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Old 05-23-2006, 11:39 AM   #1
bowie101
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what's the best basic attitude to adopt as a newbie?


Hi all. Here's a general question. I'm wondering what you've found the basic general attitude to adopt was when you are a linux newbie.

I still put myself in that catagory, as I've been at it for less than a year now. Not sure when I would or should take myself out of that category.

My situation is that I'm new to linux, but took an intro course in it. I use it every day, as I'm setting up new servers and the like, but when I go home, as I'm married and with a child, I don't find myself in front of the computer much, (unless absolutely needed). I do however, have Fedora 4 set up at home.

I'm responsible for 1 web development server and 1 production server here at work, and since aquiring books is not a problem for me AT ALL, I get books and read up as I deem needed. Right now, I'm reading all about securing apache in the Oreilly title of the same name.

Here's what I'm trying to get at : some understanding of when and where, and how to be cautious with my linux boxes , and more to the point (in the interest of learning deeply), when where and how to be bold and experimental - even occasionally (and temporarily) destructive at times. Case in point, when I just start renaming files and directories at will until the process that I'm targeting breaks. Granted, I have 2 boxes to play with, but I feel like I should have a 3rd box that could actually handle being non-funtional for a while. However, I don't relish the daily duty of manually replicating tasks on both systems just in the name of keeping 2 servers as closely alike as possible. What's good about these 2 systems is that they are both RHEL4, with an update subscription. That makes the updating and synchronization of the servers a breeze from the standpoint of software installs.

I don't want to take forever to learn what might be considered a more advanced level of linux, but at the same time, I don't want to always break things, or comprimise security or functionality in order to do it, either. and on saturday, I'm obligated to clean my house with the rest of the family, rather than spending too much time in front of a moniter and keyboard.


So, I'm looking for a proper balance and order.

Maybe I can learn from your personal experience, and how you found your balance?

thanks, c
 
Old 05-23-2006, 11:46 AM   #2
ethics
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Not being an expert on the subject, but having several opinions, and having made some observations in your post i believe you have the basic skills not just for Linux but for anything, you are not afraid to do research, read up on something, test it out etc. these i think are necessary to succeed past an install in Linux.

In terms of your experimenting with it, this is a great thing, but not for production servers, the purpose of your production server and web server is to provide a service with as little downtime as possible. A bleeding edge install for experimentation is a direct conflict with these goals and should be avoided. Your idea of a 3rd box (if feasible?) is the way to go, with a system in place that allows a quick reinstall back to a working state (something like norton ghost etc.).

Hope this helps and best of luck
 
Old 05-23-2006, 01:21 PM   #3
bowie101
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ok. thanks. so, there is a norton ghost for linux, I take it?

need to go look this one up...
 
Old 05-23-2006, 01:38 PM   #4
bowie101
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norton ghost works with past red hat distros... hmmm..

well anyway, thanks for the reply. again, looking for best solutions on how others have balanced real-life with continual linux learning...
 
Old 05-23-2006, 02:06 PM   #5
pixellany
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You will find MANY things in Linux are combination of basic utilities---whereas, in Windows, someone has packaged them, given them a name--and a pricetag.

What you did in Windows with Ghost, you will do in Linux using ""dd"". Look in some recent posts here for the marvelous tutorial on this by "AwesomeMachine"
 
Old 05-23-2006, 02:06 PM   #6
ferentix
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My attitude as a newbie (and I still am- I only started about half a year ago) was to throw myself into it. Install as many different distros as you can, and play with them, learn your way around, try to read information and find solutions to problems either from documentation or forums. Enjoy it! (If possible/applicable ) Boot LiveCDs, try to install Linux on a tea-cosy, break your system, fix it, then try another and start all over again try to find a distro- or indeeed two or more distros, that suit you best and get to know your way around them.

It helps if you have a spare computer or can dual boot though- a constantly changing environment doesn't lend itself to serious work I'm still about here in the process- I'm unable to have a proper dedicated Linux machine of any real power, but I'm lucky in that I have got a spare old computer that my parents have essentially given me to play around with.
 
Old 05-23-2006, 02:50 PM   #7
lees
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I think that as far as breaking things go it is not a bad thing on a home PC. Granted, anyone can break things but it is how you go forward from there that counts.

I have learned more from fixing things I have broke than anything else. As long as you have averything backed up you shouldn't worry too much.

The first time I installed a distro I was worried about formatting and partitioning my hard drive. I had only ever bought PC's with Windows preinstalled and it was a big thing for me.

Reading is great, but unless you get your hands dirty and use what you learned you forget a lot of it and sometimes didn't understand it correctly to start with.

I consider myself a newbie but I have learned a lot. I think I have gained an understanding of the filesystem, which was alien at first. I now have an idea where most thing are.

I have also recently learned a great deal of shell scripting which I think it is great and I am now starting to automate a lot of stuff. It is great when you realise the opportunities and power this gives you.

Linux now, is cool in that the instalation and GUI makes it possible to achieve desired results with greater ease but still has the power to utilize the more advanced features such as the shell as and when you learn or need them.
 
Old 05-23-2006, 03:00 PM   #8
dracolich
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My basic attitude when I started was, first, to keep in mind at all times:

"This is not Windows. Don't expect it to be like Windows in any way. This has to be learned completely from beginning to end."

And to learn I attempted one thing at a time and didn't quit until I either solved it or found evidence that it won't work (yet). Don't give up even if it's taking weeks to find an answer. I also didn't use the forums until I exhausted every other resource available. The best way to learn is by discovering the answer on your own.

And finally, from the beginning I've kept a notebook to log how I solved each issue.
 
Old 05-23-2006, 03:21 PM   #9
ferentix
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I admire your thouroughness!
 
Old 05-23-2006, 03:37 PM   #10
wraithe
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Sorry i'm still a newby...and will be for another 15 years..
damm is it that long ago...hmm, must get some memory pills...
nah stuff it, cant remember how to boot it still so maybe after 20 years i might not call myself a newby, then again its probably going to change a bit by then and i'll probably update to the latest so i'll be a newby again...
Well thats linux, never stops changing and you never stop learning...

Last edited by wraithe; 05-23-2006 at 03:38 PM.
 
Old 05-23-2006, 04:27 PM   #11
haertig
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bowie101
Not sure when I would or should take myself out of that category.
You get to pass GO and collect $200 when you are answering more questions then you are asking! Making it to this plateau moves you from newbie to the next level IMHO.

Note that I didn't say "You know all the answers", my thought process is more along the lines "You don't always have to ask the questions". i.e., You've developed the skills to help yourself conquer many obstacles you run into (through research, testing, trial and error, etc.) You will always need to ask some questions - that is, if you want to continue learning - but you will start answering more than you ask.

Also remember, you can become a real guru in one area of Linux, and still be a drooling newbie in a different area. e.g., I've been doing some thermal testing on my box and I needed to load down the cpu. I found a big source package and repetitively ran "make; make dist-clean; make; make dist-clean..." While this indeed loaded down the cpu as I required, I just saw a MUCH easier way in some other person's post: "dd if=/dev/urandom of=/dev/null". Duh. Now why didn't I think of that! Always learning...

Last edited by haertig; 05-23-2006 at 04:28 PM.
 
Old 05-23-2006, 04:36 PM   #12
wraithe
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want to load up a cpu...
install boinc and crunch a heavy project like seti or the likes...
optimize the app to use all available instruction sets...SSE, SSE2, SSE3(pni)...
can crank some of my pc's up by as much as 20 degrees celsius...
and yes they are clean and all have artic silver and larger heatsinks than standard...
intel run hottest tho...
good leg warmers...lol...

Last edited by wraithe; 05-23-2006 at 04:37 PM.
 
Old 05-23-2006, 05:37 PM   #13
lees
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Quote:
And finally, from the beginning I've kept a notebook to log how I solved each issue.
I have a similar method. Every time I have to go looking for something for example I recently wanted to add a shell script to cron, I keep the solution in a text file.

I have a number of text files with such solutions in a linux_solutions directory.

The next time I need to do it again if I cant remember I have a quick recap of the relevent text file and find it easier.

I works for me
 
Old 05-23-2006, 05:48 PM   #14
towy71
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keep notes, backup, break things, keep notes, backup, break things... ad nauseum.
Get a separate box and a kvm switch so you don't have to move about much but you can play in the sandpit and work your magic on the stable systems.
 
Old 05-23-2006, 09:36 PM   #15
chrism01
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If you've got the diskspace, dual boot at home, 1 'stable for use' install, 1 break/fix install :-)
 
  


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