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Getting a Linux installation up and running needn't be a very difficult task. Also, it's a quite interesting exercise for a non–IT person to try because it requires a little thought and a bit of effort.

Once you've got the system up with some software added, you can start to get more ambitious. Adding other software is simply a matter of following the steps described in this article.

Again, VMWare makes life easier because you don't have to create new disk partitions. The addition of a desktop GUI transforms the Linux system from a server to a kind of workstation.

In reality, Linux doesn't really differentiate between server and workstation but the addition of a GUI certainly makes life easier for anyone learning the operating system. Also, Ubuntu provides a decent choice of GUI depending on your system setup.

There's really no reason why Linux should be considered an expertise outside the range of any programmer. Once you're up and running with a working system, you'll probably wonder what all the fuss is about. It's perfectly possible to use Linux inside the Windows environment. Or you can go the distance and install a native version of Linux.

Running a Linux system for testing software is also a good opportunity to see how your code works outside the Windows (or Mac) environment. It's also a good skill to add to your arsenal!

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