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Old 06-22-2004, 07:10 PM   #1
mxk
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Registered: Jun 2004
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Learning Linux from scratch - worth it / needed?


Posting in the appropriate forum for myself

A bit of history, I've been a windows administrator for a number of years now, a few months ago I attempted to learn linux, but after about 5 or 6 distros in a period of 2 months or so the best day for me was when I reformatted my drive and installed Win 2003 server. Not that I wasn't making progress, but EVERYTHING that I was doing seemed to be so illogical and taking up 100 steps instead of one that I really couldn't give a <insert bad word here> for security and efficiency.

Anyway, long story short, within the next year linux will probably be something that I'll have to deal with like it or not, but I've already established the fact that if install something like Fedora with everything to make my life easier and then actually try to learn it I'll only get more frustrated. What I'm thinking of doing is actually starting completely from scratch. If I don't get what is going on in the background then clicking next on a gui really doesn't help me...

My question is, do you think it actually possible for a newbie to learn linux from the bare minimums? Been looking into slackware maybe, installing nothing but the basics and adding things on as I go. Would it actually be a learning experience or will it cause more frustration then anything else? And if you think this idea just won't work, can you suggest the best path an experience windows administrator can take in learning linux and actually understanding it rather then knowing how to open mozilla? Books, sites, (forums I think I found ), etc...

Thanks for any help.

[EDIT]
I should also probably add that I am not looking for more "What is Linux?" and "What is a shell?" info... Had plenty of those, they don't help
I'm looking for something practical, like I know how to setup a mail server in windows (exchange or whatever), but any tutorial for linux starts with "As with everything else in linux you have a 10000 possibilities and you need to make a choice now..." I don't want/need 10000, that will come with experience, I want one, I want to see what, where, and when, and I want it to work

Last edited by mxk; 06-22-2004 at 07:15 PM.
 
Old 06-22-2004, 07:24 PM   #2
v00d00101
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Linuxfromscratch:

http://linuxfromscratch.org/

Try that its worth the hard work to learn how to do stuff.
 
Old 06-22-2004, 07:29 PM   #3
Peacedog
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imh(humble)o slack would be a great way to learn. it's a fairly easy text based install, but configuring things takes a ton of reading for a newbie. if i'm getting your idea correctly, you want to see and learn what's going on w/the system, not from the gui. slack would be this tool. most everything you do in slack, configuration wise involves the cli. my best suggetsion to you is set up a box w/the distro of choice and start using it on a day to day basis. that was a mistake i made when trying to learn linux, i setup a box, configured it, and said to myself, well, that's that. i really didn't learn anything except how to get it installed and configured. finally i jumped in w/both feet. i set up a box w/slack, and started using it on a daily basis for the bulk of my computing needs, the lessons came hard and fast, still learning something new almost every day. what i realized is to learn linux, use linux. hope that all makes some kind of sense.
good luck.
 
Old 06-22-2004, 07:44 PM   #4
mxk
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Quote:
Originally posted by PEACEDOG
imh(humble)o slack would be a great way to learn. it's a fairly easy text based install, but configuring things takes a ton of reading for a newbie. if i'm getting your idea correctly, you want to see and learn what's going on w/the system, not from the gui. slack would be this tool. most everything you do in slack, configuration wise involves the cli. my best suggetsion to you is set up a box w/the distro of choice and start using it on a day to day basis. that was a mistake i made when trying to learn linux, i setup a box, configured it, and said to myself, well, that's that. i really didn't learn anything except how to get it installed and configured. finally i jumped in w/both feet. i set up a box w/slack, and started using it on a daily basis for the bulk of my computing needs, the lessons came hard and fast, still learning something new almost every day. what i realized is to learn linux, use linux. hope that all makes some kind of sense.
good luck.
See that's what very hard, I know that I have to use it on daily basis, but when I have a PIII 1GHz box with linux next to P4 3.0GHz box with windows next to it, and all that's sitting in between is a kvm switch it is the hardest thing in the world to use the first one

That does sound like me though, I know how to install about 7 distros and do basic config like the firewall, network, and personal preferences. After that it pretty much dies...

v00d00101, thanks for that site it actually looks pretty interesting. Got a lot of time on my hands now and a free box too, the will is there just seems to die very quickly

Thanks for suggestions guys, keep them coming.
 
Old 06-22-2004, 08:18 PM   #5
Dark_Helmet
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My two cents...

From personal experience, I would do both suggestions made by v00d00101 and PEACEDOG. Here's the routine...

Choose slackware, fedora, mandrake or whatever you like best, install it first and play around with it. To get yourself away from the KVM switch, I would suggest learning some basic shell scripting; something much more powerful than anything I ever found in Windows. This will be your stepping stone into the world of "oh wow, that's cool". As a system administrator, I imagine you keep track of a number of websites for information (news, security updates, or whatever). Read a little about the wget command, and start building a shell script that will either:

1) mirror the sites you like to visit locally on your machine
2) identify when the sites have updated, and mail you links to the new stories/items.

I don't mean to sound like a professor giving an assignment; it's just that's what lead me into it. I stumbled across wget, and used it for things like slashdot and other sites. Getting a basic script like that set up is trivial, but it's addictive. You can start doing all sorts of things. Shell scripting (for me) was the entry way to getting things done and learning in Linux.

Now, once you've got your feet wet, then I'd mess with Linux From Scratch. It will teach you configuration. In fact, if you're not prepared, it will bury you in it. I would strongly recommend keeping your source distribution (the one you use to make the LFS system). That way, when you come across installing apache, sshd, or other software, you can look back at their configurations if you get stuck.

Learning Linux from the ground up might be a bit too much. Don't overwhelm yourself; you'll just get frustrated again. Ease into it. You never know, after a while you might decide to repartition that 3GHz machine to give Linux a test run
 
Old 06-22-2004, 10:58 PM   #6
Genesee
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Re: Learning Linux from scratch - worth it / needed?

Quote:
Originally posted by mxk
Posting in the appropriate forum for myself
Not that I wasn't making progress, but EVERYTHING that I was doing seemed to be so illogical and taking up 100 steps instead of one that I really couldn't give a <insert bad word here> for security and efficiency.

Anyway, long story short, within the next year linux will probably be something that I'll have to deal with like it or not,

I don't want/need 10000, that will come with experience, I want one, I want to see what, where, and when, and I want it to work
<rant>
with all due respect, these kinds of statements on a site full of linux supporters and enthusiasts might be interpreted as somewhat rude. if you don't like linux, don't use it. if you are forced to, either resign yourself to that or find another job. if you have questions people here are happy to help, but this isn't the site to complain about it.
</rant>

as to documentation, the web has years worth of linux reading - start with www.tldp.org, rute's guide, and the redhat manuals. read them, try specific tasks, and ask here if you get stuck on something specific.

good luck
 
Old 06-22-2004, 11:23 PM   #7
mxk
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Location: Rockville, MD
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You can interpret it as you like, but I didn't come here to start flaming linux users, I came here to ask for help and in that I felt that my past history might be a bit important.

Now if I can have my own little rant...
Coming from a community that can't seem to name a single piece of software after what it does, doesn't seem all that friendly either. Sorry, but if I said xmkmf to a non-linux user they would probably be very offended, if only by the last 2 letters without knowing the rest. hehe

Thanks for the link though.
 
Old 06-22-2004, 11:47 PM   #8
vdogvictor
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The three best learning distros are (in order from hardes to easiest) LFS, Gentoo, Slackware. Slackware has a large following so there is tons of support, and slackware has the .tgz package management system which is easy to use (easier than rpm in my opinion) but you may benefit more by using .tar.gz files or .tar.bz2 files. That is where Gentoo comes in. visit http://www.gentoo.org/ It is REALLY hard to install but you get TONS of choices and you basically know everything going on inside. LFS will give you the same experience as gentoo, but Gentoo has more support because people use it where as LFS is just a collection of programs you made.

Also the linux community is very friendly, who have you been talking too? Could you also tell us which distros you used in the past?
 
Old 06-23-2004, 12:02 AM   #9
mxk
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Quote:
Originally posted by vdogvictor
Also the linux community is very friendly, who have you been talking too? Could you also tell us which distros you used in the past?
I was just kidding in my last post Just airing out my frustrations over which random string of characters will get the job done this time.

As to which distros I've tried -> Suse, RedHat, RedHat Enterprise, Fedora Core 1 and in the past 2 days Core 2, Debian, Slackware, Mandrake, Knoppix, and even crossed over into FreeBSD territory just to see what that's like. So I have a ton of installation experience now

Actually I went through that in a matter of a few weeks when I was still trying to get the general picture of what is out there, install, play around for a day or two, go to the next one. Enjoyed that very much until I realized that it was now time to pick one. Unfortunately my pick was Windows 2003, so after a few months I'm trying to get back in with a different approach.

Btw, do you say LFS is hardest from experience or from knowing what it involves? Tbh, I quickly ran through a few random pages and it doesn't seem all that bad. It's really what I want right now is for someone to say this is what we are going to do, type this in, and here's what it does. I've tried reading two books now and when they stick a chapter on CVS in the middle of nowhere I fail to follow the logic behind it.

Last edited by mxk; 06-23-2004 at 12:06 AM.
 
Old 06-23-2004, 12:32 AM   #10
vdogvictor
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Quote:
It's really what I want right now is for someone to say this is what we are going to do, type this in, and here's what it does.
I'm not sure what you mean by that. If you mean you want the distro to be very straighforward then have a looksee here Gentoo is very much, here is what this will do to your system, here is what that will do, etc. If you mean you want a poster to say do this...we'll I guess I will say it GO GENTOO!, I've never successfully installed it all the way, but it is GREAT for learning linux, its the only reason I know anything about linux is my gentoo install attempts. If you meants something else then please specify.

CVS!! gargh I hate that word. Who was so cruel to make that. I definently don't understand it and I don'tnow why you do need to, but if you do it's probably better in a new thread unless you were just venting about not understanding it.
 
Old 06-23-2004, 12:36 AM   #11
chii-chan
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Re: Learning Linux from scratch - worth it / needed?

Quote:
Originally posted by mxk
Posting in the appropriate forum for myself

A bit of history, I've been a windows administrator for a number of years now, a few months ago I attempted to learn linux, but after about 5 or 6 distros in a period of 2 months or so the best day for me was when I reformatted my drive and installed Win 2003 server. Not that I wasn't making progress, but EVERYTHING that I was doing seemed to be so illogical and taking up 100 steps instead of one that I really couldn't give a <insert bad word here> for security and efficiency.
I think your main problem is not sticking with a single distribution that you like and learn it. Installing many different distros within 2 months won't teach you anything (other than installing linux experience). Stick with just one distro and learn.
 
Old 06-23-2004, 12:49 AM   #12
mxk
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Location: Rockville, MD
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Re: Re: Learning Linux from scratch - worth it / needed?

Quote:
Originally posted by chii-chan
I think your main problem is not sticking with a single distribution that you like and learn it. Installing many different distros within 2 months won't teach you anything (other than installing linux experience). Stick with just one distro and learn.
I'd say my problem is that it's hard to like something I don't understand, but I know what you mean. As I’ve said before when I first started I want to get an idea of what is out there, but it turned into… well not much unfortunately.
 
Old 06-23-2004, 01:16 AM   #13
detpenguin
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slackware...get it, learn it, use it...you're not gonna understand something in 3 days...but you know that already, being a windows admin....you didn't learn windows in 3 days...you're not gonna learn linux in 3 days either...but you know that too.
in the end, linux is linux is linux...it's all about kernel...the distros, and what they do with it and what they build around it, thats a different story, it depends on how much you want your hand held, or how dirty you wanna get your hands...slack has gui, but it demands cli too...it makes you work and learn...but at the same time, it's basically user friendly...heck, even i got it installed and working. load it, learn it, and use it for awhile...not a week, maybe a month. then decide if you need something else.
 
Old 06-23-2004, 01:45 AM   #14
mxk
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Quote:
Originally posted by detpenguin
you didn't learn windows in 3 days...you're not gonna learn linux in 3 days either...but you know that too.
Yes I do, but I learned windows without a single book, without newsgroups, and with minimal forum support. Google helped a lot of course, but as an example I was setting up RIS server today at a small local company today - never done it before and never even heard of RIS till a few days ago, but in a matter of 3 hours mostly spent on google I was able to learn all the basics, setup a functional RIS server, and perform remote installs on 10 computers. Now come on, you can't argue with those results... (Oh man, I'm getting back into defending windows... Sorry, I'll stop I promise )
 
Old 06-23-2004, 01:49 AM   #15
detpenguin
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sounds like you're mind is made up...why are you bothering with linux?
 
  


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