Welcome to the Linux Foundation Forum!

Linux for College

I'm a soon to be college student who, after looking at the price of Macs and the unreliability of PCs, am attempting to dip my toes into Linux.

I am looking to get a laptop that can get me online and using a word processor. This would be a school computer for everyday use.

I would appreciate your advice on anything Linux. Are there any good beginner level articles I should read? What are some spec's I should keep in mind whilst laptop shopping? Any suggestions on DIstros?

Overall, what is the most important thing to keep in mind when using and learning about Linux.



  • mfillpot
    mfillpot Posts: 2,177
    Generally any Linux-based distro will work for your needs and most popular distros such as Ubunu, Fedora, Mandriva, etc.. will work with little or no training. The only potential problems you may have would be with authenticating to the school wifi network and problems with some printer problems.

    For general word processing you can use libreoffice, openoffice or google-docs. If you are completely unfamiliar and intimated by tryin a new Os you might want to consider getting a chromebook which is only the gooel-chrome webbrowser in which all services and apps you use would be web-based.
  • Kirby
    Kirby Posts: 1
    Linux sounds scary, but in reality, it's not. I would recommend downloading a version of Ubuntu. I recommend Ubuntu because it's well known and there is tons of support for it. If you already have Windows installed, you can install it in Windows like any other application. So if you end up not liking it, you can go into Add/Remove programs and there it is. So once you reboot, you'll see the options for Windows or Ubuntu. Once in Linux, you'll find that it's not too hard to figure out. You'll find Firefox, Open office (Closest thing to Microsoft Word) and anything else you may need. It is true that it may have trouble connecting to printers, but the newer versions seem to see the printer a lot easier than they used to. Networking could be a bit a challenge, but nothing that's going to require you to build a program to access the network. Just some tweaking of the settings will take care of it. Linux does require some thinking, unlike Windows. I would recommend trying it out BEFORE going to college. Otherwise you'll spend all your time playing with the os, instead of classwork. Lastly, the beauty of Ubuntu and many other Linux distros is that it does not require high powered systems. One two gigs of RAM and maybe a dual core processor and you'll be golden. Try to get a computer that has an Intel processer, NOT AMD! Also, try to get a nvidia card for video. You don't need to get anything fancy, but just try to avoid ATI graphics. they STINK! Hope that helps. Enjoy the world of Linux!!
  • I suggest you to use Fedora Distro !

    Download the Fedora DVD via Torrent and later burn this ISO.

    When you install Fedora, make sure you install EVERYTHING (ALL APPS).

    Why step2 Install all apps ?
    well, Actually this is the way you should also get some chance to know new apps and explore all supporting apps. So I strongly suggest install as much as possible. This makes your system a fully packed system. You should eventually make sure you get

    * important utilities
    * multimedia sound + video apps.
    * basic openoffice/libreoffice stuff, editors etc etc.
    * some games
    * most importantly programming language libraries, IDEs, other SDKs, and so on.
    (I suggest you to install Bluefish IDE for some quick and long projects, which are no more manageable via Vi editor).
    * preferably both Gnome + KDE.
    * server apps (apache, mysql, etc etc).
    * other debugging tools wireshark, etc etc.

    So this way you will have eventually a fully balanced system. Avoid installing something on demand.

    You get lots of Harddisk space and it is not expensive, hence follow this strategy to learn Linux and use it for everyday important tasks, even this is the suggestion for users who use it for business or office workstations.
  • woboyle
    woboyle Posts: 501
    If you are in the US, then go to www.zareason.com - they sell only Linux (and some BSD) laptops, netbooks, workstations, and servers. Good, helpful people, and their prices are reasonable. You have a choice of several distributions to get pre-installed on their systems, and all the hardware is guaranteed to work with the software.
  • First of all, forget all what you have heard about Linux. That it is difficult, that you'll have to spend a lot of time in text mode, poor hardware drivers, ugly interface...

    I have Ubuntu installed in home, work, my parents, little sister and wife computers. Never had a problem with drivers, and never spent more than 10 minutes teaching then how to do the things for themselves. [but they all hated the new unity interface]

    Anything you need to know can be found here:
    Install it. And if you have any problem, you should find the answer with a quick search in this links or in google.

    And you'll always have the community. Any problems and we'll be glad to help. ;)
  • I am currently using Kubuntu Linux 11.04 after being a dedicated Ubuntu user since version 7.04 I recently decided to move onto another distro. I don't like Gnome 3 that most if not all Linux distro's are promoting.

    Within Kubuntu Linux, this is a KDE look and feel. Remember this, installing a Linux distro takes up to a half-hour. After installation has completed, run the distro for a day or two...

    You will get good enough to make your mind up after a few installations...

    If you do go with a Gnome environment, I would recommend Ubuntu 10.04 LT do not upgrade the operating system to 11.04 you will be sorry.

    Again, as I just said, it only takes a few minutes to install a Linux operating system (look it over) you might like Ubuntu 11.04.

    The only thing I can say is I think the reliability Ubuntu used to offer is gone.

    You need to learn how to download the .iso files for each Linux distro, and then learn how to burn the images to a DVD and you will be off and running.

    Edward Wittlinger
  • I would just like to add that I'm a current college student running Linux as my primary OS. I haven't had any real issues. If I need to remote desktop into a school computer, rdesktop works just fine, I can save .doc from Libre Office, and I haven't had any real issues I can think of. So power to you man.


Upcoming Training