A Beginners Guide for XP Users to Switch to Linux

Microsoft has ended its support for Windows XP and most of you might not even care but for some of you who do care and understand the complications involved in using a discontinued piece of software, you are in for a change. You can either install already outdated Windows 7, no one’s favourite Windows 8 or you can join the elite group of Linux users by installing on of the many available flavours of Linux.
Unlike Windows, you don’t have to pay hundreds of dollars to get your system up and running, Linux is free and will always be and it comes with all the essential applications like internet browser, email client, video player, photo editor and many others which are also free but first you need to convince yourself why switch to Linux. You might be thinking why bother with something different when you can keep using the same old windows, well, that won’t take long.
Unlike Windows Linux is not made by some employees paid by Microsoft, it is build by thousands of volunteers around the world in collaboration with big tech giants like Red Hat, IBM, HP, Samsung and many others under the guidance of Linux Foundation. So you can be sure when using Linux that you are not using something build by a few big shot engineers but a solid operating build by contributors around the globe.
This makes Linux one of the most secure operating systems in the world, well nothing is completely secure but be assure while using Linux you are in safe hands. That is the sole reason why companies like Google, Facebook, Twitter, IBM, NASA depends solely on Linux and here is a list of world’s top companies and organizations using Linux. Linux is a very lightweight operating system and supports the most cutting edge as well as decades old hardware.
Now if you are excited by the concept of Linux, let us shot the next elephant in the room, your favourite applications on Windows XP. Linux has most of your favourite application you use on Windows including Firefox, Chrome, Steam, VLC, Skype and Team Viewer. If you cannot find something you use on Windows, there are tons of free alternatives on Linux that actually offer superior functionality as compared to your Windows Applications and they all are build collaboratively.
Some of the most common alternatives are Libre Office for Microsoft Office, Thunderbird for Outlook, Gimp for Adobe Photoshop and they all are free forever and you don’t have to pay hundreds of dollars every year to get minor upgrades. You are not limited to few limited applications as it is on Windows due to monoplic Microsoft behaviour, say if you are not satisfied with Libre Office you can always go for Open Office another very reliable office suite.
The very best thing about using Linux, you don’t have to worry about viruses and no need to install expensive unnecessary resource hog internet security programs as they are hardly any helpful in protecting you. The very foundation of Windows is build in such a way that this entire Cyber Security thing can be monetized and by the look of it, these antivirus companies are doing pretty well. Linux on other hands discourage such practises and it is one of the most secure operating systems in the world. There is a reason why most Global Defence Systems and Stock Exchanges runs on Linux.
Well, if you are still not convinced about using Linux as you might have never seen anyone using Linux, take this, the android phones you and everyone around you uses is build on Linux. The television, air conditioner, washing machine and that coffee machine you love so dearly is running Linux. You are already living in a world run by Linux but you are still not a part of it. One more step and you’ll be one of the Elite Linux users.
Enough of the convincing and let’s start using Linux. First we need to choose a Linux flavor and this is the most fun part. Choosing a Linux for the first time is like Harry Potter choosing a Magic Wand. Every Linux flavours runs the same solid Linux base underneath which we call “Kernel” and different Linux flavours are called “Distributions”.
There are hundred of distributions available and all of them are listed on Distrowatch in order of their popularity. Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Fedora, Debian and Open Suse are some of the famous Linux distributions but if you want something familiar to Windows XP then you better stick to Linux Mint or if you are feeling adventurous you can try the Unity interface in Ubuntu, Gnome in Fedora or KDE in Open Suse. Unity, Gnome, KDE are the names of different kind of user interfaces which we call “Desktop Environments”. These DEs will be fine on even older systems but if you are going to use Linux on something very ancient you can use the lightweight DEs like XFCE and LXDE as they are very lightweight and offer simpler user interface.
So that’s it, choose the Linux distribution you like and start using it. Linux is free, stable and secure, what more you can ask for and if you feel lucky you can donate some money to the Linux Foundation for all the awesome work those guys do. I won’t be writing any installations tutorials as there are tons of them on internet. I am already helping my friends online and offline in their switch to Linux, you should start using Linux and help your friends.

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