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Trying Linux for the First Time: A Beginner’s Guide

By Lesley Lutomski

You’re probably familiar with Windows and/or Mac OS. But they aren't the only operating systems available. A popular alternative is Linux. In this article, Lesley Lutomski introduces Linux and what you need to know to give it a try.


Linux penguin

I'm constantly surprised by people who tell me they'd like to try Linux, but think it's “too hard”.

There seems to be a common misapprehension that Linux is “for geeks”. Certainly, this was once the case: dedicated users compiled their own kernels, and it wasn't for the faint-hearted.

But Linux has come a long way since those days. So, if you've never tried it, or tried it many years ago and gave up, I'd encourage you to think again.

Choose Your Flavor

Linux comes in many “flavors”, or “distributions”—normally referred to as distros. Some of these are aimed firmly at a mainstream audience, and I'd suggest using one of these to get your feet wet. The best known of these is possibly Ubuntu, which is the one I use and the one I'll concentrate on here. Linux Mint is also popular, but there are many more.

Ubuntu Gnome desktopUbuntu Gnome desktop

Difficult or Not?

So is it difficult to use? Not in my experience. The first thing I noticed when we switched to Ubuntu was the sudden reduction in the number of distress calls I received from my husband. He seemed to experience fewer problems using the system than he had on Windows XP, and also seemed to feel more confident about trying things for himself, rather than panicking that he might “break something”.

I also set up a Xubuntu system for an elderly friend who had never used a computer of any kind, and she rapidly got to grips with it.

What Are the Benefits?

For many people, cost will be a consideration. Most popular Linux distros—and their associated software—are free to download and use. For others, the open-source nature of the OS appeals.

Linux is also far less susceptible to viruses than Windows. The main reason for this is simply that most viruses are designed to target Windows machines and will have no effect on a Linux system. It's not true that Linux systems are immune to viruses, but they are very rare. A humorous explanation can be found here.

This added security is one reason we chose it for our elderly friend. Although Linux viruses are rare, ClamAV is free and helps ensure you don't inadvertently download and pass on viruses to friends with Windows.

ubuntu gnome desktop traditionalUbuntu Gnome desktop – traditional version

Will Linux Be Compatible with My Hardware?

Linux will run well on most PCs, although if you have the very latest cutting-edge technology, you may find it's not immediately supported.

On the other hand, installing Linux can be a great way to breathe new life into old hardware. Some distros are designed to be lightweight—such as the Ubuntu variant Xubuntu—and will perform well on systems with limited resources.

It's also possible to run Linux on a Mac, although I have no experience of this. The Ubuntu Forums—a great source of help and support—have a dedicated section for Apple hardware users.

How to Choose a Distro?

The easiest way is simply to try one and see if you like it. This isn't nearly as radical as it sounds.

Many distros are free to download, after which you can burn them to DVD. They can then be run as a “live” CD/DVD. In other words, you boot your system from the DVD—or a USB drive—and run the OS from there. It doesn't have to be installed, and nothing is written to your hard drive—although you should be able to access files on your hard drive while in Linux.

This is a great way to get a feel for the distro at no risk, and it also lets you check there are no problems with your hardware. The Ubuntu site provides very clear tutorials for getting all this done.

Ubuntu options

A word of caution, though; running from a live DVD is noticeably slower than running from a hard drive, so you should make allowances for this. Also, should you decide to stick with Linux, you may find extra proprietary drivers to improve the performance of graphics and other hardware.

How Do I Install It?

Again, this is a simple process. The “live” CD/DVD includes options to install the system, should you choose to do so, and will walk you through the process.

You can choose to install alongside another OS—either on the same drive or a separate drive—and run a dual-boot system. This allows you to use either system. You can also run it in a VM.

If you decide to install Ubuntu or its variants, either as a dual-boot or standalone system, the process is as simple as answering a few questions and then sitting back while the system does the work. If you're installing alongside an existing OS on the same drive, Ubuntu will take care of partitioning it. If you have a broadband connection, you can choose to download and install updates as part of the process.

Be warned that Linux uses a different file system to Windows. While Linux will be able to read and write to a Windows partition, Windows won’t read the Linux partition. If you’re dual-booting and need to access files from both systems, ensure you save them to a partition formatted as FAT or NTFS.

My own experience of this as a first-time Linux user was not quite straightforward. I added a second hard drive for Ubuntu and the installation went smoothly. Afterwards, I booted into Ubuntu and everything was great—until I tried to boot WinXP and found I couldn't.

After a brief panic, I headed off to the Ubuntu Forums, where somebody patiently walked me through a couple of possible solutions until we found one which worked for my system. That was seven years ago, and the only time I had an issue like that.

What About Other Software?

This is probably the ultimate determinant of whether or not Linux is for you. On the one hand, you have access to a great deal of free, easy-to-install software; on the other, many popular commercial applications are not available for Linux.

You can, of course, run a VM, or an alternative is to use Wine, which is a kind of translation layer for Windows software. The Wine website maintains an Application Database that gives guidance on how well each application runs under Wine. Often this can vary greatly, depending on the version of the software, as in these results for Photoshop:

photoshop on wine

I've had good success with old games and smaller apps, but generally speaking, I use native Linux alternatives.

LibreOffice (a fork of OpenOffice) comes installed as standard, as does Firefox. Chromium is the native Linux version of the Chrome browser and supports many of the same extensions. GIMP is a near replacement for Photoshop, although opinions vary on how well it compares. In addition to the bundled applications, other software is easy to install from the repositories.

Ubuntu now comes with the Ubuntu Software Centre, which is a graphical interface that lets you find software by category and see ratings:

ubuntu software centre

I tend to prefer the older Synaptic Package Manager. You can search for an application by name or keyword, and look through suggested results:

synaptic package manager

What About Updates?

Updates are notified automatically and installed with a single click. It's rare to have to restart the system, except for updates to the kernel itself:

updates

New releases of Ubuntu are made every six months, but you can opt to use a “Long Term Support” (LTS) version. These are released every two years. Installed applications will receive updates, but will generally not upgrade to a newer version until the next Ubuntu release. So if you like to run the latest version of things, the LTS version won't be for you.

So What Are You Waiting For?

This was never intended as a “how to” guide, but just as an overview to whet your appetite and encourage you to try Linux for yourself. Hopefully I've succeeded, and you're now off to download your very first distro!

If you'd rather dip your toe in an even gentler way, without even burning and booting from a DVD, the Ubuntu site offers a virtual tour of the operating system that you might enjoy. It gives you a taste of the look and feel of Ubuntu, including a glimpse of the main apps that come with it.

Lastly, if you’ve already taken the plunge and installed Linux, and you’re a web developer, here’s some advice on setting up a development environment in Linux.

If you have any questions or experiences to share, please do so in the comments.

  • analyzethis

    Someone coming from Windows is going to find Gnome 3 uncomfortable to work with – in my opinion.

    • hot_rush

      gnome is awesome, windows 8-10 – piece of…

      • analyzethis

        I use Fedora with Cinnamon. I’m not saying that Gnome is bad just that it’s a radical departure from what a windows user is used to.

        • hot_rush

          i am using cinnamon too) gnome is awesome, but has performance issues.
          but in any case I do not see any advantages of windows to gnome. when i see fullscreen calc in windows I pull from the shelves a real calculator)

          • analyzethis

            Linux is the balls!

          • Charlie Whitman

            I’m guessing that analyzethis is talking about more ‘traditional’ versions of Windows, like 7 and XP.

  • http://haruhisbrigade.blogspot.com/2015/09/blog-post.html Emp Hoon Ϟ

    I recommend ubuntu over anything else
    My family even the ones all living apart own Ubuntu computers
    Its simple enough

    Chrome can be installed on it
    I use my computer as the Center of Entertainment ,Hook it up to TV.
    Then my other Comps can be used around the house

  • Sam Wong

    I switched to Ubuntu 14 desktop two years ago.
    As a web developer, tools like sublime text, skype, king office, chrome, firefox , git, filezilla is working fine.
    As i don’t like MySQL workbench, i use PlayOnLinux or Wine to install windows version of SQLyog community.

    It works very well so far.
    The only thing is drag and drop files from Filezilla to Nautilus (Files Manager / Explorer) is not working.

  • Dileepa Rajapaksha

    I wonder whether the open office is fully compatible with ms office.

    • Sam Wong

      as far i know, it’s not fully compatible.
      Kingsoft Office seems work better – but again i don’t think it’s fully 100% compatible.

      • Aaron

        Both suck compared to Libre, which isn’t 100% compatible. But yet it doesn’t matter because Office should be 100% compatible with Libre, but it’s not. So use Libre and be happy, unless you have to open complicated .docx files, it doesn’t matter!

  • ΚυριάκοΣ Μιχαήλ

    Except from Some Programs that can run on Windows, their nothing else holding you keep using them. I’m using Ubuntu, and the only thing that i don’t like i that Microsoft Office can work. I know, Libre office is available, but Microsoft Office suit is awesome. That’s true. So make the switch, less headache on the end-user.

  • Jonathan Penny

    I love Linux. I have recommended Kubuntu to several people and dual boot Kubuntu on my desktop PC with Windows. I tried Ubuntu but Gnome 3 is horrid. KDE with Plasma 5 looks beautiful at 4k.

    Sadly my Dell XPS 13 laptop didn’t run Kubuntu all that well so had to stick with Windows.

    My advice if looking to install Linux, research if it runs on your hardware first.

    • Lesley Lutomski

      I’d certainly agree with the advice to check it out first, but if it
      doesn’t run well, you could try a different distro, or a different
      release. I had a lot of problems after upgrading from Ubuntu 8.10 to
      9.04, and eventually ended up going back to 8.10 until 9.10 was
      released. I’ve never had problems with any other version.

      • Jonathan Penny

        The problem for me was that Intel’s proprietary graphics drivers caused too many issues at 4k resolutions. I couldn’t use an older version as I needed to run version 4.1+ of the Kernel in order for my hardware to be supported. I will reinstall Kubuntu when version 15.10 is released later this month as that will hopefully fix the issues I was having with 15.04.

        • hackintosh777

          Try Fedora 22 (kernel 4.1.10), Antergos (kernel 4.2.3), or Manjaro 15.09 (kernel 4.2.1). Manjaro especially has a nice implementation of KDE Plasma 5.

        • teklife

          4k displays are just too new, in time those displays should work, keep an eye on the forums/google search for your display working for others in the coming weeks/months.

    • ElDerecho

      Try the XFCE desktop on your laptop if the issue was the laptop’s horsepower. I just put XFCE on an almost 10 year old laptop and it runs very smoothly. It can be customized out the wazoo too so that it looks more modern.

      • Jonathan Penny

        Thanks for the info! I’ll take a look at XFCE. It wasn’t really the power that was the problem, and more that drivers were not really good enough. I’ll check that desktop out though!

        • ElDerecho

          My understanding is that XFCE is more like Gnome 2, and doesn’t rely on the video drivers for rendering (fancy composting and effects), so it might help if drivers were the issue. I use XFCE a lot for remote desktop because the newer desktops (Unity, Cinnamon) don’t work well (really, at all) with remote desktop tools like NX and X2GO. So my Mint PCs have both Cinnamon for use at the machine, and XFCE for when connecting remotely. Anyways, good luck!

    • Charlie Whitman

      Since the XPS 13 is a Linux from Dell supported machine, you should be able to get fixes from Dell for most issues. They have an OEM version of Ubuntu 14.04 that you can download (which you could follow with an installation of the kubuntu-desktop package to get the KDE desktop), or they have a PPA that you can add to get a number of packages that provide support for your hardware on the Dell supported release of Ubuntu (the aforementioned 14.04).

      Incidentally, Intel’s graphics driver is open source maintained by them, not proprietary. If the resolution itself was a problem, then Dell’s solutions for this may only apply to the Unity desktop, but you may be able to find other solutions by searching for “KDE hidpi” on Google or Duckduckgo.

  • tommyr

    I use Linux Mint here. AWESOME! Tried several other flavors over the years and to me Mint is the best. You can’t go wrong with Mint!

    • ElDerecho

      Agreed! It’s a desktop OS that knows its a desktop OS and doesn’t try to be anything else.

    • AS118

      Mint with Cinnamon’s my favorite. Runs surprisingly fast too. When I wasn’t playing games for a while, it was my daily driver OS. Even ran WoW on it through WINE, and it was enough to do Arenas and Raids and even win.

      That said, now I play more Windows-only games, so I just boot into Windows 10 for those. Not worth it to try and use WINE for every single game, and AMD’s Linux drivers still suck. (I Have a radeon card).

  • Garth

    I bought a PC with Linspire (Linux) installed on it brand new.  It never had Windows on it.  It was a breath of fresh air.  90% of my computer problems evaporated.  No more Windows for me, ever.  (I told my boss that, too.  It’s not worth my health.  When I used Windows, I was angry with the computer all the time and wanted to throw it out the window.)  Linspire’s click-n-run software library was great too, with tons of free software.  But soon Linspire was bought out by Xandros who promptly dropped support for it.

    At that time, Ubuntu seemed to be emerging as the leader in desktop Linux, so I got that.  Again, excellent.  Recently however Ubuntu has been getting harder to use, and I absolutely hate some of the recent changes.  Also, I used to have to re-start the computer only a few times a year, when updates to the kernel required it, but now they want me to re-start quite frequently, something I don’t take lightly, because of all the stuff I have running all the time.

    I plan to try Linux Mint now and see how that goes.  I don’t use the laptop much, so I’ll try it there first, and if I like it, put it on the desktop too.

    • teklife

      restarts should be for the kernel only, maybe there are just more kernel updates you’re getting now.

      you can try other desktop environments with your same ubuntu install, without having to download and install mint, just try MATE desktop or cinnamon, or XFCE, or e17, or LXDE, etc. but i do like mint’s version of MATE since i have always loved the mint menu, i think it’s still the best linux start menu ever, but perhaps even that is installable by adding mint repos. just seems like an easier and less time consuming option if you don’t like ubuntu’s default DE(i’m assuming you don’t like unity).

  • James Hibbard

    Great article! Love to see people getting the word out about Linux.
    For those looking for a distro, I recommend the distro picker. It lets you select how important certain features are to you and then makes recommendations based on your input.

  • Jona Azizaj

    Interesting article, i’m a Fedora user and I highly recommend people to use it because it’s very userfriendly.

  • http://aziflaj.github.io/ Aldo Ziflaj

    I’m using Fedora 22 and it works okay for mobile (android/hybrid) and web development

  • Silva Arapi

    Great article! I have been working with Ubuntu and Fedora and they are both amazing, the installation process is so easy and they are really fast. Personally I prefer fedora 22, it has a great interface and many other features, you just have to try it.

  • dojovader

    Ubuntu Fan here, Linux is the best development environment i can think of, though i still dual boot Windows 10 and Linux but i haven’t been on Windows 10 side for a looooong while. I have a second laptop I am looking for a decent distro not heavy of UI Effects something simple and clean, any recommendations ?

    • Lesley Lutomski

      Have you tried Xubuntu? It’s designed to be lightweight, and I’ve run it on machines with low resources with good results.

      We still have a dual-boot, but almost never go over to Windows (now known in our house as “going over to the dark side”…). The next machine we get, I’ll probably just run Windows in a VM for testing.

    • Charlie Whitman

      Yes, Xubuntu or LXLE (or perhaps even Bodhi Linux) are good distributions for older hardware that still have the entire Ubuntu software repository available. There are distributions that can resurrect even older machines (e.g., I have Salix Fluxbox on a 2003 Thinkpad), but most people wouldn’t need to go that far.

    • teklife

      try bodhi linux, it is a VERY minimal install, with basically just a web browser, but there’s an online app store that allows you to install entire software bundles at once with one click.

      bodhi uses a now forked version of enlightenment desktop(e17) now called moksha, which is incredibly fast, even on very old hardware, and uses about 100mb at idle with tons of bells and whistles, but can run on even less than 64mb and looks very slick. some of the complaints about enlightenment is that there are so many configuration options that it overwhelms some people, but you can make ‘e’ look like just about anything, it is a tweakers paradise, and the run everything launcher/start menu is simply awesome and very useful. nothing is faster, lighter and more configurable than moksha/enlightenment from my experience, makes lubuntu/lxde seem heavy and ugly in comparison.

      i want to add that all versions of bodhi linux are based off ubuntu LTS releases and only come out every 2 years. as such ubuntu repos are available to you, but bodhi does an excellent job of keeping up to date apps in its own repos for their users. LXLE would be my second choice.

  • Cory Hilliard

    I’m using Fedora 22 with the Cinnamon desktop environment. I love it, and probably won’t be changing to another distro until I either make one of my own, or jump into the development of another project. …and even then that will probably be something under the Red Hat umbrella.

  • Albin

    The worst way to test is to boot and try to use from a clunky DVD optical drive. Far better is to create a “persistent” Live USB – most Linux will run almost as well from USB as from a regular hard drive install, without any risk whatsoever to an existing Windows or Apple installation. The “persistent” install will save settings, configuration, and tryouts of software installations between reboots. It also allows testnig for all the components of the actual machine it’s run on, as well as peripherals the user want to connect to – susses out problems that might not be thought of beforehand. It’s impossible to get sound online advice about all these factors from helpful strangers who have never seen the machine.

    Search for “Pendrive Installer” for a free little program to easily make the persistent Live USB stick from within Windows then boot from that stick to try it out. (“Persistence” will work consistently for Ubuntu and spin-offs like Mint, but not some other Linux versions.)

    • Charlie Whitman

      I agree that this will give you a much better feel for the system. You can also use a DVD installer to put almost any Linux on a USB drive, but you have to be careful not to overwrite your hard drive accidentally instead of installing to the USB stick. For this reason, you are safer using the Pendrive Installer.

      The way I have had the most success in getting people interested in using Linux is by installing it on their “old” computer that has the messed up Windows install that they don’t mind overwriting. When they see how well Linux can run on that, they usually want to keep it, and sometimes they even get to the point where they want it on their newest machine. Actually, this is often also very effective with people who have stopped using their computer because it doesn’t work right and have been using a tablet as their main device. They are happy to have some functionality that their tablets just aren’t practical for available to them again.

  • Calvin R

    I am finally running LinuxMint after years of effort, ruining one computer, and restoring several others. I have a degree in communication and a background in office administration, but no formal IT background. I find myself unable to understand most of the advice from the often-unfriendly Linux “community,” and I have been able to install (after several tries) but not understand or use WINE and VM. I finally got Mint up and running, losing quite a few key files but surviving. I have been able to actually use such things as Chromium and office software, but I have professional experience with very similar non-FOSS programs.

    Believing this is easy for you is like believing professional-level grammar and usage is easy for me. It’s easy after college-level training and professional experience. On top of everything else, Linux people seem to focus on distro appearance rather than ease of operation. That’s silly.

    • Lesley Lutomski

      Sorry to hear you’ve found the Linux community unfriendly. My own experience with the Ubuntu Forums has been the complete opposite. I, too, have no formal IT education; anything I know is self-taught. I found folk on the forums very happy to give step-by-step guidance, and to explain their fixes in detail, when asked.

    • Charlie Whitman

      I hear people describe Linux forums as unfriendly, but I’ve never really experienced that myself (I may have seen one odd person here and there be unfriendly to a beginner, but in those cases both others and I have stepped in with more helpful posts). As an aside, I should mention at this point that starting your post with hurling insults at Linux/Ubuntu/Fedora/etc. (that you are asking for help with) is not a good way to lead a question if you want a helpful response.

      It’s true that I have an IT background at this point (and I was a technical type to begin with). However, most people that can’t install and use Linux easily couldn’t install and use Windows easily either. Someone else sets up their machine for them (an automated OEM install from the disk that came with the machine does not count as doing it yourself). If you have never taken a retail Windows disk and installed it on random hardware, I can assure you that installation of a newbie friendly Linux distribution will usually be easier (though it depends on the hardware).

      Running Wine or a virtual machine is not really a novice level task (though you may be able to get through it with appropriate online help). For most things, you would be better off running Linux native software. For some programs, it’s true that simply installing Wine and running the program setup as usual will work, and Wine might seem friendly. That kind of experience will not be consistent however.

      The easiest way to run a virtual machine is probably Virtualbox. Basically, you would install it as you would any other Linux program. The toughest part is probably allocating resources from it for your virtual machine (it may also be intimidating to try and turn on hardware virtualization support in your BIOS or UEFI, which it is good to do for performance reasons). If you can get through the resource allocation (basically describing the virtual ‘hardware’ the machine will contain), then you can start the machine and work with it just as you would actual hardware, except the installation will be easier because the virtual hardware is more standard than any real hardware is likely to be. The other issues are odd niggles like making the display full screen and getting access to actual hardware as virtual hardware on the VM. Probably the number of little things you need or ought to do might overwhelm a new user before he realizes that it will shortly become much less complicated. Generally, once a virtual machine is fully set up, it’s quite easy to use (as easy as using a computer in general anyway). Getting the Virtualbox extensions installed in the VM is a very helpful step in making the experience seamless.

      • Calvin R

        If you’re addressing me, you did a really poor job of reading my post. I never asked for help. I don’t do that any more. And I did not begin by “hurling insults and Linux/Ubuntu/Fedora”. I began by stating my experience. However, your reply does not say who you addressed. In any case, you have reinforced my point about unfriendly replies.

  • http://blog.byh2o.com Richard Bywater

    “Chromium is the native Linux version of the Chrome browser and supports many of the same extensions.”

    Not really – Chromium is the base browser that Chrome uses as a base to build on top of. There is a perfectly fine Native Linux version of Chrome called, err, Chrome.

    • Lesley Lutomski

      Sorry if my wording is inaccurate. Chromium is open-source, and available through the Ubuntu repositories. Chrome can, of course, be downloaded from Google and installed.

  • Callie33021

    I have been using Ubuntu 14.10 from a bootable USB on an inherited computer where the hard drive was password locked. The inherited computer came with WIN 8. I am really enjoying Ubuntu. I am only using the option “Try Ubuntu” rather than the option to “Install” it. So far, so good. However, I still have not figured out how to install certain plug-ins like Adobe Flash or how to install the Chromium browser. When I try, I get error messages. However, I am confident that as I become more familiar with this OS, I will learn how to do these things. Meanwhile, I have a laptop that was only 2 months old when our friend died. I can surf the Internet, post this message, use apps like Facebook, send email, and use the Ubuntu versions of MS Office. I am happy.

    • Charlie Whitman

      If the original system is simply password protected, then you should be able to access any data you want to save from your Ubuntu USB drive. If it has full hard drive encryption, then you either have to find/figure out the original password, crack the encryption (probably not easy), or simply give up the data for gone and re-partition the drive. Alternatively, you could remove the drive and replace it with a new one where you could install the system of your choice.

      If you really want to continue to run Ubuntu from a USB drive, then you would probably be better off actually running the installation to another USB drive rather than running the installation USB stick perpetually in “Try Ubuntu” mode. Then you would have the option of installing Flash during the installation, and installing anything new would be much more straightforward.

      • Callie33021

        Thanks,Charlie, for this information. I appreciate the suggestions and will probably do the latter…running the installation to another USB drive.

    • teklife

      um, like charlie said, you should be able to see the computer’s hd and recover the files from it, no password needed, unless the whole disk is encrypted, so try and see.

      since it is your deceased friend’s computer, maybe none of the stuff on there matters to you, or maybe you shouldn’t really be looking at other people’s personal stuff, even if they’re dead, but that’s up to you, maybe you can recover old photos you might want to keep as memories or share with the deceased’s family.

      however, when you boot into your ‘live usb’ i recommend you install the system to the computer’s hard drive (i HIGHLY recommend creating at least partitions for boot, system, and ‘home’, google for how to do it, not hard, takes a couple of minutes to do during install and protects your data much better in the future and makes updating your system much easier/safer), then you will have a much faster ubuntu, with flash, and the ability to install apps, etc.

      since at the time of this writing ubuntu is up to version 15.10, i recommend you fully update all your system software to the latest(post install, you can even check the box which says install updates during installation), then upgrade the system with the command ‘sudo do-release-upgrade’ and follow the on-screen instructions (from the terminal), or, you can also do it graphically by checking the box to notify you of any new ubuntu version in ‘system settings>system>software and updates>updates’ then running the ‘software updater’.

      at this point, you will need to update from 14.10, to 15.04 to 15.10, unfortunately, or, simply download the 15.10 release and install it to a usb like you did for your current usb stick. if someone else did it for you, try using unetbootin to create a bootable usb stick, it’s simple. it can even download and create the bootable usb stick for you in 3 simple steps, but i’ve had problems with that method before, but never with pre-downloading the .iso file and just selecting it in ‘step 2’.

      good luck and enjoy using ubuntu. i switched full time from being a lifelong mac os user back in 2009 and have never been happier computing. mac os used to drive me mad so often with updates making my softwares useless, and having to get updates for everything individually, good riddance.

  • Mig

    Nice article.

    I just recently build myself my first pc. I’ve been a Mac user since os8, but I wanted something new.
    So, I bought me some parts and hoped for the best. Now I’m dual booting on Mint 17.2 and Windows 10 (only for gaming though). Daily tasks are done on Linux, work is mainly Mac (I got a MBP from the company I freelance for, and I still have my old MBP), but if I don’t need photoshop, I try to work on Linux. Everything is set up on that os for front-end development. I now feel at home at Linux, and I have some distros on a virtual machine to try out. I’m very happy with it and hope to someday never look back, the only thing I miss is Photoshop, because it is sadly an industry standard :(

    Oh yeah, and I am a Linux noob. I tried to install Arch Linux on a VM, but failed horribly. So if I can run Mint, everybody can ^^
    The only issues I had was with my first install (Elementary OS), where my shiny new geforce gtx 980 wasn’t supported. But that’s fixed now.

  • Chris Kavanagh

    Very nice article. Just a recommendation to try out Linux, I suggest Puppy Linux first. It’s very lightweight and runs off a CD quite nicely. Doesn’t seem slow at all from a CD or DVD. Or you can run it from a thumb drive which is faster, or just put it on your hard drive if you want.

    Then if you like it, you can either stick with Puppy or install another distro to your hard drive. I dual booted my WINXP on an old laptop with Linux Mint, and everything was good.

  • teklife

    HEY WHAT THE F*@K? I took the time to write several comments on this thread, all of them friendly helpful replies to other posts full of useful information and advice about linux for beginners, and some recommendations and experiences about bodhi and LXLE for another commenter(s), no bad words, no flaming, nothing, why then are they ALL removed??????? THIS IS TOTALLY F’ING ABSURD.

    • http://sitepoint.com Alex Walker

      I can see at least three of your comments above, @teklife:disqus. They are replies so they’re threaded. Settle down, guy. http://www.sitepoint.com/trying-linux-for-the-first-time-a-beginners-guide/#comment-2322001362

    • Guest

      Many thanks teklife! I do appreciate your contributions and I think everybody else do! for somebody who is so helpful losing temper doesn’t go in pair with all that. I can read all your comments… nobody had deleted them.

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