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Old 10-28-2004, 04:19 AM   #1
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Best approach to learning Linux

I've been into Linux for a while now and while I can claim that I am fairly confident of using Linux, I feel that I've hit a brick wall. I'm no longer eager or keen on learning more about Linux (just what I need to know rather than what I want to know). That's all. Is there any "method" of learning Linux so that I can continue my learning experience without being afraid to experiment?

Or is it enough if I know just what I need to know and nothing more? Please help as I am feeling frustrated at my attempts to get back my old interest in learning more about Linux.
Old 10-28-2004, 05:09 AM   #2
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The best way for me and the most interesting one is to use a distro like slackware and visit linuxquestions every day
Old 10-28-2004, 05:21 AM   #3
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I think in retrospect the best thing to remember is nobody knows everything. So with that said I use that mentality to keep me going when I get in a "comfort" spot and feel I am going nowhere. Like heema said, go dive into another distro they are all a little different under the hood. Do you know how to work with iptables without a pretty gui front end? Something I am studying right now kinda interesting really. And I also find that reading the forums help, I am always eager to hear the answer or go out and google it myself and find the answer.

Just some ideas hope I was a help!
Old 10-28-2004, 09:30 AM   #4
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Lightbulb learn what?

Learning is unique to each individual. Although we may have common ways of discoverning new aspects of an exciting OS, or whatever, if one sits down it boils down to the following:

do I have time to learn this
am I interested in what this has to offer
what are the longterm and short term benefits of figuring something out

Now, none of this is absolute; meaning that I really don't have time to ponder any more However, as far as wanting to learn, and not wanting to learn, there is nothing really wrong with reaching a comfort zone.

Old 10-28-2004, 02:07 PM   #5
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How did I learn Linux? I use it everyday.. which is the best way!
Old 10-28-2004, 02:24 PM   #6
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The best way IMO to learn linux is to think of some projects to do.

kernel compile
webserver (apache,php, mysql)
various scripts for useful repettitive tasks

I learned alot by doing that. I think I am pretty proficient now.

EDIT: oh and I like to install programs that I am only going to use once right after I use it.... Its usually not on purpose, but it does give you an idea on all the different things needed for program installation either by souce or package.

And then there is slackware, which by itself will teach you a tremendous amount just by using it.

Last edited by IRIGHTI; 10-28-2004 at 02:26 PM.
Old 10-28-2004, 10:37 PM   #7
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Thanks all for you kind help. Yes. I think I'll take up some programming project in Linux (for e.g. writing a front-end for some command-line program) and I'll learn something about the API.

Being an amateur programmer, I have so much to learn about the Linux API (which is not a single API but a collection of a lot of Unix/Posix functions, various GUI toolkits and hundreds of libraries for various other miscellaneous tasks. Learning the Linux API is a lot more than just reading a MSDN-like reference manual (as we do in Windows programming).
Old 10-31-2004, 10:07 AM   #8
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Hey Harishankar.

How about some apps on Linux that would pave the way for noobs to migrate to Linux. I mean for example, what can you do with a web server without an app?

Old 10-31-2004, 10:22 AM   #9
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Hmm.. probably beyond my range, AnanthaP. I'm not too clever with web servers.
Old 10-31-2004, 12:29 PM   #10
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Originally posted by trickykid
How did I learn Linux? I use it everyday.. which is the best way!
I think that sums up my attitude pretty well. There's no way, especially at age 64, that I'm going to become a Linux expert, even if I wanted to. My interest in programming pretty well went away after I wrote a number of very useful GWBasic programs for my workplace and a few for home use as well.

Now I use my exclusively Linux setup every day for writing, spreadsheets, browsing the news (I won't watch TV!), participating in LQ and a few other forums such as SeniorNet and, processing images from my digital camera, sometimes maintaining my own webspace (which is so unspectacular I haven't even included the link to my home page in my LQ profile! ), and that's about it. I love email despite the mess it's become and truly believe the Internet, and instant electronic communication, is probably the single greatest human invention ever.

That's kind of what my "comfort zone" is right now. When in the course of using my computer for these mundane tasks, I find I need to learn something new, I do my best to find it with searches on LQ and Google, and if I fail, I ask questions here. It sometimes takes weeks, but I eventually either find the answer or a way around the difficulty that prompted the question.

I'm glad Linux has advanced to the point, in user-friendliness, that somebody like me who once might have wanted to become a programming or systems expert, but now just wants the usefulness of a computer system, can have that without too much trouble.
Old 11-05-2004, 08:21 AM   #11
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I've only been a linux user for a few months now
(I've been developing on Windows for the last ten years until I got totally disillusioned with M$ )

Now I've got my main FC 2 box set up I've been wondering the same thing. I want to tinker, but can't afford to break anything as I need it working.

So I've inherited an old P200 with 64MB RAM and a 1.5Gb HD which I'm going to use as a toy, my first project is to set it up as a secure webserver - no GUI tools installed. It's all very well using GUI tools but the only way to have a good understanding of how stuff works is to do it manually.

Which means using vi again - the last time I used it was on the Unix workstations at Uni 12 years ago
Old 11-05-2004, 09:14 AM   #12
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The best way to learn: play with it. Try something that sounds interesting or fun, even if you don't see a practical purpose. I built myself a syslog to sms message interface for various CRITICAL messages. (Watch out with this one or your phone could be flooded!) I'd also like to see something that works on the AIM protocol to let me (and other users) check system uptime, etc. I might write something like that this weekend, now that I think about it... probably in perl, they have some nice modules for TOC/OSCAR. But I digress. Just play with it.
Old 11-06-2004, 04:02 AM   #13
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Just jump in. I got a laptop awhile back for fixing someone's computer (see below). I just put VectorLinux on it and had fun. Right now I'm downloading Slackware to try something challenging. Go to your local bookstore and see what computer books they have. You can usually find loads of books on different linux projects. I just got a book called Linux Toys with 13 projects that I'm going to start trying. You never know what can happen.

Also go to and check out their documentation>HowTo section it has bunches of projects to try. You just never know what you can make Linux do.
Old 11-08-2004, 06:55 PM   #14
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I am a linux and i just try too use it everyday. I know i know nothing about it but at least i have figured somethings out which i didn't know before. I am growing more confident in using linux with each day i use it. I didn't even know how to install linux, i just went through every step reading everthing it said and i just did it. I tell you, having the challenge to learn so many commands and having to control so many things like the firewall and programs installed, it makes me eager to continue learning more. Maybe one day i'll have not as much to learn, maybe then i will be interested in learning something else, but i accomplished my goal of using linux like i used to use windows.
Old 11-09-2004, 12:30 AM   #15
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I first saw linux in my first year of university, and installed it immediately, and fucked it up immediately. However I was so intuned to that M$ sh*t about formating anytime something goes wrong, I probably ended up installing red hat 7.3 10-12 times in a few weeks. Now however I;m using slackware (after just one install !), got my wireless network card working and have this set up as a dhcpd server for my desktop (i need my CS). I already downloaded and recompiled , got bored, and optimized and recompiled my kernel(2.6.9).I also am using fluxbox (and i thought KDE was cool) as my WM. I can see where you're coming from about not wanting to break it though. It's really nice to have an extra old PC somewhere to throw linux onto to play with. gl hf. manners.


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