First experience trying Linux

So after reading Zoltans "What if I want everything?" thread, I wanted to try linux. I've heard about it here and there, but only knew it was an OS that tech minded people used. I've been using various versions of windows pretty much all my life without much issue (I spent more time on wikis than "insert computer infecting site here"). I have been planning to switch from my aging thinkpad to a macbook for the OS and the build quality. However, reading through that thread (which was mostly over my head) definitely sparked an interest in trying one of these "distros".

This is where I ran into trouble. First, I tried loading sabayon using unetbootin which couldn't recognize my external drive. Figured out I needed to change the file type to fat32, did that, and still nothing. Next I tried lili usb, which recognized my drive and installed the virtual box with sabayon. I opened it and tried to load sabayon. Tried. Apparently even though I'm running 64 bit windows 7, it thought I was running 32 bit. I downloaded the 32 bit version and although it would try loading, it always ran into a problem.

After searching on the sabayon forums and google for a solution I came back here to see what I might find. One of the first threads that came up was XDroidie626 taling about manjaro being a good beginner distro. So I figured trying a different distro would be easiest path forward. Interestingly, manjaro also wanted me to use the 32 bit version, which opened up without issue. My computer was not happy at all though. Some stupid windows protectedfontblablabla.exe that I've never seen before, opened while I was using the virtual box and was using 50% of my cpu. Yikes.

I decided this would be the good project for my old desktop. I had built it back in 2008ish and it has been sitting unused for years. So I pulled it out, did the wire hunt for those dam weird video connector cables and eventually got it started up. It only took about 5 minutes before the first crash though. Heading into the bios revealed the cpu was running at 85c. Not good.

Back in the day when I had put the stock intel cooler on (I didn't know any better), I used the stock patch of thermal paste as well (facepalm). Big mistake on my part. Not only had that barely spread out, there was corrosion on the copper plate on the back of the heatsink. I cleaned that up, got some new thermal paste from nearby microcenter (Open on a sunday = hell yeah) and put it back together. Now running stable at 45c I continued.

If you've read this far then here's a pretend internet Elysian Dragonstooth, you've earned it.

At the moment I've got manjaro installed and am trying to update it. I had to get into the mirrorlist and change the primary mirror to get it going (was just getting 404 errors at first, outdated mirror was listed for some reason). Now I'm 180mib into a 500mib update bundle. But it is working!

and that's it. Thanks for everyone who posts here. I truly appreciate you sharing your expertise with interested, but not super tech oriented people. 

Glad you managed to get linux to work.

As a side note, I don't believe linux is for the super tech oriented people. Anyone can use it with a bit a patience and if they realize that linux is an operating system that gives the users complete control.

You did one simple mistake that ruined your beginnings with Linux - you tried Sabayon, which is not good for beginners. Try Ubuntu or Linux Mint if you want something that just works and still have the opportunity to fiddle around.

For manjaro first download the x64 bit from their site, then use this command sudo nano /etc/pacman.conf, once in and you see loads of text, press ctrl + w and search Multilib, check the repo line and see if it is un-commented it will have a # next to it, if it doesnt have that hash next to it you have 64bit libaries enabled and your system is 64bit enabled.

The first time I tried Linux, my mangina turned inside out and I spurted mantitty juice everywhere continuously for ten minutes. It was a liberating experience, that I can tell you.

The first Linux distro I tried was Linux Mint. And it was pretty sweet. I was running it on a virtual machine so it was a little bit slow but it had almost everything I needed installed in like firefox, document applications, gimp and others. Although people say you get a lot of power to fiddle around, i didnt really feel like really fiddling. What do you people normally play around with on linux?

Experiences vary. Using Ubuntu as my first linux distro almost ruined my linux experience. Thankfully this forum pointed me in the right direction (Arch linux).

You do realize that among all the linux distros, Ubuntu is the one that harvests the most data on its users? Nothing similar to what Windows does, but significantly more than any other distro.

you get a fair amount of power, but debian based stuff becomes really annoying when you start wanting to build packages, AUR is the best for it imo, I personally play around with the stuff in the background, I am a performance/battery freak, so I spend a lot of time improving boot times and using powertop to increase battery life, so far so good I think ;)

Thanks for the info, I'll give this a shot when I get the chance. I've got it installed now and it's running good although it needed a lot of updates. I'm going to try out steam next and see how that works. 


I'd highly recomend Debian for a beginners linux if you're using a laptop. My first installed linux distro was Manjaro, however I quickly found out Arch was not for me. Audio drivers, aswell as sleep-when-closing-laptop-mode was lacking, updating didn't work always either. Some peoples get along with an Arch based distro with a breeze, however for me, and many others, it didn't work out well. I'll maybe try out Manjaro again once they release 1.0, but not for now.

I'd recommend ElementaryOS for complete beginners. It has really nice driver support in my experience, and is just a pleasure to use.

From my experience, those features are based on the DE you are using, not on the distro.

For example, XFCE had features like the ones you mentioned, while earlier versions of KDE was a bit lacking in the regard. A few examples:

  • The brightness settings kept reverting after rebooting. Found a script to fix that.
  • Touchpad wasn't disabled after reboot, so annoying. Wrote a script to be executed at startup.

Those little niggles can be overcome with a bit of patience, that's the power of open source. They are fixed in the current (Arch linux current version) of KDE, don't know about other distros.

you sir are definitely the win

Well... its not too hard to disable all tracking in Ubuntu. On top of it, I really, really like Unity and its pain to get it work properly on other distros.