Ditch Windows, Go Open Source

Note: If you’re just here for Linux install instructions and some cool things to do in Linux, scroll way down to the Installing section of this article.

It’s 2019, Windows 10 has been out for a few years now and people everywhere are getting tired of nagging updates. Sure, security updates and patches are really important, but why are there so many of them? I could bore you with some of the details as to why Windows is such a terrible Operating System *cough registry cough*, but that’s not the point of this article. I could also go into a diatribe as to why Microsoft is a terrible company because their Operating System is basically an ad with lots of spyware built into it, but I wont, yet. 

So what can you do? Macs are too expensive for your budget, or you don’t like being stuck in Apple’s “ecosystem” [see: gated community you can never leave]. Chromebooks can’t do everything you want them to, yet. What other option do you have? 

Well, if you haven’t been living under a rock for the past few years, you’ve probably heard of a little thing called Linux. Linux may not seem very accessible to the average person, but I would argue that it is. There is a small learning curve for most people who just use their computers as intended (hi grandma!), but overall it’s fairly easy to pick up. There are tons of online communities out there to help people get questions answered, and google is your friend. The following sections of this article are going to talk about getting linux setup on your own computer, learning the operating system’s quirks and differences between Linux and Windows, and how you can take your own skills to the next level. At the end i’ll add a few fun things you can do to really enjoy your new linux computer. 

What is Linux?

There are a thousand articles that talk about ‘what linux is’. The long and short of that answer is: It’s an operating system, like Windows or OS X that lets you do things.

The Difference is, while Windows and OS X are run by large companies, Linux is run by more of a community. There is the head guy Linus Torvalds and he approves all the code that goes into the kernel, then other groups use the kernels and create their own distro of linux. Then people download those distros and install them on their computers, use them as consumers or try to create new code to add to the kernel. Linux is not a company, there are companies that are centered around linux and promoting open source software, but it’s not a mega corporation like Microsoft or Apple.

Okay, i said a lot of words there. Let’s break this down a little bit. 

Parts of Linux

See this page for more details:

The first things that executes is the boot loader. It picks, or lets you pick if you have more than one OS on a computer, which kernel to boot into when you turn your computer on.

At the core of Linux is what’s called a Kernel. The kernel is responsible for talking to the hardware. The kernel also allocates the memory and other system resources to software running. 

Above the kernel, you have the daemons, (not demons), these are a lot of background running processes, network connection configuration, USB device response, file systems, etc. 

Then we have the shell, this is also the command line, or terminal. This is where a lot of work can be done, and before the visuals were created for a desktop environment, the shell was all you booted into. 

X Window Server is a graphical replacement for the command shell.

Window Managers (WMs)are what makes your linux distro look like it is. There are a number of window manager flavors like kWin, Metacity, Compiz. They are responsible for drawing the window borders, bringing a window to the front when you click it and moving it around the screen. 

Then we have some people’s favorite part – Desktop Environments(DEs). These can cause some really heated debated (because nerds) online due to personal preference and arguing over which is better. (GNOME 2 FTW) The desktop environment is responsible for your overall look and feel of the computer’s operating system. 

There are a number of flavors to pick from like: GNOME 2 or 3, KDE, Xfce, Unity and more. 

Examples of different Desktop Environments and Window Managers:

Image from Reddit: r/unixporn top of all time
Image from Reddit: r/unixporn top of all time
Image from Reddit: r/unixporn top of all time

Distros

What does someone mean when they say ‘Linux distro’? It’s basically the flavor of linux, package managers, and features. While Linux is the kernel (or core) of the operating system, there will be a distro slapped overtop of the kernel to give more functionality. Each distro has a default Window Manager and Desktop Environment (or lack thereof). 

For example, one of the most popular linux distros is Ubuntu. Today Ubuntu uses the GNOME Window Manager and the GNOME SHELL Desktop Environment. A few years back they used Unity and Compiz, there was a lot of online flack for doing this, but I won’t go into that now. 

Fedora also uses GNOME and GNOME SHELL

Kubuntu (a distro based on Ubuntu) uses the KWin Window manager and KDE Plasma Desktop Environment. 

There are many others using different WMs and DEs but honestly that’s not important because you can change it. I will explain that later. 

Another thing about distros is the package managers. To understand package managers, let’s look at smartphones. Apple uses the App Store to install applications, Android uses the Play Store to install applications. In the same vein, each linux distro has a preferred package manager they use. 

Ubuntu and ubuntu based distros use apt. Fedora uses dnf. See the links for details, I will go over some of the ways you can use apt later in the article. The long and short of package managers is how your distro gets new software. 

Picking a Linux Distro

At the end of the day for a new user, the decision you make on which Operating System you choose is up to you. I will make a few recommendations and explain why I recommend them for newer users, but I also know people who went against my recommendations and I’ll explain their success with ignoring me.

RedHat vs Debian

Most of the discussion I’ve been a part of online has been around these two flavors of linux. There is a pretty strong dividing line between these 2 distros. Redhat(Fedora for consumers) seems to be more on the cutting edge of features for linux. 

Debian on the other hand is notable behind here. However, their development strategy is to have 3 main release branches: Stable, Testing, and unstable. New features are used for a period of time, and if they do not exhibit bugs, are passed down to Testing. The same process repeats for Testing to Stable. Stable is most often used as a server distro, and as such stable software is preferred over the latest and greatest. 

If you’re a fan of having the latest and greatest, check out Fedora<LINK>. Fedora also uses the dnf package manager which I have found to be fairly robust and enjoyable to use (remember: package managers are how you get and update your software). 

However, I have been a long time Debian use, specifically Ubuntu based distros. I should mention, there are a number of distros that are built around other distros. A good example of this is: Debian > Ubuntu > kubuntu/lubuntu/linux mint. Ubuntu is based on Debian, and is a very popular and successful distro, so a few other groups built their own flavors based on the popular Ubuntu distro. They all do generally the same thing, it all comes down to personal preference at that level. 

Back to the review, Debian, while it’s not on the cutting edge, has been my personal favorite and seems to have more software compatibility with the programs I care about over Fedora. More on that later. Debian’s platform also just made more sense to me because it’s what I used first I guess. I do not intrinsically have any problems with Fedora or SUSE linux(yet another flavor), i just don’t use them. 

There are tons of reviews regarding Fedora and SUSE/OPEN SUSE linux that you can look up. For the rest of this article I’m going to focus on Debian and probably more closely Ubuntu. 

If you decide not to go with another distro, you should still be able to follow the majority of this article.

Setting up media to install Linux

Once you have your distro picked, it’s time to prep some form of media to install it onto your computer. This could be a flash drive or a DVD. I am going to focus on the flash drive (USB Drive) option. Download this software https://www.balena.io/etcher/ onto your computer and install it. Once Etcher is installed, we need to get our hands on a .iso file for the distro you want. 

Think of an ISO file as a complete copy of everything stores on a DVD. If you’ve ever installed Windows on a computer, you usually do that through a DVD copy of Windows. An ISO is just a digital copy of the contents of that DVD. In this instance, we’re going to get an ISO or Linux. I am going to go through an Ubuntu install with you in this article. 

Go to Ubuntu and select the Ubuntu Desktop 18.04LTS download. Should be a green button that looks like:

Ubuntu download button

That may take a little while to download depending on your internet speed. While it’s downloading, let me tell you why I had you get 18.04 versus 19.04. 18.04 is LTS support. This means “Long Term Support”. Ubuntu has decided this was a very stable version of ubuntu and has made the decision to support this version for a few years longer than other versions. You can read more about this here.

After the ISO has downloaded, let’s launch Etcher. With Etcher open, you need to plug in your flash drive, and select the ISO file. I found the iso file in my downloads folder, yours should also be in that folder, or wherever you saved it to if you selected a different location. Once Etcher shows the option to “flash”, click it and wait. What this is doing is extracting the ISO file to the flash drive, and making it Bootable. This means that when you plug it into a computer that is powered off, and you power the computer on, you will be able to select the flash drive to boot from, instead of your hard drive. 

Booting from USB

Once Etcher has finished, close the program and remove the flash drive from your computer. This next part is going to require a bit of figuring it out but I can guide you on most common processes for booting your computer from a USB. 

WARNING: Actions from this point forward have a high risk or wiping your hard drive on the computer you want to put Linux on. BACK YOUR STUFF UP NOW. GO NO FURTHER. DO NOT PASS GO, DO NOT COLLECT $200!

On most recent computers, (unless UEFI is turned on which I will get to in a minute) you can just plug in the flash drive and tap F12 or F10 a few times to get to the boot menu. If you attempt this and you get to the boot menu, which will have a selection of devices your computer can boot from, great! Just use the arrow keys to select the flash drive, tap Enter, and move onto the installing section below. 

If this did not work for you, we need to figure out why. I will start with Non-UEFI troubleshooting first. Power off your computer and power it back on. Start tapping F2 this time. On some computers in the lower left or upper right corner, you may see some boot options:

Dell Splash screen – boot options upper right

If you have something like this, find the one that says Boot menu and tap that corresponding Function key. 

*Side note, if you have a laptop, you may have to hold down the foot note“Fn” button at the lower part of the keyboard to use the F1-F12 keys. 

If you do not have these options and you’re tapping F2, you will hopefully have been brought into the BIOS of the computer. It may look like a screen with a blue background and some words all over the place and menus at the top.

BIOS Example: see top of image for the menu tab examples

Almost every BIOS is different, so I will do my best to guide you here. We’re looking for a BOOT tab somewhere on the screen. If you have an older computer, you will navigate with your arrow keys. Some newer BIOS let you use the mouse. Once you’re in the boot menu, we need to figure out what’s going on here. A few things to look for

Make sure that the USB ports are bootable. You can figure this out by checking the boot order. Once you found that, go ahead and set the USB drive to the first boot option. Each bios will have instructions somewhere on the screen to do this. 

Let’s turn UEFI off as well. If you have a relatively new computer, UEFI might be enabled by default. Turn this off. (If you’re reading this and aren’t even able to get into the BIOS, don’t worry i’ll address that annoying issue in a moment. 

Once you have changed those settings, go to the exit section of the BIOS, save and restart. Then try the instructions above to see if you can boot from a flash drive. If you can, move onto the Installing section.

UEFI – One of Microsoft’s most annoying ‘features’

Depending on the age of the machine, you might have the old UEFI enabled, especially if you have a computer that ran windows 8 originally and even some of the less up to date windows 10 machines. To get into the BIOS on these, you need to ‘fail boot’ a few times. Here is what you do:

  • Power on the computer
  • Wait for it to START loading windows
  • Hold the power button until the computer powers off
  • Repeat a few times, anywhere from 3-5 times. 

Then you will be taken to a screen that gives you some advanced options. Select whichever option mentions going to the BIOS, then follow the instructions above. When you go to turn off UEFI, it should say legacy boot. Then you will be able to boot from a flash drive.

Oh, and I’m completely serious about this. This was the instructions our Microsoft contact sent us when Windows 8 came out and we had to do any troubleshooting at a previous job.

Installing

Once you have been able to boot from USB, you should be brought to the ubuntu (or whatever OS you picked) installer. The first few menus are fairly simple. You will go through selecting the keyboard region, usernames, passwords, computer names, all standard stuff. Just follow the prompts there. 

NOW before you go too far, keep an eye out for the Hard drive section. This is where you will install Linux onto. If you plan on using the whole computer as a linux computer, then just select the whole drive and continue installing. The menus should prompt you forward with ease. 

If you only want to use a small section of the hard drive(Partition), then you will need to split the drive. If you’re using Ubuntu, this is relatively easy to do. Just select the hard drive you’re installing Linux onto, and create a new partition. There is a tool within the installer to drag the partition size to the size you want, and put Ubuntu on the smaller partition so your main partition isn’t touched. This isn’t a perfect tool, I have heard of issues with it, but never experienced them myself when I did use Windows. There are also multiple Youtube videos out there to guide you on partitioning your specific Linux distro. 

Once you’ve done that and selected a username and everything else, the installer will run. This can take anywhere from 10-30 minutes depending on your computer and hard drive speed.  

Now what?

Once you get to the desktop of your Linux box, you are probably thinking *now what?*. Good news is, Linux today at base lets you do the things a new Windows computer will. Browse reddit, read all of my other posts, setup your email, etc. What if you want to do more? I assume you would. If you decided to install Ubuntu then you can simply open the software Center and browse for software. This is Ubuntu’s app store, it’s a GUI for apt (the ubuntu package manager i mentioned above). 

If a piece of  software isn’t in the store, there are a few ways to get it. You can google something like “How to install {SOFTWARE NAME} on ubuntu terminal” typically this will return results that will show something like:

Open a terminal and type in “sudo apt-get install neofetch” 

If you’re unfamiliar with what this means, let’s break it down. 

The terminal is the command prompt for Linux. It’s basically a program that lets you interact with the computer without the need for a GUI. 

Example screenshot – my macbook’s terminal

The command they are having you type in has a few parts:

sudo – makes any command you run, run as administrator

apt-get – apt is the package manager, get is the argument you’re giving to the command

install – …install

neofetch – the package name. not all are as simple as this, but this is a good first example. 

Let’s run this in a terminal now. On ubuntu to open a terminal, click Ctrl + Shift + T

then type in the command above

enter your password, and watch the confusing wall of text roll. Don’t worry about any of that right now. Just know the terminal is telling you what it’s currently doing, which is going to a server, grabbing the package, and installing it onto your computer. 

Once that’s done, let’s run the new package and see what it does. in the same terminal window, type ‘neofetch’. You should see some cool stats about your computer and a fun design. It’s nothing substantial, or even necessary, but it is cool and a good example of how to download and use packages on linux. Some packages have different instructions to run, and there are a few ways to learn about them. 

Let’s say you want to learn more about apt (your package manager on debian distros), how would you learn how to use it? Well, you could read articles about it, like this one, or you can use the ‘man’ command. The man command shows you the manual for a package basically. So, if you type ‘man apt’ in the terminal, you will be taken to a page that has a bunch of words on it. Read through it, you should see a bunch of additional arguments, like apt update, apt upgrade, apt list, as well as a brief description of what they do. The man command is a good tool to have on linux, aside from google. 

Not all packages are going to be run in the terminal, if you prefer a GUI, there are plenty of tools out there that can be installed outside of apt that will let you use your linux computer more like a windows computer. Though I personally think this is less fun and I like to feel like a hacker (which is my main reason for using the terminal at all), there is a large amount of software that has a GUI for linux. The software center is a great starting point. You can also google software and see if it runs natively on ubuntu or has an open source port.

Now, let’s get onto some more fun stuff, I will also be talking about some more software you can get on Linux in a future section of this article, so stay with me.

Personalizing

If you’re like me, you don’t like to leave your stuff as it came in the box. This goes for computers, cars, furniture, etc, for me. So how can you customize Linux so it feels more like yours? The 2 easiest ways (aside from changing the wallpaper), are to setup a new WM and DE (Window Manager, and Desktop Environment). If you remember above, I explained that a Window Manager is what draws the windows and their movement on the screen, and the Desktop Environment is the overall look and feel of the desktop. You can see some of the cool rigs people have in the screenshots above.

Some of these are just amazing. I’ve tried to emulate them with varying degrees of success (there are really smart people out there and I hope to one day know 1/10th of what they’ve forgotten). For now, let’s try something more basic that you can build upon later. 

Say you’ve installed Ubuntu and have been following along thus far, but you don’t like the GNOME 3 interface that Ubuntu comes with. what can you do? Well, if this were a Windows computer, nothing; BUT we have Linux! So, you go look at a list of Window Managers and Desktop Environments that are available to you and pick the one you like the most. 

See these sites for a good list:

Desktop Environments and Window Managers

For this example, I am going to pick KDE Plasma for the Desktop Environment and for now I’ll use the default window manager. 

To install KDE Plasma, there are a few dependencies that you need to download and install first. I am going to list a few commands, if you’re interested in doing this, feel free to follow along. 

In the terminal type: “Sudo apt install taskel”

Type in your password when prompted. 

Once that’s done, we can install the kubuntu desktop environment (KDE Plasma).

sudo taskel install kubuntu-desktop

let this run, and follow any on screen prompts. Once you get to a display manager menu, you will need to select sddm. Once the install is done, restart your system and you should be able to login to the KDE Plasma environment. You will need to select the Desktop Environment before you sign in. This should be a gear icon somewhere on the screen, depending on the linux distro you went with. 

Then login as normal, and you should have a brand new look to your computer. Fun right? And just to be clear, before I wrote this, I didn’t just know this because I am a linux expert or anything. I google probably 50% of the time when I’m working on a project. There are some people who just know this stuff, I do not, and you don’t need to either. Any errors or issues you can you should be able to just google it and get your answer. The Linux community is amazing, and full of helpful geniuses. 

Why Linux? pt 2

Before we dive into some more fun stuff, I want to take a minute to talk about why you would want to use Linux a little more. Aside from just doing something different and not using Windows, why would you want to go to an operating system that is not the “standard” for consumers? A lot of games and other applications do not natively run on linux. That’s just the reality of the industry right now, it is changing, but it’s not there yet. So why would you want to seemingly make your life more difficult? 

Security:

Most viruses out there are written for Windows. They are batch files or executable files that are designed to run on Windows because that’s where most people are, and that’s where most non-tech savvy people live. If you’re going to write a virus that might make you money by locking a system down, you want the greatest chance of this being successful, so you’re going to target the majority of users, Windows is that platform for consumers. 

User experience:

Windows does not have a great user experience by any standard. Sure, out of the box, Windows 10 just “works” but it’s a siloed system. You don’t have good integration with any other device out there, Apple is way better at that. You also have to deal with ads, forced updates if you’re not running a professional or enterprise version of Window. I mean seriously, why would Microsoft want to constantly remind you to use Microsoft Edge and try to stop you from downloading Google Chrome or Firefox? This gets into my next point:

Tracking and Spyware:

Windows 10 is, by definition, spyware and adware. Windows 10 is less of a product and more of a platform for Microsoft to make more money. At the heart of it, I’m not against companies making money… that’s how the world works. What I do have a problem with is not owning the stuff I bought. Microsoft owns Windows, they make you do things their way and it’s very obvious that you are becoming more of the product than the customer. Look at it this way, if you still use FaceBook, how do you think FaceBook makes their money? The platform is free! You are the product. They collect and sell your data. Microsoft is double dipping now. They make you pay for a license to use Windows, and they advertise to you and collect your data. This is why they want you to use Edge and their own software. I don’t like that. 

I’m not one of those people who walks around with a tin foil hat on their head; because the tin foil actually amplifies the signal. I just don’t like being told what I can or can’t do, or have basic functions to get the thing I bought up and running my way made more difficult so someone can track my stuff and sell it without me seeing any benefit of letting them do so. 

Linux does none of that, well Ubuntu use to for a while but I can remove all the extra junk (and I’ve since moved on to other Operating systems within the linux world personally, but Ubuntu is always a great starting point for newbies). I also have free reign to edit literally anything in the OS that I want. I like that. 

Linux is also the standard server Operating system for a large number of jobs in the enterprise. Learning linux can really open doors for you in future careers. I have also always found it fun to learn new things, and Linux is one of those things that can take you years to master and I have found it has totally been worth it. Games are getting more support, applications have native linux support, and that’s just wonderful to see. 

If I haven’t convinced you yet, let’s get onto some more fun things you can do with Linux and see what that does for you.

Fun Stuff

If you’re a gamer, you probably use steam. Steam works on Linux natively. There is also a tool called Proton, that Valve has been working on that lets you play a large number of games on Linux. Check out this post I wrote for more details on that. You can install steam on ubuntu the same way you install steam on Windows. 

If you want to learn more about the terminal, and make it look cooler, you can edit your terminal profile, also known as your bashrc. The bashrc is a hidden file in your home directory that lets you modify the terminal. You can set useful aliases, add some fun packages to run when the terminal starts, and learn bash (a programming language). 

Let’s go over some of these real quick:

To find your bashrc, your best bet is to use the terminal. If you still have your terminal open from before, great! If not,  hit ctrl + shift + t and let’s get to it. I will guide you through this with a little more detail than before so you can get some cool stuff working today, allowing you to mess with it more later. 

Once your terminal is open, type ‘ls -lart’. You should see a bunch of file and folder names. If you don’t understand what you just did, you can type “man ls” into your terminal and read the manual page about it. If you check the appendix at the end, I will give a high level explanation on what each command I have you type in does.  

Once you have the directories listed, you should see a file labeled ‘.bashrc’. This is the file we will be modifying. There are a few ways to do this, you could open it in a text editor, or follow my instructions and we will use ‘vim’. If you decide to open it in a text editor, you will need to show hidden folders in your file manager software. To open the .bashrc in vim, we simply type ‘vim /.bashrc’. If you get an error and you typed the command in correctly, you might not have vim installed on your computer. To fix this, we’re going to have to install the vim package. Type in ‘sudo apt-get install vim’. Once that’s installed, type in ‘vim ./bashrc’ again and you should be taken to a new screen in your terminal. 

vim is a text editor software in the terminal, and is my personal favorite to use. I put it on every mac and linux machine I own. When you first get into vim, you’re entered into a read state. This lets you use the arrow keys to navigate the document without the risk of editing the contents. If you want to edit, you need to go into insert mode. to do this, simply click the letter ‘i’. You should see the word *INSERT* at the lower left corner of the screen. 

Bashrc example

Move your cursor to a blank area of the text document. If you have not done so, click ‘i’ and take yourself into insert mode. Then type in the following command:

alias bashrc = ‘vim ~/.bashrc’

All this does is gives you a shortcut (an alias) for opening this bashrc document in one word versus typing in multiple, and if you aren’t in your home directory when you decide you want to add something to the bashrc later, you can just type in ‘bashrc’ and it will search for the document and open it. 

The structure of setting an alias works like this:

alias {aliasName} = ‘{command you want to create the alias for}’

it’s quite simple. If you work on windows and have every used the DOSKEY command, it’s essentially the same thing. 

Let’s add something more fun, then we will save the document. Move your cursor back to the top if you aren’t there already, find an empty line and add the following lines:

neofetch

echo “Welcome to your Linux computer, master”

You can set the text after ‘echo’ to say whatever you want, I personally like reminding my computer who is boss, but you do whatever you want. The neofetch command was that package we installed earlier. If you did not do this, I will give you a chance here shortly, just add the line in for now. Once that’s done, we need to save the document, since there is no save button, vim has it’s own set of commands to save a document. hit the Escape (esc) key on your keyboard. This will take you out of insert mode. Then type ‘:wq!’ 

Anything after the ‘:’, vim will interpret as a command. ‘W’ is write, or write changes to the file we’re editing, ‘Q’ is to quit editing the current document, and ‘!’ is to bypass the confirmation. If you left off the ‘!’ then you would have to type ‘Y’ after it finished saving each time. This is just a shortcut but you don’t need the ‘!’. 

After you tap Enter, you should be brought back to the more familiar terminal screen. If you did not install neofetch, now is a great time to do so. Type ‘Sudo apt-get install neofetch’ type in your password, and wait a moment. Once that’s done, we need to run the file we just saved. 

I should mention what the file is that we just edited. the bashrc is your terminal profile file. When the terminal launches, it will read this file and then execute or stage any command and alias you have defined. There is a lot you can do in here. For now, let’s see our work in action. type the following: ‘source ~/.bashrc’. This just reloads the bashrc and executes it, so you don’t have to close out of the terminal (note: in some cases, depending on what you write, you will have to close out of the terminal and reopen it for the changes to take effect). You should see the output of neofetch and the message you wrote after the echo command. 

Neat huh?

There are also a lot of useful things you can do in the bashrc. If you use the same command over and over and you don’t want to have to type the whole thing each time, make an alias. You can write bash scripts within the bashrc to enhance your user experience. There are tons of bashrc examples out on the internet, check a few out.

Also, since we added the bashrc command, you can just type ‘bashrc’ to go right back into the vim editor. If you just did this and want to get out, just hit :q {enter} and you will close vim, since you hopefully made no changes. If you do make changes, don’t forget to write them with ‘w’ before the quit. There are some good youtube videos on vim, i recommend checking them out. 

Since we’re on the fun train (pre emptive pun intended), let’s do one more fun package. 

So we’ve used the ls command, what happens if you type in sl, say you fat-finger the command and accidentally type it out of order. You get an error. NOT ANYMORE, ‘do sudo apt-get install sl’

Once that installs, type sl again. 

Get the train pun now? sl = steam locomotive. it’s completely useless, but it’s funny. If you want to remove it, you can type ‘sudo apt-remove sl’.

If you have been able to follow this article without issue to this point, then 1. you have a perfect linux computer and 2. you have great typing skills. Most of the people i’ve taught linux to have had some issues getting familiar with the interface. Speaking of issues, let’s talk about some common ones. 

Common Issues I’ve Run Into

Video:

If you’re an Nvidia fan, you’re not going to like Linux. While some distros may have been able to get Nvidia cards working for it, Nvidia does not support Linux. AMD ATI cards on the other hand openly support Linux. You’re going to have a much better time using Intel onboard graphics or AMD video cards. 

Audio:

Sometimes sound doesn’t work. This isn’t just linked to Linux only, it just happens on computers sometimes. Reboots can help, if not, google your distro and audio issue and there will hopefully be workarounds. 

Drivers:

Not every card, chipset, and device will work on Linux. Sometimes the generic drivers will work out of the gate, and sometimes you may have to get the drivers from the vendor or within the OS. Ubuntu has a driver manager which you can select the driver for devices like GPU, wireless cards, and other things. This is not a guarantee, but it’s your best bet. 

FIN

At the end of the day, Linux is a fun OS to work with and if you have an old computer laying around doing nothing, why not put Linux on it and go learn some new skills?

Feel free to ask questions in the comment section and I will do my best to help you out! Don’t forget to subscribe, I’ve got lots of new stuff coming out soon! If you want to see a writeup about something specific please let me know, if I know anything about it, I will add it to the list!

Appendix

ls: List directory contents. type ‘man ls’ for a list of arguments you can give this command and what each argument does.

cd: change directory, this is the same on windows

apt: package manager

man: manual page, argument is the command you want to see the man page for.

Published by Guindel

90's nerd, dad, retro computer enthusiast. I created a blog as a way to talk about things I find interesting, care about, and try to help other people in similar places. Hit me up if you want me to write about something!

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