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New Linux set up - first time with Linux

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Lately, I have been getting more worried about my privacy and security online and as I result I am looking to set up a linux system. The problem is that I know nothing about linux; what's worse I also need advice on the hardware that I should use to set up a simple box on my desk.

Are there any trustworthy guides that you can point me to to get started with linux installation, setting up browser, encryption, movies, torrents and the like?

Thank you
post #2 of 17
The complexity of Linux depends greatly on the distro you choose. For a beginner, Ubuntu or Linux Mint are the best. You can try installing them in a VM (using Virtualbox) and play around before committing.

Once you install Ubuntu or Mint, it should look pretty familiar and should be pretty easy to install the programs you want. They both have a graphical program installer, or you can download programs through their websites and install them that way. Encryption should an option when installing the OS.

Once you're ready to commit, you can either install on the hard drive you're using on a different partition, or buy another hard drive.
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post #3 of 17
I'm not a major Linux user but I hope I can give you some info based on what info I have looked at myself because I too am contemplating switching.

Ubuntu or Linux Mint seems to be choice for beginners. If gaming is a priority, and you're not that knowledgeable to use a other Linux and cope with gaming hurdles.

Put Linux OS you want on a CD or USB and you can boot into the OS to try it out before actually installing it: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/LiveCD

Ubuntu comes with some "bloatware", apps that you may not want. This is may be a trivial issue for you if you use most if not all apps that comes with Ubuntu but for me personally I like a cleaner installation. Therefor I decided I will install a minimal version of Ubuntu which is barebone Ubuntu OS and you can then customize it yourself.
Of course this will require more effort because with minimal only way you interact, in beginning, with Ubuntu through commands in terminal. I tried minimal with virtualbox and honestly it was quite easy to get the graphical user interface installed and have it running.

If you need more info on a minimal installation I will be happy to share with you my experience smile.gif
post #4 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by solt View Post

I also need advice on the hardware that I should use to set up a simple box on my desk.

Do you already have any hardware on hand that you intend to use? Are you going to game on your main rig and do web browsing and whatnot on a separate box? Linux works fairly well with a lot of hardware out of the box. If you are using wifi then you might need to look up your adapter or find one that is supported by Linux out of the box. While this may not be true in every single case, as far as no fuss out of the box graphics it seems to be Intel>nVidia>AMD from most likely to work flawlessly to least likely. If you aren't doing serious gaming then it shouldn't matter too much and integrated graphics should work fine.

I wouldn't get too worried about doing custom installs, lightweight desktops, minimizing installed software and whatnot unless you have a particularly ancient machine. I do run a lighter desktop with a lot of nonsense removed, but I don't think it is beneficial for a beginner to back themselves into a corner they don't know how to get out of on their own. I would definitely recommend Mint Cinnamon edition to start out as that is their flagship desktop. It is made to be easy to switch over from Windows. I would not recommend vanilla Ubuntu for a Linux beginner that is a long time Windows user.

Mint has context menus for all of the software in the main menu. You can go up and down the 'All' list of programs and if you don't recognize something then just hover to get a brief explanation of what the program is for. Having a large list of programs to choose from and familiarize yourself with is an important step in moving over to Linux. linuxalt.com has a list of Windows programs and the alternative Linux program choices. Some programs are cross platform, so things like Steam, Firefox, Chrome, VLC media player and many more that work in Windows also have Linux counterparts. Thousands of programs are available in the Software Manager, so it is fairly straightforward to install new programs. The default set of programs in Mint includes a browser (Firefox) and torrent program (Transmission) and tons more to choose from.

Occasionally you will have to do things in a terminal window in order to perform certain tasks. Most of the time you can do things in a GUI (even if it does tick off the purists), but it is usually straightforward. Mint is based off of Ubuntu, so a lot of solutions you will find when doing a search will come from the Ubuntu forums. It is often a matter of doing a search, find a snippet of code, copy and paste into terminal, hit enter, enter password and hit enter again, wait a second or more and done. Not always the case but in my experience it tends to go this way. You can make it as easy or as hard on yourself as you want.
post #5 of 17
Normally I would suggest Mint or Ubuntu as a starting place. If you do any gaming I would say start with Ubuntu as linux games are better supported there when just starting out (it pretty much has the same support for every distro but its easier to troubleshoot when your on the same distro). As for guides, you'll want to search on a per issue basis but the Arch wiki and the Debian wiki should have much of the information you want.
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post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thank you guys. I will go for Ubuntu. Now all I need to find is a micro atx box, a micro atx mobo + cpu and the rest...
post #7 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by solt View Post

Thank you guys. I will go for Ubuntu. Now all I need to find is a micro atx box, a micro atx mobo + cpu and the rest...

If you want to try out Linux on its own computer then I'd recommend building it on the cheap, but using some quality parts that are very reusable (i.e. case, PSU, memory, etc). Here's a quick, inexpensive build I put together. It's all-inclusive and ready to go with a nice 1080 LG monitor.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

CPU: AMD Athlon X4 880K 4.0GHz Quad-Core Processor ($84.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Motherboard: Asus A88XM-E Micro ATX FM2+ Motherboard ($66.49 @ OutletPC)
Memory: Mushkin Stealth 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-2133 Memory ($39.89 @ OutletPC)
Storage: A-Data Premier SP550 480GB 2.5" Solid State Drive ($109.99 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($45.71 @ OutletPC)
Video Card: Zotac GeForce GTX 960 2GB Video Card ($177.88 @ OutletPC)
Case: Fractal Design Core 1500 MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($59.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Power Supply: SeaSonic 360W 80+ Gold Certified ATX Power Supply ($53.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Monitor: LG 23MP57HQ-P 23.0" 60Hz Monitor ($100.98 @ Newegg)
Keyboard: Cooler Master Devastator II Wired Gaming Keyboard w/Optical Mouse ($29.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $769.90
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2016-09-26 16:52 EDT-0400

Or something a lil more Intel flavored, if that's your thing:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

CPU: Intel Core i3-6100 3.7GHz Dual-Core Processor ($110.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z170M-D3H Micro ATX LGA1151 Motherboard ($105.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance LPX 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR4-3000 Memory ($44.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: A-Data Premier SP550 480GB 2.5" Solid State Drive ($109.99 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($45.71 @ OutletPC)
Video Card: Zotac GeForce GTX 960 2GB Video Card ($177.88 @ OutletPC)
Case: Fractal Design Core 1500 MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($59.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Power Supply: SeaSonic 360W 80+ Gold Certified ATX Power Supply ($53.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Monitor: LG 23MP57HQ-P 23.0" 60Hz Monitor ($100.98 @ Newegg)
Keyboard: Cooler Master Devastator II Wired Gaming Keyboard w/Optical Mouse ($29.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $840.50
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2016-09-26 16:54 EDT-0400

I'd personally recommend going the less expensive route. If you really like Linux and end up wanting to switch full-bore just bring the SSD to your system (or clone it onto your main SSD) and then go. No license key BS to deal with... Live it, Love it, Linux it! ™

Edit1: I just put Ubuntu Maté on my (ultra) old laptop and I'm really enjoying it so far, I'd recommend giving that a try. I personally can't stand Unity, so if you feel the same way there are a bunch of options (of course, it's Linux).

Edit2: I recommend playing with Linux in a VM right now... when some of the new chips come out you could base the Linux build off of the AM4 platform (or at least see what the hubbub is about) and that would give you much upgrade flexibility...
Edited by LazarusIV - 9/26/16 at 1:59pm
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post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thank you for this, I know it's the wrong section of the forum but I have been struggling with the build. The build will really be minimal with a:

CASE
PSU
MOBO with displayport
RAM
2.5" SSD - Linux installation

3.5" HDD - I already have
NO GPU
NO KEYBOARD
NO MOUSE
NO Screen

For keyboard mouse and screen I will buy a KVM switch to switch between my windows desktop and linux. You think that is possible?
post #9 of 17
If you are worried about privacy and security, don't bother with a new build, just get a good (private) VPN, install one of the ultra-privacy linux distros in a VM and do your sketchy browsing through that. It is more than enough security for anyone who isn't running a child pornography website or starting up SilkRoad 3.0.
If you are doing really dodgy stuff like buying guns, drugs or child porn online, I guess you could ad Tor Browser to the list and browse through that when needed, but seriously... who needs a gun, buy your kush from your local like everyone else and seek help if it's the latter.
Edited by spinFX - 9/27/16 at 12:06am
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post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 
Wait what? Those examples are extreme - I am an average to power user. My mind is set to start with ubuntu. The next step for me is to built a small form factor pc.
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