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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.
For more advanced trainees it can be a desktop reference, and a collection of the base knowledge needed to proceed with system and network administration. This book contains many real life examples derived from the author's experience as a Linux system and network administrator, trainer and consultant. They hope these examples will help you to get a better understanding of the Linux system and that you feel encouraged to try out things on your own.
Click Here to receive this Complete Guide absolutely free.
By XavierP at 2005-05-29 12:58
Dear reader, welcome to LinuxQuestions.org, a friendly, active Linux community with members from all parts of the globe.
This page is intended to enlighten you, the LQ member or guest, about the many features and areas of LinuxQuestions.org so that you and other members get the most benefit from membership. This page cannot cover absolutely everything on or about LQ, but attempts to be as thorough as possible. This page can always be accessed via the following link: How To Use LinuxQuestions.org
Things You Should Know, As A Member Of LinuxQuestions.org
LQ Has Rules:
During the process of applying for membership to LinuxQuestions.org you agreed to abide by the LQ Rules. This list of rules is not exhaustive; as of this writing, there are fifteen rules in total. They are subject to change, so you should refresh your memory by revisiting the LQ Rules page periodically.
The purpose of these rules is to help ensure that visiting LQ is as pleasant, helpful, and enjoyable as can be for all members, as well as for guests who may find LQ via search engines or links on other websites. The rules are binding for as long as you remain an active member who posts to the site, and they apply in every area of LQ.
Violation of LinuxQuestions.org rules will result in corrective measures taken against a member and/or a member's user account. Depending on the nature of a violation, and with consideration of prior violations by the same member, a corrective measure may be as little as a polite in-thread warning, or a short suspension of your LQ priveleges, or a longer suspension, or as our very last resort, a complete and permanent ban from the website.
Common Questions About LinuxQuestions.org Have Been Answered:
As an example, one of the most Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the forum itself is "When will the board stop calling me a newbie?"
This question, and other common basic questions like it, can be answered by visiting our FAQ Page. New members are encouraged to browse that page before asking such questions. As of this writing, the FAQ Page has four sections, which include links to a total of fifteen subsections that address general questions about usage of the website and its features.
LinuxQuestions.org Has Many Forums & Sub-forums:
You can post questions or start threads in any one of many different forums and sub-forums here on LQ. As of this writing, the LQ Forum Index lists twenty-three forums, many of which have one or more sub-forums.
Before Posting Your Question Or Starting A Thread:
Before starting a new thread to ask a question, Search LinuxQuestions.org to see if your question has already been answered. Our search engine is fast, versatile and easy to use, so please use it. Our members and staff volunteer their time and knowledge to help other people with issues or problems. It can be frustrating checking out a brand new thread, only to discover a question that has been asked & answered, perhaps dozens or even hundreds of times already.
So, you've searched the site, and have not found a suitable answer to your question; what to do next? Think carefully about your question! Ask yourself "Which is the most appropriate forum or sub-forum for my question?". For example, if your problem is that you have purchased a new mouse with lots of buttons, and the buttons don't work, then the "Linux - Hardware" forum would likely be the best place to put your question. Putting your question in the correct forum the first time makes it more likely that you'll get a meaningful answer, in a reasonable amount of time.
What to include in your question? As much information as you can, about the problem you are having! This should always include which distribution of Linux you are using, and what version (this information can be added to your profile so that people will always know right away!) You might include the make & model of a piece of hardware you are having trouble with. Or maybe the name and version of a software application you are having trouble with.
Further down this page, we will go over some things to remember about creating a new post or thread, but a comprehensive description of how to ask a question the right way can be found at How To Ask A Question.
If you post your question in the wrong forum, or in multiple different forums, or post in a language other than English, or if you post something inappropriate (including foul language, insults, etc.) or if you hijack another thread, or if you somehow fail to adhere to the LQ Rules then you will encounter a Moderator. Moderators browse the forums just like every other member does, and we see the same posts as everyone else, so if there's something that needs moderating, we will find it sooner or later and take corrective action.
We at LQ consider our staff (Administrator or Moderators) to be a relatively forgiving crowd, and we do our best to remain objective and impartial at all times. We try to err on the lenient side when dealing with rule violations, because: we appreciate every one of our members; we do not take pleasure in dishing out corrective actions; we're human too, and we know that mistakes happen.
Please keep in mind: Moderators are not just here to react when bad things happen. First and foremost, we are Linux users and members of LQ, and we enjoy the benefits of LinuxQuestions.org membership just like everyone else, and we're here to help. If you think that a post you've made would be better suited to a different forum, click the "Report" button on your post, and ask for someone to please move it for you (do not go ahead and post it a second time in another place-- let us move it for you, we really don't mind). If you encounter something during a visit to LQ that you feel is inappropriate or offensive or that violates LQ Rules, please feel welcome to contact any Moderator by email or private message, or by clicking the "Report" button on the post to alert us to the situation. If you are not comfortable with contacting a Moderator, or if you have a problem with a Moderator or his/her action in a thread, you may contact Jeremy, the Administrator of LQ, by using the Contact Us page, or directly by email to jeremy at linuxquestions.org
Other Things You Will Want Bring With You To LinuxQuestions.org: Patience! As of this writing. LinuxQuestions.org has a membership of over 400,000 people from all around the world. When you post a question, at least half of our members are likely to be asleep or at work or otherwise unavailable. This means that the person with the best answer to your question could be several hours away from logging on and seeing your question, so please be patient. The Administrator of LQ has arranged for unanswered questions (zero-reply threads) to be moved (bumped) back to the top of the queue after a certain period of time. You don't need to do anything to your unanswered post for at least 24 hours, unless you have some extra information to add it.
Politeness & Respect! Very important. Just because your thread hasn't been answered, does not mean that you are being ignored. It just means that it hasn't received an answer yet. There are two ways to inspire someone to answer your post: the wrong way, and the right way:
The wrong way is by moaning and whining that everyone is ignoring your question, or by posting something like "*#$&#% HELP ME RIGHT NOW!!! URGENT!!!", as doing something like this will make people ignore you or rebuke you.
The right way is to add information to your post/thread such as what internet searches you've tried, or any error messages you are experiencing, and things like this. Anything that adds valuable details to your question is worth adding. Remember, you can refer to How To Ask A Question!
So What's All This Stuff I See On LQ Web-pages?
Let's go over the various panels of information, links, and other items that you see on LQ's Main Forum Index.
Advertisements - LQ gets a number of its ads from Google, and we have little or no control over the ads we are sent. If you see a Microsoft ad, it's not because we have decided to take the Microsoft dollar! It's because that happens to be the ad Google wants to send us; please contact LQ's Administrator if you see such an advertisement. If you happen to EVER see an advertisement on LQ that could be deemed 'Adult' or 'Offensive' in nature, please contact LQ's Administrator right away. At LQ, we take our professional image very seriously, and we strive to ensure that LQ remains a respected website that can be accessed by anyone, from any location, without fear of being embarrassed or offended.
The main horizontal menu bar beneath the LQ logo (reading left to right) includes:
Home -- this will take you to the LQ home page.
Forums -- this will take you to the main forums index.
HCL -- the Hardware Compatibility List -- where members can create posts & reviews about what hardware they have, and how well (or not) it works with the Linux operating system. Researching hardware here before you buy, can save you time, money and aggravation!
Reviews -- this section is where members list Linux distributions, books, magazines and other things that they have bought/tried/read -- a great source of information if you're considering a distro you've never tried, or are looking for a good technical book to read.
Tutorials -- LQ members have put together a number of tutorials about such things as installing hardware, configuring software, and setting up a home network. Check this section for an answer to your question!
Articles -- lots of interesting Linux-related articles, written by LQ members.
Search -- very important! -- Many questions can be answered by simply searching LQ.
Quick Links -- a drop-down menu containing commonly accessed menu items.
My LQ -- your member account control panel -- here you can change settings & preferences, edit your profile or signature, set up bookmarks, access your friends & contacts, etc.
Down the right hand side of the page, you will see:
Linux Forums -- a link to the main forums index.
Search -- a link to the LQ search page.
LQ Tags -- Popular keywords, used to quickly locate threads/posts.
Linux HCL - a link to the Hardware Compatibility List.
Linux Tutorials- -- a link to the 'Linux Answers' area, where you find tutorials written by LQ members.
LQ Job Marketplace -- looking for a job in Linux or OpenSource? Or Advertising one? This is the place (there is a fee associated with placing advertisements here).
Linux Wiki -- LQ has it's own Wiki, an online resource pertaining mainly to Linux, and editable by YOU!
Distro Reviews -- a link to the 'Linux Distributions' area of the Review Section.
Book Reviews -- a link to the 'Books' area of the Review Section.
Download Linux -- lists Linux distributions and where you can download them from.
Linux Bookmarks -- share links to Open Source and Linux related sites, and access your personal bookmarks from any browser on any machine.
Press Releases -- press releases about LQ. Read about us in the news.
Linux Podcast -- we have our own Podcast!
Social Groups -- discussion groups created by LQ members. Create your own or join one started by another member.
LQ Blogs -- LQ gives you your own weblog! Read other members' weblogs here too.
LQ Radio -- Our own online radio station!
LQ Radio Jukebox -- Jukebox-style access to our radio station!
Home -- back to the LQ homepage.
My Profile -- your LQ member profile, as others see it.
LQ UserCP -- your User Control Panel -- access to your personal details, profile, email address, signature, contacts list, event reminders, etc.
Edit Profile -- enter your birthday, contact info, homepage, and details about yourself.
Edit Options -- edit your LQ-related settings, like thread display options, email options, your preferred date & time format, etc.
Subscribed Threads -- here is a list of threads you are subscribed to.
My Posts -- a complete list of all the posts you have ever made.
My Threads -- a complete list of all the threads you have ever started.
My Social Network -- shows members with whom you are friends, and their friends, and their friends...
My Blog -- yes, you get your own weblog, for free, at LinuxQuestions.org!
New Blog Entry -- write a new entry on your weblog.
Blog Settings -- where you configure preferences and settings related to your weblog.
LQ Stats -- an assortment of statistics and miscellaneous information related to LQ and its members.
LQ Spy -- this is really neat! A scrolling display of the latest threads & posts submitted on LQ, in real-time. See new posts as soon as they are posted!
Log Out -- log out of LQ and clear all LQ cookies from your computer.
Write for LQ
As this area says: "LinuxQuestions.org is looking for people interested in writing Editorials, Articles, Reviews, and more.
If you'd like to contribute content, please let us know."
Main Menu (continued)
LQ Calendar -- the calendar lists all member birthdays and any other events that have been added by members. Feel free to add to it yourself.
LQ Rules -- we discussed these earlier, remember?
LQ Sitemap -- a list of links to all major areas & services offered by the LQ network. Even long-time members are not aware of some of these features, so take a look!
Site FAQ -- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about LinuxQuestions.org.
Linux Links -- a long list of links to sites that deal with Linux issues.
View New Posts -- a search-generated page listing the posts & threads created since your last visit, by date & time.
View Latest Posts -- a search-generated page listing the last 7 days worth of posts and threads, by date & time.
Zero Reply Threads -- shows threads with no replies. Help your fellow members by checking this area for questions you can answer.
LQ Wiki Most Wanted -- a list of Wiki entries that have no article written for them. Feel free to help out here by writing a Wiki page-- your efforts will be appreciated!
Jeremys Blog -- Jeremy, the owner and Administrator of LinuxQuestions.org, writes his thoughts on news items. Check it out!
Report LQ Bug -- Have you identified a bug or other problem with the LinuxQuestions.org website? File a bug report and let us know.
Tech Whitepapers -- our extensive list of free IT - software & development white papers, technical documents and reports.
TreoQuestions.org -- a sister site of LQ, dealing with handheld Treo devices.
Treo Forum -- TreoQuestions.org main forum index.
Treo Downloads -- Downloads for Treo devices.
You can subscribe to and read LQ and related sites' news via RSS feeds.
Follow LQ notices and other entries on Twitter, identi.ca, and Facebook.
The horizontal menu bar at the bottom of the page (reading left to right) includes:
Contact Us -- if you wish to sponser LQ or need to contact Jeremy, the site owner & Administrator, use the form provided at this link.
Advertising Info -- if you want to adverstise on LQ, you can find appropriate contact information here.
LQ Rules -- we discussed these earlier, remember?
LinuxQuestions Merchandise -- to help finance the site, and to let your friends know about your favorite Linux help site, you can buy T-shirts, sweaters, coffee mugs and other things with the LQ logo on them!
Donations -- Want to help with the costs of running your favorite Linux help site? Make a small donation here.
Contributing Member -- purchase a monthly or yearly subscription to LQ. This gets you a "Contributing Member" title under your username, allows you to turn off banner ads, enables your Private Messaging and other features. Plus, you feel good about contributing to the upkeep of LQ, helping it continue being one of the premiere Linux sites on the net. LQ is still free to those who don't want to pay and receive these benefits.
LQ Sitemap -- a list of links to all major areas & services offered by the LQ network. Even long-time members are not aware of some of these items, so take a look!
LinuxQuestions.org -- go to the LQ home page.
Linux Forums -- go to the LQ main forums index.
All of the menus & links mentioned above, are on every LQ page, no matter where you are on the site.
One more important area you should become familiar with however, is your User CP (User Control Panel). Below are explanations of many of the links and options you will see in the left-hand panels on your User Control Panel:
Your Control Panel
Edit Your Details -- edit your personal details like instant messaging addresses, biography, location and email address. Please maintain a valid email address so that Community Bulletins and member emails (if you elect to enable these options), as well as messages from LQ Administrator(s) will get to your inbox. Don't worry, LQ will not SPAM you, and emails from LQ are infrequent.
Customize Profile -- enter your birthday, contact info, homepage, and details about yourself.
Profile Privacy -- configure what parts of your public profile can be viewed by whom.
Edit Profile Picture -- upload a small picture of yourself, to be displayed on your profile.
Contacts & Friends -- a list of members whom you have deemed to be your friends, or who have opted to befriend you. You can add or remove friends here too.
Social Groups -- discussion groups created by LQ members. Join one, or create your own!
Your Social Network -- shows members with whom you are friends, and their friends, and their friends, and their friends...
Pictures & Albums -- create a photo album here if you wish.
Settings & Options
Edit Signature -- here you can create a short signature block (often referred to as a 'sig') which will appear at the bottom of your posts. Please use common sense-- commercial advertising, non-English phrases, and other inappropriate content will be evaluated & may be removed, on a case by case basis.
Edit Email & password -- to change your email address or password, you must enter your current password.
Edit Options -- edit your LQ-related settings: thread display settings, email notification options, your preferred date & time format, etc.
Edit Ignore list -- if you must, you can choose to ignore some LQ member(s).
Private Messages (if your account has this enabled)
List Messages -- list & read your private messages from here.
Send New Message -- send a private message to as many as five other LQ members at once.
Edit Folders -- create or delete folders for organizing your messages.
List Subscriptions -- a list of threads you are subscribed to. New posts that you have not yet read, posted in one of your subscribed threads, appear in bold text.
Edit Folders -- create or delete folders for organizing your subscribed threads.
You may see some other options on your Control Panel too, which you'll just have to try out for yourself and see what they do.
There are two important details of your profile that deserve mention here:
Location -- tell us your country of residence. That way, if you ask a question like "Which ISPs will allow me to use Linux on their system?", people won't tell you about ISPs that are nowhere near you.
Distribution -- tell us what Linux or other operating system(s) you use. This allows members to tailor their answers to your questions, without having to ask you every time you post a question.
Now that you have a good idea how to navigate LQ and configure your account preferences, let's go over the process of creating your first new thread, using the "New Thread" button located near the top left corner of any forum thread listing. Clicking that button takes you to the "New Thread" page.
Before creating a new thread, remember: Search LQ For Answers or Similar Threads First! Why? Because if you don't, you can be fairly certain that the first person to reply to your thread will write something like, "I found the answer in a thread posted 10 minutes ago!" or "That question has been asked a thousand times!!"
A reply like this does not mean the replying person is a rude, surly character who doesn't want to help you. What it means is, "Me and everyone else have taken the time to read the documentation, or have searched and found the answer for ourselves, and we expect YOU to try do the same before asking such a question."
The 'New Thread' Page -- let's get familiar with some of the features of this page:
Post New Thread / Forum: -- check this bar to make sure you are about to post in the most suitable forum!
Logged in as: -- should show your LQ username. If it's not you, log the person off and log in as yourself. It's rude and may be considered fraudulent to post on the internet under another persons name.
Subject: -- this is extremely important! This is the only page on which you can edit the title/subject of your thread. The title is the first thing readers will see in the thread list, so make it count! Once you submit your thread, only the LQ Administrator or a Moderator can change its title. Below the word "Subject:" there are three examples of titles; try to use a title resembling example #3. A title such as "URGENT!!! HELPME!!!!" is the worst possible title you could use. Your question is not urgent to everybody else, and if you're posting a question, we already know you need some help!
Below where you entered your title, you see a button marked "Click Here To Find Similar Threads". After typing your thread title, click that button! LQ will run a search for similar thread titles, and show you the results in a separate browser window or tab. Take a moment to look at the search results, as your question may have already been asked and answered!
Message: -- the big text area where you create your message. Very important! Give a detailed description of your problem, including error messages, relevant application names, your Linux version, and any other information that a reader might need, to answer your question.
Atop the text area where you type your message or question, there are many gadgets & buttons you can use to format your text or enhance your message. Here are what a few of them are for:
B IU -- these make text appear bold, italicized, or underlined.
Smilies -- a list of emoticons you can use if you wish, to express your feelings or give a dash of humour to your post.
Experiment with the other items here, to left/center/right justify text, insert URL links, a quote, or a block of formatted code like shell scripting or PHP.
Below the area where you typed your message, you will see:
Post Icons -- by default, your new thread will not have an icon beside it in the thread listings. There is no reason to select, or not select, an icon-- it's your choice.
LQ Tags: -- 'tags' are simple keywords that can be used by members to locate threads or posts by their tags. Examples: 'redhat' or 'firefox' or 'apache' or 'cdrom'.
Additional Options -- a section with some additional options relating to your post. Of particular interest might be the "Post a Poll" option, explained next:
Post a poll -- if you want to poll other members for their opinions on something, you can create a poll here. Try to make the poll and the thread relevant to each other.
Now, before clicking the "Submit New Thread" button, click "Spell Check" and take a moment to identify and correct any elementary spelling errors (typos) you may have made, and then, click "Preview Post" to see your masterpiece! Make sure your post looks & reads as you intend it to.
Finally, click the "Submit New Thread" button and wait for answers. That's it!
Remember, try to allow at least 24 hours for a response to your post. If you haven't received an answer in 24 hours, review your post and ask yourself, "If I were another person reading this, would I have enough basic information to start trying to answer it?" If the answer is "No", then add the information you would need to make it answerable, such as more error messages, the results of other searches you've tried, and things like that.
Thank you for taking the time to read this How-To page. You should now have enough basic information to begin browsing around and using LQ resources efficiently. Follow our simple rules, be polite, help & be helped... Enjoy LinuxQuestions.org!