I have no coding or programming experience of any sort. Is Linux a good idea for me?
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I have no coding or programming experience of any sort. Is Linux a good idea for me?
I have absolutely no experience or knowledge of coding or programming of any sort. I've grown up using Microsoft Windows, and it's all I know. I'm considering making the switch to Linux.
My first, and so far only, taste of Linux was on my current smartphone, an Android G1, which I understand is based off a Linux kernel. I absolutely love the ease of customization on this phone.
What I like about it is this: I can set up shortcuts and folders on the home screens, easily drag them where I want, and every application I desire is easily found, downloaded, and installed from the App Market. The apps are sorted alphabetically by TITLE and are easily accessible from the app menu, from which they can be opened or dragged to a desired location. The phone has a good built-in web browser, but also supports other browsers, such as Opera Mini and Steel, which are easily located and downloaded on the App Market.
For my home PC, I currently have a Compaq Presario running Windows Vista Home Basic. My machine has a 120 GB hard drive and 1 GB RAM. The processor is an Intel Celeron Processor 430. I use it mainly for web browsing, typing up and printing an odd MS Word document, playing DVDs, and playing a few games here and there, such as StarCraft and WarCraft. What I like about Windows is the GUI, which I would be lost without because I don't know a lick about Command Lines or keyboard shortcuts. I also like the easy homescreen folders for sorting applications. What I don't like is the fact that it's so hard to find anything, like when I want to uninstall a program or find out how large a file is. Why can't that be done from the homescreen icon?
So here's what I'm looking for: A computer with a novice-friendly GUI, similar in appearance to Windows, ability to play almost any music and videos downloaded from the internet, ability to play DVDs, and support for the Opera web browser (this is an absolute must). I would also like something for which there is a lot of easily-accessed support, with readily-available parts and accessories at major computer stores like Best Buy, Staples, and Office Depot so I don't have to order everything online. What are my options with my current machine, and do I have to buy or upgrade anything to get a good first taste of Linux?
Please help me, and please be patient with me. I admit I'm a slow learner, but when I learn something I learn it well. I just don't know yet if I should even bother with Linux based on what I use a PC for, and I'm trying to find out.
I wondered about that... how do those "live CDs" work? Is it just a program you download and run from a website, or is it an actual disk you get from somewhere and insert in the disc drive? I'm a complete noob when it comes to this sort of thing. I've never upgraded a computer in my life. I use 'em right out of the box, and just tell it to install whatever updates are available automatically. My biggest question, I guess, about those trial programs is this: Will I be able to easily (remember, from a noob's perspective) uninstall it, or at least stop the program, and switch back to my Windows Vista OS, without losing anything in the process or having to jump through hoops?
Last edited by taloncrewchief; 10-16-2009 at 06:32 PM.
Well, the best way to learn is to just download a live CD (they're free) and then set your computer to boot first from CD-rom. You can then try out linux without installing anything. Nothing you do seems terribly out of the ordinary, but you might have problems with your windows specific games (StarCraft and WarCraft). Try downloading Linux Mint or Kubuntu. They should be pretty familiar from an interface standpoint.
Your hardware seems fine with respect to linux, but you'll find out more when you try a live CD. If something doesn't work, you'll find out right away.
The one thing you'll really need to know is that Linux is NOT Windows! So don't expect things to work the same. If you're a windows power user, you may struggle for a while unlearning some windows specific stuff you know. But linux is much more flexible, much more configurable, and runs on more types of hardware than any other operating system - from your mobile phone, to the Tivo, to supercomputers all over the world. And there is an abundance of quality software for it. But you won't find much that is exactly like the same program in Windows.
A linux live-cd is a complete linux operative system that runs from a CD/DVD in its drive and does not make any changes in the software installed on the system while it is in use. A live-cd is temporary and leaves no trace.
A live-cd is created by downloading the ISO file and then burning it to a CD/DVD. It must be burned as an image file. Check your burner program for burning as an image.
When you start your PC, you will see a POST screen. There will be a key to enter BIOS Setup and perhaps a key for a one-time boot. Press the "Pause" key to get a longer look.
In Setup, look for and change the setting for First Boot Device to CD-ROM. First, read and follow the directions in the BIOS for using its key commands. If you have a one-time boot key, there will be a menu to choose which device to boot from, allowing booting from the drive.
Upon starting the PC with the live-cd in the drive, with directions to boot from that drive, linux will boot and show you, as a trial, how well it runs with your hardware.
I would suggest that you try PCLinuxOS as a first taste. It has lots for playing media built in.
Last edited by thorkelljarl; 10-16-2009 at 07:39 PM.
I think you will do great with linux once you find the right distro. As pljvaldez suggest Mint and kubuntu have a GUI that is probably familiar to a ms windows user. You can download the first from here: http://www.linuxmint.com/download.php
and the second from here: http://www.kubuntu.org/getkubuntu
Now you need to "burn" those ISO images to a CD or DVD. I can't help you in the burning business because I never used Vista. Probably your PC has some utility to record CD's and DVD's but take into count that the ISO must be burned as an image not as a file into the CD or DVD (ask further help if you don't know what I'm talking about).
As said with live CDs or DVDs you don't "need" to install anything. So you can test the GUI, the hardware compatibility and so on.
You may want to contact linux people in your area, as you said that you never installed an OS. Is not rocket science but is not trivial for a layman.
Googling I've found http://www.spokanelinux.org/ you are on time for the next meeting :-P
I have no programing or coding experience and have been running Slackware Linux for around 10 years as a "Desktop User".I maybe wouldn't start with Slackware but as mentioned live CD's are great.My kids use Linux Mint on their Dell mini 10 notebooks and it comes with all the multimedia codecs installed and I believe it can fetch proprietary hardware drivers for graphics cards,wifi cards etc.There are other Distros worth a try but I'm just passing on what goes down in my house.
Answer = Yes. I've had exclusively lnx since wndws crashed again, for about 6 months now
After a while - [the first month is I expect for all newcomers a bit steep, but there's heaps of help] you may begin to feel that you own a computer, not merely a mcrsft outlet.
Also, you can buy (sorry if that's a taboo concept), for instance as I did, a Linux Mint CD ready to go from labs online. It was $17 including postage.
Due to circumstances, (I think because I couldn't figure out wireless internet connection) I early switched to Mandriva, which I'm finding excellent, tho' I have plenty of dumb questions up my sleeve still.