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We’ve written plenty of articles about helping you switch over to Linux from your current operating system. However, even with all of those materials at hand, it’s sometimes still difficult to take the leap of faith and actually try it out.

So, this article will be all about questions you might have about switching, and what you can do to ease yourself into the world of Linux. If you read it from start to finish, you’ll have plenty of answers and tips to succeed at Linux.

Use Of The Terminal

linux_accessing_cloud_terminal_dropbox
One of the biggest fears that a lot of people have is that Linux requires that you use the terminal. It’s true that the terminal can be a scary thing to look at — I felt the same whenever I first dabbed around in Linux. And it may seem like the terminal is still necessary as there are loads of tutorials online (including many of our own) to provide commands to run in the terminal. However, you shouldn’t have to worry for two reasons.

First, you don’t have to use the terminal if you don’t want to. It’s not a requirement. Commands are often given in tutorials and regular Linux users tend to go into the terminal because there are some things that can be done more easily in the terminal, but it’s still a preference. Not a requirement.

Second, the terminal is (believe it or not) actually not that difficult to learn 4 Ways to Teach Yourself Terminal Commands in Linux 4 Ways to Teach Yourself Terminal Commands in Linux If you want to become a true Linux master, having some terminal knowledge is a good idea. Here methods you can use to start teaching yourself. Read More . We have plenty of articles that can give you a good start at grasping the Linux terminal An A-Z of Linux - 40 Essential Commands You Should Know An A-Z of Linux - 40 Essential Commands You Should Know Linux is the oft-ignored third wheel to Windows and Mac. Yes, over the past decade, the open source operating system has gained a lot of traction, but it’s still a far cry from being considered... Read More . All you need then is a bit of practice and you’ll start to get the idea pretty quickly.

User Interfaces or “Desktop Environments”

kde5_desktop
Even if you’re not required to use the terminal, what about the user interface? There are tons of desktop environments and choosing one out of all of them can seem impossible. However, you can make your life a little easier by limiting yourself to just the most popular ones, such as GNOME, KDE, Xfce, LXDE, Cinnamon, MATE, and Unity, which are often the default desktop environments for the popular Linux distributions. Once you’ve narrowed down to just these options, you have the choice of picking whichever desktop you like best. That’s the beauty of Linux — you actually have choices.

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Because of these choices, it’s possible to make different Linux distribution recommendations The Best Linux Distributions The Best Linux Distributions There are many Linux distributions available for a number of different purposes, which makes it difficult to choose at times. Here's a list of the very best to help you decide. Read More for different people. For example, the best distro recommendation for Mac OS X users would be Ubuntu, as the left-side window control buttons and the global menu will seem familiar Why Windows XP Users Should Switch To Ubuntu 14.04 LTS "Trusty Tahr" Why Windows XP Users Should Switch To Ubuntu 14.04 LTS "Trusty Tahr" If you're still trying to dump Windows XP but haven't found an alternative yet, Ubuntu 14.04 is a great choice. Read More . Windows users would do well on Linux Mint as it provides a very similar layout Is Linux Mint 17 "Qiana" The Ubuntu Killer? Is Linux Mint 17 "Qiana" The Ubuntu Killer? The latest version of Linux Mint, the 17th release codenamed "Qiana", is out! It's a great alternative for people leaving Windows as well as those who just don't quite like Ubuntu. Read More  to Windows.

As for support for whatever desktop environment you end up using — don’t worry. As these are the most popular options, there will be plenty of people in online communities to help you out if needed.

Software And Hardware Support

team fortress 2 and steam for linux
Support for hardware and software is also quite excellent, and should be little cause for concern. Linux hardware support has gradually gotten better over the years and is now at a point where most systems work entirely without having to intervene in any shape or form.

Most Linux distributions offer a live environment that you enter just by booting from your prepared installation media, where you can test if all hardware works before you actually commit Linux to your hard drive. There’s also plenty of software available for you to do just about whatever you need to do, whether there’s an official Linux version of your favorite app Steam For Linux Beta Now Available To All [Updates] Steam For Linux Beta Now Available To All [Updates] Valve announced on Thursday that its previously invite-only Steam client for Linux is now available for all to download, test out and submit feedback. The announcement came shortly after Steam received a platform-wide update, with... Read More or whether there’s a Linux alternative available.

Get Over Your Fear Once And For All

virtualboxes12
Now that the most common questions have been answered, how can you get over your fear of Linux? By actually trying it out. Thankfully, there are so many ways you can try it out without actually installing it to your computer.

You can try it out in a live environment by booting from installation media, or you can even install Linux in a virtual machine (such as with VirtualBox Download & Test Run Every Linux OS You Want With Virtualboxes Download & Test Run Every Linux OS You Want With Virtualboxes For a long time, I've been curious about Linux operating systems. I've used Windows my whole life, so the idea of switching to another operating system is a pretty big deal. I think switching to... Read More ) so that you can actually install apps and updates without them disappearing when you shut down your computer. With these options, you’re making no permanent changes to your current system.

This, honestly, is the absolute best way to get over your Linux fears. Once you’ve installed, set up, and used a system for yourself for a while, you know exactly what to expect. And you can continue to keep trying to use Linux until you get comfortable with it.

It’s completely normal if you’re not convinced after using it just one time. I’m sure I had to try Linux at least five times before it finally stuck. But I was curious enough to keep coming back.

Give It A Try!

Nowadays it’s quite rare for someone not to be able to use Linux for technological reasons. Linux is very capable and should be able to support whatever you normally do on your computer.

Instead, a lot of people just have to overcome their fear of switching to a new, unfamiliar operating system. Just keep trying, take some time to learn new parts, and use a search engine as well as our own resources when you run into questions or problems. You can do it, and you’ll be happy once you do.

What’s your biggest fear about using Linux? Let us know in the comments!

Image Credits: falling man Via Shutterstock

  1. Wendy
    February 19, 2016 at 10:21 pm

    My fear is installing it improperly, and having a brick on my desktop. My laptop was easy, but my ASUS had a more difficult (or so it seems) UEFI and I am worried about hardware compatibility as i have a NVIDIA graphics card.

  2. PlaGeRaN
    February 3, 2015 at 10:28 am

    this option is ONLY if you want to learn term: download and install CYGWIN.
    Please remember which command line you are using as I sometimes forget lol!

  3. Does it matter
    February 2, 2015 at 4:03 pm

    I installed Linux mint on my laptop becous i kinda had to, my 7 year old laptop did not really handle the heavy XP to well anymore and took about 5 min to lot up and so on. So i desided to try Linux mint 14 as a dual boot with XP, I was sceptial to say the least, i had try Ubunto few years befor and really did not like it. Yes i have had trouble at times figurine things out (just like in windows), but when it came to softwear i had often look for free software for windows becous i did not wanna steal it and i also did not want to spend 100s of dollers paying for something i only used once a month or so. So i already know about gimp, open office/libra office and so on.

    I first relies that mint was easy to used when my mother had to use my laptop one time...let me tell you my parents are not a tech ppl. she actually asked if she could get this program on her computer becous she found it so much easier to used. there are so many programs that just do what they are suppose to, no bells or wisle.

    So when it came to buying a new computer for them the only think they actually asked for was to have linux mint on it (or as they called it "easy program") .

    So my point is, i don't think Linux Mint is the complicated, im not going say its better then Windows or Apple, im not going say it worse. Im just going say its different. And there for there is a learning curve, like there was with windows, and still is when they up great (i know im still getting anoied by win 7 at work becous things are different then in XP...how many year has it been ? hahaha).

  4. gary knott
    February 1, 2015 at 10:54 pm

    My "fear" of using Linux, is that it's a moving target. Once I
    get a system configured and learned, The distro team
    makes it obsolete, and then I have to fight Linux all over again.
    I want to "learn once and use forever".

    (Obsolete means that my browser will soon fail since browsers
    also force frequent updates onto us.)

    • Ananya
      February 2, 2015 at 8:26 am

      Your fears are misplaced, whenever MS changed from Win95 to Win98 to WinMe to Win2K to WinVista to Win7 to Win 8 to Win10, there was no learning curve.

      There is no much difference between releases in Ubuntu as it has been MS.

    • gary knott
      February 3, 2015 at 11:38 pm

      Dear Ananya, Well, there was some learning that was required to
      follow window's progression. But let me be clear, the main culprit
      is the so-called GUI graphical interface.

      I only need a few things, but
      they are always a pain or worse to obtain. (1) I need to get icons on my desktop that act as "shortcuts" for a Bash window, for emacs, for a few browsers, for printer control, for wireless networking, and for certain of my own programs that I have placed in certain directories of my choosing. (2) I need to have a modest complement of "tool" programs in a "toolbar" - e.g. a clock/calender, an updater to get new versions of programs, etc.

      I need to see stuff, my eyes are my memory, and I don't want
      hidden pop-ups as my way of doing things. (And I'd like english
      titles on icons, since I can't always figure-out the pictures.)

      Each GUI seems to spend far more time on fancy graphics which
      I don't care about, or snooping - like unity, and not
      on basic usability and clairity.

      But, as i said, worst of all, is that when i have come to terms
      with some desktop, I am driven to have to change it! And
      also, as my machine stays the same, Linux gets newer,
      there are install and driver and bloat problems, as well as the
      small but real risk of screwing-up an install and being left with
      no usable system.

  5. Amir
    February 1, 2015 at 7:19 pm

    There is no need to use linux anymore, Windows is already good enough and more stable and cheaper than before . people need a real OS which works well , they dont have time to read about any single problem online for hours ! I have used Linux ,MAC OSX and Windows .
    i am not that happy with OSX 10.10 anymore because it does not improved that much expected since my last mac back in 2009 . but I can say Microsoft has done a good job on win8 and now on win 10 and very good mobile OS also .
    But all these years linux people were fighting or copying each other to say who makes a better distro !!
    if even top 5 linux distro could join together and make a new project together hand in hand they could make one single linux distro which WORKS well and can push app developers and hardware makers to support it .
    there is really not many APP for linux , it is 2015 , does linux has Viber?Line?Wechat ? Evernote?official Twitter and FB app? wifi hardware apps?
    if linux people think we only need email , web and office only then i suggest everybody to get an android tablet is best choice !
    anyway i can see finally google will dominate the linux desktop OS ,but wish good luck to linux!

  6. Amir
    February 1, 2015 at 7:18 pm

    There is no need to use linux anymore, Windows is already good enough and more stable and cheaper than before . people need a real OS which works well , they dont have time to read about any single problem online for hours ! I have used Linux ,MAC OSX and Windows .
    i am not that happy with OSX 10.10 anymore because it does not improved that much expected since my last mac back in 2009 . but I can say Microsoft has done a good job on win8 and now on win 10 and very good mobile OS also .
    But all these years linux people were fighting or copying each other to say who makes a better distro !!
    if even top 5 linux distro could join together and make a new project together hand in hand they could make one single linux distro which WORKS well and can push app developers and hardware makers to support it .
    there is really not many APP for linux , it is 2015 , does linux has Viber?Line?Wechat ? Evernote?official Twitter and FB app?
    if linux people think we only need email , web and office only then i suggest everybody to get an android tablet is best choice !
    anyway i can see finally google will dominate the linux desktop OS ,but wish good luck to linux!

  7. Amir
    February 1, 2015 at 7:18 pm

    There is no need to use linux anymore, Windows is already good enough and more stable and cheaper than before . people need a real OS which works well , they dont have time to read about any single problem online for hours ! I have used Linux ,MAC OSX and Windows .
    i am not that happy with OSX 10.10 anymore because it does not improved that much expected since my last mac back in 2009 . but I can say Microsoft has done a good job on win8 and now on win 10 and very good mobile OS also .
    But all these years linux people were fighting or copying each other to say who makes a better distro !!
    if even top 5 linux distro could join together and make a new project together hand in hand they could make one single linux distro which WORKS well and can push app developers and hardware makers to support it .
    there is really not many APP for linux , it is 2015 , does linux has Viber?Line?Wechat ? Evernote?official Twitter and FB app? wifi hardware apps?
    if linux people think we only need email , web and office only then i suggest everybody to get an android tablet is best choice !
    anyway i can see finally google will dominate the linux desktop OS ,but wish good luck to linux!

  8. wormstir
    February 1, 2015 at 6:25 pm

    after a hard drive death on vista I installed mint 12, the mint 16, and am now on elementary - they are all good, but elementary is really really good, much better than windows, very clean and easy to use- and most of all - FAST! Switching to linux literally doubled my laptop speed instantly

    Im not a geek at all and I dont have any problems using elementary or doing simple tweaks to it using online tutorials

  9. E.D.S.
    February 1, 2015 at 7:50 am

    Funny thing. If you buy a wireless card, a Bluetooth adapter, or a printer, "noDoors" asks you for a cd or location with drivers, sometimes the exact model number etc. It's a raging headache! Most desktop oriented GNU/Linux based distributions/OSes (like Ubuntu or LinuxMint) find those things themselves, install them while the system loads, and you don't even notice that anything changed in your computer's configuration. How is that for easy?

  10. pmshah
    February 1, 2015 at 4:04 am

    Recently I managed to install Linux Mint on my Zotac dual core Atom + ION hardware. But I must say it was not painless. My first brush was with Slackware 2.0 some 20+ years ago. The installation process was strictly text based but explanations were very precise in making the right choice. It also permitted me to use my own boot manager. Sadly these 2 features are totally missing in all the distros I have tried. I tool a chance on Mint simply because I came across one single article which explained installation via "Something else" route.

    What I can't figure out is how they arrived at the list of video drives that would be included in the iso. I also have an 8 year old Jetway VIA C7 based mini-itx motherboard which runs absolutely flawlessly win with XP AND win 7 ( albeit slow with the latter) . Even the latest version of Gparted - (200 mb iso) can handle not only this but ALL motherboards I have come across, Mint simply refuses to allow installation of OpenChrome driver for it. Mint iso might grow by may be 100 mb if they included this driver but it would hardly matter. It would simply make it compatible with ALL the VIA based motherboards which I find to be the most reliable, bar none. And honestly there are plenty of those still going strong.

  11. Peter Dawson
    February 1, 2015 at 1:15 am

    We have a group of 42 seniors of whom 20 were dissatisfied and scared Win XP users.
    3 of us are long term Windows & Mac "techies" who guide and teach them.
    Of the 20 only 5 of us have not abandoned our Linux Min17 experiment
    the quotation " the devil you know is better than the devil you don't know."

    As I am writing this to you, I am still one of the 5, but since upgrading to Mint 17.1
    neither "Upgrade Manager" nor " Sofrware Manager" will open.
    After a whole week of scouring the web and trying all kinds of gobbley Gook
    via the terminal, I am not any closer to solving this.

    I love Linux Mint, I will persevere, and not go back to Windows (except through
    "Virtual Box" for a few apps.

    Because of mine, and the groups experience, I think that it is a shame that
    it is next to impossible to get access to valid and helpful information for all but the very tech oriented.

    Yes, I know that so many people rave about Mint, but until you experience any
    complication, it's scary. A great deal of the information on the web about linux
    Mint is ....oudated ....contradictory ... poorly explained.. demeaning to the
    non-techie.

    This isn't just my opinion, 20 people ( all dying to get away from ...Malware, Registry
    problems, Viruses etc) ... a treasure trove of future/potential missionaries are
    being neglected.

    It is such a shame!

    • Grcoeeg
      February 2, 2015 at 3:06 am

      Pete, I'm a senior that went with Zorin several years ago, now using Zorin 9 Core, it is an all in one ( but VLC must be installed via software center ) and is built to look and act just like windows 7 or XP. It just works. My wife and several buddies are all loving the ease of use and the never having to reboot or run antivirus, or go through all the crap that goes with Windows. Give it a try, I have it on three different laptops, two as duel boots with windows 7 that I very rarely boot into windows 7 and a third that I have Zorin 9, Ubuntu 14.04 and Linux mint 17 on as a triple boot just to play with. PS I'm liking Mint 17 more and more, but Zorin will be my number 1 in the foreseeable future. zorin.com give it a try.

  12. Dan
    January 31, 2015 at 11:10 pm

    After more than a decade playing around with Linux, I've finally decided to adopt it last year as my exclusive OS. Things have changed for the better.

    CLI use is minimal now (unless you need to do some power-user tasks).

    Hardware support is getting better, but you should wait before getting newly released hardware to give the developers a chance to code drivers.

    Thankfully, you are less likely to edit configuration files now, as more and more settings are being exposed to the GUI.

    There are still problems with Linux, but I'm seeing improvements every year. I still miss the ease of use of Windows 7. But Linux, especially the easy-to-use distros, are getting there. (Except Unity, that interface sucks more than Win8).

  13. KT
    January 31, 2015 at 4:33 pm

    I made the switch around 9 years ago and I'm at the point that I like trying new distros out on my old pc just for fun. I do have one complaint about linux that won't seem to go away. I always have to tinker with audio drivers and settings with new installs lately. I can usually figure it out, but it's been my only annoyance. Windows installs on the other hand, especially the UEFI stuff...Ugh.

  14. Del
    January 31, 2015 at 2:42 pm

    Any linux OS is fine,as long as you also have a windows computer with internet access.I like it fine,until something pops up in gobbldegook which I have to use the terminal to answer and get to my destination.

    • dragonmouth
      January 31, 2015 at 7:39 pm

      If you insist on using Terminal gobbledegook to get online in Linux, you deserve any headache you get. Network Manager and/or wicd GUI tools work wonderfully without resorting to command line.

    • Del
      February 2, 2015 at 1:48 pm

      I wrote nothing about networks,nor did I mentioon the internet.
      You might deserve to take a reading comprehension course.I was refering to the normal loading of a linux OSs,or in attempting to use the OS in various normal ways.I have no idea what the computer needs to see and a windows computer adjacent to it was required,since I have no linux expert in my home.

    • rc primak
      February 4, 2015 at 3:45 pm

      "Any linux OS is fine,as long as you also have a windows computer with internet access."
      You did mention the Internet.

      And the rest of what you post has nothing to do with the loading or connecting to the Internet of my Ubunntu Linux distro. No Command Line gobbledegook anywhere. Just a selection menu for GRUB to choose Linux or Windows. I can download and install anything I want to with my Linux installation. I really don't know what you are talking about, and I suspect you don't know what you're talking about either.

  15. dragonmouth
    January 31, 2015 at 2:40 pm

    This is not a complaint, just a comment.
    Linux commands are rather cryptic and unintuitive.

  16. Dirgo
    January 31, 2015 at 11:05 am

    I've been trying to convert to linux for the past 10 years now. I rememer being 15 years old at that time ! I told to myself wow, there is a huge potential in couple months years for this to be good!
    Each time i try a new flavor of linux, each year i see what i saw when i was 15...
    Hardware incompatibilities, when hardware is "working" drivers lack major functionnalities, a simple task gets yet very complicated, no flash hardware support, outdated software versions compared to windows and above all i just can't stand anymore those users selling the outstanding benefits of using linux as if everything was so od on it and so bad on windows, be honest, basic stuff just don't work.
    Just go see askubuntu website on how many simple tasks, problems are recurrent and not solved.
    As it's free you get what you pay for...very little to say the truth :/

    • dragonmouth
      January 31, 2015 at 2:31 pm

      "Just go see askubuntu website on how many simple tasks, problems are recurrent and not solved."
      Check out the Windows forums asn see how many simple tasks , problems are recurrent and unsolved. :-)

      For each user who finds Linux deficient and unusable there is another one who dumps Windows to use Linux. Interestingly, many times they tried the same distro. As an example just look back through the above posts. Aventerine, like you, picked Ubuntu. Unlike you, he is very happy with it and ditched Windows and its favor. Why is it that one person can use a distro but another finds it full of problems?

    • Slim Bubba
      January 31, 2015 at 3:55 pm

      Not to mention that Windows tech support typically leaves people more frustrated than when they started. If you encounter a problem in Windows, you're better off to Google for a solution than to seek help from tech support. Odds are someone else has had the same or a similar problem, and has posted a solution.

    • Slim Bubba
      January 31, 2015 at 3:58 pm

      Sorry... this was a reply to the next up where dragonmouth was talking about Windows vague error messages.

    • rc primak
      February 4, 2015 at 3:40 pm

      Software gotten outside the main repositories can be completely up to date. I install the more up to date .DEB packages through the Ubuntu Software Center, and I stay up to date as much as in Windows 7.

      Hardware support is either it's ther or it's not. Windows would be the same way if no PCs were built already optimized for Windows. this is a problem with hardware manufacturers, not with the Linux OS.

      Flash Player is supported with hardware acceleration in Chromium 40 under Ubuntu Linux, with Pepper Flash current as with Windows. I don't know what you are complaining about here.

  17. Andy
    January 31, 2015 at 10:58 am

    I've been using all manner of computers over the last 40 years from PDP11s, main frames DEC VAX machines to the present PCs and they all had their various OSs, but I found the most awkward one of all to be Unix and in the form of Linux, nothing has changed much.
    It's not that I don't understand it, it's just a pain to do anything easily and the quality of the software is, in the main, poor.
    Windows, on the other hand, is simple. It either works or it doesn't, and in modern versions of windows, it usually tells you so. It doesn't just sit there expecting you to know what those strings of errors are supposed to mean and how to put them right. Bring back CP/M, that's what I say!

    • dragonmouth
      January 31, 2015 at 2:14 pm

      You are comparing peaches and oranges, Windows and Unix. Windows is a fully developed GUI O/S while Unix is, for most part and by design, a command line O/S.

      Most of the popular Linux distributions (Ubuntu, Mint, PCLinuxOS, Mageia) have highly developed GUIs, just like Windows. When evaluated objectively (discounting fan-boism), they are comparable to Windows in look, feel and performance.

      "Windows, on the other hand, is simple"
      If you use Linux as long as you have used Windows, it will also be simple. :-) I KNOW you were not born with a complete knowledge of Windows.

      "in modern versions of windows, it usually tells you so"
      Windows is notorious for vague error messages such as "A system error has occured" with no further explanation.

    • Andy
      January 31, 2015 at 6:18 pm

      Firstly, I used Unix in the eighties with a windowing system comparable to today's Linux.
      Secondly, yes your right and I prefer oranges.
      Also,
      "Most of the popular Linux distributions (Ubuntu, Mint, PCLinuxOS, Mageia) have highly developed GUIs, just like Windows. When evaluated objectively (discounting fan-boism), they are comparable to Windows in look, feel and performance."

      In looks and performance only, I think.

      "If you use Linux as long as you have used Windows, it will also be simple. :-) I KNOW you were not born with a complete knowledge of Windows."

      Well, actually I have, probably longer if you count Unix as very similar to Linux. I was using Linux when Bill Gates was still re-writing
      PC-DOS.
      If somebody told me I had three months to learn either Linux or Windows, I know which one I'd go for :o)

      "Windows is notorious for vague error messages such as “A system error has occured” with no further explanation."

      Just like Linux you mean?

  18. Aventerine
    January 31, 2015 at 5:20 am

    My biggest fear when I started using Ubuntu back in 2007 was learning a new OS. After dual booting for about a year, I noticed I was using Ubuntu more than Windows so I ditched Windows. Now about 71/2 years later I don't regret it in the least.

    Yes, it was a new experience and there was a learning curve, but I never had any problems with my hardware not working or figuring out how to use the software center. There was no more of a learning curve than when I started using XP.

    • rc primak
      February 4, 2015 at 3:34 pm

      This is very similar to my experience in learning to live with Ubuntu Linux.

      Except, my motivation was Windows 8, with that so-called Interface.

      Two years later, and I'm about 90 percent a Linux user.

  19. john roush
    January 31, 2015 at 2:50 am

    i tried an old version of linux mint on an ancient 'puter and it worked fine. so when i bought a new laptop with windows 8.1 and it was driving me nuts i swallowed my fear and just installed linux mint over it completely. mint 17, i think . no more crazy stuff from microsoft...grrrr.....and this laptop is now a pleasure to use!!

  20. James Moore
    January 31, 2015 at 1:15 am

    My first Linux experience was with RED HAT 6.0 Hedwig which I found at the Goodwill store for $5. both the large book and cd
    now that was dauting to say the least never realy got it to work, then I found Ubuntu 4.10 (Warty Warthog) and have never looked back on Microsoft products. I am self taught with magazines and internet usage. have since used 100's of differant Distro's some easier than others quit ubuntu after the newer interface now use Linux Mint with Mate
    anyway if I can do it anyone with a average brain can also

  21. Slim Bubba
    January 31, 2015 at 12:58 am

    The comment I hear most often from people I try to steer to Linux is how much trouble they have installing software. For me, the repos are old hat... for someone coming over from Windows, it can be intimidating because, face it, intuitive it ain't. Linux is much easier to use now than ever before, but even so, it can still be daunting for someone new. Some Linux software can be installed with one click, but not all. If everything was one click install, I think the retention rate from the Windows crowd would be higher. They are accustomed to things not only looking a certain way, but working a certain way as well. While some Linux distros, such as Ubuntu and Mint, do a good job of capturing the Windows look, the ease of use isn't quite there yet.

  22. manny
    January 31, 2015 at 12:57 am

    i have been using linux mint for quite some time now and I haven't looked back,
    Yes at first it was all confusing but just like any new operating system it just takes a while to master,it's a learning process. so far everything i have plug in worked without installing no drivers such webcam ,printer,wireless keyboard, wireless mouse etc.
    i found it much faster then Windows, for example i click on a video and within seconds it plays.
    verses on Windows you need to wait for media player to load, then wait for the video to load etc.

  23. Harvey
    January 31, 2015 at 12:39 am

    Are the file systems compatible with Windows 7 ntfs files?

    Using, say, Ubuntu, will I be able to read my existing scripts and data files?

    If not, is there a utility to change them to a Linux compatible format?

    • Greg
      January 31, 2015 at 2:31 am

      Yes. Linux is fully compatible with NTFS and a gazillion other file systems.

    • rob
      January 31, 2015 at 3:39 am

      Yes Harvey most filesystems are compatible with Linux. Most filesystems are not however compatible with Windows...because that's the way Microsoft wants it.

    • rc primak
      February 4, 2015 at 3:29 pm

      Linux native filesystems (ext series) are not natively readable in Windows. Most Linux distros do not run in a Windows compatible filesystem.

      But if you place shared data in NTFS partitions or other storage with NTFS or Cloud filesystems, Linux will be able to interact almost seamlessly with Windows for data sharing purposes. For networking, the Linux and Windows machines will need to use the same protocols. this is a bit trickier, but is not really a filesystem incompatibility issue.

      The one issue users in a mixed environment will face is whether the file types and formats are truly the same. MS Office is mostly OK with LibreOffice or Kingsoft WPS Office, but as you get into Photoshop and some proprietary Windows file formats, things get less and less compatible. This is indeed partly due to Microsoft and their Partners not being friendly to FOSS (Free and Open Source software).

  24. Caveman1947
    January 31, 2015 at 12:27 am

    I have tried Ubuntu a number of times, but found assistance from the forums difficult as they usually spoke down to me as a new user and got quite exasperated when there were a number of calls for assistance in order to grasp something new. The community needs to wise up and truly welcome new users trying to learn a new OS. Also I found that my printer would not work to full specifications as the drivers available were generic. In the end I returned to windows, but I would truly love to make the transition one day.

    • dragonmouth
      January 31, 2015 at 1:55 pm

      For a "kinder and gentler" Linux help, try
      http://www.DesktopLinuxReviews.com

      Registration is free and nobody is going to talk down to you or get exaspearated. We were all noobs once.

      "The community needs to wise up and truly welcome new users trying to learn a new OS."
      There are jerks in any community, even Windows.

    • rc primak
      February 4, 2015 at 3:24 pm

      Yes, some printer manufacturers do nto make life easy for Linux users.

      I got lucky (actually, I did some research) and used my Epson All in One CX3800 Series for my Linux printer. The ink and maintenance functions still need Windows to really work, but the drivers were and are available from Epson America. All i needed to learn was what the heck a "dependency" was, and where to get and install the driver dependncies for my printer.

      Sometimes networking can be equally frustrating in Linux, especially when trying to network with Windows computers which are using Homegroups. It's just another thing to learn, as Linux is a different OS from Windows.

  25. Rich
    January 30, 2015 at 11:35 pm

    I had a perfect opportunity to try it out when my wife's laptop hard drive broke. I bought a new hard drive and could not figure out how in the world to install it on a clean slate so to speak. I gave up after futzing with it off and on for 3 days.

    • MangaGino
      January 31, 2015 at 10:50 am

      Just in the same way you install Windows from scratch. Booting from a removable media...
      I live in Italy so the only thing I have to do if I cannot download linux and put it ona DVD or USB is go to a newsagent (yep, a newsagent) a buy a linux magazine with a live distribution for the "huge" amount of 6€. I think in the rest of Europe and in UK/USA it's even easier and cheaper...
      Oh, remember that you SHOULD NOT re-use an old Windows CD/DVD on a new computer as the licence is usually single use (yep, you do NOT OWN your copy of Windows, you are licenced to use it on one device) you should stick the licence on the computer case and the sticker with the serial number is broken if you try to (re)move it...

    • rc primak
      February 4, 2015 at 3:19 pm

      Preparing a hard drive for Linux is no different from preparing it for Windows. In fact, many Windows boot CDs use Linux as their actual operating environment. If you can use any Windows partitioning anfd formatting tool, gParted from a boot CD will not be difficult to use.

      What you do have to know is that while Windows formats the hard drive and can install from bare metal, most Linux installers are a bit trickier. For example, they have to format, set up a swap partition (if needed) and install the GRUB Boot Manager before anything else can be installed. Then there's the whole sda, sdb drive nomenclature -- not as simple as the Windows Drive Letters. And if dual-booting, GRUB will take over from Windows as the Boot Manager, sometimes requiring manually pointing GRUB to the Windows Bootloader. If Windows is upgraded, GRUB will have to be repaired or reinstalled. Then there's the new Windows 8 Secure Boot issue, and UEFI Booting, and GPT partitioning.

      Yes, there are a lot of things which may have to be attended to when setting up Linux on bare metal. This is why for most beginners, it's best to take a drive already formatted, repartition it for adding Linux, and do a dual-boot configuration. Or just install as a Virtual Machine inside of Windows. Those ways cause the fewest headaches.

      There are tools to do just about anything when installing an Operating System. Most Windows users don't ever encounter these tools, due to how automatic Windows installers are. But once we learn how to manage hard drives, the rewards are considerable. Same could be said for the discipline of making regular system image backups. The more you know, the easier your life can be made, especially if anything goes wrong with a hard drive.

  26. jeffrey jones
    January 30, 2015 at 11:12 pm

    i have not used windows since windows xp. about that time the debian project released lenny. i have been a debian user since. if you can learn windows or mac., you can learn linux! and it cost nothing to upgrade to a new release.

  27. Anonymous
    January 30, 2015 at 10:43 pm

    Linux, Ubuntu, etc... Server only. Not common OS

    • Ananya
      February 2, 2015 at 5:21 am

      Very much wrong, I have been using it for the past four years.

      There have been some initial hiccups, but later everything has ironed out. I have tried Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Mint, Pear, Deepin. I am very comfortable with Ubuntu 14.04LTS which are loaded on two laptops and a desktop at home. I have three computers at my small business, and all are running Ubuntu in dual boot. After office work (which requires Windoze), I prefer to use Ubuntu.

      Earlier my sister had some apprehension to use it, now she is as comfortable as using Windoze.

  28. Howard Pearce
    January 30, 2015 at 9:46 pm

    The problem with Linux is the LOUSY help online... I went through tons of articles saying "Oh, all you have to do edit this in the editor" but they never told you the goddamn name of the utility and on linux they give them lousy names you can't even guess.

    With reasonable help and reasonable names rather than stupid IBM utility names, I might have switched.

    My verdict .... it sucks for any beginner because it is made not to be easy :D

    • johnniedoo
      January 30, 2015 at 11:15 pm

      I just tried out Linux for the first time a number of months ago. My issues were similar to the post by read and share, i think it is. I had issues getting a number of things to install...however, i found the online help enormously beneficial and available. I got help with the few things I couldnt seem to grasp immediately.
      It was through this help that I found out about the drivers that just didnt work well in linux. People were up front about these failings of the Linux vs a bunch of companies or specific hardware/software drivers of some products. If i stuck with the known to be compatible stuff, Linux did just work. no trouble. my problem was that i have a great deal of hardware i bought to work with windows7. I had the same issue ,though when i switched over to the "PC" from my long Apple/Mac usage. I had a ton of mac only stuff I just had to ditch or try to sell on ebay or something. i didn t bother since i was not sure how long i would stay with pc things. and, i moved over just because i like to tinker and build machines. apple did not offer much in that direction and microsoft/windows 'pc' was just loaded with options and at a fraction of the cost of parallel parts(I wont say comparable) Apple made good quality then, so the move was tough. plus the new OSX was a real winner. hated to go.

    • dragonmouth
      January 31, 2015 at 2:50 pm

      @HowardPearce:
      Some people are just not equipped to handle Linux. For those indivduals, Mr. Bill created Windows.

    • rc primak
      February 4, 2015 at 3:06 pm

      @dragonmouth -- we should not be making remarks which don't add to people's understanding of Linux. I don't agree that some people will never be able to learn Linux, at least the basics.

      More generally, how good and how lay-person friendly the online advice is, often depends on where you look for advice. I find that with a little practice, Ask Ubuntu and the UBuntu Forums, as well as the Ubuntu Man Pages site, offer pretty clear instructions and discussions of various common issues. Also, Win Upd8te has some very detailed and very lay-friendly tutorials and How-Tos for a wide variety of things folks should or could do to improve our Ubuntu user experiences.

      I have little tolerance for frustrations, and less tolerance for the text-driven tools and Command Line strings which are often used by experienced Linux gurus. This is why I am selective about where I go for online help with my Ubuntu issues. I also am very careful to match the date, the version and the distro of any online advice offered. There's nothing more frustrating than finding that a huge piece of online instructions was not applicble to your present distro or version.

      All told, I do not consider myself a technological prodigy, and I certainly do not enjoy programming or compiling things myself. As this type of person, I still manage to get my Ubuntu installation to do things it is supposedly difficult to accomplish. My NVidia-Intel hybrid graphics on my laptop is a case in point. It took three kernel upgrades and a lot of fussing around, but now I can report I am happy with how Ubuntu 14.04 LTS with a few tweaks handles this challenging hardware configuration.

      Keep at it, and things usually get easier with Linux. ... Until they upgrade the kernel and break something else! ;)

    • Danny Stieben
      February 5, 2015 at 9:01 pm

      I can agree that sometimes the community help isn't as great as you'd hope, especially as a beginner when you know absolutely nothing. Even things as simple as "How can I open an editor graphically and in a terminal? What editors can I choose from?" are often ignored because those that are trying to help you forget that people may not know these things. I personally used the Ubuntu Forums' Beginner section quite a lot when I was first learning, and there were some questions I had that weren't adequately answered or I got no replies at all.

  29. ReadandShare
    January 30, 2015 at 8:05 pm

    Not really a fear -- I've given both Ubuntu and Mint a try and came away unimpressed. I tried to install software directly from the repository and that failed repeatedly. Hmmm... never had problems installing software from Android Google Play...

    But that's not the main reason. After all, as a Windows user, I ought to be well accustomed to things not working the first few couple of times. The thing is, after three decades, Windows is now stable and reliable -- and (dare I say it) -- even fun to use. And that takes away my need to explore an alternate OS -- even one that's free.

    Of course, geek hobbyists might think differently. For me, the computer is a tool to get things done -- so I don't get quite the psychic benefits of tinkering with the OS for its own sake.

    • Greg
      January 31, 2015 at 2:28 am

      You make the same arguements I would to convince people to use Linux. I've checked out the newer versions of Windows and was pretty much unimpressed....although it is much prettier than it used to be.
      I had a lot of problems finding and installing software without having to get out my wallet and even then, it didn't work very well and I couldn't talk to the developers and find a way to fix it.
      Windows kept acting up and required me to reboot my computer and by the time I installed the "fleet" of anti-virus and anti-malware and anti-phishing programs, My computer was almost unusable.
      Of course Widows is good for gamers I suppose, and alright if you just want to send email and browse the web, but I need a computer that "just works" and that I can use to get some acutal work done with.
      Linux is the only choice for me, I don't have time to fool around with "legacy" operating systems that may or may not work. I don't need the stress.

    • dragonmouth
      January 31, 2015 at 2:46 pm

      @ReadandShare:
      " I tried to install software directly from the repository and that failed repeatedly."
      Have you been trying to mess with command line installs? Did you try Ubuntu Software Center or Mint Update Manager GUIs?

      Over the years of futzing with various distros, I found that using their GUI tools to install packages makes the process painless.

    • rc primamk
      February 4, 2015 at 2:55 pm

      Did you folks know that in Ubuntu, nearly any well-formed .Deb package can be installed through the Software Center? This makes future updates easier as well, since the new app is added to Software Sources and checked automatically when the Updater is run. A few "paid" or "registered" apps don't work that way, but they usually have their own in-app update checkers. Master PDF Editor comes to mind as such a proprietary app.

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