Hi all, I have now decided to explore linux. I have a computer, can you tell me which version of linux is suitable for inexperienced users? I would be grateful for help!
Now the shenanigans
When we refer to the Linux kernel – which is basically the Operating System’s core --, then we talk about versions, e.g. Linux kernel version 5.4.0-80-generic, Linux kernel version 5.4.0-81-generic, Linux kernel version 5.13.0-44-generic, Linux kernel version 5.13.0-48-generic, and so on.
When we refer to Linux Operating Systems developed by different teams, groups, foundations etc., we talk about distributions or simply distros (i.e. distro is a short for distribution). Ubuntu is a Linux distro, Linux Mint is another Linux distro, Zorin OS is another Linux distro, Pop!OS is another Linux distro…
There are many other Linux distros out there: Debian, Red Hat, Manjaro, Arch Linux, Slackware, Fedora, OpenSUSE, Kali Linux, PartosOS… The list is HUGE…
…but Ubuntu, Mint, Pop!OS and Zorin are among the most popular and easy to use ones. Specially Ubuntu and Mint.
Each distro has its own releases. E.g. Ubuntu release 18.04 (released on 2018-04), Ubuntu release 19.10 (released 2019-10) and so on. The latest Ubuntu release is therefore 22.04 (released 2022-04 i.e. April, 2022). Ubuntu releases are released on April (i.e. month 04) and October (i.e. month 10).
The same Linux distro and release may come in different flavors (a.k.a. editions). E.g. Ubuntu ships with a DE (Desktop Environment) called GNOME, but XUbuntu ships with a lightweight DE called XFCE, and KUbuntu ships with a prettier(?) DE called KDE.
KUbuntu 22.04 is a Ubuntu Linux distro, KUbuntu flavor (i.e. Ubuntu distro that ships with KDE – which is a short for K Desktop Environment), release / edition 22.04 (i.e. released on April, 2022).
Hence, if you happen to be using a low-end PC (i.e. a slower and/or older computer), it’s recommended to adopt a lightweight flavor of whatever Linux distro (and release) that you choose. If you e.g. pick Ubuntu as your distro but want to use a lightweight flavor, I recommend the XUbuntu flavor. Linux Mint’s lightweight flavor is called Linux Mint Xfce Edition. Zorin OS Lite is the lightweight flavor of Zorin OS Core, and Pop!OS currently doesn’t have a lightweight flavor because its core edition is pretty much lightweight, already.
Thank you so much for the detailed description! I will keep your message!
There are many ways you can test different Linux distros. The easiest method – even though it requires a computer with ~10 GB free disk space (>20 GB is recommended) + a mid-end or high-end hardware (i.e. a computer with either a moderate or fast performance capability) – is to install Oracle’s Virtualbox.
Once Oracle’s Virtualbox is installed, all you have to do is to run it, create a VM (virtual machine) inside of it (Virtualbox makes it very easy to create a new Linux VM) and then use the Linux distro’s ISO file (e.g. 64-bit XUbuntu 22.04 ISO for Desktops, 64-bit Ubuntu 22.04 ISO for Desktops, 64-bit Linux Mint 20.3 Cinnamon for Desktops, 64-bit Linux Mint 20.3 Xfce for Desktops etc.) to install such Linux distro into such VM.
An alternative to using a VM is flashing the Linux distro’s ISO file to a USB flash drive (a.k.a. thumb drive) and then booting from such drive.
UNetBootin is a great app that helps you achieve that: just download the preferred Linux ISO file, plug your flash drive into any USB port, start UNetBootin and then use it to select your flash drive and the downloaded ISO file, confirm and that’s it, UNetBootin will flash the ISO into the flash drive and make such drive bootable.
Once the ISO is flashed into the USB flash drive, just restart your computer and select booting from the flashdrive (either pressing F12 or F11 when your computer is beginning to [re]start and the initial screen is therefore still black or just showing some logo + basic hardware info usually takes you to a menu where you can select which drive you want to boot the Operating System from. You may however have to access the BIOS/CMOS setup utility and enable “boot from USB”).
Once you get to the Linux boot menu, there’s an option to run Linux in try/test mode or install it directly. If you’re running a VM, you have to pick the install mode so the contents of the ISO are installed in the VM, but in a USB flash drive you have to pick the try/test option so the Linux distro boots from the USB flash drive (some local disk space is going to be temporarily used, but lost as soon as the computer is either restarted or powered off).
I’d suggest that if you try/test a Linux distro and you enjoy it during the first minutes, then keep trying/testing it for at least another 1 week prior to deciding to install it. I’d also suggest that you try at least 2 Linux distros (e.g. Ubuntu and Mint, Pop!OS and Ubuntu, Mint and ZorinOS etc.). Ubuntu is the most popular one and Mint is based on Ubuntu and considered an “fine-tuned Ubuntu”, but Zorin is considered more similar to Windows and Pop is considered simpler for most end-users, which may make Zorin and Pop more welcoming for long-term Windows users even if they later migrate to Ubuntu or Mint.
Well, this is a lot of text, so I better stop. Welcome to the Linux world: it’s an entirely different approach if compared with Windows (not so much if compared with OS X / MacOS because both are UNIX-like OSes i.e. they follow an international standard named POSIX), and there are definitely pros and cons in using Linux, but the amount of freedom you have using Linux is definitely far superior, when compared with the freedom that the user gets when using any of those other 2 OSes. Enjoy!
Unfortunately I don’t have 10-20 GB on my computer. I will try the flash drive option.
I have already started to study the information, but so far only the theory. ) A lot of new information, but interesting, I hope I can handle it! )
Thank you again for the tip.
No prob. The easiest way to go right now (so you don’t feel lost due to excess information prior to using Linux for the first time) probably is to download a Linux distro ISO file, flash it into a USB flash drive with the help of an application such as UNetBootin, then restart the PC, boot from such USB flash drive and then select the test option, so your PC boots Linux straight from the flash drive (i.e. Linux won’t be installed on the computer) and you can then use Linux and get familiarized with it.
When I was first introduced to Linux, back in 1995, a lot of reading was required prior to installing Linux, because there was no easy way to either install nor test it: you had to previously understand a lot about the POSIX standard, the EXT filesystem, block devices, Linux kernel and kernel modules, LILO (LInux LOader: the program that was used to boot Linux. It’s since been replaced by GRUB),
gcc (the GNU C Compiler), tarballs (
.tar.gz files), manpages,
mkfs utilities and disk partitioning, Linux shells (
ksh etc.), package management and package management utilities (such as
rpm etc.), system config utilities (such as
webmin) and shell browsing with apps such as
midnight commander and
lynx, manual configuration of the X Windows System (we had to manully configure the Window Server and then start it from the shell/terminal with a command such as
startx) etc. It was INSANE.
When I first installed Linux, I had to compile a kernel in order to customize it so it would run on my hardware (customization was required so my devices would be detected by Linux). It was very painful. Installing Linux took me several hours.
…but today it’s extremely easy to try Linux without having to know nothing about it: thanks to new utilities and technologies such as GRUB, DKMS and FUSE, along with very well-made Linux distributions, today any person with zero Linux knowledge can just flash the Linux distro’s ISO file into an USB flash drive and then boot Linux in test mode, from this flash drive. If the distro is popular and easy to install, test and use (such as the 4 ones that I mentioned on my 1st reply), it’s gonna be easy.
In a nutshell: don’t worry too much about “learning Linux” prior to testing it for the first time. Instead, I recommend first creating your bootable Linux flash drive and booting Linux from it, then you can mess around with Linux as much as you want and learn the other stuff that you need to learn in order to become a Linux user. A bootable USB flash drive allows you to test Linux without installing it, so you can take your time and go slow, mess around with Linux and learn how to use it little by little. No stress.