To increase familiarity with GNU/Linux for an average user, here I share you a detailed introduction to GNU/Linux so you can get acquainted and comfortable with GNU/Linux.
Following are some of the question answers I found during my usual searches on web and I am sure this one will be helpful for someone who would like to give a shot on GNU/Linux.
Understanding the term ‘Linux’ and ‘GNU’ – Linux is basically the engine for your operating system. The GNU/Linux naming controversy is a dispute among members of the Free and Open Source Software community over how to refer to the computer operating system commonly called Linux. GNU/Linux is a term promoted by the Free Software Foundation (FSF), its founder Richard Stallman, and its supporters, for operating systems that include GNU software and the Linux kernel.
Understanding the term ‘distribution (distro)’ – The distribution is the actual operating system. There are many Windows distributions like Windows Home Starter, Windows Home Premium, Windows Professional and Windows Server. Every distribution of Windows has a different audience. The same is the case with GNU/Linux. It has many distributions focusing on different target audience. The difference between GNU/Linux and Windows being that there are hundreds if not thousands of choices of GNU/Linux distributions and most of GNU/Linux distributions are free.
Selecting the right distribution for oneself – You can visit www.distrowatch.org which is a site that provides a list of the top 100 distributions. It also has a great search facility that allows you to search on the distribution type. For instance, if you are a novice to GNU/Linux you may want to try your hand in the world of GNU/Linux with the easier to use distributions. The benefit of these distributions being that most things work straight away and the menus are easy to navigate.
Understanding the desktop environment – The desktop environment consists of a series of menus, taskbars, windows and keyboard shortcuts that you make use of to launch and run applications. In the case of Windows 7, the desktop environment has a taskbar at the bottom. The taskbar is divided between the Start icon, quick launch icons, opens applications (tasks) and the system tray which includes the clock. After clicking on the start button, a menu appears and you can search for programs or use the menus for navigating for the programs you want to run.
Understanding how to install GNU/Linux and keep Windows – Many people don’t want to do away with Windows when they initially start using GNU/Linux. You can tryout the live CD initially as certain GNU/Linux distributions can run from inside Windows or as well as Windows without affecting the Windows install at all. Distributions if not running from within Windows permit you to install the GNU/Linux distribution with Windows so that when are booting your PC you can select whether to use Windows or the GNU/Linux distribution.
Obtaining Support for GNU/Linux – GNU/Linux has forums for its major distributions from where you can take help. Many people are friendly and go to great lengths to help. In case the forums don’t assist, then you have the ICQ chat rooms. If these do not work then there is Google. The best site that can help you is of course YouTube. You can watch video tutorials created by people who have dedicated a lot of time in recording it.
Why GNU/Linux in Place of Windows – Switching to GNU/Linux will offer you a level of protection against getting viruses and leaving you feeling more secure. In case your machine is running slowly or is getting old then you may not be able to upgrade to a later version of Windows. Remaining on the current version of Windows is an alternative but support will go and there is every chance that security holes will be located and unplugged. Using a version of GNU/Linux that is designed for older computers will offer you peace of mind that you are using an operating system created for you. It will receive active support by developers.