April's Boise Linux User Group meeting was a very well attended even no formal program was planned. Two folks that are new to Linux posed questions about loading Linux on older computers. A discussion of Linux versions specifically targeted at older computers with lower resources ensued. It was generally agreed that for someone new to Linux, Puppy Linux is probably the preferred version because it comes fairly complete and maintains similarity to Windows look and feel. For a somewhat "newer" computer the group agreed that Linux Mint - Cinnamon edition probably provides the closest experience to Windows.
Other Linux versions were discussed and it was suggested to visit DistroWatch.com for descriptive information and download links for the myriad versions of Linux available. There was also a discussion of the differences and advantages of using a "LTS" (Long Term Support) version, especially if you're setting up a Linux machine for a non-technical "Linux newby".
The discussion then turned to how to try or test various versions of Linux without installing on the hard drive. Booting a "Live CD" of linux was discussed as well as booting from a USB thumbdrive. Then the issue of an older computer's bios not supporting booting from a USB port was addressed and the suggested solution is PLoP Boot Manager. PLoP first loads essential USB drivers, CD/DVD drivers, and Hard Disk Drivers, then presents the user with a menu of possible boot devices detected by PLoP.
The "Software Manager" was briefly demonstrated as an extremely easy way to find and install additional applications. For those times when additional support packages are needed, such as specific non-open-source multimedia codecs (MP3, etc.), the package manager is demonstrated.
Additionally one attendee brought in his ODROID. A fantastic little single board computer in a box about the size of a deck of cards. The group quickly looked up the specifications for this little marvel at HardKernel.com. This little computer is specifically designed to run Linux (XUbuntu 13.10 and Android 4.x recommended). Because of it's small size, low power consumption, and the fact that Linux is almost immune to malware infections, this attendee is planning to implement it as the computer his kids will use.
That wraps it up until next month!
Thanks to Darryl Kurt for facilitating the meeting and providing the meeting notes here.