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Appendix: Setting Up Your Own Linux for Learning

Choose A Linux Distribution

No matter what you do next, you will need to decide on a Linux distribution to download and install. Here are some links to popular distributions of Linux. Make sure you get the Desktop version, not the server version, of a particular distribution you want. Also make sure you download a version compatible to your target CPU.

Installing Linux on Your Own Computer (Single or Dual Boot)

If you are fortunate enough to have a spare computer (Windows or Mac OS) that you can use as a personal computer running Linux, then you can just pick a freely available Linux distribution and install it, either replacing the existing OS (single boot) or adding it as a second OS (dual boot). From a working computer of yours (this can be the spare computer or another computer), follow these three steps:

  1. Download a Linux distribution.

  2. Create a bootable CD/DVD or USB flash drive to be used on your target computer.

  3. Insert the media created in step 2 into the target computer, reboot, and install. Before rebooting, make sure you know how to cause your target computer to reboot from the USB or CD/DVD drive. When unsure, do a Web search on Boot From a CD or USB Drive on my PC.

When the Linux media boots, it usually offers you three options: use Linux from the media directly, install on hard drive as new system (replacing any old OS and perhaps reformatting the hard drive), or adding Linux as an additional OS that you can boot to.

You can experiment with Linux right from the media and install it later. See How to install Linux as an example with more details.

Installing Linux as a Virtual Machine

Applications such as VirtualBox, VMware and QEMU are virtualizers that can simulate hardware and run an operating system, Linux, Mac, or Windows, under the control of the OS on a host computer. Thus, a virtual machine can let you run different operating systems (and their applications) all under the same host computer.

Adding a VM running a Linux distribution of your choice on your own computer is another way for a student to begin experimenting with Linux.

Basically you first install a virtualizer then you install a Linux distribution under the virtualizer as a VM. You can install multiple VMs under

Here is a guide The Dead-Simple Guide to Installing a Linux Virtual Machine on Windows

Here is another guide How to Install Linux on Your Windows Using VirtualBox.

And here is yet another guideHow To Install Ubuntu Linux On Windows 10 In 24 Steps .

For more information please see: Beginner Geek: How to Create and Use Virtual Machines and The 6 Best Virtual Machine Software Programs

Installing Linux Inside a Container

Applications such as Docker (available for Windows and Mac OS) are containers that you can use to run Linux under Windows or Mac OS.

A container is an app that supplies enough code, run-time environment, and all other resources to run a particular application or even OS. Running Linux in a container is a good option for students who wish to experiment with Linux, especially for system admin. Follow these two steps:

  1. Install Docker on Your Computer (Windows or Mac OS).

  2. Start Docker and pick a Linux to install from the Docker Store. From the Docker Store main page search for Ubuntu, Fedora, KaliLinux, and so on and pull an image into your Docker.

For additional info see Get started with Docker for Windows and Setting up Kali Linux in Docker on Windows 10.

Virtual Machines on Linux Systems

This part may not be for Linux beginners. But we just wanted to indicate that virtual machines can also be run on Linux systems.

The GNOME-Boxes provides an easy way to create and use virtual machines on Linux. This means you can install Windows, Mac OS, and other Linux distributions inside gnome-boxes and run them as virtual machines.

Gnome-boxes is actually a GUI for QEMU/libvirt/KVM that combine to provide the ability to create and run virtual machines.

Install gnome-boxes with: dnf install gnome-boxes

To use gnome-boxes, your CPU/motherboard must support virtualization (Intel VT-x or AMD-V capable CPU+motherboard). Enable virtulization from BIOS processor or security submenus. And you must have libvirtd running.

For more informaton see Getting started with virtualization in Gnome Boxes and Easily Create a Virtual Machine on Linux with Gnome Boxes.