Read an Excerpt
Maybe you're thinking back to the last time you tried something new, and got less-than-happy results.
Maybe you've been burned by technology before, like Sony's hated and costly MiniDisc format, Dell's troubled Movie Studio Plus bundle from 2002, or the original Pentium from Intel with the faulty multiplier.
Whether your concerns arise from past experience, or from fear of an unknown future, it's a reasonable question: Am I going to be OK with Linux?
This has three components:
- Will Linux run on my PC without problems?
- Can I learn to use Linux easily?
- Will Linux install on my PC without problems?
Running Linux. Linux works with IBM PC-compatible computers, and on a great many more computer architectures too. Linux is a mainstream technology in the business world, and that's a place that quickly drops things that aren't cost effective. As long as you have a PC that runs at 800 MHz or more, with at least 256 MB memory, you're good to go.
Learning Linux. So how easy is it to learn Linux? That depends partly on you. How much interest do you have in learning a new skill? How much time can you put into it? Since you're reading this book, the answers must at least be "some" and "a bit." I don't want to trivialize the effort to master a new operating system, but it's really not that big a deal. The Linux installed base overtook the Macintosh installed base in 2004, and a large number of people taught themselves to be Mac-savvy.
All current windowing systemsall window-based GUIsdo pretty much the same things in the same ways. If you can find the main navigation button in Linux (bottom left of the window, same as in Windows, labeled Launch), you can find all the applications. If you can find the applications, you can learn by doing.
With the help of this book, the Linux customer support forums, and online documentation, you don't need to worry about getting stuck. You can learn Linux at your own pace and with a safety net.
Installing Linux. "Ah!" I hear you ask, "What about installing Linux?" Here, I have to acknowledge, lies an area that can cause frustration. The issue is that a few peripherals on your PC may be supported only under Windows. You might find that your modem or wifi card works on Windows and not on Linux. I'll get into the remedies for this situation in due course, but prepare yourself now for the possibility.
The easiest way to make all Linux installation issues disappear entirely is to acquire Linux the same way you acquired Windowspreinstalled on a PC by the vendor. A number of mainstream vendors will sell you a Linux PC, including Walmart, CompUSA, Staples, and MicrotelPC. Whether you buy a preinstalled Linux system, or re-use an existing PC, installation is a manageable problem, with the answers in this text.
The answer to the question. Here's the bottom line. I know a lot of people who have successfully learned Linux. I don't know anyone who has tried to learn Linux and failed.
Yes, you are going to be OK with Linux too.