Remember when you installed your very first Windows, added bells and whistles and then couldn’t see the wood for the trees any more and had to re-install??? Well, you’re in the same situation now: You’re a N00b again! Embrace it! 😇
I know right now you’re thinking: Why is this so much more difficult than Windows? Whereas in 6 months time, you’ll be like: Why can't I make Windows jump through fiery hoops like I do with Linux???
Windows has drives, Linux has a hierarchical file system
So Windows has drives:
- The C:-drive generally contains Windows and sometimes data
- The D:-drive (if present) contains data and hardly ever contains Windows itself.
- The maximum number of drives is 26 (A-Z)
- All drives that contain a known file system are always mounted automatically.
On the other hand, Linux has one huge file system:
- with an unlimited number of partitions (not disks, not drives!) ¹
- you can mount any partition of a disk anywhere in the file system! (Repeating that you cannot mount a disk, only a partition under Linux!)
- you can find the official documentation on the Linux File System Hierarchy Standard (FHS) in HTML / PDF / Text format here: FHS Homework assignment #1: read that! 😁
- No, really: read it!
- OK, you didn't read it; here's the FHS summary 😜
Huh? That sounds dumb! Why doesn't Linux mount partitions automatically??? That's because the Manjaro installer will manually mount only the absolute minimum number of partitions to get your system up and running! I.E. It will manually mount:
- / (always)
- /home (if you created such a partition)
- /boot/efi (If you have an UEFI system instead of a BIOS system)
and it will leave any other partitions alone to ensure you don’t mess them up! I.E. If you have a dual-boot system, Manjaro will not mount your Windows D: drive automatically!
If you want to have any other partitions available at every boot, you should read about fstab.
Linux has multiple GUIs
Windows has only one Graphical User Interface (GUI) depending on its version whereas, Linux has different Desktop Environments (DE) :
- XFCE: Lightweight, simple, best for beginning users
- KDE: lots of bells and whistles, good for recent and powerful hardware and people who like to tinker! 🛠️
- Gnome: Simple, the default for lots of distributions
Gnome like it should beBeefed-up Gnome with more bells and whistles.
- LXDE: comparatively low resource requirements. This makes it especially suitable for use on
- I3: Great for power users that need non-overlapping titling windows.
And all of the above come with their own:
- File Manager
- System Settings (Known to you as "Control Panel")
- Partition Manager (except XFCE: they need one of the others to be installed)
What you should remember is that mixing and matching DE's is not wise! More specifically:
- Don't install the Gnome Editor (`gedit`) on KDE but use `kate` instead because `gedit` will pull in a ton of libraries (and functionality) of Gnome which will bloat your system.
- Don't install 2 DEs for one user:
- You can have different DEs on a single computer
- Each user can have their own DE
- Having 2 DEs for one user is a recipe for disaster as one single configuration file might be used by 2 DEs for wildly different functionality and untangling this Gordian knot will be so complex that a reinstall is always easier.
Remember: You're a N00b again! You're going to re-install at least once! (Unless you're smarter than the authors of this article... 😁)
Linux has multiple file systems
Windows has one file system: NTFS (and if you include the DOS FAT file system it has two. **²**)
- EXT2, EXT3, EXT4: If you're unsure, take EXT4 as that is the newest member of that family and the most used Linux File System (FS) on desktops.
- BtrFS: "Better FS" is good for servers or if you have a beefy computer and want FS resilience
- And even more than you'll ever need
- And guess what? Linux can also read and write to NTFS 👍 although it cannot do CHKDSKs, defrag such volumes nor can it change its permissions 👎 , so *before* you finally wipe Windows from your machine,please, please, please first convert any NTFS volumes to EXT4 or any other Linux FS you're comfortable with!
Linux has multiple kernels
Windows has different versions and each version has its own kernel. So basically Windows has one kernel for Windows 8, one for Windows 10 another for Windows 11, ... (One of the authors of this wiki distinctly remember saying about Windows Version 1.0: Huh, what a piece of crap, that'll go nowhere! Let me buy SideKick instead! and history proved him wrong...) 😁
Linux can have multiple kernels and please remember that:
- LTS = Long Term Support = ultra-stable
- Stable = Stable Development Kernel
- RC = Release Candidate = Unstable development kernel
- Keep an eye out on the End Of Life (EOL) dates for LTS kernels here and for non-LTS kernels here
It's always a good idea to have at least one Long Term Support (LTS) kernel installed
It's always a good idea to have at least one fall-back kernel installed. E.G. In the case of 5.10 LTS, that would be 5.4 LTS; in the case of 5.14 Stable, that would be 5.10 LTS; ...
It's only a good idea to have a non-LTS kernel installed if:
- you have very new hardware and none of the LTS kernels work for you. "What should I be aware of if I'm not on an LTS kernel?"
- you're a developer and want to test your applications with the latest but not necessarily greatest kernels out there.
- the whole point of having Manjaro is to test out new things like new kernels and filing bugs with the developers that don't have your technical knowledge.
- to install different kernels, use the `kernel` GUI program or the `mhwd-kernel` CLI program.
- E.G. to install the latest LTS kernel at the time of this writing execute:
mhwd-kernel --install linux510
Linux doesn’t have a registry!
OK, OK: the Gnome DE (Desktop Environment, see above) has something called "the dconf database" which is similar to but different from the registry, mostly used for the DE itself whereas most applications will still use config files. (see below) All other DEs have config files, 'just like all Windows versions prior to Windows 95':
- system config files are located in `/etc`
- user config files are in `~/.config`:
- `~` is an abbreviation for "your home directory"
- `.config` is a hidden directory: (I.E. Any directory starting with a `.` is hidden and you probably have to press Ctrl+H in your DE's File Manager to see these.)
- Application config files can reside somewhere else though that happens rarely..
What’s the difference between BIOS and UEFI?
All that good stuff is explained in our BIOS_and_UEFI section.
The terminal is your best friend!
This is how you install software in Linux
The Community side of Linux
Linux is a self-help OS
You're part of a community now!
What is this 'Upstream' and 'Downstream" business?
Other tips and tricks
FHS The Official documentation by the Linux Foundation (Yeah: where Linus Torvalds lives) 😊