Linux is a popular open-source operating system that can be used as an alternative to Windows or macOS. It offers a wide range of features and customization options, making it a favourite among developers and power users.
Installing Linux on a computer can be done through a process called dual-booting, which allows a user to run both Windows and Linux on the same computer, and switch between the two operating systems as needed.
Table of Contents
In this guide, we will show you how to download and install Linux on your computer and choose the Linux Distribution of your choice.
Further, we will discuss the following topics.
- What is a Linux Distribution?
- How many distributions are out there?
- Installing Linux using a USB stick
- Installing Linux using Virtual Machine
So let’s get started without wasting any time.
What is a Linux Distribution?
A Linux distribution, often shortened to simply “distro,” is a version of the Linux operating system that is packaged with a specific set of software, configurations, and user interfaces.
A Linux distribution is typically built on top of the Linux kernel, which is the core of the operating system and includes additional software, such as the GNU utilities, which provide the functionality required for a complete operating system.
There are many different Linux distributions available, each with its own unique features and characteristics.
Some popular distributions include Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora, Mint, Arch, OpenSUSE and many others.
Each distribution has its own package management system, desktop environment, software repositories, and user interface.
Some distributions are designed for specific tasks, such as servers, security, or gaming, while others are more general-purpose.
The choice of a Linux distribution depends on the user preferences and specific needs, some are beginner-friendly, others are more technical, some are lightweight and others are more resource-demanding, some are more stable and others are more up-to-date. It’s always good to try different distributions and see which one fits better with your needs.
How many distributions are out there?
There are many Linux distributions, or “distros,” available, and new ones are constantly being created and others are no longer maintained.
It would be difficult to provide an exact number, but some estimates put the number of active Linux distros at over a thousand.
Some popular Linux distributions include:
1. Ubuntu: A popular and user-friendly distro that is based on Debian. It is often recommended for beginners and is widely used in both personal and professional settings.
2. Fedora: Developed by Red Hat, Fedora is a community-driven distro that focuses on providing the latest features and software. It is often considered a good option for developers and power users.
3. Debian: A widely-used and respected distro that is known for its stability and security. It is the foundation for many other distros, including Ubuntu.
4. Arch Linux: A lightweight and customizable distro that is popular among Linux enthusiasts and advanced users. Arch Linux requires a bit more technical know-how to set up and use, but it can be highly personalized to the user’s needs.
5. Mint: A distro based on Ubuntu, Mint is known for its ease of use and sleek interface. Mint is often recommended for users who are switching to Linux from Windows.
6. Manjaro: A distro based on Arch Linux, Manjaro is known for its stability and user-friendliness. It is a great choice for those who want the flexibility and power of Arch Linux, but with a more straightforward setup process.
7. OpenSUSE: An open-source community-driven distro that aims to provide a stable and secure operating system. It is known for its YaST configuration tool and its focus on enterprise-level features.
8. Gentoo: A highly customizable distro that allows the user to build their system from scratch, using source code. This distro is geared towards experienced users who are looking for a high level of control over their system.
How to Install Linux using USB stick
Installing Linux using a USB stick is a common and straightforward process. We will take Ubuntu OS for our learning purpose. Here is a general overview of the steps you will need to take:
1. Download the Linux distribution of your choice in ISO format. Click here to download ISO.
2. Insert a USB stick with at least 2GB of free space into your computer.
3. Use a tool such as Rufus (Windows) or UNetbootin (Windows, Mac, Linux), or Universal USB installer to create a bootable USB drive from the ISO file. This process will erase all data on the USB drive, so make sure to backup any important files.
Here, we are using Universal USB installer for learning purpose. You can use any tool.
4. Restart your computer and enter the BIOS or UEFI settings. Make sure that your computer is set to boot from the USB drive.
5. Save the changes and exit the BIOS/UEFI settings. Your computer should now boot from the USB drive and load the Linux installer.
6. Follow the on-screen instructions to install Linux on your computer. You may need to select your preferred language, and keyboard layout, and partition your hard drive.
7. Once the installation is complete, remove the USB drive and restart your computer. Your computer should now boot into Linux.
8. Configure your settings, install additional software and enjoy your new Linux system.
Please note that the exact steps may vary depending on the Linux distribution and computer you are using, so be sure to consult the documentation or tutorials for your specific setup.
How to Install Linux using Virtual Machine?
This section will guide you to install Linux in Virtual Machine(VM). So let’s discuss briefly what is Virtual Machine and why we use Virtual Machines.
What is Virtual Machine?
A virtual machine (VM) is a software implementation of a computer that can run its own operating system and applications. The software creates a virtual environment that simulates the hardware of a physical computer, allowing the virtual machine to run its own operating system and software independently of the host machine.
Virtual machines are used for a variety of purposes, such as:
1. Software testing: Developers can use virtual machines to test their software on different operating systems and configurations without having to physically maintain multiple computers.
2. Isolation: Virtual machines can be used to isolate different applications and services from each other, for example, running a web server in one virtual machine and a database in another.
3. Cloud computing: Virtual machines are a key component of cloud computing, as they allow for the creation of virtual servers that can be easily created, managed, and scaled on demand.
4. Legacy software support: Virtual machines can be used to run older software that is not compatible with newer operating systems.
5. Security: Virtual machines can be used to create a secure environment, such as a sandbox, in which to run potentially risky or untrusted software.
6. Training: Virtual machines can be used to provide a safe, stable and consistent environment for teaching or training purposes
7. Developing and testing: Virtual machines can be used to develop and test different configurations and software with different operating systems on the same hardware, which is cost-effective and efficient.
Steps to install Linux in Virtual Machine
1. Download and install a virtual machine program, such as VirtualBox or VMware.
2. Click on the downloaded application setup file and follow the instruction as shown below.
3. Configure the virtual machine settings, such as the amount of RAM and hard drive space to allocate.
4. Insert the Linux installation media (such as a DVD or USB drive) into your computer.
5. Start the virtual machine and begin the Linux installation process. This will be similar to installing Linux on a physical machine and will include prompts for partitioning the virtual hard drive, configuring the network, and setting up user accounts.
6. Once the installation is complete, you can start using Linux within the virtual machine.
Note: The above steps are general and may vary depending on the virtual machine software you are using and the Linux distribution you are installing. It’s always good to refer to the official documentation of that particular virtual machine software and Linux distribution.