Learning About Linux

What is Linux?              An open-source operating system modeled on UNIX

To understand what Linux is, you may want to glance at a few links. There are some fundamental concepts that are worth knowing about Linux and the huge community that comes with it.

  • Linus Torvalds                     Say hi to him here!       Google+
  • Open Source                         It’s a “thing,” perhaps a movement?
  • Python                                    Quickly, make it work; then make it better
  • Agile Software Dev             Do it a better way with others who agree
  • GitHub                                    Version control with others
  • Android                                   Linux in your pocket, Or Is It?
  • Raspberry PI                          Interface your world in crafty ways
  • Home Automation              Control your environment
  • Own Your Network             Know why your internet connection is slow
  • Security Conscious              Get in, get out, no trace
  • Hacking?                                Hacking is good

If you do not know much or anything about Linux, I would first like to describe why you should make it a goal to master the basics of Linux.

Benefits

  • Free(dom): Linux and most associated software is free to use. The software or projects that you may choose to pay for will most likely include a feeling of pride because you are contributing to something awesome.
  • Security: Linux is not prone to virus and spyware issues. You won’t have to spend a significant percentage of your time figuring out how to keep Linux working properly.
  • Control: Linux is powerful. Once you master the basics you will be able to do things with ease that would frustrate the most advanced Windows users.
  • Customization: You can make Linux look and behave precisely the way you want.
  • Peace of Mind: Linux is difficult to hack into even by a determined, knowledgeable person with malicious intent. You can lock down a Linux machine and make it very difficult for others to use it let alone break in.
  • Community: The Linux community fixes their broken software. Because the Linux community is so proactive you can jump into the process of reporting bugs, and become part of the solution if you decide that you’d like to contribute. With other systems, if something is broken, in many cases you just have to deal with it. Empower not only your computer hardware, but yourself with the ability to become part of the solution to problems.
  • Value: Breathe new life into old computers that you would normally consider to be obsolete. If you have legacy hardware, you can find a perfect Linux distribution to put on that hardware. Furthermore, you don’t have to worry if the software you install on old hardware will be outdated or insecure. Just look for Lightweight Linux Distributions.
  • KNOWLEDGE: Be powerful. The more you use Linux, the more you will learn about computers and what is possible out there. After months or years of using Linux you will invariably learn more about programming and the ways of the computing world than with other operating systems.
    • RANT: The app-centric software development community is having a negative effect on the software using population. People are becoming lazy and ignorant about hardware and software. It’s becoming so easy and convenient that people do not understand what they are using or doing. The Linux community is a wonderful fertile place to let the seeds of knowledge grow and become wonderful habits and abilities. Computer programmers are seen as wizards by many because people do not understand the language of computers. This by far is the best reason to learn Linux in my humble opinion. Generally good policy: If you’re going to spend hours using an electronic device, do something that will have a lasting effect on your knowledge of that device. Playing game apps on our phones will not accomplish this. Creating a simple game and then compiling it will. I recommend you do this and then share your creation with your friends.

Detriments

  • Tricky: Linux has a learning curve. Linux can take a bit of getting used to. Doesn’t everything though? There are a few different ways of accomplishing things that can make Linux seem daunting at first, but these are easily overcome if you are willing to join a forum and ask a question or two. Perhaps forums are not your style? You can find many resources on Google to read articles about how to use Linux. I will create some of those in my blog.
  • Image: Linux users can be seen as geeky, nerdy, cheap, or pompous. Don’t epitomize these labels and you’ll find that your ability to help people with their computer problems will offset any negative image Linux may carry with it. Be cheerful!
  • Compatibility: Some Windows software will only run well natively on a Windows machine. There are ways around this in most cases by running the program in an emulator like Wine, or in a virtual installation of Windows as a guest OS with a program like Oracle VirtualBox. This way you can have your cake and eat it too! I consider my Windows XP installation in VirtualBox to be more secure than a Windows 7 native installation. Every-time I boot it up it is a fresh reset of the installation. Just save its state like a video-game.

Ways to Install

Today I am going to explain a few different ways to get started with Linux. There are 3 primary options to get your feet wet and begin using Linux regularly.

  1. Create a USB or DVD bootable version of Linux. This way you do not have to install the operating system. Basically you get to try it before you commit to it. This is also an excellent way to browse websites that may have a higher likelihood of putting not so desirable software on your Windows computer. Many computer technicians use this method to use Linux tools to diagnose and repair other machines.
  2. Install Linux on a hard-drive HDD/SSD on your computer. You do not need to delete or reformat your current operating system. You can install Linux as a virtual machine on your Windows or OSX installation. Alternatively you can use a secondary or tertiary HHD to install Linux on. You could also use partition software to install it on your primary HHD though I recommend using a dedicated HDD. You can even go so far as to use an alternate boot-loader. This would give you a prompt when booting your computer that asks which operating system you’d like to use. Some machines can tri-boot Windows, Linux, and OSX. This is no longer necessary with virtualization software. There are other more efficient options, but maybe you prefer the dua/tri-boot option.
  3. Install Linux on a machine that you leave at home or the office. Some people prefer to install Linux on a computer that is plugged in all the time. If you connect it to a high-speed internet connection then you can have access to Linux through the internet without having to install it on your laptop or carry a USB drive. Technically this would be a server function, but you don’t need to learn a ton of server stuff to make it really useful. There are lots of excellent reasons to do this even if you don’t necessarily like Linux. Host your own website by setting up some DNS redirect features with your domain host. Share files with friends and family from your personal machine at home.

USB Bootable Websites                                              Windows Downloads

  • UNetBootin                                                                    Download
  • Rufus                 (no installation required)              Download
  • WiNToBootic                                                                  Download
  • YUMI                                                                                 Download
  • LiLi            (no Windows reboot required)              Download
  • WinUSB Maker  (multi-OS & repair tool)             Download
  • RMPrepUSB   (partition USB like a HHD/SSD)    Download

 

Best versions of Linux

  • OpenBSD                           Security
  • Tails                                    Secure / Privacy Oriented
  • Ubuntu                               Easy
  • Debian                                A Standard
  • Lubuntu                             Slim / Light
  • UStudio                              Media Oriented – Create Audio / Video
  • Fedora                                Popular
  • Sugar                                  Fedora for children / education
  • SteamOS                            Gamers
  • SUSE                                   Cloud Leverage
  • Mint                                    Eye Candy  (recently hacked)
  • Gentoo                               Flexible
  • Arch Linux ARM              Installs on nearly anything
  • ClearOS                              Web Administration / Enterprise Server
  • Puppy                                 Slim / Light – Run from RAM
  • OpenHAB                          Home Automation
  • LinuxMCE                         Home Automation

Linux can also be used to diagnose hardware and fix software or operating systems when they fail. Check out this essential list of software that can help you recover your other broken machines.

  • Clonezilla Live                       Norton Ghost alternative (free)
  • RedoBackup&Recovery       Like Clonezilla, but more fun
  • Trinity Rescue Kit (TRK)     Fix Windows
  • Clam AV                                   Answer to viruses
  • AVG                                           Anti-virus
  • Rascatux                                  Passwords and more
  • System Rescue CD                Blind accessibility
    • (You can fix computers even if you cannot see with your eyes)
    • “You CAN fix what you cannot see.”

 

If I caught your attention with the hacking stuff on the top of this page, then you may want to check out this list of challenge sites that offer many alternative ways to look at hacking. Learning Linux will help you with all your H4x0Rz interests.

 

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