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Help break down my barriers to Linux...

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 
I am putting together a new PC (parts are en route) with primary goals of being fast, near-silent, and low power usage / heat output. This will become my primary work PC, possibly my only "computer" next to my Surface RT. Right up front, let me state that I do not care about playing games at all. The components are as follows:

CPU: Core i7-3770T (45W TDP) + Noctua NH-U9B SE2 U.L.N.A.
MB: Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD4H (UEFI)
GPU: Fanless GT 640 (Kepler)
RAM: 16GB (2x 8GB) DDR3 1600
SSD: Samsung 256GB Series 840 Pro
PSU: SeaSonic 400W Fanless, 80Plus Platinum

My goal is not to dual boot anything -- just pure Linux. The last time I installed and used Linux on any PC that I own or use regularly was around the time that Fedora was created from Red Hat Linux, so it's been a while. As such, my Linux knowledge, in particular working from the command line, is virtually nothing. I have been doing research on what distro to use, and have honed in on Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE) for a couple of major reasons:

1.) I want a very easy out of the box experience -- this is my primary work PC, and would prefer as little hassle getting everything to work as possible. Linux Mint seems to fit that bill better than anything else.

2.) Again, as my primary PC, I do not want to be installing a new version of the OS every 6 months or less. The rolling update model of LMDE is extremely attractive for that reason.

If anybody wants to suggest a different distro, please do, but as of now I am pretty set on LMDE.

Now, on to a potential issue that I've discovered. I just noticed that on the blog post for the newest release of LMDE (201303), it indicates that EFI, GPT and secureBoot are not supported. The motherboard for my PC is definitely UEFI. Is that going to be a problem? If so, does anybody know how to work around and/or fix it? I can't test this as I don't have all the parts yet. I really hope this is not some kind of deal breaker, as the characteristics of LMDE are very appealing to me. How could UEFI not be supported? I don't think you can even buy a PC that doesn't have UEFI these days.

The other big issue is..... my printer. It's a Samsung SCX-3405W, and while I do not care about the wireless functionality, I must be able to use the scanner. The page I linked to is the driver page from Samsung, and there is a Linux printer driver, but no scanner. Does anybody know if I will be able to get the scanner working, and if so, how? That is pretty crucial, I use it all the time.

Aside from this, all the other software that I will use has been accounted for. The UEFI and printer issue are the final "barriers" that I have identified prior to actual installation. I would much appreicate it if anybody could help resolve these issues (hopefully, by indicating that they aren't even issues at all). biggrin.gif

Oh, and how is Linux with SATA3, PCI-e 3.0 and USB 3.0? Unfortunately, the last time I used Linux, the big problem I had was that there were lots of little things that just didn't work right or that required significant hassle to fix. I am hoping that 10 years later, that isn't so much of a problem anymore.
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Cool'n'Quiet
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post #2 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by W4nderer View Post

/snip giant wall of text

I'm going to reply by immediately hitting nails on the head:

UEFI IS SUPPORTED - as is secure boot. LMDE doesn't support a native EFI installation - that is to say, you can't install it in EFI mode (yet). Other distributions don't have this problem, but that's okay its a pretty simple workaround: Install it in BIOS mode, and then install an EFI bootloader, directions on doing so can be found in the below documentation:
http://www.rodsbooks.com/efi-bootloaders/

On to your printer - if a CUPS driver exists for your device you will get printer & scanner functionality out of the box. If you have to manually install the driver, it should still support both, you may need to whip out some google-fu to find the answser I've taken the liberty to google myself and it appears to be working for others

Sata 3, USB 3.0 will work with Linux just fine, given that you don't have one of the obscure USB 3.0 chipsets; PCI-E 3.0 is going to be operating system agnostic from the get-go, its a hardware supported feature and has no dependency on software support, so no fears there.

Your fear of software/hardware incompatibility or difficulty with device drivers which used to be a problem is significantly less so now, aside from the occasional wifi chipset almost everything works out of the box in Linux these days, and with Canonical's work on "Jockey" things are getting more promising by the day.

To summarize - your "issues" really aren't issues at all, so to speak, the EFI thing specifically with LMDE is kind of an issue, but its easily worked around. You should be good to go. As always, the forums here are very welcoming, and we don't have a problem lending a hand with any issues you run into along the way. Keep in mind that Linux ISN'T Windows, and that you are probably going to run into a few snags - its the nature of doing something different for the first time. Good luck, and have fun!

Edit: Also worth noting that Debian Testing is currently frozen, so even though its rolling release, it is currently behind bleeding edge, it will eventually thaw again and go back to bleeding edge, but right now its in a frozen state so they can debug everything for a new Debian Stable release.
Edited by Xaero252 - 3/23/13 at 12:14pm
    
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post #3 of 32
Thread Starter 
Wow, I really appreciate the detailed response. smile.gif I have another question that I thought of. Since I have an SSD, are there any settings or special configuration changes I will need to make in order to keep performance maximized (like TRIM), or reduce unnecessary writes? From the searches I've done, I have found a number of guides, some of which are quite lengthy and involved (to me) regarding the use of an SSD. More confusingly, not all say the same thing, and none were very recent.

Is this still an issue I will need to worry about, or will the kernel in the latest version of LMDE automatically handle TRIM and other SSD related settings?
Cool'n'Quiet
(9 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Core i7-3770T Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD4H GeForce GT 640 (fanless) Mushkin 2x 8GB DDR3 1600 CL8 
Hard DriveCoolingOSPower
Samsung 256GB 840 Pro SSD Noctua NH-U9B SE2 Linux Mint Debian Edition 201303 64-bit SeaSonic 400W 80+Platinum (fanless) 
Case
Corsair Obsidian 550D 
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Cool'n'Quiet
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Core i7-3770T Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD4H GeForce GT 640 (fanless) Mushkin 2x 8GB DDR3 1600 CL8 
Hard DriveCoolingOSPower
Samsung 256GB 840 Pro SSD Noctua NH-U9B SE2 Linux Mint Debian Edition 201303 64-bit SeaSonic 400W 80+Platinum (fanless) 
Case
Corsair Obsidian 550D 
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post #4 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by W4nderer View Post

Wow, I really appreciate the detailed response. smile.gif I have another question that I thought of. Since I have an SSD, are there any settings or special configuration changes I will need to make in order to keep performance maximized (like TRIM), or reduce unnecessary writes? From the searches I've done, I have found a number of guides, some of which are quite lengthy and involved (to me) regarding the use of an SSD. More confusingly, not all say the same thing, and none were very recent.

Is this still an issue I will need to worry about, or will the kernel in the latest version of LMDE automatically handle TRIM and other SSD related settings?

For trim you'll need to edit fstab and add either "discard" for ext4 formatted installs or "ssd" for btrfs installs. For anything else it should be automatic but you should check alignment like from here http://www.overclock.net/t/1344088/faq-gparted-ssd-alignment and it also has in the last post a guide to check on TRIM.

Finally there is checking on the disk access queing or whatever it's called. The best all round one seems to be deadline but noop didn't seem too bad either.
See here http://www.overclock.net/t/947290/tuning-an-ssd-in-linux
     
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post #5 of 32
Xaero got here before me /sad

I'm becoming to slow on the help! frown.gif

Anyways, I agree to what he said.
post #6 of 32
I adopted linux slowly, starting with the basics, CLI only stuff:

http://rute.2038bug.com/index.html.gz
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post #7 of 32
I supported this guy because of his free stuff and the quality he has continually served up smile.gif


http://cli.learncodethehardway.org/book/


CLI crash course ... about everything you nee to get around in CL and then you can google the rest smile.gif
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post #8 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xaero252 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by W4nderer View Post

/snip giant wall of text

I'm going to reply by immediately hitting nails on the head:

UEFI IS SUPPORTED - as is secure boot. LMDE doesn't support a native EFI installation - that is to say, you can't install it in EFI mode (yet). Other distributions don't have this problem, but that's okay its a pretty simple workaround: Install it in BIOS mode, and then install an EFI bootloader, directions on doing so can be found in the below documentation:
http://www.rodsbooks.com/efi-bootloaders/

On to your printer - if a CUPS driver exists for your device you will get printer & scanner functionality out of the box. If you have to manually install the driver, it should still support both, you may need to whip out some google-fu to find the answser I've taken the liberty to google myself and it appears to be working for others

Sata 3, USB 3.0 will work with Linux just fine, given that you don't have one of the obscure USB 3.0 chipsets; PCI-E 3.0 is going to be operating system agnostic from the get-go, its a hardware supported feature and has no dependency on software support, so no fears there.

Your fear of software/hardware incompatibility or difficulty with device drivers which used to be a problem is significantly less so now, aside from the occasional wifi chipset almost everything works out of the box in Linux these days, and with Canonical's work on "Jockey" things are getting more promising by the day.

To summarize - your "issues" really aren't issues at all, so to speak, the EFI thing specifically with LMDE is kind of an issue, but its easily worked around. You should be good to go. As always, the forums here are very welcoming, and we don't have a problem lending a hand with any issues you run into along the way. Keep in mind that Linux ISN'T Windows, and that you are probably going to run into a few snags - its the nature of doing something different for the first time. Good luck, and have fun!

Edit: Also worth noting that Debian Testing is currently frozen, so even though its rolling release, it is currently behind bleeding edge, it will eventually thaw again and go back to bleeding edge, but right now its in a frozen state so they can debug everything for a new Debian Stable release.

LMDE is never really bleeding edge, it follows testing and not unstable, so it's generally more Ubuntu-level in terms of uptodateness
post #9 of 32
Thread Starter 
I really appreciate the input you guys have been providing! smile.gif I will probably have a few more questions once I get my system put together.

In the mean time, I have been using LMDE in VMware Workstation (of which I am very happy to learn is not only supported on Linux, but the Windows license is transferable!), doing test configurations of the software I intend to use.

One issue I have is that I really do not care for Thunderbird for mail, because I always seem to run into strange bugs with it. I gave it a try again because I haven't used it for years, but low and behold I ran into an issue adding my gmail account, where it simply was refusing to accept my correct password. I've always used Outlook, and I discovered a program called Evolution which not only has a similar look and feel to Outlook, but also supports exchange and very tight integration with Google services, such as the calendar (unlike Thunderbird).

I installed it from Synaptic Package Manager, and was immediately able to add all my e-mail accounts, including Gmail, without a hitch.

However, it installed an old version of Evolution, 3.4.4, while the latest stable version is 3.8.0. After looking at the changelog for 3.8.0 and seeing all the fixes, I really wanted the updated version. Turns out, Evolution is only offered as a source download, no binaries. I have always had bad luck trying to compile things from source in Linux, and this was no exception.

I first did ./Configure, and as I expected, it never got very far, always indicating that there was a missing package/dependency. At first, it listed the missing dependencies one by one, and I was actually able to solve them by going into Synaptic Package Manager and installing them. I knew it couldn't be that easy though, and I was right. Eventually, instead of listing a single missing dependency, it bombed me with this:
Code:
configure: error: Package requirements (gio-2.0 >= 2.34.0
         gmodule-2.0 >= 2.34.0
         cairo-gobject
         gtk+-3.0 >= 3.4.0
         gail-3.0 >= 3.4.0
         libxml-2.0 >= 2.7.3
         shared-mime-info >= 0.22
         gnome-desktop-3.0 >= 2.91.3
         gsettings-desktop-schemas >= 2.91.92
         webkitgtk-3.0 >= 1.10.0) were not met:

Requested 'gio-2.0 >= 2.34.0' but version of GIO is 2.32.4
Requested 'gmodule-2.0 >= 2.34.0' but version of GModule is 2.32.4
No package 'cairo-gobject' found
No package 'gtk+-3.0' found
No package 'gail-3.0' found
No package 'libxml-2.0' found
No package 'gnome-desktop-3.0' found
No package 'gsettings-desktop-schemas' found
No package 'webkitgtk-3.0' found

Consider adjusting the PKG_CONFIG_PATH environment variable if you
installed software in a non-standard prefix.

Alternatively, you may set the environment variables GNOME_PLATFORM_CFLAGS
and GNOME_PLATFORM_LIBS to avoid the need to call pkg-config.
See the pkg-config man page for more details.

In Synaptic Package Manager, there isn't even a package called cairo-gobject! How on earth is anybody supposed to install anything from source?? frown.gif Also, assuming I was able to get it to work, how would I go about uninstalling it if I ever needed to?
Edited by W4nderer - 3/25/13 at 11:30am
Cool'n'Quiet
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Corsair Obsidian 550D 
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Cool'n'Quiet
(9 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Core i7-3770T Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD4H GeForce GT 640 (fanless) Mushkin 2x 8GB DDR3 1600 CL8 
Hard DriveCoolingOSPower
Samsung 256GB 840 Pro SSD Noctua NH-U9B SE2 Linux Mint Debian Edition 201303 64-bit SeaSonic 400W 80+Platinum (fanless) 
Case
Corsair Obsidian 550D 
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post #10 of 32
Personlly- don't go trying to install stuff from source until you know more. The outdated version is still pretty recent.
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