Beginner questions for people with Linux experience


New Member
Hello all, I have an older laptop (Windows 8) and planning on upgrading in the next year or so. I first had an interest in learning hacking thus downloading and playing around with Kali Linux. I learnt that there is a lot of learning to do before I can feel comfortable using Linux. I am now thinking I will buy a new laptop and I will download and run Ubuntu or Linux Mint as the primary OS. But I just can't justify switching from Windows to Linux. I do realize it will take some time to learn and I do not find it difficult to learn Linux but it does take some comittment and seems overwelming at first. I have no problem using some basic commands in the "terminal" at the moment.

I mostly use my laptop for browsing the net (Google Chrome/Firefox), using Open Office Spreadsheet to calculate my hours for work, and other misc. things.

Would Open Office work with Linux?

I was able to sucessfully download and install Firefox on Kali Linux... Today I downloaded and installed Google Chrome and I was able to use it, however when I closed the Google Chrome window I couldn't figure out how to open it again (there was no icon on the desktop like the Firefox icon that I can click on) and I got frustrated. I followed some instructions online on how to install Google Chrome mostly by copy and pasting specific commands into the "terminal".

Would an experienced user of Linux just know how to install Google Chrome or other software/programs? Or would they have to do what I did and look for the specific commands from another website and copy/paste into the terminal (example: wget I'm not sure how I would find this without first downloading an internet browser.

I've also heard of how customizable Linux is. Could someone give me some examples of what sort of things are customizable? Is it just desktop colours and font? What could someone like me potentially do in Linux to make my everyday life easier than if I used Windows?

Sorry for the long post and the noob style questions haha. Hopefully someone is willing to give me their advice and convince me to switch to Ubuntu or Mint.


Super Moderator
Staff member
Gold Supporter
G'day @Dstar22 and welcome to :):)

I am only passing through right now, will be back later, but others will be along I expect.

One quick answer for you:

Would Open Office work with Linux?
Yes, eminently so - OO 4.1.9 released 7 Feb is the latest, you will be able to download it from the Apache Open Office site.

You will first have to uninstall LibreOffice which ships installed with Mint and Ubuntu and many other Linux Distros. Why? Because LO was forked from OO a few years ago, and they are too similar to run side by side.

More on this when I get a chance.


Chris Turner


Staff member
Hey Dstar, welcome to!

Yep, you can use open office as Wiz said, or you can give LibreOffice a shot since it's a fork and (maybe) better. It'd be similar and have all of the tools you're used to in Open Office.

As far as a good distribution to start with, Kali would not be it. Once you're in Ubuntu or the like, you'll be able to flow through a bit easier. Once you install chrome for example, you'll find it in the application menu under 'internet' or whatever.

Customization, yes! You can do whatever you want. Most things are open source that you're using, so you can even go in and change the characteristics of any of the software, add functionality, etc..

Most of us (well, me at least) just use it how it comes, then add in things like little scripts to make things easier - like a little script asking for my work hours which ends up putting into a csv i can import to an excel type product.

I'm in the terminal a LOT, so I basically just keep notes and other text files in different directories, use git to keep things synced between laptops, etc..

I'll let some others pipe in.



Well-Known Member
Ubuntu or Mint, as suggested above and elsewhere on the site, are both good for new users. The install procedures are generally logical, but complete and flexible, and the installed distro is entirely menu driven, but also with the ability to easily use the command line.

Chrome is not included in any distro out of the box, that I know. But Chrome is available from Google and in a variety of packaging methods. If you go with Ubuntu or Mint, there is a "DEB" package (somefilename.deb) for Chrome that can be downloaded and installed via the GUI file manager or via command line.

As indicated by others, LibreOffice is included in Ubuntu and Mint, along with many other distros. It is derived from OpenOffice and is a very capable office suite on its own. LO will directly work with OO files to the best of my knowledge, and a move from OO to LO should be quite familiar and easy.

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