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Linux mint, my first use of it


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#1 rp88

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Posted 19 March 2016 - 04:13 PM

Ok, I got linux mint onto a usb stick using unetbootin. I have succeeded in getting linux mint to boot on my toshiba laptop. It gave some errors so fast I couldn't read them during booting, but as the desktop loaded I guess these aren't too problematic. it also gave a little rror about my laptop battery, it incorrectly thought the battery was low at 16%, in reality the battery had full charge and I was running off the mains.

I know that after booting linux mint one needs to use
sudo ufw enable
to turn on the firewall.
After that can I just go online with it?

I have some sort of live linux system with some persistence, 2000MB I think. When I have linux open I can see all the other drives on my computer though. Is this enough space for starting testing linux and installing a few programs? What must I do to ensure any files that the linux system tries to write are written onto the live USb and not onto my computer's internal drives*?

What about installing programs, specifically I'd like to try installing WINE (see if certain windows software of mine can work in linux), the linux version of blender, the linux version of VLC (see if my dvd drive works with linux). I'd also like to have the linux system in a state where it can easily browse the internet, firefox appears to be preinstalled. How is this done? Do I need to do special things regarding setting upthe system so when I do this it just modifies the live USb stick and doesn't touch the internal HDD at all?

I look forward to testing linux to the full and seeing if I can do within t everything I presently do in windows, I suspect I might succeed with this. Thanks for the help you've given me so far.

Thanks



*at present I DO NOT want to be altering my computer's main windows install at all, nor do I want to change the bootloader for it or anything like that. I just want to keep linux as a live OS on USB for now, and keep windows as the installed OS on the internal drive. I'm in a situation where I can choose which OS to boot to simply by the presence or lack of my live USB being inserted (if it's in I can boot to linux mint, if it's not the system boots to windows), I like this situation.

Edited by rp88, 19 March 2016 - 04:13 PM.

Back on this site, for a while anyway, been so busy the last year.

My systems:2 laptops, intel i3 processors, windows 8.1 installed on the hard-drive and linux mint 17.3 MATE installed to USB

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#2 Agouti

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Posted 19 March 2016 - 06:50 PM

I have never used a live USB with persistence, nevertheless, I will try to answer some of your questions.

 

I know that after booting linux mint one needs to use
sudo ufw enable
to turn on the firewall.
After that can I just go online with it?

Yes.  It should be safe once you don't engage in anything risky.

 

Is this enough space for starting testing linux and installing a few programs?

It depends on what you install.  You can install a lot of programs with 2 Gig.  However, if the programs are really big or you save a few Blu-ray movies, you might use up the space quickly.

 

What must I do to ensure any files that the linux system tries to write are written onto the live USb and not onto my computer's internal drives*?

Simple.  Just make sure that you don't change your files.  This is a real environment, not a virtual one, so any changes you make are permanent.

 

What about installing programs, specifically I'd like to try installing WINE (see if certain windows software of mine can work in linux)...

One way to find out whether a program will work with WINE is to do a search for the program on WINE's site.  If the program has a Platinum or Gold rating, you should be good to go.  However, even if you can't find information about a particular program with a search at WINE, there is a possibility the program may still work.  I myself have 2 programs which work with WINE even though I couldn't find anything about them.

 

I'd also like to have the linux system in a state where it can easily browse the internet, firefox appears to be preinstalled. How is this done?

It's quite likely that Firefox would work out of the box.  You might have to connect to your network if you are on wireless but if you are wired, Mint should have automatically configured itself.  There is no harm in starting Firefox and seeing if you can get online.

 

Do I need to do special things regarding setting upthe system so when I do this it just modifies the live USb stick and doesn't touch the internal HDD at all?

If you made any changes (e.g. change settings, installed some apps) you should be prompted to save these changes when you end the session and your changes will "persist" in the next session.  As for "touching" your internal HDD or files on it, that's up to you.  Just don't make any changes to files, folders, etc, that live on your other partitions otherwise those changes will be permanent.

 

One last thing.  You may not get a 100% experience in a live session.  You may find the computer takes longer to finish a task or some things might not work at all.



#3 rp88

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Posted 19 March 2016 - 07:13 PM

Thanks

I've got some programs installed. Firefox and vlc I've tested, they both work fine except it seems that what were "tickboxes" on windows are now "green cross boxes". Also the @ and " keys have swapped round. I took a look with one of linuxmint's inbuilt utilities just to check it wasn't causing my system to run too hot, it's still perfectly fine in temperature terms but a little warmer than they were when seen from speccy while running windows.

WINE is the next thing to check.

As regards security, I've used that method to turn on the firewall the first time I booted. I've deactivated the plugins in firefox/switched them to 'ask to activate' and I've installed noscript in firefox. Anything else need doing?

"Simple. Just make sure that you don't change your files. This is a real environment, not a virtual one, so any changes you make are permanent" By that you mean it's safe to look at and copy those files but if I edit any of the files on the HDD those edits will remain after I boot windows again.

Edited by rp88, 19 March 2016 - 07:13 PM.

Back on this site, for a while anyway, been so busy the last year.

My systems:2 laptops, intel i3 processors, windows 8.1 installed on the hard-drive and linux mint 17.3 MATE installed to USB

#4 Agouti

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Posted 19 March 2016 - 07:35 PM

"Simple. Just make sure that you don't change your files. This is a real environment, not a virtual one, so any changes you make are permanent" By that you mean it's safe to look at and copy those files but if I edit any of the files on the HDD those edits will remain after I boot windows again.

First of all, let's make sure we are on the same track.  When you boot from the live USB, you can see your other partitions in the left pane of the file manager.  If you click on any of these partitions you can explore the files and folders on it.  You can even open some of these files if there is a compatible program in the live USB, e.g. the live USB comes with LibreOffice so you can open .doc files if you want.  You are concerned that nothing happens to the files and folders in these partitions, right?  Then you shouldn't do anything to them.

 

To clarify, you can boot a live USB or disc and manipulate the files or folders in your "real" system if you want to.  That is how you can sometimes use a live Linux USB/disc to fix problems in Windows.



#5 rp88

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Posted 19 March 2016 - 08:01 PM

Thanks

Ok, I've got wine downloaded and I've got it to work as far as running the installer exe file for a certain program (sketchup 8). But I've got as far as the "destination folder" part of the installation. The installer, running under wine is suggesting "C:\Program Files\Google\Google SketchUp 8\". But If I did that I assume it would try to write to my main harddrive and wipe out windows, as is warned of here
https://wiki.winehq.org/FAQ#Installing_and_Running_Windows_Applications

So, where should I be directing the installer to instead? For now I've just left it waiting for me to tell it where to save to.
Thanks

Edited by rp88, 19 March 2016 - 08:01 PM.

Back on this site, for a while anyway, been so busy the last year.

My systems:2 laptops, intel i3 processors, windows 8.1 installed on the hard-drive and linux mint 17.3 MATE installed to USB

#6 wizardfromoz

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Posted 19 March 2016 - 09:24 PM

I don't use Wine, but if you have insurmountable probs with it, do a search under "alternative to google sketchup 8". Choose the 2nd item on the list (if that says alternativeto.net) and look for Linux options amongst its choices.

 

Make alternativeto.net a bookmark, if you find use of it.

 

:wizardball: Wizard



#7 rp88

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Posted 19 March 2016 - 10:13 PM

There is no alternative to sketchup for me, but there doesn't need to be. I got it working in wine and it works well! I found tutorials online which explained that the path being proposed by a program's installer is controlled by WINE such that although it reads C:\Program files\ it's actually going into WINE's own c drive thing, so quite safe. The key Linux alternative is another program I already use, but I use that program (blender) for some things but find sketchup beats it at other things. Thanks for the advice though.


There are two other pieces of advice I could use please.

1.I've found how to take a screenshot, just as I did back on windows with "fn" (the function key) and the "prt sc" key, but when I do it in mint it gives this awful camera shutter sound. The camera shutter sound was enough to give me a fright when I first heard it, sounds like impending doom in a mechanical system. Is there an option buried somewhere to disable that sound, make it take it's screenshots silently.

2.The bar across the bottom of the screen (I'm using the MATE version) where the "system tray", "start button" and list of open windows are found is a bit on the small side, makes it quite a strain to stare at to read the things in it, it feels like it's only half the height of the equivalent bar on windows. Can I make this a little larger in height? I'm happy with the default font size everywhere else, but in this one location it feels a bit too small, as do the icons on this bar.

3.Looking further ahead, linux mint is a bit slow in it's current configuration. I suspect this is because of the small size of the USB drive and the usb2.0 transfer speed. Would linux (live or installed to) a larger USB 3.0USB drive, or an external harddrive with a USB 3.0 connector be significantly faster*. As I said I am not at all ready to try installation to the computer's main internal drive, nor am I after a true dual boot, but if using USB 3.0, or an external harddrive, or linux INSTALLED on a USB stick/external HDD rather than LIVE on such media, is significantly quicker I would happily buy the things a USB 3.0 drive or an external hard drive.

Thanks

*certainly in my experience of writing and reading files from external drives, USB sticks versus USB 3.0 capable external harddrives, the external harddrives have been much quicker, transferring maybe 40GB in under 5 minutes where the USB 2.0 drives took half an hour to transfer 4GB.

Edited by rp88, 19 March 2016 - 10:14 PM.

Back on this site, for a while anyway, been so busy the last year.

My systems:2 laptops, intel i3 processors, windows 8.1 installed on the hard-drive and linux mint 17.3 MATE installed to USB

#8 wizardfromoz

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Posted 19 March 2016 - 11:24 PM

@rp88:

 

My comments highlighted between yours, culled some of yours where relevant:

 

 

 

There is no alternative to sketchup for me, but there doesn't need to be. I got it working in wine and it works well! I found tutorials online which explained that the path being proposed by a program's installer is controlled by WINE such that although it reads C:\Program files\ it's actually going into WINE's own c drive thing, so quite safe. The key Linux alternative is another program I already use, but I use that program (blender) for some things but find sketchup beats it at other things. Thanks for the advice though.

 

You are welcome. Keep alternativeto.net handy though, you can use it even between apps shipped and Linux alternatives.


There are two other pieces of advice I could use please.

1.I've found how to take a screenshot, just as I did back on windows with "fn" (the function key) and the "prt sc" key, but when I do it in mint it gives this awful camera shutter sound. The camera shutter sound was enough to give me a fright when I first heard it, sounds like impending doom in a mechanical system. Is there an option buried somewhere to disable that sound, make it take it's screenshots silently.

 

Many Linux Distros ship with the Gnome Screenshot applet, by default, Linux Mint included. See my Post here -

 

http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/608319/my-kodak-printer-problems-wiyh-mint-173-and-windows-10/?p=3960164

2.The bar across the bottom of the screen (I'm using the MATE version) where the "system tray", "start button" and list of open windows are found is a bit on the small side, makes it quite a strain to stare at to read the things in it, it feels like it's only half the height of the equivalent bar on windows. Can I make this a little larger in height? I'm happy with the default font size everywhere else, but in this one location it feels a bit too small, as do the icons on this bar.

 

Take a wee wander through the early pages of my Topic here

 

http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/570703/linux-for-the-visually-challenged/

 

There you will find a number of tips not just in the exclusive domain of those of us whom are visually challenged, includes tips for browser viewing enhancement as well.

3.Would linux (live or installed to) a larger USB 3.0USB drive, or an external harddrive with a USB 3.0 connector be significantly faster*.

 

1st part maybe yes maybe no, 2nd part, (very) likely - provided your PC the external HDD and your cable are all USB 3.0.

 

 

 

Enjoy

 

:wizardball: Wizard



#9 rp88

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Posted 20 March 2016 - 01:21 PM

Thanks wizardfromoz

Your link to a post about some-one's printer problems is helpful but doesn't show the thing I could really use knowing, how to get at some sort of settings panel for the screenshot tool and turn off the option to have the sound occur when I take screenshots. Or are you suggestng I install this shutter thing rather than whatever default tool is built into linux mint MATE 17.3 to take screenshots with.

As for the matters about the visuals of linux, there's plenty about the "zorin" operating system and about magnifying the size of pages in browsers, also a bit about "large text", but it's not any of those I particularly need. What I would much rather do is fiddle with a numebr in a box or a slider to carefully increase and decrease: text size of the menu, height of the systemtray/toolbar at the bottom, other text of the operating system (the text size within programs is fine)... until it's at the size I find comfortable to read without having to lean too close to the screen.
Post#43 in that thread, thanks, there it is. I saw that screen before at some point, just didn't realise those numbers at the side could be tweaked to size the text as one likes it.

Regarding improving speed and amount of space, If I buy a small cheap USB 2.0 stick to make another unetbootin stcik with but this time 64bit not 32bit, and buy a big USB 3.0 external harddrive, is it relatively simple to use unetbootin to make the stick bootable. Boot into live linux off the stick, then install linux to the external HDD. Would this give linux the full advantage of some 500 or so GB (usual size of an external HDD) to live on and all the advantages of being installed except a slight loss of speed due to USB 3.0 being not quite as fast as the sort of connector used to plug an internal HDD into a computer's insides. Is this an easy procedure? What must I watch out for to ensure I don't accidentaly write any of the installing linux to the internal HDD?

For when it comes to doing this can someone link me to a tutorial explaining the best way to set up linux mint from when it's brand new, because although it works fine (if slowly and with very little space to play with) from by 16GB USB (I only gave it 2GB of persistence) I doubt I set it up in the best way, rather I just rushed in and tested it's abilities to do the things I need from it.


Thanks

Edited by rp88, 20 March 2016 - 01:21 PM.

Back on this site, for a while anyway, been so busy the last year.

My systems:2 laptops, intel i3 processors, windows 8.1 installed on the hard-drive and linux mint 17.3 MATE installed to USB

#10 wizardfromoz

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Posted 20 March 2016 - 05:19 PM

Gidday

 

 

What I would much rather do is fiddle with a numebr in a box or a slider to carefully increase and decrease: text size of the menu, height of the systemtray/toolbar at the bottom,

 

Menu-Settings (intermeshing cogs icon top left)-Preferences-Panel. Move the slider back and forth to desired size.

 

 

other text of the operating system

 

 

You'll need to provide a couple of specific examples.

 

Re 2nd part of your Post, first take a look at Nick's article from nearly two years ago

 

http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/530108/how-to-install-ubuntu-1310-on-an-external-hard-drive/

 

.. the article it links to is one of a number you can find by typing eg "installing ubuntu to an external hard disk drive" at Google.

 

In Nick's Post, Cat refers to disconnecting the HDD cable &c. That is valid, to be extremely safe, but not necessary. I have two bootable Linuxes on my external HDD.

 

BTW I know it says Ubuntu, but for Ubuntu you can interchange Mint, the same applies.

 

I have to leave for a while, but when back can show more, unless someone else steps in and picks up the ball.

 

:wizardball: Wizard



#11 NickAu

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Posted 20 March 2016 - 06:58 PM

Other than a few Distros like Puppy Linux, Everything you run from USB will be slow.



#12 raw

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Posted 20 March 2016 - 09:27 PM

 

 

Or are you suggestng I install this shutter

 

I use and recommend shutter for screenshots. 

Right click on an empty part of the panel, chose panel settings

adjust the height of the panel and the size of the icons.

 

Panel%20Preferences_003.png


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#13 MadmanRB

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Posted 20 March 2016 - 10:07 PM

Well for further testing and learning you could always use a virtual machine.

It could teach you the ropes without effecting hardware.

Virtualbox works fairly well in my book.


You know you want me baby!

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#14 wizardfromoz

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Posted 21 March 2016 - 03:27 AM

@raw:

 

 

Right click on an empty part of the panel, chose panel settings

adjust the height of the panel and the size of the icons.

 

Sorry to differ, but you may confuse the OP. The screenshot you display appears to be from Peppermint OS.

 

The OP is using Linux Mint Mate 17.3 "Rosa" if I am not mistaken, is that so, rp88?

 

Under that environment, right-clicking the Panel DOES offer the opportunity to make some adjustments as per the screenshot below:

 

AIokJq4.png

 

... but the information I gave previously was correct.

 

 

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#15 wizardfromoz

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Posted 21 March 2016 - 03:41 AM

@rp88:

 

My comments between yours

 

 

Regarding improving speed and amount of space, If I buy a small cheap USB 2.0 stick to make another unetbootin stcik with but this time 64bit not 32bit, and buy a big USB 3.0 external harddrive, is it relatively simple to use unetbootin to make the stick bootable. Boot into live linux off the stick, then install linux to the external HDD. Would this give linux the full advantage of some 500 or so GB (usual size of an external HDD) to live on and all the advantages of being installed except a slight loss of speed due to USB 3.0 being not quite as fast as the sort of connector used to plug an internal HDD into a computer's insides. Is this an easy procedure? What must I watch out for to ensure I don't accidentaly write any of the installing linux to the internal HDD?

For when it comes to doing this can someone link me to a tutorial explaining the best way to set up linux mint from when it's brand new, because although it works fine (if slowly and with very little space to play with) from by 16GB USB (I only gave it 2GB of persistence) I doubt I set it up in the best way, rather I just rushed in and tested it's abilities to do the things I need from it.


Thanks

 

 

... actually I won't (intersperse comments.

 

Are you talking getting a portable HDD or powered?

 

What I can do next day or so, without too much trouble, is as follows:

 

  1.  Sling an LMM 17.3 Rosa 64-bit onto my external HDD and make it bootable from there. I already have it amongst the dozen or so Linuxes on the Toshiba lappie, but once it is on the Adata external, I can then
  2. Delete the one on the Toshiba and install another Linux in its place. Following a successful install on the external, I can
  3. Start a new Topic giving a blow-by blow on how it is done the Wizard way

If you think that may be of use, I can do so, just sing out

 

Off for the night

 

:wizardball: Wizard






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