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Linux Desktops

Linux as an operating system is moving out of the server and IT geek arena into more mainstream user friendly graphical desktop versions. Ubuntu is one such Linux distribution that is more user focussed and comes ready to go with most office, internet, email and entertainment needs covered with pre-installed free software . Linux operating systems are free to use for either personal or commercial use and with only minimal training, most business PC users would be able to make the change without too many challenges. Ubuntu has a “release” every 6 months, usually in April and October of each year. Hardware support is generally good and with a little perseverance and web searching, a user can usually find that they can do anything on Linux that they could do on Windows. The real power of Linux though is not in its graphical environment but its underlying service power and ability to be controlled via a command line terminal session.

Usually though, MS Windows is supplied with most name brand PC’s so unless you have a compelling reason to buy white box generic PC’s with no software or you have a fundamental aversion to Microsoft, Windows will remain the operating system of choice for most small to medium enterprises.

Other commonly used Linux desktop releases include (but are certainly not limited to):

These are all based on one of the three distributions below:

If you want to give Linux a go, the best options are Ubuntu (Debian based), Fedora (Red Hat based) or OpenSuse (Slackware based). My personal preference is Ubuntu. These all come as easy to install and easy to use distributions packed with useful software. Once you get used to an underlying distribution, it is easier to stick with it, they each do some things differently. Most Linux installations are available as a “Live CD”which allows you to boot from a CD to try out Linux on your hardware without having to install it or you can dual boot with Windows if you have some unallocated space on your hard drive (you can make some with various boot CD disk partition tools if you dont have any).

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