If you want to know what I think about Linux and why I love this system so much, I will try to explain that. This will be a bit hard but I will do my best.

First I want to say that there are many sites on the the Internet which try to convince you to use or not to use Linux. Those that are trying to fight with Linux are mostly created by people who have very limited knowledge and experience in using this system. You will read a lot of lies and myths about Linux. I will try to discuss them later. On the other hand there are sites which convince you to use only free software, getting completely rid of windows and all proprietary software from your computer. If you are going to listen to that kind of advice you will probably hate Linux so much in the first week of using it that you will never ever come to this system again. The creators of these sites are forgetting about two things. Firstly people who have never written a single line of code or compile a piece of source code do not care about the whole freedom thing. They simply expect the program to work. They do not look for ability to change it, or optimize it or compile it from the sources. Secondly: I personally think that real freedom is the freedom of choice. The choice between open source (free) software or proprietary software. In my opinion first of all the software needs to do its job, then it's good if it's open source and free.

I hope all the freedom lovers visiting my site don't won't me wrong. I do understand what advantage the free software is giving me. I'm a Gentoo Linux user and I love my distribution. After over 5 years of using it, I would never ever choose a binary operating system for myself. As an IT trainer with many years of experience in working with people, teaching them system administration and other IT related stuff I think I understand what is the most important to the majority of computer users - the usability and stability of the software. If you care about this, Linux is a great choice. Maybe the best choice for many people, but those people don't know that they have such a choice.

Is Linux good for everyone? I would say it is not. So is Linux good for you? Try to answer the questions below.

  • Do you think that all people should, look the same, wear the same clothes, drive the same cars, use the same software?
  • Is making choices way too hard for you?
  • Is asking for help too shameful for you?
  • Do you think that sharing ideas for free is wrong and should be prohibited?

If you answered yes to any of these question I'm afraid the Linux is not the software for you. You won't like it and you should keep Linux away from your computer. But if your answers are no, then read further.

Myths and Lies about Linux.

It's quite possible that you will find other sites concerning myths and lies about Linux. It's also possible that the list of myths will be longer or that the arguments will be different from mine. My list comes from my own experience. Most of the myths that are listed below are the ones I heard from the people I was working with. All the given arguments express my own point of view and my experience in using Linux and free software.

Myth 1 - Linux and free software is a kind of communism and it stands against the rules of free market and intellectual property - for me communism means something completely opposite to freedom that Linux OS and free software can give you. Linux doesn't force or tell you, how or for what purpose you make use of it. Can you tell the same about the other operating systems? If you think you can that only means you haven't read rules of the license you agreed to obey while installing the system.

Linux and his openness stands against monoply by increasing the level of competition on software market. Free and open source software products (mostly available at no cost) are real alternative for commercial products for those people and organizations that can not afford to spend a lot of money on software. This way Linux and the other free and open source software reduce the level of piracy on the software market.

If you are interested in what Linux stands for and why I was talking about the freedom, watch any of the movies listed below.

Myth 2 - Linux and free software are less secure because their source code is open to anybody - actually the opensource is a course to technological reliability. All the computer users, talented programmers, security experts are able to inspect the source code looking for security holes and propose patches to the software maintainers. This way patches fixing a problem are available as soon as possible. If you close the access to the source code as software maintainer you are on your own with the problems. All the people that might help you are prohibited to do so. The ones that will not obey legal issues preventing the software analysis will be those who want to harm you. There are more people who want to help you than harm you. Linux is totally opensource operating system that is why it is such an unpleasant environment for viruses, worms and other types of malicious code.

Myth 3 - Linux and open source software have no future because they are free and there is no way for business to make money from this kind of software - this way of thinking is very far from the truth. First of all Linux is used as a platform to run many other software products, and sold bundled with these products. Customer gets full stable environment needed to run these software products on a cheaper cost. On the other hand open source software development introduced a new business model to IT software market. Instead of selling the right to use software product, companies supporting Linux and opensource are making money on implementation, full long term support and trainings. If you buy commercial Linux distribution you will not pay for the ability to use the piece of software on the CD, instead you will pay for support to this product. You will pay for a guarantee that if you run into problems with this software you will be able to ask for help and receive help. This kind of support is highly important for mission's critical systems.

Myth 4: Linux and free or opensource software have no commercial support, therefore it can not be treated as a serious competitor to operating systems and programs that are created by well-paid programmers - Linux and free or open source software have a strong commercial support. Its code is developed by programmers working for global corporations. A list of those corporations is very long, for example the most well known are: Oracle, Novell, RedHat, Nokia, IBM, Google. You can also look at Linux Foundation corporate members list by following this link.

All of the companies and foundations that develop Linux and other opensource programs use open standards therefore all of the ideas and results of work can be exchanged. It make software development faster and cheaper and more secure.

Linux is a very serious competitor to closed systems. In some of the areas Linux has become a leader. If you think about server market just look at the famous top 500 list of the world's strongest computers. Almost 95% (status for 10/2010) of those computers run Linux. The strongest computer in Poland called Galera from Gdansk University of Technology runs Linux.

Linux was always strong in an embedded system market, but the last 2 years brought Linux and open standards to the mobile device market. Have you heard about Google Android or Nokia Mameo currently developed by both Nokia and Intel corporations as MeeGo project. If you have had probably you have missed the fact that both systems are based on Linux. In last year Android smart phone shipments grow 886% year-on-year. Why the grow is so huge? Android is based on open standards and opensource code so it can be delivered with deceives coming from various vendors at much lower prices. Android took 2nd place place behind Symbian based phones.

The last thing is desktop computer market. Officially Linux accounts for 1.02% of market share. As long as I'm very proud of being one of not so many true computer users elite, I think these numbers are not accurate. In Linux we don't have any kind of centralized controller. We are an open and free community. You won't count us by counting how many activations, downloads of our systems have been made. Simply because our systems don't need to be activated and from one downloaded DVD you can legally install Linux even on 100 computers. If you count us by the network traffic you should remember that Linux is pretty good at preventing from being spied. You can also visit the services like Linux Counter. You will see there around 140 000 registered users, but this only accounts those of us who are a real enthusiasts. I don't think there is any good methodology but Linux Counter estimates 28 millions Linux Users world wide. No matter what number you will give this number is growing. Thanks to the more commercially orientated projects like: Google Chrome Os, SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop or Red Hat Enterprise Linux Desktop this number will grow slightly faster.

If you still can not believe that Linux has true commercial support just click any of the links below.

Myth 5: Linux has very limited hardware support - this myth is typical for the people who have tried to play with Linux long time ago or do not truly understand how hardware detection in this system works. It's of course true that if you buy a piece of computer hardware you probably will not find Linux drivers on the CD attached to this hardware. Why? Because installing drivers doesn't work this way in Linux. Most of the hardware drivers are part of the system itself. So how it works in Linux? You don't have to install drivers after system installations or what would be even worse, look for them on the Internet. Modern desktop distributions probe your hardware during installation and configure it automatically. My experience shows that 80% of Linux OS installations had full hardware support right after finishing installation. What about this last 20%? Some Linux distributions (community based) will not automatically have proprietary ATI or Nvidia graphics drivers installed. Instead they will install open source free version of the driver which may or may not (depending on GPU model) offer you full 3D support (needed for running 3D desktop or games in Linux). If you need full 3D support you can always install 3D proprietary driver using GUI software manager typical for your distribution. A similar problem may arise for limited scanners models which may need installation of a special firmware file. Some of the hardware may need additional configuration (believe me it will not happen often), and this configuration mostly requires a user to write a single line in some system configuration file. You can find a detailed instruction on a hardware support forum or ask for it and someone will surely be happy to help you.

Is all hardware available for Linux? Of course not. The most common problems may arise with limited number of software modems (but who is using modems these days) and very limited number of wireless network cards. For every piece of hardware that doesn't work in Linux you will find dozen of complementary hardware parts available on the same or lower prize that will work without the need of any additional configuration. If you are already a Linux user just visit the sites like Linux Drivers or ask for support on hardware support forum for your distribution before buying any new hardware component for your computer. This will prevent any inconvenience.

Before I will end this a bit long Linux hardware topic, I want to add one more important thing. If you are a Windows user you may experience a quite typical problem, when moving from one Windows version to another (for example from Windows XP to Windows 7) you may find some of your older hardware components not working in a new version and what's even worse you can not find any driver that would make it work in a new Windows version. This way you will end up in being forced to buy a new piece of hardware even if the old one works perfectly fine. This type of problems doesn't exist in Linux.

You can see some of my hardware components in action on my Linux in examples page.

Myth 6: Linux is too hard to use for non computer experts - this is one of the most common myths about Linux. I would lie if I said that all possible tasks that are available in my favorite system are as easy to achieve as they are in Windows. Server administration surely requires more knowledge in Linux then in Windows (this conclusion comes from my experience as an IT trainer). If you look for desktop computer system (for Internet Browsing, office work or multimedia) then Linux in many of the normal desktop tasks in my opinion is easier to use than Windows. This may of course vary from distribution. There are Linux distributions for geeks like me and for ordinary computer users.

Why do I think the desktop work is easier on Linux than in MacOsX or Windows? I will try to explain this in examples. I have already written "few" lines about hardware detection. Just look above. Another example is system installation. After installing Windows you have a system that gives you ability to work on the Internet, and play multimedia files (I should say play some of multimedia files). To be able to do the office work, have support for all popular multimedia files and graphics formats you have to install a lot of other 3rd party software in your system. I'm not saying that this is a hard task, but it takes a lot of time and may cause some security risks to your system. In most of modern Linux distribution just after installation you will already have professional office suite (or even two of them to choose from). Your system will be able to play any multimedia content and will open any Internet site without the need of additional browser add-on installation.

As the next example let me look at software installation in Linux and Windows. In Windows you have to find the software on the Internet and download it or buy it on CD. Then fire up the installer, go through installation process hoping that it won't break your system. In Linux you install the software by using software managers. You have to fire up the GUI software manager use the search option (you can browse all available software by name, category or description), find software that interests you most, mark it and install it. The software manager will automatically download and install all the software components that are needed to run the program you have selected. The program will be configured and ready to use just after installation. By using software manager you can minimize the risk of breaking your system. Applications that are available in there are verified and prepared by your distribution maintainers.

At the end lets look at system actualization - in Windows normal actualization will take care of Microsoft products only, with other software components you are on your own. In Linux actualization will take care not only of the system itself but also will update all the software installed by software managers, even if the software is not fully free or opensource.

You should be just fine with changing the look and feel, making backups of most important data, and performing normal system setup task using GUI tools provided by your distribution. You don't have to be a programmer. Desktop Linux doesn't require you to use voodoo. Please visit my success story page or watch the movies provided below if you think that Linux may be too hard for you.

Myth 7 - There are too few application available for Linux - there are thousands of applications available for Linux. This number is growing every day. I could list a lot of them, but instead because to see is to believe I suggest you to visit my Linux in examples page which shows screen shots of all of the application I use in Linux. I strongly believe that all possible tasks can be completed using Linux. Some of them just require you to learn new GUI program.

I also want to point out that thanks to projects like wine or its commercial version crossover you can use many windows programs (including windows games) in Linux and most of them work as well as in a native system. You can see some of the wine programs on my Linux in examples web page.

Myth 8 - Linux is not a good environment for running games - in fact there are not many games available directly for Linux, however it doesn't mean Linux is not a games ready system. Linux is using similar 3D API as PlayStation 3 based on well known OpenGL standard, therefor porting games that are available for Playstation to Linux is possible. To prove it you can look at ID Software legendary games like: Return To Castle Wolfenstein, Doom3, Quake4, Enemy Territory: Quake Wars all available for Linux. Game software companies don't see the real market on Linux desktop platform. Some of them release or run their game servers on Linux. It's sad that they are benefiting from using Linux servers and don't give Linux users ability to play their products. This could be something that might break Microsoft's monopoly on desktop operating system market. Hopefully this will change as the number of Linux gamers is growing. Until the situation will change we can use mentioned above wine or crossover programs to lunch and play Windows games in Linux. From my own experience I can say that number of games fully supported by wine is growing with every new release. I'm a gamer and I can say that wine project was the last step on my way to getting rid of Windows from my computers. From now on I'm only buying games that run directly or using wine on my Linux system.

If you are interested in advantages and disadvantages of gaming experience on Linux, visit my Linux in examples page and see for yourself how games look like on Linux.

Why Linux?

There are many reasons why you should give Linux a chance. I will focus on desktop environment as Linux server advantages are well known. If you don't believe in yourself and think it's not worth giving it a try, just read a list of reasons below and visit my success story page. I hope this will change your mind.

Reason 1 - Trying Linux doesn't force you to spend any money - You can download any community distributions for free, some of the commercial distributions are also available with the evaluation period for free. So downloading and testing Linux cost you only time you spend on it.

Reason 2 - You can fully test Linux without any need of changing the contents of hard drive on your computer - Linux distributions have a unique feature called Live CD. It's a fully functional operating system that can be started from CD or DVD disc. This way users can test the system and choose the right distribution for their needs. The Live CD can be also used to check the hardware compatibility between the chosen distribution and your computer. What is best with Live CD is that most of them will offer full automatic configuration of Internet connection, so you can even browse Internet without the need of installing the system on the hard drive. Live CDs with Linux are widely used to diagnose the problems and data recovery from corrupted Microsoft Windows installations.

There are some disadvantages of using Live CD. Because the system runs from CD it is not as fast as hard drive installed system, and of course you can not install any additional software using this kind of distribution.

Reason 3 - Linux doesn't force you to change your habits or to stop using software or operating system you used before - you can install Linux along side with other operating systems you used before. In fact most of the Linux installers during installation process will detect the existing operating systems and propose you the way of setting the installation process that would save your data on the existing operating system. During the computer boot up process you will be asked to choose the operating system to start. This way for example you may use Windows for playing computer games and Linux for safe and secure Internet browsing.

Reason 4 - Linux offers high level of security - if you are experienced in using Windows operating system, you probably suffered many times from viruses, and over malicious code (worms, key loggers etc). This type of software has real hard times in Linux. Many people say it's because Linux is not a popular system. I read somewhere that viruses in Linux are like the Loch Ness Monster. There are people that claim that they do exist. If you try the answer the question: Why there is so few malicious software at Linux platform? The smaller popularity of Linux is only part of the truth. The other part is the way that system is being developed. Linux is opensource so every single security expert or talented programmer can look for security holes and propose patches fixing the security problems. This way problems are being fixed constantly and security patches can be uploaded upstream. In Linux you can find security patches that were created by USA National Security Agency and added to many Linux distributions.

You can not forget about the fact that from the beginning Linux was developed as multiuser system. The normal user's tasks (for example running multimedia application) are well isolated from the tasks that are performed by a privileged user. Thanks to this running common applications can not break the system. Most of the applications that runs on Linux are developed in compliance with safety rules provided by the system. You can not say the same thing about Windows platform, which is still suffering from security problems, that were introduced by the first version of this system.

You can be sure that you will not break your Linux system just by mounting the USB stick and accessing its content. In Windows worms and viruses may propagate this way just by using autorun.ini and desktop.ini text files.

I don't want to be misunderstood. I know that security is a process and you can have a highly secure Windows and less secure Linux. I'm also aware of the fact that many Windows security problems come from the way of using this system by people. Sadly I noticed that most of the people I worked with were used to work on super user (administrator) accounts. This way a possible user space problem can break the whole system. It's also quite sad that some of the applications available for windows are actually forcing the user to work like this. This kind of problems are very common in Windows but do not exist in Linux. From my own experience I can say that securing the Windows machine (even desktop machine) is multi step process that requires some basic knowledge and many 3rd party tools like anti-virus or similar software. This kind of process requires time and most likely additional cost (because of the need of 3rd party software components). Securing Linux is straightforward, done through the mechanism of the system itself or tools that are freely available in every distribution software repository.

Reason 5 - Linux offers high level of stability - you might have learned that your operating system needs to be reinstalled from time to time. You might also noticed that using the system for a long time makes the system work slower and become less responsive over time. This kind of problems happens while you are in Windows but are very rare in Linux. Why? Mostly because of high level of security. It's hard to destroy the system by performing casual user's tasks. Most Windows problems arise during installation of 3rd party software. Badly coded installer can break the whole system as installation of software requires administrator rights. Another common problem is that during the installation process you may notice that one software component is overwriting system libraries needed by other programs. This way installation of one program prevents other from running.

In Linux we have got verified software repositories. Verified means that distribution maintainers checked that this programs are installing and running properly. Programs are installed by software managers. Installation process takes care of downloading the program, verifying that downloaded version is the proper one (using special checksums) and installing it. If you are using verified software repositories nothing bad should happen to system during installation. Thanks to sophisticated dependencies system, built into the Linux software managers, possibility of overwriting one software component by another one is close to zero. The worst thing that may happen during software installation is so called blockade in which the system will prevent user from installing two conflicting software components. This is a very rare situation. These are the mechanisms that are ensuring stability of the system after software installation.

Linux is also free of slow downs and dropping responsiveness of system during a long period of usage. Most of these problems are caused by file system fragmentation and the fact that system is using more and more space on hard drive witch each and every system task. First if you are a windows user it may be hard to believe but file system fragmentation is not a problem in Linux, as long as you keep some free space on hard drive (partition). If you don't trust me follow this link where you will find a very good explanation.

The second mentioned problem is the system growing over time. There are a lot of temporary files that are created during software installation and usage or system actualization. In windows these kinds of files are rarely removed automatically, and quite often users forget about using system optimization tools available in Windows. In Linux, majority of temporary files needed for installation, actualization and other system or program tasks are wiped out shortly after tasks are performed. From my own experience I can say that no matter for how long I was using the system closing and booting up Linux takes the same or very comparable time. I can not say the same thing about Windows desktops and servers I was using (even though I didn't forge about optimization and defragmetation tasks).

Linux needs to be reinstalled mostly when there is a new major release of the distribution. This is not a real reinstallation rather actualization of the system from DVD. During a long time of using Linux I haven't been forced a single time to reinstall the system because the system lost it's stability. The only reinstallation I made was because of hard drive failure.

Reason 6 - Linux comes with a set of various useful applications - most likely you have some experience in using Windows operating system. After installing Windows you have in your hands an operating system that comes with a very basic set of applications including: Internet Browser, basic mail client, basic file manager, basic text editor, multimedia player (with limited multimedia format support), basic photo viewer, build in archiver (with limited archive format support) and other smaller software components coming from one and only one vendor. Linux is available as distribution. This term defines operating system and set of applications coming from various vendors. Most popular Linux distributions come with a set of application including: Internet Browsers, Mail Clients, Internet file transfer tools, file managers, multimedia players, full future Office suites, educational application, programing tools, full future graphical editing tools, non-linear and linear video editors, digital audio editors, 3D animation creation tools, virtual machines and many others. The set of applications available shortly after system installation can be adopted during installation procedure.

I will list only a few which are in my opinion the best of these programs

  • - rich Office suite including text editor, spreadsheet editor, multimedia presentation editor, database creator and vector graphics editor. Open Office gives the user the ability to open edit and create content in most popular office file formats (including formats from Microsoft Office XP/2003/2007). According to Polish Ministry of National Education OpenOffice is comparable to similar commercial applications and can be used to replace them in both educational and office use.
  • Gimp - advanced graphics manipulation program comparable in features to similar commercial application like: Adobe Photoshop, Corel Photopaint or Corel Paint Shop Pro.
  • Blender 3D - 3D Creation/Animation/Publishing System widely used for professional and personal 3D content creation. Projects created in Blender advertise this application best. Just follow this link and see for yourself.
  • BRL-CAD - powerful cross-platform Open Source combinatorial Constructive Solid Geometry (CSG) solid modeling system, originally created in 1979 for U.S. Army Ballistic Research Laboratory. Actively developed since then and freed in 2004. This is probably the most feature rich free CAD system. For more then 20 years this application has been used to create many U.S. Army weapons systems.
  • Ardour - a Digital Audio Workstation comparable in features to similar commercial applications like: FL Studio, Sound Forge, Logic Pro.
  • Kdenlive - a feature rich yet easy to use non linear video editor with support for various video and multimedia file formats (including HDV format).
  • Dia - a diagram drawing program similar in features to Microsoft Visio application.
  • MythTV - a multimedia center and video recording software with rich features but simple and easy to use interface.
  • XBMC - a multimedia center and entertainment hub with rich features and very advanced and nice looking interface.
  • 2mandvd - a DVD authoring tool with very easy to use interface aimed on creating advanced DVD multimedia disks.
  • VLC - a future rich multimedia player and streaming server with support of playing, network live broadcasting and encoding of audio and video files.
  • digiKam - a feature rich digital photo management software aimed for photo albums creation and basic photo edition. Great tool for personal photo management.
  • Amarok - an awesome multimedia player with direct access to thousands Internet radio stations and podcasts streams, automatic access to song lyrics, artist info from Wikipedia and artists Youtube video galleries. It can also access and upload files to many popular mp3 players.

Many of the above mentioned applications are also available for Windows however in Linux they are part of the distribution and will be updated along side with every system update. Using them in Windows will force the user to manually update them with every new release.

If you want to see mentioned above applications along side with many others I use visit my Linux in examples page. You will find there many interesting screen shots. You can also watch movies published on youtube by following any of the links provided below.

Reason 7 - Linux makes it possible to break with piracy - free of charge community based distributions with sets of useful applications are real working and feature rich alternative to commercial software. Many people use commercial software not obeying to rules of the law, using them free of charge or the way that is prohibited by the license. They put themselves in a risk of suffering severe consequences of such behavior. In my opinion it's not worth the risk. First of all using free software is not harder than using its commercial alternatives. Sometimes it requires from a user to learn a few new things. Secondly: free and opensource software doesn't force or tell the user how, when and for what purpose he or she can use the application. Thanks to this a user can concentrate on working. He doesn't have to be afraid that the current use of the software is not compatible with the law and license.

You have all the rights to decide that commercial proprietary software is better for your needs. You should always pay for it and use it accordingly to the license you agreed to obey by installing the software. If you don't, sooner or later you will pay for it in a very unpleasant way. Remember illegal usage of commercial proprietary software because of low income or any other reason is not and will never be an explanation to the court. You have a different option, a legal option, the Linux, free and opensource option.

Reason 8 - Linux is flexible you can make full use of it on the most recent and older computers - because of the fact that opensource development is a way to technical reliability, Linux is using hardware resources in a very efficient way. Linux gives the user extraordinary choice between distributions and graphical desktop environments. You will find distributions with most feature rich environments (like KDE) aimed for recent hardware configurations and lighter ones (like XFCE) for a little older computers, ending with extremely light environments (like LXDE) good even for very old computers.

If you have an older computer and you think that the time of this machine is over, you may be surprised how well Linux is working on such machines. I'm not saying that you will be able make an efficient non linear video editing multimedia center from every single computer with Linux. Older computers with lighter graphical desktop environments are great for browsing the Internet and office work. So don't throw your old PC away. Put Linux on it.

Reason 9 - Linux is a great choice as a second operating system in case of emergency - having two operating systems on one computer can help you in case of serious problems. When your system is unable to boot and you are not sure if it is a hardware or software problem, you may try to boot up the second system, and check if it is still running. If it's not, it must be the hardware component. However, if the Linux is still booting while the other OS is not then Linux may be a real life saver. You can use it to recover the most important data. Linux is able to access every possible file system you can think of. You can scan other OS partition with anti-virus software (in most Linux distributions you will find a free of charge anti-virus with nice and easy to use GUI interface). You can try to repair corrupted OS using available in Linux recovery tools.

Problems and most common difficulties

I would like to tell the whole truth thus I can not ignore the fact that you can expect some problems. Before I list them I want to start with a few warnings. If you want to give Linux a chance you have to remember Linux is a different operating system, not harder or easier to learn, just different. Many tasks you will be able to achieve the same way you are used to. However don't expect Linux to act exactly the same way as the operating system you were using before. It is an open system and you have to start using it with an open mind.

Problem 1 - Linux offers too many choices - for most of the Linux users this is the main reason why they chose this system, but this may be a big problem for a common computer user. Why? Because the users of Windows or MacOsX are used to adapting themselves to the operating system, while in Linux a user can adapt the operating system to himself.

First choice that every new Linux user has to make is to choose the right distribution for his needs. Most of the people do not understand how important this choice is. Many times I heard: I tried to use Linux but I didn't like it. The system was working slow or the graphical environment was not nice looking or after installation I did not know how to start the graphical environment. It's quite common that people try the first Linux that come in their hands and judge all Linux environment by this first experience. Bad experience comes from making the wrong choice.

Linux Graphical Environments offer people choices that they do not have in both MacOsX and Windows OS. Choosing the right one is not an easy task. In both mentioned systems you have one graphical environment that is always looking and acting the same way. In Linux you can choose between many: KDE, GNOME, XFCE, LXDE, Fluxbox, Enlightenment. You should make your choice depending on your personal taste (graphical environments in Linux are looking in different way), needs (they offer more or less rich configuration options), computer configuration (they consume more or less system resources). This kind of choices are common in every aspect of system configuration.

How to solve this problem?

  • First - don't install on hard drive first system that comes to your hands.
  • Ask for help on one of the many Linux support forums. There are hundred of thousands experienced Linux users who will be happy to guide you.
  • Use distributions and graphical environments projects Web pages, read the features list and see the screenshots and screencasts.
  • Visit pages like:, Linux Distribution Chooser - they offer nice and easy to use on-line quizzes that may help you make the right choice.
  • Test the system before installing it. How? By using its Live CD version, fully usable system started from CD or DVD disc. By using Live CD you can test the whole distribution and graphical environment before installation. You can also check the system by installing it on so called Virtual Machine inside of your currently working operating system.
  • Last but not least - remember this system should suit your needs. Follow the advices and suggestions but make your own choice. Always test a few alternatives before making the final choice.

Problem 2 - Learning a few new things - people are afraid that using Linux will force them to learn a lot of new things. Choosing the right distribution for your experience can reduce the number of new things to learn to absolute minimum. Using new operating system is similar to using new application. You will have to take some time to experiment with environment and learn new tools. The first things to remember will be:

  • There are no discs named C or D instead you will have to learn that you should store your files in special place called home (very similar thing to My Documents from Windows)
  • You will have to learn how to install software using software manager, but this is just the GUI tool so it shouldn't be difficult.
  • You will have to learn that file system is case sensitive. Files named MyPicture.jpg and mypicture.jpg can coexist in one directory.

That's all you have to know to start using desktop Linux distribution for Internet, office and multimedia work. Of course sooner or later you will learn few new things, because Linux is that kind of system that let you choose and learn what you like, when you like. Starting is not that hard as you could expect. If you run into some problems ask for help. On most Linux support forums you will find people who are trying to help beginners.

What may require more experience is for example running Windows application inside of Linux, or making from your Linux computer a home server which will act as multimedia and file server for all other computers you use. This is possible and the only thing that can prevent you from doing it will be lack of time or interests for reading documentation.

Problem 3 - Setting up weird hardware components - some of hardware components may require additional effort to make them work on Linux. This may vary from distribution but you can expect some problems with software modems, very limited number of wireless network cards and some of the scanners or web cams. I can assure you that most of them, especially the most popular ones will be working out of the box. However some of them may require installation of proprietary firmware driver and limited number due to legal restriction may not work at all. This is not a Linux problem but rather manufacturer lack of a good will. So before buying a piece of hardware ask for advic on some Linux hardware support forum to avoid any inconvenience.

How To Start?

If you are reading this part it probably means you want to become a new Linux user. I will try to give you some advices that come from my own experience.

  • First download some Live CD and try to run it on your computer. Check whether or not there are some problems. If you are not sure what kind of Live CD you should download you may try Sabayon Linux, but I would suggest you to visit any of the Linux support forums and ask what kind of Live CD would be best for your computer.
  • Don't try to make the revolution - don't follow the path of getting rid of your current operating system and installing Linux instead of it. Install Linux along side with operating system you were using before. Take your time in experiencing Linux and know the system in a step by step process. Who knows maybe some day you will find as I did that you don't need another OS, but get to this point slowly, no rush is required.
  • Make sure you backup most important files before system installation. Installation shouldn't cause major problems but bad things like power failure may happen so it's better to have most important files backed up on external media.
  • If you want to install Linux along side with Windows, defragment all the windows partitions. Linux installer will try to make some free space for the Linux and will move data to make this space. Defragmentation will speed up the process and should prevent problems.
  • If you are not sure how to answer any of installation questions. Don't guess. Ask for help on forum.
  • Remember open mind is required in Linux. This system doesn't set up boundaries before you. Everything is possible in Linux.
  • Don't be shy to ask for help, in Linux we help each other it helps our community grow.

I hope you will enjoy this system as much as I'm. Good luck and see you on forums.

If we know each other follow this link.

Additional Information

If you are looking for more information about Linux, opensource and free software, you may want to follow the banners that are being displayed on top of my page. I can also suggest reading books like: Just For Fun or Free as in Freedom, or following any of the links I provided below:

Last modification date: 02 October 2010