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A guide to Linux

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  • A guide to Linux

    A guide to Linux

    WARNING: The article is now so OLD that it is basically useless, since all of the facts are too outdated!

    Hey to you all!

    In this article, I am going to outline and explain a few things about Linux - what it can do for you, where it is better than Microsoft Windows, and also where it is not.

    This article is devided into six main chapters for easy viewing. The reason for this is that I wanted to make it simple for the target reader (you?) to navigate to the topic you wish to know more about. I have devided this guide up in five main chapters, so you can simply look for the appropriate number in the index below, and find it in this guide.

    0. ~ Chapter index.
    1. The Pro’s and Con’s of Linux
    2. Which Distribution should I choose?
    3. Which Dekstop Enviroment for me?
    4. Windows/Linux counterparts.
    5. Links
    6. Conclusion

    1. ~ Linux Pro’s and Con’s

    Here I have a listup of the basic quick pro’s and cons of Linux are:

    • Most Linux distributions are free [[ I will explain the concept of OpenSource later in the article ]]
    • Linux is highly maintained
    • Linux is very stable
    • Linux is great for servers
    • Linux is immune to all known virusses

    • Linux is NOT Windows. This means not all Windows programs run natively on Linux.
    • There are so many distributions of Linux that choosing one can be tedious.
    • Linux takes a while to get used to if you come from Windows.

    2. ~Which Distribution should I choose?

    The most common question faced by potential newcomers to Linux is this: Which Linux distribution should I choose? Answering this question can be difficult, for this is all about taste. I will use my personal opinions as bias in this article, so take my recommendation with a grain of salt.

    I currently run a distribution which is very popular amongst new users: Ubuntu Linux. This distribution I will explain in further detail in one moment.

    Choosing a Linux Distribution should be centered around [I]what you want[I] from your Linux. When you choose a distribution, you choose the look and feel of your default desktop. Every Linux Distribution has it's own goal, and through that goal, you get different results. There are different Desktop Enviroments (covered below), and some Linux distributions even come without that, too; command line only - geeky!

    However, having all the graphical goodness of a modern system obviously has it's drawbacks - mainly in speed. This is why you need to make sure you don't get anything too flashy if on an old computer. Here I am assuming you have an average speed computer, and you wish to start out with Linux as a first-time user, so I will cover the most default of choices. The manner in which I will do this is by giving a quick review of Ubuntu Linux, and then providing links to other Linux distributions instead of actually reviewing them.


    Ubuntu’s name comes from a South African word, which roughly translates to “humanity towards others”. This is fitting to their slogan; “Linux for Human Beings”.

    Ubuntu is simple, great for beginners, and, ever since the 2006 Dapper release version came out, really quite quick. (to help you along, versions are given in numbers like this: 6.06 means that it was released in the sixth month of 2006. 7.04 because it was released in the fourth month of 2007, and so on.)

    Ubuntu 7.10 Gutsy Gibbon running with the standard Desktop Enviroment.

    A good thing about Ubuntu is, that a new version of Ubuntu comes out every six months, and every release is supported for eighteen months. So, what you are guaranteed is, that you get an up-to-date version of your Desktop for at least eighteen months, and, when you wish to upgrade, there is a single command you can type in, and your system will be upgraded to the new version by itself, and you will not lose any data.

    Please note: An update does take about 1-2 hours AFTER you have downloaded all the resources you need, which might be up to ~700mb

    How to upgrade to a new version of Ubuntu:

    When, and if, you wish to upgrade to the new version of Ubuntu, you should simply follow these steps:
    1. Open the Update Manager from the System/Administration menu, or run the following command (either via ALT-F2 or a terminal):
       gksudo "update-manager"
    2. Click the "Check" button.
      If you have a working network connection, it should then inform you about a new release and offer to upgrade your system.

    Ubuntu is installed either by using the Graphical Installer, or the commandline installer. Both are very easy, though the Graphical is by far the most pleasureable for the new Linux user.

    Ubuntu and Kubuntu?

    True, you can download different types of Ubuntu called Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Edubunt and Xubuntu, yet I must point out, that no matter which version you get, you still have Ubuntu. The only difference is what programs are supplied with the install. You can, however, when having a full Kubuntu, simply install the Ubuntu desktop, so you have both if you wish, so there really is no other difference other than what programs are installed by default.

    Ubuntu uses the GNOME Desktop System, Kubuntu the KDE Desktop System, and Xubuntu the XFCE Desktop System. Please view the 'Desktop Enviroments' section below for more information on GNOME and KDE.

    The package system in Ubuntu

    In Ubuntu, you can install Open Source programs (( see section later on in guide )), via a graphical application, which allows you to search through over 25,000 applications, which you can install - for free! If you wish to install, say, Firefox - supplied with Ubuntu as default - , then you would just search Firefox, and you would get a list of all Firefox related apps, so you mark it for installation. Then, when you click Apply, it will simply download, install and configure this application for you. All you then need to do, is go to the start menu, and click on the icon.

    Ubuntu uses an application called Synaptic for the package manager. Here is an image of Synaptic:

    Synaptic running on Ubuntu Linux

    3. ~ Which Desktop Enviroment for me?

    Again, this is all about taste, though I would say, that GNOME and KDE is going to be the top choices for the new user.


    Gnome is a simple, fast and versitile Desktop Enviroment. It is also a complete Desktop Enviroment, with it's own Login Manager, applications, and plugins.

    At this time, I shall fall back on the trusty old Wikipedia, as I am getting a wee bit tired of writing this guide, but I might write my own sometime, but not now.

    Here is what the Wiki page says:

    The GNOME project is an international effort to create an easy-to-use computer desktop environment built entirely from software considered free by the Free Software Foundation. This means creating tools that help developers to write new stand-alone applications, selecting applications for inclusion in the official product, and working on what is known as the desktop environment, that is, the desktop, application menu, task bar, file manager and window manager.

    The GNOME Desktop Enviroment

    I like the GNOME enviroment, as it has a lot of support, and it's very easy to use.


    KDE (K Desktop Environment) is a free desktop environment and development platform built with Trolltech's Qt toolkit. It runs on most Unix and Unix-like systems, such as Linux, BSD, AIX, Unixware, OpenServer and Solaris. There are also ports to Mac OS X using its X11 layer and Microsoft Windows using Cygwin, yet these are incredibly slow compared to the native Linux versions.

    Please note that there has been a new major release of KDE since this post was written - check out KDE4!

    KDE is ver pleasing on the eye, with many animations, yet it is, as said, slower than GNOME. There is a new version of KDE out called KDE4, but this is nowhere near ready for everyday newbie use.

    4. ~ Windows/Linux counterparts

    I could spend hours up what applications you could use in Linux that you used in Windows, yet I find this guide is just as easy, so why don't just just look there?

    5. ~ Links

    Some nice links for you!

    Linux/Windows Counterparts

    Two other alternatives to Ubuntu you could look at - I never would, but perhaps it's for you
    Fedora Linux

    6. ~ Conclusion

    This guide should have given you more insight into the realm of Linux, and if it did, I'd be glad to hear of it!
    I hope you liked the guide, and you *could* give me eputation poins for it


    updates, videos, images and discussions

  • #2
    Good Job!!
    Would you recommend Linux Over Microsoft xp


    • #3
      Thanks, net-connect!

      I would indeed, yes. Linux is more stable, configureable, and there are simply more choices. You might get in some slight problems with your Windows Games, as they cannot run normally without some modding, but I have it going quite well now

      (( better gaming for me in Linux with emulators than in XP without 0_o ))


      updates, videos, images and discussions


      • #4
        Ohh I see what ver of linux are you on? Ex:Fedora Core,Ubuntu Linux,Ubuntu Linux?


        • #5
          I have tried Fedora Core and SuSE, which I found slow, I liked Gentoo, but it's for that hard-core user, and takes too much of my time to set up. Ubuntu is my current, as it's a lot more easy than anything I have ever tried, and the speed is quite good

          updates, videos, images and discussions


          • #6
            Great Job! Love the guide :-)


            • #7
              Cheers, Andyman111


              updates, videos, images and discussions


              • #8
                There is a "test" called Linux Distribution Chooser. It will ask you some simple questions about your knowledge of computers and Linux and then recommend some distributions that would be a good fit for you.
       : open source and operating systems!


                • #9
                  Originally posted by mikeyp View Post
                  There is a "test" called Linux Distribution Chooser. It will ask you some simple questions about your knowledge of computers and Linux and then recommend some distributions that would be a good fit for you.
                  I was looking for something like this, cheers!


                  • #10
                    Please note, that if you wish to use this, use it as a guideline. I have tried it on several occasions, and so has a few of my friends that are even more geek than I, and it gives them a completely off distribution. Such as, a hardcore Gentoo* Linux user can get told to use Fedora Core or Ubuntu.

                    *Gentoo is a very advanced flavour of Linux, where everything is compiled from source code.

                    updates, videos, images and discussions


                    • #11

                      Great job.thanks for providing this knowledge .


                      • #12
                        ...missing a lot of information... but i guess we don't want to overwhelm the non-*nix users in the beginning... other than that, decent thread! good job Nox!


                        • #13
                          Wow thanks for the info!

                          Other info:

                          For sure you will learn a lot for this one


                          • #14
                            Unquestionably helpful! thank you. I have tried using linux way back in school but have difficulty in it. I usually ask for my professor's help during classes and sometimes need to research more to understand it. I haven't finished reading your post yet because I wanted to understand it one-by-one. There's a need for me to download it. I'll be back to your posts in a while. I'll try to get one first. You know, I'm used to Windows.


                            • #15
                              This article is 2 years old but is still relevant i think:
                              Fuel to the KDE VS GNOME issue.
                              I just hope that people try them both.