Reboot to Linux and Discover Freedom

Download and Install Linux

To learn more the links below direct you to the official websites of recommended Linux distributions to look at. The order of the selection represents my personal (subjective and bias) preferences however is also influenced by experience and the positive feedback I get from the new users I support. To try any of them simply download the installation image and I will cover next steps later in the article

If you want to immerse yourself in the complete Linux experience and be in full control of your installation read my article Do it yourself with Arch Linux


Download Installation Media

To try or install any of these Linux distro you first need to download the installation media then put it onto a suitable USB thumb-drive.

Select the distro you want to try or install navigate to their download page and follow the instructions

Create a bootable Live USB (Windows Users Only)

To create a bootable USB drive (of your chosen Linux OS) you need a clean USB thumb drive 4GB or greater

Windows users need to download and install a small application called Rufus. You can find it here

rufus-screenshot-jpg

Follow the instructions below to your bootable drive. This also works for all Linux Distros.

  1. Remove all other USB drives from your machine then insert the blank USB thumb drive you are going to use. Open the Rufus application.
  2. Make sure the “Device” dropdown has your USB thumbdrive selected.
  3. Select the appropriate “Partition scheme” from the 3 options. (Note most modern Linux Distros support UEFI)
  4. For the file system select “FAT32”
  5. Leave “Cluster size” as the default option
  6. New Volume Label: Type the name of the distro you are planning to install).
    1. In “Format Options” make sure the following are ticked
    2. Quick Format
    3. Create a bootable disk using ISO image
    4. Create extended label and icon files
    5. Click on the disk icon and locate the ISO file you downloaded from the elementary or the Manjaro site
    6. Cick the start button
    7. When complete you can restart you computer and you will be able to boot into the live version of the OS you downloaded.

Installation

The installation experience of many Linux distros are similar taking approximately 20-25 minutes depending on the speed of your internet connection. If its your first time and you want to become more familiar with the installation process I recommend watching a short YouTube video on how its done.

Common characteristics of the installation process

  1. Boot to your installation media
  2. Select your location
  3. Choose your time zone
  4. Set your keyboard layout
  5. Confirm (yes/no) your computer matches the minumum requirements
  6. Choose where to install on your hard-drive (Partitioning)
  7. Create a user and password
  8. Wait for the install to complete and reboot

About Proprietary Software for Linux

As previously mentioned all your computing requirements can be achieved using open-source software, however proprietary software is available and it is important to understand the difference.

Proprietary software is owned by the individual or company who developed it and the source code is protected from public scrutiny. Restrictive usage terms and conditions are often applied with user privacy often being exploited.

Software that is not proprietary includes free and open source software (FOSS), it’s usually available at no cost and can be used, distributed and modified by anyone for any purpose and with minimal restrictions.

  1. Linux is (and always will be) free and open source.
  2. Proprietary software is not supported in by Linux developers.
  3. Some Linux enthusiasts avoid proprietary software in favour of open source software feeling strongly it has no place in Linux.
  4. Proprietary software is available on Linux in most cases free of charge.
  5. Many Linux distributions do not offer proprietary software out of the box during installation however make it available alongside open source titles in their software repositories. The decision to use is always left to the discretion of each user.
  6. In a minority of cases it might difficult to find a preferable open source alternative for a specific proprietary Linux application.

I always try to select natively supported open source applications, however I wanted to share examples of some proprietary software and why I choose to install.

  • Spotify – A music subscription service
  • Steam – Linux gaming platform
  • Latest Nvidia Drivers – To optimize gameplay
  • Pixeluvo – Photo Editor (equivalent to Photoshop)
  • Google Chrome – For casting my desktop onto the TV
  • Non-Free Codecs – To play non-free multimedia formats (MP3/4, Flac, MKV etc)
  • MS Fonts – Document compatibility when collaborating with MS Office users

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