Getting a Free Copy of Linux
The idea of free software—a free operating system in particular—takes some getting used to, but it happens fast. When you are working with other operating systems, getting and trying new releases involves some kind of cash outlay. In the case of Linux, the most you need is a spare machine on which to play. Consequently, you can load one version of Linux, take it for a spin, then load another and see whether that feels any better to you.
If you have a high-speed Internet connection (and a CD
If you don't like the idea of visiting each and every one of those sites, a visit to LinuxIso.org (http://www.linuxiso.org/) may be in order. This site provides a
Package Managers and Updates
Package managers often have a great deal to do with what people end up choosing in terms of a distribution. In this book, I'll be talking about installing software using RPM, and every distribution I mentioned earlier uses RPM as the package manager, so the information you take with you will work with any of these releases. I have also developed a great respect for the power and simplicity of Debian's apt-get program. In fact, you now get apt-get for RPM-based systems.
The method of update is also worthy of consideration. Many vendors now provide an option for updating and patching your system online. As long as you have a fast Internet connection, you are all set. Finally, here's the great disclaimer of the
As much as I would like to think that each and every one of you is more than ready to say
Dual booting refers to the technique of making a home for both operating systems on your machine. When you start your computer, a small program called a boot loader offers you a menu of choices from which you can decide to boot Linux or whatever other operating system you have installed. That boot loader, for the most part, is called Grand Unified Boot Loader (GRUB). A second and still very common boot loader is called LILO , the Linux Loader.
When you load Linux on a system that already has Windows installed, your new system is smart enough to recognize the existence of this other operating system. You'll find that an entry for both of your operating systems will magically appear in your boot loader menu.
Preserving Your Data
When you've been using a computer for a long time, you
Because Windows backup programs aren't
If you have large amounts of data, it might make sense to keep a Windows partition around long enough to copy from one to the other. Most of the major Linux distributions will not only notice the existence of your Windows partition, they will also provide you with an icon on your desktop so that you can easily access that data. Although this may seem like a great way to avoid backing up your data, please don't ignore this step. In fact, if you haven't been backing up your system, your system has been living on borrowed time. If in doubt, back up .