GNU/Linux Desktop Survival Guide
by Graham Williams
20190509 One of the simplest approaches for users of Windows 10 is to deploy Ubuntu as a native application using the Windows Subsystem for Linux. This Microsoft product, available through the Microsoft App store, will provide a shell and with a little more setup, a X Windows environment.
Another option is to install Ubuntu as a virtual machine within Windows' Hyper-V which also comes with Ubuntu available out-of-the-box. Running Ubuntu on virtual machines in the cloud (e.g., Digital Ocean, Azure, AWS, or GCP) is also popular.
The common option though is to install a bootable GNU/Linux distribution on your own local computer. Many distributions have simple installation procedures which include the auto-detection of available hardware and installation of appropriate drivers. A bootable USB drive will often boot a computer into an initial live GNU/Linux session without requiring installation. This allows the system to be tested without installation.
There are many options and different distributions available for GNU/Linux. We concentrate on Ubuntu, a derivative of Debian, primarily because of its ease of setup and it being widely available,
Ubuntu installation is straightforward and can replace MS/Windows altogether or can be installed beside Windows (for a dual boot option). Instructions are available from Canonical at https://tutorials.ubuntu.com/tutorial/tutorial-install-ubuntu-desktop. We can easily become familiar with the installation process by trying it out once or twice—it doesn't hurt to practise!
In this chapter we review the installation process for a variety of scenarios suiting any situation. Consider, for example, the Windows 10 option where Microsoft provides Ubuntu out of the box through the Windows Subsystem for Linux. Virtual machines in the cloud that instantiate supported Ubuntu instances are a great option for running servers and for cost effective super computers. In this chapter we provide a quick start guide to installing Ubuntu on your own hardware.
Examples of actual installations using a number of platforms are provided in Chapter 36.