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Old 04-22-2012, 06:17 PM   #1
BobW
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Beginners Linux guide for a capable Windows user.


Hi,

Hoping this question has not been asked before. (I've searched and cannot see this exact request).
I've been around computers since the days of the Sinclair Spectrum and used to program quite happily in Sinclair Basic, and on the the QL. Since then I've used but not programmed DR-DOS, then Windows 2, I'm at XP and have no to desire to move on up.

I regard myself as IT literate, understand Networking, read/write permissions, user levels, directory structures and the like. But Linux has set me back to the beginning.
I recently needed to boot into some defective windows PCs, so downloaded and set up Porteus Linux on a USB stick - worked straight out of the box and was able to get the information off the Windows PC's. I became interested in this OS, but my goodness its different !!
Where are the exe files ?
What are these weird directories (etc, bin, lib,) ?

So, my questions is. Is there a web site or book(s) that can tell me how to get to grips with Linux from the bottom up ?
I find them to be either too simplistic (this is a text file, etc) or way above my head (gbub boot loaders [sounds like something in the leaf litter!]).
Is there a middle ground for beginners, either web based or book based ?

Thanks for your time reading all of this.

Cheers
Bob
 
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Old 04-22-2012, 06:26 PM   #2
salasi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BobW View Post
Where are the exe files ?
.exe files are a Microsoft fixation. Forget it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BobW View Post
What are these weird directories (etc, bin, lib,) ?
http://www.pathname.com/fhs/

Quote:
Originally Posted by BobW View Post

So, my questions is. Is there a web site or book(s) that can tell me how to get to grips with Linux from the bottom up ?
I find them to be either too simplistic (this is a text file, etc) or way above my head (gbub boot loaders [sounds like something in the leaf litter!]).
http://linux.oneandoneis2.org/LNW.htm
 
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Old 04-22-2012, 07:49 PM   #3
TobiSGD
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There are many beginners guides for different purposes, like http://linuxcommand.org/index.php for a first insight in using the shell.
The best way to learn Linux, IMHO, is to install one and then have a look at the documentation for that distribution, so that you first learn the basic things, like installing software, playing with the different graphical environments, ... .
Once you have done that just pick yourself a topic (if you are somewhat experienced in programming shell scripting may be a good start) and learn about it. Most important: Forget the Windows way to do things.

There are two important questions that have to be solved for a successful start into Linux:
1. Which distribution will you use?
2. Which graphical environment (if any) will you use?

For 1.: The distributions mainly differ in two things:
a) The package management systems. Unlike in Windows, in Linux programs are installed using a central instance, the package management system. For almost any distro (there are of course exceptions) are different interfaces (or package managers) for that package management system available, for example in Debian you can use apt-get on the command-line and Synaptic in the GUI.
b) There main goal: There are distros that are aimed at new users and users that want to do anything in a GUI, like Ubuntu, Mint, Mepis or PCLinuxOS. There are also distros aimed at server usage, old hardware, being cutting-edge, being rock-solid, ... . These differences also cause that different distributions are perceived to have different "difficulty grades". For example, a distribution like Slackware, where almost all system configuration is done on the command-line is perceived by many people to be more difficult than a distribution that has a GUI dialog for everything. If that is really so depends solely on the user. I, for example (and I know I am not alone) prefer to use the command-line for configuration, in my eyes it is much simpler, more consistent and the to the point than clicking through a GUI interface, but as stated, other users may prefer it in a different way.
Having said that, the only way for you to find out what you prefer is to try a few distributions and see which way you like.

For 2.: Unlike Windows, in Linux the core system and the graphical environment are separated.
Linux has several complete desktop environments (DEs), that come with the basic tools you expect from a system, like text editor, calculator, browser, ... . The most common are Unity, Gnome, KDE and XFCE. There are also some newer ones, like LXDE and Razor-Qt that may not be so stable and feature rich like the bigger ones.
Also available are the window managers (WMs), they come with nothing but the ability to decorate and handle your windows, but most of them are very configurable and easily extensible. This way you can assemble your own DE with a WM as base and your favorite software on top of it. The most common are the Boxes (Fluxbox, Openbox, Blackbox), Enlightenment, FVWM, WindowMaker, ... . There are also a bunch of tiling WMs (containing my facorite WM, wmii). To have a a first insight how all of those GUIs can look (most of them are highly customizable) just have a look in the screenshot section of LQ.
Which GUI you choose is dependent on two factors: Of course your personal taste, if you are a fan of eye-candy better go with KDE for example, and second your hardware specs. The "bigger" DEs (Unity, Gnome, KDE) are quite demanding when it comes to hardware resources and they may be quite slow on older machines, while the WMs will run on almost anything that can display graphics.
If you have a decent machine the same applies to GUIs as applies to distros: Just try them and see what works.

I hope that helps to get your first steps in Linux as trouble free as possible, have fun with it.
 
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Old 04-22-2012, 08:05 PM   #4
TroN-0074
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As mentioned above exe files don't work in Linux. So if you want to learn a little bit about the Gnu-Linux systems my suggestion for you will be to install it in a partition along side your Xp or just get a small computer that you can dedicate completely for the study and understanding of Linux. I think it is really useful and it really worth the trouble.


With the books the only thing I see is that Linux and pretty much all technology nowadays is changing soo fast that by the time you are done reading the book the system has already changed to incorporate new features that were not covered in the original reading material.

however here is the link to a book that you can read online or download for free in PDF
http://www.slackbook.org/html/index.html

you can also download some freebooks from this link http://www.fsf.org/campaigns/gnu-press/books/manuals

Good luck to you!
 
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Old 04-22-2012, 09:37 PM   #5
Darkmaze
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the best book for any unix-like system open terminal and type man man
 
Old 04-22-2012, 09:50 PM   #6
frankbell
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There is a wealth of documentation at the Linux Documentation Project. Garrels's Intro to Linux was my go-to reference when I started out. It's in the Guides section.

About dot com also has a pretty good Linux site.
 
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Old 04-22-2012, 10:13 PM   #7
chrism01
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Here's a good cli tutorial http://rute.2038bug.com/index.html.gz.
Once you've picked a distro, try this site www.linuxtopia.org ; loads of free to read manuals
 
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Old 04-24-2012, 03:59 AM   #8
ukiuki
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Also get as many live CDs as you can to try out the different distros without having to install them, there is a way to have several on one USB stick with Yummy. About the .exe .com .w/e the executable files from windows can't be directly run on Linux systems but there are workarounds to make them work(they might not work as expected though in some cases) with Wine.
About different distros if you are really willing to learn Linux it is a good thing to check out the "Elder" distros the fathers of all other distros:
Debian Debian Live
Redhat Fedora
Slackware
To have an idea about the Linux time line and birth/merge/death of all distributions look at http://futurist.se/gldt/
And yet about the DEs and WMs you can find more about at: http://xwinman.org/

Regards
 
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Old 04-24-2012, 04:38 AM   #9
pan64
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it is really hard to compare windows and linux. There is no registry in linux, but there are a lot of config files. There are no drives, but directories. there are also some similar (or lookalike) tools, like type, but they do almost always different things. The backslash is a "normal" slash in linux, the PATH separator is not the same either (by the way, PATH exists in both OSs). Windows identifies file types by extension, linux makes it by some magic recognition system. The permissions, access control system are also different. Usually it is not a good approach to find similarities or ask "how is it made in linux"....
 
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Old 04-24-2012, 06:04 AM   #10
cwizardone
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I would highly recommend, "Running Linux," now in its 5th edition.
I am stilling using my old 1st edition. The old saying, "The more things change, the more they stay the same" applies to Linux.


http://shop.oreilly.com/product/9780596007607.do

Last edited by cwizardone; 04-24-2012 at 10:12 AM. Reason: Typo.
 
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Old 04-24-2012, 06:35 AM   #11
SandsOfArrakis
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As Ukiuki has pointed out. Some Windows programs run fine in Linux using Wine. Others seem to be a no-go.
For example. I don't really like the usenet software Linux has. So I'm using Newsleecher and QuickPar instead. Both are Windows programs and work perfectly in Linux through Wine.

However. I love to listen to music. In the past I've bought a lot of music from the iTunes music store. Those files have a DRM type protection. And the only 2 programs which I have found that are able to play these files (iTunes and MediaMonkey) are both Windows programs. I've tried to install them both through Wine in Linux, but that wasn't a success. I've ended up installing Windows XP in VirtualBox. And install those programs there. So I'm booting Windows XP in Linux to be able to listen to my music.

Two months ago I'd decided to get rid of Windows 7 on my laptop and install Linux to test it out. Since I've been using Windows the last 17 years I'm used to a graphical interface. Not to typing in commands. I've settled on the Mint 12 distribution with KDE as it's desktop environment. The interface works very similar to Windows. I'd say it's nearly identical. For me, I felt straight at home. I hardly have to use the terminal and to me that's just perfect

I hope you'll have as much fun with Linux as I have.
 
Old 04-24-2012, 07:02 AM   #12
cwizardone
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SandsOfArrakis View Post
...However. I love to listen to music. In the past I've bought a lot of music from the iTunes music store. Those files have a DRM type protection. And the only 2 programs which I have found that are able to play these files (iTunes and MediaMonkey) are both Windows programs. I've tried to install them both through Wine in Linux, but that wasn't a success. I've ended up installing Windows XP in VirtualBox. And install those programs there. So I'm booting Windows XP in Linux to be able to listen to my music...
Have you tried something like Audacity to convert the iTunes so you can play them on Amarok?
 
Old 04-24-2012, 07:11 AM   #13
SandsOfArrakis
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cwizardone View Post
Have you tried something like Audacity to convert the iTunes so you can play them on Amarok?
Just tried that with Audacity. It doesn't work. Audacity opens the file. But can't play it. Exporting the 3.5 mb music file to mp3 ended up in a 2.6 kb mp3 file which only produced 1 click sound.

Last edited by SandsOfArrakis; 04-24-2012 at 07:13 AM.
 
Old 04-24-2012, 08:21 AM   #14
cwizardone
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We are getting way off topic, but it will work, check the procedures.

http://wiki.audacityteam.org/wiki/Ho...es_from_iTunes
 
Old 05-06-2012, 09:25 PM   #15
BobW
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Thank you all very much for your quick and expert replies.
I've followed a lot of the link and done a lot of reading.
The result . . . . I understand a great deal more than I did before. Still have some way to go, but its all making sense now.

Thanks again
 
  


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