10 key lessons for Linux learners

10 key lessons for Linux learners

Summary: TR's Jack Wallen says he can ensure a smooth migration to Linux simply by providing new users with a machine running the operating system and a few basic facts.


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  • 8. If you don't like it, you can change it
    This point is another strange concept for new users, but one it's important for them to understand. Unlike Windows and Mac, if you don't like a Linux desktop, you can change it. Of course, swapping desktops is probably something a new user will not do lightly. But knowing that changing is an option can help new users understand how much flexibility they have. Besides, working with a desktop you don't like can be frustrating.

    I prefer to demonstrate the types of desktops available and let them choose. Usually, they will go with what they're somewhat familiar with — KDE (pictured) is a good choice for most people — but on occasion a new user will go with something completely different just for the experience.

    Image credit: kde.org

  • 9. Not all hardware is created equal
    New users need to understand that not every piece of shiny new hardware will actually function properly with the Linux operating system. This is far less of the issue it once was, but for some pieces of hardware — such as multi-function printers, some wireless cards, and laptop displays — the problems still persist.

    For those pieces of hardware, solving the problem often merely requires downloading proprietary drivers. But on other occasions it may involve switching to a different distribution altogether. Nevertheless, Linux has come a long way in this area and continues to expand and improve.

    Image credit: Bill Ruhsam/Flickr

  • 10. Google is your friend
    The single most important thing you can do for yourself and your new users is to ensure that they understand just how helpful Google can be. When there is a problem or an aspect of Linux they don't understand, they should know that someone else has probably documented this issue, and helpful information is just a search away.

    Show new users how to make the most of a Google search to avoid their being inundated with worthless results. In the end, they might come to you with fewer requests, and even more important — they'll be learning in the process.

    Easing the transition
    People fear change, but change doesn't have to be avoided. With just a little preparation on your part, the new Linux user will have a positive experience. Do you have any other important lessons that you always make a point of passing on to new users?

    This story originally appeared as 10 things you must teach new Linux users on TechRepublic.

    Image credit: Daniel F Pigatto/Flickr

Topics: Operating Systems, Linux, Open Source, Software

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  • RE: 10 key lessons for Linux learners

    the best between all the operating systems :)
  • RE: 10 key lessons for Linux learners

    It's important to stress that the word "free" in the term "free software" refers to four fundamental freedoms, and it has nothing to do with monetary cost. The freedoms are

    1) Freedom to run the program for any purpose.

    2) Freedom to study the code (i.e., study how the software works), and make modifications if you wish.

    3) Freedom to share exact copies of the software.

    4) Freedom to share your modified versions of the software, so long as you keep the four freedoms intact.
  • Is there one example of a successful Windows to Linux Migration

    I am a Linux user. I have switched many friends and most family members to either Ubuntu derivatives or PCLinux OS. I have yet to find one company that has made a Linux Migration successfully and stayed with it. One business?
  • RE: 10 key lessons for Linux learners

    But there are far more things to note than just these 10.
    You need to choose which linux distro you want to use, availability of software that you use and support (even if thru forums) and there are quite a few variations out there and few more introduced every month. However the good thing is there is lot of commonality in them.

    I have been using ubuntu for some time now and I am quite comfortable with it. During early days there used to be Fedora, then came ubuntu and things changed a lot. Now-a-days you are not restricted to linux as the only true "free" OS. There are few more choices like opensolaris (for personal use), chrome OS (if all you do is browse and cloud storage is dirt cheap these days). I would like to hear from people if they have used FreeBSD as well.

    Linux Mint is next I want to try out, read few good reviews, but it is internally ubuntu. However for end-users (non-programmers) it would be a different OS altogether.

  • RE: 10 key lessons for Linux learners

    I'm a loyal Linux Mint user, have been since Mint 7. I don't entirely agree with this list.I suggest a re-write.
    1. Linux is not just for nerds/hackers, it's just a tablecloth over the table that is UNIX (which forms the base of all modern OS's)
    2. Linux is more secure than windows (so long as you don't go root unless you have to)
    3. No more driver disks, linux takes care of that for you.
    4. Linux can give older computers a new lease on life
    5. Not all computers can run linux out of the box, some need to be modified
    6. Don't give up because it didn't work first time, grow and learn
    7. There are friendly Linux experts all over the web available to help you if you have problems, most will help you for free.
    8. Do not fear the terminal, it will not bite you
    9.The Linux GUI's KDE,xfce, and Gnome(geh-nome) are very similar to windows
    10.Installing software on Linux is not terribly different from windows