A friend of mine from college always talked about linux. He swears by it. Everytime he talked about it, i always kept thinking,
But why would anyone want to change from Windows, why bother?
That is what I always asked myself, so I had a long talk with him and had him explain to me the benefits of switching OSes…..He didn’t do a really good job of it, except tell me how cool it would be to use the command line for everything and not use point and click, like most of us are used to doing. To all Linux geeks out there, here’s a tip, when introducing a noob to linux, you might not want to scare them with command line(or terminal as it should rightfully be called) jargon, at least not until they understand a little.
I wasn’t dissuaded however, I still wanted to know more…..for me, the reason was just for the fun of it. I’m an avid learner so it was a challenge more or less.
I read a lot of websites about linux, and apparently , I could not just download Linux and be good to go, I had to download a Distribution.This is because Linux is the kernel (not a very pretty one if all you care about are graphics) or underlying software, and the Distribution you use adds a Graphical Interface and other software you need. That was fine, I had no trouble understanding that. I chose Ubuntu as my distro because ehem, Ubuntu is a Ndebele word and I’m Ndebele and I like all things Ndebele and hehehehe…just kidding. Let’s just stick to the fact that I chose Ubuntu…..
I installed it in a few easy steps and before I could say “foobar” , I was running on Gnome…… I liked what I saw. The panel, the backgrounds, and the easy-to-use UI. After some time, I thought “ah let me play my favourate song in the new media player”..The darn thing couldn’t play the song….yes you guessed it, there were no plugins to play mp3s. I must say, after having been a Windows user all my life, this came as a shocker….How could an OS not have a media player capable of reading mp3s….You might as well not have an OS then.
I was even more confused when i tried running an executable(.exe) and it failed to run. So this linux thing couldn’t play mp3s and it could not run programs???? Useless I was tempted to think. I did a lot of digging on the internet and after reading ubuntu forums, i finally got it. The answer was simple, Linux is NOT Windows and therefore I needed to stop treating it like it was. Linux is Open Source and it means that everything that is bundled with it has to be open source too. Video and audio formats that aren’t can’t be played/ viewed just like that, you need to install additional codecs.
I installed all the necessary codecs and I was home and dry. It has been a while since I installed Ubuntu (a few weeks to be precise),but I have barely even scratched the surface. So far so good however, except when I need to use a program that runs only on Windows……so I have to reboot and log in to Windows. I’m thinking of putting an end to that by installing WINE. I don’t have access to the internet on the linux box, so i’ll figure out a way to do this offline (any help is appreciated by the way).
Learning the commands
Right now I’m learning the linux commands. I know about 10 now, it’s a start and a step in the right direction 🙂