Linux advices for dummies

Link to this post 23 Dec 12

I have never touched linux. I heard that it can be done everything on a linux machine so I am thinking about trying it out. My goal is to someday create my own OS light, fast, fully compatible and customized. I would apreciate any kind of advices such as first steps, linux distribution, PC specs... Thank you.

Link to this post 23 Dec 12

Hey rub96ben

I remember my first introduction to Linux: it was probably the most painful, mind numbing task I've ever had to slog through. Mostly because I came into the whole thing expecting Linux to function like Windows or Mac OSX. The big thing to remember is that Linux is its own creature entirely. There's no way for me to pass along all the tips that I would like to, since there's so many and each have so many exceptions...

For right now, here are just a few tips for starters:

1) Don't go overboard. In a fit of freedom, you may or may not be tempted to just delete Windows and use Linux as your only OS. DON'T DO IT! You will need Windows, at least in the beginning as “home base”. If you experience a problem in Linux, it's always nice to be able to do whatever you need to do in Windows and then fix the problem you have in Linux. So, I would strongly suggest dual booting.

2) Linux will not play DVD's. At least not at first. You will have to buy the codec from if you live in the US. If you live in Europe, you can just download the codec. So please come into Linux knowing that you can't just watch a DVD, you will have to arrange some things to do that. On a similar note, media files (like MP3, MP4, AVI...) will not be played by Linux's native media players. (Like Rhythmbox or Totem). You will either have to download/buy the codec from, or download a player that has these codecs already. (Such as VLC player).

3) Linux does not install files like Windows or Mac OSX. You can not just download an .exe file and double click. In Linux, you will either have to use the software center (easiest and best solution), or you will have to install your apps one piece at a time. (And this is the most frustrating thing I have ever had to learn about Linux. I have had to hunt for over twenty files just to install one app.) That and there is no real backwards support: a package that worked in a previous version on Linux, will not work well in a new one. (Say, GIMP for Ubuntu 10.04, WILL NOT WORK for Ubuntu 12.04, you will have to get the 12.04 version of GIMP for Ubuntu 12.04.)

4) Linux is not a magical, fairy-land OS. It is capable of breaking down and freezing, just like any other OS. However, I have used many different OS's and I do find that Linux is by far the most robust/reliable. All I am saying is don't expect Linux to be perfect, it was made by flawed humans, and will therefore be flawed to.

5) Linux can not do whatever you want. The biggest example I know of is gaming. Linux does have some games of its own (Heck, Valve is getting ready to partner up with Linux.) But it still has far fewer games than Windows. So if you want a gaming set up, Linux just isn't for you.

This is the most general, across-the-board advice that I can give about Linux. I hope this helps. Please let me know if you have any more questions, I would be glad to help.

“The journey is not the destination, it is how you get there.”


Link to this post 23 Dec 12

Thanks a lot Izzy!
By the way the name is Ruben. Glad to "meet".
I sincerely appreciate your advises. But them all, far from backing me down in any way are actually growing the curiosity inside me. So if it isn't too much asking, could you point out a "dummy friendly" Linux distribution or a specific OS for me to start on?

Link to this post 23 Dec 12

No Problem Ruben.

I wasn't trying to make you back down in any way. I was just trying to give you both sides of Linux, that's all. I'm glad that you are curious.

As far as a user friendly OS, there are a few that fit the bill. From my own personal experience, here are a few that I would suggest:

Ubuntu is based on Debian, so it will use .Deb packages. Ubuntu is the most widely used Linux OS available. It does not have codec support. (But how hard is it to download VLC from the Software Center?) Very nice interface. OS lasts for a long time. (Long Term Support releases are good for up to five years.)

Fuduntu is based on Fedora, so it will use RPM packages. Fuduntu comes with VLC, so you can watch whatever files. It also comes with Flash support, so no need to hunt that down either. The only downside is that Fuduntu does not have DVD support. (Referring back to point 2 in my last post.) This is the OS I use. If you can use any OS, you can use Fuduntu.

And by the way, I HATE calling new Linux users dummies, even in a joking way. A dummy is someone who thinks a computer mouse needs a mouse trap. Newbie, sure. But not a dummy.

Well, I think that's about it. Again, please let me know if there's anything else I can help with.

Link to this post 23 Dec 12

Thanks again.
I think I'll try my luck with Ubuntu. I'll get it installed and let you know if I get stuck anywhere.

Just so you know, so far you've been like a light in the dark for me. The idea of facing Linux becomes a lot less scary when you have a little backup. So again, thank you so much.

Link to this post 24 Dec 12

You are very welcome

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