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[–] 971947? 0 points 7 points (+7|-0) ago  (edited ago)

I'm in the same boat as you, but I've tried Linux Mint and it's easy to use. Not sure if it's the distribution I will stay with, as things are evolving rapidly in the Linux world. Might be worth browsing Distrowatch to get a feel for what's happening with various distributions.

Zorin OS 10 and MakuluLinux Aero are designed specifically to be familiar for the Windows XP/7 style user.

The best introduction would be to download an ISO of a "live CD" and boot from the DVD - it won't actually install Linux on your hard drive, but you can get a feel for it. You can also do the same thing with a USB drive instead of a DVD.

Great little article from PC World on how to get started with Linux.

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[–] johnyapplsede 0 points 4 points (+4|-0) ago 

Another great way to try Linux is to install it as a virtual machine, or even run a live ISO virtually with something like virtualbox. You don't even need to reboot your computer.

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[–] MrTibbs 0 points 1 points (+1|-0) ago 

I've been playing with Arch on virtualbox so i can look things up in a familiar environment while I'm figuring things out.

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[–] Nearsheep 0 points 2 points (+2|-0) ago 

Also, keep in mind that if you use a lot of giant programs (or play most video games), you may have trouble doing everything you want on a Linux Distro. Sure, there are open sourced alternatives to most programs, but they are often not as developed or specialized as the professional version. Just something you should keep in mind before trying to make the switch.

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[–] 974425? 0 points 1 points (+1|-0) ago 

Right, you can't do everything Windows on Linux, but Wine is steadily improving with age and many large Windows programs can run on Linux. PlayonLinux Also, there is Khronos Vulkan that is a cross-platform alternative to DirectX 12.

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[–] Lunch_Box 0 points 2 points (+2|-0) ago 

A "live CD" I've used in the past was called Knoppix

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[–] FrogMantra 0 points 1 points (+1|-0) ago 

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[–] 992218? 0 points 1 points (+1|-0) ago 

my dear Watson!

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[–] rivalarrival 0 points 2 points (+2|-0) ago  (edited ago)

First off, don't worry about distros. At your current skill level, you're probably not going to appreciate the differences in the various distros. What you need to start with is an extremely popular distro whose userbase has posted all the questions you're going to ask, and received answers for most of them. So, throw a dart at ONE of the more popular flavors and don't look back until you think you have a firm understanding of how it all works.

My Windows background started with 3.1 and continued through XP. I abandoned Windows almost entirely around the time that Vista came out; my only experience with the three post-XP versions of windows has been troubleshooting other people's problems. I find Ubuntu's default "Unity" desktop environment to be completely unintuitive. Linux Mint is based heavily on Ubuntu (which is based on Debian), but uses the "Cinnamon" desktop environment by default. I found Cinnamon much more intuitive than Unity, so I would strongly recommend Linux Mint as your first distro. Download it here. If you need help installing it, ask.

Personally, I disagree with the advice to boot from Live CDs/DVDs/USB drives. In my experience, Live CDs are SLOW, which makes the entire experience far less pleasant than it should be. My advice would be to yank your old hard drive out of your computer entirely, stick it in a drawer or put it up on a shelf somewhere for safekeeping, and pop in a nice, shiny, fast, 64GB solid-state drive for your Linux install. The speed increase of an SSD over even a hard drive, let alone an optical drive, will make the experience much more pleasant. You'll be far more likely to want to use Linux when it's considerably faster than your Windows install.

Google is your best friend. Always throw "ubuntu" into your troubleshooting queries, not "linux". If you use "Linux", you'll frequently find commands for Fedora or another distro that simply won't work for Ubuntu/Mint.

Don't be afraid of the shell (command line, terminal window). GUIs are much more capable now than they were when I got started, but for most simple tasks, the shell is much faster and easier to use.

Feel free to PM me if you have any specific questions. I'd be glad to help you get started.

[–] [deleted] 0 points 2 points (+2|-0) ago 

[Deleted]

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[–] janiskr 0 points 1 points (+1|-0) ago 

yeah, it is really nice, but that would be like - answering - Play EVE! to someone who asks a question like - Hi I am new to PC gaming, what game should i play? I like space and puzzles. Something casual, please.

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[–] starseed 0 points 0 points (+0|-0) ago 

You're not wrong, but talk about a sadistic bastard :P

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[–] Bealski 0 points 2 points (+2|-0) ago 

Download an image file of Linux Mint, and use ImgBurn to write the file to a blank DVD. Some versions of Windows can write these files natively, but this bypasses determining if you can. After writing the image to the disk, leave it in the drive, and reboot. Either set your optical drive as you default boot device, or use the appropriate "F key" to select your boot device. If all goes well, the disk should boot, and your live session should load. Here is the manual for the current version of Mint.

As for why.... because, it's free as in freedom, free as in lunch, lots of fun to use, will amaze & astound your friends, and is just generally bad ass. There are great communities of people willing, and able to assist you.

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[–] johnyapplsede 0 points 2 points (+2|-0) ago 

I would suggest starting with Ubuntu or Mint (or another Ubuntu-based distribution) because it has more things pre-configured, and so there is less of a barrier to entry. However, Ubuntu has (had?) a relationship with Amazon that basically feeds anything that you type into search to Amazon so they can insert Amazon ads into your results. I don't believe that Mint does this.

As others have said, the best way to try it is to either burn a live DVD/USB or install it in a virtual machine. Once you get a bit more familiar and make a more permanent choice about which distribution you want to go with, then you can install it as your main operating system.

Why should you use it? It's liberating! It presents you with a great opportunity to learn how your computer works and why it works that way. It is also a great way to become familiar with some truly awesome open source alternatives to the programs that you already use, and most of them are completely free. It can give new life to older hardware that struggles to keep up with Windows. There are endless reasons to at least give it a try.

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[–] Meatshield 0 points 1 points (+1|-0) ago 

It really depends on what you want to use Linux for: business or pleasure

If you want to use it just for fun, Linux is kind of like refurbishing an old car. You get to pick everything, from the paint color (something you can get at a dealershop), to what kind of engine, what speaker system goes into it, the upholstery, the works. It takes a lot of effort, but you get the freedom to tinker and customize it exactly how you like it.

If you want to use Linux for business, there are a ton of advantages. The majority of servers out there run Linux, and it's cheaper than Windows Server licenses. Again, you get the power to customize everything to exactly how you need it, which usually means you can take out all the cruft that bloats up Windows, leading to better performance. It's also generally more secure than Windows since patches come out faster for the packages in Linux than all the stuff in Windows.

In either case, a "Live CD" (or USB drive) is the easiest, lowest risk way to get started. Check out http://www.pendrivelinux.com/ for some tools that can help you get it all set up.

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[–] captbrogers 0 points 1 points (+1|-0) ago 

It doesn't seem to be mentioned yet, but there is an Ubuntu-based distribution called ElementaryOS. They ask you to pay something when you download but you can enter 0 as an amount to get it for free. Some people don't like the move because one of the heads on the project came off a little harsh when asked about it. Personally, I didn't mind kicking them $10 after I used it for a few months.

[–] [deleted] 0 points 1 points (+1|-0) ago 

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[–] captbrogers 0 points 2 points (+2|-0) ago 

Skype is dead simple now, no more complicated than installing it on Windows. Go to Skype's download page, grab the RPM for Fedora (it will say for Fedora 16, but I installed it on the latest release, Fedora 22), double-click the RPM in your downloads directory to start the install. It grabs all dependencies automatically.

[–] [deleted] 0 points 1 points (+1|-0) ago 

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