I keep finding myself saying to newbie Linux users "at least find out how permissions and file ownership work". So, with that in mind, I stumbled across this (free) introductory Linux course. It's one of many but EdX have a good reputation and it might prove useful to some...
Ok you've convinced me: I've just signed up (to the free bits) However, I still retain the right to come back and question you and Visvanath whenever things go wrong.....
I've signed up. Thanks.
Thanks for sharing Howard!
For anyone who hasn't used a Linux computer before, it's much easier and more user friendly that it sounds. Some distros, like Ubuntu http://www.ubuntu.com/desktop are as easy to use (some say easier, some say more difficult) as Windows or OS X. The difficulty most people have is in switching from one operating system to another, e.g. I find switching between Windows and OS X more difficult and frustrating than switching between Windows and Ubuntu.
Both are easy to install on your computer alongside Windows. Once it's installed, when you turn on your computer, it allows you to select which OS to use: Ubunutu or Windows. You can uninstall Ubuntu easily at any time and you can also just try it out from a DVD-ROM; http://www.ubuntu.com/download/desktop/burn-a-dvd-on-ubuntu or USB drive http://www.ubuntu.com/download/desktop/create-a-usb-stick-on-ubuntu without installing it directly on your computer.
If your computer runs Windows 7 or 8, install the 64 bit version - it's faster.
It won't harm your computer but it's always a good idea to back up all your data (onto an external storage drive; I just use a cheap 1TB USB drive) on a regular basis and especially before installing any software, and "especially especially" when installing Linux alongside Windows.
Installing apps, like Office Software, web browsers, etc. (Ubuntu comes with most of what you need already) works like installing apps on a smartphone only it's quicker, a bit easier, and usually much safer (a lot less malware than app stores!).
I hope this helps!
Getting into Linux https://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=193117
Still worth taking a second shot considering that http://tech.slashdot.org/story/14/08/20/1825221/linus-torvalds-i-still-want-the-desktop.
I still think there's a way to go on the desktop.
I've had Xubuntu for a year now and although we seem to have come light years since I tried it a decade ago somethings I'd consider trivial on a windows box are just opaque and frustrating.
For my wife and kids it's great. For a power user/tech head I'm sure it's great. But trying to admin a linux box can be intracable in a way Windows isn't. There's a middle gound there I don't think is being catered to yet.
How utterly interesting. edx....thanks for the info.
I think there's a big difference between "lightweight" versions of Ubuntu (Xubuntu, Lubuntu, etc.) and the main Ubuntu distro. Standard Ubuntu has many more wizards and GUI tools for managing it.
I still think the main issue with Linux systems is with drivers on some computers/hardware, although that seems to be getting better all the time, e.g. for a fresh install on my laptop, I have to uninstall and reinstall the WiFi card driver, using the terminal to get it to work. Easy enough when you know how but yes, it'd be daunting to the average user.
The historical problem is that almost all PC hardware is designed to run on Windows with little consideration for anything else. That seems to be changing now but slowly. I think Google Chromebooks that use x86 and x64 Intel/AMD chipsets (the ARM versions are just wimpy tablets with keyboards attached) are going to put more pressure on hardware manufacturers to play nice with Linux.
RE: The historical problem is that almost all PC hardware is designed to run on Windows with little consideration for anything else. That seems to be changing now but slowly.
AGREE. (One for the records eh!)