Sunday, March 4, 2007

Can I Install Linux? And what are your credentials, Pike?

I want this blog to mostly contain specific help posts because a lot of other basic questions-- "How do I install it", "how do I dual-boot", etc.-- are already covered by several other websites. But first I want to give some insight into my own personal opinions on something I see a lot of: "Wow, Pike, you use Linux? You must be so awesome with computers! I'd never be able to do that!"

I am here to tell you right now that I am not awesome with computers. I am decent with them. I probably know a little more about computers than the average user. But I most certainly am not "awesome" with them. I'm not a programmer, I don't build computers (except with substantial help) and I don't fix them. And yet I exclusively use Linux. And you can too. If you have the desire to use Linux, some patience, access to Google, and a marginally good understanding of computers, you can use Linux without problems. Well okay, you will have problems. But you will be able to fix them. It's far from impossible.

What are the rewards? You'll be using an immensely safe and secure operating system that costs absolutely nothing and can be customized the way you like it to be. You'll learn more about computers in the first few weeks of using Linux than you've learned in several years of using Windows-- at least, I did. And, if you're like me, you'll have the satisfaction of knowing that you're supporting a philosophy of free, open source software.

The point is that you do not need to be a computer genius to install, use, and enjoy Linux. If I can do it, you can do it. Oh, and casual PC gamers can use Linux too. I play StarCraft and DotA (WarCraft III) on a regular basis thanks to Wine. Hardcore gamers might have a tougher time transitioning but I know they've done it before.

My credentials? I'm just your average student, about to graduate with a degree in filmmaking (see? not computers) who happened to be impressed with open source poster-children Firefox and Open Office enough to give their big brother Linux a shot. I'm very glad I did. It's my hope that by posting my experiences and problems in this guide I'll be able to help someone else find their way to a better computing experience. Happy Linux'ing!

Other resources to check out regarding this topic: Get Gnu Linux, Ubuntu Linux Resources


Beloch said...

I used Open office about a year and a half ago, and after a few months I was forced to switch back to Microsoft Office. OO was so extremely slow and it was difficult to work with .doc files--which I have to do for school. Is OO better now?

Pike said...

I haven't had any problems with OO... it hasn't been slow for me and I haven't had any problems with .doc files though I've come to dislike and not need that format anyway-- my school has Open Office installed on almost every computer on campus, and many computers have only Open Office (and not Word.)

In my opinion, OO doesn't make huge leaps and bounds over Word, the same way, say, Firefox makes huge leaps and bounds over IE. For me, using OO was more a matter of principle and, of course, now the fact that I am no longer using Windows.