Sick of Windows? How to test-drive Linux

Within the first a part of this new collection, Jack Wallen explains why you would possibly wish to use Linux and how one can take a look at drive a distribution with out making modifications to your Home windows laptop.


Picture: Shutterstock/Arthur Palmer

Linux is an working system, just like the one you employ in your Home windows and Apple computer systems. It runs software program and lets you entry the varied peripherals (printers, audio system, mice, keyboards, SD card readers, and so forth.) you connect to the system. With out an working system, your laptop could be of no use to you.

SEE: 40+ open supply and Linux phrases it is advisable know (TechRepublic Premium)

Chances are you’ll or could not have ever heard about Linux and that is OK; both approach, you are in for a deal with. Why? As a result of lots of the complications it’s important to cope with, when utilizing Home windows, will not be a difficulty with Linux. These shock reboots to use upgrades? Nope. The fixed concern of malware or ransomware? Not on Linux. Pricey software program? Not a difficulty.

Linux is highly effective, versatile, dependable and safe. Actually, on these 4 counts, Home windows can’t contact the Linux working system. That is how good it’s.

So why have not you heard of it? Largely as a result of large field shops do not promote computer systems pre-installed with Linux. You possibly can definitely purchase laptops and desktops that run Linux out of the field (equivalent to these from System76) however, for probably the most half, it’s important to manually set up Linux in your {hardware}.

That is the start of an extended collection of how-tos on migrating from Home windows to Linux. However earlier than we dive down the actual rabbit gap of putting in Linux, it is advisable first perceive what you are entering into and study of a approach you possibly can test-drive Linux earlier than you try the set up.

The distinction between Home windows and Linux is not as nice as you suppose

The very first thing I wish to handle is the distinction between Home windows and Linux. You is likely to be stunned that the distinction is not almost as nice as you would possibly assume. As I stated, Linux is an working system (though purists will argue that it is nothing greater than a kernel, however we needn’t hassle with that distinction). Working programs make it doable to run software program. That is the place the massive distinction lies as a result of Home windows and Linux software program aren’t precisely suitable. You possibly can’t merely set up a Home windows program on Linux (and vice versa). Though there are most frequently equal functions, you may need an utility you depend upon for work. With out that utility, you possibly can’t do your job. If there is no approach to set up that individual Home windows utility, what do you do?

Trace: It is all about Wine, however we’ll get into that in a later entry on this collection.

Nonetheless, when you’re involved about whether or not or not you possibly can work on Linux, relaxation assured there are many functions, equivalent to:

  • Net browsers (Firefox, Opera, Edge, Vivaldi, Courageous, Chrome)
  • Workplace Suites (LibreOffice, Gentle Maker, WPS Workplace, KOffice)
  • Picture Enhancing (GIMP, Inkscape)
  • Music Gamers (Spotify, Clementine, Rhythmbox)
  • Video Gamers (VLC, Motion pictures)
  • Audio Editors (Audacity)
  • Password Managers (BitWarden, KeePass)
  • Electronic mail Purchasers (Thunderbird, Evolution)

That is only a small pattern of what functions can be found for Linux. And since a lot of what we do now could be dealt with by an internet browser, chances are high fairly good you are coated.

So far as interacting with Linux? It is all level and click on. The usual argument in opposition to Linux is that you will have to study the command line: That is not true. The desktop environments (the graphical interfaces for interacting with the working system) are so properly designed that you can use Linux for years and never as soon as should run a single command. Actually, the Linux desktop has advanced to the purpose the place it is as user-friendly (if no more so) than both Home windows or macOS.

SEE: Hiring Equipment: Linux Administrator (TechRepublic Premium)

The massive distinction there may be you may have selections. There are fairly a lot of Linux desktops to select from, a few of them are extra user-friendly than others. The 2 desktops which are almost certainly to be immediately acquainted to Home windows customers are Cinnamon and KDE. For macOS customers, Pantheon is what you need. Of the three, Pantheon gives the perfect mixture of user-friendliness and fashionable design. Due to that, the distribution we will work with is elementary OS, which is a remarkably well-designed OS that’s as straightforward to make use of as it’s stunning.

Now that you simply’re curious, how do you test-drive Linux?

Let me introduce you to slightly factor referred to as the Linux distribution. What a stay distribution does is mean you can run the working system from RAM, so you are not making any modifications to your laborious drive. You put in nothing, you simply run the working system to see if it is one thing you should use. In the event you prefer it, set up it. If it isn’t for you, take away the USB drive, reboot your machine, and also you’re again to Home windows.

So, how do you run a stay occasion of Linux? Let me present you.

Methods to obtain the Stay distribution

Earlier than I do you have to how to do that (it’s extremely straightforward), know that the majority Linux distributions are available Stay type. The file kind you will be downloading ends within the .iso extension. ISO does not stand for something, however it’s a quick type of the Greek phrase ISOS (which suggests equal). 

So, for elementary OS, obtain the ISO file and reserve it to your laborious drive. While you go to the elementary OS web page, it seems as when you should pay for the file. You do not. You possibly can enter 0.00 because the donation determine. In fact, if you would like to donate to the builders, it does assist them preserve the venture alive.

Upon getting the ISO file downloaded, you have to “burn” it to a USB drive. That’s achieved with a instrument like Rufus. Obtain and set up Rufus as you’d any Home windows utility. After you’ve got taken care of the set up, insert a USB drive into your laptop and launch this system. From the Rufus window (Determine A), click on the system drop-down and choose the newly-inserted USB drive.

Determine A


The Rufus interfaced is likely one of the extra user-friendly ISO burning instruments accessible.

Subsequent, click on the Boot choice drop-down and choose Disk or ISO picture. Subsequent, click on the SELECT drop-down and navigate to the elementary OS ISO you downloaded. Click on START and Rufus will burn the ISO to the USB drive such that it may well boot into the elementary OS stay occasion.

Methods to boot the stay distribution

Now that you’ve got the ISO burned to a USB drive, insert the USB drive into your laptop and both reboot it or begin it. You’ll ultimately land on the Choose a Language window (Determine B).

Determine B


Choose your language for elementary OS.

Choose your language and click on Choose. You would possibly then should specify a area (relying on the language you select). Choose the area and click on Subsequent. The subsequent window requires you to pick out a keyboard, which is then adopted by the Attempt or Set up window (Determine C).

Determine C


The elementary OS Attempt or Set up Window asks a vital query.

Be sure that to pick out Attempt Demo Mode and click on Attempt Demo Mode. It will land you on the elementary OS desktop (Determine D), the place you possibly can lastly begin utilizing the working system.

Determine D


The elementary OS desktop could be very user-friendly.

Open a browser and go to any websites you employ, or click on on any of the pre-installed functions. In the event you do not discover an app you need, open the AppCenter and seek for the instruments you want (Determine E).

Determine E


Putting in software program from the elementary OS AppCenter.

And that is the way you take a look at drive Linux. While you’re completed making an attempt elementary OS out, you possibly can pull the USB drive out of the machine and reboot again to Home windows. In our subsequent piece, we’ll stroll by the method of putting in Elementary OS to your laborious drive.

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