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Transcript Beta: The Full Windows Power User's Guide to Linux

Arnox

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The transcript is pretty much complete. Just need some people to tell me what they think and to catch any spelling and grammar mistakes.

Contents
1. Introduction / Who I Am
2. Why You Want Linux / Why Linux May Not Work For You
3. What Truly Separates One Distro from Another / What REALLY Makes an Operating System "Like Windows"
4. The Best Linux Distro for Windows Power Users / Why Not Other Distros
5. Why MX Linux Specifically
6. Philosophy of Use
7. Booting Options / Which ISO to Use
8. First Run and Install
9. Important Things to Set After Install
10. Linux Folder Structure
11. Basic Linux Terminal Skills
12. Secret KDE Hacks for MX Linux
13. Software You'll Probably Want / Distro Honorable Mentions
14. Conclusion

Ok, I’m sure you’ve all seen videos about how to get started with Linux. They’re damn near everywhere at this point. Perhaps you’ve seen several. Or maybe I’m lucky enough to catch you just as you’re first starting your Linux journey. Whatever it is though, you’re probably wondering why you should watch my video over the many others that are out there. Well, it’s because I’ve seen those videos as well, and WAY too many of them have problems, sometimes very big ones.

A quick note by the way before we proceed. When I say a Linux distro, I mean a variant of Linux. There’s more to it than that but we’ll get into that later.

As someone who has been screwing around with Linux off and on for years before finally settling and installing a Linux distro onto my main workhorse desktop and using that for a little bit as well, there are certain key things that I REALLY wish someone would have told me or warned me about. For example, I was told Manjaro was one of the great beginner Linux distros. Spoiler, it was not. But don’t worry. We’re gonna cover all of this soon. But let’s first talk about who I am and where I’m coming from here.

For at least the past two decades, I’ve been a power user of Windows. I started on Windows 98 SE and used all the versions from there all the way up to Windows 10. Windows 10 was my breaking point and when I finally decided to begin the transition to Linux for real instead of just using it as a tool or a toy. By the way, I did a HUGE video on Windows as a final goodbye to that OS which puts together all the important things I’ve learned about it over the years. You can find that in the links below. (https://intosanctuary.com/index.php?media/the-one-microsoft-windows-video-to-rule-them-all-arnox.22/) Like this video, the Windows video has a freely available transcript you can just read as well, but hopefully, I can keep THIS video at a relatively much shorter runtime since I don’t have to go over eight different operating system versions.

Anyway, enough self-promotion. From here on out, I will be talking about how to get into Linux from the perspective of someone who’s been using Windows for decades. If you’re coming from a Mac though, I don’t have anything specifically for you and this may not be the video for you. Sorry.
 
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Arnox

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Back in the 2000s, Linux was a very interesting project with some decent support behind it, but unfortunately for it, this was also when Windows was in its prime, snapping necks and cashing checks. So, because of Microsoft’s rampage through the OS space, Linux had barely any room to grow and get a big enough userbase to be any kind of a threat. And for more than 10 years, this was the landscape that Linux had to exist in.

But my, my… Times have changed, haven’t they? Microsoft has for a long time now, since Windows 10’s release, been abusing their marketshare with incredibly anti-consumer decisions while also mostly stagnating (see my Windows video for much more detail on this) while Linux was fast catching up. Linux may have been down but it certainly was not out, and before people knew it, the things that people laughed at Linux for began to be no laughing matter. Linux was finally competitive. In my opinion, this officially kicked off in 2012 when Valve Corp flipped the table when they heard of Microsoft’s then new Universal Windows Platform crap, which caused Valve to then flip the birdie to Microsoft and begin dumping their massive amounts of cash and talent into making Linux the incoming threat to Windows and Mac that it is today.

Still though. While that somewhat answers how much Linux has progressed now as compared to way back then, it doesn’t answer why you, the current viewer, should pay Linux any attention. Well, in a single sentence, it’s because Linux actually respects your time, your privacy, and your right to own and control your own machine. Windows definitely used to do this, but not any longer. Things have changed, and it is now high time to start migrating to Linux before Microsoft makes things even worse.

If you do this now, you can have the luxury of acclimatizing yourself to Linux at your leisure and ease into it until you’re ready to make the full switch. This also gives you the pompous luxury of being able to sit on the sidelines laughing at the Windows 11 peasants as you sip tea and look out from your Linux desktop tower. But if you procrastinate this though, there will probably come a time where Microsoft is going to institute a change so egregious that you’ll be left scrambling to switch to Linux without any warm-up time. Take my advice, lads, and don’t do this to yourself. Be smart. Migrate now while there’s time, so that when Microsoft finally does decide to put the hammer down, you won’t have to care even a little bit about what Microsoft does or doesn’t do and can tell them to get off your damn lawn.

Ok, so I’ve been sitting here talking up Linux for at least the past five minutes here, but unfortunately, Linux is not a completely and utterly flawless operating system solution. Thankfully, the issues are few and far between now, but nevertheless, they’re still there and they still require our consideration here.

Probably the biggest issue that Linux has by FAR right now is simply program compatibility for specific key programs. Most notably, Adobe refuses to even touch Linux, so you better get comfortable running the Adobe suite within PlayOnLinux or WINE or etc. More on all those compatibility tools later, probably in another video. Adobe’s most notable Photoshop competitor, Affinity Photo, is also not available natively on Linux. Another notable omission for engineers is SolidWorks. And finally, digital audio workstation software I hear is still not in good shape on Linux.

Thankfully though, that seems to be about it. Pretty much everything else either has a good free alternative to it, already runs great with Valve’s Proton, or simply already has a fully supported native Linux version. In fact, sometimes, Linux offers a superior solution as compared to the usual Windows solution.

One other issue that may turn you off of Linux is that even though its games compatibility is really damn good, it’s still not perfect. Expect a few rocks in the road. I might counter this though by simply saying that even gaming on Windows 10 is not entirely flawless either since it tends to have problems with older games.

Yet another issue is hardware drivers. Well, yes and no anyway. Sometimes, you may actually have an even smoother time with Linux, hardware drivers wise, as compared to Windows. I know one time, if you’ll allow me to go off on a small tangent here, I had a wireless dongle that was broke. It crashed my Windows install constantly whenever I tried to use it, but in Linux, it at least functioned on a basic level without any crashing whatsoever.

Still though, while Linux hardware support has improved a ton over the years, you may still get some odd pieces of hardware that just refuse to run on Linux, whether it be because of shoddy driver support or no driver support at all. This particular problem really is getting rather rare, but nevertheless, you’ll have to get into the habit of searching for Linux compatibility before buying hardware from now on just to make sure.

Beyond all those problems though, you may still be forced to run Windows anyway simply because your job demands it. In which case, there of course isn’t really anything you can do there short of starting an argument with your boss. I wouldn’t recommend that.
 

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Now that we’ve gone over the whys and the why nots of transitioning to Linux, let’s talk about what makes one distro different from another. And no, I’m not just talking about, “Oh, this distro comes with Firefox!” I’m talking about what REALLY separates all distros. And what it all boils down to is four things. The package manager, what repository the packages are coming from, the package updates schedule, and the kind of kernel that the distro ships with. That’s it. Everything else is just easily replaceable window dressing. Admittedly though, some window dressings may be more convenient or prettier for you than others. By the way, a package is basically bundled software that fulfills a specific purpose.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Alright, let’s get right into what distro you recommend and talk about-“ No. No, we’re not gonna do that right now, because before we do that, you need to know WHY I’m recommending what I’m recommending and why I’m running it the way I’m running it. Sure, you can just Too Long; Didn’t Watch this section and skip right to the meat and potatoes, but I really hope that you’ll eat your vegetables first here and bear with me because I see way too many people skip over these topics in their haste to make the quickest dirtiest Linux guides possible, but I believe that you, my intelligent viewer, have an attention span longer than 5 seconds. I’m not wrong, am I?

So, before we even look at Linux distros, we need to first decide, “What do I want out of the computer I’m installing Linux to? Do I need the absolute latest bleeding edge stuff? Do I need maximum security? Do I need to run a server? Do I need maximum stability? Do I need a very simple distro?” Every Linux distro focuses on one or two things over everything else. For the most part. And do not be fooled by the DistroWatch descriptions for a distro because they way too often have so much marketing speak in them without actually saying what the distro is focusing on.

Now, there are a fair few uses that the distro I am going to pick and use for the rest of this guide is not going to be very good at, and vice versa, but in keeping with the theme of this guide, we will assume you want the distro that is most similar to Windows. Now, you might not think it, but there’s a LOT to unpack with that single statement, because for starters, which era of Windows are you talking about? The Windows 9x era? The modern Windows 10/11 era? The in-between Windows XP/7 era? Each of these eras of Windows focused on different things, although I will say Windows didn’t truly start diverging from its core design principles starting with 9x until about Windows 8 and beyond.

To simplify things down though, we’re going to focus on the two “greatest hits” of Windows as they were. And those are Windows XP and Windows 7. These two releases share an awful lot of core design principles in common as well. So, let’s come back to our original question. What kind of distro would be most similar to the Windows XP and Windows 7 way of doing things? Well, many people will think that all a distro needs to be like Windows is to slap a taskbar at the bottom with a start button of sorts and call it a day. But this is very surface level Windows. There’s much more that needs to happen behind the scenes of a distro as well before it can truly qualify as being just like Windows. So what did Windows XP and Windows 7 have in common?

Well, for starters…

1. Reliability

Windows XP came from a time when everyone including Microsoft was getting incredibly sick of DOS, and Microsoft was working on a replacement for it for a long time in the form of Windows NT, but it wasn’t until Windows 2000 when the underlying vastly more stable NT kernel really took off and then solidified its foothold with Windows XP. Likewise, Windows 7 came just after the terrible Windows Vista launch. Although Vista’s stability, or lack of it, wasn’t entirely its fault at all mainly due to poorly written or completely absent drivers for it, 7 set out to fix that once and for all. The result of both XP and 7’s development were incredibly reliable OSes that people could expect a high baseline of stability out of and are still used for industrial and enterprise purposes even to this day. But even if we looked at the unstable Windows 9x days, Microsoft still did the absolute best with what they had, which wasn’t much since the underlying DOS architecture tied their hands in a fair few areas. And finally, another important consideration is that Windows XP and Windows 7 were not “rolling release” OSes but were rather fixed release operating systems. Hell, even Vista, the foundation for Windows 7, didn’t come out until about 6 years after XP’s release.

2. Compatibility

Since XP and 7 had a focus on stability and had fixed releases, that meant that compatibility with older software was much easier to keep track of and accommodate as a software developer. And even between versions of Windows, backwards compatibility was still sometimes assured, but not always.

3. Full Control Married with Ease of Use

While Apple was focused on making an incredibly simplistic OS that just about anyone could use at the major cost of user control, Microsoft said, “Fuck that,” for a long while and did what Apple could not. Make a slick and easy-to-use operating system that still offered full control for even the most advanced users. The only thing that you might have had slight trouble changing was the interface theme without paid programs, but whoop-dee-doo. Even then, you still had a fair few options. Further, a ton of study on what would be the most optimal UI was done back when Windows 95 was in development, and that work solidified the main interface that we still see today. A start button. A taskbar. A notification tray. Window controls at the top right. And on and on. This classic design endured from Windows 95 all the way until Windows 8, and even then, it still held on somewhat.

4. Enough Native Features to Give Everyone a Solid Base

Windows 7 could run comfortably with 1 GB of RAM with 1 CPU core, and could even go as low as 256 MB of RAM, and Windows XP could go much lower than that. But even though these two operating systems had a light footprint (and especially XP), they still came with everything a user might need to start out. A file explorer, a basic text editor, a task manager, full file metadata support, interface options, and etc. They were absolutely fully featured while still keeping resource usage down as much as possible.
 

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So, back to the main topic at hand. With all 4 points in mind, what’s the best distro then for Windows power users? Well, it would have to be something Debian Stable based. And notice I said Debian Stable based, and not just Debian based. Ubuntu is Debian Based. Linux Mint is, ultimately, Debian Based. Even Ubuntu’s LTS branch is still only Debian based. That means they’re based on Debian’s Unstable branch and Testing branch, which means very little in terms of stability, if anything at all. With that said though, you may be asking, “Why not just vanilla Debian then,” and the reason for that is that while Debian is a fine choice and, in my arrogant opinion, the best choice for servers, it’s not entirely the best choice for us Windows power users still. No, the best choice, and my final pick, is MX Linux.

Now this is where the fun begins. I know some of you are anxious to get into why I picked MX Linux exactly, but I want to back up just a bit and talk about why I prioritized Debian Stable based distros in the first place, because I also know that some of you are throwing popcorn at your screens at this point, screaming about Linux Mint or Arch Linux or Manjaro or maybe even vanilla Ubuntu. Don’t worry. I’m going to address all the major concerns and arguments against Debian Stable and for other distros.

First, a quick note before I get a whole bunch of angry comments (that is, a whole bunch of angry comments ON TOP of the one’s I’m going to get) about how stable actually just means the software doesn’t change. This is NOT correct. Or at least mostly not correct. Even Debian’s official documentation disagrees with this definition of stable. Stable means that the software is reliable. Dependable. With that said, it’s true that it does not mean completely and utterly bug-free. With Debian Stable, you are still going to get bugs, but there are going to be a lot less bugs as compared to running a more steadily updating distro. And finally, it is true that stable software doesn’t change MUCH. When stable software receives an update, it’s usually to correct security flaws and maybe any bugs found and fixed. Feature updates are pushed to the next major stable release. So stable software not changing is partially correct in that sense, but regardless, it does not solely mean the software never ever changes.

Alright, now bear with me, because I’m going to go off on a bit of a tangent here, but don’t worry. It connects directly with what we’re talking about. Now, whenever the subject of a beginner distro comes up, I hear constant recommendations for stuff like Arch and PopOS. Basically anything other than a Debian Stable based distro. And then new users to Linux go and download those and let's say like 80% of them will have a good experience. But that’s not what people watching are going to focus on. They’re going to focus on that portion that didn’t have a good experience, and rightly so, because all these supposedly beginner-friendly distros are NOT TRULY STABLE. A 20% failure rate is unacceptable for a workhorse desktop/laptop distro. And a workhorse distro is exactly what we want here. Hell, even if it was only a 10% failure rate, that’s still too high.

This is why we keep coming back to Debian Stable, and by extension, MX Linux. You see, before Debian releases their new stable branch every two years or so, and each stable branch is supported for 5 years, and then even further with LTS support for 10 years. Before a new stable branch ever releases, all packages in their repository are gradually frozen and bug-tested to hell and back. Once all packages are deemed to meet stability standards and are deployment-ready, the repository is fully frozen and then released. Of course, the repository will continue to get regular security fixes and sometimes maintenance updates as well, but beyond that, just like a regular major Windows release, the repository is locked in, ensuring maximum software compatibility and stability.

Rock-solid stability is not just needed for newcomers, it’s needed for STEM workers, industry experts, server admins, and of course, us Windows power-users. Anyone who has a computer system and either desires or requires that the system be as unfailing as possible. This is why in the Linux world, a Debian Stable based distro is pretty much non-negotiable for workhorse systems. And this is why other distros like Arch or Ubuntu or Linux Mint or Fedora are more of an unnecessary risk in the use cases we are talking about, no matter how stable people claim they are.

Now, does that mean we have to rigidly stick to the Debian Stable repository and not ever deviate once from it? No, actually, and we’ll soon learn ways we can both maintain Debian’s maximum system stability, but still enjoy all the latest apps in the Linux world. We can have our cake and we can eat it too. And with that, let’s slide into our next topic. What MX Linux offers over vanilla Debian.
 
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Arnox

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So, first, the basic hard details. MX Linux was derived from a collaboration with the MEPIS Linux and antiX Linux distro dev teams. It is a medium weight Linux distribution based on Debian’s Stable branch, supporting both the x86 and x64 architectures. It supports the XFCE, KDE, and Fluxbox desktop environments, supports both the SysVInit and systemd init systems, fully supports Flatpaks out of the box, has an advanced hardware support kernel for very modern systems, natively supports hard disk encryption, and comes with a full suite of in-house developed GUI tools for system control and maintenance called MX Tools.

Now, if you didn’t know what some of that stuff was, don’t worry about it. All you really need to know is that MX Linux is a medium weight fully stable distribution that has optional support for very modern hardware and has a full range of graphical tools for system control much like the Control Panel on Windows. We’re also going to go over some of these things later as well.

So, going back to our list of qualities that make a distro the most Windows-like, is MX Linux reliable? Since it’s based off of Debian Stable, which is one of the most stable distros of all time, yes. The package manager manages dependencies well, does as requested, and does so without complaint. The drivers are solid. Kernel security is at its highest since Debian is expected to run on enterprise systems. So there’s no worries in this department then.

Does MX Linux have good compatibility? Again, since MX is based on Debian Stable, and the packages in every Debian Stable release generally don’t change enough to impact compatibility, I’d say MX Linux is very compatible. It’s not nearly as much of a moving target for developers as some other distros are like Fedora. It also has even more compatibility on the Windows side courtesy of WINE and Valve’s Proton.

Does MX Linux give full control and marry that with ease of use? Absolutely. MX Tools are a very powerful component of MX, giving an easy and safe GUI to use to execute tasks that might normally require a terminal slash command line interface, or CLI for short. And then you have the XFCE and KDE desktop environment suites which also add an incredible deal of easy GUI programs and settings you can use.

And finally, does MX Linux ship with enough native features to give everyone a solid base? And the answer is yep. Of course MX Linux’s base package set that it ships with is not gonna fit every single use case, but it will be more than enough to get you started immediately along with MX Linux’s good defaults. There’s also many Quality of Life features here that the MX team have implemented such as installing a plugin for KDE’s Dolphin file manager that allows you to execute certain tasks as administrator, or root, right from a right-click menu.
 
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Arnox

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Alright, since we’re going to be running a fixed-release stable distro, there might be some attitudes and ways of doing things you’re going to need to adjust. For one, although we will talk about an easy and supported workaround for this soon as well as another less ideal workaround, you need to generally accept that, no, you’re not gonna get the latest shiniest newest things the moment they come out. Again, think of Debian, and by direct connection, MX Linux as an entirely new Windows release like Windows XP and Windows 7. The MX team may add “service packs” as in, add a few new programs and packages to the stable repository as soon as they clear those packages with very extensive testing, but until they do, and until the next major Debian release, what you get in the stable repo is what you get. And also, you need to accept that if you want the most stable and dependable system, this is the best way of doing things.

Now, with that out of the way, let’s talk about what the best way is for obtaining new software for MX. And if you’ve had some prior experience before with other non-Debian-Stable based distros, you’ll find that using MX the proper way will be different because you will be choosing between multiple software sources. I’ll break them down.

First, we have the main MX stable package repository or repo. This is where you should generally aim to get all your software from because every single package in this repo has been thoroughly bug-tested and cleared to run on all MX machines for pretty much any use case from the home desktop to enterprise servers. You will have the smoothest experience by far if you stick to the stable repo.

After the Stable repo, you’ll see in the MX Package Installer that there’s also two other tabs for the MX Test Repo and the Debian Backports repo. This is basically where packages that are still being tested are kept available for those who want to take more of a risk. I personally haven’t really had much success with these when trying to find something that isn’t in the Stable repo, but your mileage may vary.

And then after the MX Test and Backports repo, you have the Flatpaks repo which is hosted by Flathub. This will require a bit more explanation. So, a while ago, it used to be that since every distro had their own specific way of bundling and handling packages, software in one distro’s repo was pretty much not compatible at all with software in another distro’s repo. The person who wrote the software would have to bundle their software in separate distro-compliant packages for their packaging system. Obviously this was not ideal and created a lot of redundant work for the software authors. And even further, there was another problem where older packages might rely on other older packages that might not be available in a distro’s repo any longer, breaking compatibility.

Now, there were multiple solutions made for this such as AppImages, snaps, and flatpaks, but to make a long story short, snap apps only support systems running the systemd init system along with them sending telemetry data to Canonical, albeit a basic form of it, and them also being the slowest on runtime. As to AppImages, they are much less secure and sometimes have problems starting on system boot with no desktop integration, but even if that wasn’t an issue, AppImages sometimes aren’t built “completely” depending on what the program maker decides, so you may get an AppImage that, for whatever reason, will not have some dependencies it needs. So, considering all this, flatpaks turned out to be the preferred solution for MX Linux in the end. A link down below will be posted where you can see a full breakdown of each solution’s capabilities. (https://askubuntu.com/questions/866...ces-between-snaps-appimage-flatpak-and-others)

So now that we know what flatpaks are and why they’re natively supported on MX Linux, how should we use them? Well, flatpaks are our cheat code here in terms of being able to get the latest software should we want it while also being able to enjoy all the stability benefits of running a full Debian Stable based distro. Sadly though, flatpaks aren’t entirely perfect. Perhaps one of their biggest issues is that they are much larger than standard packages from the Stable repo. And also, they, of course, are not going to be as fully tested at all as packages in the Stable repo will be.

After this, we have two other unofficial options that we can leverage in obtaining software. Though keep in mind, none of them are ideal and both are generally the same thing. You should try to stay away from these options unless there is no other choice. The first option is to download a .deb package directly from the software maker’s website. Since Debian (and its package manager) is one of the most used solutions out there, chances are very good that if there’s a Linux version available for a program but isn’t in a repo of some sort for whatever reason, then it will be on the software maker’s website packaged in a .deb file. And lastly, you may be told to add a PPA or Personal Package Archive to your system, which is basically just a third-party repo of some kind, and then told to install and update your desired package through that repo. Both of these are problematic due to security concerns so make damn sure you trust the package author. And finally, even if the packages are totally safe, installing .deb packages with either of these methods could very well result in system instability of some amount as package dependencies between repos may start clashing.

Alright. Now, the last general thing we need to consider when running MX is how long to run the installation before a major distro upgrade. Generally Debian has a new major stable release every two years, and MX Linux follows Debian with a major release as well once they’ve had a few months to implement their software, tools, and modifications into the OS plus do some more minor testing. Keep in mind that since MX is a fixed-release distro just like Debian, you cannot do an in-place upgrade and must do a full reinstall of the system if you want the latest and greatest. With that said though, MX Linux releases are fully supported for at least 4 years, so, much like a major Windows release, you have a ton of time to install the OS at your leisure. And while the latest MX release is pretty awesome to have, if your current system runs great for you, it will continue to run great and you don’t need to feel pressured at all to upgrade. It’s all up to you.
 

Arnox

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OK, NOW we can finally get into the full nitty-gritty details of actually installing and running MX Linux. First things first. Let’s get MX Linux on a medium and boot straight from it. So, you have two options here. You can either burn the MX .iso file to a DVD, or you can put it on a flash drive and run it from that. The flash drive option is definitely the quickest and most preferred option, but an optical disc will absolutely work just fine in a pinch. If you already know how to make and run a Linux LiveUSB or LiveDVD though then you can just skip this section and go straight to the Which ISO to Use section.

So, when making a LiveUSB, you actually have a fair few options here. The usual suspects recommended are balenaEtcher and Rufus. (https://www.balena.io/etcher/) (https://rufus.ie/) Links in the description. Back in the day, these were pretty good reliable options. Nevertheless though, an even better option came out about a year ago called Ventoy. (https://www.ventoy.net/) Again, link in the description.

What’s special about Ventoy over any of those other options is that, when Ventoy is installed, you can use your USB drive to store and use however many operating system ISO files you want. The only limit is how many can fit on the drive. It will even work with Windows ISOs from Windows 7 and up. And finally, you can also continue to use the drive just like a regular flash drive without issue. Just keep in mind, when installing Ventoy onto the flash drive, all data on it will be formatted and, thus, deleted entirely. Make SURE to backup anything you want off the drive before installing! You can put it back on the drive right after installation.

So, beyond the USB option, there’s also the LiveDVD option which, of course, requires a DVD drive and a disc with the ISO burned onto it as a boot disc. I’m not sure why exactly you would use a LiveDVD over a LiveUSB these days but who knows. Maybe you have access to a disc drive and discs but not a USB drive for some reason. In that case, just download the ISO and use CDBurnerXP to burn the ISO to disc. (https://cdburnerxp.se/en/home) Link in the description. You shouldn’t need to specify it as a boot disc. The ISO should take care of that all for you.

Alright, we’re all set. We got Ventoy (or our disc burner program) ready. We’re at the MX Linux site now. (https://mxlinux.org/) Link in the description. But what ISO option should we choose? If you just want the super quick and dirty average-joe recommendation, that will be the XFCE version of MX. Specifically the 64-bit Advanced Hardware Support version, and you can skip the rest of this section. But for the rest of you, let’s break all of this down.

First, you will see three categories, namely, XFCE, KDE, and Fluxbox. These are desktop environments. To explain what a desktop environment is just basically, picture the operating system kernel. That handles all communications and management between the hardware and software. And above the kernel, we have another layer of software which is your desktop environment. That comprises the window manager, the file manager, the settings programs, and etc. By the way, all desktop environments or DEs will have MX Tools already bundled in, so you don’t need to worry about that.

So, when choosing a DE, you need to decide how lightweight you want that desktop environment to be while considering the fact that the more lightweight it is, the less features you will have available to you. Now, the immediate kneejerk reaction is usually to go with the lightest desktop environment possible. You want to squeeze as much raw speed out of your system and you don’t need all these silly fancy features. Well, hold on there. There really is something to be said for prettiness and convenience, and ESPECIALLY when you’re first starting out with Linux. You’re going to have a lot to learn already and I would highly advise that you do not make things harder on yourself. And finally, consider that this is not Windows 10. Even with the heaviest desktop environment, it’s still going to run rather light comparatively speaking.

Now that we know all that, let’s talk about our specific DE options here. KDE will be the heaviest option on this list with the most features for sure, and also, the most visual customization as well. XFCE is in the middle, and Fluxbox is the lightest with the least amount of features. KDE is what I personally use with my workstation and it’s what I prefer without a doubt for more beefy systems though I know it can also run incredibly well on even mid-range systems.

After that, you may have more options. For KDE, you only have one but can get the AHS kernel through the MX Package Installer later on should you want it. For Fluxbox and XFCE though, you will need to decide your processor architecture and maybe if you want the AHS kernel. For processor architecture, the rule of thumb is, if you have 4 GBs of RAM or less, you should use the 32-bit version, but otherwise, stick with the 64-bit version. The 32-bit version will run somewhat lighter than the 64-bit version and supports older processors. Keep in mind though, you may have compatibility issues with some programs or games if you only have 32-bit.

And as for the getting the regular Debian kernel or the AHS kernel, basically, one of MX’s features is that they natively support you running a much more recent kernel to get access to more recent hardware drivers. For most people, they really don’t need the most recent kernel and these days, Linux gets drivers for hardware actually in advance of a hardware release, so even with the “old” Debian kernel, you’re still gonna get a pretty major range of hardware support. Nevertheless though, for those who do need it, the AHS kernel is there. As to stability, I wouldn’t worry about it either way as the Linux kernel is thankfully the most inspected, tested, and locked down parts of Linux by far. Unlike Microsoft, Linus Torvalds knows what he’s doing.
 
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Arnox

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Ok! Now we got our boot medium all ready to go, just go into your computer’s BIOS menu and boot from the medium. Motherboards have different ways for one to get to the BIOS menu so check your manual or search online if you don’t know how to get to it. After that, you should see MX’s boot prompt. You have a lot of options here actually, especially compared to other distros with a LiveUSB/DVD option, but since we’re just installing the OS, we don’t need to worry about any of that as long as it boots just fine. If you like though, you can press F1 to bring up a help window to help you understand all the boot options at your disposal. And there are quite a few.

So for now, you can just not touch anything and wait for it boot with the default settings or you can just press enter on the default menu entry which does the same thing. After the boot process, you’ll be taken to the Live desktop as usual. From here, you can try out the distro and experiment with it to your heart’s content. Nothing will be written to your computer’s storage and everything will be in RAM only, so it’s a pretty safe place to try out the distro as much as you like. Once you’re finished and want to install, on the desktop, you’ll see an icon that says Installer. Go ahead and click on that. It’s then going to first quickly inspect the installation medium you have and make sure all the files are complete and correct. Then you’ll get the Terms of Use and the keyboard settings. Go ahead and click Next if you’re satisfied with the defaults.

Now here’s the most important part of the install. You now need to specify how exactly you want to install MX Linux. But first, quick word on what a filesystem is. A file system is basically a software system that defines how files are laid out on a drive and also determines exactly how reads and writes to the drive are performed. Ok, with that out of the way, on the drive layout screen, the default option will wipe the drive you specify and format it with a swap partition (basically Linux’s equivalent to a page file), a 256 MB EFI System partition formatted in fat32, and finally, the main root partition formatted with the ext4 filesystem. Ext is short for extended by the way. With the default option, you can also choose if you want to make a separate Home partition and how much space you’d like to give it or if you just want to put it in the same root partition. This will also be in ext4. Usually, people have a separate home partition so they can use it between distros, but it’s up to you. And finally, you can choose whether you want to use full drive encryption or not. Alternatively, you can go full manual with the “Customize the disk layout” option. Besides of course wanting or needing to do an exotic disk setup, the biggest reason why you would want to do this is if you want Btrfs or the B-tree file system, over ext4.

Now, back when ext4 came out, it was pretty damn good. But that was over a decade ago and times have changed. Enter Btrfs. Btrfs is better than ext4 in pretty much every single way except maybe ext4 has a small performance edge. And even that is debatable. On top of that, Btrfs can detect file content corruption on the disk and fix it almost all of the time. Ext4 mostly cannot do this. HOWEVER…

Before you immediately run off to go make a Btrfs formatted disk, there is one thing you should probably keep in mind, and that is that there are still small lingering doubts as to Btrfs’ stability. Now, I’ve seen so many different posts on Reddit with users who have ran Btrfs for years and absolutely swear by its quality and reliability. But I’ve also heard a few horror stories about it as well with disks randomly and completely corrupting themselves. Now it seems to be that Btrfs has had issues with kernels before version 5.4 which is way before the current kernel we are using now with MX Linux, and as long as you don’t use RAID 5 or 6, you’re absolutely golden. But even then… There’s still a little bit of a question of how much you can really trust this file system.

So, with all that said, would I personally recommend Btrfs? I’d say, if you already have and make regular backups of your data, get Btrfs and don’t look back. But if you DON’T, then it looks like you’re using ext4. And seriously, make backups, guys. Storage is dead cheap these days so there’s no excuse. Just take your vital data and put it on a damn thumb drive already. Preferably, put it on two of them. Hell, make it five. I don’t care. Just do it. DO IT.

Ahem… Anyway. Let’s move on. The next screen is just your computer name and domain plus if you want to rename your workgroup and if you want to activate the SaMBa server for sharing some directories with another computer that has Windows installed. If you’re satisfied with all this, click Next. Now here, you can choose your locale, configure the system time, and configure the service settings. The default service settings are pretty good though in my opinion so if you don’t want to mess with that, don’t worry about it. This isn’t Windows 10 which comes with ninety bazillion bloated ass services on system install.

Next is your username and password. This screen’s pretty self-explanatory except for the separate root password. So, on top of your usual user account password, assuming you want one, you can also make it to where you have a separate password for administrator tasks. I personally just set a user password with no root password and no auto-login. That seems to give the best happy medium between convenience and security. And lastly, you’ll see a checkbox to apply any changes made to the live desktop to the MX install as well. Do whatever you want there but I think it’s best to just leave this unchecked as a default.

And boom! You’re all done with the install process! Next, we configure some things really quickly when we first boot in.
 

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First, hit the Start button on your keyboard or Meta button as it’s called in Linux. Type in MX Boot Options and press enter. Now, before we go on, we should discuss why we’re here in the first place. MX Boot Options is one of the many powerful tools developed and provided by the MX team. As you can imagine, it allows us to set the boot options for the OS. Most of it is pretty self-explanatory except for the top section called Options. The menu timeout setting will make the boot sequence pause on the menu for whatever time you set before it just chooses the default option and boots from there. If you press any key in the boot menu, the timer will stop entirely. Now, I like this set to 3 seconds but do whatever you like here. And now onto why we’re really here. “Boot to” allows you to set which kernel you want to boot from and whether you want the SysVInit system which is the default for MX, or the systemd init system. To understand what each choice means in this dialog box, we’ll go over kernels super quick and then init systems.

If you know operating systems, you know what a kernel is, but for those who don’t know, a kernel is the core part of an operating system that handles all the back and forth between the software and the hardware. And also, with a few exceptions, the Linux kernel houses all of the hardware drivers. Keep in mind, you may need to switch out kernels for weird compatibility issues you run into during a kernel update, although that’s pretty damn unlikely with MX Linux. If it works the first time, it should work all the time. But anyway, switching out the kernel isn’t really why we’re in boot options, especially since there’s only one kernel choice right now.

Right now, we’re here to decide on the init system. For those who don’t know, the init system is the very first program that is loaded when the kernel has finished loading. Think of it like the master process that governs all other processes, running or not. In Windows, you may know of the Services tab in msconfig, or the Services tool if you have a professional edition of Windows. In Linux, the init system is what manages all those services, basically. Now, normally, with many many other distros, you would be using the systemd init system and that would be the end of it. No choice given. The overall Linux community has, rather controversially I might add, standardized on systemd, and love it or hate it, it’s here to stay. But MX Linux though actually gives you a choice. You can now choose the Linux default of systemd, or you can choose SysVInit.

Now, we could talk all damn day about these init systems. Their history, what makes them unique, what makes them bad, what makes them good... But this guide is already going to be a really long one and we just do not have the time to really get into it, so I’m just going to give the quick Cliff Notes version. If you want the absolute most maximum program and process compatibility along with a ton of features, choose systemd. If you want an incredibly light and fast init system that’s easy to utilize and is, for lack of a better word, much less invasive, choose SysVInit. Keep in mind, in the “Boot to” options, the kernel option that doesn’t say “(systemd)” next to it is the SysVInit option which MX uses by default. Hit the Apply button when you’re done. And one last thing. The MX Linux team have taken great care to make sure SysVInit is as utterly compatible as possible with any programs and processes you might use and it’s already had years of solid development work behind it, so don’t be afraid to try it out if you’re unsure!

Alright, you can close the MX Boot Options now. Next, open your file manager and navigate to /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d/ and open the 50-joystick.conf file. At the moment, MX has a weird bug on at very least all Xbox One controllers where if you press the right trigger, the mouse cursor will travel up to the top of the screen and get stuck there until the controller is unplugged. We’re gonna fix that. Anyway, in the file, you’ll see a line called “MatchIsJoystick”. Turn it off by erasing on and typing off in its place. Keep in mind, this does have the unfortunate but small side effect of not letting you control the cursor with a controller on the desktop, but games and programs that use the controller will still work with it absolutely fine. I reported this problem a few times to the dev team but they haven’t really done anything about it yet. Not sure what’s going on there.
 
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Now that we have MX fully installed and ready to go, I’ll start going over the basic Linux folder structure and some very basic Linux command line skills. If you’re already familiar with both though or just don’t care for whatever reason, you can skip these two sections and head on over to the exciting KDE hacks section if you installed the KDE version, or just head over to the recommended software section.

So if we open up the root or top level folder of MX Linux by looking to the left pane and clicking on rootMX something something in the Devices category, we’re going to find a ton of folders. On Windows, it was basically This PC, or My Computer if you were using an older Windows version, and that would show all the storage drives the operating system saw. Personally, I think that the My Computer top level makes a lot more sense than just showing the installation root folder, but regardless, it is what it is. Right now, I’ll just go over the folders that you will probably be the most concerned with and then go over the rest in very basic detail.

The first is the home folder which is a lot like the My Documents folder of old. When you click on it, you’ll see a folder with your username on it. You would also see home folders for other users here if you added them. And if we click on our folder, we’ll get a Desktop, Documents, Downloads, Music, Pictures, Public, Templates, and Videos folder. With one exception, all of these folders are just what comes with every new user and they don’t have anything special about them at all. The Desktop folder though is the one exception. As you can imagine, whatever is in this folder will also be shown on the desktop, just like the Desktop folder in Windows. And lastly, before we leave the Home folder, we should definitely talk about the hidden files within it. If you enable viewing hidden files within your file manager, you will see a bunch of folders and files with periods in front of them. These are all your user-specific configuration files. Remember that as that can be rather important to know at times.

After the Home folder, we have the boot folder. If you set this manually during installation, this folder may be a separate partition. The boot folder or partition holds the kernel and all your essential boot files. This also holds the working GRUB config file. GRUB is your bootloader. Try not to touch this config file at all if at all possible and just use MX Boot Options, although if your boot gets messed up for whatever reason, you can use your USB key with MX Linux to restore your boot menu.

Next is the usr folder, short for user. This folder is generally where all the more user-facing programs, assets, and configs will be. Also, a fun fact. /user/share/wallpapers is where all the default wallpapers are.

Then we have the var folder, short for variable, which usually holds all the files that the operating system writes data to during the course of its operation. Most importantly by far is the log folder within the var folder which, as you can guess, is where all the log files are stored. syslog and the journal folder are where the general system log files are.

And finally, for the last of the important folders, we have media and mnt, short for mount. media is where the operating system or a file manager will automatically mount removable devices or network shares. mnt is where everything else mounted goes, usually manually mounted devices and folders. Check one of these two folders if you can’t find where your removable device or network share went.

Ok, now the rest of the folders in rapid fire. bin is for binary or executable programs. etc is for system configuration files. opt is for optional or third-party software. tmp is for temporary files and is usually cleared every reboot. dev is where the device files are kept. lib is where kernel modules and shared libraries are stored. lost+found is where recovered bits of corrupted files are found. proc is a virtual file system that contains info about running processes with a specific process ID or PID. run stores volatile runtime data. sbin is like the bin folder except for administrators. srv contains server related files. And finally, sys is a virtual file system that contains a bunch of information and configuration about how the kernel is managing the hardware right now. Very basically.
 
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With the file system mostly demystified, we can now look at some basic terminal stuff. The Linux terminal, console, prompt, or CLI, short for command line interface, is an awful lot like the command prompt or PowerShell on Windows. If you didn’t install any desktop environment, the CLI is where you would be dropped after booting the system up. With a desktop environment though, you would use a terminal emulator program to get access to the CLI. If you’re using KDE, you’ll use Konsole with a k. The commands you give are handled by what is called a shell, and the default shell in Linux is almost always Bash, or the Bourne Again Shell. At this point, Bash has gotten DECADES of development work behind it and is the standard for a pretty good reason. I would definitely recommend sticking to it, and especially if you’re new to Linux, but yes, there are other shells you can also use. We aren’t really going to go over them though as we just don’t have the time. This guide is already getting incredibly long.

Now, it seems any time you talk about the command line, people immediately start running for the hills. And in some fairness, this IS a guide for Windows Power Users, and we would like to stick to GUIs as much as possible, but with that said, the Linux command line is NOT JUST FOR SUPER HACKERS, PEOPLE. And it’s not the old and busted crap that the Windows command prompt is either. Bash is just incredibly powerful, and you would be depriving yourself of some really cool features and fun, yes, fun, if you staunchily avoid the Linux terminal at all costs. Do not be afraid of the prompt! And besides, being competent with the Linux CLI looks good on the resume. And don’t worry, we’re not going to get into the CLI with very much depth at all here, but I do want to make sure you guys understand it and can use in a basic manner at least. After that, you can do whatever you like.

So I’ve tried to think of a less cheesy example than this, but I couldn’t think of anything, so perhaps the best way to think of the command line, cheesy as it might be, is to think of it like wording an arcane spell. The prompt is the computer asking you what you want, and if you use the right words, numbers, and symbols, you can make the computer do pretty much anything you want. You can automate tasks, sort files, do precise batch file operations, patch the operating system, work an equation, play word games, hack into the NSA, and even write a program all from the CLI.

Of course, that all sounds great and everything, but nevertheless, the Linux terminal does have one big fat weakness. You need to know what to type and how to type it at very least somewhat, otherwise you might as well just close out of the terminal for all the good it’s going to do you. Now, there ARE a fair few tools to help you with this, but regardless, you will still need to know a few basics. Let’s open our terminal emulator now.

With it open you’ll see your username followed by the computer name followed by your current directory. And then after that, a dollar sign which is just a quick symbol saying you’re currently in the Bash shell. With many distros, all of that prompt would be on one line, but MX breaks it into two lines in order to have a dedicated line just for the current directory you are in. Now, I said that after the computer name, the directory you’re in will be displayed, but you’ll notice that when you first open the terminal, you don’t see a directory path. You just see a ~ symbol. This is just shorthand that means you’re currently in your home directory. The tilde symbol is a shorthand way of specifying your user home directory path.

And with that, there is one more thing you should know. What exactly do we mean when we say that we are in a directory in the terminal? It just means that let’s say there’s an executable in your home folder and you’re in your home folder. If you just type in the name of that executable, the shell will automatically assume you mean to execute something in the folder you’re currently in and execute that. This allows you to quickly access files that would otherwise normally require you to type out a whole path to the file.

Alright, that’s the basic concepts out of the way. Now let’s move on to some basic commands. If we type in pwd, short for present working directory, the shell will tell us what directory we’re currently in. If we type ls, short for list, we’ll get a list of folder and files in that directory. If we type in ls –a, we’ll get a list of all files and folders, regardless of if they’re hidden or not. That –a is called an argument and arguments allows us to modify the commands we type. Arguments are almost always preceded by a dash. Now if we look at the file list generated by ls –a, we see two curious files. One with a period, and one with two periods. These files are special and also essential to the file system and cannot be removed. The file with the first period just signifies the current directory and the file with two periods signifies the directory just above it. If we type in cd .., which is short for change directory, we will be moved to the directory above where we were. If we type in cd /, we’ll be put into the root directory, and finally, if we type in cd ~, we will be put back into our home directory.

Now type in man ls. man is short for manual. This will give us the full help file on the ls command, showing us what it does, all the arguments available to it, and what those arguments do. Press Q to quit out of it and return back to the prompt. Sometimes terminal programs will allow a clean exit by typing Q, or Ctrl + C, or whatever is displayed to exit out of it. Sometimes though, they may not allow any of that, in which case, you can use Ctrl + Z and then just exit out of the terminal. Ctrl + Z doesn’t actually exit the program per se, but it does completely halt it and store it in memory as a job. There’s some cool functionality behind that that you can take advantage of, but we’re not gonna cover it in this guide. You can go ahead and check that out some other time.

Next up is the sudo command, short for superuser do. This command will execute whatever commands are after it with full administrator or root privileges. You will of course need to provide your administrator password to do so. Along with this is the su command which fully logs you in as the root user. As a security measure a few Linux distros disable logging into root entirely and force usage of sudo. This is probably a good policy to follow anyway as you may unintentionally break your system in root. Root can do everything. It is the god user account. Keep in mind though, in order to use the su command, you will need to precede it with sudo. And also, sometimes some commands or files cannot be accessed unless accessed with administrator privileges. Type exit to logout of the root user account and return to your regular user account.

And lastly, we have our file operation commands. cp, short for copy, mv, short for move, and rm, short for remove. mv also doubles as a super quick way to rename files. The touch command updates the last modified timestamp on an existing file, but if specifying a file with the command that doesn’t exist, touch will create it. We can also use cat to quickly read files, but honestly, when it comes to both reading and editing, the nano editor and command is where it’s at. Just do nano and then the file name. It can also create files this way. The options are on the bottom once you’re in the editor. grep will search through the target you give it for a certain word or phrase you give.

Now… That just about wraps it up for the basic command line skills, but there is one more thing you should know, and this one is an absolute gem. When typing out a command, a filename, or a path, press the Tab button to make the shell autocomplete it for you. If there are multiple options available and you press Tab twice, it will show you all the options available. This is an insanely handy and convenient hack for the CLI. Learn it, use it, love it.
 
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So, everything in this section is optional and only applies to KDE users, and to start off, if you’re a true Windows power user chad like me, you’ll want that beautiful glassy Windows Aero theme and not that flat theme crap that’s taken over phones and desktops for the last 10 years. And don’t worry. There is actually a pretty faithful Windows Aero theme for KDE! For XFCE, I’m not really sure. I did see X-Aero and it comes sorta close, but in my arrogant opinion, it’s just not as good as KDE’s solution. My advice though for XFCE would be to just abandon the Aero look and go for an almost as sexy Windows XP Media Center Edition look with the Luna Royale theme. Honestly, it looks utterly amazing as well.

Ok, let’s move on then to what theme we want for KDE. Specifically, we’ll want the Se7en Aero global theme, with the ‘v’ in the “Se7en” being the number ‘7’. Unfortunately though, it’s not as simple as just downloading the global theme. There are still two issues that need to be fixed first. The first and definitely the most egregious are the window button height issues. Specifically, when you have the theme active and when a window is maximized, if you try to quickly throw your cursor to the top right of the screen to close out the window, it won’t work because the activation area for the close button (and also the minimize and maximize buttons too I should say) are literally one pixel lower from the top of the screen. I tried looking for a fix for this EVERYWHERE but I could never find one until finally, after my own digging in the system files, I finally found the stupid culprit.

First, in your file manager navigate to /home/<yourusername>/.local/share/aurorae/themes/Se7enAero/ If you don’t see .local, just click on the hamburger menu on the top right in Dolphin and select “Show hidden files”. After that, open the Se7enAerorc file. Then navigate down to the bottom and change TitleEdgeTopMaximized from 1 to 0, and then TitleHeight from 28 to 18. And while we’re here, let’s also re-enable the button animations too. Scroll up now to the Animation entry and change it from 0 to 133. Then save the file and quit. Now maximized windows are actually no longer annoying as hell to use and even animate correctly too!

Next is the Se7en Aero logon screen not resizing properly. Go to /home/<yourusername>/.local/share/plasma/look-and-feel/metadata/contents/splash/images/ and delete or rename the current low-res background.png file to whatever you like. Then rename the other larger res png file of the same image to background.png. If the image resolution is still too low, go ahead and rezize it to be whatever your monitor’s resolution is.

And finally, the last important KDE tweak. Changing that annoying default single-click behavior. To change it, open the start menu and type in “System Settings” and press enter. Then in the left pane under Workspace, click on Workspace Behavior. Then in the right pane, just change the click behavior from single-click to double-click.

From here on out with the KDE tweaks, these are more optional tips, but they’re still recommended. And first up, we’re going to change the start menu. Of course, you can keep it the way it is if you like a more slim classic start menu, but if you’re like me and you’re used to a Windows Vista/7 start menu, you’ll find the default to be too space constrained. Don’t worry though. This is a super easy fix. Just right-click the start button and select Show Alternatives, then choose Application Launcher instead of Application Menu. Boom, you’re done. You can also right click the button again and select Configure Application Launcher to configure its layout and the button icon.

Now, if you’re a chad and you use Firefox, and you’ve right-clicked and added it to the Favorites menu in MX Linux, you’ll notice that, unlike Firefox in Windows, it doesn’t have a right-click option to open a Private Window. While not the biggest issue per se, considering how much we all use our web browsers, this small annoyance can add up rather quickly. So we’re gonna change that. Right click the Start button or Application Launcher as it’s called in KDE. Select “Edit Applications” then in the left sidebar, open up the Internet category. Just copy the Firefox shortcut and paste it in the same category. Edit the name and description to be whatever you like. The important part by far is in the Command section. Make another space between “firefox” and “%u” and type in between them -private-window Then close that window and open up the application launcher and navigate to Applications > Internet. You’ll see the new shortcut to Firefox you just made to make Firefox launch only a private window. Just right-click that and select “Add to Favorites”.

Next is the Trash Can on the taskbar. On almost every Windows version I run, I put the trash can right on the taskbar and delete the trash can from the desktop. It’s a super handy Windows trick, and in KDE, it’s even easier to implement. Just right-click the taskbar, select Add Widgets, search for Trashcan, then just click and drag it to wherever you want it to be on the taskbar. Boom, done. And by the way, this is a fully functional trash can just like in Windows. You can drag files into it, open it by clicking it, and also right-click to bring up a menu to empty it.

And while we’re talking about the taskbar, let’s also add a much better Show Desktop widget to it. The current native one is really annoying in that pressing the button doesn’t actually minimize all the windows. Well, it does, but right when you click on a window in the taskbar to raise it or open another program, all the other windows are raised again as well. Now, I think this behavior was stopped in later versions of KDE, but regardless, we don’t have that right now, so, to stop this annoying behavior, again, we’re going to right-click on the taskbar, select Edit Panel, hover over the Show Desktop widget and click the button to remove it. Now close out of all that. Next, right click on the taskbar again and click on Add Widgets, then click on Get New Widgets at the top. Now search for Show Desktop, and then install Win7 Show Desktop. Then just add it to the taskbar like the trashcan. This widget is especially handy too because not only does it, of course, minimize all windows, you can also hover over the button and scroll your mouse wheel to quickly change the volume.

Next is to not only restore the Run dialog on Start + R, but to also get something MUCH more powerful with the shortcut. The Linux terminal. To get the terminal when pressing Start + R, open the start menu and type in System Settings and press enter. Now navigate to Shortcuts in the left hand sidebar under Workspaces and then click on the Launch Konsole section in the main window and again, the Launch Konsole shortcut. Then Add custom shortcut. Configure it to be the shortcut, Start + R, or again, Meta + R as Linux calls it, and boom, you now have not just Run access but full terminal access at only two familiar keystrokes away.

You can also set whether you want Ctrl+Esc to bring up the task-manager-like System Activity window or some other key combination. You can also use Ctrl+Alt+Esc to bring up a “kill” cursor. Click on any window to end it immediately. Alt+PrtScr+K kills all windows and puts you securely back to the OS login screen. Both of those key combos are configurable as well.

And lastly, the KDE Dolphin file manager. Now, Dophin is incredibly powerful and very configurable. Just explore its options and set it to be however you like. With that said though, you’ll probably find that searching with it is a bit balls. However, there is a secret and much better way to search and that is the Filter bar. We can bring it up manually in the menu when we want to use it yes, but that’s a pain in the ass to have to do all the time, so we’re gonna set it to always display. So click on the settings menu and select Configure Dolphin. Then click on Startup in the left pane and for new windows, select the option to always display the Filter bar. Keep in mind though, the Filter bar does have one weakness in that unlike Windows Search, it is not recursive, as in, if you search in a folder, also called a directory, for a file or files, it will not also search in the folders within the folder you are currently in.
 
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Arnox

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So, for MX Linux, the default image viewer is called Gwenviewer, and it does a pretty damn good job. However… There is, or at very least, was a major bug where when loading an image from a folder with over 1000 images in it, Gwenview will immediately try to cache thumbnails of every single image in that folder which, if the folder is on an HDD, results in MASSIVE slowdowns at the first run on every bootup. The slowdowns are so bad even that Gwenview will be almost completely unresponsive for about 10-15 seconds.. Now, having recently tested MX Linux version 21.2.1 in a VM as of this writing, this bug doesn’t seem to be present anymore, but just in case you run into this bug again, go ahead and download Nomacs as a really good alternative to Gwenviewer. Just keep in mind one thing. Nomacs has certain image manipulation actions that automatically save to the file without any prompting, and thus, change the file’s Date Modified, and those are the Rotate Image options and the Star rating option. Personally, I rarely, if ever use these tools, at least in the image viewer, but your mileage may vary. Other alternatives I’ve heard suggested to me are qview and qimgv

Windows has the Event Viewer for keeping track of system logs and allows for filtering them. Linux also keeps very good logs but they usually need to be accessed through the command line. If you’re a server administrator, this is totally fine, but for us Windows power users, it would be really nice if we had a graphical option. Never fear though! Ksystemlog is the way to go. You can even set log entry filters with it and also check logs from the last bootup and shutdown.

For media playing, this is a bit of a mixed bag, but it’s a solved one, thankfully. For audio, MX comes with the actually pretty nice Clementine music player. For everything else though, I’d highly recommend SMPlayer. You can do VLC as well I suppose, but SMPlayer seems to be much better optimized and still has a host of features. With that said, I think VLC is the only player with support for reading blu-ray keys off a keydb.cfg file. And this is important because it allows you to actually own and play your blu-rays on your computer without DRM. Go to http://fvonline-db.bplaced.net/ to get the latest keydb file and put it into ~/.config/aacs. I haven't tested whether SMPlayer supports reading from this file though. I'll post the latest keydb.cfg file as of this writing in this post though in case the site ever goes down.

And the last program I would recommend is the calculator. MX, at least if you have KDE, comes with KCalc, and it’s… Okay. The biggest issue with it by far is that it doesn’t have a history of the operations you did. And also, if you wanna do some quick math in the terminal… You can’t. Or at least, not with KCalc. Instead, what I’m gonna recommend might sound like nuclear overkill, but just hear me out here. I got some good reasons for this. So, for the calculator, I would heavily recommend just downloading Xcas. Xcas is a fully featured computer algebra system which can do a WHOLE lot more than solve 2+2. You can bring up Xcas just like a regular graphical calculator and type in your everyday operations like 362 / 31. But Xcas can do so much more as well. For example, by typing solve and then parenthesis right after and then in those parenthesis, 32=y*4, and then after that equation in the same parathesis, add a comma and then a y, it will solve for y. [solve(32=y*4,y)] Like solve, there are other things you can tell it to do with equations, such as approx, which gives a decimal value, and exact which avoids decimals as much as possible. But how do we use this in the terminal? Easy. Just type giac then single quotes. And within those single quotes, type in whatever operation you want Xcas to do. And finally, to make this even more simple and easy, you can create a custom command by pressing start and typing in Bash Config, pressing enter, then adding a new alias simply called calc, and the command which will be simply giac ‘$1’. Now you don’t have to remember that syntax any longer. Just do calc, space, and then whatever operation you want. You can even do multiple operations separated with just spaces with only one calc command.

You know, MX Linux is pretty damn amazing, but it doesn’t fulfill every single need in the world, sadly. So if you have a niche that isn’t fulfilled by MX Linux, you may be interested in one or more of the following Linux distros. I’ll go ahead and break them all down really quickly. You can also pretty much consider this my Linux Distro Greatest Hits list.

Q4OS
(The most Windows-XP-esque distro)

AntiX Linux
(Specifically designed for running on old computers)

BunsenLabs
(A great lightweight distro which also competes with AntiX)

AV Linux
(Content creation distro with an MX Linux base)

ElementaryOS
(The most simplified distro you can get)

Kali Linux
(Penetration-testing distro)

Tails
(Privacy-oriented distro designed specifically for running solely on USB drives)

Qubes OS
(Security and sandboxing-oriented distro designed to be installed to the system)

Fedora
(The distro with generally the newest stuff in the Linux world)

Debian (using the NetInstall CD version)
(A very good standard distro for servers)

Red Hat Enterprise Linux
(A very Debian like distro with full professional support for paying customers)

NixOS
(Raw customization, built on Haskell with a big bonus of reproducible builds)

Slackware
(Very customizable like NixOS, but with very, very, VERY tightly tuned and tested software packages, however, there is no dependency management and no reproducible builds)

Linux From Scratch
(Full manual make-your-own-distro)
 

Attachments
(DO NOT TRUST ATTACHMENTS BY DEFAULT. Use VirusTotal at least to quickly scan the files.)

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Arnox

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There’s a lot more I could have included here but this transcript is already over 20 pages, so those other things will have to get their own video instead. Regardless though, I want to thank you for sticking through all of this and I want to thank the MX team for providing us Windows plebs a lifeboat so we can escape the sinking ship that is modern Windows. I wish all Windows refugees luck as they navigate through Linux. It’s really exciting but also intimdating. But don’t be intimidated. I got your back, and the MX team are also willing and ready to support you. And for the rest of you who have probably already went to the Sanctuary site to tell me how wrong I am, I look forward to arguing with you on the site. I will give no quarter though. That is all.
 
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