Linux for Starters

Linux for Starters: Your Guide to Linux – Introduction

What do I need?

CheckboxA computer that meets a distro’s recommended minimum system requirements. The system requirements for successfully installing Linux are surprisingly low. Even a computer built over 10 years ago will happily run many distros.

For Ubuntu 21.04 the recommended minimum is: 2 GHz dual core processor, 4GB RAM (system memory), 25GB hard-drive space, and graphics capable of 1024×768 resolution.

There are distros designed to run with lower requirements that are fully capable of reviving older hardware.

Lenovo M93 If you want a dedicated machine for Linux (rather than dual booting) but don’t have one spare, there are quite a few options. One option is to purchase a refurbished (mini) PC. Pictured is a refurbished Lenovo M93 Ultra Small PC. This machine’s hardware far exceeds Ubuntu’s recommended minimum system requirements and is available for around £200 / $200. Obviously, the better specified the system you use, the better experience will be.

CheckboxUSB stick or DVD disc
USB FlashDrive There’s the option of running a distro directly from either a USB stick (pictured) or a DVD. It offers a quick and easy way to experience Linux and how it works with your hardware. It doesn’t affect your computer’s configuration.
But if you’ve decided that Linux is for you, install the distro onto a computer via USB or DVD. We prefer USB installation. If you don’t have a spare USB key available, they are extremely cheap to buy. Don’t buy a USB stick with a distro pre-installed as they are almost always extremely poor value for money. Most distros need a 4GB or larger USB stick/key. Part 3 of this guide shows you how to create a bootable Ubuntu USB stick.
DVD installation requires a blank DVD-R disc, and you’ll need a machine that has a DVD Writer so that you can burn the distro’s image to the disc.
CheckboxInternet Connection

An internet connection is not essential to install a distro although some require internet access to download things like restricted extras. In any event, an internet connection is essential to make sure your computer stays up to date with the latest updates and patches. You’ll miss out on so much of the goodness that Linux bestows without internet connectivity.

In the next article we help you choose a distro.


Pages in this article:
Page 1 – What is Linux?
Page 2 – Why use Linux?
Page 3 – What do I need?

All articles in this series:

Linux For Starters
Part 1What is Linux? Why use Linux? What do I need?
Part 2Choose a Linux distribution meeting your specific needs and requirements.
Part 3Make a bootable Ubuntu USB stick in Windows.
Part 4We show you how to install Ubuntu 21.04 on your hard disk.
Part 5Things to do after installing Ubuntu.
Part 6Navigating your way around the Desktop.
Part 7Updating the system, install new software.
Part 8Open source replacements for proprietary Windows desktop software.
Part 9Get started with the power and flexibility of the terminal.
Part 10We cover the basics of files and permissions.
Part 11Getting help from your system.
Part 12Learn all about the file system.
Part 13Manipulating files from the shell.
Part 14Maintain your system with these simple tips.
Part 15Managing users on your system.
Part 16Explore different desktops to GNOME 3.
Part 17Gaming on Linux.
Part 18Protect your privacy with this guide.

Read our complete collection of recommended free and open source software. The collection covers all categories of software.

The software collection forms part of our series of informative articles for Linux enthusiasts. There's tons of in-depth reviews, alternatives to Google, fun things to try, hardware, free programming books and tutorials, and much more.
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3 comments

  1. Your greatest need when switching to Linux is an open mind. If you think LInux is Windows with a different name, you will fail.

    1. You can make almost any distro look like Windows, but it is also done for you. if you want it done for you I would recommend Zorin.
      From the Zorin site:
      Zorin OS is designed to be easy, so you don’t need to learn anything to get started. The Zorin Appearance app lets you change the desktop layout to feel like the environment you’re familiar with, whether it’s Windows, macOS, or Linux.

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