04
Jul
11

Migrating to Linux pt.1: The basics

Tux, as originally drawn by Larry Ewing

Image via Wikipedia

I have been using Linux for many years. I have tried many flavours, many distributions and I have written some of my experiences down, in this very blog. I am especially proud about managing to run my Intel Classmate on Linux, I have installed Mint on my eeePC and Peppermint on a VIA Epia ML, mini itx motherboard. However, my main PC would always run on Windows. Most of my work and pleasure (i.e. games and porn) would be under Windows and I have been somewhat sceptical about switching. Many years ago, I had tried the dual boot approach, but as it usually happens, one gets to constantly boot on Windows and soon the Linux installation becomes nothing more than wasted space on the HD.

Since my PC needed either some serious clean up and maintenance or a format for some time now, the thought of moving on to Linux was on my mind, but I guess I needed something to push me the right way. That something was a new machine that found it’s way to my house. Nothing out of the ordinary, an Intel E7400 sitting on a Foxconn motherboard. Still, it was a bit better than what I’ve been using, an Athlon XP 3800+, so I immediately decided I would be using the newcomer. Without much thought, I did a quick installation of Windows 7 and then I downloaded and installed Linux Mint 11. I know what you are thinking, I do have two OS’s on my PC, but this time, Linux boots first.

Reasons I still need Windows: I like games. I would not call my self a hardcore gamer, I get dizzy while playing an FPS, but I do like to play. I really like RPGs and one of my all time favourites was Baldur’s Gate. So, not being able to enjoy a good game was not an option. I have also purchased games from Steam and while I have read some articles about using Steam with Wine on Linux, I chose to keep it on Windows. I also do some video editing from time to time. Not professionally but still. I have heard about Linux solutions, such as Cinefx and I do intent to try that, but just to be safe I want to have something I know how to work with.

Despite the fact that I have installed Linux many many times, many different distributions on a number of machines, I still don’t call myself an advanced user. There are many things I have not encountered, things that to some of you might seem like a piece of cake, but none the less I decided to document my progress on using Linux for every day work here, hoping that I might be able to offer some help to those who face similar problems. Leaving all this mumbling aside, let’s see what was the first problem I had to solve:

The Printer. When you are a Windows user, things are quite simple. After finishing the OS installation, you are to install all drivers for the devices you have. Graphic cards, printers, scanners, in most cases, you just have to pop in the CD that came with the device and you are good to go. I had no idea how things were with Linux, since I never had to use a printer while on Linux. So when I turned my HP Laserjet 1020 on and a pop up message informed me that it was successfully installed and configured, I was more than happy.

That is until I tried to print something and although everything seemed normal, nothing would come out of the printer. No noise, no lights flashing, nothing. I imagined that the printer was not properly installed, so I started searching on line for help. I read a lot of things, mostly on how to go to HP’s website and download Linux drivers, but the problem was solved quite easily. I just opened a terminal window and typed:

sudo apt-get install hp-plugin

That downloaded and installed the print head firmware and my PC was able to communicate properly with the printer. So, in case you are facing something similar with an HP printer, give this a shot. Next time I will tell you how I set up my 5.1 surround sound.

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3 Responses to “Migrating to Linux pt.1: The basics”


  1. September 5, 2011 at 3:25 am

    I ran OpenSUSE throughout the Vista years, but for professional reasons I had to switch to Windows 7 (I have to support it and Server 2008R2, and therefore needed to be familiarized with it)
    Things I miss now that I’m back in Windows: compiz, amarok. k3b and, MOST OF ALL fspot.

    I’m with you on wine/steam. Why constantly fiddle with software just to get it to run poorly if at all?
    I ran Internet Explorer 6 via Wine for our vertical app (at the time it was very activeX) but grew tired of wine constantly crashing.

    Now I just run Linux in virtual machines, but someday (probably next laptop) I’ll switch back.

  2. September 5, 2011 at 9:54 am

    I just installed Open Suse on my home PC (hence the absence of posts) and I was impressed by the work they’d done on KDE.

    I really wish Steam team would seriously consider a Linux port. Having games too, you wouldn’t need much else to completely ditch Windows…


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