Linux advice

Non-fashion, non-skirt, non-gender discussions. If your post is related to fashion, skirts or gender, please choose one of the forums above for it.

Linux advice

Postby moonshadow » Fri Sep 21, 2018 12:40 am

So,

My old travel laptop computer has officially died. It appears the hard drive has crashed.

So I think I might make this system my Guinea pig for linux. I was wanting to get some thoughts on what version might work best for my old system. I'd like to get this figured out before my old workhorse (the home desktop) also dies.

I really only need it to do a few things:

Go online and run firefox
I'd like it to have a license to play/record mp3s (I understand this may be a paid license)
Play simcity 4.

My other wants I can work out later.

The system I want to run it on is an old Dell latitude D630
2.2 ghz dual core
2048mb ram
(This info taken from the BIOS screen)
Hard drive will obviously be replaced.

More info if needed...

Suggestions appreciated
I am in no way interested in a new laptop with the latest version of windoze.

I have not tinkered with a computer in about 15 years.

This is not my primary computer and is more or less a little hobby project I'd like to tinker with.
User avatar
moonshadow
Member Extraordinaire
 
Posts: 4114
Joined: Sun Aug 09, 2015 1:58 am
Location: Appalachian Mountains (VA)

Re: Linux advice

Postby Uncle Al » Fri Sep 21, 2018 4:23 am

Have you tried using a 'Boot Disc' and formatting the HDD :?:
If the format rejuvenates the HDD, you could be good for
a few more years. Just do a fresh install of your software.
This would beat trying to purchase a new HDD for the laptop,
let alone trying to install it as well.

Just my $.02 worth :D

Uncle Al
:mrgreen: :ugeek: :mrgreen:
Kilted Organist/Musician
Grand Musician of the Grand Lodge, I.O.O.F. of Texas 2008-2009, 2015-2016,
2018-2020(and the beat goes on ;) )
When asked 'Why the Kilt?'
I respond-The why is F.T.H.O.I. (For The H--- Of It)
User avatar
Uncle Al
Moderator
 
Posts: 2438
Joined: Tue Oct 21, 2003 10:07 pm
Location: Duncanville, TX USA

Re: Linux advice

Postby crfriend » Fri Sep 21, 2018 9:34 am

moonshadow wrote:I really only need it to do a few things:

Go online and run firefox
I'd like it to have a license to play/record mp3s (I understand this may be a paid license)
Play simcity 4.

The first of those is bog simple. Many dstributions have Firefox bundled in or readily available.

Multimedia support isn't well-handled in Linux, likely because of the myriad copyright/license issues. Xmms, which is a quite nice MP3/FLAC player can be coaxed into working rather trivially, and if you don't mind a command-line interface, mpg123. Offhand, I don't know of any recording

Simcity 4, on the other hand is likely to be more vexing unless there's a native Linux version of it available. It might be possible to run it in WINE (WINdwoes Emulator) but I'm not certain as I've not used WINE in years upon years.
The system I want to run it on is an old Dell latitude D630
2.2 ghz dual core
2048mb ram

That'll make a very nice portable system.

For my money (and what that's worth), I'd be tempted to go with CentOS 6.{latest version} because that's what I'm familiar with and what I also use at work. I've used Slackware in the past to good ends and the front-line machine I used up until 2015 was a 90 MHz (mHz?) Pentium with 32 MB of mainstore. I've successfully run older versions of Linux in even more constrained environments.
Hard drive will obviously be replaced.

Swap it, and consider replacing it with a solid-state disk while you're at it if SSDs come in the correct interface for the machine (you need to figure out whether it's a parallel or serial interface before ordering/scavenging a new one). SSDs, whilst having lifetime issues of their own, are generally more reliable than spinning disks and, depending on internal implementation, can be much faster.
I have not tinkered with a computer in about 15 years.

Heh. I do it all the time, sometimes on machines that are older than some of the members here.
Retrocomputing -- It's not just a job, it's an adventure!
User avatar
crfriend
Master Barista
 
Posts: 10379
Joined: Fri Nov 19, 2004 9:52 pm
Location: New England (U.S.)

Re: Linux advice

Postby Ralph » Sat Sep 22, 2018 1:32 am

For recording (and for that matter editing, and I suppose you could also use it for playback) you'll want audacity. Going beyond your wishlist you might also like xine for video playback (DVD as well as standalone files, streams, etc.), gimp for photo editing, Libre Office for Microsoft-compatible (mostly) doc/spreadsheet/slideshows... there's a free linux version of just about everything you're used to in Windows.

The harder decision will be which "flavor" (distribution, aka distro) you want. Choices run from bare-minimalist (arch, gentoo) to the whole enchilada (Ubuntu), which comes packed with so many bells and whistles you might not notice it isn't windows. (hint: I don't mean that in a good way)

Some middle-of-the-road distros that don't require too much tinkering under the hood or overloaded with garbage you don't need include Mint or PCLinuxOS. But your mileage may vary... Distrowatch is the de facto place to read the details of all the distributions and compare features, but you kind of have to know what you're looking for or you can get overwhelmed with information overload.

Anyway, audacity for your MP3 recordings. For changing formats (i.e., from mp3 to wav or vice-versa, changing bitrates, etc.) there's sox (SOund eXchange).

Oh, and for simcity... slap anyone who says to use WINE. The theory is that WINE can natively interpret Microsoft binaries (EXE and DLL files). In practice, once you get beyond using it to run Internet Explorer and Minesweeper, it gets extremely ugly. For my nostalgic Windows gameplaying, I use a free virtual machine client from VMWare, onto which I installed whatever version of Windows I have on hand that can run those games -- 98, XP, or 7 for a much newer game. Of course you'll need an installer with that version of Windows on it -- preferably as an .iso file, but you can make your VM read directly from CD/DVD if necessary. But that goes beyond the scope of my answer which was meant to just get you pointed in the right direction.

I'll be happy to answer any specific questions you have about specific applications, but there are far better resources for a general-purpose introductory tutorial.
Ralph!
Ralph
Member Extraordinaire
 
Posts: 303
Joined: Wed Jun 26, 2013 9:07 pm

Re: Linux advice

Postby Kilted_John » Sat Sep 22, 2018 3:51 am

May I make one other suggestion? While Linux doesn't really need it, I would consider upgrading to at least a T8300 processor, ideally a T9500 or 9600. I used to own a D830 that, when I got it, had the same processor your machine has, the T7500 "Merom" Core 2 Duo, running at 2.2 GHz. It ran rather hot. I swapped it out for a T9600 2.6 GHz "Penryn" Core 2 Duo processor. Machine dropped a good 20-30 deg F at all times. Fan went from running at full speed during processor-intensive tasks to barely revving up at all. I upgraded my parents' machines to T9500 chips, and they noticed the same. If your machine has the nVidia video GPU, instead of the Intel Crestline Onboard Graphics chip, you'll have better luck at keeping that part of the board from dying by having the more efficient C2D chip installed.

-J
Skirted since 2/2002, kilted 8/2002-8/2011, and dressed since 9/2013...
flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/245gt-turbo
User avatar
Kilted_John
Member Extraordinaire
 
Posts: 1155
Joined: Wed Oct 22, 2003 12:07 am
Location: Duvall, WA, USA

Re: Linux advice

Postby andrewsh » Tue Sep 25, 2018 5:30 pm

crfriend wrote:
moonshadow wrote:I really only need it to do a few things:

Go online and run firefox
I'd like it to have a license to play/record mp3s (I understand this may be a paid license)
Play simcity 4.

The first of those is bog simple. Many dstributions have Firefox bundled in or readily available.

Multimedia support isn't well-handled in Linux, likely because of the myriad copyright/license issues. Xmms, which is a quite nice MP3/FLAC player can be coaxed into working rather trivially, and if you don't mind a command-line interface, mpg123. Offhand, I don't know of any recording

This opinion seems terribly outdated. Patents for MP3 have expired some time ago, and even before that, only encoding was an issue, decoding worked in most distributions. OTOH XMMS hasn’t been developed for about a decade; the current project based on its code is Audacious, but it is by far not the only option.

Modern distributions (e.g. Ubuntu) come with desktop environments (Unity, GNOME, KDE) which have all multimedia software you may need. I personally use Audacious, but my girlfriend is happy with Rhythmbox Unity and GNOME come with. I happily edited video with Kdenlive, and I didn’t feel any limitations compared to what I had in commercial Windows software I used a decade ago. As it’s been also pointed out, Audacity cover all of my audio editing needs, and for graphics GIMP is more than enough, even though I sometimes do quick edits directly in Shotwell, which is an album management tool.
crfriend wrote:Simcity 4, on the other hand is likely to be more vexing unless there's a native Linux version of it available. It might be possible to run it in WINE (WINdwoes Emulator) but I'm not certain as I've not used WINE in years upon years.

WINE has improved a lot in the recent times, and it runs almost every piece of Windows software I needed recently, but the truth is that usually there’s an equivalent software package available in Ubuntu directly or is easy to install from elsewhere, so I don’t actually have WINE installed on my machine anymore.

crfriend wrote:
The system I want to run it on is an old Dell latitude D630
2.2 ghz dual core
2048mb ram

That'll make a very nice portable system.

For my money (and what that's worth), I'd be tempted to go with CentOS 6.{latest version} because that's what I'm familiar with and what I also use at work. I've used Slackware in the past to good ends and the front-line machine I used up until 2015 was a 90 MHz (mHz?) Pentium with 32 MB of mainstore. I've successfully run older versions of Linux in even more constrained environments.
Hard drive will obviously be replaced.

Swap it, and consider replacing it with a solid-state disk while you're at it if SSDs come in the correct interface for the machine (you need to figure out whether it's a parallel or serial interface before ordering/scavenging a new one). SSDs, whilst having lifetime issues of their own, are generally more reliable than spinning disks and, depending on internal implementation, can be much faster.
I have not tinkered with a computer in about 15 years.

Heh. I do it all the time, sometimes on machines that are older than some of the members here.


CentOS (especially such an old version) is a poor choice for a beginner user, since it comes with very little software, and it very outdated. An LTS Ubuntu seems like a more sensible choice.
In fact, I would recommend to replace this hardware with a couple years old laptop. I was able to buy a Lenovo X230 for less than €300 from a German refurbished laptops seller, it felt like a new laptop. In the US, if my facts are right, similar hardware can be found even cheaper.
andrewsh
Active Member
 
Posts: 59
Joined: Tue Jul 24, 2018 10:08 am

Re: Linux advice

Postby andrewsh » Tue Sep 25, 2018 5:34 pm

By the way, feel free to ask me anything about Linux (I’m developing it and using it for work and fun on a daily basis), I’ll be happy to help.
andrewsh
Active Member
 
Posts: 59
Joined: Tue Jul 24, 2018 10:08 am

Re: Linux advice

Postby crfriend » Tue Sep 25, 2018 10:09 pm

andrewsh wrote:
crfriend wrote:Multimedia support isn't well-handled in Linux, likely because of the myriad copyright/license issues. Xmms, which is a quite nice MP3/FLAC player can be coaxed into working rather trivially, and if you don't mind a command-line interface, mpg123. Offhand, I don't know of any recording

This opinion seems terribly outdated. Patents for MP3 have expired some time ago, and even before that, only encoding was an issue, decoding worked in most distributions. OTOH XMMS hasn’t been developed for about a decade; the current project based on its code is Audacious, but it is by far not the only option.

Of note here is (a) my background and (b) my profession. "A" is that I'm an admirer of the history of things and actively champion using "elder" hardware -- and I practise what I preach; frequently a 10-year-old machine cannot deal with the sort of bloat that's happened in the intervening years -- and I have non-Intel machines that date back to almost 50 years of age that work any time I feel like firing them up, and most of the hardware that makes up the core of what I do personally is handily 20th Century not 21st. "B" focusses on the fact that I deal in the server end of the world that doesn't need the "splash and flash" of a typical desktop/user-side environment; these tend to be stripped-down and hardened systems configured to do just what's required of them.

So, XMMS hasn't seen any development in a decade. It works, has a reasonably small footprint, is multi-platform portable, and has enough features to make it useful on older gear. That may well beat something that has only one or two of the above features.
CentOS (especially such an old version) is a poor choice for a beginner user, since it comes with very little software, and it very outdated. An LTS Ubuntu seems like a more sensible choice.

In fact, I would recommend to replace this hardware with a couple years old laptop. I was able to buy a Lenovo X230 for less than €300 from a German refurbished laptops seller, it felt like a new laptop. In the US, if my facts are right, similar hardware can be found even cheaper.

My use of CentOS is mainly because I'm a server guy and don't want all the bulk and bloat of the hyper-fancy desktop stuff. I spend 90+% of my time in command-line X-terminals for the meat of what I do. Sure, there's some web-based stuff, but the heavy-lifting is all done behind the scenes on the command-line. To the specificity of Rythmbox, it came with the distro of Linux I use at work and on the occasional laptop I have here -- and I detest it. I find it entirely non-intuitive, find that it has side-effects that it shouldn't (like deleting files where it shouldn't), and is confusing in general (e.g. "I want to play this file. Why can't I point to it and push the "Play" button the way I can load a cassette and play that (or a reel-to-reel)?).

As far as hardware goes, since computers are now disposable commodities I cannot see the point in shelling out for one that's already been cast off. There's usually one around that one can acquire for free, replace the assorted stuff that's failed, and install something useful on it. My current "road machine" is one that my elder aunt cast off a while ago after it upgraded itself to Windwoes 10 and stopped being useful. I low-level formatted the disk and installed CentOS 6 on it because I was familiar with it, and run CentoOS 7 in a VM when I need to research something. Configured with a robust firewall, a hardened external shell and a fully-encrypted disk it's a perfectly useful system for my use. It'll be the one going on holiday with me in a few weeks' time with enough reading material to keep me busy on the train-ride and enough music to keep me amused when I'm not gazing out the window (which I anticipate doing quite a bit).

The only time I'll actually spend money on a laptop-class device is if it's interesting for some reason (e.g. non-Wintel architecture or a very convenient form-factor).
Retrocomputing -- It's not just a job, it's an adventure!
User avatar
crfriend
Master Barista
 
Posts: 10379
Joined: Fri Nov 19, 2004 9:52 pm
Location: New England (U.S.)

Re: Linux advice

Postby andrewsh » Wed Sep 26, 2018 9:22 am

crfriend wrote:
andrewsh wrote:
crfriend wrote:Multimedia support isn't well-handled in Linux, likely because of the myriad copyright/license issues. Xmms, which is a quite nice MP3/FLAC player can be coaxed into working rather trivially, and if you don't mind a command-line interface, mpg123. Offhand, I don't know of any recording

This opinion seems terribly outdated. Patents for MP3 have expired some time ago, and even before that, only encoding was an issue, decoding worked in most distributions. OTOH XMMS hasn’t been developed for about a decade; the current project based on its code is Audacious, but it is by far not the only option.

Of note here is (a) my background and (b) my profession. "A" is that I'm an admirer of the history of things and actively champion using "elder" hardware -- and I practise what I preach; frequently a 10-year-old machine cannot deal with the sort of bloat that's happened in the intervening years -- and I have non-Intel machines that date back to almost 50 years of age that work any time I feel like firing them up, and most of the hardware that makes up the core of what I do personally is handily 20th Century not 21st. "B" focusses on the fact that I deal in the server end of the world that doesn't need the "splash and flash" of a typical desktop/user-side environment; these tend to be stripped-down and hardened systems configured to do just what's required of them.

So, XMMS hasn't seen any development in a decade. It works, has a reasonably small footprint, is multi-platform portable, and has enough features to make it useful on older gear. That may well beat something that has only one or two of the above features.

XMMS has quite a lot of bugs, it is not maintained any longer, and no mainstream distributions ship it. Which means, you have to compile it from the source, and you will be on your own with all of your issues. Which may be your choice, but not a good idea for a general user, especially a beginner.
crfriend wrote:
CentOS (especially such an old version) is a poor choice for a beginner user, since it comes with very little software, and it very outdated. An LTS Ubuntu seems like a more sensible choice.

In fact, I would recommend to replace this hardware with a couple years old laptop. I was able to buy a Lenovo X230 for less than €300 from a German refurbished laptops seller, it felt like a new laptop. In the US, if my facts are right, similar hardware can be found even cheaper.

My use of CentOS is mainly because I'm a server guy and don't want all the bulk and bloat of the hyper-fancy desktop stuff. I spend 90+% of my time in command-line X-terminals for the meat of what I do. Sure, there's some web-based stuff, but the heavy-lifting is all done behind the scenes on the command-line. To the specificity of Rythmbox, it came with the distro of Linux I use at work and on the occasional laptop I have here -- and I detest it. I find it entirely non-intuitive, find that it has side-effects that it shouldn't (like deleting files where it shouldn't), and is confusing in general (e.g. "I want to play this file. Why can't I point to it and push the "Play" button the way I can load a cassette and play that (or a reel-to-reel)?).

That’s because you’re using it not in a way it is supposed to be used. It is an audio player plus a media collection manager. It is not a WinAmp-like style played to which you drop files and play them (for that, there’s Audacious). That said, beginner users usually prefer it to WinAmp-style players precisely for this reason.
crfriend wrote:As far as hardware goes, since computers are now disposable commodities I cannot see the point in shelling out for one that's already been cast off. There's usually one around that one can acquire for free, replace the assorted stuff that's failed, and install something useful on it. My current "road machine" is one that my elder aunt cast off a while ago after it upgraded itself to Windwoes 10 and stopped being useful. I low-level formatted the disk and installed CentOS 6 on it because I was familiar with it, and run CentoOS 7 in a VM when I need to research something. Configured with a robust firewall, a hardened external shell and a fully-encrypted disk it's a perfectly useful system for my use. It'll be the one going on holiday with me in a few weeks' time with enough reading material to keep me busy on the train-ride and enough music to keep me amused when I'm not gazing out the window (which I anticipate doing quite a bit).

The only time I'll actually spend money on a laptop-class device is if it's interesting for some reason (e.g. non-Wintel architecture or a very convenient form-factor).

Sticking to old hardware also means sticking to old software, which not many people like, since it also means having issues with rendering of many websites, inability to play films in new formats, security issues and so on. Which, again, has its use cases, but wishing that to new users guarantees they will ditch it at some point and never look back.
andrewsh
Active Member
 
Posts: 59
Joined: Tue Jul 24, 2018 10:08 am

Re: Linux advice

Postby Fred in Skirts » Wed Sep 26, 2018 7:22 pm

Talk about old equipment and software I run on my desk top machine which was built in 1999 and has served me delightfully since. I run Windoze 2000 pro and Firefox at the latest version that will work with 2000. It has just lately started to find web site that will not load because Firefox does not recognize the newer software used by those sites. My lap top uses win10 and the latest Firefox version. So what I can not get on the desktop I get on the laptop.
I tend to run a lot of old basic style and DOS programs that will not run on the newer software and I have not found an emulator that will run these programs in their fullest. So I will stick with the old stuff until I can not make it work any longer.
Fred :kiltdance:

:whistle: Hi I am Fred and I wear skirts and dresses all of the time. :hooray:
"It is better to be hated for what you are than be loved for what you are not"
Andre Gide: 1869 - 1951
User avatar
Fred in Skirts
Member Extraordinaire
 
Posts: 2299
Joined: Mon Mar 14, 2016 6:48 pm
Location: Southeast Corner of Aiken County, SC USA


Return to Off Topic

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests