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YOUR_FACSZ
  • 2 months ago

I've heard about an os called linux and I'm very confused on the difference and which one is better and easier for first timers. Need help.

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  • 2 months ago
  • 2 points

Background: I have a number of years of pretty extensive Linux use under my belt. I'll try to explain it as best I can, but feel free to ask questions.

There are two ways to learn Linux: read up on it and learn the concepts, or jump in and start playing with it, breaking things, and learning. I would recommend both techniques - go to distrowatch.com, click around and find a distro that looks cool, download and install it, then when you run into something you don't know how to do, search for it on the internet. If that sounds like a bit much, start with Linux Mint or elementaryOS (see below).

I've heard about an os called linux

I'll assume you don't know anything about UNIX-derived or UNIX-inspired operating systems, or for that matter, how any OS works on a low level. That's a fine place to start, and is in fact where everyone starts at some point in time.

"Linux" is just a part of an operating system - specifically, a central part called a kernel. That Linux kernel is usually bundled together with other software (very often software from the GNU project, but not always). Those software bundle are called "distributions", or "distros", and that is how a majority of people get Linux. Some people will have a problem with calling a distro "Linux", but I don't. It's close enough, so I'm going to continue using that term here.

Each distro usually contains a variety of software, including system programs and utilities (text-based, and possibly graphical as well), along with programs like web browsers and games. Perhaps the most immediately visible difference between distros is the "desktop environment" - the graphical user interface (GUI), or the buttons and windows you click on. Many distros share a desktop environment, but some have their own, and many have customized or tweaked a common one.

If you are a long-time Windows user, you may find the desktop environment on a distro like Linux Mint Cinnamon or Linux Mint MATE to be more familiar. If you're coming from a Mac, elementaryOS is pretty good.

  • 2 months ago
  • 2 points

I guess I'd have to ask, better and easier to do what? ordinary desktop / office tasks? I'd be inclined to vote for Mac OS for that. Windows is easy until it isn't, but at least there's a very large user population that you can ask questions of.

Linux on the desktop is easy enough to use, once it's set up. A potential problem though is that "linux" isn't a single thing, at least not from the desktop user's perspective. There are lots of distributions / variations, as someta explained, and many of them are very configurable. So you might ask a question about how to do X, and someone with a different distro (or even the same distro but configured differently) might not be able to give you an answer that helps you specifically.

I loathe Windows, and I've been using linux for not quite 20 years. I would not want to discourage a first-time user from trying it; it's not hard, per se, it's just that there's more potential variations and choice than you get with Windows or MacOS. Whether that is a feature or a bug depends on your goals, capabilities, and attitude.

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