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I'm a noobie & not sure where to start

Hello Linux World!

I am finally fed up with Windows locking up and crashing on me. My desktop PC is now a "spare" that I can play with and see what Linux has to offer.

I guess you can say I'm your average computer user. I can easily learn applications, but how they work behind the scenes is is beyond me.

Apps I typically use are Quicken & MS Office. My home computer usage is for tracking finances (Quicken), checking e-mail (Outlook) and using the web (Explorer). I create flyers and newsletters for a club I'm involved in and use MS Publisher. The flyers and newsletters then get convertered to PDF files so I can e-mail to our membership. I also use iTunes.

My husband uses the computer a lot more than me. He surfs the net, listens to music & watches videos. He loves video games and recently quit playing WOW because the new version would not work on our computer - I'm guessing it might be a windows thing. He also has a lot of older PC games on cd's.

Now the fun part. I know there are lots of Linux operating systems out there and I've read that I need to try each one and see what we like best. Would Linux Jazz be a good thing to start with?

My first (of many) question is, if I load a Linux system onto my HP computer (wiping out Windows), does the Linux OS have all the drivers for the USB, CD, Printers, etc that are on my computer? Or do I need to then find the drivers and load them?

I'm also guessing that my Quicken application will not work since it is for Windows, right?

Comments

  • Not Polish, but sometimes I wonder! :P

    As of Linux Jazz, I read an article that recommended it to noobies. I was thinking it would be an easy way to see each distro without having to download each one individually. It also comes with an intro DVD video and a reference card for commands.

    I'm not opposed to changing software if I can find something similar. I've been using Quicken for too many years to mention and I like that I can send payments to my bank via Quicken. I 'm a firm believer that double data entry is a waste of time. I deal with numbers all day at work and don't really want to deal with it when I get home.

    Thanks for you comments!
  • If you do a Google search of "Linux Distro Chooser," you'll find a half dozen or so links where you can fill out a questionnaire (what kind of 'puter do you have, do you want to explore your "inner geek" or just "load-and-go," what will you use your 'puter for, etc). Then based on your answers, the Distro Chooser software comes up with a list of recommendations. Usually at the top of the "2 or 3 year old desktop 'puter, non-geeky, load-and-go, web, e-mail, music, office stuff" list are Ubuntu, Linux Mint, PCLinuxOS, MEPIS (older software but rock-stable - sometimes the new stuff can be a little troublesome).

    That's how I found Ubuntu a little less than 2 years ago. It was awesome back then, but on my 5-year-old modest hardware it's a little too hungry. But I found a "lightweight" version of it called Xubuntu which was not only easier on resources but also easier for this mildly autistic non-geeky artsy-craftsy kid to use than the "standard" Ubuntu. Linux Mint has an Xfce version as well that is even more trouble free, and in my opinion safer because:

    1. The Mint Xfce version does not have the newer (and buggier) PulseAudio sound management of Xubuntu and gives you the tried-and-true ALSA software instead (better for modest hardware like mine too).

    2. Updates in Linux Mint are offered according to "risk," allowing users to refuse updates that might "b0rk" a perfectly working system. Ubuntu's user forums are full of "b0rked after update" threads... these are rare occurrences for Mint users who stick to "Levels 1 and 2" updates.

    3. Most drivers and multimedia codecs are already installed. This is not the big deal it used to be though, because the new Linux kernel runs alot more hardware these days, and other distros (Ubuntu especially) offer multimedia codecs in a simple one or two-click procedure during initial installation.

    I'm not trying to sell you on one distro or another, just offering a little from my own kinda short experience. But I've saved the best for last:

    Most Linux distributions are available on what is called a "Live CD." This is wicked cool because you can actually "test drive" Linux without installing it or making any changes at all to your 'puter! How cool is that! You just tell the BIOS to boot from the CD-ROM drive instead of the hard disk drive. On my Dell, for example, at power-on there is period of a few seconds where the manufacturer's logo appears and offers some choices like "Press F2 to enter Setup" or "F12 for Boot Options." Just hit that "boot options" key a few times quickly while that screen is displayed, and it brings up a menu that allows you to tell the 'puter to boot from the CD-ROM. With your Linux LiveCD loaded in (before power-on, of course), it just runs your new Linux instead of Windows!

    The LiveCD is a bit slower than an operating system running from the hard drive, but it gives you a chance to explore, kick the tires, throw it on the wall and see if it sticks. If you like it and want to install it, most even have a "Install" icon right on the desktop. Answer a few questions and off you go!

    It really is fun. And you'll learn without even meaning to if you're like me.

    Still kinda newbish,
    Robin
  • woboylewoboyle Posts: 501
    Try a live CD/DVD of Ubuntu or other Linux distribution on your system before you install it to be sure you hardware works properly. If it all does, then you can just install it from the live CD/DVD. If you want, there is a tool for Ubuntu called WUBI which will install Ubuntu in a virtual disc in the Windows system, then install a dual-boot loader so you can boot either Windows or Ubuntu, all without needing to scrub Windows from your hard drive, at least until you are comfortable with Linux in general and Ubuntu in particular. You just need enough available disc space for the Ubuntu virtual disc - somewhere between 20GB and 30GB should get you going nicely.
  • This is all really good information. Thanks so much. I can't wait to start playing and see what I've been missing.
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