• Ewaste or usable – week 4

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    Previous posts:  Week 1 here,  Week 2 here Week 3 here So this weekend I’ve installed various versions of Linux Mint on the Acer Aspire One.  I’ve bee
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    Susan Bradley Patch Lady/Prudent patcher

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    • #2449602

      Case in point? Want to know the IP address of the computer? Instead of the windows version of ipconfig /all it’s ip a in the command window . You do much more command line work in Linux than you do in modern Windows or even Macintosh.

      To get that information, I’d click the network icon in the system tray, then on the name of network I was using in the popup list, then the “Details” tab. All the information is right there.

      That’s in the KDE Plasma desktop, though I am certain Xfce has its own very similar method.

      I can use the command line quite well, but if there are graphical tools to get the job done, I preferentially use those. I don’t find myself in a position of needing to use the command line all that much in Linux. There was a time when I shunned GUIs out of general principle and insisted that the real way to use computers was via the command line, but that was decades ago. At that time, I thought Windows 3.0 was a neat toy, but not much more.

      While a lot of my Linux-using compatriots are still more or less in that camp, I’ve come around on the usefulness of GUIs.

      When providing or following a “how-to” guide, it is often easier to give a series of commands to be copied and pasted into the command window/Powershell/terminal window than to describe drilling down through the GUI, but if you already know how to get what you need with the graphical tools, it’s more easily done than described.

      I find that as my Linux skills have grown, I actually use the command line less, not more. As a novice, I was often following “how-to” guides, which usually involved the command line, but now that I know a bit more, I know how to do those things without having to have a guide, and most of the time there is a graphical tool to do what I want done.

      Next up – to find tools to remote into the computer similar to RDP. I always like to have ways to go from one computer to another. Once tool I should be able to use is RealVNC. There is also XRDP (more on this in a later post)

      For connecting a Linux client to a Windows host, I use Remmina, using RDP. It’s free and open source.

      For Linux on both ends, I use NoMachine. It’s not free and open source, but it is free to use for consumers, and it is performant and easy to use.

      Decision so far? I definitely wouldn’t rely on this for my main computer. I can still protect and defend myself on a Windows computer. But if you have spare time and old hardware, you can certainly entertain yourself for a while!

      I would not use anything that old and slow as a main PC either, but Linux on a more modern machine, like my Dell XPS 13 (9310)… heck yeah I do. As nice as it is to save older hardware from the landfill, it’s even better on newer hardware.

      Dell XPS 13/9310, i5-1135G7/16GB, KDE Neon
      XPG Xenia 15, i7-9750H/16GB & GTX1660ti, KDE Neon
      Acer Swift Go 14, i5-1335U/16GB, KDE Neon (and Win 11 for maintenance)

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    • #2449621

      I have an old Toshiba netbook (Intel Atom N450, 1.66GHz, 512 KB L2 cache, 250 GB 5400 rpm SATA HDD) that originally sported Windows 7 Starter.  It was sluggish out of the gate, didn’t improve much after maxing out the RAM (2 GB), and was only used when I traveled.  Recently, I began to play with lightweight Linux distros, but none were lightweight enough until I finally stumbled upon Debian-based Q4OS.  Installation was a breeze, and it felt very much like a Windows machine, only faster.  It even handled a Zoom meeting with aplomb.  I don’t impress easily, but I was impressed.  It’s worth a look: https://q4os.org/

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    • #2449618

      I use Balena Etcher to make my boot USBs.  Works great.


      • #2454814

        And I use Ventoy, as it supports booting multiple ISOs form a single flash drive. I keep gParted, GRUB Boot Repair and other utilities on the same USB Flash Drive as several current Linux distro Live ISOs. Updating Ventoy itself is a bit of a job, but changing ISOs for newer versions or other distros is as simple as deleting one and uploading another onto the Flash Drive. Ventoy picks up on the changes automatically next time it’s used.

        Ventoy for Windows, Mac and Linux.

        -- rc primak

    • #2449653

      Installing XFCE mint on an older Dell computer worked perfectly. It detected everything that was attached to the computer and everything is functional.

      Now where it starts to get tricky is when for example, you want to hook up a printer, in this case an Brother laser printer.  So out of curiosity I just plugged it in and the OS automatically found and automatically installed the generic drivers. The problem is you generally won’t have all the features that the printer offers. And to get those features you’ll have to install software from the manufacturer.

      It’s at this point where it becomes increasingly difficult for a new Linux user.  Even with the rudimentary skills necessary it can become quite complex. For instance,  Brother has a tool to install their DEB drivers, but in my case that tool failed about halfway through. Now I’m stuck dealing with Brother over email and trying to resolve the situation.

      I think this is a perfect example why people shouldn’t use Linux because it becomes a head banging experience very quickly. Unless of course you’re just using the built-in software and doing browsing.


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      • #2449722

        When my beloved W7 machine died last year after 10 years of faithful service, my new PC came with W10 installed. I never wanted W10 and had been researching Linux, but had to initially get W10 up and running before moving over to Linux.

        I came to the conclusion that moving to Linux was going to be beyond my capabilities after it took me 2 days to get Windows 10 up and running. I had huge problems getting bluetooth to work with my wireless headphones and there were other items I can’t remember now. If I struggled with a system I was quite familiar with, then it was clear that I shouldn’t try to move to a system that I knew nothing about. If only for the sake of my mental health and the monitor screen…

        Windows 10 Home 22H2, Acer Aspire TC-1660 desktop + LibreOffice, non-techie

      • #2449729

        Printer drivers have long been a source of trouble in the computing world, and not just on Linux. I’ve had to wrestle with them in Windows too.

        In the case of Linux, the drivers for my Canon MF3010 scanner/printer installed and worked without any issues whatsoever. I got lucky… I bought the thing before I even contemplated leaving Windows, and it just happened to be a good choice.

        Lots of printer manufacturers can’t be bothered to offer Linux drivers at all, or if they do, they’re not very well supported. You will run into this in Linux… lots of things that are not part of the core functionality of the system that work in Windows don’t in Linux. Things like RGB lighting and special features of various mice have the specialized drivers for Windows, but they don’t for Linux. Unfortunately, it’s still necessary to work around these things if you want to use those features. In my case, I have Windows 10 in a virtual machine to be able to program my Corsair mouse and keyboard. It’s an annoyance, but worth the trouble.

        If you want to be free of Microsoft’s “your PC is my PC” attitude, there are not many choices.

        The more people that move to Linux, the more that OEMs will be convinced to offer drivers where necessary. Whether they offer drivers of good quality is another question, in Windows as well as Linux. For most things, very good drivers are built into the kernel package, and this is why a fresh Linux install does not have the equivalent of a Device Manager full of yellow !s at that point.

        Printers are one of the few exceptions. This issue is being resolved gradually, as the very concept of printer drivers is being deprecated (in the same manner that Microsoft is doing the same with touchpad and some other drivers, like USB 3, which is natively supported in Windows 8+, rather than requiring a specific driver as in Windows 7). Until then, most printers now rely on the existing, driver-based CUPS framework that is already in the distro repos for all the major distros. It can be annoying to get it working if the OEM hasn’t done all its homework, but you should be able to get it working eventually.

        I would not rely on the OEM for help. They’re often only marginally useful for Windows, but for Linux… seems like a long shot. I can try to help if you would like, though I am not really an expert either. If you already made a post in the Linux forum and I missed it, my apologies!

        Dell XPS 13/9310, i5-1135G7/16GB, KDE Neon
        XPG Xenia 15, i7-9750H/16GB & GTX1660ti, KDE Neon
        Acer Swift Go 14, i5-1335U/16GB, KDE Neon (and Win 11 for maintenance)

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        • #2449740

          I am using with this Mac and current macOS version the same HP 4560 Ink-Jet printer I started using in my then Win 7 PC: I plugged it in and “it just works”, to use an annoying expression.

          As to Linux, I’ve done a Web search, limiting hits to those no more than 12-months old:

          HP printers

          Manual Build and Installation Instructions for Linux Mint:




          Ex-Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7); since mid-2017 using also macOS. Presently on Monterey 12.15 & sometimes running also Linux (Mint).

          MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
          Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
          macOS Monterey; browsers: Waterfox "Current", Vivaldi and (now and then) Chrome; security apps. Intego AV

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    • #2449677

      I’ve administered Linux and Windows systems for many years.  For server administration, I often rely on the command line/shell to get things done.

      But when I’m using my personal laptop/PC to do non-administrative stuff I rarely have to resort to using the command line on Linux.

      Heck, now that I think of it, I think I resort to Powershell on Windows more than using command line on Linux because so much stuff is tucked away deep into convoluted GUIs in Windows 10 & 11 now.

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    • #2449696

      A few years ago I installed Linux Mint Cinnamon 19.1 on a 2007 Sony Vaio laptop with a 1.66 GHz Core 2 Duo CPU and 2 GB of RAM.  I replaced the old original 200 GB HDD with a new 250 GB Samsung 860 EVO SSD and had no problems at all with speed, the OS and all programs ran smoothly and quickly.

      Lately however the current updates to Firefox have made it gradually get slower than it was a few years ago.  I’m thinking that going to 4 GB of RAM is now required to satisfy the new RAM thirsty versions of Firefox.  All other LMC programs still run great on this old computer.

      Being 20 something in the 70's was much more fun than being 70 something in the 20's.
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    • #2449850

      I recently installed Zorin OS Lite (XFCE) and it runs surprisingly quick on the old laptop it was installed on; the machine likely would never have seen use again otherwise. Definitely worth doing in my opinion, for an old machine that just won’t cut it with Windows any more.

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    • #2450056

      For Remote Desktop you have lots of choice ..many very good:


      No need to pay for RealVNC.

      I would recommend TigerVNC or xpra .  If you use Chrome browser Chrome Remote Desktop is convenient.  Also Remmina in nice if you prefer RDP protocol.<i></i>

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