Where to get a Linux ? This question comes to mind to any first time "wishing to try Linux" user. Linux operating system is for free and can be obtained by anyone with an Internet connection. This article is written for complete beginners and the aim of this article is to attempt to answer some fundamental questions such us "Where to get Linux" or Which Linux to get". Download links will be provided at the end of this article in "Where to get linux" section.
If you are already using Linux when reading this text this basic "where to get linux" article is surly not for you as it is intended for a very Linux beginners.
Before we answer a question on where to get linux, we need to understand two main differences between all Linux distributions. Any Linux operating system belongs to one of the following two groups:
Package management defines the rules on how the software ( packages ) will be installed on any particular system. Beyond this all Linux systems are very similar and if a user get comfortable with a command line administration and usage of Linux distribution with RPM, he would be very much like home when using DEB based Linux distribution.
However, graphical user interface so called GUI ( this is where you use your mouse and different types of windows ) may differ from distribution to distribution. But, this differences are very small and again there are two main GUI interfaces:
Most of the Linux distributions will allow you to installed and use both GUI interfaces, so when answering your question on which Linux to get, do not make GUI to decide for you which distro to choose. For example there is Ubuntu which has a default GUI gnome and then there is a Kubuntu which has a default GUI KDE. Nevertheless, the Ubuntu allows you to install KDE and vice versa. See "Where to get linux" section for Download links of Ubuntu and Kubuntu
One of the slowest growing Linux distributions in terms of new hardware support and GUI innovation is Debian Linux ( my favorite ). Debian Linux is for conservative users where reliability and stability is a number one priority.
On the other hand we have Ubuntu Linux distribution which implements a new hardware support with very fast pace and GUI interface changes rapidly with every new version. However, the drawback is that Ubuntu comes with lots of bugs which may make user's life difficult.
Despite of this I would recommend for beginners either Ubuntu or Fedora linux. Keep in mind that there are more then hundreds of other linux distributions to explore. Debian, Fedora and Ubuntu are just the top of the iceberg. See "Where to get linux" section for Download links of Debian, Ubuntu and Fedora.
Linux usually has very low hardware requirements. Depends on the distribution, it recognizes most or all of your hardware so no additional driver ( module ) installation is required. You do not need a special hardware to run Linux.
There is no need to install Linux if you want to just try it. Linux is able to boot and run from a CD-ROM. The main Live Linux distribution and the mother of all Live Linux distribution is a Knoppix Linux. All you need is to get Knoppix linux ISO image, burn it on CD / DVD, change your BIOS to boot from CD/DVD and start your PC. See "Where to get linux" section for Download links of Knoppix Linux.