Mon 11 Mar 2013
With Windows 8 pushing a “touch-first” desktop interface—Microsoft’s words, not ours—and with Valve’s Steam on Linux beginning to bring much-needed games and popular attention to the oft-overlooked operating system, there’s never been a better time to take Linux out for a test drive.
Dipping your toes into the penguin-filled waters of the most popular open-source ecosystem is easy, and you don’t have to commit to switching outright to Linux. You can install it alongside your current Windows system, or even try it without installing anything at all.
Ubuntu is the most popular Linux distribution for desktop and laptop Linux users, so we’ll focus on Ubuntu throughout this guide. For the most part, Ubuntu just plain works. It sports a subtle interface that stays out of your way. It enjoys strong support from software developers (including Valve, since Steam on Linux only officially supports Ubuntu). And you can find tons of information online if you run into problems.