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Welcome. Maybe you are here just to read more about Linux, try some open-source programs, install Linux or configure Linux. Either way, you have come to the right place.

The first thing you need to do is to decide how you want to try Linux, as there are several ways of doing this. All of them are non-harmful to your computer, and most of them are easily reversible if you change your mind.

Install some Open-source programs in Windows/Mac Os X (EASY)

Check out our recommended-programs, a lot of these programs can easily be installed in Windows/Mac Os X, as well as Linux.

Cost: Some MegaBytes of your hard-drive space(depends on the program getting installed).
How to reverse it: Uninstall the programs in Windows/Mac Os X.

Install Ubuntu Linux using Wubi (VERY EASY)

Ubuntu Linux has an unique feature which none of the other distributions have (that I am aware of).
It allows you to install Ubuntu like a windows-program, so you can easily try it and easily remove it if it`s not for you. This does not work on Macs, though.
Install Ubuntu Linux using wubi

Cost: harddrive space
how to reverse it: Uninstall Wubi

Burn A Live CD (EASY)

This option is very common and very easy to do, the only problem is that its slower then a usual install, and any changes you make will not be saved.

Find a distribution that you want to try out. (keep in mind: if you have an slow computer, you should choose one of the lighter versions of Linux)

Cost: 1 CD/DVD and some bandwidth downloading the cd
how to reverse it: throw away the cd/dvd ;-)http://www.vmware.com/products/server/

Make a live USB stick (RECOMMENDED)(EASY)

This option has alot of advantages, any change you do will be saved, and it does not cost you a cd for every distribution you want to test.
Unfortunately, this does not work on some older computers and does not work on Macbooks without a special cd to enable USB booting.

Find a distribution that you want to try out. (keep in mind: if you have an slow computer, you should choose one of the lighter versions of Linux)

Cost: 1 Usb stick
how to reverse it: format the usb stick

Use virtualisation to test a Linux Distribution (EASY)

This option lets you test alot of different distribution fast, without the need for cds or usb sticks. It has gotten quite popular, and the method is also used for servers mostly because of it stability, and very quick recovery if anything goes wrong.

Cost: harddrive space
how to reverse it: uninstall vmware and remove iso files

Install Linux

There is alot of ways to install Linux on your computer, the most common way is to use a cd and install linux in a dualboot enviroment. Here is the steps I would recommend you do before installing Linux:

  • Linux needs space on your harddrive, so make sure it has atleast 15GB to play with(depending on your distribution of space)
  • If you want Linux to take space from one of your excisting partitions(Such as C:/ or D:/) then defragment that partition first.
  • Backup all your valuable data

On a regular computer from a bootable cd (EASY)

  • Find a distribution that you want to install. (keep in mind: if you have an slow computer, you should choose one of the lighter versions of Linux)

Find a distribution

  • Download a copy of the distribution you like the most (I would recommend Ubuntu, mostly because It is easy to use, yet powerful, if you have a slow or old computer give Xubuntu a try)
  • Burn the copy to a cd
  • Put the cd in the drive, and restart your computer
  • Make the computer boot from the cd instead of the harddrive
  • Follow the instructions that are on the screen (there will be instructions for all user friendly distributions, if there is not, you are not using a user friendly distribution and you have to check their websites for instructions)

On an Intel Macbook

using Bootcamp and Refit (ubuntu focused) Medium
without using Bootcamp and Refit (ubuntu focused) Medium/Hard
Using Refit (very ubuntu focused) Easy-Medium Official ubuntu guide

On an Playstation 3

Install Linux on Playstation 3 Medium
Install Linux on a Intel Macbook Medium (universal)
++++Using a
Barebone Ubuntu Install Easy-Medium

Use and configure Linux

Filesystem

How to edit your fstab file Easy-Medium
Install GmailFS Medium (universal)
use your G-Mail account as a filesystem accessible from linux

Graphics

How to edit your /etc/X11/xorg.conf file Easy-Medium

Hardware

Access hardware information Easy-Medium

Kernel

Compile a second Linux kernel Hard

Macbooks

Configuring Ubuntu on Macbook Easy-Hard

Mouse

Processor(CPU)

Undervolt your notebook CPU for longer battery life (ubuntu focused) Medium

Software

Install programs from Source (ubuntu focused) Easy

Use CLI(Command Line Interface) in Linux

Create hard link Easy
Create symbolic link Easy
Connect to wireless using CLI Easy

Resources

Ubuntu Pocket Guide Very easy-Very Hard (Ubuntu focused) An excellent free ebook
Great Ubuntu Guide
GREAT site Very Easy-Medium
100 Great free programs for linux
top 25 free games for linux
List of games for Ubuntu
Boot information and guides for dualbooting and such

Cli resources

Manual for Elilo Medium-Hard Elilo is an EFI bootloader
FTP User manual Easy-Hard
Common Linux CLI Commands Easy-Hard
Log files in Linux (ubuntu focused) Easy

And a big thanks to these sites for putting those awesome guides and resources out there
http://wiki.aminet.net
http://www.tech-recipes.com
http://www.pixelbeat.org
http://www.tweaktown.com
http://www.builderau.com
http://www.stoltenow.com
http://help.ubuntu.com
http://ubuntuforums.org/
http://www.pendrivelinux.com
http://pwet.fr/
http://www.felipe-alfaro.org/
http://richard.jones.name/
https://wiki.ubuntu.com
https://help.ubuntu.com
http://www.ubuntugeek.com
http://www.ubuntuforums.com
http://www.tuxfiles.org
http://www.brunolinux.com/
http://ubuntuguide.org
http://whdb.com
http://ubuntu-gamers-arena.org
http://users.bigpond.net.au/hermanzone/

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