Many of users, though hearing a lot about free software and Linux in particular, have never tried to install any of Linux distributions. Of course, there are a lot of different reasons for that, but the one of them we are going to discuss consists in the fact that they don’t know how to do it and are afraid of “spoiling” the system (generally Windows) currently installed.
In fact Linux installation is much easier than the majority of users may think it to be; it can hardly be considered more complex than the one of Windows. The only thing users should remember is that they need to install it on a different disk because in most cases Linux distributions are installed as a second operating system; but we will talk about it in detail a little bit later…
As regards the system requirements they are pretty the same as the ones for Windows XP, so there is no need to have a high-end computer in order to try Linux. Moreover, the installation program automatically detects your computer’s hardware and you don’t usually need to supply it with any specific details about your system; though you should make sure that your hardware meets the minimum requirements of the distribution you’ve chosen.
In addition to that it should be emphasized that generally all distributions support graphical and text-based installations. Only systems with more that 192MB of RAM or that boot from the installation DVD or Live Media can use the graphical installer. For the text-based installation you should have at least 64MB of RAM.
Before we start it should be mentioned that in this certain case we will review the installation of Fedora 11. However if you decide to install different Linux distribution (please read this post to check the most popular ones), you won’t encounter any problems, because in general the installation process is very similar. Moreover it will be much better if you choose a Live version, because you will have the opportunity to check the way system works.
The Installation Process
First of all make sure that you have a separate partition prepared for the installation of the distribution (you can use Acronis Disk Director Suite, Paragon Partition Manager and etc); however this step is not an obligatory one. Burn a CD or DVD from the distribution image. Check if the system boots from CD- or DVD-ROM. If you using a Live version of a distribution, it’s a great idea to test the system.
As soon as you boot from CD or DVD with the Linux distribution the system will be loaded, though it doesn’t mean that it’s already installed on your PC or laptop. I would strongly recommend you to spend some time checking system in action, just to make sure that you’ve made a right decision as far as the distribution is concerned. Here is the way Fedora Live version works:
a) The screen you see while the system is loading to start
b) Choosing the language of the system and keyboard
c) The desktop of the system that has just started
d) Checking the functionality and the software available without the need to be installed
Finally when you’re done with the checking and are ready to start, just double-click “Install to Hard Drive” icon in order to initialize the installation process.