Today I want to make a recommendation that will help release you from the chains of Windows. I want to suggest that your try Linux. For those who do not know, Linux is an alternate operating system that can be used in lieu of Windows. Why would I want to do that, one may ask? There are a number of reasons and in this article I will only scratch the surface. Hopefully enough to peak your interest into giving Linux a try.
The first thing you will notice as you venture down the Linux path is that there are a number of versions to choose. In the Linux world these versions are called Distros, which is short for distributions. To help you past this bump in the road, I am going to suggest you start experimenting with Linux Mint. Of all the distros I have experimented with, this is the most user friendly. If you are a Linux novice and just want to get to computing, this is the way to go. Everything just works. A great feature of Mint is the “try before you commit” concept. Once you download Mint and burn the ISO to a CD or DVD, you have a “Live CD”. This means you can boot into Linux Mint directly from the CD and run it from the CD without disturbing one sector on your hard disk. This is a good way to look at the distro, determine if it is compatible with your hardware and test drive it. If this works well, and you want to venture forward, the next step in the try before you commit process would be to install Mint4Win.
Mint4Win allows you to install from within Windows. The advantage of this is that the operating system can be removed by windows. This is way to install without changing your hard drives, creating partitions, etc. In my opinion, it probably runs at about 90% the speed it will run if installed to its own partition. But, you can simply uninstall it from the Windows control panel if you decide to either don’t want it, or want to install the full blown version. If you decide the latter, you can install it along side windows. This means you now have a dual boot system, and you can select whether to boot into Linux or Windows at boot time. This is a Microsoft World and we have to live in it. There are times you will find you need to use Windows, no matter how distasteful the concept is. Don’t worry, you can always shower afterwards.
Once you have Linux installed, your next question may be, where do I get my software. You already have it. You will discover you have a number of software packages already installed. For many, the software that comes preinstalled is sufficient. You will be able to do all you need to do with out adding a thing. However, if you discover you need more, all you need to do is start the software manager and search the hundreds of packages available. In most cases you will find a couple of what you need. And here is some good news. Once you install the package, you start using it. You do not have to restart your computer. And if you decide to remove a package, it is as simple as clicking on the uninstall button. The software will be removed, and you do not have to restart your computer. About the only time you are required to restart is if the kernel is modified, and that is very rare.
I guess you are wondering how much all this is going to cost you. Simply put, nothing. You can download the OS for free. The software is all free. The only thing you have to invest is time, and not very much of that. Last week, after Linux 10 was released, I had the basic install to two computers completed in about an hour. Installing the extra software packages added about 30 minutes more. And here is another great feature; if you have an older computer that has been running slow in Windows, installed Linux will breath new live into the computer. You will think it is a new computer. My second computer, the one I experiment on, is a seven year old Compaq. It is so old, it actually has the Compaq brand name on it. But it runs like a charm with Linux Mint on it. You have your choice of installing from CD or DVD, 32 bit or 64 bit.
In these days where things get more complicated and more difficult to use, Linux Mint is a refreshing change. It just works. I hope you will consider trying this. You can download Linux Mint at linuxmint.com.
Those are my thoughts, what are yours.