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Old 03-17-2015, 04:49 PM   #1
alanidris
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The problem of learning Linux


They say there are no secrets in Linux. I am finding that learning about Linux is becoming a life long experience. I have just started using a Debian distribution that is behind the Raspberry pi. My first problem was that the display would go to sleep after about 15 mins when not used. I wanted to turn this feature off. That is I wanted the display to be on all the time.
After some web searching I came across a way to do this. It involved a file in the root area called "lightdm" which stands for light display manager (I think).
Then under this as a file called the lightdm.conf file. Just one line in the config file gets modified. Now doing this via the monkey see monkey do method works. But trying to find out how this works and exactly what the cryptic commands do, ends up being a frustrating endless search. I tried to find the source code for lightdm buts its documentation is certainly not for beginners.
I tried finding out what a "greeter" was once again huge amounts of time spent trying to make sense of endless terminology.

It seems that nowadays trying to learn about the details of any software system is just so hard. Like try and find good documentation on drivers.
Don't get me wrong I love the fact that at least Linux is open source but I wish there was an easy way to learn about it.
 
Old 03-17-2015, 07:11 PM   #2
jlinkels
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I am using exclusively Linux since 2004 and I am still learning.

What you say about your survey to discover the screen blanking setting is true. But please, keep in mind:
- The X settings and configuration are about the most complicated in a Linux system. Not everything is hard like that and screen blanking is one of the hardest. Seriously, you are not the first one on this subject.
- Debian has its own ideas of where and how to set up certain configurations. It is hard to find, sometimes not well documented, but it is in no way obfuscated.
- Certain other distros are more user friendly to install, but much harder to set up concerning configuations not pre-cooked in the GUI.
- After some time you'll get more proficient in searching for solutions. Right now, 95% of what you find or read is new and you don't know which information might be useful. Heck, I bet you don't understand for 80% what they are talking about. That gets better.

jlinkels
 
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Old 03-17-2015, 08:05 PM   #3
flshope
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I have had this same worry for a long time, too. You go looking for an answer, knowing the "truth" is probably out there somewhere, but not sure you can recognize it if you see it, and not sure you can trust it if you do, since software changes and documentation doesn't or lags far behind. I guess people like coding better than writing documentation -- one negative on open source. Still I think we are better off than the MS-Apple world where the official attitude of the quarterly-bottom-liners seems to be that you don't have a need to know.
 
Old 03-17-2015, 08:20 PM   #4
alanidris
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Anything worth while is never easy.

Thanks for the replies, like you say at least with Open source we are better off than closed systems like the Apple systems. I guess I am expecting too much and they do say anything worthwhile is never easy. I don't know what I would do without the internet in trying to track down Linux's vast resources, it certainly helps
Once many thanks.
Alan Mainwaring
 
Old 03-17-2015, 08:54 PM   #5
jefro
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Not sure an average person needs to know all one might need to know to run linux. It has advanced over the decades I've used it but I'd never say it is easy to install.
 
Old 03-18-2015, 03:14 AM   #6
Head_on_a_Stick
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I think you should remove the display manager (it is only useful for multiple users with multiple desktop types), use a minimal window manager (I like Openbox) and have a read of man xset.

This command in your ~/.xinitrc or ~/.xprofile (or ~/.config/openbox/autostart if you use openbox) should do what you want:
Code:
xset s off -dpms
If you use KDE or GNOME they will flagrantly ignore these settings and use their own systems...

On topic: yes GNU/Linux is wonderfully complicated and arcane -- long may it continue!
 
Old 03-18-2015, 07:43 AM   #7
jlinkels
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Head_on_a_Stick View Post
If you use KDE or GNOME they will flagrantly ignore these settings and use their own systems...
I wished it were true. Some versions of KDE let you set screen blanking in the control panel, but screen blanking is only disabled when you set xset.
I don't recall which version of KDE this is exactly, but KDE is known for enabling and disabling features and bugs as function of the version number hash. So do not exclude xset in KDE if you don't get the expected behaviour.

jlinkels
 
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Old 03-18-2015, 10:01 AM   #8
validator456
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I am also still learning but what mattters is that you start learning from the right books. Learn from books like:

* William E. Shotts, Jr., The Linux Command Line
If you really want to learn linux, then this is the book to read.

Another book that seems worthwhile to me:
* Brian Ward, How Linux Works: What Every Superuser Should Know.
I haven't read it yet, but I think that this book is also mandatory reading for a linux novice.
 
Old 03-18-2015, 10:48 AM   #9
rokytnji
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Meh, learning Spanish and this Chromebook was harder. Seabios is a bit--) and I am still not fluent in Spanish, just Tex/Mex with a country boy accent.

Code:
CHROME VERSION
41.0.2272.89
CHROMEOS_AUSERVER
https://tools.google.com/service/update2
CHROMEOS_BOARD_APPID
{9D137383-EB72-4BA9-A523-91AC0853F8AD}
CHROMEOS_CANARY_APPID
{90F229CE-83E2-4FAF-8479-E368A34938B1}
CHROMEOS_DEVSERVER
CHROMEOS_RELEASE_APPID
{9D137383-EB72-4BA9-A523-91AC0853F8AD}
CHROMEOS_RELEASE_BOARD
parrot_ivb-signed-mp-v3keys
CHROMEOS_RELEASE_BRANCH_NUMBER
64
CHROMEOS_RELEASE_BUILD_NUMBER
6680
CHROMEOS_RELEASE_BUILD_TYPE
Official Build
CHROMEOS_RELEASE_CHROME_MILESTONE
41
CHROMEOS_RELEASE_DESCRIPTION
6680.64.0 (Official Build) stable-channel parrot_ivb
CHROMEOS_RELEASE_NAME
Chrome OS
It is hell when you are born and raised not to know this stuff right off the bat.
But. You should have tried Linux in it's infancy with a older kernel.

Like Jefro mentioned. It is easier now.

Edit: @ the OP. If you are paying attention. A lot of replys have good links in their signatures. You should appreciate this I guess.

Last edited by rokytnji; 03-18-2015 at 10:51 AM.
 
Old 03-18-2015, 10:58 AM   #10
beachboy2
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Quote:
Not sure an average person needs to know all one might need to know to run linux.
Quote:
It has advanced over the decades I've used it but I'd never say it is easy to install.
I agree with the two points made by jefro.

Apart from accessing the BIOS and making boot order changes, (possible dual-booting with W8 and UEFI, 32/64 bit .iso, disabling Fast Startup and Secure Boot) there is still the major hurdle of Partitioning (root, swap and home).

Partitioning a hard drive for Linux is still a daunting prospect for a novice, in my opinion.

Debian is one of the better Linux distros in this respect with Guided Partitioning for 3 partitions, including a separate /home. Many other distros only have a semi-automated 2 partition system.

Well done Debian.
 
Old 03-18-2015, 12:03 PM   #11
Miati
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I'm not sure it's so hard to install a linux distro. The Ubuntu / Linux Mint installers are about as easy as they could possibly come.
I think it's unfair to consider there being any other OS in testing for "other OS's".
No matter what, dual booting is going to be harder and more error prone then one OS. If you don't think linux is advanced enough, feel free to attempt to install a dual booting system by installing windows second. It's not going to go well.

To install a OS in linux mint, you need to live boot which involves putting in the cd / usb (something you can purchase or burn yourself - easier,costly / harder,cheaper)

Then... choose install.
Then... choose whole disk and click through.

Then you're done.
I get even that will be too difficult for some people. But is that a criticism of the user-friendliness of the software, or the user?
 
Old 03-18-2015, 12:24 PM   #12
rtmistler
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There's the dpms function recommended by Head_on_a_stick and what I use in the xorg.conf file:
Code:
Section	"ServerFlags"
	Option	"BlankTime"	"0"
	Option	"StandbyTime"	"0"
	Option	"SuspendTime"	"0"
	Option	"BlankTime"	"0"
	Option	"OffTime"	"0"
EndSection
I've found XServer configuration to be one of the touchiest issues out there and in fact put out a question/rant thread a little over a year ago about rotation of the screen. I self-solved it and really just another user commiserated along with me that the subject is a tough one.

To resolve stuff you do look a lot at the X configuration documentation and also at the Xorg.0.log file.

Last edited by rtmistler; 03-18-2015 at 12:26 PM.
 
  


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