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Confessions of a Linux newbie

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This year my one-and-only New Year's resolution was to begin the transition to open-source software in general and Linux in particular. I thought I was just setting out to learn a new operating system. In fact, I was entering an entirely new world of computing.

My Linux education began with a lesson in community. I struggled to get Ubuntu, my distribution (or "distro") of choice, to recognize either of my two wireless adapters. One of many comments to the blog post in which I described my wireless woes pointed me to a program that got me connected in no time.

Not long after that, I spent the better part of an afternoon troubleshooting my inability to get Flash animations to play on my Linux laptop. I found the solution on one of the Web's many informative Linux user forums (there's more about these resources below). The site listed all the "extras" I had to download and install. The process taught me that Linux is an on-demand operating system that bundles only software that's truly free (which excludes Adobe's Flash Player and most other media players).

It's more than a product; it's a movement

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