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Old 02-23-2020, 07:48 AM   #1
That Random Guy
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How did you learn Linux?


Hello,

I've been playing around with VMs on my PC for a bit now where I've been able to test bringing up things like Apache, iSCI, Samba/NFS, LDAP, etc.

However, I don't feel like I've mastered anything just yet. I find it hard to say that I can master any of these things as just because I can get it working on my VMs doesn't suddenly mean I could get it working in a completely different environment with different constraints, conditions, etc.

Just as well, I only managed to get ONE thing working via these tools that can probably support many more use-cases and utilities for which I am simply not aware of. I can't predict how these things are to be used nor how I can manipulate them.

For me, simply reading through a guide or manual page does nothing for me 'cause I'll have an idea of how something works with some specifics but just running one quick job doesn't suddenly make me a specialist in that tool. I ran one command—big whoop.

How did you all learn Linux over the years? Has it always been trial and error on your own?

Last edited by That Random Guy; 03-07-2020 at 08:49 AM. Reason: typo
 
Old 02-23-2020, 08:21 AM   #2
hazel
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I did a lot of reading! It helped a lot that I was already familiar with command line from working on mainframe computers.
 
Old 02-23-2020, 08:48 AM   #3
dugan
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Slackware Book.
 
Old 02-23-2020, 08:53 AM   #4
enorbet
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If I understand you correctly, RandomGuy, you and I may have something in common in that it is not enough for me to know, for example, that if I press down on the rightmost pedal in a car it goes faster. I need to know what that pedal actually does all the way down the line to the fundamentals (suck, squeeze, pop, phooey). It was largely the same with computing.

Thankfully, though it seems computers were always kind of around me on the periphery (example: my Bass Player and friend in 1967 was learning programming languages in college) but I didn't get how they would be useful to me until much, much later. Thankfully an acquaintance gave me an ancient Tandy 8086 when they upgraded to a 286. At first I just used it to play a few games and write stuff in the word processor but then I got interested in the hardware and software that worked together to provide function. It had DOS 6.22 on it and I literally kept a notebook and ran every .com, bat, and .exe in it and recorded the results which sometimes was catastrophic. So I bought a DOS book and The Hardware Bible and learned to recover and began to grasp how the hardware works individually and how that is orchestrated. Then another friend gave me 3 floppies for PCTools and I suddenly got it that a PC isn't just a tool, it is a tool box that could be purposed for many kinds of tools to do many different and useful jobs.

FFWD a few years through OS/2 to my first Linux, Caldera, which was replaced by Mandrake within just a few weeks. It lasted a few months until an automated RPM system upgrade trashed everything and I hadn't a clue how to recover. So I reinstalled and bought 2 O'Reilly books, Running Linux and Linux in a Nutshell. I knew some Assembly but was clueless about "higher" languages like C. I never did learn much C but I started to understand how Linux works and then bought a book on the Linux Kernel and started building my own custom kernels. Around that time I was also spending a lot of time in Linux IRC channels and asked the guys I respected most what was the best Distro and most said Slackware, so I installed it and liked it right from the start since it was (and still is) so hands on. It, and a somewhat brutally honest (I thought rude at first) comment in IRC made me strive to learn real administration of the whole system and Slackware was the perfect vehicle.

Twenty years and many more books and people got me to where basically nothing happens I don't initiate and I'm comfortable and happy and feel like I'm no expert but I "know how my car runs".
 
Old 02-23-2020, 09:02 AM   #5
DavidMcCann
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You learn what you need to know. If you really want to do something, you'll usually manage to puzzle it out. And if you don't need to know it, why bother? It also helps to keen records of what you've done (provided that it actually worked!) as a reference for the future.
 
Old 02-23-2020, 09:35 AM   #6
Keith Hedger
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I used linux for about 18 month s and learnt next to nothing except 'apt-get install' thenswitched to slackware from debian and learnt shedloads, never looked back and now use LFS, if you want to learn linux install slackware.
 
Old 02-23-2020, 09:49 AM   #7
rtmistler
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I worked on Unix systems. Eventually they became Linux.
 
Old 02-23-2020, 12:46 PM   #8
ehartman
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Quote:
Originally Posted by That Random Guy View Post
How did you all learn Linux over the years? Has it always been trial and error on your own?
I learned UNIX by myself, in 1987 (HP-UX mini's) and when Linux become more mature (around 1994) it made sense to switch PC's (486 and later) to it, instead of staying on MS-Dos/Windows 3.1x so that they could be used as workstations against the Unix servers.
Gradually they (the Linux machines) took over, as servers too.
 
Old 02-23-2020, 03:25 PM   #9
Richard.Stone
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I learned Unix on SunOS in the 1980s, and just evolved into linux as a *nix-like OS when it became available. Used to run Minix, Coherent, Xenix and other scholastic or Free/Open-Source alternatives moving forward during the 1990s.

I've been using Slack or Debian or Ubuntu or Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) as primary development environments for over 20 years, unless tasked to go do something for a Windows-centric environment, whereupon I would use Visual Studio. Mostly, it's been Ubuntu, since that was primary for Qualcomm/Android development and many other reference board systems on which I've worked, like Broadcom set-top boxes.
 
Old 02-23-2020, 05:49 PM   #10
vtel57
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Quote:
How did you learn Linux?
Well, that would be a long-winded story, I'm afraid. Maybe I can make it a bit briefer by bullet-pointing?

Late 70s - early 80s:
  • Learned octal machine code to manipulate an 8080A processor on a kit machine in tech school.
  • Played around with Commodore Vic20/C64 machines; first experience with primitive Internet - BBS's.

1993 or so:
  • Learned MS 3.1 on computers (old 486s) at work.
  • Got my own 486 machine at home; mostly played Wolfenstein 3D on it.

Long hiatus from computers...


2000 - 2006
  • Got hand-me-down Pentium I/90 system from my brother.
  • Learned MS Windows 98SE, XP.
  • Extreme aggravation with Windows XP and Service Pack installations that continuously trashed my system.
  • Online pals talk me into trying Ubuntu 6.06 Dapper Drake in dual boot setup.
  • Read many books on GNU/Linux; lurked at tech forums (this on, included) and sucked up as much knowledge as I could digest/understand; began interacting with folks on Scot's Newsletter Forums - Bruno's All Things Linux, where I met Master Bruno - a GNU/Linux guru and gifted teacher.
  • Started "distro farming" (testing many different distributions) to find MY distribution; the one that was a good fit for me.
  • At one point toward the end of 2006, I was multi-booting 18 different distributions on my main machine: Ubuntu, Debian, Arch, Slackware, OpenSuSE, Fedora Core, Mandriva, et cetera... settled on Slackware before Christmas. It suited me FINE.

Present Day
  • Still running Slackware on all my machines.
  • Try to help out as Editor at The Slackware Linux Documentation Project.
  • Still learning GNU/Linux every day. I have a working mechanics knowledge of the OS. I am NO GURU.

And that's about it, folks; a long and sordid history with my deep gratitude for the assistance I've received from many folks along the way...

Bruno Knaapen
Scot Finnie
Urmas
Alien Bob (Eric Hameleers)
Robbie Workman
P. Volkerding
Jeremy (LQ.org)


... and many, many others from here and other boards, forums, USENET, etc. I once said in a blog post geared toward new GNU/Linux adventurers that COMMUNITY is one of the most important resources available to us with regards to GNU/Linux.

Hmm... so much for trying to make it brief, huh?

Regards all...

~Eric
 
Old 02-23-2020, 07:59 PM   #11
frankbell
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I learned some stuff by trial and error and research on the internet; even 15 years ago, there were many great resources online. It helped, I think, that I was experienced with DOS and therefore used to the command line.

Since I started with Slackware, I bought the Slackbook, but the single most useful piece of documentation I found as a beginner was Garrels's Introduction to Linux; I still have a printed-out copy on my bookcase. Although it hasn't been updated in some time, it's still useful, because most of what it talks about is command line stuff that really hasn't changed much.

I also got a lot of help at the old Slackware newsgroup (comp.os.linux.slackware, I think), which is now but a shadow of its former self and, in my opinion, not worth the effort.

And, of course, I learned a lot here at LQ just by using the search and reading others' questions and answers.
 
Old 02-24-2020, 12:58 AM   #12
rokytnji
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Ebay, the internet, and this forum.
 
Old 02-24-2020, 01:19 AM   #13
Minux1
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Just scratched the surface.
Reading is too much like work so I put the horse before the cart & started watching some of the many excellent YouTube videos on Linux using my 1st Linux computer.
Just downloaded the Linux Mint XFCE ISO burned it to a thumb drive with Etcher and installed it on an old ThinkPad I had laying around.
It’s definitely not rocket science.
Linux Mint fortunately had all the software I needed in tow to watch the instructional videos.
YouTube is a great teacher where you can actually see stuff being done rather than reading straight hard copy.
I love technology so I look forward to each session and then apply the newly learned lessons on actual hardware to burn the knowledge in.
If I blitz the O/S installation in the learning process I reinstall the O/S and start all over again.
Great thing about Linux software it doesn’t cost hundreds of dollars like its MS Windows counterparts.
It’s free so if you botch things up no big deal.

Last edited by Minux1; 02-24-2020 at 01:35 AM.
 
Old 02-24-2020, 04:30 AM   #14
hazel
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Minux1 View Post
YouTube is a great teacher where you can actually see stuff being done rather than reading straight hard copy.
I love technology so I look forward to each session and then apply the newly learned lessons on actual hardware to burn the knowledge in.
You have to be careful with YouTube. Yes, there are good videos out there but there's also an awful lot of rubbish. This forum is filled with threads from people who ran into a small problem, went onto YouTube, found a slew of suggestions and tried them all out, and ended up with a borked system because they had no idea of what they were doing.

Just because they show you exactly how something is done doesn't mean that thing is the right solution to your problem.
 
Old 02-24-2020, 05:11 AM   #15
fatmac
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I just installed it, & started using it, learning what I needed to know along the way, from books & magazines originally, & later the use of forums like here.

Just remember how you learned to use a previous O/S, it develops over time.
 
  


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