UPDATE 11/23/2020: Am reclaiming Media Library space by deleting old pics. Trying to thin out the Media Library’s pics from posts that get few visits … hopefully it doesn’t ruin your view of the post.

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Windows 7 support is coming to an end in less than 6 months. Now might be a good time for those users to check out Linux. First, I suggest that WIN7 users take advantage of the upgrade to WIN10 opportunity that is still quietly being offered by Microsoft. Why waste that license when it doesn’t cost you anything to just upgrade it to WIN10 – you can do a clean install after the upgrade, see my Upgrade Windows 7 to Windows 10 now! for more details. There are like 2000++ Linux Distros (includes flavors & DE’s) floating around out there, and most are just junk or borderline junk. The ‘Fanatical Linux’ users will swear that all Linux Distros are better than WIN10 (none of them are), and they will then swear that their ‘Chosen Distro’ is better than the other 2000 Linux Distros. These ‘Linux Lunatics’ just add more confusion to choosing a Linux Distro. Ignore them…go with Ubuntu or an Ubuntu-based Distro. No Linux Distro has the support base that Ubuntu does…in fact; there are only 2-3 other Distros that have a decent support base – the rest hang by threads, at best. If you’re going to possibly make the move to Linux, then get one with lots of developmental, financial, software, future and etc support. Right now I recommend Zorin for Newbies, but Ubuntu 18.04.2 is not that difficult to master. Am also about to test the new Mint “Tina” release when it comes out later this week – Mint has been a Newbie-friendly Distro for a long time, and I expect the same from this next release.

One of the first steps in checking out any software, it to see what the hardware requirements are – the second step is usually installing that software. In the past 5-6 years, Linux has come a long way in becoming more compatible with hardware; however, Linux still has a way to go – see Linux and the basic Wheel Mouse post. There are also known problems with Wi-Fi, printers, scanners, video cards, etc. This is another area where Ubuntu stands at the Top – Ubuntu is loaded with hardware support. After getting the basic hardware compatibility right, then comes the installation. So many Linux Distros have no clue what they are doing – i.e. it takes more than just ‘copying and pasting’ the Linux Kernel into a Distro before it can be called a Linux OS, IMHO. It has become obvious after 6++ months of installing and testing various Linux Distros that a *BIG* problem is their juvenile and/or problematic so-called ‘Installers’. Some Distros, e.g. Namib and Debian 10 “Buster”, have done little more than ‘copy and paste’ the Calamares installer into their Distros – didn’t bother to tweak it to actually fit the Distro, just ‘copied and pasted’ the basics. That leaves you with few options if you present the installer with a disk that doesn’t fit the basics installed into the installer and/or if you have new hardware. An installer should be able to tell if you want UEFI or Legacy BIOS, if it needs an internet connection then it should say so, if it doesn’t need an internet connection it should still ask if you want to download updates during installation, if you are installing alongside another OS then it should say what that OS is (e.g. Windows or Debian), etc.

Linux installers usually start with – installation Welcome screen:

 

Then language, keyboard, location, Time zone, users, and/or other similar stuff in various orders; however, the similarities in installations begin to fade, especially on internet or no internet and/or if the Distro actually needs internet. On many Distros, it is not until after the installation process has ended that I soon discover that an internet connection was needed in order to have a successful installation – i.e. when the Distro won’t boot because of Grub Bootloader or other boot-up problems. With Ubuntu, I get these choices – depending on if I am connected to internet or not…Connected:

 

The installer knew I was connected to the internet, but still asks if I want to “Download updates while installing Ubuntu” and/or “Install third-party software” and/or if I want a full or minimum installation.

Say that I don’t have an internet connection or maybe I’m short on isp DATA allowance and don’t want to go over my allowance…well, Ubuntu has been tweaked to recognize a possible problem…Not Connected:

 

I had turned off the Ethernet wired connection, but Ubuntu still spotted a wireless, and asked me what I wanted to do – i.e. it double-checked with me (most Distros have no clue and don’t bother to ask). Microsoft Windows OSes also ask if you want to download updates in order to save time later, but most Linux Distros are only basically prepared to install their own OS, and many attempts end in failure.

Disk recognition/partitions are another Linux problem…Partition Table recognition another problem. Some Distros use Calamares installer, but they don’t tweak it to work in all situations. Here is an example of an installer lacking recognition tweaks, i.e. it just ends up ‘gUeSsInG’:

or……..

The installer program doesn’t know what to do, so it falls back to *ONLY* offering the “Manual partitioning” – i.e. it doesn’t have a clue so tosses the ‘ball-back-into-your-court’. If you’ve never tried a “Manual partitioning” in Linux, then don’t start trying now.

If you keep trying to get the installer to work (possibly involves many attempts and hours of extra work), it sometimes can eventually get it right…note that the Namib installer still fails to recognize the OS it will be installed “alongside”:

Ubuntu has always gotten it right the first time, dating all the way back to the first time I tried Ubuntu, years and years ago. Here is Ubuntu doing an “Install Ubuntu alongside Debian…” and actually recognizing the OS it is being installed “alongside”:

 

Then Ubuntu offers you the opportunity to change drive space for either Debian or Ubuntu:

Basically, there are few other installers that can compare to Ubuntu’s installer, and Zorin’s installer is one of them. BTW, Ubuntu is sharing the same SSD as Windows 10 on my brand new laptop, ‘Ace’ the Laptop, see Ubuntu and Windows 10 share a Laptop post, because I needed flexibility in how I wanted to install it and I trust Ubuntu’s installer.

Oh, before closing, let me also add that many Linux Distros offer a ‘Live’ test version, i.e. usually on a USB where you can try the Distro first. That’s also a good way to tell if the Distro is going to have any hardware problems, though some problems may show up in its installer later.