Originally Posted by djre
hehe! lots of replies but im afraid my question was misunderstood?
what i mean in a "truer linux" is this --- suppose i learn arch or slackware if you wish, how much of that knowledge would you consider to be "linux way" and thus can be used for other distributions?
I'm not sure there is a de facto "linux way". Distros will vary in types: some use binary packages, some are source-based. Some release CDs at set intervals, other use a rolling release system. However, in the end, they all use the kernel from kernel.org (there may be small differences in patches used, hardly worth noting), they all use the same bash, they all have more or less the same desktops.
A linux distribution is nothing more than a collection of software made by other groups (GNU, KDE, GNOME, et al). The only thing that varies from distro to distro is the way the software is glued together. Instead of looking for some higher essence of linux, I'd rely on what I expect from a distro, to guide me in my choice.
I've been using Arch Linux for many years now, so I can give you a feel for the distro. When you are done installing it, you will have less than 500 megs of packages installed. Just the basics. From there on in, it is up to you to add what you want using pacman, and to configure it yourself. If you don't know how, then learn. If you still don't know how, ask in the Arch forums. Your question will most likely be answered in less than 10 minutes. And also, 99% of questions have already been asked, so just search the forums or the Wiki.
Arch will "force" you to know what's on your system. Arch will teach you that it is often better to read a conf file and a man page, instead of letting some guy halfway across the planet choose defaults for you.
If you agree with the stuff I just said, perhaps Arch is for you. If not, give something else a try. I wouldn't bother looking for a "true" linux.