Ok, I was determined to give Linux a fair shake. For those of you not in the loop, Linux is an operating system for computers. Just as Microsoft’s Windows and Apple’s operating system allows you to operate a computer easily without a lot of knowledge of how the computer actually works so does Linux. Except Linux requires a bit more computer savvy.
All you need to get started in Linux is online and is free although all donations are appreciated. After research I went to Linux.com and downloaded the latest Linux Mint operating system “OS” release (they call them “distros”) for free (Linux comes in a bewildering array of styles for use and ease of operation). Then one has to transfer the Linux operating system in a special way to a DVD or thumb-drive, it’s to large for a CD. Once one has done that the Linux Mint OS can be run from the DVD or thumb-drive without interfering with your original OS at all. If you like it you have the option of installing it along side your old OS or replacing your old OS altogether with Linux.
I booted to my new Linux Mint 17 DVD and after a page or eight of white text on a black background scrolled very quickly by it stopped and told me that the program called for a PAE and my computer was not equipped for that. More research. I found that the PAE stood for “Physical Address Extension” it is an instruction in computer language to help computers handle information easier. It is standard in most newer computers but my computer is old. Old, old. Dawn of electrons old. So I found a couple of work-a rounds for the PAE problem. The first was to “Force PAE”. It’s not as violent as it sounds in fact it only entails finding a certain line of code at a certain point in the boot instructions and after this line of code typing “force PAE”… I couldn’t find it. I looked where it was supposed to be and it wasn’t there. I was stumped. The second option was to go back to an earlier distro that didn’t have the PAE call, that was Linux Mint 10. I went back to Linux .com and downloaded Linux Mint 10, about 887mb. I transferred it to the DVD as I was supposed to do. I booted to the DVD. It didn’t work. Okay, I’ll try it again. I carefully made another DVD, I booted to it, …it didn’t work. I downloaded Linux Mint 10 again, carefully made a DVD, …it didn’t work. I kept going online and looking for answers from the Linux community, I must say they have about as much help online as you would probably need to do anything but there are also trolls who, knowing that most computer viruses don’t infect Linux, keep plenty of Windows viruses on hand to attack people with Windows systems. My antivirus software was up to the challenge and removed them from my machine. I came to believe that my old computer would not boot from a DVD so I tried to load it onto a thumb-drive and boot from it, …three times …it didn’t work. I stripped Windows completely from my system, and tried it all again …still nothing. More research.
I found a program called Unetbootin that would load Linux Mint 10 onto my old computer from a thumb-drive. I downloaded the program, I booted to the thumb-drive, I ran the program …it worked. It worked, I had in all my research seen enough to know I wanted to try Linux Mint 10 and now I have it. What a great OS! The OS is not only free it comes with everything you need to do almost all you want to do. Word Processing, email, instant messaging, playing videos, playing music, internet chat, photo editing and your choice of 32600 some odd other programs to do whatever you might want to do. All free! It is slightly different from Windows and Apple and there is a bit of a learning curve, but it reminds me of Windows 3.1 where one went behind the scenes and did things in DOS to tweak one’s system and make it one’s own, only the background language for Linux is Unix a programing language used on business computers.
This is a brave new world for me and I’m still very much a novice but I’m loving every minute of it.