There are many ways to get going with Linux, probably the easiest is via a Live DVD. In principle, once you have such a DVD, just insert it into your computer’s DVD-ROM drive, and reboot your computer. Assuming your computer is set to boot from DVD (which is generally a default setting) then your chosen Linux distribution should boot up directly from the DVD without touching your pre-existing Operating System. This will give you chance to take it for a spin (on your computer) without any sort of commitment, when finished just eject the DVD and reboot, and you should be back to normal. The only caveat here is that DVD-ROM drives are a lot slower than your computer’s hard drive, so be aware it will take a while to load and that this is a function of your DVD drive and not of the Linux distribution.
Ubuntu Desktop Linux
- Instructions for downloading and burning the DVD can be found here for Windows users
- Or found here for Mac users
There are many other options in terms of Linux distributions, but in terms of documentation and support, Ubuntu is probably one of the better options. Beginners may find it useful to start with a more mainstream distribution until they become familiar with Linux, due to greater support being available.
Fedora Desktop Linux
This is probably the other mainstream option, although you will immediately notice that the instructions are less comprehensive.
Pay someone else to do it
Whereas Linux distributions mentioned are free, as in you can download CD and/or DVD images for free, burn them to your own disk and then boot your computer off them, it does require a certain degree of time and instruction following on the part of the user. So if on the other hand you just want to try it out and have someone else download and burn the disks for you, paying someone to download and burn the disk for you is always an option.
You can order a CD/DVD in the UK from the Linux shop for a relatively modest fee, but please note that this supplier is not connected to us in any way and we take no responsibility for anything you may transact with them. You will also find a couple of operators on eBay supplying relatively cheap discs as another option.