Most of the different Linux operating system distributions have similar procedures for accessing and installing the operating system. This site will concentrate on Ubuntu 14.04 which is one of the more popular and well documented Linux distributions for individual users. Links will be given below to some of the distribution web sites for other open source operating systems as well as for various options within the Ubuntu family for which there are multiple options. However, of the Ubuntu options, Ubuntu 14.04 is the most stable and is supported by Ubuntu until with support until mid 2019.Linux very recently had been considered a very powerful and adaptable operating system for very experienced users, but the new graphical user interfaces (gui) have made many of the distributions accessible to all users. This website will stay away from the ever ongoing and sometimes heated debates about the "purity" of different distributions in their adherence to the open source principles and provide access to workable solutions that do not involve the need of invoking the command line.
Instructions for downloading the Ubuntu software, testing it without installing it to the computer and then installing it are available at https://help.ubuntu.com/community/GraphicalInstall
Getting Ubuntu: The Ubuntu 14.04 software can be downloaded free from the above link. If local Internet access is inadequate it is possible to order a copy from Ubuntu. Since the software is open source you could also request someone with better Internet access to make up an installation CD/DVD for you.
Testing Ubuntu Ubuntu allows users to test the software without actually loading it. The Ubuntu installation software can be downloaded to DVD which allows the system to be tested from the DVD drive.without actually installing it. This load will show whether Ethernet and wifi access are working as well as allowing users to test the software such as LibreCalc which is installed on initial installation.
Installing Ubuntu: There are several options when you are installing Ubuntu 14.04. the basic installation DVD gives you the option of installing Ubuntu as the sole operating system on the computer or as a second operating system (dual boot). If you do not have a legal copy of Windows it is recommended that Ubuntu be installed as the only operating system.
Utilities Installed: When Ubuntu 14.04 is installed it includes a group of utilities that assist in the management of the computer and the operating system. These are incorporated into a strip of boxes down the left side of the screen. They include Dash Home, Home Folder, Ubuntu Software Centre, Systems Settings, Workplace Switcher and Trash which are all explained in the Ubuntu users manual.. The following applications are also loaded LibreOffice Writer, Calc and Impress as well as the Fire Fox Web Browser-- these will be examined in more detail in the section on applications.
Additional Utilities: There are a number of utilities which can be downloaded using the Ubuntu Software Centre which will add functions to the the operating system. These include:
Other Distributions: Other distributions are available from Ubuntu as well as other organizations such as Debian, Mint , Fedora, Manjaro, Slackware-- these all have basically the same core operating system code, but have developed different graphic user interfaces.