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Introduction to Linux - A Hands on Guide
This guide was created as an overview of the Linux Operating System, geared toward new users as an exploration tour and getting started guide, with exercises at the end of each chapter.
For more advanced trainees it can be a desktop reference, and a collection of the base knowledge needed to proceed with system and network administration. This book contains many real life examples derived from the author's experience as a Linux system and network administrator, trainer and consultant. They hope these examples will help you to get a better understanding of the Linux system and that you feel encouraged to try out things on your own.
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brianL has given you the best advice: try a few before you can make personal decision. Choose from the top ten (10) distros from the ranking on this site, download liveCD's from each (each has link to their site) burn and run them at a time.
I am using Slackware but it seems I have consistently recommended Linux Mint to every newbie for the sake of easy install, control and automated driver support. You can download a liveCD directly from here.
I want to install linux on my desktop. which one u suggest
If you had to ask, and if those are your only three choices, then definitely Ubuntu.
If you have some specialized knowledge, experience or requirements which would change the best answer to Centos or Fedora, I don't think you would have needed to ask the question.
If you aren't limited to those three, then Mepis is a bit more beginner friendly than Ubuntu. Ubuntu is more beginner friendly than Fedora. The Centos install time defaults are oriented for servers; A beginner would have a hard time adjusting Centos to be a good desktop install.
Choosing a Linux Distribution is a tough topic to give a recommendation on. There are several questions you need to ask yourself.
1.) What kind of hardware do I have to use and What can it handle?
2.) What do I want to do once I have Linux Installed? Do I want to just make a File server to store files? Do i want to make a web server, or a mail server? Am I installing this on a Laptop to be portable? Am I making a Home Desktop computer for Standard home use? Am I making a machine designed for a specific task such as Gaming, or Office work?
3.) How much time am I willing to invest into learning? Do i want a lot of Plug and Play functionality or am I willing to spend time installing drivers for specific devices and customizing the system configuration files?
4.) What is my learning curve?
5.) What if I decide Linux is not for me? What is my back out plan?
Once you answer those questions you will have a more clear idea of what you are looking for. You can then be much more specific when choosing a Linux distribution for you. You can then take some time to look at the features of different distributions, and different features of packages (applications) that are available.
Linux is always evolving and changing. Any long term Linux user can tell you which distributions they prefer to use and why. On the flip side, not one of those Linux users will tell you which distribution is right for you.
Picking a distribution is not always an easy task, especially for a new user. Take your time, figure out exactly what you want and what you plan to do once you get it. Take some more time and research. Once you figured that out you will know which distribution is a good place to start. Chances are you will change your mind about what you want along the way and will try several different distributions. Be patient and remember Linux is not Windows or Mac. Things are done differently and there is a learning curve.
I came up with this li'l questionnaire for people who ask me about putting Linux on their home computers. I'll hand them this piece of paper, then use the answers to choose a distro to suggest, or to build them a custom just-for-them desktop Linux (but I insist on using Debian as the base, lol).
Robin's Questionnaire for the New Linux User:
Please answer the following questions so that I can make your first experience with this wonderful and completely free operating system as delightful as it can be:
1. What do you want to use your computer for?
2. Are you “technically challenged” and just want to keep it simple, or would you like to explore your “inner geek?”
3. How old is your computer and what Operating System did it ship to you with (example: Windows XP or Vista, OSX, etc)? How big is the HDD and how much RAM? If you don't know, I'll get it from your computer when I pick it up, but it helps me to know in advance.
4. Do you like “eye candy” and pretty special effects on your desktop, or do you prefer a faster, basic desktop with fewer bells and whistles?
5. Please list your favorite and most-used computer applications (programs). Try to categorize them if you can, under headings such as Web Browsing, E-Mail, Music Editing, CD-burning, Office/Word Processing, Photo Editing, etc. Use the back if you run out of room here.
6. Would you like the latest “bleeding edge” stuff or do you prefer older, proven, rock-stable programs?
7. What’s your favorite color?
8. How will you connect to the Internet (if applicable)? Dial-up, wifi, Cable
9. Will you tell all your friends how awesome Linux is (and how nice Robin is for getting it up and running for you)? Don’t answer this one yet...
That's it. If you think of any questions I should ask next time, please leave a comment on my blog to suggest them! Thanks!