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Old 11-04-2009, 04:40 PM   #1
lupusarcanus
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Thumbs up Distro Needed -- Description in post.


Hello LQ.

I have been using Ubuntu (8.04, 9.04, 9.10; two laptops) for the better part of two years now. I learned some neat stuff about Linux and Unix.

The problem is, I feel like I'm not learning anymore )^:


I really want to learn more command-line functions, and put them to use. I want to learn the file extensions better. I want to understand how the kernel operates, and how/what daemons do. Stuff like that.

But I'm kinesthetic learner. I learn by doing things.

I wish I could just explain it perfectly, but it's difficult. I just feel like pointing and clicking my way through GUIS isn't DOING anything. I have a natural tendency to want to know how things work.

Looking through the pages and pages of articles and distro reviewers and taking quizzes has not gotten me anywhere.

I'm still only a beginner with Linux unfortunately. I can't navigate my way through a text-based installer and still have trouble compiling and installing stuff...but do not get me wrong, I want to learn how.

I am looking for a distro to "throw me into the action" without leaving me by myself.

A nice GUI installer to get me through the perils of setting up my system, a nice functional desktop and SOME out-of-box hardware drivers for my Acer Aspire One D250 netbook so I can get going. (At least the ethernet card/wireless card so I can access the internet to find out how to get everything working.)

I hope this isn't to long of a post, I just want to 'step up' to the next level so I can learn some cool stuff.

Help/suggestions/the time to read/the thoughts are really really APPRECIATED. People like you are one of my biggest (but definitely not only!) reasons to keep learning.

A Most Sincere Thanks,

leopard
 
Old 11-04-2009, 04:45 PM   #2
boondocksaint
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if you could get your hands on RHEL4 or 5 isnt as "user friendly" in my opinion..but thats just my opinion you can also learn about customizing your own build...
 
Old 11-04-2009, 05:05 PM   #3
repo
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You can use the CLI in every distro.
You can compile and install stuff using the CLI in evey distro.
Some reading
http://www.pixelbeat.org/cmdline.html
http://freeos.com/guides/lsst/
http://www.tuxfiles.org/linuxhelp/softinstall.html

However, you could start with a netinstall from debian, it will install the base system.
or try slackware.
 
Old 11-04-2009, 05:13 PM   #4
lupusarcanus
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boondocksaint View Post
if you could get your hands on RHEL4 or 5 isnt as "user friendly" in my opinion..but thats just my opinion you can also learn about customizing your own build...
Thanks for your reply.

Red Hat, though I may be wrong, costs money. Right now I only have about 20 US dollars to spend on stuff. So (I think) it's out of my scope.

Customizing my own build? As in LFS? I don't see too much documentation on Google for less knowledgeable users. I see your point though, but thats seems to be at the expert end of the spectrum ):

I'll keep that possibility in mind though...

Thanks Again,

leopard
 
Old 11-04-2009, 05:13 PM   #5
johnsfine
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I'm convinced switching to another distribution would be a poor choice for you.

Everything you want to do and learn can be done and learned in Ubuntu. I expect you understand that and what you want is not to be allowed to do and learn, rather to be forced to do and learn. Ubuntu won't force you.

So I understand the benefit to you of switching to a harder distribution. But I think I also understand some costs you may be missing.

Learning is best done with serious topic focus. Switching to a harder distribution is a very unfocused learning experience. There will be lots of stupid and inconvenient changes distracting you from any focus.

I know it takes a bit more self discipline, but pick some moderate size project you want to accomplish in command line mode in Ubuntu, and force yourself to do it.

A closely related topic to consider is startup scripts. The knowledge you need to be very effective in command line mode has a lot of overlap with the knowledge you need to make some interesting tweak to the startup scripts that get your Ubuntu from the beginning of init up to the GUI system you know how to use.

For example (one of my own failures that I haven't taken the time to go back and get right):
I have a weird keyboard on my Mepis system, including weird keys such as a calculator key. So I thought my calculator key should bring up the calculator program. It was a weird enough key it needed to be given a keycode. Not too hard to figure out how to do that. Somewhat harder to find an OK place in the startup scripts to do that, so the keycode would be available on every boot. Then that keycode had to be tied to the program. That was also easy to do and hard to find a right place in the startup scripting to do it. Put it all together and it doesn't work. The same commands are now in my .bashrc, so after I launch a terminal (even if I close that terminal) my calculator button works until I reboot. But after I reboot, my calculator button doesn't work until I launch a terminal.

I hope my example got you thinking about things you would like to have happen automatically every time you boot Ubuntu. Have fun digging through the startup scripts. Their very confusing. Hope you do better than I did.

Last edited by johnsfine; 11-04-2009 at 05:24 PM.
 
Old 11-04-2009, 05:18 PM   #6
tananthulus
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Picking a project that is useful to you as well is a good and rewarding idea. Like egroupware, or a lamp server on your laptop, build a simple website.
 
Old 11-04-2009, 05:20 PM   #7
lupusarcanus
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Quote:
Originally Posted by repo View Post
You can use the CLI in every distro.
You can compile and install stuff using the CLI in evey distro.
Some reading
http://www.pixelbeat.org/cmdline.html
http://freeos.com/guides/lsst/
http://www.tuxfiles.org/linuxhelp/softinstall.html

However, you could start with a netinstall from debian, it will install the base system.
or try slackware.
Thanks for your reply.

Good links...useful.

But an famous quote I have seen here and elsewhere is this:
"You use Red Hat, you learn Red Hat.
You use Ubuntu, you learn Ubuntu."

I'm still wondering if that statement is true or not, but indeed if it is I want to learn Linux so I can take that info and apply it to any distro.

Thanks for the links again though, those are very interesting.

Much Appreciated,

leopard
 
Old 11-04-2009, 05:24 PM   #8
tananthulus
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leopard View Post
Thanks for your reply.

Good links...useful.

But an famous quote I have seen here and elsewhere is this:
"You use Red Hat, you learn Red Hat.
You use Ubuntu, you learn Ubuntu."

I'm still wondering if that statement is true or not, but indeed if it is I want to learn Linux so I can take that info and apply it to any distro.

Thanks for the links again though, those are very interesting.

Much Appreciated,

leopard
It's all very true,

apt-get, yum, yast... many many differences between them, I install one of everything just to try it out. www.distrowatch.com
 
Old 11-04-2009, 05:29 PM   #9
repo
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Quote:
I'm still wondering if that statement is true or not, but indeed if it is I want to learn Linux so I can take that info and apply it to any distro.
The greatest difference is the packagemanager.
For scripting, installing software from source, configuring network, webserver, proxy, firewall, ftp..... it is in general the same.
 
Old 11-04-2009, 05:35 PM   #10
lupusarcanus
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Registered: Mar 2009
Location: USA
Distribution: Arch
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnsfine View Post
I'm convinced switching to another distribution would be a poor choice for you.

Everything you want to do and learn can be done and learned in Ubuntu. I expect you understand that and what you want is not to be allowed to do and learn, rather to be forced to do and learn. Ubuntu won't force you.

So I understand the benefit to you of switching to a harder distribution. But I think I also understand some costs you may be missing.

Learning is best done with serious topic focus. Switching to a harder distribution is a very unfocused learning experience. There will be lots of stupid and inconvenient changes distracting you from any focus.

I know it takes a bit more self discipline, but pick some moderate size project you want to accomplish in command line mode in Ubuntu, and force yourself to do it.

A closely related topic to consider is startup scripts. The knowledge you need to be very effective in command line mode has a lot of overlap with the knowledge you need to make some interesting tweak to the startup scripts that get your Ubuntu from the beginning of init up to the GUI system you know how to use.

For example (one of my own failures that I haven't taken the time to go back and get right):
I have a weird keyboard on my Mepis system, including weird keys such as a calculator key. So I thought my calculator key should bring up the calculator program. It was a weird enough key it needed to be given a keycode. Not too hard to figure out how to do that. Somewhat harder to find an OK place in the startup scripts to do that, so the keycode would be available on every boot. Then that keycode had to be tied to the program. That was also easy to do and hard to find a right place in the startup scripting to do it. Put it all together and it doesn't work. The same commands are now in my .bashrc, so after I launch a terminal (even if I close that terminal) my calculator button works until I reboot. But after I reboot, my calculator button doesn't work until I launch a terminal.

I hope my example got you thinking about things you would like to have happen automatically every time you boot Ubuntu. Have fun digging through the startup scripts. Their very confusing. Hope you do better than I did.
Great post, really.

That's a point that I will definitely think about it.

Rather than going to another distro, I may just try to start using the CLI utility for more things than Ubuntu would require me to use it for.

Many thanks due,

leopard
 
Old 11-04-2009, 05:41 PM   #11
lupusarcanus
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Original Poster
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tananthulus View Post
Picking a project that is useful to you as well is a good and rewarding idea. Like egroupware, or a lamp server on your laptop, build a simple website.
It's funny you should say that! I've taken up HTML classes and can, in fact, make a simple website!

I agree with picking a project as being a good way to learn more, just unsure of all what I can do.

Running out of ways to say thanks,

leopard
 
Old 11-04-2009, 05:44 PM   #12
johnsfine
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leopard View Post
But an famous quote I have seen here and elsewhere is this:
"You use Red Hat, you learn Red Hat.
You use Ubuntu, you learn Ubuntu."
I like to make the distinction between using Linux and administering Linux. That distinction may be far from obvious on a single user home system, but it does exist.

I use and administer (probably badly) Mepis at home. I use Centos at work and administer it a little, but with an expert doing most of administering it.

I have also done a little with Debian and a very little with each of a few other distributions.

From those experiences, my reaction is that using Linux is using Linux. There is little difference depending on distribution. There is significant difference for the user between KDE and Gnome, but I can use KDE or Gnome in each of Mepis or Centos.

But administering it is not so uniform. I wouldn't go all the way to saying administering Ubuntu is "administering Ubuntu" in the sense of your quote. Some of it is Ubuntu specific. But mostly administering Ubuntu or Mepis or any of a large number of other distributions is administering Debian. Obviously administering a Centos system is adminstering an RHEL system.

If you want a job in corporate IT for Linux, you probably need to learn how to administer an RHEL system. Otherwise, there are plenty more interesting things to learn on your Ubuntu system.

Last edited by johnsfine; 11-04-2009 at 05:46 PM.
 
Old 11-04-2009, 06:41 PM   #13
chrism01
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Yeah, if you want a job, RHEL (in your case Centos) is probably the way to go.
However, as mentioned above, in every distro, inc Ubuntu, you can simply insist on doing (almost) everything at the cli instead of the GUI eg setup Apache, MySQL, DNS, DHCP etc using only cli; no GUI allowed.

FWIW, here is the RHEL/Centos Admin/Deployment guide; most of the instructions/descriptions will apply to other distros http://www.linuxtopia.org/online_boo...ion/index.html

A classic starting project is to build a CD and/or books mgr system, using MySQL to store the data, Apache+Perl/Php to display/manipulate the date.

Here's some useful cli links:
http://rute.2038bug.com/index.html.gz
http://tldp.org/LDP/Bash-Beginners-G...tml/index.html
http://www.tldp.org/LDP/abs/html/
http://perldoc.perl.org/
http://www.php.net/manual/en/
http://dev.mysql.com/doc/refman/5.0/en/
 
Old 11-04-2009, 07:18 PM   #14
chaosorama
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Quote:
But an famous quote I have seen here and elsewhere is this:
"You use Red Hat, you learn Red Hat.
You use Ubuntu, you learn Ubuntu."
You forget the last bit of that quote which is "You use Slackware, you learn Linux."

Seriously though, from what you have said you are looking for Slackware. Don't believe half of what you hear on the internet about slack: it is not hard, it is not archaic, however it is simple, transparent, and elegant. It has everything you need straight out of the box (i.e. multiple window managers, a full compiler suite, etc. etc.) Every system script in slackware is documented with copious comments, and it doesn't make any assumptions. Goto slackbook.org, read the slackbook (keep in mind the slackbook is a touch dated, the big differences are: xorg.conf no longer _required_ , slackpkg is now a supported and official way to update, and we have KDE4 now too.)

The biggest leap for you off of Ubuntu will be no Gnome (it's pretty easy to add if you want it just check out gnomeslackbuild.org), but you want to learn the cli anyway. Once you get the system installed, check out slackbuilds.org for more software. You can learn a lot just from looking at the build scripts.

But yeah, IMHO Slackware is exactly what you want.
 
Old 11-04-2009, 11:35 PM   #15
lupusarcanus
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Much thanks to all of you for helping me out.

As to Slackware, I indeed have heard several things about Slackware. I heard it's difficult to install; difficult to update. I also heard it was in fact one of the best distros with no problems, simple design, and strict adherence to the open-source philosophy.

At one point...about six-eight months back, I decided to try Slack. I saw it had no GUI installer but was well prepared for that. But after I began to install Slack, it all of the sudden killed all processes saying the word KILL in a gnome-panel sized bar at the bottom of the screen. It then gave me a bash at the bottom of the screen (which I have just small tidbits of knowledge...not near enough to fix the install). After several attempted installs, it continued to give me that message. I know there could have been several problems; and that was 12.2 Slack on a 2002 HP laptop.

Also, Ubuntu has a distro tailor-made for netbooks, and that is very good for me. I'm not afraid to try Slack once more in a much different situation.

But I am just afraid of the text-based installer, compatibility with my computer.

All in all, added re-assurance that my Atheros WLAN card, and that the install will work, could once again persuade me to try it.

Once again, thanks for all your help and links (: ,

leopard

Last edited by lupusarcanus; 11-04-2009 at 11:36 PM.
 
  


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