Linux Installfest Saturday 3/12/16 -- No Geek Skills Required!

by Pat Hammond on Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Linux Installfest - 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM Saturday, March 12, 2016

Ask Questions & Get Hands On Help Installing Ubuntu

Hey everybody, I want to give a quick heads up about the free Linux Installfest that Open Source NH is holding on Saturday, March 12th from 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM at Alpha Loft 844 Elm Street, Manchester

It's a great opportunity for anyone who has ever thought about chucking Windows and trying Linux to ask questions and get some installation help.

This will be a two-part event with one section focusing on how to install Linux (Ubuntu) and the second section will be an open discussion and questions/answer session about Linux in general.

The installation session will feature the Ubuntu version of Linux because it is the most popular, but the group discussion will be talking about the many flavors of Linux with experienced users answering questions about their favorite.

They are looking for volunteers so if you are an experienced Linux user and have some free time next Saturday, please contact Paul Beaudet about being an installation volunteer.

For more information/RSVP: If you don't do you can also RSVP at:

Finally, if you're on the fence, please take a look at my top five reasons why you should give Linux a try.

Ubuntu - features Ubuntu - desktop apps Ubuntu - built in office software

Five Reasons You Should give Linux a Try

1. It's easy. I know you think that Windows' main feature is ease of use, but what you really mean is that your computer came pre-installed with Windows.

When it gets right down to it Linux is just as easy to use for business and day to day activities, the only difference is that not many computers come with Linux pre-installed.

The good news is that installing Linux is super easy. You pop the dvd or usb stick in and it pretty much self-installs.

Yes, you have to answer some questions like "choose a username and password" or "choose your (internet) network and provide your password", but that's pretty much it.

2. Cost = $0. Not only is Linux free, but almost all of the programs you need to get things done are free as well. When was the last time a Windows progam was free? How about never.

3. Huge variety of programs. One of the big drawbacks of Linux used to be that there weren't as many programs and the ones that were out there weren't as good as the software built for Windows. That may have been true 20 years ago, but today there is a free Linux alternative to almost every Windows program.

Need an office suite with word processing, spreadsheets, drawing, presentation and databases, they've got you covered. Not only do Libre and Open Office do everything that MS Office does, but they are able to open, save and edit MS Office files so that you can collaborate with clients worry free.

What if you need more than a basic word processor? What if you want to edit photos or build scalable vector graphics? Light Zone, Gimp and Inkscape are awesome tools that will help you get the job done. With programs like these as well as options for accounting, note taking and time management, almost everything you can do on Windows can be done just as easily on Linux for free.

You don't have to be a command line commando to use Linux

4. The command line is not the boogie man. Linux gets a bad rap because it's a perennial favorite of the geek crowd, but you know what, you don't have to be a command line commando to use it.

Think about it. Windows has a command line prompt too (go to start → Windows → then type the letters cmd in the search box), but how often do you use it? The same people who routinely use the command line on Linux are generally the same people who use it on Windows. If you're not one of them then don't worry about it.

You will need to visit the command line to download and install the beta version of your favorite programs, but the average user doesn't want the beta version. The average user wants the software that has been vetted and approved as stable and compatible with their operating system and for that all you need to do is open the software center, search for the program and click install right from the desktop, no coding or command line skills required.

It really is that easy and not to sound like a broken record, but 99% of the time the software is free.

5. Breathe a new life into old equipment. At this point most families have one or two old laptops gathering dust in the corner. It's not that there's anything wrong with them, it's just that their old hardware isn't compatible with Windows new operating systems.

The problem is that laptops are still expensive. You can get a tablet for a few hundred dollars, but a laptop is going to set you back at least $1,000 and while most of us could probably get by with a tablet for basic surfing, social media and minor editing, you're going to want a laptop if you need to do things on the road that require a large screen or a full-size keyboard. This is where Linux really excels.

Linux uses minimal resources so you can install it on a 15 year old laptop and have all the functionality, including speed, to do actual work. This is not an exaggeration. My primary road machine is a Chromebook that dual boots to Ubuntu, but when I need a portable large screen workhorse I take the old laptop I bought in 2003. It would be dead in the water if it was still running Windows, but with Ubuntu 14.04.4 LTS I can run any program I want away from the office.

So there you have it, my top five reasons for using Linux. Considering all the issues people are having with Microsoft's latest push for Windows 10 it might be time to give Linux a try.