Frequently Asked Questions

What is Linux?

Linux is a free computer operating system (technically Linux is just the kernel,
or engine that runs the show), which, along with
the base
system and many other
programs, can be used as a
complete replacement for Windows. It was originally created by
Linus Torvalds
with the assistance of developers around the world. Developed
under the GNU
General Public License,
source code
for Linux is freely
available to everyone. Many companies and organizations distribute
their own customized versions of the Linux/GNU
system, which are generally known as

Just some of the reasons to use Linux….

  • Freedom – you are NOT bound by the constraints of any corporation;
    you pick and choose what and where you want to install and how you want to use it…
    this point cannot be stressed enough!
  • Equality – anybody can have Linux, everybody has the same capabilities of
    usage and development
  • Support – with the Linux community you get tons of quality
    support for all your problems
  • Security – you do NOT have the endless hassles associated with viruses
    and spyware
  • Stability – the crash of an application is much less likely to bring
    down the entire operating system
  • Reliability – Linux computers are often up for hundreds of days compared
    with the regular reboots required with a Windows system
  • Robust Filesystem – no need to defragment your harddrive or worry about
    file corruption with journalling filesystems such as ReiserFS, EXT3 or XFS.

  • Excellent networking facilities: allowing you to share CPUs, share
    modems, printers, etc…
  • A Linux distribution has thousands of dollars worth of software for no
  • A wide variety of commercial software is available if your needs
    aren’t satisifed by the free software
  • An excellent windowing system called “X”; the equivalent of Windows but
    much more flexible
  • Linux will only die when the last Linux and open source developer is
    killed, of which there are hundreds of thousands
  • Linux is the future of computing

If you like to get
“under the hood” of your computer then you will really enjoy Linux.
The more modern and user-friendly distributions make
it just as easy for an inexperienced newcomer to install and enjoy Linux.

Is Linux for everybody?

Linux CAN be for everybody. It really depends on how you look at it.
While the technically minded will take to it like fish to water, some
newcomers or easily frustrated people might have negative first
experiences. There are many Linux distributions to choose from, and part
of the initial leap is choosing which one properly fits your
personality. Contrary to what some Linux advocates will say, I do not
think Linux is for everybody, at least not quite yet, but trust me, this is

Which version should I install?

Any Linux distribution can be made into a great desktop system with some
time and effort but many of us do not want to tinker around for hours/days
when there are finished products already available. The following list
contains some of the best desktop Linux distributions.

Try answering the questions on this short form
for our guess at which distro fits you best.

If you wish to try out Linux without actually installing it and you have a
CD-ROM on your computer which you can boot from, you will want to
click here!

Where can I get it?

While you can find some Linux distributions for sale at your local computer
store or big-box electronics or office store, the majority can be downloaded
freely as an ISO file and then
burned to CD.

What kind of computer do I need?

While many Linux distributions will run even on a 364/486, for desktop usage
purposes normally at least a Pentium class computer with a good amount
(128 Megs or greater) of RAM is required.

A full installation of a desktop Linux distribution may take up to 2-3 Gigs
of drive space. At least a 20 Gig harddrive is recommended.

The more RAM your computer has, the less Linux will use the
swap space
on your harddrive, therefore making everything load and run faster.

To run a modern
manager like
KDE, a good minimal system would be
a Pentium 3 (or equivalent AMD) with 256 Megs of RAM.

Most brand name hardware is supported by the majority of desktop
Linux distributions out of the box. Some of the things that may give you problems are
cheap scanners and web cams. Most
graphics cards,
sound cards,
USB devices
(such as digital cameras, flash drives, etc…), monitors, modems
and ethernet cards work well with Linux.

Can Linux co-exist with Windows?

Yes, it is a common practice to install Linux alongside Windows, but it will
require you to re-partition your harddrive.

I personally prefer getting a second harddrive as they are so low cost these
days and it allows you to avoid the fear of accidentally messing up your
Windows partition.

Installation completed, but…

Sometimes after you’ve completed installation, you may notice that the
screen resolution is not optimal or some piece of hardware was not detected
and isn’t working. In worst case scenarios, your system may not want to
boot into Linux at all, instead crashing or freezing. Or you may not be
able to boot into Windows anymore. Do not fear, all these problems are
solvable and are not totally uncommon. It is recommended that you find a
Linux User Group
in your area or a Linux-knowledgable friend that can help you
out if you get stuck with no computer access.

Getting help…

Help from web forums

Web forums are one of the best places to search for and post your Linux
related questions.

Help from search engines

Some search engines, such as Google, have specialized sections for performing
Linux related searches.

Help from newsgroups

Usenet newsgroups are not as friendly to use but can be a good source of
help if you refrain from asking questions which aren’t completely ignorant.
Usenet users tend to be a bit elitist in their attitude and you might get
flamed for asking beginner-type questions, but it never hurts to give it a try.

Help from Linux User Groups

LUGs are a great way to meet other Linux users and get live support. You
will be surprised at the number and variety of people that are using Linux
and are willing to lend a helping hand.

Look for a Linux User Group in…

Who runs this site?

I do. My name is Marko and I am a freelance web developer and system
administrator. I made this site mainly as a public service and because I
love Linux. You might think there are too many sites like this around
already but I say you can never have enough. The more exposure Linux gets,
the more people start using it, the more developers come
to create new and better open source software!
Thanks to
for the site design and graphics.


Any profit made from the advertising on this site goes toward improving this
site and promoting Linux. If you are interested in placing an ad on
DesktopLinuxAtHome.com, please
contact me via this form.

If you have been helped by this website, please consider giving a small
donation to assist with hosting costs or place a
link to us
on your website. Thank-you!



Get social media marketing and SEO/SMO services by Social Visio!

The Archives