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As someone who has used a PC his entire life, with the use of a Mac on some occasions, and as someone who has decided to make computers his main career in life, i would like to give Linux a go.
However, this may seem silly, but i get all confused on the website so here is my question.
Can I get the latest version of Linux (or Ubuntu or whatever is the latest), onto a memory stick, so that i could plug it into any PC and run it, as well as keep all the files i make with it etc?
How big would my memory stick need to be? And do i need to plug it in before startup, can i run straight from it?
I understand there is a version of Linux for the memory stick, but is it as good? Please advise me!
I've never tried running ubuntu from memory stick. As far as I know, in such a situation, you would run it from a "live" CD and save any files, or downloads, to a usb pen drive.
Leads you to the specific page for Mint. Mint is based on the latest Ubuntu version, with some additions that make it (IMO) even better. I use it on my main system, and on our computer club laptop (triple booted with WinXP and Win7 to cater for most questions!).
Puppy Linux, which is particularly good for older, slower systems) has a USB stick creation utility built-in on the Live CD.
Live CDs are probably the best first way to "give it a try", as you can try out as many systems as you like, without any changes to your system.
Bear in mind that CD based versions are quite slow, and memory-stick based versions faster, but both slower than a hard-drive installation.
There are a number of basic issues you need to understand. Forgive me if I'm preaching to the converted, but I have no way of knowing how much you know and therefore, it's best to start from the beginning.
Linux is the registered trademark of Linus Torvalds, click here a Finnish software genius.
Over time, thousands of other developers have taken his idea (legally through the licensing Linus chose) and added to the basic kernel (the heart of a computer) thereby producing a complete operating system.
Why go into this?
Because this is where a lot of confusion arises. Linux is now a generic name for any system that uses Linux as its kernel.
By far, the best known is Ubuntu, but in my humble opinion, it's not necessarily the best option for a new Linux user. These combinations of software are known as "Distributions" - normally shortened to distros.
Some of the more popular are; RedHat, SuSE, Debian, and Mandriva, though there are several hundred more, some of which are very specialised in their applications.
Of the mainstream distros, they can be divided into two camps; those that use a rpm package manager (RedHat, SuSE and Mandriva) and those that use Debian Package Management (Debian, Ubuntu, Linux Mint etc.).
That's the basics out of the way!
Personally, I've tried both, but have come down firmly on the side of the Debian Package Management systems (dpkg). You could say it my bias, but ultimately, I've had far less problems with dpkg than rpm.
So, with that in mind, I look for distros that use that package system as a starting point. When converting the poor Windows users to Linux, I also look for a distro that will have the smallest learning curve (although inevitably, there will be one) and that brings me to Linux Mint.
Linux Mint claims to have based itself on Ubuntu, which in turn is based on Debian. The big advantage it has, is the developers have produced a very nice menu system, that Windows users should feel right at home with. As with Ubuntu, it now recognises almost everything. For example, I've just plugged in my Fujifilm camera and it recognised it instantly. No messing around loading drivers or anything else!
All major distros offer you a "live CD" and this is the most common way of trying out a Linux distro. You simply put the CD in your computer and boot from it. It's slower than installing the system, but it does offer the chance to "try before you buy" - of course, you don't need to buy anything, it's all free!
Some distros do offer USB bootable distros, but rather than me listing them here, it would be far better for you to see what you like and then determine whether you can boot from a USB stick with that particular distro.
However, you can run Linux Mint from a USB stick, so click here for a tutorial on how to do it.
Hope that helps.
To see all the Distro's click here which will lead you to the main pages of the Distributtions.
One interesting way is to load Ubuntu or Mint using click here which loads it within a Windows partition so you don't even need to bother with Partitiong. Use either Mint 7 to try this - if you don't like it then simply use the Add/Delete Proograms in the Windows Control Panel.
Linux is different but once you get used to it it isn't difficult.
Also look at PCLinux OS.
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