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How To Get Started With Linux

1. The Hardware

Choosing hardware to run Linux on can be broken down into four options:

* Buy a new computer that comes loaded with Linux.
* Re-purpose a machine to run Linux
* Add Linux to your current Windows machine and run it as a Dual Boot.
* “Nuke and Pave” your current Windows machine and install Linux.

2. The Distribution

There are hundreds of Linux Distributions to choose from. Which one you choose is going to depend on the hardware you have and what you want to do with it. The most popular “Distros” for new users are:

* Linux Mint
* Ubuntu.

Each one comes in different “flavors” that feature different Desktop Environments. Which one you choose is a matter of personal preference.

I recommend:

* Linux Mint Cinnamon for newer machines
* Linux Mint MATE for older machines.
* Ubuntu MATE for older hardware and novice users.
* Ubuntu with the Unity Desktop for aspiring developers or Enterprise.

3. The Documentation.

Ubuntu and Linux Mint both have excellent documentation for new users. It is a good idea to read through it before you attempt to install them or buy a machine with Linux preloaded. You can find it by following these links:

* Linux Mint

* Ubuntu

* Ubuntu MATE

4. The Preparation

Moving from Windows to Linux is sort of like moving your family to another country. Once you get there you find that everything is different and you have to learn how to get things done in a different way. Preparation for such a big move is key to being successful. If you expect Linux to be Like Windows then you will be frustrated. Be ready to “un-learn” a great deal. Linux is based on an entirely different computing philosophy. Don’t let that frighten you, though. Most folks find the Linux way of doing things to be simpler and more logical once they get the hang of it. Some of the differences are:

* Software installation/software availability.
* Drivers and devices.
* Security.
* Upgrades and System Updates.


Before you attempt to install Linux, be aware that it will replace your current Windows installation. There is no way to “un-install” Linux. Back up ALL data you wish to keep in an open format. The Windows Backup Utility and commercial backup software tend to store data in a closed format that Linux can’t read. The best method is to simply “drag & drop” your data files to a USB mass storage device. You have been warned!

Have Fun!

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