Jul 9

Windows 7 and Linux Mint

Those of you who are following this series of posts where I set up a Lenovo laptop to run Linux will remember that two weeks ago I created an image of my base Windows 7 installation. I’m now at the stage of dual booting the Windows 7 installation with a Linux distro.

Which Linux distro?

One of the first challenges with switching to Linux is the vast choice of Linux distributions (or distros) available. However, for those new to Linux, Ubuntu or Linux Mint are generally highly recommended. But the choice doesn’t end there. Having settled on a distro, you now have to choose a desktop environment, or desktop for short. A desktop is just a set of programs running on a particular operating system and which share a common graphical user interface. Choosing a particular desktop isn’t critical as you can change that later without having to reinstall Linux.

So I settled on the Linux Mint 17 distro with the KDE desktop environment. Why Mint? Well I have a netbook still happily running Ubuntu and I wanted to give Linux Mint a spin. I had read a number of good reviews of Mint 17 KDE and I had already installed KDE’s Dolphin browser in Ubuntu and liked it. Having said that, I’ve just listened to a review of Mint 17 KDE on the latest Mintcast podcast and they weren’t exactly blown away by it. I think I could sum up their review up as: if you like KDE then Mint 17 KDE  is worth checking out.

If you’re undecided about which distro or which desktop environment, or even whether your choice will run on your hardware and what it will look like, you can evaluate them all by downloading the isos, burning them to DVDs or your USB stick and running them from there as what’s called a live CD.

Downloading Mint

This is really straightforward. You just head over to the Mint website and download the iso file you want, then burn it to a DVD or to a USB drive. Here are the current choices for Mint:

Linux Mint versions

I chose Linux Mint KDE 64-bit, downloaded the iso which took about 40 minutes and  burned it to a DVD using my favourite free burner ImgBurn. I then ran the DVD as a live version first. This just means booting up Linux Mint from the DVD or USB drive without installing it first. Everything went fine – it even found my Netgear router straightaway, unlike my earlier Windows 7 reinstall which needed Lenovo utilities to be reinstalled before it would find the router and connect.

Tip: Running a live version is a great way to check out the look of a desktop environment, and whether the distro will run on your hardware and recognise your peripherals like your router, all without installing anything on your hard drive.

Partitioning the hard drive and dual booting

As this was my first time to try dual booting, I did a bit of research online to see what sort of problems people run into. A few places mentioned going into the BIOS first when Windows is booting and making sure that UEFI Secure Boot is turned off and that the UEFI/Legacy Boot Priority is set to Legacy First. I also installed the free version of the utility EasyBCD in Windows as this is required later to add an entry for Linux Mint 17 in Windows 7′s boot menu. It’s all explained in the walk-through mentioned in the next paragraph.

I won’t go into the whole partitioning and dual boot procedure because it will just duplicate what you can already find online. I found a great walk-through for dual booting Windows 7 and Linux Mint 11 at Linuxbs. Although I’m installing Mint 17, the procedure is virtually the same. The only place I found it differed was in Allocate Drive Space. The option to choose here is Manual as the other options are to use the entire disk, which I didn’t want to do as I wanted to retain Windows 7 on a partition.

Tip: I found that dual booting article so helpful that I’ve clipped it to Evernote so if I ever have to refer back to it again for any reason, and the page has been taken down or the website has gone, I have a copy!

You’ll note in that walk-through there are two ways to dual boot. 1. Install GRUB 2, the Linux Mint boot loader, in the Master Boot Record (MBR) of the disk, or 2. Install Windows 7′s boot loader in the MBR. I chose the second option and that’s the option chosen in that walk-through. When choosing partition size for my 500 GB laptop hard drive, I pretty much gave half to Windows 7 and half to Mint 17.

I found the whole partitioning and dual booting procedure went flawlessly and I can now dual boot into either Windows 7 or Linux Mint 17 KDE. The next post in this series will look at getting up and running with Mint.

Have you tried dual booting Windows and Linux? Any problems? Which distro and desktop did you choose? And what are you running now?

May 13
Buying a Laptop to Run Linux
icon1 techandlife | icon2 Linux | icon4 May 13, 2014| icon35 Comments »


Deciding on a computer hardware upgrade path can be difficult. Laptop, desktop or tablet? Windows, Linux or Android? I have a desktop PC running Windows 7 but I need a second system partly to investigate whether I can go forward with Linux and partly as a backup for my desktop PC should it go belly up. I finally decided to get a laptop which would run Linux and upgrade my desktop system by adding a SSD running Windows 7 64 bit. But my first priority is buying a laptop where I can install and try out different Linux distros.

Anyone wanting to ditch Windows or Mac and buy a new laptop with Linux installed may find it’s just not as easy as it should be. At least that’s what I’ve discovered in the UK. Perhaps it’s different where you live – if so, let me know. You can’t just walk into a PC retailer and see a selection of laptops with different flavours of Linux installed. Why? Well, as you’ve probably noticed, laptops generally come with either Windows or OS X installed and that’s it, making it pretty hard to start out with Linux. Yes, I know you can take your old underpowered PC or laptop, wipe it or even dual boot with Linux, but what about those wanting to start out with a new laptop running Linux.

So what’s available? Well in the UK, Ebuyer do currently  stock a Hewlett-Packard HP 255 G1 laptop with Ubuntu, or you could go to Cyberpower and order a custom built PC or laptop without an OS and install Linux yourself. But have a look on Amazon (UK) and you’ll pretty much draw a blank if you search for new laptops with Linux installed. And a search suggested that the HP 255 G1 running Ubuntu may not run Linux Mint, the distribution I wanted to try out. I’ll also need to be able to run Wine so I can still access some Windows programs. So as you can see, it’s pretty difficult to make a start with Linux on a new laptop.

What next? Well I thought I’d enlist the help of Reddit and I asked my question on the Linux Mint subreddit and got some great advice. Mostly, they pointed me in the direction of laptops running Windows 7 (not Windows 8 because installing Linux on machines with SecureBoot can be a problem). Factory shipped Linux laptops are generally not cheaper than their Windows counterparts. Three commenters suggested I get a Lenovo ThinkPad business laptop. I was advised to look for a machine with integrated Intel graphics and wifi as they’ll work out of the box with Linux.

But is there anywhere else I can look to clarify which Lenovo ThinkPad laptops will run Linux? Well a search for lenovo thinkpad AND Linux turned up a number of sites listing Linux compatibility with ThinkPads. One of the most useful was LinLap, the Linux Laptop Wiki. So I’m going for a Lenovo ThinkPad Edge 530 with Windows 7 Professional 64 bit installed. This model has an Intel HD Graphics 3000 card and an Intel Centrino Wireless-N 2230 wifi card so I should be able to run Linux Mint. I’ll probably start out by dual booting Windows 7 with Linux Mint.

But why does it all have to be this difficult? I have over 20 years’ experience with PCs and I found it difficult to choose a compatible laptop. Even now I’m not absolutely certain it will run Mint flawlessly. Not just that but having to start off with Windows 7 preinstalled isn’t exactly the way to sell Linux to new users is it. Very disappointing in my opinion. It’s high time that consumers had better, reasonably priced hardware choices with Linux preinstalled and no compatibility issues. What are your thoughts on this?

Apr 25

Are you fed up forking out for a commercial OS, OS updates, and office software? Well, in this series of posts, I’m considering whether I can move away from Windows 7 in the future. So far, things look promising, especially with the explosion of the Android platform and with viable Linux desktop options. As I’ve discussed before,  one thing holding me back is that I need to be able to edit MS Word documents for clients – you may be in the same boat. In an earlier part in this series, I looked at open source software OpenOffice and LibreOffice from one aspect –  editing documents with tracked changes. I ran a test on these two packages to see whether I could:

  1. Open a MS Word doc file with tracked changes in the file and with tracked changes turned on
  2. Edit it adding further tracked changes and comments in OpenOffice or LibreOffice
  3. Save it in MS Word doc format
  4. Open it in MS Word to see if all the tracked changes and comments had been preserved through the process.

In that first test, OpenOffice was just slightly better as LibreOffice introduced some minor formatting errors, but both did a pretty good job.

So what about other free options online for editing MS Word documents? Well as you may know, there have been some developments from Google Drive recently with add-ons to allow, among other things, tracked changes in Google Docs.  Microsoft have also renamed its Microsoft Web Apps to Office Online so I wanted to check that out as well. As I go, I’ll try and walk you through using Google Drive and Office Online. I hadn’t used either before so if you have some comments or tips or if you feel I missed something important, please drop a comment at the bottom and I’ll update the post.  On the other hand, if you want to skip the detail, you’ll find a short summary of my results at the bottom of the post. For fairness, I’ll be using the same starting Word doc file that I used to evaluate tracked changes in OpenOffice and LibreOffice.

Google Drive

If you don’t mind relying even more heavily on Google and allowing them access to more of your data, then this may be an option for editing Word doc files with tracked changes. Obviously, you’ll need a (free) Google account to access Google Drive. Once you upload a MS Word doc file from your PC to Google Drive you can view it, but to open/edit it, you must open it with Google Docs. Right click on the MS Word doc file you want to open and chose open with Google Docs.

Google Drive1

Now, if you want to track changes made to the Google Docs file, you first have to install the Track Changes Add-on. Navigate to Add-ons and select Get add-ons. Then look for the Track Changes add-on and install it.

Google Drive2


The first thing I noticed was that some tracked changes that I had already made previously in MS Word didn’t come across into the Google Doc file. For example, deleted and inserted text were not highlighted as tracked changes as they were in LibreOffice and OpenOffice. Comments made in Word did come across but the commenter name was shown as ‘null’ and the comment insertion point was missing. Again, LibreOffice and OpenOffice did this perfectly, so that’s not a good start.

I then made the same tracked changes in the Google Doc file as I had made in the LibreOffice and OpenOffice files. On the Track Changes menu, I had to click Highlight my new changes before I started. When I deleted words in the Google Docs file they only showed in the separate track changes window not in the main document. However, tracked insertions did show up with a purple background in the main editing window. I later discovered that I could actually see the revision history including the comments made in Google docs and all tracked insertions and deletions. You get there by clicking File, See revision history.

Google Drive3

Another minor failing for me was that tracked changes were labelled with my Google username. No chance of selecting another user or commenter name as you can in MS Word, OpenOffice and LibreOffice, so this may be a disadvantage for a freelance worker who may want to use a trading or business name for comments and changes.

I also discovered I should have renamed the file before I started because all changes were automatically added to the original Google Docs file, not what I’m used to in MS Word. I then downloaded the file to my PC. To do this go to File, Download as, Microsoft Word (.docx).

When I opened the file in MS Word and showed Markup, this is what I saw:

Google Drive4

The original tracked changes in Word had disappeared in the journey to Google Docs and back, and the tracked text deleted and comment added in Google Docs had also disappeared. All I had was the tracked inserted text shown with the purple background and the original comments in Word but now with the commenter name replaced by ‘null’. So, all in all, a much poorer result than with OpenOffice or LibreOffice.

Office Online

Office Online is free to use at the moment. The only proviso is that you must have a (free) Microsoft OneDrive (formerly SkyDrive) online account as you have to access and edit your MS Word doc files from there. So I uploaded my original Word file with some tracked changes already made in Word, and tracked changes were turned on. Then, click on the file and it opens in the Word Online viewer. Now, to edit the file, click on Edit Document, Edit in Word Online

Word Online1

I found that the tracked inserted and deleted text in the original file were not highlighted in Word Online, and comment insertion points were not highlighted, although this time Word Online had got the commenter name right from the original file. Track Changes was still marked as ON at the bottom of the editing window. I didn’t see any way to turn tracked changes off and on from within Word Online.

There is a review section on the menu, but this only allows Comments to be inserted. So I made my standard editing changes as before. The username for comments was Guest. That could probably be changed if I knew how. Again, as I found with Google Docs, all the changes had already been made to the original file, but the original file was saved in the version history. That’s something I’ll have to get used to. Save the file with a new name before you start editing it online. So I downloaded the edited file from Word Online and found that all the changes made in Word Online had been tracked even though I couldn’t see the tracked changes when editing online!

Word-Word Online-Word

So, apart from the Guest username in the comments, all the tracked changes made in the original Word file and then in the Word Online editing had been faithfully carried back through to the file when reopened in MS Word on my PC.


I’ve looked at two free online alternatives for editing MS Word documents with tracked changes – Google Drive and Word Online. Perhaps not surprisingly, Google Drive didn’t perform as well as Word Online in my test. I found that, with Word Online, I could open a simple Word doc file with tracked changes and with tracked changes turned on, edit it in Word Online, and download it to my PC and still see all the tracked changes from the original Word file and from the editing in Word Online. The only downsides were that I couldn’t see how to set the username in Word Online, there seemed to be no option to turn tracked changes on or off in Word Online, and I couldn’t view the tracked changes in Word Online (but they were there!).

But for me, from every free option I’ve looked at so far, I’d put Word Online slightly behind OpenOffice from the point of view of editing a MS Word document with tracked changes. I have no doubt that a more complex Word file would have caused some formatting problems but it looks like free alternatives, online and offline, may be able to give MS Word a good run for its money for many of us who perhaps don’t need tracked changes. Have a look at Office Online and see what you think.

Next time in this series, I’ll have a look at editing MS Word documents (for free) on an Android tablet or smartphone and see how that compares to my frontrunners so far.

Aug 21

In this series of posts, I’m discussing whether I can move completely from Windows to Linux. In the last post in the series, I discussed why I’m sticking with Windows 7 for the moment rather than moving to Windows 8. It’s time now to look at some open source word processors and whether they can take the place of MS Word if I move completely to Linux. I’m sure many Linux users would say this is no problem but unfortunately it’s just not as simple as that for many of us.

I’m a freelance editor and spend a lot of time correcting the language of research papers for authors and publishers. The plain fact is that Microsoft Word has been around for a very long time (1983 to be precise) and is the established word processor. Kids, including my own, learn MS Office at school and go on to use it in business, academia and at home.  Although Google Drive is becoming more popular with some authors and publishers,  MS Word is the well entrenched standard in the publishing industry. Most publishers insist that documents are submitted in Word doc format (many publishers still can’t/won’t handle docx format). We have a situation now where authors worldwide have to fork out for a commercial product, or pirate it, because it’s the publishing standard. Many of these authors just can’t afford MS Office with its costly upgrades. And because they have to stick with MS Word and need a platform to use it, that makes it more difficult for them to move to a Linux OS. Or does it? There are several options to work with Word documents in Linux. The first would be to use open source, free software such as OpenOffice Writer or LibreOffice Writer to write or edit the article then save the file in Word doc format to send the document off to the publishers. But there may well be compatibility issues in the process. The second option would be to run MS Word in Wine on the Linux OS. I’ll look at OpenOffice and LibreOffice in this post and at Wine in a later post.

Read the rest of this entry »

Nov 21

fork in road

I’m approaching a fork in computing and I guess I’m not alone on this one. The choice to stay with Windows OS or fork over to Linux is one which I’ve thought about for several years now. It’s a two-pronged fork as I just can’t afford to consider the Mac option. I’m currently using Windows 7 on my main desktop PC and I have XP and Ubuntu on old desktops and Ubuntu on my netbook. Believe me, it’s not a straightforward choice and I’m not a fanboy of either and would have no problem forking either way if all my conditions were met.

I thought I’d write a series of posts now and again over the next couple of years documenting approaching the fork and making this decision. I probably don’t have to make a firm decision for a couple of years as you’ll see in the upcoming posts.

I’ve used Microsoft operating systems since 1988, both MS-DOS and Windows and I’m familiar with Windows and all its intricacies. I’ve worked out a maintenance routine, a backup routine and I’ve built up a nice suite of free and low cost programs to do just about all I need to do in Windows thanks to blogs like MakeUseOf. A major factor in sticking with Windows is that my work as a freelancer needs Windows doc files returned to clients with tracked changes.

On the other hand, I’ve used Ubuntu for about 4 years now on my Acer Aspire netbook. It’s free and I like it and reinstalls and upgrades are much more straightforward than in Windows. Linux Mint 14 has just been released and I’d like to try that next. I also want to look at Wine and CrossOver on a LInux machine to see if they will help me access programs I need from the Window’s world. I’m not a gamer so Windows doesn’t have a hold on me from that point of view.

For those of you that would say go for it, just change to Linux, it’s not that simple. I’m quite happy with Windows 7 and will stick with it for another year or two. It’s what’s happening further down the line that has me examining my options. So please follow me over the coming months as I try to work out what’s after Windows 7 and which fork I’ll take. The next post, Part 2 of this series, will look at my decision to stick with Windows 7 in the short term rather than move to Windows 8.

Nov 15

Ubuntu and Windows

Image credit: cellanr

I run a Windows 7 PC, an Ubuntu desktop PC and an Acer netbook with Ubuntu Netbook Edition 10.10. It’s important to keep my data and services synchronised between them so each machine is up to date with the latest files and cloud services, and so I thought I’d run through the software and services which I currently use:

Google Chrome

This is my browser of choice. You can use Chrome to keep your tabs, bookmarks and extensions synchronised. I’m using Chromium (the open source version of Chrome) on my Ubuntu netbook and Chrome on my Windows desktop and everything syncs just fine. To start syncing between Chrome/Chromium on your different devices, just go to the spanner/wrench icon at the top right of the browser on each of your machines and choose Options then the tab marked Personal Stuff. Click Set up sync and when it’s done you’ll see

google sync

At the moment you can choose to keep everything synced or choose to sync any or all of Apps, Autofill, Bookmarks, Extensions, Preferences and Themes.  Doesn’t have password sync yet but I believe this is coming in the next Chrome version. Of course, the Chrome Xmarks extension will also allow automatic synchronization of bookmarks, passwords and open tabs between Windows and Ubuntu machines.
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Jul 1

Software and services collage

It’s possible to run a small office/home office (SOHO) set-up with a completely free operating system, software and internet services… but do you? Are there any commercial packages or paid online services you consider ‘must-haves’? I thought I’d quickly run through my paid/free stance and I’d love to hear your thoughts although I don’t think we need to get into a discussion on ‘acquiring’ commercial software for free.

Free operating system

If you run a Linux system, you’ll be familiar with free operating systems and open source software. I run Ubuntu Netbook Edition on my Acer Aspire netbook and I’m just about to try out Linux Mint on my second desktop. What holds me back from completely moving to Linux is my day job where I have to be able to work on Microsoft Word files. More on that later. I’m running Windows 7 on one desktop. Of course in the Windows world, once you’ve bought the OS, you can run a completely free set-up too.

Free software

I run a small office/home office (SOHO) set-up and work from home. Pretty much all the software I use is free or open source. However, I do some work in the publishing sector and they still rely very much on Microsoft Word and Adobe Acrobat. Many authors submit work in Word doc format (rarely docx I find) and authors and publishers usually expect work to be returned in doc format with Track Changes turned on. It’s a real shame that open source software hasn’t really caught on in the publishing field yet. So I have to use Microsoft Office to cope with clients who use commercial software. Yes, you could convert Word doc format to Open Office Writer odt format, turn on track changes in Open Office Writer then convert back to doc format but there’s always a worry that some formatting/changes will be lost in conversion. So for work, I have to use MS Word on my desktop running Windows 7. There’s a good recent discussion on office software, free and commercial, at How-To Geek.

The only other paid software I use on my Windows system is an old copy of Serif PagePlus for DTP and Serif PhotoPlus for photo editing. I haven’t upgraded these in years – the old copies I have are just fine. But a quick look on the AlternativeTo website shows that I could move to Scribus as a free alternative for DTP and there are lots of free alternatives (software and online services) for photo editing.

But for many working from home on a Windows system, I’m sure it’s possible to find all you need if you look at free software alternatives and online services. By the way, I don’t believe it’s necessary to pay for security software either. If you’re running a Window system, Microsoft Security Essentials is free for you and is probably all you need for real-time protection. If you’re running a Linux system, you probably don’t need any antimalware software.

Free services

Every online service I use is free…so far, although I don’t expect it to remain that way in the future. We’ve had it good so far. Like many of you I’m sure, I use a good spread of Google apps. Yes, they’re free but the downside is targeted ads, which I don’t mind, and the knowledge that they’re building up a fair old archive of information on you. So I try to use good alternatives to Google services when I can.

So over to you. Do you use a free OS? Is there any commercial software you must have on your Windows system? What about online services – anything you’re paying for? Drop a comment below.

Do you pay for software and online services is a post from Tech and Life. If you’re reading it in full elsewhere, it’s been copied without consent. Please go to Tech and Life to read the original post and many others in the archive.

Jan 19


I’ve had my Acer Aspire One netbook running Easy Peasy Linux for just a year now. During that time I’ve always run Firefox as my browser mostly to trawl through my feeds in Google Reader. Up until about a week ago I found I got an error message about an unresponsive script in Google Reader at least once during every session and often when scrolling. Easy enough to clear but quite annoying. I thought this was probably due to memory issues and Firefox – I guessed the Reader webpage was heavy going for a netbook.

So I thought I’d try Google Chrome on the Linux powered netbook to see if it would be any better. I figured that the Google Reader/Chrome combination should have better luck – you’d think that Chrome should have been well tested on Reader by Google.

So I installed Chrome (version easily using instructions I found here. Absolutely no problems with unresponsive scripts when browsing – but as with Firefox, occasionally when scrolling it would lock up for 5-10 seconds and then proceed without problems. So I thought I’d write a post singing the praises of Chrome and slating Firefox for its errors. Problem is that when I went back to check if Firefox was still issuing those error messages, I found that the latest version of Firefox (version 3.0.17; for Ubuntu) which downloaded last weekend seems to have cleared the problem. Both browsers are now running fine on my netbook.

So what about browser speed? Is there a difference there? Well, I set up both browsers with Google Reader as home page and with no other tabs and checked times for clean loading of Firefox and Chrome separately just after booting the netbook. I have 257 Google Reader subscriptions at the moment. Firefox took 48 seconds and Chrome 24 seconds to load the page. Then to reload Firefox again, that took 33 seconds, while Chrome reloaded in 13 seconds.

Google Chrome has gained considerable momentum recently with a growing number of extensions available. Even though Firefox is better than it was in terms of browsing on my netbook, it’s much slower than Chrome for me. So I’m going to move over to Chrome on my Linux netbook and give it a thorough work out.

Incidentally, for anyone interested in keeping up with the latest at Chrome, Lee Mathews at Download Squad has been doing a weekly Chrome Corner post since the end of December last year.

Sep 29
Some Ubuntu resources for beginners
icon1 techandlife | icon2 Linux, ubuntu | icon4 September 29, 2009| icon33 Comments »

Ubuntu Logo Cristal

I’ve already done a post on Some Linux Resources for Beginners so I thought I’d round up some great resources specifically for those starting out with Ubuntu. I haven’t included many blogs here where posts are put up regularly, only if they’ve mentioned a good Ubuntu resource in a blog post. Mostly these are just Ubuntu reference/resource sites with tutorials, guides, how-tos, forums, etc.

General Ubuntu resources

Going Ubuntu: Getting Started

Ubuntu Guide

Ubuntu Documentation

Ubuntu Linux Resources

Hardware Support

UbuntuHCL: Ubuntu Hardware Compatibility List

Gnome-Look: Eye Candy for your GNOME desktop

Ubuntu Brainstorm: submit your ideas for inclusion in future Ubuntu versions

Ubuntu FAQ Guide

Ubuntu Installation Guide: One of the most comprehensive guides on installing Ubuntu I’ve seen

Ubuntu: search resources

Ubuntu Search Engine

Ubuntu Search

UbuntuWire Search

Ubuntu cheatsheets and shortcuts

Ubuntu Linux Cheatsheet

Useful Shortcut Keys in Ubuntu

Ubuntu ebooks

Download Ubuntu Installation Guide and Cheatsheet Now

Ubuntu Linux Bible

Ubuntu Pocket Guide and Reference

Ubuntu forums

Ubuntu Forums


Ubuntu how-tos and tutorials

Ubuntu Geek: quick tips and how-tos

Ubuntux: a community for beginners and experts

Ubuntu Linux Help

Useful Links for Ubuntu Beginners

Learning Ubuntu

Addictive Tips: Ubuntu Linux

Ubuntu Tutorials


Useful links: Ubuntu post-installation tips

Ubuntu software



Ubuntu Software and Tweaks: The Best List Ever

Ubuntu magazines

Full Circle Magazine: free downloadable magazine

Ubuntu User: subscription magazine

This is just the tip of the iceberg and I’m sure I’ve missed many important Ubuntu resources here. Just drop a comment below with any you’ve come across that you find really useful and I’ll add them.

Related posts

Great Ubuntu and Linux blogs for beginners

Photo credit: k40s

Aug 18
Some Linux resources for beginners
icon1 techandlife | icon2 Linux | icon4 August 18, 2009| icon3No Comments »

I’ve already done a post on Ubuntu and Linux blogs for beginners so I thought I’d round up some great resources for those starting out with Linux. I’ll do a follow-up post on Ubuntu Resources for Beginners a little later. I haven’t included many blogs here where posts are put up regularly, only if they’ve mentioned a good resource in a blog post. Mostly these are just Linux reference/resource sites with tutorials, guides, howtos, forums, etc.

General Linux resources

Maximum PC: The Complete Beginner’s Guide to Linux

Linux frequently asked questions for newbies

Get to know Linux: Terminology

Linux Migration Guide: Finding Linux Equivalents to Your Favorite Windows Programs

Best resources for Linux

Best Web Resources for Linux

Helpful Linux URLs


Layman Linux


Linux Home Networking

17 Essential Linux Resources That You Shouldn’t Miss

10 of the Best Online Resources for Linux Beginners

tuXfiles – the Linux newbie help files, tutorials and tips

Tuxfreaks: Tips for Linux Beginners (1st part in an ongoing series)

Linux for Beginners

Linux User Groups

Top 10 Linux Support Questions & Answers

Hardware for Linux: look up and report hardware compatibility and incompatibility with Linux distros

How to be Your Own Linux Tech Support

Linux cheat sheets

All the best Linux cheat sheets

10 Essential UNIX/Linux Command Cheat Sheets

Linux-Unix Cheat Sheets –  The Ultimate Collection

Linux command line

I know, this is a post for beginners so why’s he mentioning the command line? Don’t be afraid of the command line. You can get a lot of useful things done there quite quickly once you get the hang of it.

Linux command line directory

Introduction to Linux Commands


20 Useful Linux Commands

The 10 most useful Linux commands

Common Linux Commands

Highly Useful Linux Commands and Configurations

FLOSS Manuals

Linux ebooks

A Newbie’s Getting Started Guide to Linux

Top Nine Free Linux EBooks for Newbie

10 Free Linux Ebooks for Beginners

5 Excellent Downloadable eBooks to Teach Yourself Linux

The Linux Cookbook

Introduction to Linux – A Hands On Guide

Linux Forums


Linux Forums

Linux Home Networking

Linux howtos and tutorials

The Ultimate Linux Newbie Guide


5 Best Places to Learn Linux – Linux Tutorial Sites

5 Great Linux Tutorials

Linux Knowledge Base and Tutorial

Linux for Beginners Free Online Guides and Tutorials


Linux software




Reference Guide to Finding, Installing and Running Linux Applications

Linux podcasts

Unfortunately, there isn’t much choice for beginners and intermediate users. Many Linux podcasts are quite geeky and just not aimed at beginners. These are probably the best around at the moment

Going Linux

Linux User Podcast

Linux magazines

LINUX Format This is the best I’ve seen for anyone just starting out with Linux through to more advanced users.


Twitter accounts about Linux and free software

I’m sure I’ve missed many important Linux sites here. Just drop a comment below with any you’ve come across and I’ll add them.

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