Sawyernet Linux and Open Source Page

In these pages, you will learn about Linux and Open Source Software.

Let me tell you of my journey towards Linux. I built my first computer (a 486) and wanted a graphical OS environment. I had tried the Redmond product and found it to be lacking (it is still). So I tried IBM's operating system, OS/2 Warp version 3. I liked it. I used it until the machine I had developed motherboard problems and bought a new machine. I put OS/2 Warp version 4 on it. I liked it better; it was a better OS. I liked the anything coming out of Redmond less and less. I felt privileged using a superior product. Then support went away, I decided to look for something else. I had heard of this Linux thing and decided to give it a try. I bought a few distros for five dollars American, and went to installing it on a couple of machine I had in my basement. Now I use it all the time.

Getting started with Linux is easy! Check your hardware out and make sure it's compatable. Then just download a distro (or distribution), burn it to disk and install it on an old machine you may have hanging around. You could install it on your laptop! For beginners, try Fedora Core or Ubuntu. If you don't have an extra computer to experiment on, try Knoppix, it's a live CD. Just put it in the drive and reboot the machine. The only thing you may have to do is change the boot sequence. That's easy to do. Once you've tried some of this type, there are other distros that are more complex to install, but the administrator has more control. More about this later.

Another way to use Linux is to set your computer up to be a dual boot startup. You will need to partition your drive to install Linux. You'll need a partioning utlity like Partition Magic. There are some live cd distros, like Knoppix, that have those tools on the disk. Make sure you back up everything before you start! For the most part, you'll have no trouble, but there's that one time when you will be very happy you made that backup!

There are many resources on the Internet for help with Linux. There are also online books and other online documents. Then there's also the Linux Documentation Project to help.

One great resource is your local Linux Users Group. I belong to the one in the Worcester area, WLUG. I have found this group to be the most valuable resource, when I had a problem I couldn't fix, or when looking at a new application, or looking for a new application, and a multitude of other things!

Linux can be used from command line or GUI

You can find all sorts of software

Using Linux, almost anything that you are used to doing with almost any computer can be done on a Linux box. Word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, databases, etc. can be realized using Image and picture manipulation can be done with the GIMP. Accounting can be done with GnuCash. Surf the web with FireFox, check your e-mail with ThunderBird, instant messaging with GAIM, and there is usually more than one choice for every application!

By it's very nature Linux is more secure, but you can also harden it with Bastille

Yes, you too, can live without the dreaded Redmond product

Other interesting Linux related links:

Linux Distros

Created by Walt Sawyer
This page last updated: 29-Jun-2008 08:36 AM