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Introduction to Linux - A Hands on Guide
This guide was created as an overview of the Linux Operating System, geared toward new users as an exploration tour and getting started guide, with exercises at the end of each chapter.
For more advanced trainees it can be a desktop reference, and a collection of the base knowledge needed to proceed with system and network administration. This book contains many real life examples derived from the author's experience as a Linux system and network administrator, trainer and consultant. They hope these examples will help you to get a better understanding of the Linux system and that you feel encouraged to try out things on your own.
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Your distro probably came with a couple of manuals. One for the user apps and another on administering linux. Also look for packages with "-doc" in there name. The samba package or a samba-doc package will supply 3 pdf or ps books on Samba 3 which are the same as you can find in the book store.
There may be a package with "howtos" in it's name. It will contain a large number of howtos.
If you don't have such a package, look in the Linux Documentation Projects website www.tldp.org. It contains a large number of howtos and full manuals. Look for the nag and sag guides. (Network Administers' Guide and System Administers Guide). The SAG guide may be a little dated because Linux technology has advanced at a good pace. The NAG guide is the second edition of the O'Reilly book.
There are also the man pages. There are three ways you could read them. By typing "man <topic>".
By typing "man:topic" in the konqueror web browser. Or by printing them out: man -t <topic> | lpr.
There are also the info pages. The "info bash" and "info coreutils" are two that you will want to scan through. I even produced the "coreutils" info manual from the source code. The coreutils package supplies most of the programs in /bin, such as ls, mv, cp, cat, tac, comm, and many more. Don't expect to memorize all of the options for commands. But learn where you can look them up.
After running "./configure" to produce a Makefile, there is a "make pdf" target. The info manual for gawk "Gawk: Effective Awk Programming" is excellent. It is one of those info manuals that is a book.
One of the books in www.tldp.org, is the abs-guide.pdf book. (Advanced Bash Scripting Guide) It is composed entirely of short examples that you can try yourself. Many manuals and guides are difficult to understand because they don't supply good examples. This book is composed entirely of examples.
Another source of information is using google. Wikipedia is a great resource for learning about protocols or definitions you don't understand. Someone asked a question about cipe. I didn't know what was. Looking in Wikipedia, I found out it is an encryped vpn that uses udp packets instead of tcp.
In my case I started using Linux in my computer, searched a lot in Internet formus and reading a magazine - Linux Format. Sorry for advertising, but it really teach you a lot always assuming you are not an expert.
Documentation available for the distribution you are using and their forums if they have them are useful along with a command line reference such as Rute that has already been mentioned or something like this or this.
I've had several non-technical friends tell me that the book, Linux for Dummies, was a good starting point. Additionally, the Linux Documentation Project http://tldp.org/ is an excellent free resource.
Distribution: Suse OSS 10.1, Debian 3.1, Solaris 8, Ubuntu Gutsy
nhc, There is literally a plethora of information on the net to get you started in Linux. But why not just download a Live CD and give it a try; assuming you haven't done this already. I use Kubuntu for my desktops right now. I've used several different flavors over the years, but really it all depends on what you want to do with it and how much time you would like to spend learning the different aspects of a distro and the internal workings of the OS.
I you have not tried a Live CD I would strongly suggest you do so. The internals of each distro closely resemble each other but different distros tend to have a different look and feel. Don't stop at one unless your completely satisfied. And don't fret if you have problems. That's when reading and good Googling will come in handy.
There is so much info to digest! I will read them up once time permits.
Who says Linux is easy :P
In fact Linux is quite easy if you deal with peripheral level, and if you have someone knowledgeable available at your call. I bought a laptop for my mom, basically to surf Internet and to voice chat. Since she is new to computer as such, I installed both Linux and win2k in the laptop. To my surprise, she found it quite convenient using linux, as there were less nuances. Windows however, took longer time to boot, and had the problem of virus attack.
If she wanted to do any thing in Linux (Mandriva), I ask her to come online, and get her IP address. Then, I do some magic using SSH
Of course, one of the drawback of linux in her perspective is that she cant use yahoo and gtalk for voice chat. But, skype is just fine for most of her uses. When I meet her next time, she is going to be more surprised when I install vmware for her and run windows inside Linux
And, to add upon, coming to some intermediate/advanced stuff, Linux might seem scary. But, it is definitely way better than windows. I would say that to crash a Linux system, you should do some thing really naive, such as deleting the system files for disk space!!!
The configurations of nearly all programs can be got from /etc and from your home directory. If you upgrade/reinstall your system, it is practically possible to make your desktop resemble exactly same like you had in your previous version by just carefully choosing your partitions and mount points.
For more, the strength of Linux is its community. Where else would you get such an elaborate answer from an expert? Many of the linux users donot hate windows as such. But, they hate the attitude windows has towards its users (atleast with me). I used vista for couple of hours, and I always felt that it is the master and I am the slave!!!
Dont get scared by Linux. It is like Alladin's magic lamp. Rub it, and you GET WHATEVER YOU WANT!!