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Old 02-15-2011, 01:19 PM   #1
tony2442
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Learning Linux - Next Step Suggestions?


Hello everyone!

I'm new to Linux as I just installed Ubuntu 2-3 weeks ago on an old HP laptop I was considering getting rid of. I am about to get started working for a computer consulting firm soon, and they had mentioned familiarity with Linux is a plus. So I decided to take the plunge and start learning it by putting Ubuntu on the old laptop.

Ubuntu is very nice and made it easy to jump into Linux. I've installed Fedora 14 "Security Lab Spin" on a virtual machine on my main desktop via VM Ware, but haven't really played around with it too much. At first glance, getting around Fedora looks much the same as Ubuntu (due to GNOME from what I gather so far?), but haven't delved deep enough to see the differences.

SO... My main question that I have is what's a good book or other resource to take my learning to the next step? I still consider myself a beginner, but a lot of the "beginner" books seem to spend most of their time with things like changing desktop wall paper, finding files on the computer, making files/directories, etc. All of this stuff I found to be pretty straight forward in the GUI and was doing it the first day of installation.

What's the next step in the journey to *REALLY* start learning Linux??? Any good books or other resources?

(Note: I see the tutorials here that look SUPER helpful *IF* you're wanting to learn how to do something specific. I browse them to pickup what I can, but what's the next step in learning Linux *in general*, not one specific task.)

Thanks in advance for any help!
-Anthony
 
Old 02-15-2011, 01:52 PM   #2
acid_kewpie
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I wouldn't bother with books. All the info you need is online already. Just pick a project to implement and do it. E.g. a web proxy with squid.
 
Old 02-15-2011, 01:53 PM   #3
EDDY1
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If your laptop can support a virtual machine running install different Os and play around with terminal and learn the commands and how to get around without Gui. Most of the things that I do MUST have a GUI, but I'm trying to get into it more.
If my machine breaks it's a little harder to fix if you don't know your way around system thru a terminal.
They are coming out with upto-date info now, but look into different tutorials involving linux commands.
There's a lot of information in your man pages, I myself find man pages to be difficult to grasp so I do a lot of googling and include 2011 in my searches most of the time it comes with upti-date info.
 
Old 02-15-2011, 02:34 PM   #4
citi
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Fedora is a little different than Ubuntu. Ubuntu comes pretty much ready for home use, Fedora is more of an office administrative distro built more for multi-user security. you will find all of the info needed for both on-line
 
Old 02-15-2011, 02:37 PM   #5
b0uncer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tony2442 View Post
At first glance, getting around Fedora looks much the same as Ubuntu (due to GNOME from what I gather so far?), but haven't delved deep enough to see the differences.

SO... My main question that I have is what's a good book or other resource to take my learning to the next step?
Yes, Fedora and Ubuntu share some of the looks due to the desktop environment (which you can choose to be something else than Gnome, if you want). The differences are "under the hood", how package management is done in them (Ubuntu uses Debian's apt, while Fedora uses RedHat's rpm) and how the system configuration works (mostly in command line; GUI tools you can fairly easily obtain for both of them, for example a network managing application). They share a lot because they're both Linux systems, but there are differences because they are different (and "big") distributions.

If you want books, any Unix book would do to introduce you to the basic concepts. To benefit from "Linux knowledge" you shouldn't tie yourself too much to a particular distribution, but learn how the systems typically work. Then, when you know your way around in a Unix-like environment, you can specialize in certain systems/configurations, if you need to. Most valuable knowledge is that from your own experience, so even if you read books, do yourself. Do, even if you didn't know exactly how; things are seldom beyond repair, and if you can use a virtual machine, you don't need to worry about wrecking the system either.

At first working at command line, if that's what you want to learn (and that's what you probably should learn at some point, as graphical interfaces are rather easy to use even if you have never seen some app before), is pretty surely a lot slower and feels a lot more difficult than doing the thing in a graphical environment. But a good way to learn is to stop doing it in the graphical desktop and just do it in the command line--move, copy or rename files, listen to music, (batch-)work on image files, write a pro-looking report, draw some cool graphs out of a million lines of numerical data, build a web server, play an adventure game, talk to an AI therapist, edit some configuration files, read mail or simply browse the web. Those are some basic things people do, only they don't usually (necessarily) do them without a graphical interface.

Sometimes when a firm says "you'd do well to have some Linux knowledge" they don't mean that you have to know how to build a server with your bare hands, but rather that you can use some app that happens to work on Linux. In that case "knowing your way" in Linux is not that big a deal, but knowing the program may be. So don't take it too seriously--in the end you'll still have to learn as you go


Quote:
Originally Posted by citi View Post
Fedora is a little different than Ubuntu. Ubuntu comes pretty much ready for home use, Fedora is more of an office administrative distro built more for multi-user security. you will find all of the info needed for both on-line
I disargee (but then again, I often do--no offence). Ubuntu comes with a server if you want, and Fedora is your playground if you want. Or vice versa, or something else. The use or security or such is not that big a deal, it's just a matter of configuration--the differences are more fundamental: where is what and how is it supposed to be dealt with.

Last edited by b0uncer; 02-15-2011 at 02:39 PM.
 
Old 02-15-2011, 02:54 PM   #6
citi
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i disagree with b0uncer, the apparent fact is that once installed ubuntu takes less configuration to use than fedora. Especially if your migrating from windows which most are. tech level has a lot to do with it as well.

Last edited by citi; 02-15-2011 at 03:02 PM. Reason: furthering opinion
 
Old 02-15-2011, 03:18 PM   #7
acid_kewpie
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I disagree with you both, but b0uncer less... Fedora is not "office administrative" whatever that means, it's a test ground for RHEL, with some user centric polishes. And it totally depends what you want to use a distro for as to what requires less configuration... that's far far too vague a thing to try to differentiate them over.
 
Old 02-15-2011, 04:02 PM   #8
reed9
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I'm sure everyone has different opinions, but personally, I've found it difficult to learn linux "in general". Everything I've learned has been in pursuit of some specific task. Most the time something I actually need to accomplish, sometimes something I've just set myself out of idle curiosity. The things I've actually wanted to accomplish for real day to day use have proven to be the most fulfilling though. (For example, setting up an MPD server and streaming music from my home computer over http to listen to at work.)

I heartily recommend reading Eric Raymond's "The Art of Unix Programming", even if you have no intention of programming in the near future, if only for a sense of unix culture and philosophy.

The Linux Documentation Project is a great resource as well. Of the general knowledge things you should probably get to know is the Linux Filesystem Hierarchy.

And of course the basics of the terminal, at least. If you're already getting familiar with the very basics, you can look more into bash. Or learn a different shell, like zsh.
 
Old 02-15-2011, 07:51 PM   #9
onebuck
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Hi,

Welcome to LQ!

Quote:
Originally Posted by tony2442 View Post
<snip>
I've installed Fedora 14 "Security Lab Spin" on a virtual machine on my main desktop via VM Ware, but haven't really played around with it too much.
Since you have a virtual machine to now work with then you can install different Gnu/Linux to experiment.
Quote:
Originally Posted by tony2442 View Post
SO... My main question that I have is what's a good book or other resource to take my learning to the next step? I still consider myself a beginner, but a lot of the "beginner" books seem to spend most of their time with things like changing desktop wall paper, finding files on the computer, making files/directories, etc. All of this stuff I found to be pretty straight forward in the GUI and was doing it the first day of installation.

What's the next step in the journey to *REALLY* start learning Linux??? Any good books or other resources?

(Note: I see the tutorials here that look SUPER helpful *IF* you're wanting to learn how to do something specific. I browse them to pickup what I can, but what's the next step in learning Linux *in general*, not one specific task.)

Thanks in advance for any help!
-Anthony
Just a few links to aid you to gaining some understanding;



1 Linux Documentation Project
2 Rute Tutorial & Exposition
3 Linux Command Guide
4 Bash Beginners Guide
5 Bash Reference Manual
6 Advanced Bash-Scripting Guide
7 Linux Newbie Admin Guide
8 LinuxSelfHelp
9 Utimate Linux Newbie Guide
10 Linux Home Networking
11
Virtualiation- Top 10

The above links and others can be found at 'Slackware-Links'. More than just SlackwareŽ links!
 
Old 02-15-2011, 07:58 PM   #10
theKbStockpiler
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When you are comfortable with Ubuntu, move on.

Ubuntu is a great distro but is not all that universal to Linux. Ubuntu has quite a few of M$'s popular features like updating.It's like the Linux for Windows users that are always going to look at things as a Windows user and not a Linux user. I think Fedora is the easiest Linux distro that has (Linux only) character. I prefer a good working version of Mandriva hands down but it is not a perfect learning tool either. I have seen the same type of comparison of BSD to Linux.

These are the best guides that I'm aware of. http://tille.garrels.be/traininghttp://www.ee.surrey.ac.uk/Teaching/Unix/index.html/ / If we could all reach the functionality that we desired,we would all be booting Gentoo which is not the case.

Last edited by theKbStockpiler; 02-15-2011 at 08:00 PM.
 
Old 02-15-2011, 09:26 PM   #11
mejohnsn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by acid_kewpie View Post
I wouldn't bother with books. All the info you need is online already. Just pick a project to implement and do it. E.g. a web proxy with squid.
Since I found a few books very helpful, and have since seen many excellent books I wish I had had when I was learning Unix/Linux (e.g. the free http://commons.oreilly.com/wiki/inde..._Driving_Linux), I think your inclination to dispense with the books comes from such a high degree of familiarity, you have forgotten what Linux is like for the beginners and learners, how intimidating it seems to learn it.

Some books are very valuable, since it is hard, sometimes very hard, to find an online tutorial/reference that is as up-to-date and complete as the better books, such as those by O'Reilly or Apress. This despite the lag in printing dead-tree editions.

Consider, for example, how out of date the online tutorials are for GIMP. They are all for the old UI, the user manual for the new UI is still in its beginning stages. The same can be said for a lot of KDE tools (e.g. Krita).

The Help files included with the free software is often even worse. All too often, they just recapitulate the names of the fields of menus and what goes in them, without explanation. OpenOffice is a good example of this. Wireshark used to be this bad, but has been getting better.

Then there are online tutorials that are pretty good and up to date, but cover only a particular version of Linux, not even remotely like the one the potential reader is using. An example of this is LQ.org's own Tutorial on Apache+SSL, which covers many vital details only for Slackware. And when a comment made in 2004 pointed this out, it was not answered. No one has answered it yet.

This is why, after trying to learn DNS/BIND from online sources, I finally caved in and bought the O'Reilly publication for all networking topics,recommended by the company that maintains QNX: "TCP/IP Networking Administration". This book explained in a logical, coherent fashion many things omitted or mentioned only tangentially by online sources.

So what I suggest to the OP is that he buy any relatively recent O'Reilly publication on whatever Linux topic he is interested in. Better yet, get access to Safari books either through his employer or his local public library. Access O'Reilly and other great presses from there.

And that is probably the most valuable point I can make in this post: many public libraries, at least here in hi-tech California, allow card holders to use their library card# to access Safari Bookshelf or some similar program to access online editions of a lot of books, sometimes very good ones. The Fremont Library, for example, has Scott Meyer's classic "Effective Java" online.
 
Old 02-15-2011, 09:30 PM   #12
frankbell
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Here are the references I've found useful.

http://linux.about.com/. It's oriented to Ubuntu, but it's full of good info.
I wish it had been there when I first started.

http://tille.garrels.be/training/tldp/. Machtelt Garrels's Intro to Linux.
If I had to recommend one book, this would be it.

http://www.slackbook.org/. Slackware oriented, but excellent on the basics, such as file structure, permissions, and the like.
 
Old 02-16-2011, 07:01 PM   #13
Mrpnut08
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ignoring the people fighting Ubuntu vs Fedora.

A good thing to do is to learn to use a little bit of Shell Commands (Command Line), it is always useful (specially in searching and sorting files), also it is good to learn about normal users and root, it is always good to know what a normal user is normally limited to, advantages and dangers of root. file permitions, and from there it goes on.

when you get know a little bit more about linux you might want to learn to install programs (both, from source and from your package manager)
and Dependencies (if you can manage to handle dependencies, then you can no longer be called a begginer in Linux)

http://linuxcommand.org/ is a good place to start from.
 
Old 02-17-2011, 12:22 AM   #14
mejohnsn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mrpnut08 View Post
ignoring the people fighting Ubuntu vs Fedora.

A good thing to do is to learn to use a little bit of Shell Commands (Command Line), it is always useful (specially in searching and sorting files), also it is good to learn about normal users and root, it is always good to know what a normal user is normally limited to, advantages and dangers of root. file permitions, and from there it goes on.

when you get know a little bit more about linux you might want to learn to install programs (both, from source and from your package manager)
and Dependencies (if you can manage to handle dependencies, then you can no longer be called a begginer in Linux)

http://linuxcommand.org/ is a good place to start from.
"People fighting Ubuntu vs Fedora"? I used both for a long time, one on one laptop, the other on another. I found it frustrating that each had its own idiosyncratic way of doing certain things: 'yum' for installing Fedora packages, 'apt-get' or the like for Ubuntu. Worse was the way Debian decided to use its own file structure for some things (was it init scripts? I already forget), so that the arrangement and dispersion of Apache config directives among Apache config files was completely different between the two

So my suggestion is: keep your life simple, stick to one. If I had realized how popular and widespread Ubuntu was going to become, I probably would have chosen Ubuntu. As it is, I am more familiar with the way Fedora does things.

But on to a topic of more interest to the OP: somewhere I saw a good list of basic shell commands a Linux user should know. Clearly that includes 'man', 'info', 'less', 'ls', 'cp', 'mv', 'cd', 'pushd', 'popd', 'find' 'history', pick a text editor: I usually use 'vi' or 'emacs', but 'gedit' is surprisingly flexible and easy to use; it is much easier to begin with gedit than with ed like I did! Learn to edit your .bashrc file at least for setting environment variables and defining handy aliases. I always use 'h' instead of 'history', for example. But to do that, I had to add 'h' as an alias for 'history' in my .bashrc.

Finally, although I learned to install applications from source long before I learned any package manager, it has been a long time since I had to do it: I now much prefer, whenever possible, to use the latest package. Package managers/maintainers really do useful work for us
 
Old 02-17-2011, 12:38 AM   #15
EDDY1
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I just have to say that there hasn't been 1 linux distro that hasn't taught me anything. You'll learn soething from them all.
Some distro's take a little more to get them running, but the knowledge gained is well worth it. Knowing that you have VM you can pick and choose which suits you best.
GOOD LUCK!!!
 
  


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