Please read, Well Intentioned Really


I’m new to Linux, so please have a bit of patience and try to understand what I’m about to say…

Being a MS-DOS and Windows user since the arcane days, I got of course used to the - facts are facts - ease and simplicity of certain operations when it comes to get work done quickly and efficiently. However, Windows evolution has brought in so much exhasperating crap that slows down the box just when we are in a hurry to get things done, that after much deliberating and months of reading as much as I could online about Linux and its labyrinth of never ending flavours, I finally made the deision to give it a try on a 4 year old laptop that still had Windows XP on it. So I went for the Ubuntu Mate.

All nice and well, works fairly well, a bit sluggish whiloe navigating menus that contain submenus, but nother major there…

What truly makes it even more exasperating then Windows - for a newbie to Linux like myself, mind you - is this…

Windows: Install/Uninstall programs is a breeze. We know where the program is downloaded to and can even choose where to donwload it to. To install, we simply click on it, choose install and job done. To Uninstall, we go to Control Panel, or to the main menu, right click on the program we no longer want, choose Uninstall and job done.

OK, some files may occasionally be left behind lingering on the disk, but we know where the program was installed, so just go there, select them, choose delete and job done (yeah, yeah, delete is not a true deletion, jadada, we all know it, but it’s irrelevant for this).

So I wanted to install a particular program in this newly installed Ubuntu Mate.

O’boy… need to go to University coz really… hair raising experience.

Using the Control Center takes me to the repositories and there it is the program alright… problem is, it’s a damn old version of it.

So I downloaded the recent version from the program’s website, checked the md5 checksum, all good.

Now to install it… goodness me… HOW???

14 hours of reading Linux forums FAQ’s to avoid annoying “seasoned” Linux users with newbie questions, all tricks tried… nah… no way.

The Package Manager just doesn’t allow it to even be displayed… maybe because it’s not a Debian based program (it’s compressed as a tar file, as it’s designed to work with linux)

Tried to move it to Var/Cache/Apt/Archives and use the apt-get command… nah… to start with, when attempting to move it from Downloads to Var/Cache/Apt/Archives, got a message saying “No permission”; tried to logout and login as root, but no password works with root. Right clicking doesn’t offer a choice of moving it by drag and drop.

Tried Packake Manager again… tried to Add download packages… yay… it moved the zipped folder to the destination I wanted, but now as an unzipped folder…(???). OK, let’s try to install it now… nah… no option anywhere in right click or any other menus to install the damn thing…

So got stuck to download endless instructions on how to install it manually from command line, which worked, yes, but required me to spend over 4 hours to find the instructions and get it done.

Sorry gents and ladies, but I have to say… when it comes to captivate despondent Windows users, Mac is light years ahead of all and any Linux flavours out there, for this reason alone.

So I wonder… why, oh why hasn’t yet any good soul seen such an obvious deterrent for the common dumb-ass user like myself to kiss goodbye to the God damn frustrating Windows and move happily to Linux???

A world wide community of programmers and etc etc etc, for the publicity is unmissable and not a single soul has thought in giving the new users the very basic foundations to encourage the move from one OP to the other???

Installing/Uninstalling programs is one the very basic and most required tasks… and whereas in Windows even the dumbest of all dumb users like myself can easily, quickly and flawlessly do it in minutes, in MAC takes a few extra minutes but it’s fairly simply as well and in Linux it is simply a mammoth task that 9 out 10 times is doomed to a frustrating failure that serves only to shoo away anybody trying to move away from Windows.

Truly sorry for this long post, but if the Linux community is genuinely serious and well intentioned in captivating new users and encouraging more people to use Linux and make the move onto it, then maybe somebody well placed within the said community could read this post of mine, give it some thought and realize that what you are actually doing is building houses starting from the roof, or from the walls, or from any other point in the structure rather from where a house MUST be started from… the foundations!! From a new user’s prespective, of course…

Thank you to all and any who had the patience and courtesy to read this to the end and to anyone who feels like having a derrogatory or rude go at me for it, let me remind you that 99% of computer users world wide are programming-ignorant and that is why Bill Gates quickly turned himself and Windows into the undeniable success it still is today… because he did understand this very basic truism and designed the damn thing for programming-ignorant USERS!!!

And if anyone wishes to beat me or to give me any useful and welcome advice alike, I’ll be happy to receive it at [email protected] because frankly, right now, I don’t think I’m going to spend any more time here so soon… sorry… sigh…

With Kind Regards


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Things are in a bit of an interim period so far as I can tell with regards to having a fully fledged package manager installed; plans are to have one installed by default in the next release.

Which was the program you were trying to install? We might be able to help you with this kind of thing in the future if you give us a bit more information.

Sorry your experiences so far haven’t been the best, but if you have any troubles come here first :wink: I’ve been really amazed at just how helpful everyone is here.

Nathan Russell


I echo @nsr_communityMember’s words.

Sorry you got off on the wrong foot, many of us would be keen to help and save your many hours searching for solutions that didn’t work. :confounded: You’re always welcome back! :hand:

A Linux distro’s package manager is a wonderful thing - it’s different in that it shares pieces of software with other programs, and will not delete them unless nothing else needs them. Windows (and partly Mac) has the typical, yet long-winded “Next! I agree! Next! Next! No, don’t install spyware. :stuck_out_tongue: Next! Finish!”, they usually have their own copy of the libraries that it needs to run (waste of space = bloats up as you know) with sacrifice for convenience.

GNU/Linux, while it comes in many shapes and forms, it’s everywhere and certainly will improve as a desktop operating system that it was originally written to be. :slight_smile: With a bit of perseverance with the learning curve, you wonder why the 4 coloured flag still remains dominant today. :wink:

It’s not for everyone, and I wouldn’t be too disappointed if the desktop share stays at >1% forever, as it’s a loved and well supported platform by many users and growing number of developers. It has great potential that it’s a pity one program steered you away.


Hi Nathan

Thank you, appreciated.

I did manage to install it in the end, but it took me ages because as I’m finding out painfully, there isn’t even a standardized unified shell…seems that every flavour of Linux has its own custom shell and instructions that work in one flavour don’t work on another… and it’s this time consuming search-and-try what works on the one we choose, that it’s frustrating and highly discouraging. But I’m getting there, sigh… I’m stubborn lol…and really had it with windows…sick and tired of it lol…

My post was genuinely intended as a constructive cry for help… I know countless friends in my situation, who have just given up because of similar time consuming, innefficient little things that make the whole difference when we need to get things done.

I can’t even delete the program folder now… the “move to wastebasket” option is greyed out and no clue how to delete from shell lol…will have to look into it lol…

So that’s it in a nutshell…

Install/uninstall, moving and deleting files and folders, having the choice to decide where to install programs… and partitioning the hard drive, hah… nothing in the Mate to allow me to do so… so if i wanted to use an external high capacity drive to partition and use as a safe storage for important work and backups, no graphical app to help do it the quick way… stuck with the command line… and when you live in a high speed, fast paced place like London, I’m sorry to say it just doesn’t fit the bill…

Yes, we are probably regarded as lazy, but let’s face it… in business, speed is critical…and GUI’s that provide point and click, drag and drop and right click efficient functions (like damn windows) are and will always be the first choice, no matter what anybody’s personal opinions or views might be. Just come to London, Toronto, Tokyo, Melbourne or any other capital to any office of any company and see what both workers and bosses want… windows. Why? Because it’s designed to be used by common folks who need to use the programs quickly and efficiently without having to even know what a hell a command line or a shell or a prompt are… lol…

Why do you think that touch screen technology took off so quickly and so big?

Users are just that… programmatically dumb asses that just want to click and go :slight_smile:

I know that Linux is brilliant for that… but the fact that it’s still being developed by command line die hards that refuse to understand that 99% of people are point and click users, is not doing it any favours, on the contrary… it’s sending wave after wave of frustrated Windows users right into MAC’s arms… and I hate MAC even more than windows hahaha…

But these are the facts, whether people like them or not.

Sorry for bothering you with this long reply (typed on my linux based android phone lol), but maybe if you copy and paste it in some relevant Linux Forums where developers lurk so that they can read it and give it a thought or two of consideration, we can all benefit faster from much needed improvements - and start to get much more people into it, rather than away from it… :slight_smile:

Kind Regards


Joao Monteiro
The only constant in Life is Change

So linux isn’t windows.
How you obtain software is fundamentally different.
The software that you use for different tasks is often (usually) different.
One thing linux is about, is stability. This means amongst other things, that a distro’s global specification may not yet be ready to support the very latest version of a given software application. If you really, really need those 2 new features (or whatever it is that the version included in the distro’s repositories doesn’t have) you may be able to obtain it from the given software projects site. BUT, if it doesn’t use the same “package format” you are not going to have a 3-click install.

If you would like to tell us which software was involved and what you were hoping to use it for someone may be able to offer you good useful advice. I have yet to find a task that I can’t deal with via linux - but I have had to learn new things, and I’m sure the learning isn’t going to stop anytime soon.
And that brings to mind an other journey of learning, 3.11, 95, 98 2000, XP, Vista, 7…
If you do leave, come back in two or three years time, things are always changing. :smile:


Hi Joao,

Really glad to hear you’re giving linux a try. Sometimes some of the difficulties in linux is simply a matter of perspective. Hang with me a moment as I try to describe to you the amazingness that is linux and software:

Just imagine a system where you have access to entire terabytes of software in a curated repository online. Imagine that your OS is wired at a low level to be able to communicate with this repository, keeping an index of it on your computer. Imagine if not only your programs were held here, but also your entire OS. Imagine if it was all signed so you could be confident it hasn’t been tampered with between there and your computer. Imagine if you could install several pieces of software at the same time. And when you ask it to do so, it will automatically work out what other libraries and dependencies it requires, automatically figuring out conflicts. Not just that, but what if you could also uninstall software at the same time as installing it? And you could update all of your programs. And you could update your entire OS at the same time!!!

Welcome to the synaptic package manager (combined with apt-get, ubuntu, debian and the .deb system). I suggest in the first instance you don’t try installing software using different methods - just stick to what is available. Yes, it might not be the latest version, but it will be tested. Later, if you want to get a later version, you should add in an extra repository so that it ties in with the system.

I’ve used it for about 6 years now, and I couldn’t go back to the days of hunting around the ‘www’ looking for files to download and hoping they’re ok and not malicious. I couldn’t go back to watching individual pieces of software trying to install themselves, and often fail, because they don’t understand what’s going on with the rest of the system. I certainly couldn’t go back to the days when I’d open a piece of software (to use it! - yes! use it!) and it would immediately demand I update it, or worse, just update automatically. I couldn’t go back to asking the computer to shut down and then finding it won’t because it wants to install updates. I couldn’t go back to important fullscreen presentations being rudely minimised because the computer wants to restart to do updates. I just can’t be bothered installing each piece of software individually, ditto for uninstalling, ditto for updating.

I’d say Mac OS X is a reasonably good OS (in my books much better than Windows, although I haven’t tried 10). But, for me, this is what makes linux the ultimate desktop OS.


Hi Joao,

I get where you are coming from with regards to the learning curve of Linux, I wrote this guide for complete beginners to give them a leg-up, the idea behind my thinking was to try and make the transition to Linux an easy one, there are many tutorials out there and people just have to devote a little time to learning, take it in small steps so to speak!:

and this one (among others!):


Hi again folks,

First of all, thank you to all of you who addressed me a word or two
in reply to my frustration. I got them just as I was going to bed and
as I replied to nsr_community member (hope you didn’t get too bored
with my tirade lol), my very own motto “The only constant in
Life is Change” came to my mind again. And as I told nsr, I’m
stubborn too lol…

Today I woke up to a msg from Wolfman who kindly sent me two
attachments, one of them being exactly what I would have expected to
be available on the website under “Installation”.

Long story cut short: got myself a good extra large mug of coffee and
sat down doing a fresh install of Ubuntu Mate, but now following
Wolfman’s instructions step by step (printed them first, as couldn’t
be bothered to start a windows pc lol).

Took my time coz wanted to understand what was what and why… and
sure enough some of the screenshots didn’t match… I had to make
some unexpected choices in terms of partitioning… and it dawned on
me that it might be because I was installing the very Ubuntu Mate
15.10 that had just been released yesterday or the day before. (Sorry
if some don’t like this, but I’m glad that the Ubuntu Software Center
is out; the Control Center works like a charm to me)

It paid off. Didn’t fiddle or muck about with anything until I had
completed Wolfman’s guidance to the last detail.

Then used Control Center to download and install Synaptic Package
Manager. Again took Wolfman’s advice and rebooted after every single
install. Checked the Web for programs that I wanted and then checked
in Synaptic if they existed. Nope… but since I’m moving from
Windows to a new OS, might as well move onto alternative progs… I
love learning anyway, so… it again paid off and quite better than I
could have expected.

Got Gimp, which allows me to do all I need without having to
annoyingly switch between Photoshop and Paintshop Pro (I don’t ever
use all their potential but the features I need are split between the
two - no more, Gimp has all I need)

Got Blowfish as well, which again seems to have all I need as well.

And as for the program that I was after yesterday - in the end got it
going but was working erratically - I found it in the Synaptic
repositories as well, although a much older version; however, when I
marked it for install, it automatically detected a needed file
specific for my machine and after installing it and giving it a go,
it worked flawlessly. Granted, doesn’t have the latest features but
does all I need and works like a charm.

Didn’t let excitement kick in and rather took my time looking at
things in detail, reading man pages for loads of commands and trying
out some basic operations, creating/moving/editing/deleting files and
folders from a usb stick, to get the gist of it works in Linux.

Granted, it’s a whole new world for me and the learning curve isn’t
going to end ever, but after only a mere 10 hours with a break or two
to go out for a coffee and lunch, I’m already comfortably doing from
this little machine all my work docs, spreadsheets, emails and photo
editing for technical reports… and without the hassle of the damn
Windows slowing it all down either because it can’t cope with a dozen
progs open and running at once or because it decides to defrag or
index or do some stupid update when the damn update scheduler is not
even set for that time lol…

So, yes, I’m definitely off windows and on Linux, as gradual as the
move might be.

Yes, I’m aware that this has gone too long, but to Caeser what is of
Caeser… I feel I had to post all this after such a frustrating
experience yesterday.

Can’t thank you all enough for the words you addressed me and for
your patience in tolerating these two ling tirades lol. But in all
honesty, wouldn’t probably have done it if it wasn’t for Wolfman’s
instructions - and above all, what really did the trick for me… to
stick to the advice that most of you gave me to use Synaptic and
stick to install only what’s in the repositories because it has been
extensively tried and tested and proven to work.

This is actually the best first lesson I’ve learned Linux-wise and
the one piece of advice I’ll be giving to my friends as a golden rule
of thumb.

And Wolfman, if you have no objections, I’d love to have your
permission to pass them onto my friends as well, just as you sent
them to me.

Finally, for what it may be worth to those in the knowing, and as a
really huge credit to Linux itself as an OS, the machine I have the
Ubuntu Mate 15.10 installed is a damn old Asus EeePc 1000H. It has a
160GB hard disk, 1GB memory, Intel processor and a Raylink RT2896
wireless card. And everything worked like a charm, sound, wireless,
ethernet, graphics, everything…

This just reinforces the points I made in my replies to the two poor
souls who got them… but glad I made them… many, many people would
be switching from windows to linux if they had a step by step install
instruction for their chosen flavour, like I had the good fortune of
having from Wolfman. This is indeed a crucial factor, have no doubts

So, ladies and gentlemen, THANK YOU so much for your understanding,
your kindness in replying and your patience to read all this lol…

And risking getting my ass kicked - hehe - a first newbie tech

During install I had to make choices partitioning the hard drive. And
being still ignorant on the requirements of Linux, I partitioned it
as follows:

  • Chose Primary for all partitions

  • Assigned 10 GB to the swap

  • Assigned 100 GB to /

  • And Assigned the rest (about 50 GB) to /home

So my question is… did I make correct choices in terms of Primary
to all of them and did I allocate the space fairly wisely between
them? Or did I waste space in some?

Thank you again to you all, truly appreciated.

With my Kindest Regards

The only Constant in Life is Change


Welcome @crocossaurio, I am an ex-Windows newbie too. Also, I have kept up with your 2 day saga; and all I can say is Hooray! :joy: It has only been a few months for me; but these guys are the best; so all is well - and it gets better (and less confusing) all the time!

You give off the kind of vibe that leads me think that you will be a genuine asset to us soon enough - giving off much advice, as you master Linux. This distro, and its associated community is perfect for folks like us; I know, I tried 4 other ones first.

Thrilled your staying! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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Hi Mated, cheers. Make no mistakes, I’m staying indeed, lol… have been desperate to get rid off windows… refused to upgrade any further than win7, lol…

I don’t know about becoming an asset any time soon haha, I have a whole new world to learn… don’t forget that unix is to dos what an elephant is to an ant hahaha…

But if I can - and I will, make no mistakes - use my own experiences to make life easier, more bearable, tolerant and even enticing and encouraging to others in the same shoes as mine, I’ll definitely find the time to put the effort into it.

These guys are indeed excellent… they could have easily ignored me or tell me to bugger off and do some reading (would be a mammoth misjudgement of theirs, as I’ve been reading/learning about linux for a while now, lol), but they actually understood my frustration and were kind enough to address me exceedingly useful advice, tips and encouragement to not let the apparent initial difficulties putting me off.

I’m a stubborn old dimossaur and when i put my mind to anything, i get it done, but it was actually their unexpected atittude of understanding, kindness and encouragement that made me decide to stick to this distro and stop wasting time looking for anything else.

I did my homework the best i could before choosing ubuntu mate… tons of reading reviews from a myriad of different sources led me to the conclusion that it might be the best option for laptops… and as I had this eeepc sitting uselessly with the the defunct windows xp on it, it was a no brainer to choose to wipe the whole thing out and go for a full clean install of mate… I wasn’t just sure if the machine could take the spanky new 15.10 but hey, lo and behold, I’m addressing you these words from it hahaha…

Cheers again, appreciated and hope to see you around :smile:

Kind Regards

The only constant in Life is Change

There is a ton…no a mountian of information out there on linux. This could help you narrow down the field now that you made your choice.

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glad to hear you got it sorted, by all means pass on the links to anyone you like, the guide is for everyone and if you have any comments/feedback, please reply to it with any suggestions you may have for improvement!. :sunny:

You will be a “black belt” Ubuntu master in no time!. :smiley:

You also touched on partitioning:

@crocossaurio: We both came over directly from Windows 7; so I’ll spare you the details of my personal experiences, regarding why I finally took the plunge. I can imagine that mine mirror many of yours :weary:.

All I can say is that it is wholly apparent that (for us, at least) we are at the right place - at the right time. Both the distro, with all of the support, etc., which comes with it, as well as the relevant community… will end up making a crucial impact on how Linux works out for Windows refugees.

They say variety is the spice of life, and Linux surely offers plenty of distros to quench that thirst. I’ve been with 5 so far; but to have the same distro performing optimally on all our family’s laptops and PCs is what MATE does best. It is truly the best balance of speed, strength, and resource friendliness; plus it is wise to build continuity into our learning curve - vs starting over constantly while we’re getting things straight.

I would not have ever gone to other distos, first, had I had the benefit of a crystal ball back then. Cheers!

Just to add, don’t forget you can create live CDs/USBs to dip your toes with other distros to try and experiment without mucking up the system. Especially Ubuntu-based derivatives (such as elementary OS and Linux Mint, plus official flavours) where they are very similar under the hood to Debian (think apt-get), but come with a different feel and objective. Only distros like openSUSE, CentOS and Fedora is where Linux is shaped differently (eg. yum for package management), while the interface may look familiar (GNOME/MATE/KDE).

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Cheers Wolfman, this is great.
Don’t know about the black belt lol but later tonight after dinner I’m going to take my time to instalk the x64 version side by side with Win7 on my core i7 Toshiba. As I said… I’m stubborn as well and definitely moving into linux for good.
But I want, I need to understand what I’m doing ie, what, why, when, etc, so the move has by necessity to be gradual, as I can’t get myself suddenly dead in the water when it comes to work matters.

I work a lot with TurboCad for all my research and experiments, for example, and I still have to chuck the disks into the dvd drive and see how to install them in linux - I’m pretty sure I’ve seen drivers for linux in them somewhere, so I think there’s a very good chance it even brings some sort of auto-installer for linux with it… we’ll see… but if I can’t do it for some reason, I’ll ask you guys what’s the alternative program in linux world.

I have to say that I’m actually enjoying this… out goes the old and familiar with all the bad habbits I picked along the years and in comes a whole new unknown world filled to the brim with novelties and wonders to find, learn and explore… I like that…I do indeed hehe…

I have another laptop with win xp somewhere, so when I install mate on it, I’ll take screeshots as the install proceeds and then will send them to you for you to see the pics differences I mentioned in the partitioning step of it, as well as the choices I made.

I may have wasted space unecessarily (didn’t read your latest gparted doc yet) but hey…must have done good choices because the baby pc is working lovely and putting the core i7 with win7 to shame haha… started libreoffice spreadsheet on both at the same time… win7 was still loading up and baby eeepc already had the doc open on screen (massive spreadsheet with 29 tabs lol)…

Right, I did it again, too much babbling … sorry…lol… but I’m genuinely happy. Have been desiring and postponing this move for far too long… combination of factors finally made it possible… time availability and a goid step-by-step guide. Crucial, absolutely crucial.

Thanks Wolfman and sorry to all for another tirade lol :slight_smile:

Joao Monteiro
The only constant in Life is Change


Welcome @crocossaurio! Great to have another Windows user transforming into Linux and Ubuntu MATE world. I switched in April from Windows 7 and in the beginning it wasn't easy, because you have to learn how to do things sometimes completely different that what you used to, but after a week or two it will get better, read posts on forum, watch some videos on youtube to see how things is done. Personally I sometimes find it harder to use Windows now and miss some features that I got used on UM lol

I think Ubuntu MATE came a long way since I first started to use it in April, bit before second release came around. I got lucky and liked my first distro I decided to use :smile:. One of my favourite new feature that came with 15.10 is Welcome which you should get the first time you log into Ubuntu MATE, otherwise I think you get it under System

In Getting Started you can select all the most common and useful stuff you might want/need to set up in few easy clicks (there are lots and lots of things you can customize, not like in Windows...) and also on the bottom you get some of the shortcuts you can use.

Also check up the Software where you can easily install many common programs with just one click to install program. You may even find some programs that work better then those available/most known in Windows :wink: And also in descriptions for some it's written what they are Alternative to in Windows/Mac world which might be helpful too. Also if you try it and don't like it, you can also remove with one click.

Sorry for a bit long post, but hope it helps you at least a little in the process of getting to know Ubuntu MATE and you will soon start to enjoy it, like I am :grinning:


I’m speaking future terms here, but Ubuntu MATE Welcome will be even friendlier and educational towards new (and existing) users in 16.04 LTS (5 year supported release out on April 2016). Even Raspberry Pi users too.

16.04 should be a good stable release so all future new comers have Welcome out of the box (it wasn’t introduced at the time of 14.04 LTS, 14.10 or 15.04) :thumbsup: