There are countless users of Microsoft’s Windows operating system who become Linux users each year–an important part of the engine that drives the popularity of Linux. In some cases, these migrating users want to escape the malware storm that afflicts the Windows ecosystem; in some cases they want to run Linux alongside Windows (a dual-OS strategy that has its advantages); and in some cases they want to use specific applications that are available for Linux.
For those who want to make the switch from Windows to Linux, there are a lot of good free resources that can help. There is also a lively, and pretty funny, discussion of the topic going on online. Here are the details.
Slashdot has a good discussion up on what the best Linux setup is for the user migrating from Windows. There are several informed users posting in the discussion thread who are recommending the Zorin Linux distro, which is specifically designed to cater to the Windows audience. It offers a Windows-like interface and actually lets you flip between different interface types on the fly.
Other commenters in the discussion have snide comments. Here’s a good example: “I suggest giving showing them Windows 8 first. After that, the change to any of the major Linux distributions will seem trivial.”
There are actually a number of free resources available for Windows users who want to take the Linux plunge, as we covered here. Here is a concise collection of these resources:
PC World has a good Getting Started Guide for Windows users who are interested in Linux. The guide discusses benefits of Linux, what you need to get started, and how to turn a Windows PC into a dual-boot computer, which can be one of the best ways for Linux newbies who are used to Windows to get started. Users can also brush up on the most popular Linux distributions here.
I always like to investigate a new topic with a good book as a guide. Test Driving Linux: From Windows to Linux in 60 Seconds is a free online book that can get you started with both Linux and several open source programs. Beginners will find it approachable, and it covers everything from basic Linux commands to user interface conventions that differ between Linux and Windows. The chapters of the book are online links, so you can just peruse the Table of Contents to go straight to the kind of material you’re interested in.
It’s always instructive to hear from other Windows users who have immersed themselves in Linux, and there are complete stories about this type of switch available online. In this post, we covered a die-hard Windows user’s immersion in Ubuntu, which includes lots of good information about going from Microsoft’s OS to Linux.
Along the same lines, MyBroadband has put up a good introductory post specifically about switching from Windows to Linux. It covers the flexible desktop environments that you can use with various Linux distros, running Windows and Linux concurrently, and more. Among educational Linux sites, it’s also worth looking into Unix-Tutorials.com.
As Windows users dive into Linux, they may wish for more advanced documentation and the good news is that there is a wealth of it available for free. In this post, we covered free online books and guides that can take the Linux beginner toward more advanced know-how, and in this post we discussed how a USB thumb drive and online resources can get new Linux users going very quickly.
If you’ve been using Windows for years but are interested in Linux, now is the time to experiment. You can run both operating systems if you choose, which means you don’t have to ditch favorite applications. Hopefully there are some useful resources here.
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