Originally Posted by Controlpanel
A lot of people say "if you want to learn Linux, learn Slackware" ...
Just about any reasonably popular can be used as a Linux learning platform.
I'd agree that Slackware is a good one to use to learn Linux. But, you'll need some patience as Slack pretty much tosses you into Linux headfirst. That may be discouraging to some. (Somebody please tell me that Slack's X configuration is easier than it was back in the mid-90s when I was positive that I was going to smoke my monitor trying to get that set up.)
If you want to learn Linux but not have to struggle getting it installed, I'd pick something like Ubuntu or some other easily obtained distribution and just go through the GUI-based installed and just get it installed without the fuss. (Uh oh... I think I've just been labeled as a heretic.
One thing you might consider -- if the installer lets you -- is to keep the system from booting directly into the X Windows System altogether. You can always start it manually when you need it. It'll leave you with a simple character-based interface that's great for learning. If your distribution's installer doesn't give you the option (or you miss it) you can access access one of the consoles via Ctrl-Alt-F1 though F6. Or... you can just open up an xterm or similar window and access the system via the command line. Try to do as much of your learning via the command line; IMHO you'll learn more than you will clicking around menus.
There are often HOWTOs loaded on your system when you install Linux. These are an excellent source of information (even though there are some that seem old, they may still be useful). Try looking in /usr/share/doc to start. There's also the kernel documentation under /usr/src/linux but IIRC that's only installed if you request that the kernel sources get installed. Pretty technical stuff, too. May not be your cup-o-tea but they're available if you want to read them.
There's the Linux Documentation Project, as someone else mentioned. Frankly, though, I haven't looked at that site foe a few years now so I can't say much about how relevant the content is these days.
The Linux Gazette (URL=http://linuxgazette.net/
) is/was a nice place to learn about different areas of Linux. The Answer Guys and 2-cent tips were always interesting but those columns seem to be omitted in some editions. Check their archives, though. There's material going back to the mid-'90s.
Another source that I have found to be helpful for getting a taste for how a particular aspect of Linux and/or applications work is Steve Litt's Troubleshooters web site (URL=http://www.troubleshooters.com/linux/index.htm
). There are tutorials and a bunch of links (haven't checked them to see how many are still alive, though) that you might find helpful.
Finally, one thing I've always recommended (seems to work for me, anyway) is to create for yourself a small project that you can do on Linux. Keep it fairly small but something that forces you to learn how to use the editor , the manpages, etc. It'll take you a while to see any progress on the project itself but you'll be learning the OS in the process. I've done this on several OSes over the years. I wound up learning "Unix" by setting up a small Coherent system on a '386 (Yeah, it was a while ago) and porting some C code from a VMS system in my evenings. I had to learn a new compiler, a new librarian, shell scripting, a new editor, and a bunch of other stuff. Try it.
Good luck... and have fun!