My first experience with Linux
I was introduced to the world of computers through Windows Millennium edition. Being a 'dont question if its working fine' kinda guy, I did not even know that there existed operating systems apart from Windows. Even when I entered a premier technical school, windows gave me everything I needed. Even the much hated Vista did not seem so bad to me. It was only in my pre-final year that I was introduced to linux by a few friends. I started with Ubuntu 10.10 and since then, I have not even thought about going back to windows. If you are a noob at computing, then here's 10 things you may want to know.
- Its different! Even with all its cool features and eye-catching backgrounds, windows does get a little stale at times. Predictability makes the whole computing experience extremely insipid. Linux on the other hand is new, fresh and makes for a intriguing new experience!
- U don need to be a programmer to enjoy linux! Even though the concept of linux is that everyone contributes towards making it better, you need not ACTUALLY be a programmer. I am not a programmer. I just have a passing knowledge of coding and am not interested in it either. But despite using linux for almost two years now, I have not had to write a single line of code for it! Even non-programmers can contribute to the Open Source Movement by creating documentation or just giving your wish list for the future editions of the OS. By providing feedback, the programmers can make linux better for you!
- Change is the name of the game! Another wonderful aspect of open source computing is the option for change at any point of time. Starting from the very Operating System to intricate Icon Designs, everything can be customised or changed to one's taste. In the last two years, I have changed from Ubuntu to Fedora to Linux Mint. Even though I am very happy with Mint, I intend of trying out the other distros as well. (distro stands for linux distribution such as Ubuntu and Fedora) each distro has its own philosophy and provides a different taste while computing.
- Use Linux for what its meant ! Linux is free and developed by people like you and me. So it is not fair to expect a linux distribution to play Call of Duty any time soon, however what it does give you is a hassle-free environment for your standard computing needs. Browsing, office work, photo editing, video editing, multimedia etc can be performed seamlessly once you have ur OS set up. Dont waste your time in trying to make Windows applications work through special software like Wine. Its not worth the time and effort. Understand the limitations of Linux and your abilities in modifying it and you should not run into difficulties whatsoever.
- Great learning experience! Windows is a great OS. But it unfortunately assumes that all its users are dumb. Hence over time, Windows makes u heavily dependant on it. Even engineers and scientists often do not know the basic concepts of an OS or a computer. If you are one of those who refuses to be dumbed down for anything then Linux is the choice for u.It will constantly makes u learn new things about computing and operating systems. Unlike windows, it wont make u dumb.
- The power of the internet! I was never TAUGHT how to use linux. I had no idea how to install it, how to play my audio, how to install the applications I wanted, nothing. I was blank. But with a working internet connection and google, I was able to get everything set up in no time. The great thing about linux is that there are so many people out there who have faced the same challenge as you. So all you have to do is Ctrl+C=>Ctrl+V your problem on google and you should find a hit that solves your problem.
- Dont get scared about the Terminal! Since there are so many distros of linux, people often find it convenient to perform tasks through the terminal. It is like the MS-DOS but way cooler. It is an extremely elegant way to do whatever you want. You can download, install, delete, organize ur folders etc by using the right commands. However, everyone is not required to be an expert at the terminal. Latest editions of distros like Ubuntu and Mint have in-built 'Software Centre' applications, through which one can get any software in a jiffy through a pleasing GUI.
- No virus problems! Since linux distributions are constantly updated, it does not have any virus issues. It is a big relief to not constantly worry about virus-scanning everything!
- Multi-OS computing! While linux gives you a lot, once in a while you do come across a cumbersome application that works only on windows. So it is always advisable to install windows as well. Earlier creating a seperate partition for a different OS used to be a tough job. There was a chance of destroying all data on the HD. It is a pity that fear for data loss serves as a deterrent for people against linux. Today, installing linux on your system is VERY safe and VERY easy. Unless you are intoxicated or have the IQ level of a troll, ur data should be unaffected.
- Crashes! Since linux is all about hands-on learning, once in a while you may crash or freeze ur system. In which case, use Ctrl+SysRq+R+E+I+S+U+B to perform a clean restart of ur system. Do not do a hardware reboot as that may affect ur system boot files and THEN u are screwed.
The following are sites I found useful while learning the ropes of linux.
you may try out the following distributions first
ubuntu – www.ubuntu.com
linux mint - http://www.linuxmint.com/
once you are comfortable with these, you may try
fedora - http://fedoraproject.org/
please add your linux experiences/difficulties!