I'm still what you call a linux noobie but after three plus years of
using Linux Mint (Cinnamon) I guess I'm not so noob. Currently I'm using Mint 20
Cinnamon on three desktops and one HP laptop. Two desktops are dual boot Win10/Mint.
I started out with Linux by accident. I had an old 2 core desktop that I advertised on FB but nobody wanted it and I was a day from bringing it to the local recycling station when I read a FB page done by a computer teckkie who wrote about giving your old computer a new lease on life by installing linux and Mint in particular. That caught my curiosity and I looked into Mint, downloaded the .iso file, burned that to a DVD and installed it. The rest is history.>As of January 2021 I have Mint 20.1 running on three Dell desktops: two i5s, one i7 and one HP Elitebook laptop. Two i5s are dual booted with Windows 10 and all Dells have 8gb ram. The laptop is an i5 with 4gb ram.
In the past i've tried Ubuntu 20, Manjaro XFCE, Linux Lite, Mint XFCE, Zorin XFCE, LMDE4, Ubuntu KDE Plasma, MX Linux and most recently, Ubuntu Budgie. My favorite still remains Linux Mint. My next favorite distro would have to be Ubuntu Budgie. And I did another go round with Linux Lite on a USB and I'll say that I enjoyed that one quite a bit. If I were moving from windows, I'd seriously consider that one also.
LINUX MINT 20.1 ULYSSA (Cinnamon)
January 2021. I upgraded all my computers to Linux Mint 20.1. These were done through the Update Manager. I made disc images for all computers before I did the upgrade but found that I didn't really need to. Each upgrade was 15 minutes or less and all went very smoothly.
LINUX MINT 20 ULYANA (Cinnamon)
Summer 2020. Linux Mint 20 is now out and rather than wait for the upgrade option, I decided to do clean installs. My first install was on a Dell dual core desktop. The install went flawlessly. So, after the good experience with that, I did a clean install on my HP Elitebook laptop. That one also went flawlessly. And so, to build on that, I did another clean install on our Dell i7 desktop. That also went perfectly. Finally, for my last install, I went back to the first Dell dual core desktop, wiped the disk, installed Windows 10 2004 and then installed Mint 20 Cinnamon and converted its 160GB drive to a dual booter. It was a quick and easy install which installed effortlessly. And I'm glad I took the time to do this instead of waiting for the official upgrade instructions because I'm reading that some users have had problems with it. It was tempting to just wait for the upgrade because upgrades generally go much faster than clean installs, but I learned a few things about MBR and GPT formats and just how easy dual booting can be, at least in a desktop and one laptop.
Why do I like Linux Mint? I like it because I want the look and feel of traditional windows and after all of the distros I've tried, nothing comes closer to that than does Mint. As soon as you install Mint you'll think: "Man, this looks like Windows". You'll find that it also acts like traditional Windows. You will have the traditional system tray and taskbar on your bottom left. You'll be able to put your computer, trash, shortcuts and program folders on your desktop whereever you want them. Right click on your desktop to configure everything. Right click on your system tray to customize it and to add the icons you need to the tray. You'll find that you can customize your desktop to look and do whatever you want.
Some people think that Ubuntu is the best OS for users coming over from Windows. I disagree. The annoying thing about Ubuntu concerns the desktop itself. We're all familiar with placing shortcuts on the desktop and we're all familiar with dragging files or folders to the desktop or from the desktop to trash. With the Ubuntu desktop, you can't do that. You can drag and drop files from window to window. You cannot drag a file from a folder to the desktop. It just won't work. What you have to do is copy or cut the file in your document window, for example, and past it to the desktop. Instead of programs to launch from the desktop, save them as favorites instead, which adds them to the stock Ubuntu panel where they launch with a single click. You can then set that panel either vertically or horizontally. This drag and drop thing is something you'll need to just get used to since I've read that this is just one of the things that makes Ubuntu unique. If you want to try a flavor of Ubuntu with a desktop that works fine with drag and drop, try Ubuntu Mate or Ubuntu Budgie, especially Budgie. See more about this below.
One day I was bored and wondered to myself what Ubuntu Mate would look like so I downloaded the ISO, put it on a USB drive and installed it on a spare HP dual core I had laying around. Sure enough, it looked like Ubuntu with the panel on top and the power button on the top right, the panel on the left side and a bottom panel with a couple of applets on it. Could I make it look like Mint Cinnamon/Windows? Had I not done this with Mint I might not have attempted it, but I gave it a try. It took maybe three hours on two different evenings to play with it and I had it looking pretty similar with Mint, to the point where a Windows user could feel comfortable using it, just like with Mint Cinnamon. Here is a screengrab of Mint 20's desktop. And here is a screengrab of Ubuntu 20 Mate's desktop. Mint is just a tad darker because of the Plata-Noir theme, which I love. If you are a Windows user, would you have any problem using either one of these operating systems? I doubt it. And dragging and dropping files from folder to desktop or trash works as it should. But the problem is this. Would a Windows user really want to go through all of this work when he's never used Linux before? Why should he have to "try" to make something look like Windows when there already is a really great, stable distro that already does act like Windows???
DUAL BOOTINGOctober 2020.
BOOT REPAIRIf you are playing around with different Linux distros and dual booting or whatever, the chances are good that you're going to mess up your bootloader at some point and the OS won't load. I've done it at least ten times so far. Do yourself a huge favor before you begin playing and download Linux Boot Repair and put it on a bootable USB drive. Then when you mess up and your computer won't boot, turn on your computer with the boot repair USB installed, keep pressing F12 (if you have a Dell or ESC with an HP) and boot up from the USB drive. Then run boot repair, just sit there and let it fix everything. You will save youself hours of grief. Linux Boot Repair has saved me many times already.
USING SKYWAVE LINUX TO ACCESS KIWI AND WEB SDRSI've become a fan of DXing remotely using Kiwi SDRs. Skywave Linux has dozens of Kiwi SDRs and WebSDRs for you to listen to plus tons of other stuff using their version of Firefox. My favorite is in Iceland. If you are interested in this, download Skywave Linux (an Ubuntu dirivative) and use USB Image Writer in your Mint Menu to burn it to a bootable USB stick. I have had no problem using it with an HP laptop but get no audio with my Dells. This seems to be a known problem, so keep this in mind. Also know that you will need to enter your network password every time you start Skywave Linux. If doing this every time becomes annoying, consider creating a "persistent" bootable USB using a program called mkusb. This method saves your network setting to the USB so you don't need to do it yourself every time. To install mkusb just click on the link above and enter the three commands into your terminal, then find mkusb in your Mint Menu under Accessories and click on it. Follow the prompts in the article and create a persistent USB. It's easy to do; it just takes a while. (Notes on Skywave Linux: Win+R shows and hides the menu. Use ENTER to select Firefox or whatever. CTRL+ALT+DEL exits Skywaves Linux. Click extreme upper right side of the window to enter your network data. CTRL+ALT+T shows terminal if you should need it for anything.)
7-Zip for linux is called p7-Zip. Get it from Software Manager, just look for p7zip-full. Or go HERE to download it.
Last updated 2/16/21