Getting Linux

Ok, so you have decided to take the plunge into Linux. There are basically two ways to get Linux. Either you can buy the software in a box ready to go, or you can download it for free and burn your own installation disks (more on that below).

I know what you are thinking. Why would anyone buy Linux if you can just download it for free? Well there are several reasons. First off, size. The Linux operating system is so big that it can fill one or more CDs (depending on the distribution). Downloading it takes a long time, even if you have a fast Internet connection. But most people still only have slow dialup connections. Downloading Linux could take a month! Then once you have it all downloaded, you still have to create your own installation disk(s). For many people it's just simpler and quicker to buy a copy at your online store or the nearest brick & mortar computer store. Besides, Linux is cheap. Versions for personal use are a fraction the cost of Windows. If you assign a reasonable hourly cost to your labor for downloading it yourself and making your own disks, then buying the software really isn't much more expensive. The hassles and headaches saved can make it a bargain.

Another reason to buy Linux is because many distributions such as Redhat and Suse and Mandrake offer technical support, installation help, updates and bug fixes, but only to registered users.

Another reason to buy rather than download is to help support the companies and organizations that put out this fine software. If everybody just downloaded it and no one ever paid, they wouldn't be around for very long, and where would that leave us? Back to being stuck with just Microsoft.

Buying Linux couldn't be simpler. Click on the links below to order your own copy today.

Linspire Five.0 CNR Edition Linspire Five.0 CNR Edition

Xandros Linux Desktop OS 3.0 Deluxe Edition Xandros Linux Desktop OS 3.0 Deluxe Edition

Santa Fe Linux- Desktop Linux Operating System Santa Fe Linux- Desktop Linux Operating System

SuSE Linux 10.0 (DVD) SuSE Linux 10.0 (DVD)

Suse Linux Professional 9.2 Edition Suse Linux Professional 9.2 Edition

Slackware Linux 9.1 Slackware Linux 9.1

On this web site I am specifically describing my experience with Knoppix/Debian Linux, but other distributions of Linux will be quite similar. Some other versions have developed quite a loyal following and there is much debate among Linux users about which is the "best." I settled on Knoppix because it is a very popular distribution and can be run as a "live CD" with no need to actually install it on your computer. If you do choose to install it though, it installs as Debian Linux which is among the top 5 Linux distributions and very well supported.

Downloading Linux
Ok, so you decided rather than buying a linux distribution, you are going to download it yourself. Well then I suggest you try out Knoppix Linux. You are of course free to try any distribution you please, but Knoppix is only one CD or DVD and it is fairly easy to use. These instructions apply specifically to knoppix Linux, but the procedure will be similar for other flavors of Linux.

First, Check to see that you have the space on your hard drive to download the CD image and install the operating system. You probably ought to have a minimum of several Gigabytes free just for downloading. If you want to install it on your hard drive, then you ought to have at least 10 Gigabytes free, and the more the better. If you don't have space, then you need to make it. Maybe it is time to upgrade your hard drive?

Next, go to the Knoppix web site. Click on the "Download" button. On the download page select a mirror site that is geographically close to you for fastest downloading. Accept the Knoppix download agreement and you will be taken to the directory containing the ISO files on the mirror site. Download the version right for you. Knoppix comes in English and German versions. Since you are reading this in English, then English is probably the right version for you. As of this writing the latest English version of Knoppix is 4.0.2. This will no doubt change in the future. Just make sure the file you download ends in -EN.iso. Decide whether you want to try the CD or DVD version of Knoppix. The DVD version is huge and will take a very long time to download even if you have a broadband connection. You should probably go with the CD version to start with. If you only have a dialup connection then the CD version is really your only option. Right click on the filename and select "Save Target As..." from the menu.

Ok, the download is running. What to do while you are waiting? Well, you could go on a long vacation. Or write a novel. Or maybe get married and start a family. Are you starting to get the idea that this is going to take a while?

Finally! The download is complete. Now you are ready to burn your installation CD. You do have a CD burner, right?

What you want to do at this point is create a CD from the ISO image file you just downloaded. Warning! You are not just copying the file you downloaded onto the CD. If you do that you will have created useless "coaster" CD. You need to chose the option of "Create CD from ISO Image File" in your CD burning software. It may be worded differently, but the option is there somewhere. When all else fails, consult the documentation that came with your CD burning software to figure out how to make a CD from an ISO image.

If downloading and burning a Knoppix CD or DVD sounds like too much of a hassle or isn't possible with your internet connection, then it is possible to buy a Knoppix disk. There are links on the Knoppix web page to vendors who will ship a Knoppix CD or DVD to you at little over their cost of burning it.

Once you have created or purchased your installation CD, you are ready to move on to Testing Linux.





©Copyright 2003-2008 Michael Davis



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©Copyright 2003-2008 Michael Davis