This Thursday afternoon, something incredible happened just before my working shift at NCKU Computer Center ended. I still remember that I was doing my Spanish exercises, and a guy (a freshman I think) walked toward the service counter and asked me whether computer center has Operating system DVDs or not. I thought he was talking about Windows just like the others, so I answered yes. I told him that there are Windows 7, 8 and 10 available now, but he asked about Linux. I was surprised by him because this is the first time I’ve seen a person asking about Linux since I entered the college (almost 1 and a half year now). I asked him what distribution does he want to install, he said Ubuntu and asked me how to get it. I showed him how to get the iso file from Ubuntu’s official website, and he started to ask more about the installation. I told him there are two ways to install Linux, either making a bootable USB or Burning a DVD with the iso file. Because he seemed to be more interested in using USB, I recommend RUFUS to him since it is very simple and reliable for making bootable USB. Later, he surprised me again with his installation request: he wanted to delete Windows 10 and install Ubuntu only. I found it hard to believe, so I double checked that he really wanted to do that instead of dual boot. He told me that he wants to learn more about Linux, and only installing Linux as his OS kind of forces him to focus on it.
I really admired the determination, but for me, I would still recommend new learners to dual boot, since dual boot installation will make you understand more about how and what an OS needs to work properly. Plus, if it is your only computer, Windows is still useful for working or college (mostly for general word processing). Linux can also handle word processing, but because of the different format between Windows (Microsoft Office) and Linux (Libre Office), users need to make sure that they know how to output files without format problems.
Then he asked me about the specific steps after putting the bootable device into the computer. He thought that the computer will automatically boot into the device once it’s connected. I then knew that he has no clue about installing OS completely. The process is quite lengthy so I will elaborate it in another article if time permits. He also didn’t know about when he should do the partitioning, so I also told him that, even though I think he didn’t get it. He showed his gratitude and left soon afterward.
I am really happy that more and more people are willing to try out or learn Linux. In the world of operating system, there are always commercial companies and profits involved. Moreover, it starts to become duopoly (Windows and Mac OSX) with the former one being larger and the later one being smaller, just like computer hardware does: Nvidia v.s. AMD on Video cards and Intel v.s. AMD for CPU. This kind of relationship will only lead the industries to a dull state that produce goods with little innovation and expensive, controlled price. Fortunately, in software industries, there are many well-made free projects. By supporting them and using them, users will not only save money but also help balance the market. But, the most important value of free software is learning. Since its core idea being absolutely free for using, editing and distributing, people can always learn and customize free software or OS to what they desire. For all the knowledge and infinite possibilities you can gain by using free software, how about starting your journey with the big mama of free software, Linux?