It’s the manual-transmission of operating systems. Most distributions include a full suite of free software to be creative/productive at no cost, a community willing to share their knowledge to help you get started, and did I mention it was free?
Free = Free to use and modify at your discretion
Free = Zero dollars ($0.00 USD)
Linux means freedom in both cost and spirit, which makes it a much needed entity given the current state of the hardware/software industry, which (more often than not) acts like a cartel.
Eventually, I would like to see open hardware become as equally prominent as Linux has for software, and
you can take a look at OpenCores to see what I’m talking about. If you have money to spare, please donate to their OpenRISC project. anything that helps subsidize the cost of computers (and thereby making them more accessible to everybody) is a good thing in my book.
Back to Linux.
I currently use Debian as my base-of-operations, so to speak. If you’re interested in getting your feet wet, this is the distribution I’d recommend checking out. Ubuntu, and the upcoming SteamOS (for the SteamBox) are based upon it.
You can download Debian “Jessie” (which is their testing environment, but contains the latest version of its supported software packages) here. Make sure to download the correct disk image for your computer’s architecture. If you’re using an x86_64 processor, then you’ll want the “amd64” version.
After downloading, you’ll probably want to switch to a different window manager besides GNOME. I am currently using
“XFCE” on top of “LightDM” “KDE” on top of “KDM”. I would recommend performing a search for those terms and understanding the difference between them before making the switch. If you’re happy with the way GNOME looks, then you’re good to go.
That’s it for now! Try to get a Debian setup running if you can. If not, don’t hesitate to reach out so I can help you.