10 Easy Steps to Make Your Linux Useable

And the ease-of-use?
We have an entire list of our favorite things that Linux makes easier to do than Windows or Macintosh, we’ll go into detail about the most important ones here, and the best way to get them done/up and running on almost any distro. Once you see these tips, you’ll never again call Linux hard to use, we promise!

7) Get a GUI for your install manager.
Depending on what distro you grabbed, you most likely have either a Debian or RHEL (Red Hat Enterprise Linux) based distro. These are the two monsters that set the backbone for almost all the different “editions” out there today. If you have a debain-based system, you most likely have a program called ‘apt-get’ pre-installed on your distro; and if you have a RHEL-based then you have ‘yum’ instead.

Both of these are excellent programs that will make installing and updating almost every single program on your computer much easier.. But there is a catch: they are all command-line programs. But in the world of Linux, that is never a good enough reason… The Linux community has made Synaptic and Yumex: easy to use GUIs for apt-get and yumex respectively.

To install them, simply open a terminal or console and as root (su) type “apt-get install synaptic” or “yum install yumex” depending on your system, and your done! You now have a very simple and powerful package manager that lets you install anything you want all at the click of a finger.

8) Pick the right program.
This would normally go without saying, but from what we see it is the biggest source of trouble. Some programs are easier to use than the competition, others are more powerful, and many more are just rips off the rest, or notable first-attempts at something different. For example, BitTorrent ships with all distros, but its not as good nor as easy to use as Azureus, which isn’t as light or fast as rTorrent. There are too many categories and even more programs to list here; but should you ever have a question, our forums are always available.

9) Pick the right distro.
Believe it or not, its not just a matter of preference, but also a question of convenience. It won’t do you any good to install asterisk if your a gamer, nor SUSE if all you want is a webserver. Distros are entire packages with customized kernels and pre-installed programs, and picking the right (or wrong) one can make all the difference.

That said, there are many out there, and depending on whom you ask you’ll get a million or more different answers. Look them through, try out the Live CDs, post here or at your favorite support forum, call a friend, but don’t jump to conclusions. This may be the hardest step of all, but it is very well worth the initial trouble to discover you don’t have to install anything else later.

10) Never give up, help is always near.
The solution is almost always right under your nose (or thumb in this case), and no matter what happens, don’t give up! The Linux community is large and friendly, no matter whether you use IRC, blogs, forums, chatrooms, mailing lists, or email, to get your help, its never too far away. Don’t give up, and don’t lose heart; you’ll be proud of yourself soon enough.


When all is said and done, Linux is not for everyone, but in all likelihood you can make it work for you. If you have any questions, feel free to use the forums or post a comment below, NeoSmart staff or others on the blogosphere will be sure to help! 


4 thoughts on “10 Easy Steps to Make Your Linux Useable

  1. "Don’t believe a word they say, the days of CLI-Only workstations and green-and-black screens are long over." not true. On fonts – I prefer DejaVu and its ancestor Bitstream Vera to all Microsoft fonts. If you love Arial, have a look at helvetica. NTFS and Wine : these have NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with usability. they do help Windows users feel at home, though. You say most distributions are Debian- or RHEL based. This is wrong, as RHEL is based on Fedora. This is an understandible misconceotion, as the term "Red Hat-based" is very common; The former Red Hat Linux  is now Fedora, and RHEL for the Enterprise. SUSE and Mandriva, for instance, are based on early Red Hat Linux versions. All in all, you do make multiple valid points and this article is probably interesting for fresh newbies coming from the Blue Screen Empire of Microsoft. 

  2. @freezombie:
    I’m sure Novell would love to know that you think SuSE is based on Fedora. Although Fedora is now the testbed for all things RedHat, it is not the ‘basis’ of RHEL which is developped in parallel.

    Some distros are in fact based on Fedora or RedHat Enterprise (like scientific linux, white box linux, mandrake, etc.) but most started over from scratch and went in different directions (Debian, Slackware, Fedora, SuSE, etc.) Ubuntu for example is based on Debian, not Fedora.

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