Tips for Linux Newbies

For people new to Linux, here are some important things to know:

Before Installing, Try it Out.

One great thing about many Linux distros is the ability to try them out with a Live CD, a Live DVD, or a USB flash drive. This gives you the opportunity to see how a particular distro will work with your computer’s hardware, without actually installing it. Click here to learn more about how to install Linux [1].

Be Patient: There is a Learning Curve.

Linux is not Windows, and that is not a bad thing. While there is much in Linux that will be familiar to Windows users, there are also many things that will be different. With this being said, such things as browsing the Internet, sending emails, and using a word processor will generally be very similar to how they are in Windows. With patience and an open mind, it is very possible that you may grow to like Linux more than Windows. Click here to read a nice article about Linux basics [2].

Use Your Distro’s Software Repository.

In Windows, when a person wants to install new software, they can go to a number of places to get it. The new software may be downloaded and installed from any variety of websites, or it may come from a CD or DVD purchased at an actual store. In the major Linux distros, new software usually can be downloaded and installed from a repository. For example, Ubuntu, KubuntuXubuntu, Lubuntu, Linux Mint, and SolydXK all have a software center/manager that is tied to the repository. One nice benefit of using your Linux distro’s repository is that you are getting all of your software from one place. This is not only very convenient, but it also greatly reduces the chances of installing malware because most repositories are closely guarded by members of each distro’s community. While many programs can be downloaded and installed into Linux from a variety of websites, it is almost always preferable to install software from your distro’s own repository.

The Software Manager in Linux Mint and SolydXK:

Software Manager screenshot

Seek Help from Your Distro’s Community.

If you have questions or issues you are not able to answer or solve on your own, go to your Linux distro’s community. There you will find instructions, documentation, as well as discussions by other users which address a multitude of issues. In many cases, there is someone in the distro’s community who has encountered the same issue as yourself and has found a solution. Following are links to some excellent Linux communities:www.ubuntu.com/community – Ubuntu Community – This is also useful for Xubuntu, Lubuntu, and Kubuntu.
fedoraproject.org/en/join-fedora – Fedora Community
forums.opensuse.org – OpenSUSE Forum
community.linuxmint.com – Linux Mint Community
forum.vectorlinux.com – VectorLinux Forum – While this lesser-known distro is better suited for intermediate or advanced users, VectorLinux has an outstanding community.

Have Fun!

Play around with your Linux desktop. Customize it the way you want it to be. Go to your distro’s software repository and browse through the free and open source software applications found there; install the ones you like. Open up the command terminal and try entering a few simple commands. Though the terminal is scary to many people, it is a very powerful tool and is quite friendly once you get to know it. Finally, do not be afraid of messing something up in your Linux system. Things that can be broken can be fixed, and if you are not able to fix something you have “broken” you can always reinstall your Linux system from scratch. It goes without saying that you should always back up any important personal files (documents, pictures, videos, music, etc.) you may have on your computer, no matter what operating system you are using. That way, if for the unlikely reason you need to reinstall your Linux system, you will have all your important personal files intact.


References:

1.    ^ “How to Install Linux.” http://www.renewablepcs.com/about-linux/how-to-install-linux.
2.    ^ “A Windows User’s Guide to Linux.” http://mybroadband.co.za/news/software/32474-a-windows-users-guide-to-linux.html.
3.    ^ Ubuntu Community. http://www.ubuntu.com/community.


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