“The enjoyment of one’s tools is an essential ingredient of successful work.” Donald E. Knuth

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Welcome to the world of GNU/Linux. GNU/Linux is more than a computer operating system (OS). It is an ecosystem through which I hope we can all share experiences through the freedom of open source. The freedom is the freedom to do as you want with the software that we contribute to the ecosystem, with very few, and ideally no, restrictions, except the requirement to maintain our freedoms.

This book aims to allow you to quickly get started with GNU/Linux, and to share the excitement of a fun and productive environment for interacting with our devices. GNU/Linux is a complete and mature operating system that can replace Microsoft’s Windows or Apple’s MacOS. If you are limited to using another OS, then Microsoft’s Windows Subsystem for Linux provides a full GNU/Linux experience within Microsoft’s Windows/10 and Mirrors on the Apple MacOS supports virtual machines running GNU/Linux.

The book is a guide to the many different regions of a GNU/Linux system with a focus on getting the computer environment to do what is required of it. It is comprehensive, beginning with basic support for the user who installs and maintains the system themselves (whether in the home, office, club, school, or enterprise) through to providing insights and step-by-step procedures that deal with specific tasks.

The book covers many of the core features of a GNU/Linux system. With this knowledge comes the enjoyment to use one of the most comprehensive and useful developments in the history of computing, as well as the most widely used operating system ever (Android is built on GNU/Linux).

The basis of our ecosystem is freedom: the freedom to choose, the freedom to learn, the freedom to change, the freedom to share, the freedom to contribute, the freedom to live, the freedom to enjoy, and the freedom to communicate through the code and tools we write. Never let that freedom be taken from us.

On completing an install of GNU/Linux (which may take an hour or so depending on network connectivity) it is ready to use with all of the applications that you expect to be available, or at least a quick install away. All of the major classes of desktop tools are covered in this book, including word processing, spreadsheets, personal information management, graphics, databases and, of course, games. Tools for developers are well represented, and indeed it is worth noting that many serious developers use GNU/Linux as their platform of choice.

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