, which is Ubuntu compatible (binaries and repos/app store), with Chromium preinstalled. WattOS is like an optimized Lubuntu

Simplicity is a Slacko Puppy derivative, and impressively complete with Chrome. The closest thing to a boot- and-run up-to-date Chromebook style distro. It's designed to just run from a USB stick or CD.
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post #21 of 142 Old 04-28-2014, 03:20 PM
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IMO, the idea of a "browser based distro" is moot. Just use Xubuntu or similar, with Firefox or Chrome/Chromium, without installing anything else (other than codecs/drivers).

Just disable Auto updates and/or distro upgrade notifications (other than critical security updates), and lock it down (don't give them an acoount password, lock down GUI objects, etc) , and it would be functionally the same as a Chromebook or tablet browser.

If you're asking for a low resource (CPU/RAM) distro option, my picks would be:

Lubuntu
http://lubuntu.net/

WattOS
http://www.planetwatt.com/

Simplicity 14.04
http://distrowatch.com/table.php?distribution=simplicity

with the nod to the latest WattOS, which is Ubuntu compatible (binaries and repos), with Chromium preinstalled. WattOS is like an optimized Lubuntu

Simplicity is a Slacko Puppy derivative, and impressively complete with Chrome. The closest thing to a boo- and-run up-to-date Chromebook style distro. It's designed to just run from a USB stick or CD.

I've approached this two ways. First is exactly as above. Just use Xubuntu. The other is to use a purpose built ArchLinux build. It's extremely light, and the freed up resources can be used for browsing.

You can build Chromium O/S from source. NO IDEA how well that goes, works, or anything. I've never done it.
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post #22 of 142 Old 04-28-2014, 03:40 PM
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Yeah, I can see your point of view

My $.02 was really just to save my own personal time. My family is never going to do things themselves, and since I have to do it . . . the concept of a "bare-metal-browser" is perfect. Chromium is open-source, and from my short googling it appears they build on the ubuntu kernel. Starting with 2.6.32 for the first several versions then moving to the upstream mainline kerrnel. My preference for their machines would not be to hide and disable updates but rather have stable automatic updates similar to the way the chromium browser works inside most distros. If mozilla had a a similar offering I'd try that as well. It looks like the most updated offerings for this concept are

http://chromeos.hexxeh.net
http://www.jolicloud.com/jolios

Maybe it's just the mentality of people I'm related to and work with, but they often complain about the maintenance involved with a computer when they really just want to use the internet. There's also the "What else are you going to use those P4 machines for?"
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post #23 of 142 Old 04-28-2014, 06:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Other minimalist browser-only options:

TinyCore
http://distrowatch.com/table.php?distribution=tinycore
http://distro.ibiblio.org/tinycorelinux/

Porteus Kiosk Edition
http://forum.porteus.org/viewtopic.php?t=2005&p=13713

Webconverger
http://www.webconverger.com/

Setting Up Ubuntu as a Kiosk Web Appliance
http://www.instructables.com/id/Setting-Up-Ubuntu-as-a-Kiosk-Web-Appliance/

How to Turn a PC Into a Linux Web Kiosk
http://www.linux.com/community/blogs/133-general-linux/728387-how-to-turn-a-pc-into-a-linux-web-kiosk

But my top picks remain WattOS (Chromium preinstalled, LXDE) 7.5
http://www.planetwatt.com/pages/downloads

Try the MicroWatt Edition, too

or Simplicity (Chrome preinstalled) Netbook Edition 14.4
http://simplicitylinux.org/2014/04/simplicity-linux-14-4-is-now-available/
Quote:
Netbook 14.4 is designed to be fast and light, for people who just want an OS, a browser, and not much else. It comes with Chrome as the default browser (Firefox is available in the package manager) and on the fully customisable dock you can also access mplayer for playing media files (VLC is available in the package manager). It is 246.2mb and can be downloaded from here.

Once you understand how a Puppy derived distro works, like Simplicity, I think you'll like it wink.gif
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post #24 of 142 Old 04-28-2014, 08:02 PM
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Maybe it's just the mentality of people I'm related to and work with, but they often complain about the maintenance involved with a computer when they really just want to use the internet. There's also the "What else are you going to use those P4 machines for?"

It's never that simple though. Yeah, they say all they want to do is browse the internet, and that may be true 99% of the time. It's when that 1% crops up that the person becomes a headache. "Hey, how can I load iTunes on this thing?" "Can I print this?" "I need to open this PDF."

So, yeah, most of what they're doing can be categorized as "Browser based" but you still have to make sure that there's the ability to expand.

Now, I haven't used any of the "Puppy" type distros. I should probably explore them a bit more. I'm starting to get more netbooks coming across my desk. I want to pound my head on the desk when somebody brings me their laptop with Win7 on it and I take a look only to find out it's a netbook wrapped in a laptop's body.
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post #25 of 142 Old 04-29-2014, 07:12 AM - Thread Starter
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I think this is something us "Linux" users take for granted in many instances. With "choice" comes complexity. No choice, simplification. Something Microsoft and Apple have kind of perfected, or at least steered the market to accepting.

Yes, analysis paralysis can be an issue with too many choices

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Analysis_paralysis
http://www.ted.com/talks/barry_schwartz_on_the_paradox_of_choice

However, the opposite is also a problem- with no or minimal options, your freedom is restricted or outside control may be excessive (Apple/MS).

Regarding the desktop choice issue, I think the number of current well supported, significant userbase options is "just right" at the moment among KDE, XFCE, LXDE, Gnome and Unity.

I think MATE should be discontinued with features rolled into XFCE where needed.

Razor-QT is the QT equivalent to LXDE (GTK), so I see value there, too.

Basically, we want a Heavy, Medium and Light option for a GTK based and QT based desktop:

Heavy: GTK- Gnome, QT- KDE
Medium: GTK- XFCE, QT- ???
Light: GTK- LXDE, QT- Razor-qt

Given real world memory and CPU numbers I've seen, there is little difference in resource usage between XFCE and LXDE so my belief is they are redundant. XFCE and LXDE could be merged some day, and all we need is a Heavy and Light desktop options(?)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GTK+
http://www.gtk.org/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qt_(software)
http://qt-project.org/

Unity could be classified as a Heavy or Medium GTK option, though it's going to QT or hybrid GTK/QT:
http://askubuntu.com/questions/281092/why-is-canonical-choosing-qt-over-gtk-for-unitys-next-generation

Canonical went with their own Unity interface for some good reasons. Back when they started it, Gnome3 was too new and buggy, and the Gnome developers still retain a NIH attitude. Basically, if you're supporting commercial options like Canonical (Dell preinstalls, phone and tablet vendors, etc), you NEED control over the user facing components. The Gnome guys wouldn't/couldn't play ball for whatever reason, so doing your own in house interface gives you the independance and quality control and technical control you need to be serious on the commercial playground.

And like it or not, to be taken seriously in the commercial consumer space, your interface HAS to be touch-friendly and designed to work across desktops, tablets and phones.
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post #26 of 142 Old 04-30-2014, 12:39 AM
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Over the years I've tried many many versions of Linux, and always went back to windows - I was cleaning up my disk library a while back and found easily 30+ versions of Linux I burned over the years and never stuck with. I found the support forums to be extremely unfriendly and purposely unhelpful for any and every question and more often than not downright nasty. Newbies were totally unwelcome. Then last year I came across Mint and things changed greatly. I've gone from Mint 13 to 16 and installed everything I want and more and find the folks at the Mint forum very helpful, plus Mint has such a wide base that simply googeling a question turns up many ways to solve the problem.

I still have a lot to learn, and I'm not totally comfortable in doing things as I was with windows, but I'm not going back the MS.
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post #27 of 142 Old 04-30-2014, 05:27 PM - Thread Starter
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Over the years I've tried many many versions of Linux, and always went back to windows - I was cleaning up my disk library a while back and found easily 30+ versions of Linux I burned over the years and never stuck with. I found the support forums to be extremely unfriendly and purposely unhelpful for any and every question and more often than not downright nasty. Newbies were totally unwelcome. Then last year I came across Mint and things changed greatly. I've gone from Mint 13 to 16 and installed everything I want and more and find the folks at the Mint forum very helpful, plus Mint has such a wide base that simply googeling a question turns up many ways to solve the problem.

I still have a lot to learn, and I'm not totally comfortable in doing things as I was with windows, but I'm not going back the MS.

Which Mint desktop do you use? Cinnamon, Mate, KDE, or XFCE?

Which one do you recommend to others as you mentioned earlier?

I do find it odd that there isn't an "official" Ubuntu-MATE (Mubuntu? wink.gif ) akin to Xubuntu, Kubuntu, etc, but Mint-MATE serves that purpose.
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post #28 of 142 Old 04-30-2014, 05:42 PM - Thread Starter
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With all this talk about XFCE and light/browser-only distros, you should also try X-precise puppy:

http://www.murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?t=87717

It is most likely the lowest RAM/CPU XFCE distro you can run.

Puppy based distros are designed to run 100% from RAM from a boot CD or USB stick/SD card, i.e. no real reason to ever "install" it. When you Shutdown/power off, it saves an image of the current session/RAM contents to a save file which is re-read at next boot from the same virgin CD/USB stick. You can copy that save file to other PC's to replicate settings/installed apps, etc
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post #29 of 142 Old 04-30-2014, 10:59 PM
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I'm using Cinnamon. that is what I pass on to others who are potentially leaving windows.

I did give Puppy a decent run on some old computers a while back, just did not grab me.
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post #30 of 142 Old 05-01-2014, 02:51 AM
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Quote:
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Which Mint desktop do you use? Cinnamon, Mate, KDE, or XFCE?

Which one do you recommend to others as you mentioned earlier?

Though this was not directed to me, if I knew anyone who still used XP as a computer (and not just a browser) I'd hands down recommend Mint Cinammon as their upgrade path. I use it myself after having tried Mint Cinnamon, KDE, and XFCE as well as Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Xubuntu, and vanilla-Ubuntu dekstops. I haven't gotten into arch just yet, but manjaro looks promising
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