Linux Basics Explained Simply

Linux is a completely free, and open source operating system. It sets itself apart from Windows and Mac in how it works. Mac is a closer cousin to Linux than Windows is. The Linux Project was started back in 1991. The Linux operating system is so much more versatile than the others that it runs on more devices than any other.

Linux can be used on servers, phones, printers, gaming computers, hell there’s probably a smart toaster out there running it!

Why You Should Care

Well for starters, Linux will make your computer run faster. On that same note, if you have an old computer Linux will make it actually usable. It is much more secure than Windows or Mac. There is not a distro (term for the different distributions of Linux ex. Ubuntu, Fedora, Arch) out there that will spy on you. Ubuntu is probably the only one that collects ad data. Not to mention once you learn Linux you’ll probably switch from it anyways.

Although, in the past gaming performance and game support for Linux were very much lacking. That has changed a ton with big names in the industry like Valve and GOG pushing to make gaming on Linux less of a pain. With this support gaming on Linux has improved ten fold! You should be able to play plenty of titles natively in Linux and with some work almost every game (even if it doesn’t support Linux) will work.

So How Does It Work?

Well I am going to be honest if your completely new you really don’t need to know it all. As you dive into it, encounter issues, research online, you will learn faster than you thought you would.

However, let me give you what you need to know. As a beginner stay away from Arch based distributions and the Debian distro itself. Stuff based of Debian is fine, Ubuntu for example is Debian based, but built for “new-to-linux” users. You’ll want to stay away from Arch and Debian just because they are not very new user friendly.

Also stay away from rolling-release distributions in general. These are typically Arch based distros. These are on the bleeding edge of updates so there are typically bugs. As a new user these will turn you off from Linux.

A safe bet for your first introduction to Linux is Ubuntu or Pop! OS.

I use Solus OS and while the distribution is rock-solid as well as Windows-esk in how it looks. I wouldn’t really recommend it for complete noobs. It uses a different package manager than most other linux distros, so if you need something that isn’t in the software center. It might take a bit more internet sloothing to find the copy/paste instructions.

What Is A Desktop Environment, Package Manager, & Terminal?

  • A Desktop Environment.

This is what your computer’s GUI (Graphical User Interface) will look like. You can think of it like, you install Linux then instead of it looking like Windows or Mac – you get to choose!

  • What The Heck Is A Package Manager?

In the most basic of terms your package manager is what stores the available programs for your Linux distro. Sometimes you may not find the program your looking for, because your package manager doesn’t have it. Don’t fret you can still get it, I’ll explain how in the terminal section below.

  • The Terminal.

The terminal is the most scary part to Linux for new users. Let me just go ahead and tell you it isn’t that intimidating. Most of the time in Linux if you don’t want to learn how to use the terminal, you don’t have to!

Most of the time you’ll only need to use the terminal to install something that isn’t in your package manager. And to do that it’s extremely easy. The only reason this sounds more difficult than just installing a program is because your not used to it. Once you learn it you can follow these steps and install the program just as fast if not faster than windows!

Let’s say for this example that I am running Ubuntu and I wanted to install Spotify. Just go to Google or your search engine of choice. Search for “How to install Spotify on Ubuntu.” Click on any of the top links and it will either be an official guide to install or a forum post with the steps. Either way the site will list a few terminal commands to run to install, copy and paste them into your terminal. Enter your root (administrator) password, press y and enter if prompted if you want to install. In a few moments Spotify will be installed and with your other programs!


I hope this post helps some of you new to Linux users out there! Thank you for reading and please check out some of my other content. You might just find some more help!

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