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Introduction to Linux - A Hands on Guide
This guide was created as an overview of the Linux Operating System, geared toward new users as an exploration tour and getting started guide, with exercises at the end of each chapter.
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Try a number of Live CDs until you find one you like. Then spend some time with it. Keep in mind that Linux is NOT windows. Most of what you have learned while using windows will actually cause you more issue than it will help you. It is usually much easier to introduce Linux to a person who has never used a computer than it is to transition a windows user over. Basically switching to Linux is like learning to speak a new language. You have to think in that new language not think in the old language, translate, and speak.
Linux is effective solution itself. Best start, as others said, is to use it, and then learn it's internals. You'll see it's power when you learn how does it work, and what power and options system gives to you. I can't help you with literature though, I am not nationally English speaking person, and I don't know exact book names.
But, you can always browse through tldp, which is impressive source of informations. Also, use man program (man-manual). Usage is simple, if program comes with it's manual pages, than you can just enter "man name_of_command" to shell. Be aware, that not only programs have manual pages accessible this way.
First you need to figure out how you want to start:
Are you dual booting or are you installing linux as the only os on computer?
If you're dual-booting, are you installing to another hdd(slave) or are you installing to separate hdd?
Before installing you need to checkout the installer,to see if you are required to do the partitioning or will the installer do it for you.
Tools you'll probably need, especially if it's your only computer:
Gparted-live-cd or partioning program of choice.
A live version of Os and an internet connnection, just in case you get in trouble.
Read the documentation on the Os that you intend to install, the more you know, the more information you can provide, if you have trouble.
The live version cd's have to be burned to cd.
If you want to use linux for,say, writing papers, browsing the internet, spreadsheets, etc. then it's as simple as clicking about on a live CD for one of the most popular distros for a while until you learn what program does what.
If you want to be able to dig around and edit the system, customize it, run command-line programs, etc. then you might want to look up some bash scripting guides, read man pages, and challenge yourself to use the terminal as much as possible.
you can use a live CD to muck about in the system without having to worry about breaking anything - just don't mount your hdd and everything you mess up on the live session goes away once you remove the disk, so this is the safest way to dive right in, since there are minimal consequences.
And, most live CD's have GUI installers, and there are tools like Gparted available for partitioning (if not already on the liveCD it should be in most distro's repos) if you decide to install linux to your hdd.
Last edited by lostzinzthought; 01-29-2011 at 06:22 PM.