Tuesday, 24 June 2014

The Linux Phobia - Should I switch to Linux ??


Hey guys, a very popular question that the students generally bump on during there academic years.
Generally, when the word Linux comes in our mind, we think of a nerdy OS with minimum or no GUI at all, struggling with the command line all the day!
Well guys make this clear that this is just a stereotype, and it needs to be broken. Linux is a very easy to use opensource OS, with much more customizability and security as compared to Windows.

From the very beginning, I used Windows. Since last 15 months, I am working on Linux and I am really feeling lucky to switch from Windows to Linux. Prior to switching, I had some doubts about Linux and a number of questions in my mind. These questions, more or less, are asked by all newbies. But don't worry as I am providing simple elaborated answer to them here.
Also let me tell you before hand that I am not here to criticize an OS and to blindly favour the other. Every OS has got its own pros and cons.


The first question, "What is Linux?"


Linux is an opensource free OS.  Do not worry, I am not going into its history.

When we say Linux, we mean the Linux kernel, which is the heart of that OS. Actually, the Linux operating system is made up of Linux Kernel, the GUI and the application software.

If we keep the kernel same, and change the Desktop Environment (DE or the basic GUI) we get a flavour of Linux, what we call a distribution or distro. This is the most interesting part. As the kernel source code is free, we can have a large number of distros. This may sound confusing to some newbies, but think the other way, if one distro doesn't suit you, you have the other to choose. In this way, you can choose the best which fits your needs.

Well in case of Windows, you get no such distros. We have the same kernel with the same GUI provided by MS. If we want to change the appearance we may use transformation packs there, but they are a pain in the ass to uninstall cleanly.

Some of the popular DE's are the GNOME desktop environment, Unity, Cinnamon, K Desktop Environment (KDE) and so on. Xfce is a very lightweight DE. Hence if I have a old computer such that Windows XP also denies to run smoothly in it, Xfce will work like charm. Even more lighter DE is the LXDE. Thus you run an up-to-date new OS in your old machine with the help of Linux.

Personally I prefer the KDE, which is by far the heaviest desktop environment, flooded with polished desktop tweaks, effects and customization.

Here are a few snapshots showing some of the DEs available in Linux.

[1.] The KDE ( Distro: kubuntu )

 [2.] The LXDE ( Distro: lubuntu )
 [3.] Unity ( Distro: Ubuntu )
 [4.] Xfce ( Distro : xubuntu )
 Above is a very small list of the vast options you get.


The second question, “Hey there is no such C drive, D 

drive etc. It looks so alienated!”


Well the answer is the file management techniques used by Linux. Linux uses the tree file management technique in which the “Root” directory is at the top, an all other are linked directly or indirectly to it. As we will see later, this arrangement has many advantages. For now, no need to feel alienated. In Windows, you have My Documents, My Music, My Videos etc. Here you have similar directories ( Documents, Pictures, Videos and Music) in the Home directory, where you can store your stuff.


The third question, “How can I have the necessary

software?”


This is one of the best things I like in Linux. I would answer, “Yes you will get alternatives, and in some cases better alternatives to almost all Windows software.” Also, some open source software are available for all OS's, like
in Linux, you will find Firefox, Vlc , Google Chrome,...
And if you are completely devoted to Windows software, then we have Wine, by which you can run them in Linux. Wine works well with most of the software and if there is any problem, we always have Virtual Box or the VMware player.


The fourth question, “I have seen most of the works done

 by the command line, it really haunts me.”


Hey common, told you it is just a stereotype. It is nothing like being in Linux you will have to be the master of command line. In Linux, we get a work done by either the command line or by using the GUI. The former is faster. Now you realize why the geeks are always playing with the command line.
Another thing, don't t think that Linux users are very good at complex commands. No one writes complex commands by own. We generally use the magic keys ( CTRL + C and CTRL + V).
Though when you will spend a few months with Linux, you will realize the power of the command line and hence would automatically start loving it.

Thus we see that there is nothing to fear about Linux and thus the Linux-phobia is just a stereotype. If you do not believe me, try using Linux ( in Virtual Machine ) and you will definitely fall in love with this beautiful OS.

In the next post we will discuss about the power of Linux, which is generally described by speed, security and stability with a recently added term, beauty.



 



 

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