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Hello i am super new to everything here. I am only 15 so keep that in mind if you choose to answer and i want to know what Linux is and what it does. I am confused because I Googled it and it says Linux is a operating system but there is download links to Linux and i didn't think that you could download a operating system.
You can download distributions (distros, for short) of Linux. Linux is the kernel, the core or basis, and distros consist of the kernel plus loads of software. Hope that reasonably simple explanation helps.
Or you can download it and just run a live session and check things out. It'll be a complete operating system, but running from RAM instead of from the hard drive. Your Windows won't be affected. Check this out: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Live_CD
When you download the installation "disk" it comes in a file with the .iso extension. Then you can burn the image(the .iso file) into a cd or dvd generating a bootable disk and then that disk can be used to install the system.
But that isnt the only way to have an working system, there are also the live CDs and it is possible to run the system directly from the CD without install anything, another way is to have virtual machines inside of your operating system, most popular software now days for that is VirtualBox.
Virtual machines and live CDs are the best way to learn GNU/Linux because you dont have to make changes on your current system.
To know more about GNU/Linux here some links: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GNU/Linux http://www.gnu.org/
About the distributions of GNU/linux: http://distrowatch.com/
That will give you a good start.
Ok this all sounds like it would put a lot of work on the computer. Would i need a very good computer to do it? because unfortunately i do not have a very good PC.
Not really, you can have a modern GNU/Linux system with old hardware, of course there are limitations but that old box still can do a lot, Im a guy that like old machines and i do have computers that are older than you running Debian 6 which is the current version of that distribution. Here you can see one of them here look at the processor speed:http://fc06.deviantart.net/fs70/i/20...ki-d4f1z77.png
What is your hardware specifications(processor, RAM, etc)?
There are a lots of different versions or distros of linux. Some of them can run on computers 10-20 or more years old. Others require current hardware. It all depends on which programs you are using on your Linux system.
From the computer point of view Linux = Windows. Both allow you tuo run programs and browse the web etc. Although programs written for onw do not wrk for other. for example there is Photoshop for windows but you cannot run it on Linux, because Adobe hasn't done Linux version of Photoshop yet. Still you can manipulate images under Linux using Gimp. So there are more or less equivalent programs on each platform.
I would however recommend you to put Linux into virtual machine. That is you install either VMWare Player or Oracle VirtualBox onto your Windows system and that program is then like another computer allowing yo to install another operating system on it (or you can install several if you like).
Linux is not the only free operating system available. There is also many BSD-s (FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD), Solaris should still be freely available and then there are many experimental systems like Haiku for example. All of them are operating systems or platforms like Windows on your current computer. They all have different philosophy behind them and are different from Linux and certainly much much more different from Windows.
And then there is Apple with its OS X but you need a Mac to run it. fortunately each and every Mac has it installed.
In recent years smartphones have cnquered the world. Android for example is Linux based. It has linux kernel on it but totally custom uner interface so you are not enforced to think your phone as a linux box whioch it actually is.
One more thing about unixes (like linux, *BSD, Solaris, etc) is that they all have kernel (Linux is actually just a kernel), then they have lots of commandline programs, and in order t have graphical user interface, they have X Window System which is actually totally independet program on the operating system. For example quite some time ago I've upgraded the whole X on a running computer without a single restart by compiling it fully from the source (that monolithic XFree86 actually as current Xorg contains too many modules to deal with it on the source level). X Window System itself however is not much of a use. You need another layer to manage your programs. And thats where the picture goes quite complex. There are many-many-many window manager or even complete desktop environments for linux: KDE, GNOME, XFCE, and then some smaller ones like FluxBox, OpenBox, WindowMaker, FVWM, Enlightenment etc, etc.
Oh, in free software world, most of the programs are available also in the form of sourcecode. You can find complete sourcecode of the linux kernel for example, and there is sourcecode for graphical layers and most of the programs. Thats what free software is all about.
What is your hardware specifications(processor, RAM, etc)?
Processor: Intel Pentium III, ~540 MHz
Not sure what else you would like. But this computer was supposed to be a temporary one when my other computer messed up but unfortunately I have not earned enough money to buy a decent computer and i do not see myself getting one anytime soon as jobs are hard to come by because of my age.
Well i did some research and found i can get a version of Linux onto a 4 GB thumb drive and i was wondering if that would be my best option? I have a thumb drive i can use but I also read it uses more ram this way and i don't even have 1 GB of ram so i don't think this is the way to go.