Learning Linux: LXLE

It has been awhile since I have posted; unfortunately, school and life has gotten in the way. This post will not be detailed, but a summation of my activities.

Find A Linux Distro That Works

Micro Center USB Drive
Micro Center USB Drive

I initially chose to install Lubuntu, which is a version of Ubuntu Linux, that is meant work on older machines. Before that I purchased two things, a USB drive and a cheap mouse, both from the local Micro Center. I wanted to make this project as cheap as possible, so both came to less than $12 in total. Linux is open source, and therefore free, so my drive and mouse was my greatest cost so far.

I did attempt a battery purchase from a seller on Amazon, but was sent a charger instead. I returned the charger and decided to worry about a battery later.

Cheap Mouse
Cheap Mouse

As I said, I had chosen Lubuntu, which is available for download from the Ubuntu site. Ubuntu comes in all shapes and sizes depending on your needs, so it pays to do your research. Lubuntu contains the same kernel as Ubuntu, with the difference being a reduction in included software.

Screenshot of UNetbootin Homepage
Screenshot of UNetbootin Homepage

The download is a compressed image that must be unzipped before saving it to the USB. Special software is needed to properly save the image to an USB so it boots properly. I chose UNetbootin as recommended by the Ubuntu website. Make sure you follow the instructions to the letter, or you could damage your current system.

Before you can perform an install, you must set your system to boot from USB. Each system may be different, I had to hit the F2 function key as soon as the splash screen appeared. This takes you to a configuration menu, which is where you change boot priorities.

One good thing about using an USB drive is that you can test drive a Linux distro before deciding to install. That is what I decided at first, and everything worked great. Windows Vista was shot, so I decided to install Lubuntu. That was when the fun started as I tried about ten times and could never get things to work. Another problem was Ubuntu does not work with Broadcom modems, which the Dell has. I ended up buying a TP-Link TL-WN722N WiFi dongle, which works out the box with Linux.

I finally gave up and tried to find another distro which brings me to…

LXLE

Screenshot of LXLE Desktop
Screenshot of LXLE Desktop

Per the LXLE, “LXLE is a GNU/Linux operating system based on Lubuntu which is an official Ubuntu OS using the LXDE desktop environment.” Unlike my attempt of installing plain Lubuntu, LXLE installed quite easily. That is a photo of the desktop to the left. It has made a dead and almost buried Dell alive again. In fact, this post is being written on it. I’m still learning the ends and outs and will address those in due time.

That is all for now, and I have much, I mean much more to share with you. Can you say “Raspberry PI”?

 

 

Learning Linux: What is Linux?

linux logo
Linux Logo

As I wrote in last week’s post, I have decided to learn Linux and share with you the ins and outs as I go along. I am majoring in Software Development at Georgia Gwinnett College where we learn Java development, but as far as Linux is concerned, I am on my own. There is an Operating Systems course that is offered at the school, but that is still at least a year away until I finish my prerequisite courses, so if it is to be, it is up to me.

Screenshot of linux.com What is Linux?
Screenshot of linux.com What is Linux?

So, what is Linux? Well, it is an operating system, more specifically, a kernel. A kernel is the core of an operating system, its purpose being to manage the CPU, memory, and peripheral devices of your desktop or laptop system. The kernel is lowest level of the operating system. You can find a great introductory article at https://www.linux.com/what-is-linux .

Linux is the most-popular and most-used open-source operating system in the world. You may be using it and not even know it. Android phones are based on the Linux kernel as well as the Roku streaming devices, (I don’t watch regular television, unless it’s football. I cut cable long ago). Many internet sites are run off of Linux through servers, plus many  of the world’s super computers rely on some subset of Linux.

Screenshot of linux.org What is Linux?
Screenshot of linux.org What is Linux?

Linux was created in 1991 by Linus Torvalds, who was a student at the University of Helsinki. Linus wanted a free and open-source version of Minix, which was a clone of Unix, that was used in academic circles. Unix is an operating system created at Bell Labs in the 1970s by Ken Thompson, Dennis Ritchie, along with others. Torvalds intended to use the name “Freax”, but the administrator of the server Torvalds used to distribute his code named the directory “Linux” from a combination of his first name and Unix. You can find out more about the history of Linux at http://www.linux.org/threads/what-is-linux.4076/.

Torvalds holds the trademark for Linux, and the source code is under copyright and licensed GPLv2. Most of the Linux kernel is written in the C programming language, which was also invented by Dennis Ritchie. Even so, being open source means that anyone can download and install Linux for free. You will not be tied down by software licenses or time limits for use.

As such, there are many different versions of Linux, called distributions, or “distros.” Some of the most popular are:

  • Ubuntu Linux
  • Arch Linux
  • Deepin
  • Fedora
  • Debian
  • openSUSE

There is a distribution for everyone, whether you are a newbie, just average, or advanced. What really set Linux apart is Live Distribution. Linux provides the capability of being run from a CD/DVD or USB drive. You can “test drive” a distribution before making a decision on which one to choose. You can also install Linux on the same drive as your Windows or Mac system. Installation of Linux is probably the easiest you will find anywhere.

In my next post, I will give a breakdown of Linux and its components. As always, I value your comments and ideas. Tell me what you like and also what it is you don’t like.