I finally took my first step toward Microsoft independance today. I installed Linux Fedora over Windows XP on my Dell Latitude 600 laptop computer.
Step 1: Download linux operating system discs here (for computers with 32 bit processors). If you have a Mac of a 64 bit processor, start with these Linux ISO Images. This is the desktop Fedora project and is free. There are 5 disk images (iso files) plus a resue cd image to download and it takes ALL day.
Once you have the disk images downloaded, burn them to disk using your favorite cd burner software, selecting “burn disk from image” or similar function.
I initially tried to install Linux on it’s own partition on a multi-boot machine I have set up for testing. The disk drive must have been too old, because the installation program wouldn’t recognize it. So, I installed Linux from my brand new Fedora CDs as the sole operating system on an Dell Latitdue 600 laptop I had laying around. It had Windows XP installed, and for some reason I could never get the wireless networking to stabilize on it, so it quickly became useless.
Installation took about an hour and was more automatic than with Windows installations. Once Linux was installed, it took about 10 minutes to figure out how to get my wireless card up and running. Once that was done, my wireless network signal was strong and stable. Nothing like Windows XP on the same machine.
A quick look at the programs that came with the operating system found the office suite, Open Office. The Linux counterparts to Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Outlook work great and the files can be saved in MS Office formats, which is key. Also included are a bunch of games, and Mozilla Firefox.
So, I have a basic, Microsoft-free laptop PC. I’m going to need to explore the availability of Linux productivity applications, but for now, I think this was a good first step.