Get started with Linux
March 18, 1999
by Dan Berkes
(IDG) -- Are you looking for a fast, reliable, inexpensive operating system that can serve multiple users, act as an Internet server, and support a slick graphical interface? You're looking for Linux.
Every day thousands of new users discover the power of this open source operating system, which has its origins in UNIX. What makes them curious in the first place?
First, there's a strange rumor circulating that Linux never crashes. That's a bit of an exaggeration, but it's almost the truth: It's very hard to crash a Linux system. Some installations have been known to run for years without a reboot.
Linux also runs on older machines that can't handle Windows 95 or 98; it will run beautifully on that old 486 gathering dust in the closet.
And of course, some folks are interested in Linux just because they don't want Bill Gates's vision of personal computing ruling their lives.
There's much to like about Linux, but getting started with this OS can be intimidating. To begin with, there isn't just one Linux supplier: Since Linux is freely distributable, several different companies market their own "distributions" of Linux. Each has its pros and cons, and the distributions differ mainly in the software packages that accompany the core of the operating system, as well as in installation procedures. Some major Linux distributions include those offered by Red Hat Software, Caldera, Slackware, S.U.S.E., and Debian.
Fortunately, installing Linux isn't as terrifying as it once was. In this article, I'll show you a way to install one of the many Linux distributions.
I am well aware that there are nearly as many ways to install Linux "properly" as there are Linux users; all I aim to demonstrate here is one way of doing it, so you can get up and running with Linux and see what all the fuss is about.
The instructions here are for Red Hat Linux 5.2. I assume you're already running Windows 95 or 98. I chose the Red Hat distribution because of its relatively simple installation routine and its ever-growing popularity in the tech industry.
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