2 Linux tips: for experts and for beginners
I have two tips, one for beginners and one for Linux experts.
- Joining the "Linux club" for beginners is often a nightmare because of their hardware. They usually expect that Linux will work for them out-of-the-box, however it's sometimes not the case. It's a good question that this is the fault of the hardware manufacturer or the free software developers, so let's take a look at this. Let's imagine that you've just got an oil-well, so you can be the richest person of the world. But you don't have a book of instruction, nor a person who knows how to use it. If you start experimenting, you almost don't have a chance to get some oil from there. Computer hardware is very similar: often manufacturers don't tell how does it work, so free software developers don't have chance to make a good "driver" for them.
But the solution is very easy: choose hardware fully working with Linux, because it has a freely available "book of instructions" for developers, so they can make it work with Linux too! Before buying a notebook or some other computer hardware, just type to a search engine "[hardware name and type] Linux" and you'll see is it compatible or not. Believe me, if it's working with Linux, you can get a much better hardware support from the free software community than from the manufacturer.
- I have a suggestion for hardcore users too: If you set up Linux for beginners, don't leave them alone. Why do you think, that if they couldn't install it, they can use it without any help? You don't need to hold the hand of your beginners all day, but if they have questions, don't tell them to "Google it". We are a community, so help them! It's our part of the work, representing the Linux/free software community and help them with the solutions: the best practice is to tell them how to solve it, and give them to do it. By the way it's the best way to learn.
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Yes, checking first if the new computer will work out of the box with GNU/Linux or at least works with little tinkering needed is vital.
I'd put a newcomer to Linux on either Debian Stable (with everything setup by me) or an Ubuntu LTS.