Rising Stars of Linux Distros and
Mini-Linux Users Factfile 9.9.15
Please see updated The PDF and Word versions
...this file is still subject to regular updates, tho not this version, at present.
The Rising Stars of Linux Distros:
you have had experience of a Linux OS demo, and thenceforth know what
to look for and, where to look, there is a wide choice of freeware
Linux OSs that astound and amaze, and they are rapidly getting better
in performance, and, more tailored for easy use by non-afficionados.
Speed, stability, simplicity are dominant, especially if you just
need no-frills Web access, and, online email. A new computer, and
vast, complex, Apple or Win OSs, are simply not needed just for these
purposes. Your older, still useful system, either laptop or PC, can
be matched with a Linux OS that will rapidly boot, have good video,
sound, speed, and, general easy useability. Nofrillstech
has mixed and matched anything from Pentium 3s to dual-core systems,
both laptops and PCs, with Linux OSs, and all performed with ease,
especially when connecting to the Internet, using either cable or
wifi. Smartfone tethering to Linux OSs is a breeze as well.
are respective Linux
required at installation, including for security, but, never to the
extent of using vital bandwidth and time, as do MS OSs, nor is there
any validation to contend with. Support
these Open Source distros
is up to you, so, if you like them, then either publicise them,
and/or, send your favourites some useful $$$. They do such a great
job, as well as freeing you from the software hegemonies of both
Apple and Microsoft, and, their respective hardware exigencies. You
may need to test-install for different hardware systems,
especially older laptops, as heuristics may apply as regards
compatibility, but, this will be a small inconvenience for the
resulting ease of Linux OS use, and, the Linux OSs will install quite
that Linux OSs can be installed on Wintel-based Apple systems. This
should still be the case in the age of UEFI booting, check before you
buy a modern system for use with Linux.
such as printers, at this stage, you would be advised to check online
for Linux printer drivers available for given brands, and, plan your
printer purchase accordingly, although the general rule seems to
favour more recent models. Note also, that, unless you need an
inkjet printer for specialized printing, laser printing is much more
economical, and reliable, check online to see if you can get generic
refilled cartridges for your prospective laser printer. Cameras and
smartfones should connect/tether automatically, though in general,
heuristics may also apply for scanners, printers, media centre, etc.
Linux OSs now have a large driver component, so there should be no
problem with hardware recognition. (However, as backup, a faithful
XP system, no longer powerful enough for fast Internet access, and
still with its trusty peripherals, can be used for offline printing,
and/Photoshop, hardware testing, etc.)
Mint, Linux Lite, PeppermintOS, PCLinux OS, Ubuntu, Ubuntu Remix,
Lubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Lxle, and
(>200 Mb!), are all Open Source Linux OSs that Nofrillstech
Linux Mint is
now the favourite, especially since true dual monitors state is
provided. See DistroWatch
the current top consumer choices. Some, such as Linux
already present, making HDD checks much easier, plus, after all, if
the HDD is failing, a timely warning of this event is surely worth
has been able to duplicate all MS Win apps, via Linux OSs, necessary
for basic Internet access, and, Web page support. When the wheels do
finally fall off XP, online, anyway, then for Nofrillstech,
fully take over, no doubts at all about that.
even XP behind is
made possible by using particular Boot CDs/DVDs for troubleshooting
hardware, beyond HDD/SSD checks with Disk
Also, for disk cloning, partition management, erasing. These
choices of Memtest
Boot CD, Ultimate Boot CD, Parted Magic Boot CD,
(especially as Disk Utility is incorporated), Gparted
Boot CD, and
Those wanting to know more about the evolution of, and the vast public-spirited collaboration for continuing development of, Free Software, Open Source Software, and, of Linux itself, should consult these references:
Free Software, Free Society, R Stallman GNU 2001 ISBN 978-0-9831592
Open Sources, Voices from the Open Source Revolution, O'Reilly 1999 ISBN 1565925823
The Cathedral & the Bazaar, E S Raymond O'Reilly 2001, ISBN 1565927249
Rebel Code, G Moody, Basic 2001, ISBN 9780786745203
Just for Fun, L Torvalds, Harper 2001 ISBN 0066620732
Weaving the Web, T Berners-Lee, Harper 2000, ISBN 9780062515872
Linux User’s Mini-Factfile
becoming increasingly diverse and refined, and thus, more readily
acceptable to ordinary computer users, being stable, easy to install
and to use, with plenty of drivers, which is especially important for
printers, plus, good Desktop layouts. Linux diversity means extra
mix-and-match OS choices to suit systems of any age and size, and, a
world-wide community of programmers, enthusiasts, and forums
contributing to continuing advancement of both Linux OSs, and,
improved budget IT access for ordinary citizens.
important is the fact that if you only want Internet and online
email, then a compatible Linux OS on an older system, be it laptop or
PC, is all you need, OK..!
has good user manuals available, (just ask Google), which are very
useful primers, and, a good basis for understanding at least any one
of a dozen or so Distros that
tried. (See Distrowatch.com)
All the steps involved in downloading a Linux .iso, burning this to
disc, then following the installation steps common to all Linux OSs,
are included in these easy-to-use manuals. Read and apply info from
these Manuals, is Nofrillstech’s
and discover just how straightforward Linux OSs really are. (Also
the main reason this Linux Mini-Factfile is so small...!)
first Linux Distro choice is Linux
at present Mint 17.2 supported till 2019, tho
Mint 13/Maya will
still suit older systems, especially with AGP video cards, and, will
be supported till 2017. An excellent laptop Linux OS is EasyPeasy,
is another general-purpose OS that is compatible with older systems,
laptop or PC, and,
a further useful standby as well.
is first choice for legacy systems.
you choose, be
sure to update during/after any Linux OS installation,
the first is important, including for security. Subsequent updates
will not be onerous, and, can be carried out at a local iCafe,
monthly at most, to conserve home wifi resources, if this is
necessary.. Easiest of course, when using a laptop. Both
Linux Mint and Linux Lite have upgrade facilities, making OS upgrades
that Linux Lite may not engage the correct keyboard driver for
laptops, if this is the case, just conect a standard USB keyboard,
and then restart, the correct keyboard drivers should then be
functioning. If this does not work, then there are other Linux Oss
to choose from, which is one of the main factors in favour of Linux
that zeroing HDDs and/or partitions is advisable,
third-party programs such as D-Ban,
etc, to ensure successive clean installations of unlike
OSs, be they Linux, Apple, or Win, previous to a Linux OS install,
thus eliminating all partitions, hidden or otherwise, plus, complete
erasure of unwanted data, in all cases, that may cause subsequent
problems and conflicts. Then, prior
to any Linux OS installation, the HDD is left unallocated. The
Linux OS disc will then carry out any partitioning and formatting.
ensuring a drive is fully non-allocated may also be sufficient, thus,
heuristics will apply, OK!
can also use PartitionMagic,
Gparted, or similar,
to make custom partitions to your own specification, suggest that a
Partition, of at least 2 Gb is made at the beginning of the drive,
then, the Boot partition beside that, so that the HDD does not have
to work so hard with data transfer between the two. Be sure to set
, to mark the OS installation target, plus, match file systems to the
specifications of the OS, eg,
ext4 for Linux Mint.
Leave the rest of the drive unallocated, and later make a Store
via the installed OS, using GParted,
thus making partition ownership easier to instigate.
keep a log of your activities, as with all your computer usage,
especially when installing and uninstalling apps, and, be sure to use
the Update Manager, which apart from aiding ongoing optimal
performance, can correct software faults by overwriting with
new/updated software. Forget defragging, file cleaning, and fussing
with security and anti-malware, all is taken care of by Linux OSs,
which are also not a target like Microsoft is, and now, even Apple,
for malware. The public-spiritedness of Linux is well-respected.
online use is still advisable, however, regardless of OS choice.
useful extra programs for average users, if not already installed,
is faster, if not so easy to use, especially in relation to
Bookmarks, recommend using either in conjunction with Ghostery
of Trust. Thunderbird for
email is also recommended.
useful for monitoring temperatures and CPU usage.
useful for system info, including battery state checker
moniors disk space, processes, network traffic
a useful system monitor, light on RAM, eg, especially useful with
very useful Office program, that will read many formats, including MS
for a simple html editor, amaya
is complicated, bluefish
even more so.
very useful for controlling monitor colour and 'heat', definitely
If f.lux does not install, there is redshift: sudo apt-get install redshift redshift-gtk then sudo apt-get install geoclue-2.0 or just sudo apt-get install redshift
(for laptops), to control screen brightness if required.
for uploading files, is also available for Linux, via Firefox
an add-on. When installed, FireFTP
will be available via the Web
is another useful ftp app.
be used if any malware is suspected, using with clamtk
if a GUI is required.
clean the few files that need this in Linux OSs, tho
not backup files,
these are best left unchecked, as are free
disk space, (for SSDs), passwords, and
memory. Set accordingly.
also that TENDA wifi dongles generally work with Linux OSs, if others
be useful, without being complicated, eg, when looking to install a
program, as per preceding examples,
Certainly, there is an availability of apps via Software
but, if you know what you want, Terminal
usage is quite quick, given that the required app is available from
the software repository of a particular Linux Distro, viz:
apt get-install xyz.
To uninstall, apt-get
apt-get purge xyz, or,
apt-get install gnome-disk-utility
will obtain for you that very useful app to test your HDD SMART,
etc, when this is not present in any Linux OS that you may be using.
being the 'superuser' prefix)
sudo apt-get update –fix-missing
sudo dpkg –configure -a
sudo apt-get update to recheck
leave the system connected to the Internet until all updates are
finished, any Linux distro, as the OS may still refer back to the
update repository, whilst installing downloaded updates.
apt-get install exfat-fuse exfat-utils
for reading exFat drives
will clear Terminal history
will turn off Caps Lock, add to Startup Applications as Disable
is available via
TRIM control setup is available via
sudo badblocks -w -s -o usbstick.log /dev/sd(..) for scanning for USB drive bad sectors
sudo badblocks -sv /dev/sd
for scanning for HDD/SSD drive bad sectors
for using Linux
include not being impatient with the mouse, and especially, being
aware of which icons need one click or two, plus, not having too many
Windows open at once, and, allow full opening and closing of apps
before or after use. When updating, be sure to spread any little
windows apart and read each carefully, plus, do not restart
immediately, even if requested, until all updates are fully
downloaded and installed. Uninterrupted
updates/upgrades are recommended, as well.
before a coffee also work for Linux, just as they do for Windows,
to re-jig functions, bleed RAM, or, to cure frozen systems.
should shut down, or, reset the system, if required, works for Linux
For overheating Linux laptops, see this link: https://itsfoss.com/reduce-overheating-laptops-linux/
as well as:
https://www.macissues.com/2014/12/29/radical-fix-drill-holes-in-your-mac-to-make-it-run-cooler/ which is applicable to any model of laptop, not just Mac.
there are other problems such as jamming, or sudden restarts, it is
important to test for hardware problems first,
because Linux OSs are inherently very stable. Test RAM with Memtest
via a bootable disc, using a portable CD/DVD if necessary. Plus,
try a bootable Linux disc,
distro and/or troubleshooter, and, if this step shows performance
problems, then hardware should be further checked, starting with
turning everything off, and then re-plugging all connections.
hardware on other systems is also advised, if practicable.
Electrical contact spray for connections, including RAM, is
recommended, especially in damp or humid climates.
addition, connect the HDD to another PC, if necessary, to check HDD
advice if needed, and/or if the problem persists, after these initial
steps, as a hardware fault is then most likely. Note
also that warming a system case interior with a hair-dryer may help
with reluctant booting, in an emergency, when all else has been
tried. This is itself a sign of impending motherboard failure,
because material stress over time has caused some conductive filament
to finally fail, with shrinkage, at a cool or cold temperature.
boot problems that are definitely related to OS boot function, and
file disruption, can usually be fixed by using Linux
which supplies an automatic remedy for the most common boot problems,
including file and boot repair.
Partitions using Linux OSs:
make a Storage Partition within a Linux OS, without head-scratching
configuration trials, be sure to try installing an OS incorporating a
such as Mint, EasyPeasy, or Pepppermint. (Gnome-Disk-Utility
be downloaded post-OS install using the Terminal Command Line as
above.) This app then generally enables Partition/Disk Ownership
changes within its Disk Format facility. If this capability is not
evident in any given Disk Utility, you
can make a storage partition after installing the Linux OS, using a
bootable Partition Manager,
as Parted Magic),
to resize an existing Boot Partition, or taking over an unallocated
zone of the HDD.
after rebooting, use the native OS Disk
Labels and Flag Management, as well as for Taking
of that particular partition. Note that, when using a Disk Utility,
you will need to Unmount
the prospective storage partition before these steps can be taken.
Boot Partition should also have a Boot Flag, plus / for boot point,
and, the Store Partition can be flagged LVM, or, left unflagged, for
Swap Partition does not have a flag.
that setting up a NEW partition after the OS is installed,
re-formatting an existing one, or, even deleting and re-making a new
partition, should render that partition automatically accessible,
a Disk Utility cannot be thus utilised for Taking Ownership,
partition permissions can be otherwise altered, in general, to allow
access to the storage partition, viz, add
the new Store
Partition Ownership, eg
to Admin/User Group Ownership, then right
click within the opened Store partition, go to the partition
and then change the ownership of the Store partition to the main
ownership name, eg, NFT always uses Linux as the Account Name, so,
there needs to be a change from ‘root’ that will be the default
partition ownership, to the new ‘linux’ ownership. When this
change happens, right click in the new Store Partition, another
window will open for Special
so, right click again for Properties/Permissions,
confirm the new ownership and group name, plus, impose ‘change and
delete files’. The partition should now be accessible; otherwise
reboot may also be necessary.
files and folders may still require alterations to their Permissions,
so, reconfigure via right-clicking the icon,
thence to Properties/Permissions, and, confirm the new
ownership/group name, plus, ‘change and delete files’. NFT
also found that storage partitions made for Puppy
are automatically recognised, but, In respect of other Linux OSs,
your own heuristic trials will decide their capabilities, regarding
incorporating useable Storage Partitions on any connected HDDs, Boot
or otherwise. Also, recommend looking for additional solutions, such
as for Permissions,
the individual OSs,
before trying Online Forums, as some of that info can be both prolix,
complicated, and, even outdated.
also, that flash drives are useful for temporary storage or transfer
purposes, but, they do have a limited life, and, if used daily, be
sure to discard and replace them yearly..? SSDs perform well, but,
like flash drives tend to do, they can fail catastrophically, so,
safe longterm data storage is best achieved using good-quality
platter HDDs, or optical CDs/DVDs.
do not overlook extra portable storage such as external HDDs, or,
transfer files to other systems for safekeeping. Anything hardware
can be fixed and replaced in a computer system, but never lost or
broken data, and, If data is not backed up 3 times, with any medium,
it is not to be considered backed up at all...OK!
Linux Partitions and HDDS:
is just to do two OS installations,
one consecutively to a spare HDD, as Linux OSs install so quickly..?
Update these additional HDDs when required. (See below.)
utilise a spare compatible HDD,
and, use an enclosure, or SATA port, plus
a basic cloning boot program.
Do this when the OS is updated, and your chosen ancillary programs,
storage partitions, etc, are all secure on the spare HDD. Store the
cloned HDD until a swap is required. Further such updates can be
done when all is running well, at your own convenience, by again
use a Boot Partition program
to make both a Storage Partition, and, an unallocated partition, to
clone the original Boot Partition to, (Swap
will be shared by default), using a partition cloning program to
achieve ths effect. Reboot using Linux-Repair-CD,
and a dual
then be created in Grub. Then, configure the Storage
within each Boot
OSs do not stress systems, including HDDs,
much as does Microsoft OSs,
but even so, using dual booting to an OS Boot Partition set beyond
the platter centre(s), will also help to spread the wear on a platter
HDD, away from the beginning of the drive, and, Grub
will thus enable this choice. High
usage systems with older platter HDDs could benefit in this way..?
Note also that there can only be four Primary
(this includes SWAP).
Bootable USB Drives and Linux OSs:
of Linux OSs
is faster and easier if done via a USB flash drive, or flash SD card,
plus, these OSs can also be installed and run from such drives.
There are 2 types of installation, one being a
bootable installation version,
ie, a copy of the Linux .iso copied to the flash drive with a USB
image writer,,and also, installing
fully bootable normal non-installation OS.
The latter will need a larger flash drive, 16 Gb would be suitable
for most purposes, depending on files, extra apps, etc, being
incorporated. It is also even quicker to install a Linux OS this
way, via an image on a flash drive, than via a disc drive. Also, the
installed OS can also be transferred to an additional HDD, via a port
or enclosure, by making a back-up disk clone, to be stored until
a Store partition,
as well, after the OS installation is completed. (Gparted,
et al, can be used to manipulate partition sizes on larger
there is no real need to clone or image the entire original drive,
being just as easy to install or clone the fully developed OS boot
partition to a spare HDD, update, and then store for emergency. If
required, this boot partition can then be cloned back to the original
partition, given that you have all your files in the Store Partition,
and backed-up elsewhere. This is useful when changing to an updated,
or other OS, viz, just install the OS to a partition on a spare
drive, fully developed with extra programs and updates, then clone,
ad lib, to respective boot partitions on other target drives. Just
take care that the cloned partition is the same size or smaller than
the target partition, if this is situated next to SWAP.
or Partition Magic,
etc, can be used for any partition resize alterations. Plan
for standard-size Boot partitions from the outset, if practicable..?
Similarly, you can just install, or clone, an OS to an existing OS
Boot partition, if you have only one computer/laptop.
can boot to the USB flash drive via the F12
one-off boot order,
for HP, plus there may be other exceptions), or, via BIOS
boot settings, then install the OS from that USB flash drive, also,
updates could be added concurrently if you are connected to
wifi/cable (and, if modem drivers are present), the cable Internet
will usually work anyway. But, do also check
when all available drivers will be installed with any further
updates, and then everything should work, wifi included. Likewise,
the F12/F9/FX/Boot settings option is used whenever booting from an
additional Linux OS, if not installed on the native HDD of a computer
note that laptops usually have no problem booting, and quickly, from
USB drives, but, note also, that for PCs, heuristics will apply, OK!!
But, USB booting is still useful for PCs in an emergency, if
SD cards usually cannot be booted to, unless in an SD card holder.
Only motherboards such as Raspberry Pi have this direct boot
facility. Heuristics may apply, OK! For
the future...? Up to motherboard and BIOS manufacturers to change
matters, and, OS software will also need changes. Only fast SD cards
should be used..? Meanwhile, OSs that run easily in RAM, such as
Puppy, will prolong the life of USB and SD card drives, when these
are used in lieu of conventional HDDs. Note
that Puppy is quite fast when run as a normal OS installation from an
SD flash card, via a USB holder, but, Easy Peasy and Linux Mint are
not so, being much larger OSs.
is the best Linux OS bet for speed, as an .iso or fully installed, on
any sort of drive, unless using one of the more expensive and faster
photo cards for other larger OSs.
can usually boot quickly from USBs, PCs are the opposite, even some
cannot thus boot, so, there will need to be wholesale changes to Mbs,
BIOS, OSs, etc, if this alternative booting option is to be
universally optimised in the future. Note that an HDD in an
enclosure will be recognised, and function the same as, a USB flash
drive, as long as the OS has drivers that recognise the drive. SSDs
and SSHDs should also be recognised, just as platter HDDs are
what use are all these extra notes..?
Well, just having a good spare bootable USB flash drive, or hard
drive enclosure, with an installed Linux OS.iso as backup, or, a
fully bootable Linux OS, makes sense in case of HDD failure, or, just
for using on any available compatible system. It is possible to have
a USB Linux .iso installed in 'persistence'
as well, to save settings, although it will start more slowly. See
also the 'persistence' note at
bootable Linux installation .iso version
can be copied to a USB flash drive, (or SD card if useable), in a
just few minutes. Linux
has a native USB .iso installer, just copy the .iso to the flash
drive using this, an 8 Gb minimum USB flash drive will be needed.
likewise has a native .iso installer, just follow the instructions,
and, do have the actual .iso file copied to an accessible folder.
The 'persistence' factor in Puppy is a file-saving option that is
offered, and, saving to file, with faster boot and shut-down, is
better than saving to the drive. A 2Gb USB flash drive will suffice
for a Puppy .iso. To install an EasyPeasy
.iso onto a flash drive, (4 Gb will do it), use a Windows OS system, (or a Linux equivalent such as GParted), to first format the flash drive to Fat32, then use Universal USB Installer to install the EasyPeasy .iso to the flash drive.
normal bootable non-installation Linux OS
is installed quickly via a USB flash drive, and, even quicker than
via an installation disc. (The disk space required will be indicated
at the beginning of the installation.) An entire operational Linux
OS, including updates, will be installed, either way, in 30-45
and ready to go, and even with any the extra attention and updates
needed, versus 6
hours or more
for a Microsoft OS, especially with those large updates, driver
requirements, and extra OS tweaks, that will be needed for
installation completion. Use
a 16 Bb flash drive for this purpose, tho, for ample space.
that, a MS OS.iso can install from a USB drive, or SD card, but, not
run from either, as fully installed.
not had success cloning between flash drives and platter drives,
probably because the drive layout is so different, despite identical
However, the latest version of Easeus Disk Clone solves this
USB flash, and SD, drives to SSDs has since been successful, as of
Mint HDDs/SSDs, including as USB enclosures, should interchange
between respective PCs or laptops without problems,
especially if the same type of CPU, and bit-rate capacity, are
present, although other hardware differences can also affect
function. Note that 32-bit OS will also boot on a 64-bit system, but
not vice-versa. This
HDD/SSD swapping, if compatible, is especially useful for updates, as
an HDD can be booted from an enclosure, or by direct connection, to a
system with Internet an connection, and then updated, after which you
can reconnect it to the original, or, to a similarly-resourced
true test of compatibility of given hardware and Linux OS software
is, of course, whether the Linux OS boot medium, as in OS disc or
USB, will boot to a given system, so, be sure to test thus for
compatibilty, if test-swapping an Linux OS installed on an HDD is not
satisfactory. If a straight swap will not work, when the OS disc
does, then a fresh install will, with appropriate driver, et al,
configuration. The most likely hardware clash would be with video
cards, easy to deal with using a PC, anyway, if spares are handy.
AGP cards will not work with Linux Mint, but will with Linux Lite, as
another example of hardware and OS mix and match.
will apply with drive swapping, as is so common with computer affairs
in general..! Just make sure that system core specs are the same, or
similar at least. Note that installed Linux OSs can be swapped
between PCs and laptops, ad lib, plus SSDs/HDDs connected directly or
via enclosures, given hardware compatibility, as there are no
validation requirements for free Open Source OSs.