If you'd like to try a CMS privately on your desktop, you can usually run it within a program called VirtualBox. But if your desktop is Linux, you probably have another option. You can install the CMS on your actual operating system.
Your Linux Distribution May Include This CMS
If you're interested in a major CMS, such as WordPress or Drupal, there's a good chance that your distribution includes this software. (Remember, most of the servers running WordPress and Drupal sites are probably on Linux operating systems.)
Install the CMS With a Single Command
A web-based CMS usually requires extra software to run properly. This is why, on a Windows or Mac, you can't just go to the Drupal Start page, download "Drupal", and expect it to work.
On Linux, however, if your package manager handles software dependencies, it will get all this extra software automatically. Installing WordPress or Drupal could be as easy as a single command.
For instance, on Debian-based systems (such as Ubuntu), you can get Drupal 7 with:
apt-get install drupal7
Your distribution will (or should) download not only Drupal, but all the other software you need.
Similarly, for WordPress, you would type:
apt-get install wordpress
apt-get is the package manager for Debian-based
systems. Your Linux distribution may use a different, but
similar, command, such as
(Not all package managers handle dependencies. On Slackware,
pkgtool does not manage dependencies.
You'll need to download things like Apache
Pros of Installing a CMS on Your Linux Desktop
One command. Very easy. There's a good chance this will Just Work.
Uses less memory and CPU then running a virtual machine in VirtualBox.
Cons of Installing a CMS on Your Linux Desktop
The major con is that WordPress or Drupal will install to your desktop operating system. You're running an actual web server! And it's enmeshed with your desktop. This may have bad side effects:
If you have already configured various Internet settings, such as your firewall, you may have to reconfigure for the CMS to work.
You may not want all that server software running in the background after you finish playing with the CMS.
There are possible security risks, depending on how your system configures the setup.
If you download any unsafe modules, you could compromise your actual system.
You can't (technically, shouldn't), use this to make a real site on the Internet with your desktop. However, you can always export your work to a real site later.
You Can Always Use VirtualBox
If these drawbacks make you nervous, you can always use VirtualBox instead.