Converting from Windows to Linux - Intro

     Many at this stage have become disenchanted with Windows 10. Also, with the continued dismantling of privacy regulations the already data-mining Windows 10 OS is bound to increase as time progresses. You've almost certainly noticed the ads showing up inside your Windows OS. If you haven't already done so, I do suggest you take a look at the privacy settings inside Windows 10. Fun fact, those ad-targeting settings, such as installing programs during updates without your permission, cannot be disabled on any version lower than Windows 10 Enterprise. No policy or registry edit will work, they're ignored by the OS. Luckily, there ARE alternatives to Windows. You could buy a Mac, in which case you get something not altogether as invasive, but you certainly pay more for the same hardware, and no, you can't install MacOS on your existing machine. It is an exclusive ecosystems and one of the reasons I dislike it. You also have Linux! More people really should become familiar with Linux, if your a tech person then you have no excuse not too.

     Linux is open source. Meaning anyone can get the source code and contribute to the project or do with it as they please within the context of the usual MIT or GNU licensing agreement. There are many, many different distributions of Linux as well, variations of several core projects. The kernel, the main "core" of the OS is developed and sourced by the Free Software Foundation, which is still heavily contributed too by the original author of Linux, Linus Torvald. The kernel is then distributed through three main "streams" which have many variations of those streams. Those three streams are Debian, Fedora, and Arch. These streams have basic differences in use that the average user probably wouldn't encounter overtly beyond the look, syntax and little things like command names but they all generally operate the same. However they also do not share the same software repositories - the main source of software for Linux like Office software or audio, video players, games, etc. A software package originally ported to say Debian, won't work outright in Fedora. This mostly has to do with how the source code is compiled, bundled and handled by the OS of the target stream. They can however be built for either streams from the base source code, which is frequently done or is left for the user to do as source code (this requires compiling).

     If a user were to try Linux, you should be aware that you are in fact moving to a different ecosystem, one that is open source, almost entirely free, but IS NOT Windows. It is a very different feel and environment when you get beyond your web browser. Linux comes with many perks out of the box, there is no need for anti-virus software (by virtue of design), they all (save Arch) come with Office Software and other software suites installed by default. I could personally replace Microsoft Office Entirely. Media codecs can be an issue if you become a fan of the Fedora stream but is easy to remedy by using the RPMFushion repo, the repository that carries all the software Fedora won't ship by default, generally because of their commitment to non-commercialization.

     The first distribution a new Windows convert should try is Linux Mint. A Debian distribution committed entirely to being ultra stable, easy to use, that works out of the box. They also ship certain software by default that the Fedora stream won't. This, for the average user, means that when you bring up Youtube or Hulu, it won't tell you that you need media codecs or plugins to work - it will just work. Netflix is a little more tricky due to DRM issues but easily solved by installing Chrome, the browser I use for my media consumption (its fast). If your interested, head to and read up.

     The next topic, will address concerns and problems I encountered in detail switching from Windows to Linux and how I dealt with them. I also intend to address the installation process so far as it concerns things to do before installing Linux. The distribution itself will tell you the details you need to know about the actual process.


© 2016 Zachary G Wolfe -- Remember to turn your brain off for a reboot sometimes...