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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.
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Distribution: Debian Wheezy, Jessie, Sid/Experimental, playing with LFS.
There are actually 2 answers to your question.
1. From a standard PC users perspective using Linux is easy once you know how to open the applications you need to use. Everything else is the same across operating systems. Linux does look different but the basic ideas are the exact same as with Windows and Mac, i.e. you click on a menu and find the application you want to use and you start it and then you use it.
Most of these users don't actually bother with keeping anti-virus up to date nor do they worry about defraging their hard drive/s, neither of these things are required with Linux but they are with Windows and to a lesser extent with Macs as well. Basically for these people a PC is a tool to get jobs done and if it breaks down then you call a technician in to fix it.
2. From a non-standard PC users perspective (that is someone who actually wants to learn the inner workings of the system they are using) using Linux does take some learning. Having said that I did not find it difficult when I started using Linux. I didn't have to worry about virus' and other Windows maintenance procedures so the time I spent making sure my old Windows systems were clean and running at their best I could use to learn about Linux.
It can be easy if you use upto-date hardware and find the right tutorial for the distro of choice. Also keep a live-cd on hand, it will provide access to network if you have a problem. And always make backups. Once you have a system up and running you should try experiments using virtual box.
Linux is no more difficult than Windows, but it is different.
There is a learning curve, particularly if you want to do stuff like integrating it into your network.
Remember, most persons have spent years learning how to do Windows. Then some of them get frustrated when they can't learn in an hour how to do in Linux what they've spent years learning how to do in Windows.
Frankly, I think that, once you know your way around, Linux is a darn sight easier. But that's after you know your way around.
And, no, viruses shouldn't be an issue. There are no Linux viruses currently in the wild--I follow that kind of stuff.
I recommend running a firewall; that's just basic safe HEX to keep out intruders. (Linux cames with built-in firewall capability called iptables; some distros come with graphical frontends for configuring iptables out of the box and some do not; iptables can also be configured with text files). I also run a native Linux anti-virus, but many experienced Linux users do not consider that necessary.
(When it comes to viruses, I'm just a little bit paranoid: I trust nobody and I figure it can't hurt and might help. Because of my paranoia I've never had an infection.)
Its a learing curve,but as another poster said so was windows, its just that the memory of it has faded. Its no more difficult than windows power use stuff, but the thing about linux is that its rewarding, because you can customize it, you can make it your own. A windows box..., well there isnt much you can do with it and microsoft can take it away from you at any moment. Windows has to cater to its market too, thats one of the reasons its bland and difficult to use for out of the ordinary tasks. Windows makes the easy things stupid and anything else impossible
With linux on the other hand, some of the easy things may be a little more difficult, but just about anything is possible with it. Give it a try, i bet you love it