Linux can be obtained in and from a number of sources, but the end result is usually a CD or DVD. These are of two types:
- Live CD/DVDs which should be inserted and rebooted. They run in RAM, do not use the hard disks (or other storage devices) in your computer, and will not alter or affect it in any way unless you specifically instruct this.
- Installation CD/DVDs which, when rebooted, begin an installation process. These will alter your computer if you proceed.
The following links are to websites from which the ISOs (that is, the files needed to burn a CD or DVD) can be downloaded. If you are unsure about this process, you should join the online Discussion Forum of the site from which you downloaded the ISO.
OBTAINING LINUX ONLINE
Knoppix - King of the live CDswww.knoppix.com
Knoppix was the first of the Live CDs to gain acceptance for usability and reliability, and is still one of the most popular. It makes an excellent Rescue CD (although it's now a DVD) and is a good distro to begin with if you're new to Linux. There are better options for installations, but you'll never regret having a copy.
PCLinuxOS - a good distro to start withwww.pclinuxos.com
One of the best distros for a newcomer, PCLOS features a LiveCD for evaluation or installation, a choice of four desktops – LXDE, XFCE, KDE, or Gnome – the OpenOffice word-processor, spreadsheet and other office essentials, a large repository for adding extra software, and an active, friendly online discusions forum and chatroom if you need assistance.
Ubuntu - another good beginner's choicewww.ubuntu.com
One of the most popular distributions and the basis of many others. An easy-to-install, stable and powerful distro, with a clean, simple desktop and plenty of support. Another good choice for those starting out.
VectorLinux - lightweight distro for older machineswww.vectorlinux.com
Vector Linux has a single credo: keep it simple, keep it small and let the end user decide what their operating system is going to be, and is one of the best small distros available. You get a lightening fast desktop, web surfing, sending and receiving email, chatting on ICQ and OpenOffice for writing letters. All the tools needed for compiling programs are included.The small size and memory requirements of the operating system can bring older machines back to life.
Lubuntu - netbooks, mobile devices and older PCs.lubuntu.net
Lubuntu is a fast, lightweight and energy-saving variant of Ubuntu using the LXDE (Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment) desktop. It is intended to have low-resource system requirements and is designed primarily for netbooks, mobile devices and older PCs.
Puppy Linux - small, fast, great for memory stick bootingwww.puppylinux.com
Puppy is extraordinarily small, yet quite full featured. It boots into a 64MB ramdisk and, unlike live CD distros that have to keep pulling stuff off the CD, Puppy in its entirety loads into RAM. All applications start in the blink of an eye and respond to user input instantly. Puppy Linux has the ability to boot off a flash card or any USB memory device, CDROM, or internal hard drive.
Slackware - for technically confident Userswww.slackware.com
The first commercial Linux distribution, Slackware Linux development is headed by Patrick Volkerding. Because of its focus on simplicity and reliability it is often slow to release the latest versions and applications, hence the name. A good choice for those confident with commandline operation and wanting a basis for their personal configuration.
DistroWatch - Guide to Linux Distributionswww.distrowatch.com
An exhaustive listing of major and minor Linux distributions. Includes the latest news, reviews of most distros and easy-to-read charts detailing the specifics of each.
Search Distrowatch for something specialdistrowatch.com/search.php
Looking for a distro for an older machine, a music distro, or a home internet server? This page allows you to filter your search according to several criteria and pick the your needle out of the distro hatstack.
LinuxQuestions.org - Linux Distro ISOs downloadiso.linuxquestions.org/
Another good site for downloading CD/DVD images (ISOs) to burn and boot.
Twelve of the most interesting distroswww.goodgearguide.com.au
If you want something strange, weird, or unusually useful ...
A good selection of useful CDs and DVDs including Live CDs, installation sets, and repository mirrors.
LINUX VENDORS IN AUSTRALIA
Linux System Labswww.lsl.com.au
A good place to shop in Australia for all Linux distros and support products. CDs and DVDs of several popular distros can be purchased online including Knoppix ($15.95 DVD), PCLinuxOS ($5.95 CD) and several others.
A Melbourne vendor of hardware, offical CDs/DVDs and imaged (copied) CDs/DVDs.
Linux Information Technologywww.linuxit.com.au
Another online CD/DVD vendor based in Perth.
A company providing equipment, support and training for commercial Users.
The Linux Documentation Projectwww.tldp.org
The Linux Documentation Project is working on developing free, high quality documentation for the GNU/Linux operating system. This includes the creation of "HOWTOs" and "Guides". The LDP is essentially a loose team of volunteers with minimal central organization. Anyone who would like to help is welcome to join in this effort.
A question-answer site for any and all questions.
Linux FAQ Indexwww.tldp.org/FAQ/Linux-FAQ/x24.html
This index to the FAQs from the University of Helsinki covers most questions that newcomers will have.
Somewhat out-of-date, but a useful collection of information.
All of the major Linux distros maintain online Discussion Forums to provide assistance to Linux Newcomers. To access these, go to the distro Home Page, look for a link to Forum and follow the instructions for joining it.
A "fully independent community website, run by a team of unpaid volunteers, devoted to keeping the public informed about the state of internet access in Australia." Plenty of useful, well-organized information and an active Users' discussion forum.
A friendly, active Linux online community with a strong focus on assisting Newcomers. If you're new to Linux, do yourself a favour, register with the site (it's free, secure, and non-commercial) and drop in on their forums from time to time. When trouble strikes, you'll then have a familiar place to go for some assistance.
If you're running PCLinuxOS you have an immediate source of friendly, helpful advice from the experts who built it. Jump in to find your answers, or just for a general chat about all things Linux. French, German, Italian and other speakers are catered for, too!
Freenode maintain dozens of Internet chatrooms for Linux distros, and most of the major ones have a presence here. If you know how to use IRC you'll have no trouble finding assistance here.
If you've never used IRC before, it's worth taking a bit of time to learn. Nothing very difficult, and you'll have an invaluable source of information available once you do.
Another good site for learning IRC.
LINUX USER GROUPS
List of LUG'swww.linux.org/groups
Linux User Groups are spread across the world, and form one of the best sources of information and help. Here is a list of LUG's worldwide.
List of Australian LUG'swww.linux.org/groups/australia.html
There are ten LUGs registered in Australia, even one in Alice Springs! Email addresses and websites are given, so don't be shy if you're curious. They may be geeks, but they're TAME geeks.
"Tux.Org is an umbrella organization supporting the efforts of Users Groups and Developers. Our primary focus is supporting and advocating the development and use of software and systems whose source code and specifications were openly developed and are freely available to the public.We also provide educational services through public events like User Group meetings and Install-Fests, as well as sharing knowledge via the mailing lists of our member User Groups."
INFORMATION ABOUT LINUX
A good range of information on all things Linux.
A site whose goal is to provide a database with Windows software and the Linux equivalents and alternatives.
Linus Torvalds' Home Pagewww.cs.Helsinki.FI/u/torvalds
The home page of the creator of Linux. Almost certainly not what you'd expect.
The University of Helsinkiwww.cs.helsinki.fi
Linus Torvalds, the original author of the LINUX operating system, studied and worked at the Department of Computer Science, University of Helsinki 1988-1997. He began development of Linux in 1991.
How to pronounce "Linux"www.linux.org/info
Refer to a link on this site to hear how Linus Torvalds pronounces "Linux".
The History of Unixwww.bell-labs.com/history/unix
Linux was derived from Unix, the dominant mainframe operating system in the early days of computing. Understanding Unix is essential to a broad comprehension of what Linux is.
Larry Ewing's Penguin Pagewww.isc.tamu.edu/~lewing/linux
The Linux Penguin is now the official logo and mascot of Linux. The stylized image was created by Larry Ewing.
A collection of the more interesting penguins on the Net, with links to the creators' sites. Well worth a look.
The Linux Counter Projectcounter.li.org
The aim of this project is to keep count of the number of Linux users worldwide, currently estimated at around eighteen million. Registration is free, and entitles the user to a copy of the logo at right along with a unique registration number.
Linux User & Developerwww.linuxuser.co.uk
High-quality UK magazine with a range of news, technical and tutorial articles for all levels of Linux ability. Cover DVDs are reliable and well-engineered. Regularly available on Australian news-stands.
Another good UK monthly with a similar format and reliable cover CDs and DVDs. Regularly available on Australian news-stands.
Yet another good UK monthly with reliable cover disks and a good online archive of articles. Regularly available on Australian news-stands.
Australian PC Userwww.magshop.com.au/Australian-PC-User
Just as Australians generally have been slow to understand what FOSS is and how to use it, so, too, are Australian magazines reluctant to promote it, undoubtedly because of their Big Business publishers. This APC offering is basically a monthly sales promo for consumer technology, but can be useful for keeping up-to-date with local products. The magazine's cover DVD occasionally features a custom Linux distro that, unfortunately, cannot be recommended.
APC - Australian Personal Computerwww.magshop.com.au/APC
Another example of why Australia is so technologically backward. APC is a clone of Australian PC User from the same publisher, APC (Packer's PBL media). Blatantly Microsoft-centric, it occasionally features a badly-presented Linux distro as a sop to the Linux community. Not recommended.
Long-running site with a wide range of news, information, books, projects, and other info that Newscomers especially will find useful.
A more commercial site intended for linux professionals rather than Newcomers.
One of the oldest and best-known of news sites on all computing-related issues.
Good site for up-to-date news about Linux matters.
Good site for up-to-date news about Linux matters.
National Geographic Magazine - Diverse and colourfulwww.nationalgeographic.com
Views of the Solar System - The next frontier for Mankindwww.solarviews.com/eng/index.htm
The Hubble Space Telescope - Peering into the furthest reacheshubblesite.org
DISTROS & DESKTOPS
For up-to-date news and reviews about alternatives to your present distro and Desktop.
PUBLIC DOMAIN ACTIVISM
The Open Source movement has been under attack for many years by criminal elements in large corporations and governments, especially Microsoft (whose founder, Bill Gates, is a convicted felon), SCO, the Trans-National Corporations and the CIA. The organizations listed below are just some of those maintaining a defence against these illegal activities.
Microsoft's billions in fines for criminal activityen.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Union_Microsoft_competition_case
Honest companies do not get slapped with billions of dollars in fines. If you doubt that Microsoft is a criminal organization, read this.
Eben Moglen has been the highest-profile legal defender of FOSS, and his website contains a detailed history of the legal battles that have been, and still are being fought.
The SCO Groupen.wikipedia.org/wiki/SCO_Group
The Santa Cruz Organization was one of the earliest vendors of FOSS products, but was later used as a front by Microsoft in attempts to destroy FOSS. This Wikipedia article contains useful background information.
Cnet article about the 'fear war' against Linuxnews.cnet.com/2010-1071-1007758.html
The large body of information about Microsoft's attempts to destroy Linux and FOSS can easily be discovered by searching "SCO wars Microsoft history" on the Inet. This is a typical response.
Electronic Frontiers Foundationwww.eff.org
The original organization founded to protect the Internet against commercial dominance and unwarranted government restrictions.
Center for the Public Domainwww.centerforthepublicdomain.org
One of the most urgent but unacknowledged challenges of our time is the preservation of a large and robust public domain. The public domain is the cultural space in which we share information, creativity and ideas. Like an ecosystem, the public domain can remain healthy only if its relationship with the market -- as embodied in intellectual property law, technology and social practice -- is in balance. In recent years, sweeping changes in markets, technology and law have upset this balance. The results challenge the vitality of artistic creativity, academic research, technological innovation, and our democratic culture. This affects creators and innovators because new work depends critically upon the body of work that precedes it.
Maintained by the Center for the Public Domain (see above), this site has a large Linux archive and many interesting files available for download.