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New Linux user, mx good for start?

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JayM
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Re: New Linux user, mx good for start?

#21

Post by JayM » Tue Jan 29, 2019 6:38 am

I would think MX is a pretty good choice for new Linux users, especially if they have a Linux "Elmer" available to help them out, whether in real life or just here in the forum or elsewhere online. It runs well on older hardware (my desktop PC is 10-12 years old with a 1st generation 64-bit dual-core CPU from AMD and still DDR2 RAM, limited to 8GiB max and slow by modern standards) and makes them seem perhaps not actually blazing (with the exception of Artim's computer, that is, and who amongst us hasn't been tempted at times to bash their PC to bits then kill it with fire, or at least throw it out the window?) but pretty peppy in comparison to when using other Linux distributions or (particularly) Windows.

This was the fastest, smoothest, easiest operating system installation I've done in years and the more I use MX the more I like it. I spent a lot less time post-installation (almost none, really) fixing things and trying to solve annoyances or resolve non-working applications (looking at you, Ubuntu and (Ubuntu-based) Mint!) and was able to start just using my computer right away. I just came from using Mint (on a newer ultrabook laptop (that I decided to put Windows 10 back on and sell) for the past several months, and before that PCLinuxOS with KDE on this desktop PC for many years. I like PCLOS, I liked Mint OK too (nice user community on their forum too) but installing and using MX made me smile, not cuss, which is rare when trying out a new Linux distro for the first time (or reinstalling Winblows, for that matter.) It took maybe 20 minutes, perhaps half an hour, from booting the live image from a USB stick to installing MX to running the initial update to being actually able to just use my computer, as opposed to hours or even days spent fixing problems with other distros. And my CPU fan runs quieter, which means MX isn't taxing this system's processor as much, probably due to it using XFCE instead of Cinnamon. KDE5 Plasma, or one of the other heavier-weight window/desktop managers. (Wasn't XFCE originally a fork of Gnome 2, or am I thinking of LXDE?)

The user interface is pretty much Windows-like except for the panel being along the left side of the screen (which is easily changed in its Panel Preferences) and the included apps are also pretty familiar: LibreOffice is a lot like classic MS Office, VLC Media Player is pretty much the same as VLC for Windows, Firefox is Firefox is Firefox, etc. There are enough apps preinstalled to let people start doing things and enjoying MX right away. Everything pretty much works on first installation for probably 99.9% of users.

My one criticism of MX and something that people unfamiliar with Linux may find a bit daunting at first is that its configuration tools seem to be scattered all over the place in the menu, You have the Settings and MX Tools categories each of which has config items, you have the Settings icon at the top of the menu that contains even more, some of which aren't found in the regular menus, then you have MX and Window Manager tweak utilities too. For instance, to set up your display preferences you have Display to configure the monitor's resolution and refresh rate and that's all; Appearance to set your apps' theme, colors, icons and fonts; your Window Manager config and tweak tools to set up how the windows in which apps run look, MX Tweak to fine-tune and configure things related to look-and-feel, panel preferences to configure how the "taskbar" and "system tray" look, etc. I think things could be a bit better organized or centralized. It's too bad Whisker Menu doesn't support subcategories: then you could have Settings/Display containing display, window manager, GTK Appearance, themes and desktop config items all in one place, then Settings/Hardware, Settings/Network, Settings/System for things like localization and time zone, user management, Samba and so forth, Settings/Tweaks, etc. As it is, it takes quite a bit of exploration to figure out where everything's located, and sometimes it's hard to find a setting again after you've changed it and found that it didn't do what you wanted or that you didn't care for the change. That's probably more of an XFCE issue but it may be possible to customize the Whisker Menu's categories and the arrangement of apps to make MX a bit more newbie-friendly.

Something that everyone new to Linux and MX should bear in mind: the only stupid question is the one that you don't ask. That's what the forum's here for (but kindly do a search first in case someone else has already asked your question and it's been answered, and take a look at the MX User Manual and the Help within applications: I answered one of my own questions just an hour or two ago by "reading the fine manual".) I've only been using MX for two weeks or so myself, but I say welcome. You're going to like it.
OS: MX-18.1 x64, Kernel: 4.9.160-antix.1-amd64-smp x86_64, CPU: AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ 2.6GHz, GPU: AMD RS780 (Radeon HD 3200), Mobo: ASRock A780GM-LE, BIOS: AMI P1.50 (5/25/2010), HDs: WD 500GB+SG Barracuda 1TB, Memory: 2x4GB 400MHz DDR2

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asqwerth
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Re: New Linux user, mx good for start?

#22

Post by asqwerth » Tue Jan 29, 2019 7:07 am

... You have the Settings and MX Tools categories each of which has config items, you have the Settings icon at the top of the menu that contains even more, some of which aren't found in the regular menus, then you have MX and Window Manager tweak utilities too. For instance, to set up your display preferences you have Display to configure the monitor's resolution and refresh rate and that's all; Appearance to set your apps' theme, colors, icons and fonts; your Window Manager config and tweak tools to set up how the windows in which apps run look, MX Tweak to fine-tune and configure things related to look-and-feel, panel preferences to configure how the "taskbar" and "system tray" look, etc. I think things could be a bit better organized or centralized....
The "Settings" category in Whisker will list XFCE's own tools, plus every other program that has a .desktop file in which the "Category" definition contains the words "settings" or "utilities", I believe. If that is the way the developer has described their program, that's where it will show up, unless MX manually adjusts their desktop files, I think. You yourself could experiment with editing the .desktop files in /usr/share/applications if you wish.

The "Settings icon at the top of the menu" just brings together in one window all of XFCE's own tools, plus the MX devs also added their MX Tools and MX Tweak icons into the XFCE Settings Manager window. So the XFCE Settings Manager should contain a large majority of whatever is found in whisker "Settings " and "MX" categories.

In order to bring together most of the aesthetic customisation settings and tools, MX-Tweak incorporated XFCE's 'Appearance' and 'Window Manager"
settings into buttons within MX Tweak itself. Otherwise things will be even more spread out.

But it's XFCE who separated the Appearance and Window Manager settings, and described Window Manager that way. It would have been clearer if it were called "Window Decorations and Borders".

Suggestion: maybe just have easy access to: 1) the XFCE settings manager, 2) MX Tools and 3) MX Tweak icons.

I add launchers for these 3 on a second panel and they more or less cover every setting I might wish to configure regularly.
Desktop: Intel i5-4460, 16GB RAM, Intel integrated graphics
Clevo N130WU-based Ultrabook: Intel i7-8550U (Kaby Lake R), 16GB RAM, Intel integrated graphics (UEFI)
ASUS X42D laptop: AMD Phenom II, 6GB RAM, Mobility Radeon HD 5400

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dphn
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Re: New Linux user, mx good for start?

#23

Post by dphn » Tue Jan 29, 2019 7:26 am

Have taken a look at Q4OS.

Easy installer and only a core system at the beginning. The developers provide "Desktop-Profilers" for software to install on the system. There are three different ones, a full desktop, a lighter one and only basic utils and (of course) you can edit them and modify package selection.

That's what I like. It's great for beginners and also great for tinkerers like me...

Maybe I create such a system, add MX repos, install mx-snapshot, mx-iso-template, mx-remaster and mx-installer and take a snapshot of it...
for those with an eye for the finer details...

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Artim
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Re: New Linux user, mx good for start?

#24

Post by Artim » Tue Jan 29, 2019 9:41 pm

What might be kinda cool for complete newbies would be renaming, or adding a name, for apps that do specific things. As a total newbie, I might not know that Thunar is a file manager, or Evince a pdf viewer, etc. Granted, hovering over it's icon offers a kinda-sorta description for many apps, but perhaps some of the most-used apps with names and descriptions that still leave a newbie clueless could be "clarified" somehow. I think LinuxLite did something like that for awhile.

tomec
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Re: New Linux user, mx good for start?

#25

Post by tomec » Tue Jan 29, 2019 9:55 pm

Although it's very easy to solve, imho Libreoffice and Firefox should come with the appropriate locale installed: that has not been the case (italian) when I installed MX18.

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Kingston73
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Re: New Linux user, mx good for start?

#26

Post by Kingston73 » Wed Jan 30, 2019 12:51 pm

Thank you for the welcome and the answers. I've been using it as a live usb since posting here, mainly comparing it with Ubuntu and Mint. So far I haven't made up my mind, Mint and Ubuntu are pretty but I've been experimenting with different themes on MX and it seems like if I try hard enough I can make it look like whatever I want.

Also it seems like Ubuntu is the slowest of all 3. Mint doesn't seem to like google and it was a little bit of an effort to install chrome and get google as the main search engine. MX has done everything easily so far and even on USB it's the fastest of the 3 on my laptop. I haven't made up my mind yet but since my laptop is a blank slate I may just install and use each of the 3 for a bit on hard disk and decide from there.

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Kingston73
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Re: New Linux user, mx good for start?

#27

Post by Kingston73 » Sat Feb 09, 2019 5:39 pm

I decided to dual install mx18 and ubuntu LTS and I've set them both up similarly. mx18 seems speedier however I'm having issues with it that I don't have with Ubuntu and I've no idea where to start. Whenever I type anytfhing in mx18, seemingly in any app including chrome here the cursor will randomly jump, random letters or symbols will be typed for instance just now it typed [strike] 3 or 4 times and the cursor jumped back a few words.

I do not have this issue when using ubuntu so I'm assuming it's some type of hardware/software/driver incompatability? I'd like to keep using mx18 but this is making it completely unusable.

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