Brian Woo-Shem

Mechanical engineer, tech wizard, cartoonist, writer, creator of things.

Category

Friendly Linux


Making Linux approachable and easy for regular users. This guide explains different aspects needed to use Linux.




Distributions


Unlike other operating systems, there are many implementations or “distributions” of Linux, meaning many more choices. A review of distributions from a new user’s eye.



Installation


Linux can be installed alongside existing operating systems, or by itself. A guide to getting Linux to run in common configurations.



Bugs & Quirks


Explaining how Linux is unique and how to fix common issues with ease.



Software


Linux has free and open-source professional-grade software. These apps are good for beginners and advanced users alike. Many are compatible with other operating systems.



What is Linux?


Linux is an operating system, the basic code needed to make a computer turn on and display content to the user. Other operating systems that may be familiar are Windows and Mac.


Why use Linux?




Linux


Free to use. Users can reinstall and put on as many devices as they wish, free of cost


Users can view and modify the code and how the system behaves


Users decide when they want to update


System has built-in anti-virus code and prevents malware by requiring user approval for all installations


New OS options exist for old computers, so they can still be used


The user has control over how the operating system runs


Most distributions are made by volunteers or companies that make money selling services to commercial users. They make little or no money off of personal users.



Closed-Source OS


Requires costly proprietary licenses and sometimes lock out legitimate users, making them pay twice


Users are restricted from changing parts of the system


Updates are forced on users at inconvenient times and often cause bugs


Requires paid anti-virus software, and are easily targeted by hackers


Old computers limited to running obsolete & insecure OS versions


The operating system controls what the user can do


The operating system is made by a corporation with the goal of making enormous profits off of regular users.



Why don’t more people use Linux?


In my opinion, Linux is the most powerful and user-centric operating system available, but the lack of good documentation frightens away many potential users. When I first switched to Linux about five years ago, there were times I resorted to randomly clicking things in programs to see if it works or dug through decade-old user forums for a suggested work-around. Often, the task was trivially simple, but the lack of instructions made it take too long. The programs and documentation have made leaps and bounds in the years since, but a simple, user-friendly guide free of jargon and advanced topics is still needed. This guide grows over time as I add new topics and update older articles.

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