Some First Linux Questions

We know that in this journey of learning Linux there are some questions that are bound to be locking in your mind. Please fill free to ask such through our contact page or through our emails. Some of the questions we have been privileged to get from FossNaija users include the following;

What about the tools and applications that I would need, would they be available in Linux?

This is one of the most important fears of a new Linux users. The availability of applications for Linux systems to meet their core need. Many Linux distributions have more than a thousand applications that are certified for use. And there are many FOSS alternatives to many proprietary applications that you can lay you hands on.

Is Linux difficult to use and can only be managed from the command line?

It is understandable that a PC user who has used only windows would be concerned with a new solution (OS), but the idea that Linux is overly complex, difficult to learn or can only be administered using the command line are completely untrue. In fact, users can quickly master Linux management using the graphical user interface (GUI) facilities that come with many distros today. And there are a lot of user groups around that can provide help when things becomes a little uneasy. So users can find the transition to Linux as well as providing a surprising level of control extreme simple. With a little basic tips and tricks, a novice Linux users will be able to easily manage up and running Linux system.

Is Linux secure?

This might come out as a result of the thinking that since Linux is free (or open source) there is every tendency that it would be precious in terms of security. And an analogy I would like to give in response to such questions is this: in a more realistic and practical sense would your money be safer in the banks or in the hands of robbers? The answer to that analogy in the form of a question brings the idea of community to the fore. Linux is a community-based project where everybody have stake in. when security bugs are found, they a fixed and quickly shared to other members of the Linux/open source community. This is not just one hypothetical situation, facts have shown that security vulnerabilities are less compared to windows. The amount of computer viruses, spyware, malware and malicious programs out there can testify to this, thats why windows users keeping buying and updating very expensive antivirus softwares and applications just to protect their PCs.

Do I have to pay for Linux?

When the word “free” is used in association with Linux and most Foss it is originally to convey the rights (freedom) it’s users posses when using it. Over time this notion of freedom has been stretched into involving “free beer” (that is free in price). So don’t fret, you’ll get Linux without paying a dime (i.e. free of any charge), apart from the internet cost to download. Just go online and get it now!

Is it true that Linux doesn’t have viruses?

Nahhhhhhhh. Technically, no system is free from vulnerabilities. You should know that computer viruses are software applications that are written like every other app, we anybody can decide to create a virus or malware to take advantage of any OS he/she see fit to compromise. And outside viruses there are many other ways you could be compromised as a computer user (e.g. a phising attack or disclosing you PIN, password through a spam email.). No OS, but you, can prevent anybody from that. But when it comes to viruses/security Linux gives you a better edge compared to say Windows: first of the number of virus threats for Linux relatively negligible and most importantly when any such vulnerabilities are detected they’re fixed with lightning speed – that’s something you don’t get to see often in Windows. Come to think of it what system would you rather create viruses for a system with millions of developers watching out for it and ready to kill it out of existence in a twinkle of an eye or a system with few hundreds developers who need permission from their bosses?

Why are there so many Linux distributions, Which one should I use?

This is one of the most recurring questions in the mind of prospective and new users of Linux. Many get confuse or “overwhelm” with the variety of Linux out there, especially when there’re die-hard fans/supporters online singing the praises of the ones they support. Some folks tend to label this “versatile” situation as a defect on the part of the FOSS movement, its actually a blessing and a strong attractive feature for Linux. There are different Linux flavour for different devices. That is why you’d see Linux on refrigerators, tablets, spacecrafts, phones, microwaves, cars, boats, airplanes, desktop workstaions, servers, drones and so many more to mention. And also there are different Linux flavours for different people like Vinux (for people with visual disabilities and it also has speech recognition), Ubuntu and Mint (for people new to Linux), Zorin (for people who prefer the Microsoft’s Windows interfaces), Trisquel (for die-hard free software philosophers!), Talking Arch (text-based OS without the GUI) , Arch (for security professionals) and so on.

Basically, a Linux distribution (distro) is a collective aggregation of free software(s) with Linux kernel as its skeleton. All Linux distros are basically the same, there are only very minor variations like choice of the bundle applications (some vendors preferred to add some varied number of softwares like browser, social apps and general utilities anyway) and how a few things are arranged on the hard drive. Whichever distribution you choose, either because it is the one that is available or common in your locality, or lay your hands on and decide to install you are basically going to end up with the same Linux.

I, for one, personally I use Ubuntu mainly and fedora. Both of which are very popular distros, with a large user base that can serve as a source of help for newbies that are just coming into the Linux fold. They are both general purpose distributions a full installation of Ubuntu and fedora comprises of highly cherished apps and tools for a successful personal desktop. There are also many very many- other Linux distros out there (e.g. Chalet, Trisquel, Debian, CentOS, Lubuntu, Qubeos, Zorin, Tailes, Arch, Antix and Kubunutu) that you can lay your hands on online, remember they are FREE (in terms of freedom and free beer). But know that whatever distro is used you would do just fine. The most important thing you should keep in mind when choosing is that you should ensure to use a very recent version of the distribution.

Where can I get Linux?

Linux is mostly distributed in a compacted form called distributions and they are hosted online by their respective vendors. Doing a simple google search of a desired Linux distro would be helpful. Some common ones are Ubuntu (Ubuntu.com), mint (Linuxmint.Com), Fedora (getfedora.org), Debian (debian.org) and so on.

Happy LinuxNG!

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ALEXANDER WAYNE OMOROKUNWA

ALEXANDER WAYNE OMOROKUNWA

Chief Editor/Founder at FossNaija
A Linux enthusiast with a focus on enriching the Nigeria Linux experience and keeping a keen eye on Ubuntu and other Foss related developments.
ALEXANDER WAYNE OMOROKUNWA
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