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Introduction to Linux - A Hands on Guide
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First off let me sort of introduce myself, I'm a "somewhat" long time Linux user dating back some 4 years now even though I don't use it 100% of the time (still need Windows for games!). As well as a long time Linuxquestions.org "browser", I would always browse these forums looking for solutions to my Linux problems but never really bothered to make an account until now. And I am currently enrolled in a class where the overall goal is developing Linux "How-to" guides for the new user, or as many like to call them "Newbie Users". So with that being said, let me get straight to the point, myself and several of my classmates would like to submit some of our "How-to" guides to this forum available to the public to see how much attention they draw and just how useful they really are to the "Newbie User". And yes, I do know there are plenty of tutorials and "How-to" guides already on the website available for anyones use, but I'd thought instead of just receiving a grade from a "Linux-Guru" (our teacher) I'd put our "How-to" guides into a trial by fire so to speak and see just how good a lot of these are.
So if your a newbie user or you're a programmer, it doesn't matter any and all criticism would be appreciated, as well as anyone who actually found these guides useful. To this point in the class we've covered a few rather simple tasks that are very easy to do for an advanced user but rather tedious and time consuming to the newbie, and they are:
- Fedora Core 7 Installation Guide (Covering all the installation methods; DVD, ISO installs, and network installs via FTP, HTTP, and NFS)
- nVIDIA drivers installation walk-through
- java & mplayer (as well other small essential installs that make the Linux life a little less difficult)
- a FULL Fluxbox installation AND use walk-through with a guide for add-ons and how to navigate and customize Fluxbox
- Printer Installation (This one made me laugh at how easy it was and how many people needed help with it )
And we plan on doing many many more, but we need to know exactly what a lot of you have problems with, so it would be appreciated if both newbie and advanced users would submit a few of their problems (particularly pertaining to installation methods, setups, or how to use a program) to this thread and we as a class will pick a few and create "How-to" guides for them.
So that just about wraps it up, please leave a reply regarding any questions, comments or concerns (as well as "How-to" suggestions!!) in this thread and I or one my classmates will respond as quick as possible. My classmates and I will also be submitting some of our papers into this thread within the next 48 hours, thank you for your time and happy "Linuxquestions.org browsing".
-George, Sorry for any misspells, I typed this in a rush
I think that's a great idea - I'd say a walk-through with screenshots, with a reasonable minimum of relevant information. We've tried that for BFX2 (I think we never finished it entirely, but we tried).
The most important part would be dedicated installation guides for a couple of major distributions (or even better: as many as possible, given the circumstances) - Fedora Core is okay, but there are lots of other popular choices, and closing the gap by handling them with a common mindset ("new user guide" in your particular perspective) would be great - it might even make for a nice starting point for people who want to get started with GNU/Linux... (you surely have read a lot of those never-ending - interesting, yet a bit fruitless - discussions about which distribution to choose).
And I like your ideas about documentation concerning setup and customisation (the Fluxbox idea's an instant favourite with me ). Such information would greatly enhance the availablity of Linux for older hardware, since many default installs are somewhat heavy on systems resources from the point of view of machines older than five years.
I'm not so sure if it's a good thing to also focus on proprietary stuff, though - and most distributions make those things available via package management, so I think one could do with a more general approach ("how to use your package manager to the fullest" or something). I fully understand where that concept comes from, but it's not really helpful on the long run. Anyhow, I'd choose "how to set up Audacious" over "how to play MP3s" any day, and "how to set up MPlayer" is better than "how to install WinDoze codecs" or "how to play DVDs", but most users won't see it that way (The approach should be: "how to do things with Linux" instead of "how to do things like in WinDoze"). Don't take my suggestions too literally, btw. - I'm not multimedia expert, there are bound to be people who can make more informed statements as to what "how-tos" are the most important.
As an afterthought: Did you know that technically, no Linux distribution could ship Flash if one took the license literally (you're not allowed to distribute Flash yourself without explicit consent from Adobe)? That's one of those things that really make me mad: Anyone who tries to own a (quasi-)standard shouldn't be supported by Free Software (if they should be shunned is another matter - the FSF or at least Richard Stallman would say yes).
I'd suggest a wiki as a working base, btw. Posting links here would be enough, don't you think?
let me copy george and start out by introducing my self. my name is shawn, i am not a long time user (2 mouths) and i am in the same linux class as georgy boy. this is my "how to" on a few of our assignments and comments are welcomed.
I think I'll go over to Winforums.com and call myself Linux4Life! See what that stirs up!
On the funny side, this is funny stuff: We have 'macman' and 'windows4life' providing us with Linux tutorials.. Ironic, indeed. But it's all good
Second, I didn't know there was such a thing as 'Winforums' but comparable to the mention above of all the fruitless threads about "Which distribution do I want?", I'd wager the Winforums are chock FULL of threads like "What is the error 8x03H178D6A839 and how do I fix it?"
On the serious note now: In general, I think you guys' idea is a good one.
I'm not going to suggest what you ought to make tutorials about specifically, as there are loads of topics that could benefit from a concise tutorial that new users could deal with. But I DO want to say that if/when you'se post a formatted version of this 'FluxBox Tutorial' I will be trying it out and providing feedback. I have tried (admittedly only half-heartedly) to play around with some of the minimalistic WM's in an effort to use one to make my desktop faster (it isn't slow by any means, I just want it FASTER!) but frankly, I didn't see any relatively easy (read: intuitive) way of making Fluxbox or Windowmaker or Enlightenment, etc, into anything remotely like a 'normal' desktop. I get a blank screen, no icons, no tool/taskbar, and context-menu text that's so small that I get carsick trying to read it. Within 5 minutes of this, it's back to KDE, which I really enjoy, don't get me wrong, but I'd like to give one of the lesser WM's a fair chance.
Anyhow, enough rambling on my part I'll look forward to a Fluxbox tutorial when you get around to posting it somewhere.
Meanwhile, all the best with your classes.
The next walk through that myself and Macman888 will be working on is setting up a SECURE FTP SERVER using VSFTP in Linux. The walk through will include; detailed instructions explaining how to change key configuration files to enhance usability and security, as well as a method to prove the server is secure!
The FTP server walk-through request came in high demand from some fellow Linux users who work with myself and Macman888, so that's what our spare time will be dedicated to within the next few days.
And here as promised is Macman888's fluxbox installation and setup walk through!
Nylex: Why should that be the case? Security? There's a lot of things one shouldn't do as root, but it's the first time I see X mentioned. Could you elaborate a little (or link to something)? I agree that it's not necessary to run X as root most of the time, but I wasn't aware of the idea that one shouldn't...