Ubuntu Linux: the Wal-Mart(TM) Frontier. These are the voyages of the Spacecar Grosvenor. Its continuing mission: to allocate new structs & new classes, unite all people within its nation, and leak where memory has never leaked before. Of the numerous Linux installations ("distributions"), I've used Ubuntu Linux (published by Canonical Inc.) most. It contains the Linux kernel, the GNU core utilities, and several other items of interest such as an automagically-configured graphical user interface. It is extraordinarily user-friendly, to the point of feeling constrictive. (The desktop environment has changed since version 11: users now cannot reconfigure the taskbar or workspaces. The repository wants to be a dime-store, too, and although a potentially lucrative storefront I miss the simplicity of Synaptic.) Its installation procedure is simple: download a Live CD image from Canonical's Web site, burn it to a CD-R or RW (these days, you might even need a DVD), and reboot your machine with the disk inserted. (Don't forget to tell the BIOS -- er whatchamacallit, the Extended Firmware Interface -- to boot from CD.) You'll be presented with an operable temporary login. Thence you can install the OS. Also available from this interface was an option to create a USB startup disk, but it has been removed in recent revisions of Ubuntu: previously, using VirtualBox or any similar virtual machine, the user could run the LiveCD & make a startup USB without even rebooting out of their present operating environment, which was useful on old machines whose optical drives had failed. You can still "Install" to the USB key, but it boots slowly & you can't install it from there to a box. The installation wizard is a no brainer: "install alongside Windows." Easy! And it usually doesn't cause your existing Windows system to go up in smoke, either. However, to install Ubuntu more than once per box, you must repartition manually (and may also need to change grub: see /boot/grub and /etc/grub.d). Gparted is included within the live disc images, but must be retrieved again after install. If you'd like to make intimate friends with the manual pages, and discover where primary partitions go when they die, you can install with less assistance. This lets you specify partitions in which to mount your home & system directories, in case you'd like to keep them segregated. (That's probably a great idea, but I never do.) You can also create and specify swap partitions: which are employed as virtual memory and, I suspect, for hibernation and hybrid suspension. About file systems: I typically use FAT32, NTFS, ext4, and ext2. (Total newbie.) FAT32 is elderly and fragile. It's used for boot/EFI partitions, 3DS & 3GPs. NTFS is Microsoft's modern FS. Withstands some crashes, but has no fsck module. ext2 & ext4 are Linux's. ext4 journals. ext2 permits file undeletion (PhotoRec). The extended 4 system is harder to kill than a cockroach on steroids, so I tend to prefer it anywhere near the heart of my archives. I use ext2 | NTFS for USBs. Be very careful not to destroy your existing data when repartitioning the drive. Any such operation carries some risk; back up anything important beforehand. One way to backup is to prepare an empty HDD (or any medium of equal / greater size) and dump the complete contents of the populated disk into the empty one: dd if=/dev/sda of=/dev/sdb status=progress (Where sda is the populated disk, and sdb the empty backup disk.) Similar can be accomplished by dd'ing one of your partitions (/dev/sda1) into a disk or a file, then dd'ing the image back onto a partition of equal size. Disk image flashing is a simple and popular backup method for local machines, sparing you the time to learn rsync (which is more useful in long term remote backups). Far from being an annoying elder sister, dd is the Linux troll's best friend. Beware the dreaded "write a new boot/system partition" prompt. It bricked me. The problem was because I had set the system to "Legacy Support" boot mode, but the original (now unrecognized) installation was in Extended Firmware Interface mode. I was unable to recover until I had re-flashed several partitions. The usual "new car smell" applies: you'll want to configure whatever settings haven't yet been forbidden to you by your GUI-toting overlords. In Ubuntu 16, access them by clicking the gear and wrench icon on the launcher panel. You can also search for something you're missing by using the Dash (Super, or Windows, key pulls it up: then type), which functions similarly to the apropos command: e.g., instead of Ctrl + Alt + T and then "man -k image", Super key then "image". It will also search your files (and, after plugins, several social media sites). Although the newfangled Dash is convenient, don't forget your terminal emulator: you can easily spend the vast majority of your working time using bash by way of gnome-terminal, without ever clicking your treasured Microsoft IntelliMouse 1.1. In Ubuntu 16, as it has been since Ubuntu 11, Ctrl + Alt + T opens the terminal. Under the directory /usr/share/man/, you will find the on line (interactive) manual. This describes the tools available to you. Begin reading it by opening a terminal window (using Control + Alt + T, or the Super / Windows key and then typing "terminal"), keying the command 'man name_of_manual_page', and pressing the Enter key. In this case, the name of the manual page is the page's archive's filename before the .[0-9].gz extension. Of particular interest: telinit, dd, printf, cat, less, sed, tee, gvfs-trash, mawk, grep, bash (if you're using the Bourne Again Shell, which is default on Ubuntu 16), cp, rm, mv, make, sudo, chroot, chown, chmod, chgrp, touch, gunzip, gzip, zip, unzip, python, g++, apt-get (especially `apt-get source ...`), mount, kpartx, date, diff, charmap (same name on Windows!), basename, zipinfo, md5sum, pdftotext, gnome-terminal (which is _how_ you're using bash), fortune, ffmpeg, aview, dblatex, find, cut, uniq, wc, caesar, rot13, curl, wget, sort, vim, man, tr, du, nautilus, tac, column, head, tail, stat, ls, pwd, pushd, popd, gedit, source-highlight, libreoffice (a Microsoft Office killer), base64, flex, bison, regex, perl, firefox, opera, chromium-browser, konqueror, lynx, virtualbox, apropos, od, hexdump, bless, more, pg, pr, echo, rmdir, mkdir, fsck, fdisk (same name, but different function, in Windows), ln, gdm, gnome-session, dhelp, baobab, gparted, kill, locate, ps, photorec, testdisk, update-grub... (If you haven't some of the above, don't worry. You should already have all you need. Keep in mind that the Ubuntu repository's software is divided in sections some of which contain potentially harmful or non-free software. When venturing beyond the fortified walls of <main>, be cautious: you may be eaten by a grue.) Beneath /usr/share/doc/ or /usr/share/help/ are sometimes additional manuals. If you use Linux, you will have to memorize several manuals, and name many more; especially those of the GNU core utilities, which are a great aid to computing. There's also a software repository to assist you with various computing tasks: To acquire additional software: gnome-software (the orange shopping bag to your left, above the Amazon.com icon), the friendly storefront, will assist you. If you prefer a compact heads-up-display, try the Synaptic Package Manager instead. `apt-get install package-name` works well if you know what you're looking for, as does apt-get source package-name for the ponderously masculine. And, speaking of ponderous masculinity, if you retrieve source code for any of Ubuntu's mainline packages, typically all you need to do is 'cd' into the folder containing the top level of the source tree and then invoke the following: 1. ./configure.sh (You shouldn't need to chmod u+x ./configure.sh to accomplish this.) 2. make (You may need to install additional packages or correct minor errors.) 3. sudo make install This can be abbreviated: ./configure.sh && make && sudo make install Beware that sudo is a potentially dangerous operation. Avoid it if unsure. The && operator, in bash, will only execute the next command if the past command exited with a successful status code (i.e., zero). But I digress. You'll occasionally want to mount your other partitions on Linux's file system, so that you can browse the files you've stored there. With external drives this is as simple as connecting them (watch the output of `tail -f /var/log/*` in a console window to observe the log messages about the procedure), but partitions on fixed disks (or others, 'cause reasons) may not be mounted automagically. So: mount -t fs_type -o option,option,... /dev/sd?? path/to/mount/point/ where the mount point is a directory somewhere in your file system. BTW, mounts that occurred automatically will be on points beneath /media/your_username/. On a dual boot Windows system, I mount -t ntfs -o ro /dev/sda3 ~/Desktop/wintmp often because the NTFS partition is in an unsafe state and won't mount writable. In that case, rebooting to Windows and running chkdsk /f C: from Command Prompt with Administrative privileges will sometimes clear the dirty flag if performed multiple times. (How many times before ntfs-3g mounts writable, seems to vary.) When you've attached external media, via USB etc, safely remove them after use: use the "Safely Remove" menu option in the right-click context menu in Nautilus' sidebar (be careful not to accidentally format the disk). You can also, from a shell (gnome-terminal), `sync && umount /dev/sdb*` (if sdb is the medium). Now that you've got a firm foothold in Ubuntu territory, I hope you can see your house from here 'cause Windows seems to be dying a miserable death of attrition. Don't count it out, though: all the Linuxes are terrible at Flight Simulator.