Convert Microsoft to LINUX: MX-Linux, Linux Mint, Knoppix, Ubuntu, Debian

This section will feature info on the latest Ubuntu and Debian Linux Distributions.

Installing MX-Linux

The most favorite base for Linux is Debian invented by a couple called Deb and Ian way back. OK a second favorite or equal is the Redhat based Linux, but for now let us talk about Debian based. One of the really hot newly based Debian Distros is MX-Linux. It is very easy to install on any kind of system 32 or 64 bit address or even goes on the ultra small Raspbery PI tiny computers, but can still do all the stuff of the big guys. Try it here please.

The new KNOPPIX version 7.4 is now a 4.25 Gig DVD. You can not boot it from a USB stick . You have to burn it and use an external drive if you have a netbook. It is a bit tricky getting it to recognize the external DVD drive. Here is how you do it:
Note if you want to boot from the external DVD you need to pull out its
power plug and put it back in while the machine is booting.
Otherwise, the DVD writer/reader will not be recognized.
It defaults to suspension mode.

Only took me four hours to remember this, but I do not think I will
forget it now.

Also remember to configure a partition first for the Reiser File System otherwise, it will not be able to install on your hard drive.

Knoppix is one of the oldest Debian distributions out of Germany. It is multilingual right out of the box. When you launch it you can set the language , keyboard and xkeyboard. It is based on the Reiserfs file system. You want to edit the file /boot/grub/menu.lst
Here is how to make it launch in Spanish using a US keyboard:

default 0
timeout 30
color cyan/blue white/blue
root (hd0,5)
kernel /boot/vmlinuz root=/dev/sda6 rootwait lang=es keyboard=us xkeyboard=us apm=power-off nomce libata.force=noncq tz=localtime loglevel=1 rw

Note, that last line was all one line starting with kernel
Continuing in the Spanish vein, you can download the latest Libreoffice here
First remove the old Libreoffice with
apt-get remove libreoffice
If that does not do it, you can just delete all the directories that have libreoffice in them. You can then install the three debian packages that are in a zipped tar file. After you are all done, you will need to create this symbolic link to start up Libreoffcie.
ln -s /opt/libreoffice4.0/program/soffice /usr/bin/soffice

You probably will also want to install the latest Firefox for Spanish and use that instead of the built in Iceweasel browser which is too pared down.
Here are the steps:

The Compiz 3D desktop is really cool to use.
Finally, you want to adjust your monitor under preferences, and then save the config file. Then the next time, all will be fine and your resolution will be retained, especially if you have an external monitor. En espanol, ajuste monitor abajo preferencias y guardar disfrutar! Enjoy

Installing Debian

The Debian live CD is very similar to Ubuntu. Ubuntu is actually based on Debian. When you install Debian, it will default to ext4 for partitioning the files. Ubuntu is now at ext4. Debian is very conservative but stable. Also, what I like about Debian, is it leaves out all the Gnome 3 Desktop and Ubuntu One stuff which can be dificult to work with. I love the light desktop which is very low in memory consumption and disk space usage.This is the same as I mentioned in the Freebsd web page.

Similar to the other distributions you can use the
dd if=/home/victor/download/debian-Xfce4-iso of=/dev/sdb bs=4M
mentioned below for the Ubuntu install to burn the image on a USB stick. I chose the live DVD iso with the Xfce4 light desktop interface for a total of 1.0 Gigabytes.

Note, for ASUS EEEPC series, I find version 7.0 Stable works the best. You can upgrade to version 7.1 but... if you are using a third party driver for your scanner such as the iscan one for the Epson V30, you need to first run:
apt-get remove iscan-data

before you upgrade! Otherwise your video will be trashed. Also if you have an HP Laserjet 1022, just plug in the USB and it will automatically create the printer for you
Do not install the hplip driver. One last thing is you may find a partitioned terabyte external drive does not have all the partitions mountable. I solved this by booting into Fedora 16 which recognizes both backup partitions on my external La Cie half terrabyte drive.

Note, there is a bug in the install if you burn the cdrom onto the USB stick with unetbootin. The install program still thinks you are looking for a real CD so you have to fake it out by choosing the expert install and selecting:
go to an executable shell ash
You need to then type:
mount /dev/sdb /cdrom
and then you can continue with the install.

Note, it also forces you to install the bootloader, but do not worry about it. Be sure not to write the boot MBR record if there are other operating systems present and then you will be ok. I choose for safety to have a partition for the / (root) a second for the /home and a third for the Linux swap.

Finally make sure to install evince as your pdf viewer and remove the default pdf viewer. i.e.:
apt-get remove epdfviewer*
After this you will have a great system!

Installing Evolution Mail Manager

This is a bit tricky, especially if you have an ISP provider that likes to block the SMTP port 25. You can go with all defautls, but pick the following:
Reiceiving Email
Choose plain old IMAP first then Port 993 with SSL
Authorization Type is passwd

Sending Email
Here choose Message Port 587 not your SMTP port 25
Also select TLS Encrption and type plain for kind of authentication.

Troubleshooting Debian Installs

You may find after installing Firefox and Flash, that your sound card is not detected. Here is how to remedy that:
less /proc/asound/cards
Type the previous in the command line. To see a listing of your sound card. Then type:
sudo alsactl init

You may get a message like:

Unknown hardware: "HDA-Intel" "Realtek ALC1200" "HDA:10ec0888,10438357,00100101" "0x1043" "0x8357"
Hardware is initialized using a guess method

Now your hardware should work. Also periodically you would want to change the password with:
passwd username


Installing Ubuntu or Xubuntu

The 14.04 Xubuntu is the best thing yet. I put it on my ASUS 900HA Netbook and it worked fine out of the box. Note you will probalby have to put it on a USB flash drive, also known as a stick.
To create a USB Stick from a CD or DVD ISO image use:
dd if=/home/victor/downloads/Xubuntu-live-14.04-iso of=/dev/sdb bs=4M
Note, that is sdb not sdb1. Once you use sdb1 you are putting it on a partition of the USB and that confuses the heck out of the bootloaders out there. You will get errors like:
"isolinux.bin install missing or corrupt"
"There is no CD in drive 1"Go to a terminal prompt and type:

Note, I definitely prefer Xubuntu because it is very light and has the Xfce light desktop interface which I love. I actually installed this on a 2005 laptop I got from the University of Washington at an auction. It was a Compaq Evo N1000c. I prefer not to use the built in software installer but instead go to an xterm terminal and then install i.e.:
sudo apt-get install firefox
as an example. I just wanted to install the latest Adobe Flash 11 Plugin and it kept forcing me to use the Ubuntu Software center. Instead I downloaded the tarball for Linux and did this:
cd ~/.mozilla
mkdir plugins
tar -zxvf flash-player-11.gz
Do the previous in a /tmp directory and then cp the file which will be at the top level to the .mozilla/plugins directory as in:
cp /tmp/flashplayer-11/ ~/.mozilla/plugins
Note, you have to click on the upper left hand corner icon in Xubuntu 14.04 to get to the applications menus for running programs. You can then drag them on to the menu bar on the left column.

In order to be able to view commercial videos please click this link. Note if you want to use an external video, just follow the standard procedure. Click on Display under Preferences. Do not check the mirror and choose your appropriate resolution for your external monitor. Note, the ASUS card can not do more than 1024 X 768 so I stuck with this resolution.

Install Linux Mint

Linux Mint is based on Ubuntu which is based on Debian. I love it and so do former windows users especially the cinnamon flavor desk top. Get it here please. Note, be careful with all the newer Ubuntu based distro's, because they like to install the boot loader without asking your permission first. They do this using grub2 the newer version of grub which will overwrite the nice easy to use grub with the old menu.lst file. You can not directly modify the grub.cfg file grub2 uses, as you can the menu.lst file. Also grub2 can sometimes put your video card in a funny mode. My solution to this was to reinstall Open_suse_12.1 which uses menu.lst. Please see for more info.

Troubleshooting Xubuntu Ubuntu Install

I had a customer who installed the latest Xubuntu 14.04 and then the machine would not boot up. It gave the error:
Error file not found.

What happened was, is the grub somehow was no longer installed to the master boot record. I solved this by installing another Linux on a seperate partition. It was Fedora but any Linux will work. I then got a boot menu which included Xubuntu. I simply booted into Xubuntu and did the two commands as mentioned in my commands page . The commands were:
grub-install /dev/sda

Please see the commands page for more explanation. The final problem was the sessions were hanging around after logging out of Xubuntu. You need to uncheck the box that says save session info when you log out. Then you will not be asked which session you want to resume after logging in. To totally clean things up go to an xterm:

rm -R ~/.cache/sessions

This will totally remove the sessions directory. Then logout, remebering to uncheck the box to save sessions. When you log in again you will no longer be prompted regarding which session you want to connect to.

Lastly make sure the sound card is set properly if your sound does not work. For me on the Compaq Evo mentioned earlier this was a setting of Built in Audio Digital Stero IEC958 on the Pulse Audio Mixer.

Sometimes you may get a file system check errors such as unattached inode xxxxx . In this case reboot again, this time picking recovery mode . It will fail after a while with the file system check and then bring you to a # root prompt. Here type fsck /dev/sda1 or whatever device it is failing on. You can also type fsck all by itself at the prompt. It will make a few passes, when it asks you to fix the unattached inode, that is connect it to the "lost and found", just type y for yes or hit return. When you reboot after this, everything should be fine. Let me know via my email if you ever have any other problems.

For those used to a MAC, Ubuntu feels very much like a MAC. You do not automatically get root privileges. To do root level commands, you use the sudo command. i.e.:
sudo su root
You are now root and can type exit when you want to return to being your normal user. Ubuntu automatically detected all firewire devices on all three platforms. This is a tremendous advantage meaning that I do not have to upgrade to Leopard to see my external DVD firewire burner. I find the Ubuntu operating system certainly as good as the MAC. It also sees my Hewlett Packard Scanjet fine. Be aware that on the MAC hfsplus is the prefered file system. This also known as extended MAC file sytem and comes with your MAC. Your MAC can also multiboot and while in Ubuntu you can see all your MAC partitions and files. If you are installing both on a MAC, create two hfsplus partitions first. Install Ubuntu to the first partition and MAC OS X to the second partition. Lastly note, Ubuntu comes in two GUI environments. Kubuntu gives you the KDE desktop and Ubuntu gives you the GNOME desktop.

For historical purposes Old Feisty Ubuntu Bug

You may never come in contact with this but here is the info anyway. Note, there is one bug in Feisty Ubuntu on a PC (i386) laptop install. It messes up the video resolution so it is stuck at 800 x 600. Here is how to fix it:

  1. Install the newer Intel drivers. These are not installed by default and they should be.
  2. sudo apt-get install xserver-xorg-video-intel
  3. It asks if you want to replace the old drivers. Yep, you sure do. Then run the xserver video autodetect thingy:
  4. sudo dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg
  5. Choose all the autodetected and default settings it offers, with these exceptions:
  6. At one point it asks about allocating system memory to the video card, making specific mention of the the i810. I'm not sure if it made any difference, but I set this to 64000 KB.
  7. When it lists the resolutions you want enabled MAKE SURE your monitors native solution (in my case 1024 x 768) is checked.
  8. Now you must reboot.

Many thanks to Filippo Guglielmetti for providing this solution on an Ubuntu forum. Note, if you want to just use the xorg.conf file I have and take a chance please follow intructions at /etc/X11/xorg.conf on my commands   link.

Here is my Ubuntu Netbook Desktop for your viewing pleasure:

Ubuntu Desktop on Netbook