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Gem
Premium
join:2005-09-10
kudos:4
Reviews:
·CableOne

Total novice looking for a short basic Linux user manual

Problems with Windows 8 have convinced me to try Linux.

The current distro of choice is mini PCLinux.

All I need is a short basic users manual that explains the basics and that covers how to add a USB wireless WPA2 device to the installed distro. I'd like to be able to use Linux to surf the Internet, to send emails, and perhaps shop on eBay and Amazon with Linux.

The manual needs to be written for very old users who only speak English and who haven't a clue what the Linux terms mean.

Ideally, the manual would explain "How to..." in Linux terms and would then translate the instructions into something a simple-minded Windows user can understand. Otherwise, I have no idea how I'll ever learn enough about how to use Linux to make it a viable alternative to Microsoft products.

And that is the objective, to learn enough to use Linux and to get away from Microsoft or at least away from Windows 8 on new builds.

Any suggestions for an old user with a short memory and limited cognitive skills?

===========================================

P.S. - it's okay to say

"This is way beyond your ability, stick with Windows"

if that is your honest opinion.


Black Box

join:2002-12-21
Well, a lot of things in Linux "just work(TM)". For what does not, there is Google. Search for HOWTO and the appropriate keywords. For example, you may wish to search for "USB wifi HOWTO". Adding the distro name to the search can be useful too. There are also sites like »www.howtoforge.com/ with lots of useful info.

An advice I give to every novice is not to be afraid of the command line. The three most important commands for you are man, apropos and whatis. The first one gives you the manual page of a command or important configuration file and the others let you search for commands related to a keyword. Most commands can be launched with --help as an argument to give you a short help on their usage.

A list of useful commands can be found here. A cheat sheet can be found here.

You may also wish to try out a few distributions until you find one that you like. Also try out a few desktop environments KDE/Gnome/XFCE/LXDE. Don't stop with the first one you've tried because you may find useful gems that are not present in the first one.

And lastly, if you ever get frustrated take a deep breath and read the Linux is NOT Windows article. It is a bit of "tough love" but it puts certain things in perspective. One thing about the culture around Linux: people expect the users to at least try to understand the problem. The more precise you describe the steps you tried and what failed the more people are likely to give you a hand. A question like "I've bought a video card and it's not working" is likely to elicit a snarly reply if any. "I've replaced my Graphiconix card that was working slow but fine with an Pixelatus such and such and now the X server is crashing" is likely to net you far better answers.

Anyway, try digging for information the way I just described above and if you get stuck come back and ask. There are a lot of people willing to help if they see you gave it a honest try.

--
Keep It Safe, Stupid!
Yes, I CanChat. Can You?


ds5v50

join:2003-01-22
Fremont, OH
reply to Gem
This will help also.

»Linux Cheat Sheet


lugnut

@communications.com
reply to Gem
This one to get you started...

»www.amazon.com/Linux-For-Dummies···+dummies

And this one once you need a proper reference to start messing around with the command line.

»www.amazon.com/Linux-Bible-Chris···ux+bible


JohnInSJ
Premium
join:2003-09-22
Aptos, CA
reply to Gem
said by Gem:

"This is way beyond your ability, stick with Windows"

Modern Linux user-focused distros really are not that hard at all to use, for 90% of what people need to do.

Get a for dummies book, and mostly just get something and start using it. Come back here, ask questions if you get stuck.

For example, your USB wifi device... will either just work when you plug it in, or you'll learn a lot about how kernels work A quick google search of your distro name and the USB wifi device name should tell you if it's going to work or not.
--
My place : »www.schettino.us


FastEddie
Premium,Ex-Mod 2001-13
join:2000-12-29
Channel Z
kudos:6
reply to Gem

said by Gem:

The manual needs to be written for very old users who only speak English and who haven't a clue what the Linux terms mean.



I set this up sometime ago. See if this helps you any »Linux For Beginners


--
Here's To You


Rexter
YeeHaw

join:2002-11-17
cloud 9

1 edit
reply to Gem
said by Gem:

Problems with Windows 8 have convinced me to try Linux.

The first common misconception you need to be aware of, Linux is not Windows. Windows is an operating system, built on the Microsoft NT OS kernel. Linux is a kernel that many, many operating systems are built on, Android being the most well known. Linux is not an operating system. It's apples, and oranges my friend, or at least apples, and apple seeds. You can't compare them. It is my opinion that this misconception is one of the biggest obstacles for newbies to get past, when learning a Linux based OS.

All I need is a short basic users manual that explains the basics and that covers how to add a USB wireless WPA2 device to the installed distro.

Bingo! You're on to something here. Key word "distro." I'll explain below. The wireless adapter driver has to be installed into the Linux kernel.

I'd like to be able to use Linux to surf the Internet, to send emails, and perhaps shop on eBay and Amazon with Linux.

Linux is not a web browser,or an email client. You can't surf the Internet with Linux. Firefox or chromium would be a great choice. Perhaps Thunderbird for email?

And that is the objective, to learn enough to use Linux and to get away from Microsoft or at least away from Windows 8 on new builds.

Any suggestions for an old user with a short memory and limited cognitive skills?

Unless you want to learn about kernel development, you don't need to learn Linux. You need a manual for the particular Linux based OS of your choice. mini PCLinuxOs is a derivative of PCLinuxOs, you may find it hard to find proper documentation for a derivative OS, as most of the documentation will be full of irrelevant information that applies only to the main distribution. Never the less, a manual for your choice OS is what you need, not a general Linux manual.

Might I suggest you look into ubuntu , or Linux Mint.

They are well documented, and most things will just work for you.
--
I'm with the Central Government. I'm here to help you. Now bend over, really, I'm helping you, just, just stay still. You'll feel better in a moment.

Gem
Premium
join:2005-09-10
kudos:4
Reviews:
·CableOne
reply to FastEddie
Okay, going slowly. I've read the Linux For Beginners information and sent one comment on it.

I've also read "Linux is not Windows" and have one question about what is said there, to wit:

"...a single Linux download & upgrade will give you the newest drivers available for your machine."

Does that mean that any given piece of hardware either will or won't work with Linux based distros and therefore no drivers need be added by end users because all the drivers available are already in the kernel?

My question may not make sense, but it the way I interpreted the quoted statement from "Linux is Not Windows".

Kearnstd
Space Elf
Premium
join:2002-01-22
Mullica Hill, NJ
kudos:1
No, A new distro does not automatically have the latest drivers for everything. Now yes it likely does have the latest stuff for your motherboard(ex chipset driver). However you might find you need to go out to Nvidia.com for example to get the latest driver for a geforce card.
--
[65 Arcanist]Filan(High Elf) Zone: Broadband Reports


kleeman
Australian Expat

join:2000-07-29
Nyack, NY
kudos:3
reply to Gem
It's not that simple. In the main most supported hardware will have drivers in the install but there are exceptions for not widely used hardware or for hardware where you need a proprietary driver such as nvidia graphics cards.
--
Aesthetics should be an inspiration not a pair of handcuffs


Trihexagonal

join:2004-08-29
US
Reviews:
·AT&T U-Verse
·AT&T Midwest
reply to Gem
I think if you went with a distro that made it relatively easy to download new apps and install drivers you'd have a much more pleasant and rewarding experience as a new user. Perhaps someone more familiar with the different distros could suggest some.

The only Linux distro I've used in recent years was Puppy and it came with all the applications you would need to get on the web and do most of the simple things out of the box. There are a few different versions and you might get away with it recognizing all your hardware without the need to install a bunch of drivers. It will run in memory too, meaning you can run it from a USB stick and not disturb the resident OS on your Hard Drive.

I use FreeBSD and wouldn't say it was very user friendly to someone who wasn't already familiar with UNIX in general.


Black Box

join:2002-12-21
reply to Gem
said by Gem:

"...a single Linux download & upgrade will give you the newest drivers available for your machine."

Does that mean that any given piece of hardware either will or won't work with Linux based distros and therefore no drivers need be added by end users because all the drivers available are already in the kernel?

Each distribution has a central repository where all the software is maintained for download and upgrade. It usually contains support for an impressive array of hardware devices and software packages. However, you may want or need to use something that is not included there. In most you can also configure additional alternate repositories for software or drivers.

In any case, you would use just one package manager to install and update the software. Think "Add or Remove Programs" from Windows, but on steroids. It contains also all the known software whether currently installed or not and you can use it to update the software or even to upgrade the distribution to the next release.
--
Keep It Safe, Stupid!
Yes, I CanChat. Can You?

Gem
Premium
join:2005-09-10
kudos:4
Reviews:
·CableOne
Exactly how do we locate the central depository for any give distro and exactly how do we - for lack of better terminology at this early stage - install drivers so my usb wireless Cisco AE2500 adapter will work with a given distro?

That's something that has me stumped.


JohnInSJ
Premium
join:2003-09-22
Aptos, CA
said by Gem:

Exactly how do we locate the central depository for any give distro and exactly how do we - for lack of better terminology at this early stage - install drivers so my usb wireless Cisco AE2500 adapter will work with a given distro?

That's something that has me stumped.

a quick google of cisco AE2500 linux lead to a page discribing using ndiswrapper to load the windows drivers to enable it. This, as they say, is not beginner territory.

Perhaps a better route (given the very low cost of USB wifi adapters) would be to go at it from the other direction. Buy one that is known to work with Linux.

For example, »www.cyberciti.biz/tips/linux-usb···ist.html
--
My place : »www.schettino.us


Black Box

join:2002-12-21
reply to Gem
said by Gem:

Exactly how do we locate the central depository for any give distro and exactly how do we - for lack of better terminology at this early stage - install drivers so my usb wireless Cisco AE2500 adapter will work with a given distro?

It varies across the distributions. I am not familiar with your PCLinux but it looks like it is using Synaptic. Look for it in the menus. It can be in System, Tools, Configuration or something similar.

I agree with JohnInSJ See Profile, you may be better off with a new adapter. But if you are willing to learn, using ndiswrapper is not too complicated. Google "howto ndiswrapper" and read a couple of them. It may not work on the first try though.
--
Keep It Safe, Stupid!
Yes, I CanChat. Can You?

Gem
Premium
join:2005-09-10
kudos:4

1 edit
Thank you both, those both good ideas. I'll pursue the recommendations. ;>)

Gem
Premium
join:2005-09-10
kudos:4
Reviews:
·CableOne
Okay, picked up an Asus N-13 wireless adapter. Tested it on a Windows build to be sure it works. It does.

Tried it on the PCLinuxOS Mini ver. 13.x distro. That mini distro doesn't appear to have native support for the Asus N-13 (although it does support a Realtek wireless device in case anyone is interested in that distro).

Tried on the full version of PCLinux Live CD distro, but the download of that may be corrupted. The first time it booted up, it loaded to a desktop but the mouse was not functional. The second boot attempt hung midway through loading.

Will look for other "Full" distros to see if any of those have native support for a Cisco AE2500 or Asus N13 wireless adapter.

If no luck in that search I'll pursue the NDIS wrapper solution to see if I can follow the linked instructions on how to do that.

More later.


JohnInSJ
Premium
join:2003-09-22
Aptos, CA
Ubuntu as a distro will probably give you the widest possible hardware support for "plug and play" - but it will also not be very Windows like in UI. Still, as a desktop linux distro it's very capable.
--
My place : »www.schettino.us


Archivis
Your Daddy
Premium
join:2001-11-26
Earth
kudos:19
reply to Gem
I recommend Linux Mint to everyone trying Linux for the first time. It had all the drivers I needed for my devices immediately and it had all the major applications I needed with some pretty easy UI menus.

You could operate the entire OS without ever opening up a terminal window.

For my role as a Linux/Unix Sys Admin, it felt very foreign to me. I was learning everything all over again because I was in a UI. I spent my career sitting in terminal windows and SSH/telnet sessions, never seeing a desktop. I would have the same inexperience you would in this regard.
--
A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have. -MLK

Gem
Premium
join:2005-09-10
kudos:4
Just downloaded and burned the Linux Mint distro to a DVD. I'll give it a try and then Ubuntu a look if Mint doesn't have the needed wireless package for the N13 or Cisco AE2500.


Archivis
Your Daddy
Premium
join:2001-11-26
Earth
kudos:19
Mint comes from Ubuntu.

Gem
Premium
join:2005-09-10
kudos:4

1 edit
Hey, thats good. I've downloaded Mint. It looks like the one to try and sounds like the one most likely to work with our wireless adapter.

Look for another update on progress by mid-day on Saturday.


markofmayhem
Why not now?
Premium
join:2004-04-08
Pittsburgh, PA
kudos:5
If you are still having trouble with the Asus wireless adapter, let us know. PCLinuxOS should have been plug and play with it, so something else may be "up" and need solution.
--
Show off that hardware: join Team Discovery and Team Helix

Gem
Premium
join:2005-09-10
kudos:4
Reviews:
·CableOne
Status report on Asus N13 with Linux Mint.

1) Linux Mint Live CD recognized the adapter right away.

2) Linux Mint recognized my Asus wireless router and the wireless signal.

3) The wireless password was entered. Mint then connected to the Router. It said "connected" in Connection Manager.

4) But it couldn't get onto the Internet.

5) No IP address was shown so I changed assignment of an IP address from Automatic to Manual and tried assigning various addys within the correct range.

6) None worked. Still coundn't get onto the Internet. Tried to get a connection to Google, Linux Mint, and Yahoo. Couldn't reach anywhere.

As near as I can tell, all the configuration settings for the Internet connection and the N13 adapter are correct. Both were set to WPA2 and the correct password was entered.

Router address is the expected 192.168.1.1.

Client addys are automatically assigned and normally end up being 192.168.1.2 and so on. I tried manually assigning xxx.4 and .5 and 104 but Linux Mint kept showing no IP address for the client (the computer the N13 was in is what I mean by "client" - is that the correct usage of that term?).

Things hit a wall at that point. My guess is that the Linux install is not receiving a client IP assignment from the router. I have no idea why it is not.

The Asus wireless router is the RT-N53. It is set up manually rather than using the Asus push buttons and codes to connect. This is the first time we've had a connection problem with it.

Most of the time, with the N13 adapter all we need to do is find the signal, enter the password, and it then connects.

Gem
Premium
join:2005-09-10
kudos:4
Reviews:
·CableOne
reply to markofmayhem
said by markofmayhem:

If you are still having trouble with the Asus wireless adapter, let us know. PCLinuxOS should have been plug and play with it, so something else may be "up" and need solution.

.
The problem with PCLinuxOS may that it is the "Mini" distro.

I have the full PCLinuxOS distro, too, but the full version download must have been corrupted


Archivis
Your Daddy
Premium
join:2001-11-26
Earth
kudos:19
reply to Gem
Can you try connecting via ethernet temporarily and running all the OS updates?

Gem
Premium
join:2005-09-10
kudos:4
Yes, I will try a wired connection and will report results from that later today.

First it will involve moving the open air linux system into a case and then moving it down to the netherworld where the wired connections exist.


Archivis
Your Daddy
Premium
join:2001-11-26
Earth
kudos:19
I just set up two machines with Linux Mint yesterday. One was a laptop, the other was an Emachines. Both of them worked flawlessly. One of them was wireless. After you run the ISO, it'll prompt you to actually install mint. After that, you should see several updates, including one major OS update that takes place first. After that first update, you can do all the other major updates and then try your wireless again.
--
A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have. -MLK

Gem
Premium
join:2005-09-10
kudos:4

3 edits

1 recommendation

Update. Hooked up a wired internet connection and Mint works fine.


Archivis
Your Daddy
Premium
join:2001-11-26
Earth
kudos:19
Were you able to update successfully and get your wireless working again?