Welcome to Easy Linux Tutorial – What is Linux?

Welcome to Easy Linux Tutorial – What is Linux?

Thank you for visiting my Easy Linux Tutorial website. If you have landed on this page chances are you are already at least somewhat familiar with Linux and are interested in learning more about how to use it. The goal of this website is to provide exactly that – a place where the average and maybe not so techie of a person can come and learn some simple steps to get setup with Linux and be on their way to enjoying using it. Welcome to Easy Linux Tutorial – What is Linux?

scary-code-easy-linux-tutorialNow some might think that “simple steps” and “Linux” don’t belong in the same sentence. The topic of Linux probably brings thoughts of complex mazes of unintelligible strings of code that only super geeks know how to decipher. I can understand such thinking as Linux does have somewhat of a “geeks only” reputation. However while there is still a heavy code and command line side to Linux (as there always will be since it is meant to be a developer’s playground) many versions of Linux have been designed with simplicity in mind for the average user. Take a look at the image below showing the Linux Mint desktop for instance. That doesn’t look so scary does it?

linux-mint-not-scary-user-friendly-easy-linux-tutorial
So What Does Linux Have To Offer?
Honestly that is a very open ended question. But I’ll touch on a few things that I enjoy about Linux.

Open Source OS –
open-source-os-easy-linux-tutorialProbably one of my favorite things about Linux is in most cases it is completely free to download and use. And not just one version of Linux, but most versions. Whether Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Pinguy, Open SUSE, Redhat, Debian, etc. Each of these you can visit their website and download the complete operating system for free. They aren’t trial runs. They aren’t limited versions with locked features that can only be unlocked after paying a hefty amount of cash. They are fully functional, everything works, never have to pay a penny, use for as long as you like operating systems and they are intended to be that way.

I will add one caveat however… All the development that goes into these operating systems does still cost money and the projects are supported on a donation basis. So even though they are free for anyone to use, please don’t hesitate to donate to the project of whichever Linux distro you choose to use if you feel like doing so.

Many distros to choose from –
Another great thing about Linux is there are so many different distros to pick from using. Ok, maybe I’m taking for granted that everyone knows what a distro is. A Linux distro (or distribution) is a variance, or a flavor, or version of the operating system. They all operate similarly and are built on a Linux base; many of them will have the same software programs too. But each distro will have it’s own features and design that will set it apart from another one.

Some distros are designed with aesthetics in mind. Some are designed to include a large selection of software programs with the OS so when it is installed it offers all that the average user would need to use right out of the box. Some are intended to be very user friendly. Others like Arch Linux (a more advanced distro – the techie type) are designed to be a “build it yourself” type suite so to speak, where you selectively choose and install every component to your operating system that you’d like to have included. We likely won’t be trying to make an easy Linux tutorial for Arch Linux on this website… Who knows though. Maybe I’ll change my mind.

Do a search on Google for “Linux distros” and you’ll find dozens of options available. It’s amazing actually. But while there may be times in the future that I might share something I may have learned about some special distro, we won’t cover the use of all of them on this website as the goal here is to keep it simple and user friendly. We’ll mostly stick to a core of distros, such as have been mentioned before like Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Debian, Pinguy, Zorin and so forth.

Easy installation –
Ok, now I need to proceed with caution with this part because while it is something I like about Linux, an easy installation isn’t ALWAYS the case. I’m sure if I just blanket this whole subsection as “easy and automatic” I’ll be corrected by someone later. Which is fine too; I don’t know everything there is to know about Linux and am still learning myself. But for the most part, with the more user friendly distros the setup and installation is pretty simple. Yes you’ll need to be able to download the OS and add it to a CD or USB drive and make it bootable. You’ll also need to format and partition your hard drive. But don’t let that scare you. We’ll walk through these steps in later Easy Linux Tutorial videos and posts.

The reality though is with some simple instructions and very minimal command lines (if any) the OS can be downloaded, prepared on an external media device, and then installed on a computer in a short while. In fact many distros even have the option of what is known as “Live Booting”, which gives you the ability to boot into the operating system from the CD or USB stick and test drive the OS before you actually install it on your computer. I love this feature as it has saved me many times in the past from going through the installation process for an OS that I didn’t end up really liking anyway. The ability to live boot into the OS allowed me to get a feel for what the OS had to offer and decide if I wanted to proceed with it.

Open Source Software –
open-source-software-easy-linux-tutorialHey, didn’t we already cover this one? Well, close… But no. It does run in the same vein as the Open Source OS topic we started with however. Naturally if you are working with an Open Source operating system it would make sense that the software for it was Open Source as well right? Yes, it absolutely makes sense and yes, most of the software is Open Source as well. I love this because it makes it much cheaper for me to make an easy Linux tutorial for multiple programs and its also cheap for you to download the programs and follow along. And again, by cheap I mean free!

Now let me clarify what this does and does not mean though. It does not mean that any software program that you might find on Windows is now free just because it is on Linux. Windows programs are made for Windows and Linux programs are made for Linux. (Although if you have a Windows program that you cannot live without, it may be able to be used on Linux with the use of a Linux program called WINE – but more on that later) What this does mean though is that most of the software you’ll find in the Software Managers or Software Marketplaces on Linux are free to use just like the OS. Occasionally you’ll come across a program that does cost money, but not very often.

Highly customizable –
Linux is a very customizable operating system. Whether you’d like to change the theme to your desktop environment, or add special widgets to your panel or desktop, change default font sizes or colors or button types, there is much that can be customized to fit your taste.

Not as vulnerable to viruses –
computer-virus-warning-easy-linux-tutorialThis isn’t to say that Linux is immune to viruses. Sadly that is not the case. There is always the potential of danger from email attachments, software programs released from untrustworthy sources, malicious URL’s, etc. However, stacking one OS against another with virus vulnerability is also relative. Compare the odds of someone’s Windows machine being infected with a virus versus someone’s Linux machine. It is usually the Windows machine that is at highest risk while Linux is usually safe.

Now simply because Windows has a higher vulnerability to viruses doesn’t mean that someone running Linux should be happy go lucky without any caution whatsoever, especially if they are connected to the internet. Caution still must be taken. But it is safe to say that most Linux users will go years without ever having their machine affected with a virus or malicious program. In fact most would say it is useless to even run an antivirus program on a Linux machine. After dealing with viruses for so long when I primarily used Windows in the past, this is a very nice change not to have to worry so much.

Fast and light on resources –
This is the final thing I’ll mention on this “What I like about Linux” list. In fact next to dealing with virus issues, it was the slow and resource heavy usage I continually experienced with Windows that drove me to finally look for another option. And having a background with IT and Network administration it’s not like I was ignorant about how to maintain a Windows machine and do routine cleaning to keep it running smoothly or anything either. But bit by bit it became all the more irritating having to wait on Windows. Long boot times and program load times. Various program errors. Web browsers such as Chrome eating up more than 75% of the computer’s memory. CPU fan always cranked at high speed, even at idle. It was too much.

The switch to Linux revealed an amazing new world with a very fast OS and light resource usage. After using it a while I ran some tests with some real world (for me) scenarios. I would have my Chrome browser running with upwards of 20-30 tabs open, a video playing in VLC, another video being ripped from a DVD onto my hard drive in Handbrake, with another edited video being rendered in OpenShot video editor, with GIMP photo editor open and my email client open all at the same time. (Keep an eye out for an easy Linux tutorial video for each of these programs) The results? My memory usage never went above 40% and my CPU fan under all this load ran lower than the idle speed that my Windows system ran at. I was shocked to say the least. Welcome to Easy Linux Tutorial – What is Linux?

Why would I Switch To Linux?
So after reading my rambling on and on about some of the things I love about Linux you might be sitting there asking, “Ok that’s good and all, but why would I go through the effort to switch to Linux?” In the end that is ultimately a question you need to answer. There could be any number of reasons why it might be worth it for you to make the switch.

Maybe its that you’re tired of having to deal with the constant threat of virus attacks on your Windows machine? Lets face it, that gets old after a while; especially if you’ve been affected by a virus more than once. Maybe it’s upgrade or add-on costs for your current OS. Maybe it is the cost of some of the programs you use. It could be you don’t have the money to upgrade to a new computer and your current one is starting to run a little slow. Simply installing a lightweight Open Source Linux distro on that old computer could be all you need to keep that computer running a few more years. It could simply just be that you’d like a change and want to try something new.

It could be one of these reasons, it could be something else. Whatever it is, my goal is to provide the kind of tutorials and how-to guides that would remove any reason for saying, “But I’m not tech savvy enough to do this…” So please feel free to take advantage of the resources on this Easy Linux Tutorial website and find out how awesome Linux really is. And don’t hesitate to leave a comment or ask any questions you may have in the comments section. Here we go!

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