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Which Linux Distro? Ubuntu or Mint?

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post #1 of 25 (permalink) Old 05-16-2019, 11:08 AM - Thread Starter
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Which Linux Distro? Ubuntu or Mint?

Hello and sorry for the long question but input and experiences are appreciated.

I am planning an building a Dual Boot system using Windows and a Linux Distro. I have NO experience with Linux and wanted to get opinions on which is easier for a noob, will have driver updates sooner ect.

The system is expected as follows

8c16t or 12c/24t Ryzen 3000 CPU (When they launch)
16gb ram
AMD RX590 or NAVI GPU if they are out by Christmas.
3 monitors= Two 2560x1440 and 3440x1440

Will be used for general home computing tasks and web browsing as a way to get more familiar with Linux.

What is going to be the most straightforward and plug and play distro to use? I am not interested in tweaking programs and registration files or customizing the heck out of it. I want it to "just work"

Suggestions, thoughts and things I should be aware of or concerned about?

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post #2 of 25 (permalink) Old 05-16-2019, 11:48 AM
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I myself have chosen Mint because I'm lazy..

Reasons I don't use ubuntu: 1 was unity before and 2nd is gnome3 now
Suggestions for other distros: KDE Neon, MX Linux, ElementaryOS
Ease of use: I rould rate Mint easier compared to ubuntu because of gnome3 ********ness.. but thats my opinion.

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post #3 of 25 (permalink) Old 05-16-2019, 02:42 PM
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There are many distros some are easy dumb MacOS like looking, some are well supported among different open source projects.

Mint, Arch and Arch based (Antergos I think), etc. I've made a whole comparison a year ago but as always Linux fanatics on forums don't like comparisons especially if Windows is included in the comparison and it does remarkably well in "it just works" compared to most Linux distros.
There are some well sorted distros but at best you really gotta go and try a few (live, in VM or install them), each has a different focus on what it supports, what it features and updates it gets, what GUIs/DEs it offers, how well those work (most Linux DEs are very slow compared to Window DE, they are a damn resource hog = old machines with new Linux DEs = RIP). Some have an easy setup for drive space allocation some are complex, some are a pain to deal with.

There is also the Intel Linux (Clear Linux) but I have not tried it yet, have it saved unlike the rest.

This is a site to check for list of distros, DL links and descriptions, so you can easily browse through the endless list of one distro like the other just a different name because anyone for 2 decades can make a Linux distro.

https://distrowatch.com/

You can find a distro that is super "nice" looking, easy to use and install but it's an incredible hardware hog. Or you can find a nice functional distro with latest updates, or one with old stable updates only, ...
Best bet is to stick to the most popular ones as for those you will find support from software, how to install it (without compiling sources etc. since Linux is a royal mess when it comes to installing and managing programs, either use a package manager that each branch of Linux has it's own or compile and install the messy apps yourself), guides and forums to resolve issues, some of which have no solution to this day. There is no HDR support, good luck getting Vsync working on deskstop environment with your GPU and GPU driver (some distros work fine, some don't at this and that's with an old well known supported GPU).

There are some good things in Linux and a lot of bad with a lot of DIY and swearing I want an OS to do work not to work on the OS itself. But if all you want to do is web browse etc. regular user, maybe game... then you should be fine.

I think I used Mint for an acquaintance that knows how to turn on and off the computer, how to use a mouse and basic web, that's about it. Should be still working, haven't heard about issues yet.

I don't like Ubuntu, seemed bloated, a hog, used to be popular 10+ years ago but should not really be nowadays other than due to legacy.

Dual booting... good luck setting that up and one of the installed OS not wiping it out.

Another option is to use Linux on Windows (WSL) or run VMs on either Win or Lin.
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post #4 of 25 (permalink) Old 05-16-2019, 02:57 PM
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For a Linux noob I would suggest Ubuntu, it's officially supported by Steam and any hardware manufacturer that supports Linux. Ubuntu comes with Gnome3 as the default desktop, but if you don't like it you could always install KDE, Cinnamon, XFCE or some other desktop without any need to reinstall. You just log out and pick the new DE at the login screen.


Mint is based from Ubuntu, new versions of Mint follow Ubuntu.

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post #5 of 25 (permalink) Old 05-16-2019, 03:40 PM
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Under the hood, Mint is using the "long term support" version of Ubuntu. The difference is in the desktop.

The default Ubuntu desktop is "Gnome 3" with a bit of tweaks. The way you work with it feels very different compared to Windows. I thought it was fun to check out, it was possible to work efficiently but this needed some rethinking.

The normal Mint version is using "Cinnamon" as desktop. It felt a bit like Windows XP to me at first look.

A thing to know about Ubuntu, I'm thinking it's better to avoid the LTS = "long term support" version and instead use the newest normal version. This is so you get a newer GPU driver which is important for performance and features and bugs, especially with a new card if Navi is out already when you'll build stuff.
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post #6 of 25 (permalink) Old 05-16-2019, 04:21 PM
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I like Mint Cinnamon and highly recommend giving Mint a try.

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post #7 of 25 (permalink) Old 05-16-2019, 05:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote: Originally Posted by Diffident View Post
For a Linux noob I would suggest Ubuntu, it's officially supported by Steam and any hardware manufacturer that supports Linux....Mint is based from Ubuntu, new versions of Mint follow Ubuntu.
Thank you for your input. It is greatly appreciated. While I am not worried about steam as this is not my gaming computer, you said hardware manufacturers. Is there a history of driver issues being available for mainstream AMD components on Mint Cinnamon?

Quote: Originally Posted by JackCY View Post

Dual booting... good luck setting that up and one of the installed OS not wiping it out.

Another option is to use Linux on Windows (WSL) or run VMs on either Win or Lin.
Thank you for all of the feedback and links.

As for Dual Boot I am going to use 2 separate HDD and disconnect Linux HDD when not in use and vice versa. Pretty easy to unclip a SATA cable and I have 2x256gb Samsung & 500gb Crucial SSD(S), 2 500gb never used 2.5" HDD (PS4 swaps to SSD left overs), and 3 3tb Seagate 3.5" Drives sitting around doing nothing.

Do you foresee an issue with this plan? I only plan on using Linux 1-2 days a week vs Windows 5 days a week unless I become a convert LOL

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post #8 of 25 (permalink) Old 05-16-2019, 05:44 PM
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Well normally one would use some form of a boot manager but each OS has it's own quirks with how intrusive it is and respectful of these boot managers. Such as GRUB, etc. there are many though not as many may be in practical use.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compar...f_boot_loaders

And install Windows first since that one often will overwrite other preexisting stuff and then install Linux with dual boot or follow dual boot's guide for how to install.

Or the safest way as you figured out is to plug in/out two hard drives. You never know when Windows or Linux will try and reinstall with an update or bork it's boot or even boot of everything else.
Or don't have any dual/multi boot loader but simply swap boot via UEFI/BIOS with all drives connected at all times.
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post #9 of 25 (permalink) Old 05-16-2019, 05:48 PM
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Quote: Originally Posted by ChiTownButcher View Post
Thank you for your input. It is greatly appreciated. While I am not worried about steam as this is not my gaming computer, you said hardware manufacturers. Is there a history of driver issues being available for mainstream AMD components on Mint Cinnamon?



Thank you for all of the feedback and links.

As for dual Boot I am going to use 2 separate HDD and disconnect Linux HDD when not in use and vice versa. Pretty easy to unclip a SATA cable and I have 2x256gb Samsung & 500gb Crucial SSD(S), 2 500gb never used 2.5" HDD (PS4 swaps to SSD left overs), and 3 3tb Seagate 3.5" Drives sitting around doing nothing.

Do you foresee an issue with this plan? I only plan on using Linux 1-2 days a week vs Windows 5 days a week unless I become a convert LOL

There aren't any issues with AMD hardware on any distro other than Opencl support, which would require different drivers than what's included by default.

As for Dual booting, you would only need to disconnect drives when installing, well you don't have to, but I would suggest it so you don't format the wrong drive or copy over the windows boot loader by mistake. Then just use the bios to pick which drive you choose to boot, or add Windows to the Linux boot loader, which can be added automatically if os-prober is installed.

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post #10 of 25 (permalink) Old 05-16-2019, 06:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote: Originally Posted by Diffident View Post

As for Dual booting, you would only need to disconnect drives when installing, well you don't have to, but I would suggest it so you don't format the wrong drive or copy over the windows boot loader by mistake. Then just use the bios to pick which drive you choose to boot, or add Windows to the Linux boot loader, which can be added automatically if os-prober is installed.
I realise I dont have to but I want to 100% insure that if the Linux distro gets a virus it cant effect the windows boot. The windows boot will be my "sterile" system used only for specific email, secure message system, personal investment and bank information and tax records, ect. I even use a different VPN with it.

My concern is if the Linux system became compromised the windows drive could be accessed.... Hence my thought of disconnecting the drive(s).

This way the Computer must be shut down clearing all information and re-booted with the other drive. I realise this would still specifying the boot drive in Bios each time.

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