Solved interested in using linux, not sure where to start

November 16, 2013 at 18:29:16
Specs: unknown, 2.793 GHz / 1014 MB
A friend of mine has an old gateway laptop that he will be giving me. It was originally running XP, however I am interested in exploring the potential of Linux.

as I don't have a great idea as to what will be coming with the laptop, I am mostly looking for general information.

I was wondering if there is a good place to start my research on the topic. Also I was wondering if there is a place to compare variations? I am also curious if someone has a prefered variation for an older laptop.

thanks in advance.


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November 17, 2013 at 06:55:47
This is not a full answer to your questions, but I hope anyway it may help.

First of all I think theory is necessary for a solid root, but experimenting also from scratch is the king street in personal computing. You can find whatever you need to know about Linux theory googling on the web and a lot of guys I am sure will point you to the right sites. To experiment I suggest you take a look at Zorin OS (, a Linux distro well suited to encourage Windows users.

Zorin core is free and there is a version for old slow computers. Its adaptative desktop may hide the angry feeling Microsoft people get in the new world.

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November 17, 2013 at 07:14:36
Distrowatch is a website that discusses Linux distributions:

It looks like Mint and Ubuntu are among the favorites. I use Ubuntu myself.

I have heard that damn small Linux is good for older machines:

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November 17, 2013 at 07:43:46
✔ Best Answer
We need to know the specs of the laptop to point you toward the best Linux distro to try. Generally speaking, RAM is the determining factor.

Most Linux distros are free & come in ISO format. After downloaded, they have to be burned to a disc using software such as ImgBurn. If you're going to experiment, I suggest using an RW. Once you've created the disc, you can just boot off it & run directly from the disc without even installing to the HDD. This is know as a "live session". Running from the disc isn't as fluid as running from the HDD (due to the need to constantly read from the disc) but it will give you a general idea of the OS & how it works.

A large number of distros are based on Ubuntu (which itself is based on Debian) & there are a number of different Desktop Environments available. The DE is basically the GUI (icons, menus, window manager, etc) & has a huge effect on overall performance. A system with low RAM needs a distro with a lightweight DE. Here's a chart showing the most commonly used DEs, the heavyweights are at the bottom:

I recently switched to Zorin OS 6.4 LTS after using Mint for several years. As IVO alluded to, it is very Windows-like, in fact, the default installation mimics Windows 7, but it can also be changed to look & act more like XP. Check the rankings on the right side of the following page, pick one & click on it:

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November 19, 2013 at 05:32:10
Thank you for the responses, I think I am going to give Zorin a try off a live disk to see if it is something that I can handle. I have read through much of the information that has been offered, thank you for the fast response.


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November 21, 2013 at 22:29:54
As a follow-up decided to give Lubuntu a try as I was able to easily fit on a disk and had the live disk option. Enjoyed the speed and the set up so much that I have already installed it and am aready using it on the laptop. Thanks again for all the help.


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