Welcome to the land of the penguin.
As you can see,this little guy is sittin happy. As well he should be too .
This is the official mascot of the operating system Linux. An open source OS,which is freely available to anyone willing to download it and install it.
It also is packaged by several companies such as Fedora,Mandriva,OpenSUSE,and Yellow Dog. These companies usually have the source code and incorporate some of their own features.

Most ,if not all of the viewers of this site have been using one of two operating systems.

There are those of you who have a MacIntosh,or a Apple Power PC G4,a newer G5,or the newest Intel-based Mac,which uses the Apple software OSX 10 or whatever version is installed on your system.

Then there are those of you using an IBM compatible system ,usually with a Pentium or rough equivalent processor such as an AMD. These usually have the Windows operating system on them. Most users now are using Windows XP,or maybe Windows 7, which is the latest offering from Redmond.

Then there are those of you already cruising around the Internet on a Linux distro.

Here is my page with some information on where and how to get Linux up and running on your system.

First ,the good news.
This is usually a free operating system if you can download from the internet.You have your choice of several distributions as they call them from various groups or companies.
Some of the more well known sites are here. Just click on their logo's to go to the homepage.

RedHat Linux

Debian/GNU Linux


These few sites are just a tip of a very large iceberg so to speak where the penguin hangs out.
There must be at least 50 distributions out there for the variety of users from the beginner like me to the expert programmer and writer of open source projects.

What is Linux?

So far the one question you might have right now is what the hell is Linux?
Well to begin with ,it's a fast and very powerful operating system which has a lot of things going
for it. The main difference between Linux and Windows is one word. STABILITY!!
How many times has Winders gone and cracked a pane or two in the pc not to ever boot up again ? Or had a program crash and wiping out everything else in the meantime. IF you're like me,it's happened a lot,even with sufficient memory to run some big programs.
Linux offers a totally different way of using the memory,cpu and other drives on the pc.
Using mount points to kickstart floppy drives,cdroms,and secondary hard disks,that alone saves a bit of space in the memory resident areas.If it's not needed ,it's not mounted.

Linux also has a variety of desktop environments as opposed to Windows,and maybe even Apple OS's.
The two main desktop environments are Gnome and KDE. Both of which offer a variety of programs to suit your needs. Also which are for the most part fully compatible with one another without the use of special programs to switch back and forth. Try running an Apple application in Windows and see how far you get before it crashes without the help of a Apple\Windows switch program which takes up even more space on a hard drive.

And last but sure as hell not least, the entire program is available to modify in whatever way you care to as long as you don't mess with copyrights of the original distro. They provide the source code for the entire program ,unlike Microshaft ,who is now being sued over this very same issue by various programs

My experience with Linux as a newbie.

I wouldn't be lying if I told you this machine was up and running on both Windows and Linux.
How did I do it?
I started with Windows 98 on this elcheapo Emachines 366i2 a couple or three years ago. It's original configuration was a TG-Florida mainboard based with a Celeron 366 Mhz cpu, onboard sound by Cirrus Logic,4 megs of AGP video with an ATI Rage2Turbo onboard chip,cheapass56k Winmodem by Rockwell/Conexant,32 megs of ram,and a Samsung 4.3 gigabyte harddrive.

After tinkering with it some and getting tired of the usual MS(Microslut) crap going on , I first tried out the WinLinux program on the original configuration . I soon found out why Winmodems are so cheap. It's because they are software driven and the cpu(in this case a Celeron) does all the arithmetic.
So I took a step back and installed an ISA internal modem of only 33.6 kps capability and got online with it. This version of Linux runs in the Windows environment and boots from Windows. It uses the DOS type of disk management and file management ,so it wasn't much different from Win 98 in many ways. But,it gave me an idea of what Linux was about and that's what I wanted.

A little more time spent and aging not so gracefully with Win98 as that main culprit on my pc, I went for the full monty. I found a 20 gigabyte hard drive and another memory chip to boost me to 96 megs.
I went out and bought the standard edition of RedHat Linux 7.1 for 49.99 at Staples.

How I installed and the results.

What I did here was somewhat unconventional,but it works.
With the TG Florida mainboard bios only allowing for harddrives up to 8.4 gigabytes in size,I was forced to use the Maxblast software to fake my pc into accepting the 20 gig hd.
I installed Win98 on that drive and made it my secondary master. I took the 4.3 gig hd and made it my primary master(first to boot) and installed Linux on that one. So ,with a boot disk,since Maxblast wiped out the configuration ability of Linux,I can boot into either Win98 or RedHat.
I should sue Microsoft for making such a crappy product,but I leave that up to the Dept.Of Justice.
Ever since I installed RedHat, I have very rarely used Windows.

What do you get for 49.99 or free if you can download via highspeed dsl .

The list is endless on what you can get for free if you have a dsl isp. If you are like me and have the rinky dink canonastring.com isp ,you might be better off buying the boxed set of Linux from whatever distro you choose.
IF you download from a dialup modem be warned. Some installations take up 7 cdroms so you are looking at about 4 to 7 gb of downloading to do. And it's a good idea if you have a cdburner,so you can just burn the install files to cd and boot into the install program.
I took the easier way after trying for days to download Mandrake Linux and not getting anywhere on a 56k(cough cough ) connection,and just bought the RedHat from Staples for 49 bucks.

Installing was very easy and it's almost idiot proof. It gives you the choice of installing automatically or dyi.
It gives you the ability to choose exactly what programs you want and which if not both desktops you want to use. I am partial to Gnome since it seems to have everything I want and it's fast as hell.
I get a nice file manager that is fast and easy to use. A kickass graphics program called GIMP I have been dying to see just how much I can do with. Netscape Communicator and Mozilla are the featured Internet browsers, I have Gnumeric to open up my shortwave frequency databases.
I get a lot of programs for the money and even more are available for free. If I was to add up all the costs of buying full ware products for the pc (versus shareware/crippleware- try before buy ) for Windows based pc's I would probably have spent at least 400 dollars minimum.
At the moment, I am creating this webpage using the RedHat Linux and Netscape Communicator.I'm sure that out there somewhere there is a html editor that's dying to get downloaded and tried out :)

Well, guess what? I have found an html editor . Located at http://bluefish.openoffice.nl/.... this site has a pretty nice litlle nice html editor called Bluefish. It is in a form that can be installed using gnorpm and it already has a nice little user interface.

In short I have nothing but good news to say about this operating system here . The fact that I rarely ,if ever ,boot into Windows says it all I think .

Updated news on running my linux box

Everything that was above here was written sometime back in 2000,if I remember right. Now this is 2010 and a lot of things have changed.The distro's have changed,the computers have changed,even the internet has changed.

The pc I use now is a self-built computer.After spending 4 years in NYC working for a computer store,I learned a little bit on that subject.The pc is based on an Asus mainboard with an Intel Core2Duo E8200 cpu rated at 2.66 Ghz. I overclocked it a little to 3.2 Ghz stable.There is 7 GB of DDR2 800 Mhz ram installed,Nvidia 9800GT PCI-Xpress video card with 1Gb of memory,and for listening to my large MP3 collection an Asus Xonar DX PCI-Xpress 5.1 surround sound card.For data storage of all types I have installed a 750Gb WD Blue,500 GB WD Black,and a 160 Gb WD Blue hard drives.For switching between operating systems, I use a SATA hot swap bay and have 4 various hard drives loaded with flavors of the day .

At the moment, I am running the Mandriva 2010 x86_64,OpenSuse 11.1,Windows 7 64bit Ultimate,and Windows XP64. I have the usual suspects of Gnome and KDE,as well as some other interesting desktop managers and environments.For a graphical desktop that reminds me a bit of both Gnome and KDE there is XFCE 4.When I want a minimalist approach,I boot into blackbox or fluxbox,both of which work rather well,and I can edit the menus anyway I see fit.

There have been a lot of changes in Linux since I first started off with RH 7.1 a number of years ago. I am not anything close to a linux developer or anything like that,just the average end user who appreciates nicely written software.

If there is one main gripe I have,it's the new multimedia rights issue.Ten years ago,when you installed a distribution,you could count on playing all your music right out of the box.Now the rights of certains programs has been an issue when it comes to various codecs being available for free.YOu have to hunt around for specific files to make that pc play mp3's or even music you downloaded from Itunes.The other issue has to do with video drivers.ATI and Nvidia are the largest playmakers in the graphics business, however some of their open drivers do have issues at times.For people using older mainboard-based video chipsets,this probably won't be an issue.

For internet browsing,the always useful Firefox works well. For hanging out on IRC,Xchat or BitchX does that for me very well.For playing my MP3's Rhythymbox,Amarok,or XMMS2 works pretty good.

There is a lot more about Linux online at various sites,but this is just a little bit of my growing experience with it in various flavors and sizes. If you want more information on it, I'd suggest typing in Linux on google.com and seeing what you come up with.

The old pc with Fedora Core 1 installed running the waimea desktop manager.

Some more links and sites from me about Linux.
JustLinux.com..for beginners with lots of questions freshrpms.net..where to find programs to run in linux
sourceforge.net..where just about anything in linux can be found. Home page of Fedora.. what I am running now. Slackware linux homepage..what I might be playing with next.
openbsd...as close to the old unix you can get . xcdroast.org.....have a cdburner and linux? Try this one