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How to Start Using the Linux Operating System?

Linux is one of the most popular operating systems in the world, particularly favored by developers, system administrators, and tech enthusiasts. It’s free, open-source, and incredibly versatile. However, for many people, beginning to use Linux might seem daunting. This article will discuss the fundamentals of using the Linux operating system, which should help newcomers understand how to get started.

Choosing a Linux Distribution

The first step to using Linux is choosing the right distribution. Linux distributions, also known as “distros,” are different versions of Linux that are tailored to different types of users. Some popular distributions include Ubuntu, Fedora, Debian, CentOS, and Arch Linux.

Ubuntu is often recommended for beginners, as it’s user-friendly, well-supported, and has an intuitive user interface. Fedora and CentOS are popular among IT professionals due to their stability and security. Debian is valued for its reliability, while Arch Linux is appreciated for its flexibility and minimalism.

Installing Linux

After choosing a distribution, the next step is installation. Most Linux distributions offer ISO images that you can download and burn onto a USB stick or DVD. From this bootable media, you can then install the system onto your computer.

First, you need to download the ISO image from the distribution’s official website. Then, you use a tool for creating bootable USB drives, such as Rufus or Etcher, to burn the ISO image onto the drive. After burning the image, you have to reboot your computer and boot from your USB stick or DVD. This will start the installation process, which varies slightly depending on the distribution. In most cases, however, it’s an intuitive process that involves choosing a language, setting the time zone, partitioning the disk, and setting a user password.

Getting Started with Linux

After installing Linux, the first thing you’ll notice is the graphical environment. Most Linux distributions offer several different graphical environments to choose from, but the default is often GNOME or KDE. These graphical environments have their own user interfaces that are similar to those found in Windows or macOS. You can easily browse files, launch applications, and manage system settings using icons and menus.

In Linux, the vast majority of operations can also be performed using the terminal. The terminal is a tool for entering text commands that allow you to perform various tasks, such as installing software, managing services, or manipulating files. Beginners might be surprised by the number of commands available in the terminal, but most of them become intuitive and easy to use over time.

Updating the System

One of the first steps after installing Linux is to update the system. These updates include both security fixes and new features. In most Linux distributions, you can update the system using the terminal. For Debian-based distributions, such as Ubuntu, you simply enter the following commands:

sudo apt update
sudo apt upgrade

For Red Hat-based distributions, like Fedora or CentOS, you use the dnf command:

sudo apt update
sudo apt upgrade

Installing Software

Installing software in Linux is different from what you might be used to in Windows or macOS. Instead of downloading installers from websites, most Linux distributions use package managers. These managers allow you to easily search, install, and update software. Sample commands for installing software in different distributions include:

  • Ubuntu/Debian: sudo apt install package_name
  • Fedora/CentOS: sudo dnf install package_name
  • Arch Linux: sudo pacman -S package_name

Customizing the System

One of the highlights of Linux is its flexibility and ability to be customized to your needs. You can change the look and behavior of the system, install various graphical environments, and adjust system settings.

To customize the system to your preferences, it’s worth looking for the right tools in your package manager or on the websites of individual distributions. Examples of such tools include GNOME Tweaks for the GNOME environment or KDE System Settings for the KDE environment.


Linux is a powerful and flexible operating system that offers remarkable customization possibilities and a variety of distributions tailored to different user needs and skills. Although the beginnings with Linux might seem a bit complicated, over time it proves to be a user-friendly system that provides a lot of satisfaction. I hope this article has helped you understand how to start using the Linux operating system.

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Last modified: 2023-05-17