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FAQ Article: Trying Linux - the easy way

Most of us will already be familiar with what Linux is, but with so many distributions of Linux and so many different installation procedures (and nightmare stories of installation!) a lot of people have been afraid to try Linux or risk re-partitioning their Windows hard drives for fear of a mistake.

We know that Linux is meant to be a stable/secure operating system once it is up and running (and configured properly) - but taking the plunge and learning how to install, setup, configure and use Linux is very time consuming and a strong reason why many have not yet tried Linux on their home systems.

However, there is an easier way - a way for us all to try Linux (and other operating systems such as *BSD) without hardly any effort or any risk of destroying our hard drives! The answer is - try a Linux Live-CD !

The fastest and least intrusive way to experience the Linux operating system, is to do so via a Linux Live-CD.

A LiveCD is an operating system (usually containing other software as well) stored on a bootable CD-ROM that can be executed from it, without installation on a hard drive. The system returns to its previous OS when the LiveCD is ejected and the computer is rebooted. This means that you can try a fully operational Linux installation on your home pc, with a wealth of applications pre-installed for you, and not have to worry about breaking your Windows hard drive or messing up your PC setup!

There is a huge searchable list of Live-CD distributions available from this site:

Here are some links to popular Live-CDs:

I would personally recommend Knoppix if you just want a general Linux to play with, and I would recommend Auditor, Whoppix, and Knoppix STD if you are looking for a Linux LiveCD aimed at providing security tools for you to use.

The reason I recommend these is not only because of their features, it is also because they have support for a good range of wifi cards. Most of these security-based LiveCD's have wireless penetration testing tools pre-setup, as well as packet sniffers (ethereal etc), and many other penetration testing tools.

All I can say is - try one and see for yourself!
Comment by Jak - 02-06-2005

I would highly recommend Ubuntu as a newbie friendly distrobution.
It comes with a Live-CD also.

Comment by Awais - 28-07-2005

whats about red hat linux ?
which is the best linux distribution?

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