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Thinkpad + Linux = I really want to learn !!

Linux on ThinkPads
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NothingNew1
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Thinkpad + Linux = I really want to learn !!

#1 Post by NothingNew1 » Sun Aug 04, 2019 10:02 am

Hello,
From what research I've gathered Thinkpasds seem to be the majorties choice on running linux. I don't know really anything when it comes to Thinkpads & linux, but I'm eager to learn.
I'm wanting to learn Ubuntu and I'm curious which Thinkpad would be the best for a absolutely complete beginner : T530 / T400 / T510 / T520 / X270 / X230 ?? I've listd these because these models are affordable to me $60.00 - $110.00 and are avaialble to purchase. Which would be the easiest to install Ubuntu on ? Which one is going to give me the least amount of issues ?
I just want Wifi to work without issues and basically read and learn the command line. I might also if possible dual boot with Windows 8 / 10 due to the fact I've been a Mac user for over a decade. Also, if I decide to be able to run online cert classes on the computer as well. Maybe down the road switch to a different flavor of linux : mint or debian or possibly Kali ( which I doubt ) although cyber security is 100% fasicnating to me.
Any help is greatly appreciated.
Thanks for everyones time !!

Omineca
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Re: Thinkpad + Linux = I really want to learn !!

#2 Post by Omineca » Tue Aug 06, 2019 9:17 am

Any old ThinkPad should serve the purpose. I suspect that the X270 in your list is a typo, given the price range stated. Get an SSD or the experience may be painfully slow.

Ubuntu is a good distribution to start with. There are some old online guides that are really useful for learning the command line (very little has changed in terms of the basics). I remember using this one by William Shotts, among others: https://sourceforge.net/projects/linuxc ... f/download

If you really want to learn the ins and outs of the system, once you get comfortable, move on from Ubuntu as you have proposed. I learned the most in two ways:

1. setting up Slackware on an old ThinkPad 365X. I think the equivalent today (as far as manual configuration goes) would be Arch Linux, but I've never tried it. Using a distribution that requires a lot of manual configuration forces you to learn a lot more. But don't keep your important data on such a system, because you probably *will* screw up massively at least once.

2. administering my own Debian server (mostly for XMPP, but once you get started, you'll find yourself self-hosting a ton of stuff). A cheap VPS or a raspberry pi provides great opportunities to teach yourself a lot.

Edit:

Linux in Nutshell is also very good: https://doc.lagout.org/operating%20syst ... h%20Ed.pdf

Chapter 3 in this book is quite useful: http://tldp.org/LDP/intro-linux/intro-linux.pdf

Here's a collection of resources, many of which are more specialized/advanced: https://itsfoss.com/learn-linux-for-free/
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Saucey
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Re: Thinkpad + Linux = I really want to learn !!

#3 Post by Saucey » Tue Aug 06, 2019 10:53 am

If you're using ubuntu, wifi should work out of the box on all of those ThinkPads. Specific distros I've come to have an issue with wifi and I just end up moving onto a different distro if I don't figure it out within an hour.
T400 benefits from libreboot or coreboot if you decide to go that route in the future... but flashing a bios seems a bit more daunting to me, I haven't tried it.

I'd say maybe an X220 would be a good start, specially if you get one with an IPS display.
Plus you could always add an mSATA card to it, and get dual boot without the big size of a T510.
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NothingNew1
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Joined: Fri Aug 02, 2019 7:52 pm
Location: Nashville, TN

Re: Thinkpad + Linux = I really want to learn !!

#4 Post by NothingNew1 » Tue Aug 06, 2019 8:12 pm

Hey !!
Thanks for all this useful information !! I whole heartedly appreciate !!
Another question if you don't mind. I purchased an extremly cheap but working T400. A person on Reddit said the system will run slow and possibly be somewhat frustrating. Curious if this is true ?

RAM: 4GB || Hard Drive Capacity: 160GB
Processor: Inter(R) Core (TM) 2 Duo || Processor Speed: 2.26GHz

Would upgrading to a SSD be worth the money and would it be a noticable difference ? If so any thoughts on these guys ?

https://www.crucial.com/usa/en/compatib ... 400-series

Would the 50.00 one be ok ? I only paid 40.00 for the computer and its only for learning, so I'm not wanting to invest alot into something thats only being used as a learning machine, unless its going to truly benefit the process.
Thanks again for your help !!!

Omineca
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Location: British Columbia, Canada

Thinkpad + Linux = I really want to learn !!

#5 Post by Omineca » Tue Aug 06, 2019 9:13 pm

Replied to your PM. There are less expensive SSDs.
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NothingNew1
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Location: Nashville, TN

Re: Thinkpad + Linux = I really want to learn !!

#6 Post by NothingNew1 » Wed Aug 07, 2019 6:53 am

Thank You !!! All your help is greatly appreciated !!!

farmall
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Re: Thinkpad + Linux = I really want to learn !!

#7 Post by farmall » Wed Aug 21, 2019 11:13 am

I've run several similar spec T61s for shop PCs with no problem. Gaming is for gaming boxes. I prefer light DEs and mostly use xfce.

Any distro should do so try a variety (remember you can run live off USB to test) and have fun!

James1138
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Re: Thinkpad + Linux = I really want to learn !!

#8 Post by James1138 » Wed Aug 21, 2019 4:09 pm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knoppix

KNOPPIX (/ˈknɒpɪks/ KNOP-iks)[2] is an operating system based on Debian designed to be run directly from a CD / DVD (Live CD) or a USB flash drive (Live USB), one of the first of its kind for any operating system[vague]. Knoppix was developed by, and named after, Linux consultant Klaus Knopper. When starting a program, it is loaded from the removable medium and decompressed into a RAM drive. The decompression is transparent and on-the-fly.

axur-delmeria
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Re: Thinkpad + Linux = I really want to learn !!

#9 Post by axur-delmeria » Thu Aug 22, 2019 3:43 am

I have an external 32GB SSD (M.2 2242 SSD in a USB 3.0 enclosure) with Debian installed. It boots much faster compared to a similar install on a USB 3.0 flash drive; the performance is good even when plugged to a USB 2.0 port. The USB 2.0 bottleneck only shows on heavy disk access, i.e. software updates via apt upgrade. Just don't try to put the laptop to sleep/standby/suspend, since that turns off the USB ports and you lose the mounted partitions. :O
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