This website aims to document some first Linux experiences, and show how I went about learning the ropes. It's definitely not an expert guide, because as explained I am a complete Linux beginner. But it does hopefully give the beginner's perspective on exploring this new world for the first time.
The aim of this project is to buy a laptop for home use, and equip it with Linux and related software. Fortunately I have access to a working PC (running Windows NT) so I can try things out and do some research before buying the laptop.
I'm not a complete computer-phobe, but this project will acquire and set up my first PC. I've been using them for years, but never actually owned one. Actually, although it will be my first PC, it will be my second computer ever, the first being an Acorn BBC Model B (with 6502 processor, 32K RAM, and a 5.25" floppy disk drive).
This new laptop will have several uses, including uploading and processing of digital camera pictures, uploading and processing of GPS data, programming in Java and C++, web authoring, and of course web browsing and emailing. It will need to be able to do basic office stuff, like word processing, spreadsheets, and basic raster and vector graphics. Plus if the laptop runs a Linux system, that gives the opportunity to learn more about Linux and Unix, and other technologies like programming in perl, ruby or python, web systems programming with php and MySql, encryption with PGP and GPG, version control with CVS or SVN and so on.
The choice of a Linux system rather than any of the other alternatives is for a variety of reasons, including (at least perceived) trustworthiness, stability, resistance to worms, viruses and other such malware, plus curiosity in the systems available and interest in the community environment. But we'll come to that shortly.