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Giving Linux a try

Thinking of giving Linux a try?


Entering the world of Linux can be a bit daunting, sometimes simply because of the vast number of choices of different versions of Linux, called distributions (often shortened to 'distro').


If you haven't used Linux before and you'd like to just give it a try, one of the best ways to do this is with a Live CD. A Live CD distro allows you to boot your computer from the CD and use Linux without installing it to your hard drive and without making any changes to your computer at all. The disadvantage of a live CD is that it's really best only for experimenting and having a play -- anything you do won't be saved when you restart your computer! Live CDs will also be a lot slower than Linux installed on your hard drive.


Ubuntu is a great Live CD distribution to start with. You'll want to download the 'Ubuntu Desktop' file from the Ubuntu download page. The download size is quite large -- you are downloading a whole operating system here!


Other good Live CD distributions you can try include Fedora, Linux Mint and PCLinuxOS.


Once you have download the .iso file, you need to burn it to CD to make your 'Live CD'. However, you can't just copy the file to a CD normally -- you have to make sure the ISO image is properly unpacked on your CD. ISO Recorder is a good, free program to use for this on Windows, or you may already have CD burning software that can write ISO image files.


Once you have used ISO Recorder or another program to burn your new live CD to a disc, you should be able to just reboot your computer with the disc in the drive to start your Linux distribution up. (If that doesn't work, you might need to check your BIOS settings to allow booting from a CD)


Now you can have a play with Linux in this Live CD environment, without affecting anything else on your computer. Later on, you can choose to install the distribution to your hard drive if you want to use Linux more often.


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