November 16, 2006
Sudo Penguins and Partitions
I finally got myself to try Linux this week. Given that I don't know anyone who uses it regularly, I never had the opportunity to get to know the operating system. I've been a fan of the open-source movement for a while now, I figured it was time to take Linux for a spin.
I quickly realized that Linux was not like Windows or Apple, where there was effectively one version of the overall platform. Linux has a large number of what they call "distributions", and each varies from another. The differences seemed to based on how recent the version is, and what kind of user it was designed for.
I used a Linux Distribution Chooser to help me narrow down all the options. I ended up settling on Kubuntu 6.06. All along I had intended on adding the OS to my computer as to make it dual-boot with Windows XP. The guides I found to walk me through this process led me to believe that it was much more difficult to accomplish this than it really was. All I had to do was create a new partition on the hard drive on which to install Linux. Using PartitionMagic, this was actually fairly easy. Even if I didn't have the more advanced software, the Kubuntu iso comes loaded with a partitioning program.
Long story short, I rebooted the computer with the Kubuntu cd in the drive, and I was able to install the system very quickly. It even took care of the operating system menu. No fuss, no muss.
Using Linux for basic computer functions such as web browsing, word processing, etc, was pretty straightforward. The OS is easy enough to navigate for a windows user, but installing drivers was more of a challenge. In order to alter much of the system, you have to use a dos-like Terminal interface. The initial commands were a bit of a challenge, but eventually I managed to get my ati drivers loaded. That's all I had time for last night.
On the upside, I now understand this xkcd.com comic: