If you decided to give a switch to Linux a try, first: Great to hav you on board 🙂 Second: Unfortunately you are faced with three of the biggest problems right at the beginning.
- You can’t just „install Linux“. Instead you have to pick a distro.
- You need to generate a bootable media.
- You must get the distro of your choice on your pc.
In fact there is a long going quarrel about the naming of any Linux based operating system. Many people say, one should call it „GNU/Linux“ (short for „GNU and“ or „GNU plus Linux“). To really understand and maybe even appreciate this debate, you need to understand some jargon first. In a technical sense, the thing reffered to as Linux is an operating system kernel. It is an amalgamation of programs that can talk to your computers hardware directly. They have for instance direct control over your memory, the cpu, your overpriced graphics card, … Everything from the on/off switch to the panel of your display. If any website wants to get an annoying pop up onto your screen, a long sequence of events unfolds, ending in a request to the kernel to activate certain pixels on the monitor.
„Physically“ the Linux kernel is a compressed image, so a file, usually located at your /boot directory and named something like „vmlinuz…“ (or something in that vein). The one my current os is using at this point is called „vmlinuz-5.13-x86_64“ and about 10 Megabytes in size. Uncompressed it might reach some dozen megs – it really depends on the distro amongst other things.
So it is a quite small, if very important, piece. It is important to note that the kernel in and of itself, while doing the most integral work on your machine, is no usefull software. Just as the motor of a car alone won’t get you anywhere – although I bet you a signed dollar that there is a meme / picture of someone riding not much more than an engine somewhere on the internet. It has to be used by