Microsoft is known to all. The top dog among operating systems. But as ubiquitous as Windows is, it is not perfect. High user-friendliness on the one hand, but forced updates and a high purchase price on the other. But there is another way. Many people are familiar with Linux. A term that first triggers a feeling in most people that can best be described with the sentence: “I don’t know anything about PCs”.
In this short article, I would like to show how easy it is to set up a Linux system and what advantages and disadvantages Linux brings. First of all, Linux Mint is one of many different “flavours” of Linux. At their core, these distributions are similar: they provide a fundamental building block of the operating system. While on Windows, for example, things like a mail programme or Solitaire are pre-installed, Linux Mint, at least in the Xfce Light version we tested here, gets by with relatively little. You do get a desktop and a browser, but that’s about it. This is where the first strength of Linux Mint becomes apparent: a certain lightness of the system. The ISO of Linux Mint is 1.8 GB in size. About one-third of an ISO of Windows with its 4.5 GB. Furthermore, Linux Mint also has fewer background processes than Windows. This means that some savings can be made here as well. This is also an important factor when it comes to power consumption. The fewer power-hungry processes, the less power you need overall. And as Prime Computer, we stand up for energy efficiency.
“Such advantages are all well and good, but what exactly can you do with Linux? And how do I do that?” Well, the installation is straightforward. You don’t need programming knowledge or anything like that, as you might think. A USB stick and a PrimeMini are all you need. Since Mint is a lightweight, a 250GB SSD in the PrimeMini is sufficient. The ISO is easily downloadable from the Linux Mint website. In this example, we install Linux Mint Xfce, which has very few RAM and storage requirements. 256 MB RAM and 3 GB free hard disk space would theoretically suffice.
The next step is to install the downloaded ISO in Rufus (download) and on the USB stick. Then connect the USB stick to the PrimeMini. While the PrimeMini is booting, press F10 and select the USB stick as the boot medium in the boot menu that now appears. A live image of Linux Mint will now start, where the operating system can be installed by selecting the CD symbol on the desktop. The installation itself is simple and self-explanatory. It even requires less time and input than the Windows installation.
Once the installation is complete, you are faced with an almost empty desktop. A window with a first setup appears where features such as the app browser or the update centre are explained.
When starting for the first time, we recommend running all updates. In the app browser, one searches for the desired programmes and installs them with one click. This is where you come across the supposed weaknesses of Linux. The Linux user base is comparatively small. Many well-known programmes are not available on Linux. Office 365 is only available in the online versions, and the Adobe Creative Suite programmes are nowhere to be found. You can try to get the programmes to run with “Wine”, an emulation software for Windows, but this is not always possible without compromises. However, there is often a Linux alternative to the desired programmes. For example, Libre Office as a replacement for Microsoft Office, the mail client Thunderbird or the image editing programme Gimp as an alternative for Adobe Photoshop.
Do we now recommend Linux Mint?
Yes and no. It would be best if you had fun experimenting and a desire to get to grips with the operating system so that you can really enjoy Linux. If you are looking for a slim system that offers almost all possibilities, Linux Mint Xfce is the right choice. A fundamental advantage of Linux and Linux Mint is the price. Unlike Windows, Linux Mint, like most Linux distributions, is free.
As a small tip, the end: The PrimeMini can also be ordered without Windows from our sales partners such as Brack.ch on request. This saves up to CHF 170 per device.