Linux Mint

An Operating System is the software that runs your computer. For most people, it’s Microsoft Windows. On a Mac it’s Mac OS. But there are other operating systems available, most of which you never heard of.  But there is one operating system called Linux that you have probably heard of, but never really gave much thought.

Linux was patterned after another operating system called UNIX. UNIX used to be big on servers, but is not as common these days. Unix was a very powerful operating system but it wasn’t much on user interface. When Linux first started, it was much like UNIX. However, of the last couple of years, many versions of Linux have very nice interfaces that look a lot like Windows.

In case you don’t know, Linux is an open source operating system. Open source means that somebody writes the program and publishes not only the executable, but the source code so that another programmer can come along and make changes to it and create their own version. That’s why there are so many different flavors of Linux. The best part is that most versions of Linux are free.

One version of Linux that is really nice is Linux Mint. It was created with the idea of making it something that anyone could install and use. And they did a very good job. It’s so nice, in fact, that someone with very little technical knowledge could install and use it.

Before you rush out and download it, I should inform you of a few things.

If you are interested in installing Linux Mint, you’ll need a computer to install it on. When you install, you can install it alongside Windows, or you can replace Windows. If you install it alongside Windows (often referred to as dual-boot), when your computer boots up, it will ask you if you want to boot up Windows or Linux. You can’t run them both at the same time on the same computer. If you replace Windows, Windows will be erased and you will only have Linux on your computer. Be aware that if you replace Windows with Linux, any files you had stored under Windows will be erased.

Also be aware that there are some devices (wireless cards, printers, scanners, etc.) do not work with Linux. So research that before you install it. Your choices for software are limited too. There is no version of Microsoft Word that works on Linux. However, you could use something like OpenOffice.org which is very much like Word and is also compatible with Word.

Even though Linux is not as popular as Windows, there are still infections for it, so you’ll need security software. You’ll be limited on which security software you can use, but there are some good choices.

If you mainly use your computer for email, web surfing, documents, Pictures, video, and stuff like that, then Linux is a great choice. If you play graphics intensive games or if you attach a device to your computer that does not support Linux, then you may not want to use Linux as your primary workstation operating system. I would switch my desktop to Linux in a heartbeat if I didn’t play games and need Windows for my job. But I do have a computer with Linux Mint on it.

If you decide to install Linux Mint on a computer, you first need to download Linux Mint from their website (www.linuxmint.com). Then you have to burn it to a DVD, so you’ll need a blank DVD-R and a DVD burner. The computer you install it needs to be able to read DVD’s. Unless it’s a really old computer, it should be able to read DVD’s. Next, go to the computer you want to install it on and boot that computer from the DVD you just created. The installation itself is pretty easy. Once complete, your computer will now boot up with Linux Mint.

You may be wondering if you can purchase a new desktop or laptop with Linux on it. We are not aware of any manufacturers that sell computers with Linux pre-installed. If you want to purchase a new computer and want to run Linux on it, you can avoid the cost of Windows if you purchase a Dell N-series computer. Dell’s N-series computers just have FreeDOS on them so you aren’t paying for Windows. Therefore, N-series computers are cheaper than those that come with Windows on them.

If you are interested in installing Linux, we can help or we can do it for you.

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