Talking tech since 2003

Over the past three weeks, I have partaken in what is easily one of the most daunting computer-related feats that I’ve ever subjected myself to. What is this task that has taken up my time and patience for nearly a month? Well, you see, when I first started using computers as a small child, I was introduced to the Windows 95 operating system. Ever sense then, the majority of my computer experience was focused around building my knowledge of the Windows operating system. That was, however, until three weeks ago when I moved myself away from my familiar and comfortable Windows operating system to the new world of Linux. Having gone through the troubles of introducing myself to a (relatively) new and unfamiliar environment, the purpose of this post is to share a few tips I’ve learned from my experience in hopes of aiding other users in switching their primary operating system from Windows to Linux.

First, you have to evaluate the fact that Microsoft Windows operating system is the largest operating system in terms of market share, and because of that it has the largest selection of software available. Thus, it’s easy for Windows users to easily become dependent on Windows-based applications; applications that in many cases are not available for non-Windows operating systems. Because of this, it is a wise move to first examine your currently installed software, and determine if it has either a native Linux package, or if there is an alternative available for Linux.

I have found osalt.com to be a very useful site for finding open-source alternatives that are often-times readily available on most operating systems. In addition, one may be able to make use of Wine, an application that allows Linux users to run some Windows-based software on Linux without sacrificing performance. While Wine is constantly being improved and is known to have comparability issues with a variety of programs, one of the great things about it is the fact that the Wine-community maintains a database of applications and their known level of compatibility. However, because some applications do not work on Wine, you may consider using a program like VirtualBox to run a virtual installation of a compatible operating system.

Just like software, you will want to ensure that your hardware is compatible with your new operating system before you re-format. Doing this will ensure that you do not have any problems post-installation, and make sure you know how you will need to go about installing drivers if they are not supported out-of-the-box in your new operating system. Even though the fact of the matter may be that you have unsupported hardware, it’s best to find this out before you install.

Last but not least, having the support of Linux users around you will make your transition much easier, because chances are, that they too had some of the same questions and issues when they first switched over. I have personally found that the members of the BestTechie chat room have been extremely helpful in answering many questions that I have had in the past three weeks. However, you may also feel free to ask your questions on the BestTechie forum. Do you have any tips for moving to Linux from Windows? Leave your comments below; they may be greatly beneficial to other users.


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