How to Get Started With Linux

Linux is a powerful and versatile operating system that offers many benefits and advantages over other operating systems like Windows and macOS. While Linux can seem daunting to those who are unfamiliar with it, with a little bit of knowledge and practice, it can be a powerful tool for both personal and professional use. In this guide, we’ll take a look at some of the basics of using Linux, including how to install it, how to navigate the file system, and how to install and manage software.

Getting started with Linux

The first step to using Linux is to install it on your computer. There are many different Linux distributions available, each with their own unique features and benefits. Some popular distributions include Ubuntu, Fedora, and Linux Mint. Before you choose a distribution, it’s important to do some research and determine which one is right for you based on your needs and level of experience.

Once you have chosen a distribution, you can download the ISO file and create a bootable USB drive using a tool like Rufus. Once you have your bootable USB drive, you can boot your computer from it and follow the installation process. The installation process for Linux is generally straightforward and similar to that of other operating systems.

For more info, SEE: How to Switch from Windows to Linux

Navigating the Linux file system

One of the first things you’ll notice when using Linux is that the file system is organized differently than that of other operating systems. On Linux, everything is treated as a file, including devices and system processes. The file system is organized into a hierarchical structure, with the root directory (/) at the top.

To navigate the file system on Linux, you’ll use the command line interface. The command line allows you to interact directly with the operating system and execute commands to perform various tasks. Some basic commands that you’ll use frequently include:

  • cd: Change directory
  • ls: List directory contents
  • mkdir: Make directory
  • rm: Remove file
  • cp: Copy file
  • mv: Move or rename file

For example, if you want to change to the Documents directory, you would type cd ~/Documents. If you want to list the contents of the current directory, you would type ls.

Installing and managing software

Linux provides access to a vast library of open-source software for users to install and use for free. Here are some additional points that can help you understand how to install software on Linux:

  • Each Linux distribution has its own package manager that is used to install, update, and manage software packages. The package manager automatically handles dependencies and keeps the system up-to-date. Popular package managers include apt, yum, pacman, and others.
  • When installing software using a package manager, you need to have administrative privileges. On Linux, the superuser is the user account that has the highest level of administrative access. The sudo command is used to execute a command as the superuser.
  • While most Linux distributions have their own package manager, there are some that do not. In such cases, users need to download software packages from the internet and install them manually. This process can be more complicated, as it may involve resolving dependencies and ensuring that the software is compatible with your system.
  • Before installing software, it’s essential to make sure that it comes from a trusted source. Linux has a strong focus on security, and downloading software from untrusted sources can pose a security risk.
  • While the command line interface is the most common way to install software on Linux, there are also GUI-based software centers available on some distributions. These software centers provide a more user-friendly interface for browsing and installing software. Some popular software centers include Ubuntu Software Center, GNOME Software, and KDE Discover.
  • Some software packages may not be available in the official repositories of your Linux distribution. In such cases, you may need to add third-party repositories to your package manager to access the software. However, it’s essential to exercise caution when adding third-party repositories, as they can pose a security risk if they contain malicious software.

In summary, installing software on Linux can be a bit different than in other operating systems, but with the right knowledge, it can be a straightforward process. Linux provides a vast library of open-source software, and most distributions have their own package manager that handles installation and updates. By using trusted sources and following proper security practices, users can enjoy the benefits of free and open-source software on Linux.

Customizing your Linux desktop

One of the great things about Linux is that it is highly customizable, allowing you to configure your system to suit your individual needs and preferences. One of the most popular ways to customize your Linux desktop is by using a different desktop environment. There are many different desktop environments available for Linux, each with its own unique look and feel.

Some popular desktop environments include GNOME, KDE, and Xfce. To switch to a different desktop environment, you’ll need to install it and then log out and log back in. Once you’re logged in, you’ll be able to customize various aspects of the desktop environment, including the wallpaper, theme, icons, and more.

Another way to customize your Linux desktop is by using extensions. Extensions are small programs that add functionality to your desktop environment. For example, you can install an extension that adds weather information to your taskbar or an extension that allows you to quickly switch between windows.

To install extensions, you’ll need to use your distribution’s package manager or download them manually from the internet. Once you’ve installed an extension, you can enable it from your desktop environment’s settings menu.

Managing your system

Keeping your Linux system up-to-date and secure is essential to ensure that it is running smoothly and free from vulnerabilities. Here are some further details on the different aspects of maintaining a Linux system:

  • Updating your system: Most Linux distributions release regular updates that include security patches, bug fixes, and new features. To ensure that your system is up-to-date, you can use your distribution’s package manager to install updates. Depending on your distribution, you may need to run a command like ‘sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade’ or ‘sudo yum update’. Some distributions also have graphical tools for managing updates.
  • Backing up your data: Regularly backing up your data is important to protect against data loss due to hardware failures, system crashes, or other issues. There are many backup tools available for Linux, ranging from command-line tools like rsync to graphical tools like Deja Dup. Some distributions may include backup tools built-in, or you can install them from your package manager.
  • Monitoring system resources: It’s important to keep an eye on your system resources to ensure that your system is running smoothly and to identify any performance issues. You can use tools like htop or top to monitor CPU and memory usage, and tools like iotop to monitor disk I/O. Graphical system monitors like GNOME System Monitor or KDE System Monitor can provide a visual overview of system resources.
  • Managing system logs: System logs are an important source of information for troubleshooting issues and identifying security problems. Linux distributions typically have a centralized log system, such as systemd-journald, that collects logs from different services and components. You can use tools like journalctl or syslog-ng to view and manage system logs. It’s a good practice to regularly review system logs to identify any errors, warnings, or unusual activity.


Using Linux can seem intimidating at first, but with a little bit of knowledge and practice, it can be a powerful tool for both personal and professional use. In this blog, we’ve covered some of the basics of using Linux, including how to install it, navigate the file system, install and manage software, customize your desktop, and manage your system. By following these tips and continuing to learn and explore the world of Linux, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a proficient Linux user.

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