If you have been following the blog, you have noticed 2 posts about Linux, both of them are reviews. You may know exactly what Linux is, or you may not have ever heard the word “Linux” before in your entire life. If you have never heard of Linux, this is for you, if you have used or know what Linux is, but don’t own a Linux computer, read over this article. If you use Linux, watch out for some more reviews!
What is Linux?
This is a question I get from a lot of people. Linux is older, so some people don’t know about it, but Linux is gaining more popularity lately. One person knew that I was running Ubuntu Linux on my old laptop, but it took him a second to identify it. Oh, the question! Linux is an operating system, like Windows or Macintosh (now known as Mac), but is a little more command-line oriented. No matter how hard you try, you can never pass a command-line system while starting Linux. In some cases, command-line is all Linux is. The thing that sets Linux apart from Windows and Mac, other than the appearance, of course, it that it is the only operating system (OS) that is free. You are able – and encouraged, actually – to customize it! You can change the close, minimize, maximize buttons position and appearance quite easily. Something that I did for a long time was use what is called a “Live-CD.” A Live-CD allows you to run Linux without touching your computer, though not all Linux distributions (distros, the different kinds of Linux, created by other people) support Live-CD. The ones I know that support it are Ubuntu, Slax (though Live-CD is the only way to run Slax, see Slax review.) and OpenSUSE. Those can be found here: Ubuntu’s website | OpenSUSE’s website | Slax’s website
Different Linux distros have different tastes to it. They also have different software to them. Most Linux distros have all-free software, where some may have proprietary/commercial software to it, too.
Where can I get Linux?
When I first got into Linux, I asked myself this question. The answer is not linux.com or linux,.org, though. Google Linux distros. Wikipedia.org has a nice chart for Linux distros, which I have actually contributed to the article myself. One great Linux distro for beginners is Ubuntu. (Link above) It allows Live-CD booting and is easy to install and use. Updates come every 6 months for Ubuntu. (the 10th and the 4th month of each year.) After you find a Linux distro you like, you have to download the .iso file. This could take from 10 minutes to an hour, depending on your Internet speed, the mirror you use and the Linux disto you picked out.
Ok, I just downloaded the .iso file… what now?
After you download the .iso file, you need to burn it to a CD or DVD, or a USB drive. There are also ways to test Linux without rebooting or using a disc, it’s called virtualization (also called Virtual Machines). They simulate a computer inside your computer. You can find a virtualization software free online. I trust VirtualBox (virtualbox.org) for all of my Linux work. After you have burned the .iso file to a disc using a burner or “unetbootin” for USB drives, restart your computer and look for a key to press to enter your “BIOS settings.” From there, use your arrow keys to navigate to your boot tab and move the CD drive (or USB) to the top of the list, save your configuration and restart the computer. It should boot into Linux. You can then use your arrow keys to select whether you want to boot the Live-CD or install it to your hard drive. After that, Linux will boot up eventually, depending on your choice. There you are. Linux!
How do I work this thing?!
If you are having problems with Linux, check the Help program, or the distro’s website. They should have what you need there. If you don’t know how to work it at all, move the mouse around and click stuff. I will also be happy to help you with your Linux questions. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for reading guys!