I'd want a 4 core CPU running at 2 GHz, fanless, minimum of 2 GB of RAM (DDR3L is lower voltage than DDR3 and will be the future), 2 x USB-3 hubs, 1 x SATA-3 internal ports with one SSD of 64 GB with the OS and frequently used files on it, 1 x SATA-3 external port for HDD bulk storage, Gigabit Ethernet. Choosing an OS
Ubuntu releases come out every 6 months, but every 2 years they produce one that is supported for 5 years. The most recent long term support version is v16.04 "Xenial". Lubuntu is an official flavour of Ubuntu with the emphasis on lightweight use of resources (fewer flashy window effects), and to my mind has the best taskbar. Installing the OS under VirtualBox
Download Lubuntu 16.04.2 from http://cdimage.ubuntu.com/lubuntu/releases/16.04/release/lubuntu-16.04.2-desktop-amd64.iso
No need to burn it to DVD, but it can be handy later.
In VB > New : Choose a name like Lubuntu and VB will recognise it and do all the rest. When it needs the .iso file it will ask for it. It will create a .vdi file of about 3 GB to hold its image of the machine. When installation is finished, it will reboot. Then do VB > File > Close > Save Machine State. It might be a good idea to take a copy of the .vdi file in case you screw everything up.
Then VB > select your machine > Start.First things after downloading and installing
is to get all the updates that have happened since the download file was created - Menu > System Tools > Software Updater. Thereafter updates are automatic.
It doesn't have a firewall out of the box ( ! ), so the second essential is to install "gufw
", run it and switch it to ON.
Now you can relax.Fine-tuning the Desktop
This part can make all the difference as to how you enjoy the experience.
Right-click on an empty part of the Taskbar ("What can I do with this?"), and explore all the options.
Right-click on the empty Desktop , and explore all the ways you can set it up.
The Menu icon is at one end of the Taskbar, like the old Windows "Start" button.
Menu > Preferences > Customise look and feel, to choose a Theme, Icons you like.Full-featured applications
The Lubuntu distribution's apps are chosen for smallness/simplicity, and are OK for everything basic, but for the apps I'm using all the time, I prefer full-featured apps. To install them, Menu > System Tools > Lubuntu Software Centre . When they are installed, you can put their icons in the launcher area of the Taskbar, for single-click starting.
These are my personal choices and entirely optional:
File Manager: dolphin
Text Editor: kate
(Lubuntu 16.04 has this already)
Email Client: thunderbird
Photo Editor: pinta
Spreadsheet: libreoffice calc
Password Manager: keepass2
Audio/video player/converter: vlc
Firefox, Thunderbird, Keepass2 and VLC look and work exactly the same as their Windows counterparts, except "Tools > Options" becomes "Edit > Preferences".If you have more than one computer
, it is good to be able to send files between them, so each one should have an FTP server (pure-ftpd
) and FTP client (filezilla
) installed. Similarly, it is good to be able to see each computer's desktop on any screen, so a desktop server and desktop client (nomachine
) installed on each computer. Then you have to tell the firewall to allow in requests from your other computer(s) (not the whole internet!) to the FTP server (Port 21) and Desktop server (Port 4000):
Then you can have a beer.