[ubuntu-za] Migrating to Linux

Jan Greeff jan at verslank.net
Sat May 2 19:43:45 UTC 2015

Many thanks Adrianna. Very comprehensive and useful.

I'm currently running Ubuntu 14.04 Unity and did use Gnome initially. 
 From what you say I should perhaps consider Ubuntu 15.04 for my friend, 
sounds like that distro has more flexibilty re desktop environments than 

Go well.


On 02/05/2015 16:08, Adrianna Pińska wrote:
> On 2 May 2015 at 14:57, Jan Greeff <jan at verslank.net> wrote:
>> Leon, now I'm totally confused. I was under the impression that Mint comes in two environments: Mate and Cinnanon. Now you appear to indicate that Mate is Ubuntu. Also, in the Linux Mint release timeline on Wiki (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linux_Mint) Ubuntu 14.04 LTS is listed as one of the Mint releases. ??
> Hi, Jan
> In general, I think it's useful to think of a Linux distro as being
> broadly divided into four layers, from the outside in:
> 1. the top-level apps, like Firefox or LibreOffice -- these are
> identical across all distros (unless they're GUI front-ends to
> distro-specific utilities, like Synaptic)
> 2. the desktop environment, like GNOME or KDE, which is just a
> specialised case of an app or suite of apps, and is also exactly the
> same in all distros
> 3. the mid-level system components, which can be split between several
> competing standards, like package managers -- this is where the really
> important differences between distros come in. E.g. DEBs in
> Debian/Ubuntu vs RPMs in Red Hat/Fedora
> 4. the core command-line utilities and the Linux kernel, which are
> likely to be identical again (except for things that are interfaces to
> distro-specific utilities)
> So there is no one distro that the Mate environment "is". You can run
> any window manager or desktop environment on any distribution with the
> appropriate packages.
> Distributions just come with a particular environment *by default*,
> and that is why there are so many Ubuntu "flavours".  They all use the
> exact same package repositories. Mint is similar, in that it is
> *based* on Ubuntu (and also recently directly on Debian), but it also
> has its own additional repositories.
> So Mate is one of the environments offered by default in Mint, and I
> believe that it was originally developed for Mint, but there is now
> *also* a pure Ubuntu flavour which comes with Mate.
> Picking the flavour to install is really a lot less important than a
> lot of people make it out to be, because it's easy to change window
> managers in an existing installed system just by installing some
> additional packages.  You'll get a drop-down menu on your login
> screen, and you'll be able to switch between the different installed
> environments whenever you like.
> Use the flavour that comes with a decent-looking light environment,
> but don't agonize over the choice because it's easy to change.  Just
> explain to your friend from the start that he's not stuck with the
> environment if he doesn't like it, and maybe direct him to some online
> resources that describe and compare different environments.
> Mint is a perfectly good option, and it's likely to be extremely
> similar to Ubuntu in every way.  To the best of my knowledge, releases
> now follow Ubuntu and Debian quite closely, so it should have about
> the same hardware support / compatibility under the hood.  All of the
> stuff in the system component layer should be the same -- same package
> manager, etc..  But I honestly see no compelling reason to pick it
> over Ubuntu, especially if you already know Ubuntu and are going to be
> helping this guy.
> Pick something that you won't be completely lost in, so that you'll be
> in a good position to help the guy.  What environment do you use?
> Unity?  Have you ever used GNOME? If you have, you should be
> reasonably at home in any one of the classic GNOME or GNOME fork
> environments, or maybe XFCE or LXDE. They all follow a pretty similar
> model without weird surprises. They all have their own special sauce
> system settings GUIs, but they should all be pretty similar and easy
> to figure out.
> If the laptop is very very old and you want something super super
> lightweight, I can recommend one of the *box clones -- the original
> Blackbox, Openbox, or my personal favourite Fluxbox.  A word of
> warning: these are *very* minimalist, and require a bit more setup out
> of the box, and more familiarity with the command line to configure.
> Some people also swear by tiling managers, but I wouldn't inflict one
> of those on an unsuspecting beginner. ;)
> You may also want to recommend Inkscape to your friend -- there's no
> reason for him not to try it out even if he can run CorelDraw in a
> virtual machine.
> Cheers,
> --
> Adrianna Pińska
> ::::,;,;,:;;:,;;;:::,;::;:,;::;:,;:;:,;;;,;:,::;:
> :;::,::;,:,;:,;:;:,:,:;:;:;,;;::,:;,:;:;:;,;:,:,;

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