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Old 03-22-2008, 09:28 PM   #1
new2lx
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Which path should I take?


I'm posting this question to help me decide which way I'll move forward with my studies of linux. Aside from generally being inquisitive when it comes to anything technology, several of my companies new and upcoming products are built on a linux platform. I don't necessarily have to learn much more than the basics, but once I scratched the surface I knew I wanted to dedicate the time to learn it. In other words, I'm not just interested in learning it from the user perspective, I want to know what makes the OS tick, and how to tweak it to optimize a particular need, whatever that need evolves to in the future.

I've been using/multibooting several of the big name distros and find myself getting distracted with the bells and whistles. I've found a couple that I like, Kubuntu specifically, but don't think I've been using my time as productively as I could. Another reason I like it is because it made the most features work nicely on my laptop without much effort. I only have a few weeks under my belt with linux, but now it's time to focus my learning. I see myself going up one of two paths:

Option 1, start from scratch, compile a kernel and work on it until I get what I want, whatever that eventually is.

Option 2, find things I like about one particular distro, and use that to set small goals that I try to achieve by tweaking another distro.

From my experience in the IT industry, I tend to think option 1 is best for me. If I have no choice but to dig right in and make things work, it will make sense and stick in my memory. I get the impression most of you more experience people are using a particular distro, but I assume that you are using it as an 'in service' system. I carry two laptops, one for study - with my linux distros, and one for work. I can break the linux box all day everyday (software only I hope) and not have a problem with it.

What I'd like to ask you, is option 1 a realistic way to move forward and learn linux? If so I'll follow this up with a couple questions that I won't bother you with right now.

What I'm doing aside from this is the following: I've gotten right back into learning C. I studied it about 10 years ago but never used it afterwards. I decided to start from scratch and learn it properly this time - and use it.

I see this as a long term commitment, though that doesn't mean I want to take a long time to get up to speed. I hope to replace Windows as my primary work OS in the next few months, once I'm comfortable with my ability to rebound in a timely manner from any linux problems. I appreciate any comments you can make that will assist. Please ask for any clarification you may need from me to better assist me.
 
Old 03-22-2008, 09:39 PM   #2
Tinkster
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Like your attitude, like your approach, do think that option 1 is
a good way if it suits you.

Only thing I found a bit odd is that you think of Kubuntu not
being all bells and whistles ;} ... if you want to get down and
dirty, use slackware, if you like the comfort of package managers
use gentoo, if you have way too much time at your hands, use LFS.



Cheers,
Tink
 
Old 03-23-2008, 12:29 AM   #3
onebuck
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Hi,

Quote:
Originally Posted by new2lx View Post
<snip>
From my experience in the IT industry, I tend to think option 1 is best for me. If I have no choice but to dig right in and make things work, it will make sense and stick in my memory. I get the impression most of you more experience people are using a particular distro, but I assume that you are using it as an 'in service' system. I carry two laptops, one for study - with my linux distros, and one for work. I can break the linux box all day everyday (software only I hope) and not have a problem with it.
Then choose option 1. Seriously, you will know what is best for you.


Quote:
Originally Posted by new2lx View Post
What I'd like to ask you, is option 1 a realistic way to move forward and learn linux? If so I'll follow this up with a couple questions that I won't bother you with right now.
Yes, I would suggest that you try Slackware. You can look at 'SlackwareŽ Basics' and 'SlackwareŽ Essentials' to get you started. These two references should help you along. If you get stuck then a LQ search or even posting back will probably get you out of trouble.

Quote:
Originally Posted by new2lx View Post
What I'm doing aside from this is the following: I've gotten right back into learning C. I studied it about 10 years ago but never used it afterwards. I decided to start from scratch and learn it properly this time - and use it.
Just get your feet wet again. You will get back into 'C' if you actually use it. You may fall out of the saddle but you can always get back into it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by new2lx View Post
I see this as a long term commitment, though that doesn't mean I want to take a long time to get up to speed. I hope to replace Windows as my primary work OS in the next few months, once I'm comfortable with my ability to rebound in a timely manner from any linux problems. I appreciate any comments you can make that will assist. Please ask for any clarification you may need from me to better assist me.
The learning curve will depend on how well you adapt and discern. How much time you commit to the problem and how well you can diagnose the problem will also dictate how well you do.
Coming from 'IT', you know RTFM. So RTFM!

BTW, Welcome to LQ and hopefully Slackware. By reading your thoughtful post, I'm sure that Slackware will fit you.
 
Old 03-23-2008, 01:50 PM   #4
new2lx
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It took me a while to get back as I was flying from Asia to DC.

Thank you all for the replies and words of encouragement. Let me clarify a couple things. After trying the latest distros of Fedora, Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Debian, Mandriva, Slackware and OpenSuse (there may have been another one or two) I found my system worked best with Kubuntu. It does have loads of bells and whistles. My problem with Kubuntu specifically and some of the others to a lesser extent is the computer worked so well I started spending time fine tuning it to my needs as if I were ready to replace MS XP and start using it as my primary work box. That's a compliment to the people at Kubuntu by all means and when I'm ready to make that switch it will probably be Kubuntu that I go with. For whatever reason, Kubuntu gave me the best battery life, my CPU fan wasn't redlining all the time like other distros, I can go on but I think you get the point. Thumbs up to the people at Kubuntu! My laptop had problems with OpenBSD, PCLinux and FreeBSD.

Slackware; I'm very pleased to see the suggestions pointing me in the direction of Slackware. The reason I loaded Slackware was because I read it was a good distro to use if you want to get your hands dirty. I will follow up on all the links you've provided. Thank you!

Some questions:

Now that I've tinkered a bit, I think it's time to wipe it all out and start over. I'll probably keep all the distros again, but I'll keep them on smaller partitions, 6 or 7 GB, leaving some working space for whatever distros I focus on. This way I can always go back to the other distros to see what makes them tick while I'm learning.

So, it sounds like I'll spend most of my time with Slackware and with building a system of my own from scratch. Does it make sense that if I build a system from scratch, that I just leave one partition free and start moving files to it and doing whatever it takes to get the system up and running? In other words, I believe I'll be working from another distro building things in the new partition. Is that the correct way of thinking?

I'll stop with that for now and get back to you with a few more detailed questions once I hear back. Thanks again,
 
Old 03-23-2008, 03:16 PM   #5
H_TeXMeX_H
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Quote:
Originally Posted by new2lx View Post
So, it sounds like I'll spend most of my time with Slackware and with building a system of my own from scratch. Does it make sense that if I build a system from scratch, that I just leave one partition free and start moving files to it and doing whatever it takes to get the system up and running? In other words, I believe I'll be working from another distro building things in the new partition. Is that the correct way of thinking?

I'll stop with that for now and get back to you with a few more detailed questions once I hear back. Thanks again,
Yes, that's probably what you should do. There's more about it in the LFS book.
 
  


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