Linux Basics/Installation, bootloader

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Installing[edit | edit source]

There are a variety of ways to install Linux on a computer. Traditional installation methods for a desktop Linux environment can be either graphical or terminal based.

Installation media refers to the delivery method of the operating system. Common installation media includes USB storage devices or DVDs. Installation can also be done virtually, such as in the case of a network installation.

Linux distros can be installed directly on a computer as the sole operating system or installed alongside another operating system such as Windows or another installation of Linux.

Linux can even be run under a different operating system through the use of a virtual machine. By using software such as GNOME Boxes, Virtualbox, or VMware, a virtual machine can be created to install and run Linux on, while simultaneously running the original operating system, such as Windows, MacOS, or even another Linux distro. One can think of a virtual machine as a way to simply run Linux as one would run any other program, such as Firefox or LibreOffice.

Installers for Linux distributions come in a variety of forms. Below are two screenshots of installers, showing both a friendly graphical installer, and a powerful command line installer.

The Bootloader[edit | edit source]

A simple GRUB configuration.

Bootloaders are programs that help the computer start up and prepare an operating system. Sometimes known as system loaders, one can compare bootloaders to the starter of a car or an usher at a theater showing you to your seat.

One of the most common bootloaders used on desktop Linux is GRUB. With GRUB you can give boot parameters to determine which operating system should boot up. GRUB also has additional features, including a memory test and hardware test, which checks if the computer hardware has any errors.

Bootloader can be installed on HDD in case of MBR, e.g. /dev/sda (first HDD), in case of GPT you can give which partition would be the "BIOS boot" one (e.g. /dev/sda3 - first hard disk's third partition), so the bootloader will be installed to the location which we picked.