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Old 03-02-2011, 05:31 PM   #1
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Question Does a Kernal need to be installed?

Do I need to install a Kernal in a Dell laptop that is a few years old in order to run Linux? If so, how do I go about the installation process?

Last edited by Computeuser26; 03-02-2011 at 05:33 PM.
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Old 03-02-2011, 05:39 PM   #2
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If you are begginer in Linux, first choose a distribution like Ubuntu, Debian, Slackware, Red Hat, CentOS, OpenSuse, etc. Search on this forum for a question about which distribution to choose. The kernel/linux is not interesting for you, as every distribution deal with this oneself. Kernel is only a base for operating system, which needs also utility programs (commands, services, graphical environment, desktop managers) to be usable for end user. And Linux is a common name for all distributions based on Linux kernel.

Last edited by eSelix; 03-02-2011 at 05:49 PM.
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Old 03-02-2011, 05:43 PM   #3
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Welcome to LQ, Computeuser26.

It sounds like you may be thinking about this whole "Linux" thing too much. Linux can be quite simple to install depending on what you're looking for. If you're just planning on having a Desktop Environment similar to Windows/Mac OS to play around on, try something like Ubuntu, Fedora, or openSUSE. These distributions all have an ISO image you can write to a CD, DVD, or USB stick and try them before even installing them (they'll run slow, as they operate on your RAM). When you're read, you can try installing one of them through the easy to use graphical wizards. You need not worry about kernels and other such things, as they will handle all this for you.

If you're looking for something else, please clarify. If you have any more questions, we'd be glad to help!
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Old 03-02-2011, 06:17 PM   #4
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Strictly, Linux is the kernel (along with its associated modules) --- but this on its own isn't much use. This is why it's bundled with plenty of systems & application software (the things that actually enable users to do things). Such a bundle is referred to as a "distribution" (or "distro" for short). The emphasis of the distribution determines the selection of software bundled with it.

A few of the most popular distributions are Ubuntu, Fedora, SuSE, Debian (from which Ubuntu is derived) and Slackware. If you go and have a little read about these (for example on this website), you can decide which one best suits your needs, download it (for free) and burn it onto a CD or DVD.

You then just reboot with the CD/DVD you've burned and the installation will begin. The installation process is fairly straightforward, and as a previous poster said, you don't need to worry too much about the kernel --- the most popular distributions will install a kernel for you during the installation.

Anyway, welcome to Linux and thanks for your question: it made me smile --- your asking whether one needs to install a kernel in order to run Linux made me want to reply breezily, "No, not at all, I've been running Linux for years without a kernel!". ...But then I am rather a silly sausage.
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