Want to make a migration from Windows to Linux? Great!. Because Linux is a nice operating system for the people who love freedom like you. Well, freedom is not the only reason to drive someone making a switch to Linux. Whatever your reason, read on. There are several things you need to know.
Migrating from an operating system to another one, Windows to Linux in this case, is all about habit. It is the same thing as when you are moving from your old office to a new one. You need to learn the environment around. As the time goes, you will be familiar with the new environment.
Technically, Linux and Windows are basically not much different. In Linux, you can also use the “Ctrl+C” button combination to copy something and use the “Ctrl+V” to paste it. In general, following are the crucial things you need to know before migrating from Windows to Linux.
1. Choosing the right distro
One of the biggest differences between Linux and Windows is that Linux consists of several distributions (known as distro). What is Linux distro?
Linux is basically a kernel. Kernel is one of the components of an operating system that interact with the hardware on your system. Linux needs other applications to work optimally. A Linux distro is Linux that has been bundled with other applications so it’s ready to use by end users. Ubuntu, Linux Mint and Fedora are the examples of popular Linux distros.
Each distro comes with different desktop environment (you can learn more about this on this Wikipedia page). If you love the classic Windows interface (with the panel menu located at the bottom), Linux Mint is probably a better suited distro for you. The distro uses Cinnamon as the default desktop environment, with panel menu lies at the bottom like Windows. Below is the screenshot of Linux Mint with Cinnamon desktop environment.
One other crucial thing you need to notice before chosing a distro is your computer specs. Be sure to read the system requirements of the distro you want to use and match it with your computer specs. If you want to install Linux on an old computer, lightweight Linux distros like Peppermint and Lubuntu are worth-trying.
2. Software replacements
“How do I work on documents on Linux?”
“How do I edit photos on Linux?”
Those are the most common questions asked by Windows users who want to make a switch to Linux.
Each Linux distro is bundled with ready-to-use applications. The default applications offered by each Linux distro is richer than Windows. For example, in Windows you will need to install office suite to work on documents. Most Linux distros have been equipped with an office suite so you will no longer need to install one to work on documents. If you haven’t found the application you need yet, simply install it from the package manager of the distro you use (see point 3 below). In general, following are popular Linux applications you probably need.
- Office suite: LibreOffice (to replace Microsoft Office)
- Web browser: Firefox
- Photo editor: GIMP (to replace Photoshop)
- Drawing tool: Inkscape (to replace Adobe Illustrator/CorelDRAW)
- Multimedia player: VLC (to watch videos), Rhythmbox (to play MP3 files)
3. Installing and removing applications
Another big difference between Linux and Windows is how you can install new applications. In Windows, you typically need the binary file with the extension of
.exeto install a new application. Today, you can also download new applications from Windows App Store. Speaking of Windows App Store, the similar concept has long been adopted by Linux to distribute the applications.
To install new applications on Linux you need a tool called package manager. Each Linux distro comes with at least one package manager. Ubuntu Software Center and Synaptic Package Manager are two popular examples of package manager. If you use Ubuntu and the derivatives (including Linux Mint), you can use those package managers to install new applications. One key thing, your computer need an internet connection to install new applications on Linux.
If you use Ubuntu (and the derivatives), you can refer to this article to learn how to install new applications.
4. Buying a new hardware
What I mean hardware here is the external hardware, not the ones already on your computer like sound card, Wi-Fi card, graphic card and so on.
To be honest, hardware is still a problem in Linux. But today, most Linux distros already support many hardware, depending on the hardware series. As example, the majority of Canon printers can run seamlessly on Linux. Just be sure to do some research before buying a new hardware. Ensure the hardware you want to buy supports Linux.
5. No need to install antivirus
Virus still the main enemy of all Windows users. I am pretty sure that nearly all Windows users have an antivirus installed on their computer. Some even use more than one antiviruses. You don’t really need to install any antivirus on Linux. Why?
There are at least two technical reasons why you don’t need to install an antivirus on Linux. One of which is regarding the user level. Linux is an operating system with a very good user levels. Not all users have the privilege to access system-related files. Only superuser (root), who has the privilege to access all files in the system. Without being a root, you won’t be able to run/install new programs on Linux. Most viruses work by run themselves secretly on Windows without your permission. Since only root can install new applications on Linux, something like that one will never happen in Linux.
6. Linux is not for gamers
Game is the biggest downside of Linux. By the time you are reading this article, you can’t (probably never) run games like FIFA and Counter-Strike on Linux. Linux has games, but not on same level as Windows. So, I can say that Linux is not for gamers.
7. What about command line
Today, Linux has been so much different than Linux few years ago. Today, you can use Linux without even knowing a single command line. To install new applications, you can use the GUI-based tools like Ubuntu Software Center of Synaptic Package Manager. However, it would be so much better if you want to learn the basic Linux commands. There more things you can with command lines.