How to make the switch to a GNU/Linux OS
First, you’ll need to pick a Linux distro (a Linux variant), and there are literally hundreds, possibly even thousands of different distros, and they all have their own strengths, weaknesses, or specializations, depending on what you’re trying to do with them.
There are server distros, gaming distros, multimedia distros, desktop distros, privacy distros, etc. For our purposes, we are going to keep it simple stupid, and I will only recommend two of them, which are beginner-friendly.
- The first is Linux Mint, a distro-based on Debian & Ubuntu (two of the most popular Linux distros), which is rock solid stable, has a huge variety of software available, is compatible with lots of popular hardware, and is made to be easy to use for new Linux users. Everything tends to just work. The community is super-helpful should you need assistance with troubleshooting, too.
You can download Linux Mint here.
2. The second, is Manjaro Linux, a distro that is based on the very popular distro for Linux purists, Arch Linux. Manjaro is also very stable, and everything just works, also. It’s also another distro that was designed to be beginner-friendly, it’s compatible with lots of different hardware, and has a huge selection of available software. The Manjaro community is also super laid back and helpful.
You can download Manjaro Linux, here.
- You’ll need a USB stick. 8 GB should be enough.
- Next, download the ISO (installation image) for the distro you want to use.
- After you’ve downloaded your installation image (ISO), download a bootable USB creator app like Etcher or Rufus and install it.
- Create a bootable USB by burning the ISO image of your Linux distro to your USB stick, using the Etcher or Rufus app you downloaded.
Step 3 – Pre-install preparations for Windows users. (Mac users can skip this step)
For Windows users, you’ll need to disable secure boot, in order to boot the Linux image from the USB stick, instead of the Windows installation already on your hard drive.
If you go to Windows Defender Security Center, and click on Device Security, you’ll be taken to a screen which will show you if secure boot is currently enabled on your machine. If it isn’t enabled, you can proceed to the next step. If it is enabled, you’ll need to disable it.
You’ll see something like this if it is enabled on your desktop or laptop.
To turn off secure boot, there are a few simple steps:
- Navigate to “Settings”
- Click on “Update & Security”
- Click on “Advanced Startup Options”
- Click “Reboot” it will restart your computer and when it restarts, it will show you advanced startup options.
- Select UEFI Firmware settings.
This will take you to your computer’s BIOS system. From here, we can turn off Secure Boot. Navigate to the heading that says “Boot”. Use the arrows to select Secure Boot, click enter, then use the arrows to select disabled, and hit enter, again.
While we’re here, make sure you change the Boot Option Priorities with the arrows (or F5 & F6, on some machines), so that your USB drive boots first (the USB drive is in the option #1 slot), ahead of the internal hard drive of your PC. After you’ve done this, click F10 to save and exit.
Secure Boot is now disabled, your USB is set to boot first, and we can now proceed to the next step.
The next step is to boot up your Linux distro from your bootable USB stick we made in Step 2.
For Windows users, you just need to shutdown your PC, stick the USB in a USB port and boot it up. You should see the Linux distro displayed on your screen. It will automatically enter the Live USB desktop environment after a few seconds.
You’ll be running a live version of either Manjaro or Mint from directly off the USB, nothing has been installed yet. You can navigate around and check it out, see what apps come with your install, and get a feel for things. You may also want to connect to Wifi/internet before we begin the install process in the next step.
For Mac users, while your computer is shutdown, stick the USB into a USB port and power the machine on, while also holding down the Option key. This will bring up your EFI Boot option, select it and press enter.
You’ll see the Linux screen, before it automatically boots into the Live environment, press the “e” key and on the line that begins with “Linux” move the cursor to the section of the line that says “quiet splash” and type “nomodeset”.
It should look like this:
linux /casper/vmlinuz.efi file=/cdrom/preseed/ubuntu.seed boot=casper quiet splash nomodeset —
Press F10 to save the settings and boot into the Live Desktop environment. Make sure you connect to wifi or your internet, while in the live environment.
Both distros, Manjaro & Mint have a similar installation process. From the Live Desktop Environment, you’ll see a CD icon on the desktop, & in the start menu, which says either install Manjaro:
Or for Mint, it will say install Mint:
Double click the CD Icon which launches the installer and follow the onscreen instructions. You’ll create a user, password, admin password, select your preferred language, time zone and hard disk partitions.
When choosing your partitions, you’re allocating disk space for the install. You can choose to keep your existing Windows/Mac install and dual-boot Linux alongside (not recommended, dual booting can cause lots of issues which are technical in nature, and can be frustrating to new Linux users), or delete the Windows/Mac installation, burn it to ashes, and never look back.
I recommend deleting Windows/Mac, it’s spyware to begin with, and there is nothing you can do on those operating systems, that you can’t also do in Linux. This includes running Windows/Mac software in a compatibility/emulation layer, or even running the complete Windows/Mac OS in a virtual machine on your Linux install.
After you decide on your partitions, and whether you’ll keep or discard your snitch-ware OS, make sure to select “encrypt hard disk” & add a strong password, so you can secure you data. In Mint, you have the additional option to also encrypt your home folder, which is just extra protection.
You can also choose to overwrite all empty disk space, which will make your computer even more secure, but it takes a long time, if you have a large drive. Sometimes, it can take days, so keep that in mind if you have older hardware.
After you’ve decided on your settings and preferences, click “install now”. Depending on your hardware, web connection and installation options, it could take a few minutes, or an hour. When it has finished installing, you’ll be directed to reboot, remove the installation USB and boot into your shiny new Linux OS.
You are now part of the Free Open Source Software revolution. In the next post, we will cover how to harden your install and make your system more secure, and I’ll cover some “must have apps” I always add to any Linux install, so I can get work done.
Take your power back with a FOSS OS
The answer to these scummy companies spying, tattling on you, trying to deplatform you and shutdown your free speech is to just walk away and never use their garbage again. There are several great alternative foss operating systems, which offer complete freedom and privacy.
The overwhelmingly most popular foss OS is GNU/Linux, but there are others like the BSD’s, Plan 9, and the Solaris variants. For the purposes of this article (to teach you how to switch to a foss OS as painlessly as possible) we’ll be focusing on GNU/Linux, because it is the most developed, and most accessible.
That being said there is a bit of a learning curve, regardless. So, you’ll need to be ready to learn a new and better way to do things. It’s not that difficult, and watching a couple videos on YT on how to use Linux can help you hit the ground running. There’s also a bunch of free Linux ebooks available in PDF.
The 2 most popular Operating Systems are malware
Let’s face it, the world’s most popular operating systems are notorious malware designed to hoover up your data and turn it over to the powers that be. They are so unbelievably bad at privacy, that I like to call them snitch-ware.
For example, the Washington Post reported that Mac users were routinely spied upon in their own homes and offices by the webcams on their Mac devices. The light which turns on when the camera is in use was not even triggered. This is supposed to be impossible, according to Apple. How often are they watching and listening to you on a normal day?
Mac’s new OS, Big Sur, is even more egregious in its abuse of Mac customers. The newest Mac OS logs everything you do and reports it back to Apple. This means every time you use any app, anywhere you use your laptop, for how long and why, is being sent back to Apple.
In the past, firewalls, VPNs, and other apps could obsfuscate what you’re doing with your device, but thanks to Apple’s new API, now even privacy apps won’t keep you private. This is only going to get worse.
Windows is just as bad, with the additional risk of being fundamentally more insecure than Mac OS. This means that on a Windows machine, you’re not only going to have to worry that the Alphabet boys won’t monitor your laptop and throw you in a gulag for thought crimes, you also have to worry about hackers and common criminals, stealing your identity and banking info.
Windows spies on you just as much, and like Mac, they are logging every app you use, the networks you connect to, your location, and for how long you use your computer and for what. Both Mac & Windows will actively rat you out to law enforcement, and the police don’t even need a warrant or probable cause.
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I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. – Philippians 4:13