back to article Disenchanted Windows user? Pop open a fresh can of Linux Lite

Linux Lite 7.0 "Galena" is out, the new release of this simplified and Snap-free distro based on Ubuntu 24.04, aka "Noble Numbat." The release announcement is at the bottom of the forum thread here – you will need to scroll all the way to the end to find it. The Reg FOSS desk looked at the previous major release, Linux Lite 6 …

  1. Version 1.0 Silver badge
    Happy

    An old days "update" today.

    Ive been using Windows since it originally appeared, remembering the old days of getting Windows running makes it seem to be much easier to move to Linux Lite than try to install the current Windows "updates" versions ... it would be so nice to return to the old days of using an operating system that just worked and wasn't selling all my data and installing messy updates everytime.

    1. Andy Non Silver badge

      Re: An old days "update" today.

      I've been using Mint (Cinnamon) for around a decade now and find it clean and simple to use, free of bloat. It just does what I need an OS to do, stay in the background and let me get on with stuff. I can't imagine ever going back to Windows, despite using it from the earliest versions and earning my living writing software for DOS then Windows machines.

      1. Arkeo

        Re: An old days "update" today.

        And Mint, for now, runs just perfectly without flats as well. My Mint install is pure .deb, it works perfectly and I hope Lefèbvre will consider this for future releases. Otherwise there is still Debian. I * love* Cinnamon, not the the smell, just the DE. So Clement, why flats?

      2. jaypyahoo

        Re: An old days "update" today.

        Mint is good but only problem is their software centre. I would give Fedora Budgie edition to newbie.

    2. Antron Argaiv Silver badge

      Re: An old days "update" today.

      Mint MATE here

  2. Greybearded old scrote Silver badge
    WTF?

    Screwing the Pooch

    I've been using Debian, upstream for Ubuntu and therefore all their remixes, since whenever 2.0 was released. ('97-ish? Currently lacking the circular tuits to look it up.) I've only ever had to reinstall the whole OS for new hardware, upgrades Just Worked. What have they done to mess that up? Whatever it was, it goes all the way back to early Ubuntu and that should have been a warning flag.

    Also, apt and snap|flatpack, take two packaging systems into the shower?! In which parallel universe does that make sense?

    1. Arkeo

      Re: Screwing the Pooch

      >> In which parallel universe does that make sense?

      None. We already got .deb and Synaptic. *The Best.*

      >> What have they done to mess that up? Whatever it was, it goes all the way back to early Ubuntu and that should have been a warning flag.

      Nope. It was Debian's fault when they decided not to include proprietary drivers/binary blobs into the distro. It was a sinking ship and thankfully they realized it. But Debian still gives you Firefox ESR even on Sid. I mean, I run *beta* on my phone and my workstation and my laptop.

      Paradoxically Ubuntu has tried to make things better by making them worse (snaps?!?). This is all on Debian. I wonder, are those guys living in some Jupiter moon or actually here on Earth in 2014???

      1. Greybearded old scrote Silver badge

        Re: Screwing the Pooch

        Can you explain the connection between proprietary drivers and needing a complete system reinstall?

        'Sides, if you're keen of the "Free as in Freedom" aspect then the proprietary stuff naturally gets excluded.

    2. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Screwing the Pooch

      [Author here]

      > What have they done to mess that up?

      Do you mean the Linux Lite devs, or Ubuntu?

      > Whatever it was, it goes all the way back to early Ubuntu

      What does? I've been running Ubuntu since the first release. It has always been possible to upgrade from one version to the next.

      > and that should have been a warning flag.

      For Linux Lite?

      It is a pain. However it was also true of Zorin OS until the last release, and of Linux Mint for many years until 2-3 versions ago when it got fairly smooth.

      Keep your stuff in a separate `/home` partition and it's not such a big deal.

      But this is where Ubuntu itself scores over its rivals and why I prefer to use the upstream myself. If I wanted a minimal clean snap-free system myself at present, I'd install Xubuntu Core and then remove snapd and manually add what I wanted.

      > Also, apt and snap|flatpack, take two packaging systems into the shower?! In which parallel universe does that make sense?

      In this one. APT/deb aren't the be-all and end-all. There's no undo function. There's no easy clean way to revert to an old version. There's no way to build a single package that smoothly works on half a dozen distro versions, or other Debian-based distros.

      Snap does that and the implementation is simple. Remove snapd itself and your snap apps keep working.

      Flatpak does that, too, but the implementation is eye-wateringly complex, it can't be used for OS components or CLI apps, and if you remove the Flatpak framework the apps don't work any more.

      I prefer to avoid either, but one is versatile and has a simple and clean implementation, while the other is very limited and Lovecraftian in how it works.

      I know which I would prefer if forced to use one of them.

      But the FOSS weenies don't look at the bigger picture.

      They don't look at implementation simplicity, or cleanliness of design, or versatility, because those require studying hard things and thinking about them deeply.

      No, they look at the surface: the Snap store is closed source, but Flatpak supports lots of stores by design.

      In the shell, Snap clutters your list of volumes with mounts. This is trivial to work around: it's cosmetics.

      But they are easy and visible so the weenies seize on them and proclaim Flatpak more open.

      Me, I prefer AppImage... and I wish the GNUstep folks had realised they had a cross-distro packaging format 25+ years ago and had promoted it as its own thing.

      1. Greybearded old scrote Silver badge

        Re: Screwing the Pooch

        I was referring to Ubuntu about the system upgrade thing. All the Linux press that I saw was saying to reinstall Ubuntu as far back as I can remember. I stayed with Debian, so I didn't see whether they were right.

        Changing the distribution name and doing a full upgrade is a smaller deal than the install as I see it. (Unless like me you switch to testing half way through the cycle, but I knew what I was risking.)

        I've used the occasional AppImage, so I'd agree there.

        1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

          Re: Screwing the Pooch

          I don't know where you saw that but it's wrong and it's always been wrong. Are you maybe confusing Ubuntu with some other distribution, by any chance?

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Screwing the Pooch

        "In this one. APT/deb aren't the be-all and end-all. There's no undo function. There's no easy clean way to revert to an old version"

        I can't, off-hand, think of an occasion where I've needed to do that in a Debian/Devuan repository-installed application.

        For out-of-distro applications the neatest thing is to have then install in /opt with their own little directory tree. Those don't show up as extra mounted file-systems and you can remove the n application's tree cleanly without touching anything else. By comparison even Appimiage is an unnecessary overhead.

        Keeping a separate /home partition is, of course good advice and also a separate /srv partition for applications that store data outside of /home. This introduces a problem with Debian/Devuan (and possibly others) which default to keeping web server and mariadb data in /var (and possibly other applications as well. Having experienced grief with trying to preserve /var in a reinstall I now set these up with the data in /srv and links back to /var

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Screwing the Pooch

          I should have mentioned that apart from anything else, trying to revert to an earlier version of S/W might run into the issue of changes in data format between the one you've just used and the one you want to revert to.

  3. nematoad
    Flame

    Been here before.

    You don't see Chrome in many distros, but while it isn't FOSS, it is pretty much the industry default browser.

    Years ago IE6 was the industry standard and look how that played out. Stagnant, forcing websites to conform to the MS way of doing things and so on.

    Now I see they same thing happening again. My browser of choice is Palemoon, a perfectly fine modern browser that has a lot in common with Firefox but when I try and go to some sites I am greeted with a banner advising me to change my old, out of date browser and install Chrome. Being bloody minded, when I refuse their kind advice and stick to Palemoon the sites will either refuse to load, I'm looking at you GMX.com, or are so mangled that they are unusable.

    I may be old and naive, but wasn't the idea that the internet was open to all, avoiding walled gardens and helping share with others?

    One browser to rule them all is the pathway to internet hell and it doesn't have to be this way.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Been here before.

      "Based on our own optimized layout and rendering engine, Goanna™"

      Whilst I applaud anyone / any group brave enough to take on the creation of a new browser rendering engine, the task is enormous these days. I read somewhere that the browser is nearly like an operating in and of itself, what with so many apps working within them these days. Sounds like whilst some sites are just stupidly asking for Chrome because they don't recognise the user agent, it's also the rendering agent just not up to the task in some instances, rather than the website being broken.

      1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

        Re: Been here before.

        [Author here]

        > Whilst I applaud anyone / any group brave enough to take on the creation of a new browser rendering engine, the task is enormous these days.

        You're right but you are missing the point. You've been seduced by the marketing.

        A goanna is a kind of lizard -- the word derives from "iguana". A gecko is a kind of lizard.

        They didn't develop their own browser or their own rendering engine. It's a fork of a very old version of Firefox and the engine is therefore a fork of a very old version of Gecko.

        I covered its history soon after I started working at el Reg full time:

        https://www.theregister.com/2021/11/04/waterfox_firefox_fork/

        You might as well use Waterfox Classic, forked from the last Firefox that can use XUL extensions. If that is uncomfortably modern, Seamonkey is also based on ancient Firefox.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Been here before.

          "Seamonkey is also based on ancient Firefox"

          And on the even more ancient idea of combining browser and PIM into one. As the PIM half (like Thunderbird) uses the rendering engine to build is own UI I can't see the logic of splitting them in the first place.

    2. Pascal Monett Silver badge
      Windows

      Re: Been here before.

      Amen to that.

      Industry standards bow to industry imperatives. The Internet has long forgotten about open and free. I guess we can thank all those newspapers who did their level best to destroy URLs and forget that the Internet meant viewing the page as far as your window would allow.

      No, for all those so-called newspapers, that was not allowed. You had to view their "paper" online just like you would have seen it on actual dead tree format.

      Ironically, now we have "adaptive" formatting for mobile phones, so screw the three-column format, but also screw our freedom.

      Hey, it's the future, ain't it ?

    3. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Been here before.

      [Author here]

      > Years ago IE6 was the industry standard and look how that played out.

      For clarity: using a proprietary browser as the default offering in a FOSS distro is a bad idea and I wish they had not done it, but hey, it's a choice that will please a lot of people. I think it's an ill-considered choice but even so.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Been here before.

        Ungoogled-chromuim might have been a better choice if they could build it without having to drag in a lot of later then distro versions of dependencies.

        1. Yankee Doodle Doofus Bronze badge

          Re: Been here before.

          I'm not sure that dedicated Chrome users would find Ungoogled Chromium that any better than Firefox. They might like it less than Firefox, actually. Losing the ability to easily sync bookmarks, passwords, history, etc. across devices and to easily install extensions would negate most of the reasons they prefer Chrome, I believe.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I Wish I Could

    I would like to try out a Linux desktop for my PC. I would be interested in suggestions for replacements for:

    1. Microsoft Money (sunset edition of course). I tried Money Manager EX on Windows but it is missing some functions that I need. I suspect other Linux based ones may have similar issues, but I have not looked lately.

    2. Adobe Lightroom (pre-subscription version) for its non-destructive editing of RAW image and nice cataloguing.

    Would be good to hear if there are some good alternatives for these? Ideally would want to be able to import from Money and Lightroom into whatever the alternative is.

    1. Greybearded old scrote Silver badge

      Re: I Wish I Could

      1. I can't comment from personal experience, but others can.

      2. Darktable is very good for cataloguing and editing images. Expect some relearning of course. It is its own thing rather than an imitation of Lightroom. There is a Windows version, so you can try it out in advance of switching OS.

      Good luck.

      1. Greybearded old scrote Silver badge

        Re: I Wish I Could

        Importing Lightroom sidecar files is a thing, BTW.

    2. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: I Wish I Could

      I run lightroom in an XP VirtualBox VM, and it works just fine. Just a data point. I do this for the Windows apps I can't live without and which won't run under WINE (soe will, just fine, some have isses)

    3. AMBxx Silver badge

      Re: I Wish I Could

      Wow! I'm not the only person in the world still running MS Money!

      I think the solution it to just virtualise your PC and run a VM for Money and Lightroom.

      That said, I'm happy on W11 for now.

    4. dizwell

      Re: I Wish I Could

      I got my other half off Microsoft Money after more than a decade using it by mentioning HomeBank (freely downloadable from homebank.org). Runs on Windows as well as on Linux, incidentally. Very much still developed and not proprietary, though, which is good.

      For Lightroom, someone's already mentioned DarkTable, but RawTherapee is also good (and again runs on Windows as well as Linux). Digikam is also very good for image cataloguing, metadata management and so on. Digikam also has raw capability built in, so might be a suitable one-stop shop replacement for Lightroom all on its own.

      1. AMBxx Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Re: I Wish I Could

        HomeBank doesn't appear to do portfolio management (pensions etc).

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I Wish I Could

      If you can't get the application to run under wine then you are screwed!

      The church of Linux disciples will all list some linux alternative application that can be used. But seriously these are just little toys that just don't cut it.

      Even if the application can run under wine there will be problems such as speed funny UX issues etc.

      Now let the down votes start, I so love bating the church of linux...

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: I Wish I Could

        How to tell us you've no experience of using Linux without telling us you've not experience of running Linux.

  5. DennisMFaucher

    Shame about no major release upgrades

    Sounds like a nice distro otherwise. I've always been fond of XFCE.

  6. Mister Jones

    RE: Microsoft Money

    Here at Linux Mansions Quicken has been running on Linux for about ten years.

    ......snags: it's a CD-based Windows release from 2006

    ......and: you need WINE on Linux.....but it installs and works fine with no probs.....

    ......which makes me wonder......maybe M$ Money would work fine with Linux/WINE?

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: RE: Microsoft Money

      > ....maybe M$ Money would work fine with Linux/WINE?

      A cursory glance at some forums suggests it won't. Ditto Lightroom - some folk have working under Playonlinux, but they report deal-braking performance issues.

      That said, it might be worth you digging deeper because these discussions were a few years old. I don't know if the advances over the last few years in running Windows games on Linux might be applicable to other applications.

  7. Boolian

    Lite Fantastic

    Linux Lite may have idiosyncracies which irk experienced Penguinistas - but I find it doesn't trouble transitioning noobs at all.

    It is my go-to Distro for dropping on ageing PC's/ Laptops with perhaps 15 minutes of user 'training' - which is more orientation than tech.

    I have had no technical callbacks from new users at all (not even printer related!) I have trialled a few of the other, usual Distros in the past for novices (the Yankee term escapes me, what is it now? 'Learningers' or something probably) but Linux Lite hit the sweet spot for transitioning Windows users straight out the gate.

    At worst, enquiries are of the "Where do I find" variety, but no-one has said "Get this junk off my machine, I hate it!"

    I have transitioned 'power users' who were seeking a more *cough "feature rich environment" to eg: Mint, after they've first used Linux Lite, but I'd hesitate to make such heavyweight Distros my first choice. I feel LL is an ideal introductory environment.

    It's not quite as light as it possibly could be, but it is nowhere near as resource heavy as others.

    The last 'drop' I did was on an old Toshiba Satellite With AMD E-450's and 6gb Ram - it has happily ticked along on that, and reportedly only creaks a bit on multi-tab embedded media website browsing, but it apparently handles video conferencing very well - which surprised me

    I'll be interested in how this new version rolls.

    1. Kevin Johnston

      Re: Lite Fantastic

      I like the thinking here.

      From far too many years of experience I can say that most people could get away with little more that Notepad, Calc and a browser. Next step up would be the secretary/clerk types who need a basic word processor and spreadsheet (no, definitely NOT the macro stuff) and beyond that you get people with specific needs. Tailoring your offered Linux to that is a very sensible move and Linux Lite does seem to fit the role when you just need to make Notes and do big sums. OK I know I am denigrating it there but it really fits well as a starter kit and once they have been shown how life can be without Windows they are in a better position to decide if they need anything more complex.

  8. lglethal Silver badge
    Go

    I'll put my hand up as being one of those people developing an interst in moving to Linux. My computer runs fine on Windows 10, can handle everything I chuck at it. So when Microsoft unilaterally decide to stop giving me Support upgrades, then I'll be moving to Linux (since I am not upgrading my computer with a new motherboard and chip just to have some stupid extra chip which I dont even need).

    However, I'm not going to lie, everytime I start reading one of these articles, my eyes begin to glaze over, flatpak, gnome, distros, zzzzzzzzzz.... Eventually, I'm going to have to try to pay attention, pick a package and give it a go... But boy do you Penguinistas not make this easy... ;)

    1. HeIsNoOne
      Linux

      I'd suggest giving Linux a try before MS stops supporting your version of Windows. Many Linux distributions have a live USB version that you can try without altering anything on your machine. Even better, get a cheap second-hand laptop from eBay (older machines can be picked up for as little as £30) so you can actually install and experiment with any distributions you fancy without risking losing anything.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Or, if you have space on your computer, try installing one of the options under VirtualBox. There are a number of options recommended for people in your position - Mint, Zorin, Lite ... Liam has covered all of them in various articles.

        You'll have seen references to Red Hat, Suse and others which are enterprise versions and you can safely ignore them. Many are primarily intended to run servers even if they can be desktopped.

    2. Greybearded old scrote Silver badge

      Welcome to the paradox of choice.

      OTOH would you prefer just one size that fits nobody very well?

    3. Arkeo

      Start with Mint. Pretty straightforward. Aesthetically pleasing. Forget about snaps or flats or debs and all the other crap we argue about. Just give it a try (and be amazed by how all your hardware, printers/scanners included, just work *immediately*!).

      If I'm wrong shame me publicly here on El Reg! ;)

      USB + ISO + Ventoy

      Try any distro you want! :)

      1. Greybearded old scrote Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Including printers/scanners that have been abandoned by their creators.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          ...and by Windows.

      2. Andy Non Silver badge

        I was going to say the same thing. Personally I'm not interested in flatpaks, systemd and stuff that passionate Linux users go on about. Mint just works, no need to get bogged down in details if you don't want to.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        hardware, printers/scanners included, just work *immediately*!

        No, I call BS on this.

    4. jdiebdhidbsusbvwbsidnsoskebid Silver badge

      "However, I'm not going to lie, everytime I start reading one of these articles, my eyes begin to glaze over, flatpak, gnome, distros, zzzzzzzzzz.... Eventually, I'm going to have to try to pay attention, pick a package and give it a go... But boy do you Penguinistas not make this easy... ;)"

      Same here. I was a regular Linux user over 15 years ago. Whilst I forgot most of it, I'm still happy in a command line rather than a GUI so was eager to go back to Linux for some time my while laptop running win 10 was grinding to a halt.

      I'd recommend Linux mint and just ignore any mention of distros, flatpack etc. The official instructions from the main download page were easy enough, even how to create a new partition and have windows/Linux dual boot. Flatpak is over complicated, to the user its just a version of an application manager that some software uses and some doesn't. It just works.

      Only decision I had to make when installing was which version of the desktop to choose, between three versions depending on how powerful your computer is. I went for the middle option on my 7 year old laptop that wasn't top end even then, it works fine. Also, the mint online forum is pretty good. Just ignore the jerks on there who won't say anything helpful until you've posted a full description of your system and taken their criticism at you for running some random bit of software that isn't the latest version, and you'll be fine.

    5. CosmicTourist

      Try dual boot

      With almost all Linux distros, you can have the install process shrink your Windows partition and make space to install the Linux distro, altering the startup process to allow you to select at boot time whether you want to boot to Linux or boot to Windows.

      This has the advantage of not disturbing your Windows content while letting you experience Linux when you want to see what it will do. The only real choice you have to make is how much of your storage you wish to devote to a Linux installation. Most Linux distros can be installed in a relatively small separate partition (eg. 20GB), but if you have the space you could opt to create a much larger Linux partition if you anticipate having sizable files you might create or save while using Linux. With so many users now storing content in the cloud, the need for local storage is not as pressing as it used to be.

      1. Andy Non Silver badge

        Re: Try dual boot

        Dual-boot is how I got into Linux many years ago. It worked well for a few months, then a major Windows update overwrote the dual-boot and trashed Linux making it a Windows only machine again. That was the last straw so got rid of Windows instead, making the machine 100% Linux. Not looked back since.

        1. grprst

          Re: Try dual boot

          Did it damage the whole Linux system or just disable GRUB?

          I've mentioned this before but you can switch back to GRUB from within Windows using the following command:

          bcdedit /set {bootmgr} path \EFI\ubuntu\grubx64.efi

          Run from Windows cmd with administrator access. The path to Grub will vary depending on the Linux used, the line above works for Ubuntu and derivatives such as Mint.

          1. Andy Non Silver badge

            Re: Try dual boot

            I didn't know how to do the above. I was so disenchanted with Windows by then that I made the full switch to Linux.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Try dual boot

        "With almost all Linux distros, you can have the install process shrink your Windows partition and make space to install the Linux distro, altering the startup process to allow you to select at boot time whether you want to boot to Linux or boot to Windows."

        If I were setting that up fore someone else that's what I'd do. It also has the advantage that you can mount the Windows partition to have access to any data on it. I hesitate to suggest that someone with o experience of installing and OS in case they made the wrong choice and trashed a Windows partition they still needed to use or had un-backed up data. (Although one always backs up ones data, don't one?)

    6. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      [Author here]

      > But boy do you Penguinistas not make this easy

      With the best will in the world, if you are not interested, there is nothing anyone can do to _make_ it interesting to you.

      Want the minimum hassle? Linux Mint.

      Which edition? Do you have a GPU and a HiDPI screen? Yes: Cinnamon. No: Xfce.

      There. Done.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Xfce. Oh dear. Yes lightweight, but horrible looking and some odd UI quirks. Not a great migration option from MS Windows.

    Mate, Cinnamon and Budgie are so much better. Can these be installed easily?

    1. Andy Non Silver badge

      Yes, just download the one you want and make an installation USB stick with it. Then just boot the computer up with the stick in and it will boot up into Linux. (If it doesn't you will need to go into the BIOS to specify 1st choice for bootup is using the stick, not the hard drive). You can typically have a play with Linux at this point and if you like it, tell it to install it fully to the hard drive.

    2. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      [Author here]

      > Xfce. Oh dear. Yes lightweight, but horrible looking and some odd UI quirks. Not a great migration option from MS Windows.

      Stop right there. Life lesson: there is a big difference between your preferences and fact. What you like is subjective. Reality is objective: it doesn't care about your preferences.

      If you like Cinnamon, fine, good for you. Not everyone does. That is a preference. That does not mean it is just you, but it means it is not a universal truth.

      I do not think Cinnamon looks better. I do not think Xfce has odd quirks.

      Xfce sticks closer to the upstream Windows 9x model and as such, by this objective, measurable benchmark, it has _fewer_ quirks than MATE or Cinnamon. It has quirks but they all have quirks. The question is, are they core functionality or are they things some people will never encounter?

      For instance: Windows didn't have a built in virtual desktop function until Win10, and it isn't directly exposed in Explorer. So no implementation is better or worse since there isn't a reference model. Xfce is a little clunky here because number of desktops is configured in one place, but rows and columns somewhere else. That's messy. But there is not an upstream to adhere to here.

      But every version of Windows since Windows 95, 29 years ago, has a taskbar that can be placed on any edge of the screen and scales to fit. Components rearrange in rows to fit the width.

      MATE can't do that. Cinnamon can't do that. Xfce can.

      That means Xfce is better because it is a closer match to the reference implementation. You may not want that: that's your choice. Judgement call: subjective. But there is a model, and of the big 3 Gtk Windows-like desktops, 2 don't implement it right and one does. Objective, measurable, reproducible.

      > Mate, Cinnamon and Budgie are so much better. Can these be installed easily?

      No, they are not. "I like them more" does *NOT MEAN* "they are better". You are confusing preference for measurable differences.

      I much prefer Xfce to any of them, and what's more, I put it to you that the fact that Linux Lite only offers Xfce, Asmi defaults to Xfce, Mint offers Xfce up against its own in-house desktop, MX, Endeavour, and Manjaro all default to it. This says to me that it's not just me, and it's not a weird preference of just me.

  10. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "The office suite is LibreOffice, but surprisingly, the stable version 7.6, not the newer version 24.2 found in upstream Ubuntu."

    I'd have thought that word "stable" makes it unsurprising.

    "There are more Microsoft-like Linux productivity suites with a Ribbon UI."

    There are also Windows versions of them. Even friends who use Windows are using these rather than pay for Office.

    "There are some unwelcome GNOME accessories with their weird CSD button-bar, such as the Evince document viewer."

    Perhaps KDE would really be a better choice of dektop for an emigrant from Windows distro.

    1. C.Carr

      KDE would be better. Windows 10/11 user is going to think they were transported back to the early aughts with XFCE.

    2. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      [Author here]

      > Perhaps KDE would really be a better choice of dektop for an emigrant from Windows distro.

      I disagree.

      * KDE is much more complex. When trying to learn a new OS, I think simplicity beats rich functionality.

      * KDE uses its own keyboard shortcuts and does not honour Windows ones. Xfce sticks closely to the standards and in places where some distros do not, it's easily changed. Nothing is easy to change in KDE; anything requires tweaking options 5 pages down in one of 12 dialog boxes. (N.B. Hyperbole.)

      * KDE does not cleanly distinguish classic title/menu/toolbars and CSD. Xfce does.

      * If one dislikes modern Windows then recreating it is unlikely to please. Xfce is much closer to the classic, pre-Win8, un-messed-up Windows desktop than tools which try to implement the modern fancy (broken) versions such as Cinnamon and KDE.

  11. C.Carr

    I think you've really got this backward. You're thinking people coming from Windows 10/11 are going to find XFCE appealing? People coming from Windows are generally going to want all the bells and whistles -- they aren't going to be satisfied with a bare-bones distro.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      If there are any bells and whistles in Windows 10, I'm obviously struggling to find them!

      The only neat-o feature that I can think of is the handy search box, and every ix environment has one of those these days, anyway.

      To be honest, the last version of Windows that I tolerated (not that I have ever used Windows much) was Windows XP, which I rather liked the look (theme style) of - a not always popular view, I know. Windows 7 was just far too needlessly glossy for its own good, Windows 8 a fugly and actually less usable version of Gnome 3, and Windows 10 just continues the awful, awful, flatso sharp-angled fugliness…

    2. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

      People coming from Windows are generally going to want all the bells and whistles -- they aren't going to be satisfied with a bare-bones distro

      Some of us would be deliriously happy if it looked exactly like Windows XP.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        I don't know about XFCE but one of the things about KDE is the possibility of theming it combined with the huge number of people who have generated artwork to look like any version of Windows you prefer. And you still have a distinctly non-Windows, performant OS under it.

        1. Yankee Doodle Doofus Bronze badge

          I don't think I would recommend theming/ricing KDE for a new, non-technical user. The results, while often impressive, will be fragile.

    3. jdiebdhidbsusbvwbsidnsoskebid Silver badge

      "People coming from Windows are generally going to want all the bells and whistles -- they aren't going to be satisfied with a bare-bones distro"

      I came to Linux from Windows, didn't want all the bells and whistles and I am perfectly satisfied with a reasonably bare bones distro. Which was the whole reason for moving away from Windows - it had too many things built in that were useless to me and got in the way.

      And this is exactly the point lglethal was making with their "boy do you Penguinistas not make this easy" comment. This thread is now showing signs of becoming a classic desktop flame war. Liam Proven had it spot on earlier with their "There. Done." comment. Install Linux (mint if you want me to point you to an easy one just to get you started). You don't need to care about desktops or distros at this stage, just dip into it and splash around for a bit to see how it feels (run it "live" from a USB stick if you don't want to actually install anything yet). If it's ok, take the next step and install it alongside your existing windows. If after a few months you think it's not for you, you can try a different distro and/or desktop or just walk away. By then, chances are you'll be a bit more confident about understanding what different distros offer and whether you care.

      Linux for the first time is like learning to drive a car. You just get into whatever car is in front of you and learn. You don't wait until you've got that flashy shiny all bells and whistles car you might want in the future before getting behind the wheel for the first time.

  12. OffTropics

    A Linux distro install that occupies 13 GB of space? Or was it a generous VM preallocation for all the seasons?

  13. Blackjack Silver badge

    I was almost sold until Chrome and not distro upgrades got mentioned.

    1. Just A Quick Comment

      Agreed. I presume the good stuff - like Firefox - will install happily and easily, not needing cryptic (to Linux newbies) command line gibberish.

  14. Deadly_NZ

    Oh PLEASE. Not another Version of Linux.

    For people who use windows. And who are thinking of making the jump to Linux. How the hell. Are we supposed to work out which one of the myriad of Distros, that are released every month to select. They all have different names. And varieties. And uses. And people say its hard choosing from half a dozen versions of windows. How many different versions of Linux are there to choose from?

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Oh PLEASE. Not another Version of Linux.

      They're not new distros release every month. Read the article & you'll realise it's a new version of one of the relatively small handful of suitable for immigrants distros, any one of which you could reasonably choose. And any one of those only releases a new version every quarter or less. Anyone accepting of the monthly incoming and potentially bricking shit-shower of the alternative with their uninstallable KBwhatevers can't reasonably claim it to be confusing.

    2. Andy Non Silver badge

      Re: Oh PLEASE. Not another Version of Linux.

      When I made the switch to Mint Cinnamon from Windows 8.1 it was partly on the look of the desktop and menu system, which were similar to Windows 7 and that it was one of the highest downloaded distros and was well maintained not an arcane version of Linux. I ended up sticking with it and a decade has now passed using it. Other factors, for me anyway, were that it came with Firefox, Thunderbird and Libreoffice which I used in Windows anyway. Mint just worked out of the tin so to speak. No faffing around. Minimal learning curve.

    3. Blackjack Silver badge

      Re: Oh PLEASE. Not another Version of Linux.

      Just use Ubuntu if you are confused.

      Besides for a while didn't Windows have like seven different versions?

  15. Ian Johnston Silver badge

    Linux Lite cuts through this: it offers just one desktop, Xfce, which in this vulture's opinion is the most solid choice available

    Here's a nice game to play with XFCE, or possibly with Linux Mint, Or Libreoffice, or ....

    Open LibreOffice Writer. Create a document with e single word "Experiment" in 96 point font. Zoom in the display a couple of times. Observe how your XFCE session crashes and you have to log in again, having lost everything you were working on.

    Works on the three computers I have here running Linux Mint XFCE edition, anyway.

    1. Blackjack Silver badge

      I think that may be the video driver actually unless it only works in that specific Desktop environment but knows fine in like KDE or something else.

  16. Steve Graham

    unwelcome GNOME accessories

    Debian-based distros (and probably others) have a couple of packages that disable the CSD thing either globally or per program. Search for "nocsd".

    I actually use evince because I like the rendering and fonts but I'd find it very annoying without the noCSD option.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  17. katrinab Silver badge
    Megaphone

    I don't think the UI, whether Gnome / KDE / Whatever is the problem; and in fact I think it is better to have a different UI rather than pretend to be Windows when the similarity is only skin deep.

    After all, people do manage to switch to ChromeOS just fine, and the people who don't like it don't complain about the UI.

    The problem with Linux or any other alternative operating system is application support.

    1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      [Author here]

      > I don't think the UI, whether Gnome / KDE / Whatever is the problem; and in fact I think it is better to have a different UI rather than pretend to be Windows when the similarity is only skin deep.

      I don't know. I am not saying you're flat wrong, but I'm not sure that is the case.

      1. The fondness for MATE, Cinnamon, etc. -- and conversely, the disdain for Xfce -- shows that most people only use a skin-deep version of Windows' functionality. A simple horizontal taskbar at the bottom, a start menu button bottom left, clock bottom right, etc.

      If one delves more deeply into what the Win9x can do, then GNOME 2, MATE, Cinnamon, etc. come up wanting: they lack core functions or only offer poor broken versions. But if you leave everything on defaults, they are close enough. They have thousands of devoted users; that says to me that most people leave the defaults and don't customise.

      > After all, people do manage to switch to ChromeOS just fine, and the people who don't like it don't complain about the UI.

      I dispute that, too. ChromeOS *does* have a Windows-like UI. It has a taskbar, a start menu, a Win8-style full-screen app launcher, etc.

      And at that very basic level it's good enough and easier for newbies than macOS, from observation of my own partner's use of it.

      > The problem with Linux or any other alternative operating system is application support.

      Yes and no.

      The path to happiness is to identify the _functionality_ you need and find apps that proviude that functionality. If you do that, most daily stuff is there.

      If you demand specific named apps, then you're doomed to disappointment unless they are freeware.

      Another partner of mine, long ago in the 20th century, didn't really drink beer much but she liked Guinness. Not stout: Guinness in particular. We went to some lovely pubs but if they did not have Guinness™ she wouldn't drink it. E.g. Sam Smiths do their own excellent Oatmeal Stout but she didn't like stout in general, she liked Guinness and only Guinness.

      If someone bring that attitude to Linux they won't like it. If you want Photoshop™ then they will be disappointed. If they want a capable bitmap image editor then there are multiple choices.

      If someone wants Outlook™ then there is no good answer. If they want a rich email and messaging client, no problem.

      The problem is often ignorance, lack of understanding, and unwillingness to learn and adapt.

  18. TWB

    Linux for an old Macbook?

    Thanks for all the discussion above for the Linux-Curious...

    I have a 2008 Macbook (white plastic job, Core2Duo etc) which works fine but can only go up to Snow Leopard - which I like a lot but browsers are getting left behind for it.

    I don't use the machine a lot but I like several aspects of it (MacOS, firewire, iMovie HD...) so I would like to dual boot it and put linux on it but a lot of the discussion above seems to be about moving off Windows to Linux.

    Is Linux Mint the best thing to try? - I'm not a big CLI user only venturing there when there is no GUI method to do something.

    TIA (if this is an OK to place to ask)

  19. Cyberspy
    Holmes

    Meanwhile, out in the real world...

    Most people here are techies. We like tinkering and trying new things like switching OS.

    But, the reality is, the vast majority of people out there, outside of places like The Register, are never going to even think about switching to Linux. Indeed, many have never even heard of it.

    Linux Mint or Linux Lite may be easier to use than most Linux distros but, for most people, Windows just works. There is a much wider choice of applications, and games (Steam for Linux is Improving but it can't match Windows yet).

    Linux is great (esp for servers) but the reality is, however much everyone here likes Linux, it's a niche product and is a very long way from competing with Windows for the mass market.

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