Simplicity Itself

From my experience, Linux is really easy to install. Depending upon the distro you use, installation can range from not so bad to down-right clunky. What do you think? Sound off in the comments below.


These beautiful and intelligent people wrote

  • timelawdReply
    July 7, 2009 at 12:19 am

    The fact that there have to be discussions about how to install Linux says it all, doesn’t it ?

    • Jake EskelReply
      May 19, 2014 at 10:09 am

      The fact that there are discussions about how to fix your messed up Windows install, or how to install windows in the first place, really does say it all. I agree!

  • wongReply
    July 7, 2009 at 12:35 am

    Ubuntu user… Yes, so much easier than Mac or Windows :)

  • RohitReply
    July 7, 2009 at 1:01 am

    If you are installing an OS then you should be ready to get your hands dirty — things will screw up. It’s my opinion that an average user — who uses the computer only to browse the web, check email, write up documents, etc — will not be inclined to install an operating system and find installing any OS equally daunting.

    But for those who do like to tinker with things, Linux used to bring in challenges, and that’s what attracted them to it. I would install different Linux distros (most notably Gentoo) just because things wouldn’t work out of the box.

  • orangesReply
    July 7, 2009 at 2:24 am

    If you’re willing to read the documentation and do a little research, you shouldn’t have many problems setting it up yourself.

    My first foray into a complete cli Linux install was a few years ago on a laptop. I went with arch, which is a completely barebones distro where you get only the basic packages to start with, and no gui. By following the guides in their very helpful wiki, the entire thing was a breeze to setup and configure. Had everything up and running with all hardware working within two hours (with a gui, blackbox iirc).

    As far cli software installation, it really is way simpler than the Windows/OSX method. There’s no hunting for specific dependencies, or differing setup procedures. Just one command in any decent package manager will do it automatically for you. Granted, if you really are afraid of the command line, there are GUI front-ends too.

    I do agree with Rohit’s comment. The main reason people don’t accept other operating systems is some combination of them not understanding anything about computers outside of what they’ve learned at work or as a kid, and them not really caring.

    Concerning the intuitiveness of the OS once its properly setup and configured by someone else, as is the case for the “average Joe”, a prime example of this is my grandmother. She had never used a computer in her life up until last year. She asked me if I could teach her the basics, enough that she could do word processing and have an email account. Typing she could do, as she had done secretary work way back; it was mainly the conceptual issues of the computer interface that was the focus. At that time I was fairly sure that any GUI-based OS is really as intuitive as any other, its just about which you learned initially. So, I set up a system with Mint 6, and proceeded to teach her on that. Linux provided no additional problems that Windows or OSX wouldn’t have, and as far as I know its been running smoothly since.

    There are several reasons I went with Linux as well. For starters, software updating is done right. I can rest easy knowing that she will never fall prey to holes in unpatched software, as its all updated globally, and automatically. There’s also the obvious matter of malware, which won’t be a problem.

    All in all, I’m not trying to say Linux (or any OS really) is the optimal choice for everyone, just that there are a lot of misconceptions about every one of them from the opposing parties. Comments such as timelawd’s (“The fact that there have to be discussions about how to install Linux says it all, doesn’t it ?”) only add wood to the flaming pyre of ignorance.

    I don’t care what OS you use, as long as you didn’t choose it out of ignorance.

    • orangesReply
      July 7, 2009 at 2:24 am

      Holy crap, I typed way more than I planned on.


  • LandStanderReply
    July 7, 2009 at 2:34 am

    Hmm yeah I’ve tried out many distros and the OS always installs just as easy as Windows. It is the software installation that’s scary at first. I can see why people are turned away (I was at first) but it takes very little time to learn about.

  • JarmoReply
    July 7, 2009 at 7:12 am

    I have used Ubuntu over 8 months now. Never used Window after installing Linux OS. Also, command line installation is only needed for if you are using “out of the ordinary” software and/or try to install some rare drivers. Otherwise it’s the best and most stable OS I have ever used

    • Moss BlissReply
      December 9, 2009 at 1:08 am

      I would be happy to switch totally away from Windoze… if or another editor/wordproc program would fix the bloody opensource DOC-to-RTF conversion. I’m a professional editor, and many of my documents come in as DOC and must leave my desk as RTF. OOo screws every one of them up, in an unfixiable way. Stuck with M$ Weird until they fix it — and OOo says on their website that they are not in the least motivated to do so. (I have two other problems with OOo, but neither are large enough to prevent my using it, and both have been reported and ignored.)

  • RickReply
    July 7, 2009 at 9:26 am

    Ubuntu is pretty easy, and applications can be easily installed too. There are still some glitches. For example, doing C compiles still requires a cryptic ‘sudo apt-get’ to get stdio.h.

    By way of comparison, MacOSX’s System Update kragged my Mac the last time I used it, and I had to reformat and reinstall. I no longer use System Update. iCal is a piece of worthless garbage, and iSync has always been extremely flakey.

  • dgriff13Reply
    July 7, 2009 at 1:58 pm

    *ashamed to be using a Vista laptop* *makes excuse that it is a TABLET laptop* *also mentions Mac G5 upstairs*

  • ZReply
    July 7, 2009 at 6:00 pm

    (Disclaimer: This is a quite old story compared to my memory quality. I absolutely can not guarantee that every single detail happened so that I’ve wrote down here. And my primary language is not english, so take my apologies for any grammatical errors.)

    I will never forget the time my hard disk died.
    After recovering the lost data, I bought a new one and decided to have a dual boot system with Ubuntu and XP, with a separate data partition. As I learned from the tutorials and forums, I installed XP first.
    DVD inserted, power on, boot from optical. The installer copied it’s files onto the only disk it could find: the hard drive. The it asked me what I’d do next.
    I wanted to partition the disk of course. I entered the menu and wanted to create a new partition, only to be told that there is no room. Okay, then please delete the existing partition. To this, the XP installer said: “Sorry, but this is the partition I’m running from, so I’d rather not delete myself.”
    Then go to hell, I said.
    Power off, exchange XP DVD with Ubuntu CD, power on, boot from optical.
    Within 5 minutes, my partition plan was complete, however, Ubuntu did not start any modifications before starting the installation. So I installed the whole OS.
    Then power off, swap back to XP DVD, power on.
    XP asked me where it can put it’s installation files, and I smiled when directed it to the newly created NTFS partition. During the install it suddenly popped up a window.
    “It seems that there is another OS installed, which may get damaged or entirely annihilated during my installation, if it’s not 100% Microsoft Windows comaptible.”
    Okay, well, go along, I was going to reinstall that Ubuntu anyway.
    Installation completed, and after setting up the couple dozens of drivers, security software and of course Firefox, I powered off once more to start the final installation of Ubuntu.
    CD in, power on, boot from optical.
    After less than ten minutes, I reached the final step in the installation, but then something strange happened.
    There was a step, which I didn’t encounter before.
    “It seems that you have a Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition SP3 installed on this machine. Would you like me to transfer any of the following items from that OS to your new Ubuntu?”
    And there was a metric ton of items, ranging from my desktop background to the browsing history.
    I was amazed.

    (The XP installation died about less than a week later, and since then, I’m using Ubuntu as my main OS. I had no personal experiences with Linux before.)

  • AnonymousReply
    July 8, 2009 at 1:30 am


    Your story is complete FUD.

  • PhilJoReply
    July 8, 2009 at 3:15 am


    I fear you may have started a flame fest with the current synaptic GUI package managers from Debian this plotline seems a decade out of date, most of your readers would be of a slightly technical inclination, still good way to display readership without sticking the Apache logs out in the open ;)

    Love the comic and keep up the good work, Philjo

  • BartimaeusReply
    July 8, 2009 at 11:43 am

    I can personally testify as to the tricky installation– I’m a Mac OS X user, and I have had to try the old config-make-make install method. Which can be a pain in the neck if (make that WHEN) things go wrong.
    I have now permanently botched an install of the SDL libraries, and have given up installing any more Unix-y things because of this (besides, all the stuff I want to install uses SDL.)

  • hariReply
    July 8, 2009 at 12:44 pm

    Bartimaeus, have you ever tried Debian or its derivatives.

    Almost everything you need is binary packaged in the official repositories and the package manager automatically installs all dependencies and manages your software collection coherently.

  • FyrebaughReply
    July 8, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    I still remember installing Windows 98 on a via chipset with an AMD processor. Worst experience ever, the installation stopped after the first reboot because windows tried to initialize the IDE ports with default drivers, which didn’t work. Drivers for the IDE ports came with the motherboard but were on CD, which the system could no longer see.

    I don’t know why some PC based people who actually work with computers on a hardware level think that Linux, (depending on the distro), is any harder to install that the stuff Microsoft has had us go through!

  • Garrett WilliamsReply
    July 9, 2009 at 12:31 am

    This describes my experience pretty well. I still don’t know how to install tarballs, which are sometimes the only option on a program. I have to look up the instructions each time. I booted into Ubuntu a few days ago, and it still didn’t have an auto-update of Firefox 3.5. Went to, and downloaded the tarball. Haven’t touched it yet. I believe I’ll wind up just auto-updating when Ubuntu gets it listed. In my Ubuntu, Firefox’s built-in update menu option is greyed out, so apparently that’s not an option.
    If I didn’t use Photoshop and Anime Studio(animation program) frequently, I’d probably use Linux enough to know the ways of the command line.
    On the other hand, it still can’t use my webcam or remote, and it only receives MOST of my mouse clicks from my Wacom Bamboo mouse.
    As soon as ALL installers are double-click-to-install, Linux has a chance of being mainstream.

  • DaveReply
    July 15, 2009 at 11:31 am

    Did anyone else have some spyware scanner trying to install itself upon loading this page? (bestvirusscanner.blah or somethin). I have never seen anything hijack firefox like that before. System is completely clean, so it couldn’t have come from anywhere else.

  • SteveReply
    August 7, 2009 at 5:12 pm

    If you install Windows on a system with Ubuntu, it will delete the Ubuntu installation.
    If you install Ubuntu on a system with Windows, it will ask you how to shrink the Windows partition to make room, ask if you want to copy over a long list of browser settings and other user data, then set up GRUB for dual-booting. To install a software package in Windows, you buy or search online for the package and run its .exe installer, which could do *anything* to your system. If it requires a DLL that you don’t have, or includes an earlier version that you do have and other software depends on the later version, good luck. Hope you haven’t downloaded a Trojan horse. To install a package in Ubuntu (or any Debian-based distro):
    Run the Synaptic package manager (always in the System -> Administration menu
    Select a package from the (Long!) searchable list.
    Click “Mark for installation” and “Apply”
    The package manager will resolve any dependencies, and install the package and whatever packages it depends on that you don’t already have. You don’t have to reboot.

    If you use your distro’s official repositories, you aren’t likely to get malware. Even if you do, malware in Linux is usually far less damaging than than in Windows, where every program seems to demand Administrator privileges, any program can set itself to run on boot, and any installation writes non-human-readable arcana to the Registry.

  • CaptainZMReply
    August 7, 2009 at 9:04 pm

    The only issue I have with Linux is that when I’m in a hurry with windows and I need to get shit done, I know that my install will work, because I run a tight ship on my PC. In the past I’ve had linux just decided to belly up without notice and then refuse to even run the GRUB loader during pre-start…. I know Linux is a great OS, but I don’t have time to troubleshoot every little error every time it decides it doesnt like a piece of hardware.

  • Moss BlissReply
    December 9, 2009 at 1:04 am

    Um, COMMAND LINE??? I thought our friend Bob was into Ubuntu. Updates, new software, easy as pie.

Tell me what you think!