How hard is it to learn Linux?

Discussion in 'Tech Talk' started by jameswills, Jul 10, 2020.

  1. jameswills

    jameswills New Member

    My cousin keeps insisting that I get off Windows and I don't like Apple so my only other alternative that seems feasible is to switch to Linux. He loves Linux himself but it seems a bit confusing. He said I would need to use a terminal for a lot of settings on the computer and I don't even know what that means exactly. lol
  2. rogerk101

    rogerk101 Screwfix Select

    It all depends on what you mean by "learn Linux".
    If you're a software developer, there is an enormous amount to learning Linux, but as a basic user, it's a doddle.
    My son kept complaining about his laptop, saying it was too slow, and he wanted something faster. I removed Windows and replaced it with Ubuntu Linux, and that same laptop suddenly became at least 5 times faster for most applications. The lifespan of the laptop has effectively been extended by almost a decade, as he's still using it at the ripe old age of 27.
    It's pretty much the same transition as the one you experience when you change between Android and iPhone.
  3. Wayners

    Wayners Screwfix Select

    Install Linux mint. Works out the box and you won't need terminal. I switched 10+ years ago and so simple to install.

    I got (Mrs did) virus that distorted pc. That was me done with windows...
  4. candoabitofmoststuff

    candoabitofmoststuff Screwfix Select

    Same here...
    Linux Mint is easy to use...
    My mum, (87) uses it with no problems... as do several friends. As the "expert" in the family I've been called on to sort things out only about 4 or 5 times the 6 or 7 years that it's been in use by them!

    Bearing in mind that the vast majority of folk use a computer for just a few things;
    • eMail
    • internet browsing
    • word processing
    and for the more adventurous,
    • photo manipulation
    • spreadsheets
    For all of the above Linux is a doddle...
    Remember that when you are doing any of the above tasks, you aren't actually using "Linux", or "Windows", you're using the specific program, (e.g your email program, or your internet browser, or your word processor)...

    The disadvantage is that, for the most part, programs made for Windows don't run on Linux, (there are exceptions), so you have to use the (free) alternatives. However, in my experience they are
    • Good
    • Easy to install
    • Easy to use
    • Generally, deliberately make to imitate the windows equivalents
    Some of them, (eg the office suite LibreOffice, is available for Windows as well, so you can try it in windows to get used to it)... and the Libre Office programs, open the Microsoft files, (Word docs, Excel spreadsheets) pretty well. There are some issues if the files have Macros in them, and sometimes any images in words docs get a little shifted... but for straightforward "letters" there is 100% compatibility.

    Some things are done a little differently, such as moving files to different places, but it is really easy to learn...

    A "Terminal" is a black form which you get up on screen, from a small icon at the bottom of the screen, where you use it to type instructions...

    It's used in the same way as instructions used to be written in DOS, in the days before Windows...

    It can be useful for faultfinding, when you have to be an expert, but's true of "Windows" as well!

    The only thing I've not been able to do, that I could in Windows, is make my printer print Duplex, (i.e automatically print both sides).
    I can live with that though.

    And for what it's worth, on my PC, which has windows installed as well, (as I do use Windows sometimes for some advanced things that I haven't learned to do in Linux, CAD for example), the internet is measurably faster!

    Good luck,

  5. candoabitofmoststuff

    candoabitofmoststuff Screwfix Select

    An important question, which I alluded to in my previous post is, "What do you use the computer for?"

    Deleted member 210637 likes this.
  6. quasar9

    quasar9 Active Member

    It all depends on what you want to do. To use Linux especially with graphical front end is as easy as using Windows. It’s like driving a transit normally and switching to a Vivaro. Some differences but most of the main controls are the same. If you want to dwell deeper, both windows and Linux have command screens, where they are very different.

    Also, Linux being an open source version of Unix, there many many vendors, each offering their own flavour/ version of Linux. Some like Red hat are designed more for professional end of the market and offer limited support while some like Ubuntu and Mint are targeted at home users. Right now, I am a Mint fan as it’s quite small and runs very well on PC’s that are too slow for Win 10.
    rogerk101 likes this.
  7. Nice to see a few fellow mint users in here:) I've been a Linux nut for about ten years, hence the username.

    I do a lot of oddball stuff on my Linux computers, networking, remote monitoring and design, plus borrowing and email and some other pretty advanced stuff, for the most of it I never need to use terminal, these days its becoming more of an option than a requirement however, I would suggest learning some of the important uses for terminal in case you need it, even then its pretty simple.

    Linux isn't windows, its a totally different operating system, but for most users I would say using is not that much different from windows. I would suggest trying a live USB Linux version that runs off a USB drive or stick to try out Linux, its a pretty straight forward thing, download the ISO file, write it to USB then boot up your PC to the USB device, let Linux load and have a play with it, it wont damage or mess with your windows install and when your done trying it you can just shut it down, remove the USB drive and your PC will boot back into windows.

    Edit meant shut down not **** down !
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 10, 2020
  8. Vin B

    Vin B Member

    Incase it helps swing it too, the software is pretty decent and most usually free, unlike mac/windows. Libreoffice is more than capable for excel/word replacement, and across the board I'm often surprised at the quality of products there. Just the other week found freecad which for what I wanted is a pretty solid CAD package.
  9. Besides that there is the fast install time, no hours wait for updates to complete as most updates are small and install in no time, the choices for a desktop environment, not the one your stuck with in windows plus the ability to test drive it in a from a USB drive. There is no Cortana or adverts and no sneaky data gathering.
  10. yetanotherDIYer

    yetanotherDIYer New Member

    I'd use Linux over Windows anyday but it really depends on why you want to change. Someone saying you should switch isn't a good enough reason in my opinion. If there are some things you don't like about Windows or if you're simply curious then worth a try. Remember also that it's not just about interfaces. You need to check if applications you normally use are available in your new Linux, and if your existing files can be opened there. You also need to check external devices (printer, storage drives, etc) will continue to work smoothly. Good news is, it's possible to install two operating systems on a single machine and boot into whichever one you want.
  11. Wayners

    Wayners Screwfix Select

    Mates running Deepin os. Looks really nice. I'm sticking to Linux mint. Others in the house won't be like the change... You know how that is. Get complaints changing wallpaper or screen saver.. Gee

    As for knowing anything I don't.. Easy enough to install but can't do anything in the terminal or with line command. I have fiddled for interest cutting and pasting code just to have a look as you can bring up hardware and others information but no idea what I'm doing..

    Never missed a beat though for what we do. Dropbox, chrome, Firefox, word ect all works fine. So dose printing and photo editing. Burning and encoding cds and dvds. Used win 97 and all a bit similar to that although you can make it look like whatever you want.
  12. Wayners

    Wayners Screwfix Select

  13. BFG

    BFG New Member

    It's much easier if you've never used Windows. A lot of windows "knowledge" is actually a bunch of workarounds and such knowledge will get in your way. This is why elderly people take to linux like a duck to water, because it works closer to how people imagine a computer should work.

    An example of windows workarounds is there is absolutely no reason why a computer needs to have drive letters. This is something that windows invented way back in the days of floppy drives and it just stuck. Another is you don't need to give yourself admin access to use a computer. There are hundreds of others.

    You only need two principles to get you started
    - Be prepared to unlearn. When you're trying to do something, try and ignore your windows experience and start like a total newbie.
    Forget these two windows things:
    - Do not give yourself admin access. You will learn to love something called sudo.
    - Don't install software from all over the place. Only install it from official sources.

    That's it. Just go and download one such as ubuntu, and put it on a USB stick. It will actually run without installing.

    *Admin access is a special thing in computers for looking under the bonnet and tinkering with the engine. If you're driving, you never want to do it with your head under the bonnet. All computers work this way, except windows. On windows, you can't do anything about apps or settings without admin access. It's improved with windows 10, but windows grew up on the principle that the driver and all the passengers will travel in the engine compartment at all times and the bonnet will always be open. Which is why it was always a festering mess.

    Downsides. Games are limited. If you're into gaming, you will probably want to dual-boot windows and linux.

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