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Migrating from Windows to Linux[edit]


About this Wikibook[edit]

There are already several introductory Wikibooks on GNU/Linux, such as Linux Guide and Linux For Newbies. This Wikibook will be different in that it is much more clearly defined in terms of its 'audience' as well as the Linux distro used :

  • it will be targeted at those who use PCs on a regular basis but have no desire to become experts. Typically these will be people who have used Windows for years, want to migrate to GNU/Linux, but are scared of a steep learning curve. This will be an instructional resource easing the transition by teaching people who to employ the skills they have acquired in a GNU/Linux environment.
  • the distro used is Kubuntu 6.06 LTS. Deciding on a specific edition of a specific distro avoids tons of technical problems. Also, KDE is most similar to Windows and (K)ubuntu is widely regarded as one of the most user-friendly distros.
  • common tasks can be shown side-by-side in Windows and free software


With GNU/Linux, users are in control of their computer, opening up enormous possibilities for using software. In addition, there are usually many different ways of achieving the same goal. This Wikibook will focus on showing you how to do the most common tasks in one way - the way that's most appropriate for its audience. To achieve this, we'll have to make choices, based on the folowing principles:

  • choose tasks that most Windows users regard as standard
  • choose the software that is most similar to Windows
  • show how it's achieved in Windows and Linux side-by-side, using screenshots (although not too many screenshots - text and screenshots should take up similar space)
  • when the solution shown is less than perfect, point towards further resources that may be more powerful but less appropriate for ex-Windozers (e.g. link towards the Wikibook about
  • make users apply basic concepts and new knowledge using tutorial exercises


  • Skill level - Knowledge the user is assumed to have. i.e., defining the target audience.
  • working , fresh, installation of Kubuntu 6.06 LTS ; refer to possibility of Live CD

What are the Free Software movement, GNU/Linux, Kubuntu ?[edit]

Why would I want to switch ?[edit]

[http:/ /]

Difficulties with switching from Windows to GNU/Linux[edit]


(should mostly be explained in history part) kernel X KDE GNOME distribution Ubuntu Kubuntu

Understand - Comparison of Windows and GNU/Linux|Comparison of Windows and GNU/Linux[edit]

This will be a more theoretical part, introducing those concepts that are most relevant for ex-Widows users because they make the GNU/Linux experience quite different. The section should be to the point, rather than going into too much dept, dealing with things at such a level as is relevant for practical use. Pointers towards more detailed info. The following chapters will then refer back to this part whenever these concepts are put into practice.

http:// w:Comparison of Windows and Linux http://

The filesystem[edit]


  • tree - hierarchical system of directories and subdirectories ('folders')
  • several trees - hierarchy starts with c: - harddrive (partition where the OS is installed)  ; a: - floppy ; additional e.g. d:-CD/DVD , e: second harddrive, f: USB flash --- these are usually detected when booted, or for USB devices when inserted
  • \MyDocuments
  • three letter extension identifies type of file

Linux :

  • one single tree - single hierarchical system, starting with / (root)
  • partitions have to be mounted at mount point in the hierarchical file-system
  • /home/Desktop
  • case-sensitive
  • extension doesn't matter much
  • vfat, ext2, ext3, ReiserFS
  • Linux can read NTFS, but writing NTFS used to be major headache
  • Windows not designed to read ext2, ext3, ReiserFS
  • FAT can be dealt with well by both Windows and Linux



  • when start up, either get to desktop, or need to login with username
  • easy to install programmes
  • big security problems, virus, rootkits, worms, spyware


  • very strict distinction - 'normal' user and root user
  • root user can access everything - modify system and access all files, create users
  • users have access to their files only, can launch programmes but cannot install new software
  • Kubuntu has it's own way of dealing with this : sudo, need to type in password of user who installed Kubuntu

File Permissions[edit]

Windows: not really an issue ; did not exist in Windows ME and before Linux:

  • user who owns the file - group - other users
  • read - write - execute

[https://] w:File system permissions


  • (k)ubuntu help documetation
  • forums
  • icq
  • bug reports


not sure yet if it's good to show installation.... if so, then show dual boot, using second HD

Make it your own -- Configuring Kubuntu 6.06[edit]

  • demonstrate concepts froim earlier
  • create second user
  • KWallet
  • show where things are
    • progs
    • install new software - upgrade?


Installing Software[edit]


Copying stuff from Windows[edit]

Use it -- The Most common Tasks[edit]

Deal with files[edit]

copy , backup , find Konqueror ; archive ; beagle


How to browse the Internet ; write an e-mail ; Use instant messaging

  • IE6 - uninstallable ; picks up lots of spyware
    • adverts
  • MSN - uninstallable ; login at startup

Entertain yourself[edit]

How to listen to my music or watch videos w:amaroK and w:Mplayer/VLC music

  • show how to back up a CD with w:KaudioCreator
    • preferable using a Sony CD with their XCP rootkit http://  ; http://
    • discuss ripping using ogg vorbis and flac formats (advantages) ; recommend Ogg Vorbis players - list at http://
    • then rip into mp3, since this is the most common format and can be played on iPods
    • mention legal issues - mp3, patents, fair use
  • demonstrate w:amaroK with ripped files
  • access files on w:iPod with amarok http://
  • put mp3s on w:iPod
  • get some mp3s from iPod, mix with ripped mp3 and make new mix
  • burn using w:K3b


  • watch a DVD
  • backup a DVD (fair use)
  • download video files
  • show democracy player ?

How to edit an image and manage my digital photo collection[edit]

w:The Gimp (or w:Gimpshop, or w:Krita) and w:Picasa

  • mention photo management software native to Linux
  • demonstrate Picasa, since many people use it on Windows
    • installation
    • explain folders, etc etc.
    • import of photos
    • Picasa image manipulation
    • use pic with lab, make into wallpaper?
  • mention Gimp
  • Krita
  • vector drawing?

How to write a text document or presentation[edit] - writer and impress ; how to make pdf files (and flash?)

  • MSOffice
    • open file in WinWord/PowerPoint
    • open file with virus in macro?
  • writer
    • open doc file (sent vie e-mail or Kopete?)
    • make poster ; import image from earlier
    • explain open document format
    • save as .rtf, and demonstrate that it can be opened in Winword (purged of macro virus?)
    • export as pdf
  • presentation
    • make v. similar to writer file
    • but make into little animation
    • save as flash
    • ability to open Powerpoint

Use it more -- Other common Tasks[edit]

Burn a CD/DVD[edit]


Use P2P[edit]

bittorrent (w:Ktorrent or w:azureus?) ; w:amule

Backup my CD or DVD collection (fair use)[edit]

Making the most of GNU/Linux[edit]

multiple screens Konsole APT SuperKaramba w:Blender w:Gimp w:Scribus

Glossary of GNU/Linux terms[edit]