Advice on a Linux distro forum and OS for my win7 using Ma?


Greetings. I used to use Ubuntu & was quite happy with the LTS (8, then 12, I want to say). My computers did all I needed.

I recently tried Ubuntu 18 and was not impressed. :persevere:

Can anyone steer me to a reliable forum on the Web that will help me to get an OS that is free and will pretty easily replace Win7?

For me, the Ubuntu apps store (or whatever they call it) was a mess. I had apps installed as duplicates, when I ran Ubuntu 18 on an XPS 9370.

I will gladly take the time to learn a new OS… I just need some help discovering/deciding on one that is usable enough to make my 70 year old Mother comfortable.

Am looking to run it on desktops (GIMP, LibreOffice, Audacity, sophisticated Scanning of photographs, Firefox, K3B, a Jukebox app like gmusicbrowser that handles giant collections).

Maybe Ubuntu is good and I just need to make some tweaks to the interface?

Any help and guidance is appreciated, public or private. A Hearty GUI is preferred over command line for my purposes if possible.

Am like a n00b again after all these years. Ubuntu seems to have taken a turn for the worse, based on my recent testing. But I’d love to be wrong about that. :sweat_smile: Thanks

Where should I turn?


Give popos a try, its simular to ubuntu with commands. And is very easy to get up and running


My Father, 78, still runs Ubuntu 16 LTS, for some 3-5 years (can’t remember exactly for how long), and is quite happy with it. He switched from Win XP. But his needs are not that much: You tube, solitaire, mail and octave.


If you want a Windows-like interface, you can install KDE:

Kubuntu is a Ubuntu variant that comes with KDE pre-installed. Or you could use the KDE version of Fedora. Either of these will probably provide the most n00b-friendly experience.


There’s probably no substitute for trying a few distros out.

It does seem to be a little less solid than it used to be. It is however still pretty good. (I think it is going through a transition period, so maybe stick with it.)

Besides Ubuntu, you might try Mint.

Considering you are in the Purism forum, you should try out PureOS too. :slight_smile:


I have tried many Linux flavours and I can tell you now that Mint Cinnamon is the easiest. That is not to say that I consider it to be the best for everyone. I have MX installed and it is much lighter than Mint which makes it better for an old computer MX also managed to drive my WIFI where Mint failed. But MX is not so easy with getting new apps as Mint.
My advice is to make a bunch of Live USBs and try them out. There are so many options you’ll never get through them all.


Gonna strongly suggest giving gentoo a try, if you have a decently powerful machine to do the initial install. I’ve found it is the most stable distro, including reasonably clean updates when they only happen every 18 months. Also, on very old hardware, the performance gains you get for compiling most software specific to the CPU are noticeable. And finally, the gentoo wiki and forums are spectacular for finding and working around the occasional bug, and the user base is incredibly friendly.


I could recommend Elementary OS. It is one of the most polished Linux distros out there. It is a Ubuntu derivative.

That said PureOS with the GNOME desktop manager is excellent, if you can add your own repositories you can install whatever you want on it.


I like Debian, but I might consider using Q4OS, a German-based Debian which has an Arm64 flavor and which has originally used a Trinity Desktop. It now allows the user to chose other desktops and allows for various manipulations of the computer experience to be tuned to some extent, while yet having a rather small footprint and a spare processor usage. It might be worth considering on the Librem 5.


Oops. Arm64 was to come to Q4OS, but latest is yet armhf and this is compatible with 64 bit, but is not fully compliant with running the 64 bit environment and I might have to wait to use this until the alteration is made perhaps in the next iteration. See:


I would note that Q4OS is used on Pinebooks and Chromebooks by some in the Armhf configuration with presumably some sacrifice of processor speed, though again, computing is so multifaceted that I am not capable of addressing the point accurately, only that I have used the system on Gemini and it certainly is a spare and useful system in the Linux mode there.
From Debian a script conversion can be made with ease, perhaps even from PureOS.


Sounds like you almost have 2 issues. You want something for your Mother and something for yourself. Ideally, since you are apparently your Mother’s tech-support person, having her run the same OS as you makes explaining things to her way easier.

That apps you list are provided by pretty much every Linux desktop OS out there. What does your Mother use her computer for?

I got a Lenovo N23 Chromebook for my 8 year old daughter and installed XUbuntu on it. I personally run XFCE on Debian, so it’s almost the same. She uses it regularly for school and to chat with family who live far away.

Your issue may also not be the distro as much as the window manager. I use XUbuntu for a number of years and abandoned it for Debian as Ubuntu was getting sloppy. My experiences with XUbuntu 18.04 have been decent. There is an Ubuntu flavour for just about everything.

I would suggest listing the things you like least about Ubuntu and start there. With that list you can likely start to narrow down your list of possible distros to look into pretty quickly. Share that information here and you will likely get lots of suggestions too.


I’ve found Solus to be pretty easy to use. /2cents


I’ve tried a lot of distros. All have had minor irritating quirks (and sometimes major dealbreaker ones) but the one I like the most and have decided to use as my “daily distro” is Zorin OS. It’s beautiful. easy to learn, and everything works.


Zorin is a nice distro, but I am unaware that it can be used with an Arm hardware configuration and the way that the software has to be ordered to accommodate its demands. I only know it to be x86_64 and i386 in nature. Am I wrong here?


Solus is only available (so far as I know) as an x86_64 distribution form and is probably not compatible with an Arm device.


The one post OP made didn’t say anything about needing ARM. In fact, you are the only one who mentioned ARM in the first place


Why are we worrying about ARM devices? The OP didn’t say they need ARM support.


To be fair the OP asked for forum recommendations, FWIW I recommend this very forum.


Thank you everyone. I wil make USB sticks and run some Live sessions. It is a spot on assesment that I need a distro for myself, but also for my mom. Her 64bit HP desktop from 5 years ago should be able to handle things pretty well I bet.

And she can practice with the live sessions too.

What bugged me most about the newer Ubuntu was that change from GUI install menus and Synaptic package manager to their own “app store” where it seems simpler at the expense of functionality. But it also was not intuitive and *led to dual installation of some apps. (Let’s call it temporary… a transitional state… i like that idea).

I have my work cut out for me, but also have so many good leads… so thank you. Time to hit the library/web and learn the basics again.

I like the idea that it could be a matter of finding a different flavor that gives me a different experience (?like how nova launcher on an android phone changes the experience?)… and I also need to see about running KDE apps… i appreciate the complexities available in the GUI menus.

Even though I haven’t even learned how to compile software myself yet… now is a great time for me to learn. Will get me ready to be more literate with my Librem 5.

Will be sure to report back here as I test the recommended setups. Again, all the insights are much appreciated.

[Edited to correct mispellings]