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Old 06-02-2016, 12:23 PM   #1
cbrookej
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Question Can non-geek learn to use Linux?


I have been using Microsoft OSs since DOS. I learned enough to use the programs without too much difficulty, but I not enough to understand the Linux support articles I have found so far. Windows 10 has given me a powerful reason to take another look, with the same result. The support articles I found were over my head; I didn't understand all of the vocabulary.

Is there any way this semi-computer literate non-geek can learn to use Linux? I have been told that the easiest aproach for a Windows user is the Cinnamon version with the Mint GUI. That is what I investigated most recently.

Can anyone tell me of a source of comprehensible instruction and support?
 
Old 06-02-2016, 12:29 PM   #2
Emerson
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Welcome to LQ!

Non-geek can use Cinnamon, Mate, KDE, Gnome, and many others no problem. Technically speaking these desktop environments are not Linux, they are applications that run on Linux. I have installed Mint Mate to many people who have no clue what OS is and they are using it happily ever after.
 
Old 06-02-2016, 12:35 PM   #3
alberich
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I am sure you can also learn to exchange the timing belt from your car or to to successfully remove the appendix from a human.

Some linux Mint documentation is here https://www.linuxmint.com/documentation.php

But also with a google search or in this forum you can obtain all information.

If you are curious and persistent/motivated it will help the task. Also if you have experience with computers.

But Linux most surely works also for non-geeks.
 
Old 06-02-2016, 12:42 PM   #4
Timothy Miller
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My friend that I used to work with uses it, and he's about as non-geeky as it gets (except with VW's), so definitely.
 
Old 06-02-2016, 01:22 PM   #5
notKlaatu
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I could be deluding myself, but before I got into Linux, I myself was a "non-geek". It kind of annoys me, actually, when people look at me using Linux and say things like "well you can do that; you're a geek", like I didn't have to teach myself anything new, I just found Linux one day and installed it and started using it.

Nothing could be farther from the truth! I was in art school, I didn't even own a laptop. I was very much not a geek. But I had an interest in Linux because it was handling video a lot better than the computer I was using (which broke certain video formats, intentionally, to force me to buy better software that would handle the formats), and I had just discovered the concept of Open Source, so I was very interested in using it.

The rest is history.

So yes, "non-geeks" can learn Linux. Just be warned: if you do learn Linux, people will tell you that you're a geek.
 
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Old 06-02-2016, 01:31 PM   #6
thekore
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cbrookej View Post
I have been using Microsoft OSs since DOS. I learned enough to use the programs without too much difficulty, but I not enough to understand the Linux support articles I have found so far. Windows 10 has given me a powerful reason to take another look, with the same result. The support articles I found were over my head; I didn't understand all of the vocabulary.

Is there any way this semi-computer literate non-geek can learn to use Linux? I have been told that the easiest aproach for a Windows user is the Cinnamon version with the Mint GUI. That is what I investigated most recently.

Can anyone tell me of a source of comprehensible instruction and support?
Welcome to Linux!

You can learn to use linux just as easily as changing from windows 98 to windows xp, or windows xp to windows 10. I will use Linux as the general term for an operating system, but if you wish to look at using linux my best advice to you would use either Ubuntu, Fedora or Mint. All have great hardware support out of the box but there are some differences.

Ubuntu
  • + Well supported within the community
  • + Backed by a large corporate body
  • + Known as a "newbie" distribution
  • + Includes propriety drivers and non-free software (e.g. audio codecs)
  • - Can be "Clunky / Slow / Unresponsive at times

Ubuntu's default desktop environment Unity can be a little harder to grasp, other DE's such as MATE can be installed but may require a little work to get working the way you want it.

Fedora
  • + Well supported within the community
  • + Based off Red Hat Enterprise distributions
  • + Known as a "newbie" distribution
  • + Performs quicker than Ubuntu (citation required)
  • - Includes NO propriety drivers or non-free software (e.g. audio codecs / flash)

Fedora includes no non-free software and is considered a pure distribution. To get a more user friendly experience work is required to install media codecs and get flash player etc working however these are very well documented on the internet and other repositories can be added so that the software you install will still be kept up-to-date. By default Fedora uses Gnome3 as a Desktop Environment which again can be a little different to many Windows users but MATE and Cinnamon DE's are very easily installed.

Mint

As for Mint it has been a very long time since i have played around with it, from what i can remember it ran quicker than ubuntu and the Mate / Cinnamon Desktop Environments are considered easier for Windows users to use. So i cant be too much help here unfortunately.

What i can tell you for a fact is this. Whatever distribution of Linux you wish to use it can be customised to your liking. It can take a little work to get to the state you are hoping for but if you like the sound of Fedora but want to have all the media codecs you require and use the MATE desktop instead of the default Gnome, no problem these can be installed. If you want to use Ubuntu but want to use the Cinnamon desktop no problem it can be installed easily.

If you want to learn linux, the first rule is "do not be afraid of the command line". The internet is full of resources which can help you learn and understand linux and one of the best communities for this is right here. Linuxquestions is renowned for its community, you may have to wait for a response but you will get one. Other than that Linux distributions own forums and wikis are a great place to start.

I switched from Windows in the XP days and Linux is now my primary OS, i have a Windows 10 system purely for some games that do not have linux ports and some obscure software that i am working on replacing in linux. I am far from a linux guru, with linux you learn everyday
 
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Old 06-02-2016, 02:25 PM   #7
linustalman
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Hi cbrookej.

Welcome to Linux land. And to answer your q, yes.
 
Old 06-02-2016, 02:51 PM   #8
biosboy4
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Non-geeks can easily learn linux. However, I expect after you've dived in that you may turn into one considering how awesome it is.

lol
 
Old 06-02-2016, 06:22 PM   #9
cbrookej
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Still stuck

Thanks to all who replied. You have assured me that I can learn to use Linux, but you haven't told me how/where to learn.

I have spent a few hours looking for help with Linux, and I still haven't found instructions and support which I can understand. Vocabulary has been a major issue. A glossary would be a huge help. One instruction I found involved changing the BIOS; I've been there, and there is much (most?) in there that I don't understand. One long sequence of actions (with side trips) which I found looked to me like a potential minefield.

Using DOS/Windows for thirty years has not prepared me to use the information about Linux which I have found so far.

Can you tell me where I can find more comprehensible instruction and support? It would have to require a lower level of sophistication than materials I have found so far. A glossary would be a very big help.
 
Old 06-02-2016, 06:32 PM   #10
yancek
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http://www.tldp.org/LDP/Linux-Dictio...Dictionary.pdf

http://manuals.bioinformatics.ucr.edu/home/linux-basics

http://www.tldp.org/LDP/intro-linux/html/

When you decide on a particular Linux distribution, check their site or post back as many of the major distributions will have downloadable manuals specific to that distribution.
 
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Old 06-02-2016, 06:52 PM   #11
alberich
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cbrookej View Post
I have been using Microsoft OSs since DOS. I learned enough to use the programs without too much difficulty...
Probably it is an understatement that you are a non-geek. When I (re-)read your posts I think you had a lot of difficulties with the known computer systems you used until now.

If it is difficult for you to learn the meaning of basic technical terms, then be prepared to invest about 30 hours in learning until you get linux installed. Depending on your learning skills it can be more or less.

Nobody here can teach you several dozens of terms. You can google for many linux glossaries and for each and every term.

If your are a social learning type then rather attend a course or find someone who will teach you in person. Because it is hard to explain large amounts of basics knowledge in writing. In person it is much more efficient to be taught all that. Like said, if you are a social learning type. Other learning types will learn a lot through own research of written ressources, starting with a search engine.

Last edited by alberich; 06-02-2016 at 07:02 PM.
 
Old 06-02-2016, 08:12 PM   #12
sundialsvcs
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LQ is an excellent resource ... one of the very-best on the Internet.

Set up Linux in a virtual machine, using the VirtualBox virtual-machine monitor, which is free and which is backed (and heavily used) by Oracle Corporation. (Yeah, the huge-database people ...)

(If you like, purchase an external hard-drive and use this for your virtual machines.)

When you're using a VM, you are free to experiment. You can "snapshot" the machine, try something totally stupid, get yourself into serious ... then "restore from the snapshot" and magically be right back where you started. (Cool ...) Linux will run nearly as fast in a VM as it does in real life. (Most of the world's web-hosts run on virtual machines.)

Be prepared to "take a sip from a fire-hose." Even though you are very familiar with Windows, and therefore with what Windows does, be prepared for the fact that this is a very different world. ("Very different," and yet in some ways it isn't.) Expect frustrations to sneak up behind you on the street and say, "boo!" It's all part of the learning process ... the initial moments that rather feel like someone just hit you in the face with a cast-iron skillet.

Last edited by sundialsvcs; 06-02-2016 at 08:13 PM.
 
Old 06-02-2016, 08:17 PM   #13
Fred Caro
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The basic trouble is, at least in the UK, you are not exposed to Linux because you cannot buy it off the self so you have to get it by other means, usually from the internet (not that risky because you have md5sum and the like) and then burn it to disk. then install it or run as a live disk.

Run as a live disk?

Download,md5sum check(can be optional),burn the image to disk.


boot computer

set the bios to boot from cd/dvd first

(save and exit bios)


If you have UEFI, then you might need to disable that and set to 'legacy'


The best way to learn is to use it. Note Linux is not a Windows substitute just an improvement.

Fred.
 
Old 06-02-2016, 08:35 PM   #14
pholland
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Welcome, brother!

Your experience is similar to mine. I'm on Linux Mint Cinnamon 17.3. The 17.2 guide has helped me a lot.

https://www.linuxmint.com/documentat...glish_17.2.pdf

Good luck and keep asking questions!
 
Old 06-02-2016, 09:25 PM   #15
rokytnji
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Click my name on the left. I am about as non geek as one can be.

Want a reference sheet. Use google.

I use google all the time when lost.

For anything else. I use member reply signatures on this site.

Good Luck and Happy Trails. Rok
PS. I stlll haven't learned all there is yet. Maybe 1/1000 worth or so. Probably less.
 
  


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