BLOG Tux Love: Linux from scratch, part 1
Getting started with Linux is straightforward, even if you're a beginner. Here we show you how to choose and download your Linux distro.Geoff Palmer | Thursday, April 19 2012 | 2 Comments
It's deja vu all over again! Yes, I know I started a Beginning Linux series a short while back, but I realised part way through that I'd made a mistake: I used Ubuntu.
I don't really have anything against Ubuntu. In fact I've been using one variety of it, Kubuntu, for years. But Ubuntu changed to the Unity interface last year and it hasn't been popular. That may be coming
right with this month's release of version 12.4, and there are indications that Canonical is moving the same interface to smartphones and tellies, but the fact is that most people are used more tradtional menu-driven interfaces on the desktop. Expecting them to embrace a new OS and a new GUI paradigm might have been a bit much.
So, allow me to introduce Linux Mint 12.
LM is based on Ubuntu, it's been No. 1 on the DistroWatch downloads list for some time now, and print mag users will find a copy on this month's (April's) cover disc.
For everyone else, you have a choice of downloads.
32-bit or 64-bit?
What can your PC handle? Linux, unlike Windows, has had wide-ranging support for 64-bit PCs for some time, but if you're in doubt, go for 32-bit. To be honest it doesn't make a huge amount of difference, except that you won't be able to access more than 4GB of RAM. (Note: the cover disc distro is 32-bit.)<br>
CD or DVD?
The difference here is one of download size. Here's the summary;
Note that the CD doesn't include multimedia support and a few extra applications. That's because support for some of that stuff is restricted in the US and Japan. But adding them is only a matter of a single click, and we'll be covering that ...
KDE or LXDE?
KDE and LXDE (like Ubuntu's Unity) are essentially different graphical interfaces that sit on top of Linux, giving it a whole different look and feel.
They also have different applications associated with them, giving them different download sizes.
|LXDE (32-bit only)||657MB|
We'll stick with LM's default GUI for the time being (Gnome 3), but later on I'll show you how you can add other GUI front-ends to your installation and try them out.
It's worth noting that LXDE (and it's suite of applications) is aimed at older, less sprightly PCs.
Download via torrent or mirror?
That's up to you. You'll find a ton of seeders for the main (CD, 32-bit) download, so that should be quicker. With my fairly snappy cable connection, the torrent took 5-7 minutes whereas a mirror invariably takes 20-25. If you use a mirror, choose a nearby one like Australia.
Check what you've got
Check the MD5 signature to confirm you've got a valid download. If you already use Linux, that's as simple as opening a terminal window, changing to the directory containing the download and typing md5sum filename.
Windows users should visit etree.org and download md5sum.exe.
If you get a match with the MD5 figure published on the site, we're ready to rock!
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