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Installing Linux software 101 for Windows users   
Tuesday, February 10 2009 @ 01:26 PM EST
Contributed by: sde

Lately, I've seen several articles by Windows users grumbling about how hard it is to install software on Linux. It is? You could have fooled me.

Still, people are having trouble, so here's my 101 class on installing programs on Linux.

First, chances are good you won't need to install any software on a Linux desktop. Almost all Linux distributions already come with an office suite, usually OpenOffice; a Web browser, Firefox; a universal IM client, Pidgin; and so on. Don't like the main choices? Most Linux distributions also come with alternative picks. For example, there's Gnome Office; the Epiphany Web browser and the Kopete IM client. You get the idea.

If you're looking for a specific replacement for a Windows program you love, you have two choices. You can see if it's supported on Linux by Wine, or its commercial big-brother, CrossOver Linux. If it is, you can just install and run it on Linux. I do this all the time with Internet Explorer, for sites that are still crippled by IE-only requirements, and it works great.

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