10 Basic Linux Questions, Answered – The Easy Way
- Will I lose all my data and applications?
Simple answer, NO. But depending on how you install Linux (called Ubuntu, from now onwards), it may affect your data too. You computer with Windows will keep working the way it used to work even after installing Ubuntu on it. Check out how to try Ubuntu without affecting your existing OS.
- OK, but can I access my Windows drives from within Ubuntu?
Yes you can. Latest Linux installations lets you access NTFS drives. But before that you need to install NTFS drivers from Ubuntu Package Manager (Synaptic). After that you will be able to access your entire data on Windows partition same as you do other folders on Ubuntu.
- Can I run Windows applications on Ubuntu?
Short answer, NO. Not natively. But in fact there are Windows alternatives (stay tuned for an article on these alternatives) for most of the Windows applications in Ubuntu. And all of them are available for FREE. For example, OpenOffice.org for Office, Mozilla Firefox for Internet Explorer, Evolution for Microsoft Outlook etc. etc.
Also, applications like WINE can help you run some of the Windows apps on Ubuntu too.
- Still, can I do everything on Ubuntu as I do on Windows?
Well, sort of. As I said, you can’t run the same applications on Ubuntu as you do on Windows. So you will have to learn the new interface of the alternative applications. But functionality wise, they are almost the same or better. Otherwise you can try other alternatives too.
- OK, so which Linux distro I should use?
Now, that’s a tough question. There are so many Linux distro available that it is really tough for a new user to select any one of them. My recommendation will be to use “Ubuntu” as first, this is the most popular Linux distro and second, it has got the most supported community to help users around – The Ubuntu Forum.
Otherwise, you may try, Mandriva, Fedora or OpenSUSE. To find out a wide variety of Linux distro, check out DistroMania or DistroWatch etc.
- What is Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Linux, Mandriva, Fedora etc?
This is one question where lots of people are confused. They think Linux and Ubuntu are different. Even worse they think Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Fedora and Linux are very different.
Well my friend, Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Fedora etc. all have are all Linux Kernels. Linux as their root or core. They all have Linux at heart, but the desktop environment and other default packages are a little different, known as distro. For example, Ubuntu is GNOME and Kubuntu is KDE etc.
Edit: (Thanks Flimm for providing the correction.)
- Can I run Ubuntu on my old PC instead?
Answer is YES! Ubuntu or any other Linux distro is not that resource hopper as Windows Vista. Any PC with 512MB RAM and 10-20GB hard disk (even less) will be able to run Ubuntu smoothly. So if you have any old PC which you dumped before upgrading to Windows Vista, can very well use it. I can bet it will run faster than your latest Windows Vista PC.
- How do I get Ubuntu or Linux etc?
It is very easy to get any distro you like. Just head over to their respective website and download the latest release ISO image. Burn the ISO image on a DVD and start installation process. They all are available for FREE.
For instance, you can get Ubuntu from http://www.ubuntu.com, Fedora from http://fedoraproject.org/ etc. etc.
- Can I still use Windows?
Oh ya! You can use Windows too if you did Dual Boot installation. When you start your computer you can select an option to boot to Ubuntu or Windows whichever you want. Check out how to dual boot Ubuntu with Windows.
If you use VirtualBox and other virtual applications to install Ubuntu, then you can use any number of OS within Windows and try a plethora of Linux distros without affecting anything on your computer. Check out how to use VirtualBox to install Ubuntu and Windows 7.
- Alright I tried Ubuntu, but how do I get rid of it now?
It is very unlikely though that if you tried Ubuntu, you will ever want to remove it from your computer. I have seen many people get rid of Windows completely and use Ubuntu. Or at least keep both of them for various other purposes.
Still, if you want to get rid of Ubuntu, then just delete the partition Ubuntu is installed. That’s it. If your computer doesn’t boot now, then possibly GRUB is affected. You will need to boot with your Windows DVD and use the repair option. Everything will be alright and there will not be any trace of Ubuntu on your computer. As simple as that.
But before you do that, read these 25 reasons to use Ubuntu instead of Windows.