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Each of these distributions usually comes with literally hundreds if not thousands of various applications including Web servers, proxy servers, mail servers, DNS servers, several full suites of office applications, drawing packages, graphics packages, accounting tools and more. All this can be downloaded free or a CD-ROM can be purchased for just a few dollars with unlimited restrictions on the number of installs or copies that can be made. It is this cost savings along with the unchallenged stability of Linux, which has brought about the phenomenal growth and acceptance of his operating system.
Distributions, such as KNOPPIX or Mepis82 that boot and run directly from a CD offer an easy and low risk way of learning Linux. Since they will run directly from the CD and do not have to be installed on a hard disk, one can use Linux without the issues related to repartitioning a drive and the associated risk of data loss. Just insert the CD and reboot - for most systems; it is as easy as that. Additionally these CDs are useful as a rescue disk. Boot from the CD and a damaged hard disk file system can potentially be repaired, mounted and recovered.
It has frequently been said that Linux is difficult to learn, but actuality, most folks have forgotten the amount of effort it took to learn their first operating system. They have forgotten the many hours of struggles they experienced including; losing data, trying to figure out how to configure some new feature, even how to install and then launch a new application. However, at this point those folks reading a book like this are very knowledgeable of Windows. Now when they attempt to learn a new operating system it is just like learning a new language, strange, uncomfortable, somewhat difficult, since they do not know how to do the most common functions. These are all the growing pains of learning something new. The best way to learn Linux is to go install it on a system, play with it, it break it, make mistakes, correct them, try something new, install new applications. The best advice is to go get started.
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