Ready to use within minutes, fast, safe and convenient - linuxes like Ubuntu are no longer technical nerd toys. They are a niche, however, from which you help the OS.
April 25th is World Penguin Day every year, but that is irrelevant: Beyond this day of action, Linux with the penguin Tux as a mascot is interesting - which is initially not an operating system, but a kernel. A large number of operating systems, so-called distributions, are based on the Linux kernel. Its distribution versions differ in the kernel version and in the user interface. Above all, Ubuntu is very promising as it is considered by many to be the best Linux. It has the tried and tested Gnome interface, is comparatively easy to use and makes your PC quite virus-proof. Several hundred Linux distributions are available ... Read below why you are particularly well served with the "big" offshoots like Ubuntu. In the photo gallery you will find basic tips: written from the perspective of Windows users, researched with the recently released Ubuntu 21.04. By the way, the word Ubuntu means humanity - that fits the system because it is open source, so the creators around Linus Torvalds and his colleagues (maintainers and volunteer developers) have no profit intentions.
Ubuntu: Tips for budding Linux users
Linux: advantages over Windows
Free of charge: Most finished PCs work with Windows installed ex works. Consumers pay for this indirectly without noticing - if you put hardware parts together in the web configurator, you will see the Windows price listed. The costs are only limited, however, a "Pro Linux" and "Contra Windows" argument: After all, Microsoft distributes Windows 10 to existing customers free of charge. The prerequisite for a free upgrade to the 10 OS is a license for Windows 7 or higher - most users meet this requirement. If you don't have a license and don't want to purchase one, you save with Linux: its distributions are usually free. At most, some distributions for companies ask for cash. These are exceptions. The providers earn their money with support that private users do not need. Depending on the hardware equipment, a certain Linux makes good use of the resources; Ubuntu is suitable for mid-range and high-end PCs (the appropriate drivers are required). Large IT companies also use Linux distributions, some variants tailored to their own requirements for data centers.
Goodbye Windows paternalism: Some users see paternalism in the way Microsoft or Windows treats them. Whether alleged forced updates from Windows 7 / 8.1 to Windows 10 or alleged Windows 10 espionage - in principle, Ubuntu doesn't annoy them with it. For Windows 7 users, Ubuntu is suitable as a PC savior: At the beginning of 2020, support for the old-fashioned operating system expired; he has dropped out of Extended Support and is therefore no longer receiving any security updates. Security is now stagnating, similar to Windows XP / Vista. Security-conscious people have the choice: Free upgrade to Windows 10 (the high frequency of semi-annual major updates could be annoying, permanent free security updates if the latest major update is installed), upgrade to Windows 8.1 (license fee; no major update annoyance, update support end 2023) - or as an alternative to switching to Linux. First of all, Windows 7 users could install Ubuntu alongside their existing OS, get used to Linux, migrate data and, if they like, remove Windows 7 operating routines. Or Windows 7 users delete the hard drive using the Ubuntu installer and set up Ubuntu as the sole OS.
Diversity speaks for Linux: The distribution information page Distrowatch lists hundreds of versions of the open source operating system. Especially with the well-known and popular systems, users are right: the probability is high that you will get help on the web and in forums if something goes wrong. It can be assumed that there will be problems in operation; Linux is partly close to Windows in terms of operation (at least the well-kept Ubuntu), but not everything can be understood intuitively. The developers are working on making it easier to use and have defused the "is only for experts" factor. However, the simplifications are an ongoing development goal and never end. If a Windows user perceives something as complicated, it is not necessarily because Linux really is; rather it is different. Conversely, even for a Linux user switching to Windows, some things would be unfamiliar and "difficult" with the Microsoft OS. By the way, new Ubuntu releases have only marginally improved Linux handling in recent years - one of the reasons is probably that usability is already going well. The Distrowatch ranking for the last twelve months is as follows - the top 5: MX Linux, Manjaro, Mint, Pop! _OS, EndeavorOS. Ubuntu only follows in sixth place. Debian comes in 7th place; it is the basis for Ubuntu and other distributions. Debian is even the grandfather of Linux Mint, which in turn is based on Ubuntu. A disadvantage of the variety of Linux offers is the agony of choice. However, if you limit yourself to the major distributions on a closer look, the selection is reduced. In addition, you will then receive a well-maintained, well-documented system and potentially help in an Internet community. A good place to go is Ubuntuusers with the slogan "asking is human".
The numerous distributions of Linux are certainly reflected in the security: More variants mean increased effort in order to carry out a targeted attack. When it comes to malware protection, Linux ranks ahead of Windows for another reason: There is almost no malware for the system. These exist, but the number of threats is negligible compared to Windows. The innumerable Windows malware threats that are created every day do not run on Linux - because nothing can be done with the EXE file format. One danger is phishing, whereby fraudsters falsify known websites in order to encourage users to enter log-in data. These end up with the criminals - so carelessly surfing the net is also not recommended with Linux, although it is quite well shielded (Windows seems to have the better arsenal of defense tools, which is also necessary due to the threatening flood of malware) . It is good that browsers like Firefox on Linux have a phishing filter. It blocks dubious sites via URL blacklisting.
Routine Windows maintenance work is superfluous: Many users are convinced that under Linux neither a virus scanner nor defragmentation is necessary. A registry similar to Windows does not exist, so the question of the (in) sense of a registry cleaner does not arise. Instead of NTFS, ext (4) is used as the file system. As a rule, users do not use a data structure optimizer such as Defraggler (from the Windows world), Windows defragmenters would not run anyway and Linux defragmenters are rare. A number of important Windows programs are available in Linux variants: Firefox, Chrome, Chromium, Opera, LibreOffice, Thunderbird, FileZilla, TeamViewer ... Anyone who knows Windows programs does not need to get used to, the operation is almost identical. There are differences in Firefox, for example. However, these are marginal; Among other things, you can access the settings in the menu bar under "Edit" (Ubuntu) and not under "Tools" (Windows). Anyone who is toying with Linux should, however, be keen to find out more; especially those who delve deeper into the matter will find even greater differences.
When it comes to games, Linux is gaining ground. Programs that do not work under the system can be run in the auxiliary software Wine (it is a recursive acronym, i.e. an abbreviation that is written out in full: Wine Is Not An Emulator). Mainly older Windows applications and earlier games run in Wine, but also malicious programs. So caution is advised - anyone who tries to make malware compatible with it. This probably rarely happens, but there have been reports about it. Cloud services that were previously used under Windows usually work without any problems under Linux, all you need is a browser. In addition to a Windows client, there is also a Linux client to make Dropbox more convenient. Anyone who uses programs known from Windows and the same under Windows (possibly install them first), imports the files, which are usually created under Windows, into the Linux software counterparts.
Linux Distributions: Free Windows Alternatives
Disadvantages of Linux: games, hardware, security ...
If you want to pass the time with games, you are better off with Windows. The game supply situation has improved, not least thanks to the Steam game platform. For Windows, however, there is a much wider choice.
Linux feels uncomfortable on the latest hardware: Drivers are missing - not always, but if you get caught, you have to wait for control programs (hopefully soon) to appear, accept restrictions or use Windows at all. It is possible that no separately offered drivers appear at all, then they will find their way into the Linux kernel through their manufacturer. It will take a few months for Ubuntu to take up this, however, if the next Ubuntu major release version contains the updated system kernel. It is definitely lucrative for hardware vendors to work on the kernel by adding drivers, since in future they will not be entrusted with the maintenance themselves, but a programmable community will help.
One of the disadvantages of Linux that has hardly been considered is security. Anyone who surfs the web too carelessly because he / she feels 100 percent secure (not given) could infect the PC. The likelihood of encountering Linux malware is small, but it does exist. Furthermore, some malicious programs / exploits that reach the PC via security gaps can spill over to Windows and Linux devices via runtime environments (runtimes) across platforms. Phishing is another danger, accidentally distributing Windows malware (which is ineffective under Linux) to Windows users is another. Then there is the learning curve: Ubuntu keeps it low. A user still has to get used to it; It doesn't matter whether he installs Linux as a Windows replacement (Windows removed in the course of the installation) or sets it up next to his Microsoft OS (in the second case, the Linux boot manager Grub asks when the PC is started about the operating system to be started). The disadvantages don't need to deter you from Linux / Ubuntu: There is no either / or - if you don't want to miss Windows, you can use the alternative as an add-on on the same device.
Install Linux: Dual boot if desired
The installation of Linux should be preceded by a data backup - a standard tip that Linux-drawn users will certainly no longer want to read (presumably technology-interested users who often have some Windows experience). Without further illuminating the annoying topic of backup, just the note: Whether a replacement or parallel installation to Windows, cautious people take care of a backup before setting up Linux - especially when replacing Windows. To create a setup disk, download Ubuntu and burn its ISO file onto a blank DVD. In Windows 7 this is possible for the first time without an additional tool, a double click is sufficient; since Windows 8 right-click an ISO and burn using the context menu.
Better, and on PCs without an optical drive, the only installation option is a USB stick: You can use Rufus to provide it with the Ubuntu ISO data. In the past, Ubuntu could be installed without booting from a setup disk, under Windows: Wubi made it possible. Only Linux veterans still know this installation option; many did not consider Wubi to be the real thing.
Try Linux without installing it: After booting from the setup disk, the distribution runs in live mode. Not every distribution has something like this, Ubuntu is one of them - with Windows it takes more effort to make it work without installing it from a stick. And so you use Ubuntu first (at a reduced speed) from the RAM without a drive setup. A live Ubuntu feels particularly fast on fast PCs and on a USB 3.0 port for an Ubuntu stick. If sporadic use is enough for you, you do not need to install it and boot Ubuntu from the stick, for example if you need to visit potentially unsafe websites. Since you do not change the partitioning, you have nothing to worry about.
Installation: If the user guidance and design appeal to you, start the installation by double-clicking on the corresponding desktop icon. Alternatively, you can forego live operation after booting from the setup medium and select the installation button directly. The Ubuntu installer gives you the choice: "Install Ubuntu next to " or "Erase hard drive and install Ubuntu". In the first case, the Grub boot manager appears when the system is started, which corresponds to dual boot operation (two operating systems on one PC). In the second case, the boot manager display does not appear and the PC only runs with Linux.
If you want to operate a dual-boot environment, i.e. you want Windows and Linux on their own partitions, you do not need to delete the entire hard drive or SSD.
The dialog varies depending on the operating system, so instead of Windows 7 (see picture above) we are talking about Windows 8 - which does not fit one hundred percent because Windows 8.1 is installed.
If Windows 10 is installed, the Ubuntu installer lists it within the installation option.
Would you like to try Ubuntu and even the live mode does not seem comfortable to you? In that case, switch up one step and use it live in VirtualBox - or install Linux in it. In the second case, your changes to Linux are persistent, so they are not lost when you close the VirtualBox window. The advantage: guarantees no changes to the partitioning. The disadvantage: Windows (host operating system) and Linux (guest operating system) running in a VirtualBox VM (virtual machine) share the PC resources. For those who want maximum performance, neither live operation via a boot stick nor a VirtualBox version is an option, the Ubuntu installation is then a must. If necessary, buy a second device if you do not want to change the partitioning under any circumstances - you are actually quite safe, because the Ubuntu installer works automatically and mostly reliably.
Shut down Ubuntu
Shutting down Windows 8 turned out to be complicated for some users in 2012, when the unpopular operating system was released: The usual Windows 7 method via the start menu fell flat. With Linux it could be the same for those switching: That is why you will find instructions for switching off the PC with a click in the tip section above. The getting used to it is limited.
Make Ubuntu faster
You save time in Ubuntu operation if you activate the automatic user account login. What Windows users in the window control userpasswords2 respectively netplwiz do it, configure it elsewhere on Linux. Already during the installation you set the auto-log-in without entering a password - if you missed this, correct it after the installation. You can use the system faster if you have internalized its processes - you will find corresponding tips in the photo gallery. For example, there are no Windows on-board tools in Linux, but a replacement is integrated: Instead of Internet Explorer or Edge, Firefox is the standard browser. Instead of the Windows 8.1 / 10 mail app, Thunderbird is included, while LibreOffice as an office package clearly beats Windows’s own minimal text tools Notepad and WordPad. The suite competes functionally with the commercial MS Office. The Calc spreadsheet is also included in LibreOffice; Windows has no on-board tools for it. If you wish, you can install the Edge browser: It is based on Chromium and is a multi-platform tool, i.e. it is available for Windows, Linux, Mac, Android and iOS.
What speaks for Linux - and what against it
Ubuntu LTS: what is it?
Ubuntu manufacturer and main sponsor Canonical releases new system versions in two time periods: Normal versions appear every six months (STS, Short Term Support), they receive updates for nine months. The current Ubuntu Linux 21.04 is such an STS release. STS Ubuntus are suitable for users with a penchant for the latest technologies, as well as those who use the latest hardware. Ubuntu's LTS (Long Term Support) versions are interesting for companies and users who do not like frequent changes due to major updates. The publication cycle every two years means that the system does not become obsolete too quickly, and updates are available for five years. Anyone who values tried and tested technologies and wants high stability should deal with LTS. By the way: At ubuntu.com in the release cycle overview you can find out which Ubuntu versions were an STS or LTS version - and which ones are still to come. There you can also see how long the updates last.
The naming of Linux distributions is similar to that of Windows 10; Microsoft has adopted this convention with Windows 10 20H2 (October 2020 update). Up to and including Windows 10 2004 (May 2020 update), the whole thing was customary: the year and month of the planned release of the operating system form its version number. For example, Ubuntu 04/21 came in the fourth month (April) in 2021.The Ubuntu names are playful due to an appended animal name: the first letters of the animal alternate alphabetically. At Ubuntu 17.04 you got to Z (Zesty Zapus), then it started again at A. The current version is Ubuntu 21.04, called Hirsute Hippo. In German it is called "hairy hippopotamus". The Ubuntu wallpaper is designed to match: a hippo with a certain cuteness factor. The fact that the Ubuntu provider Canonical names its open-source operating system with the year and month fits so: Only Microsoft often had problems with it and did not meet the release dates.