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Old 05-30-2013, 03:49 AM   #1
Registered: Apr 2008
Location: Singapore
Distribution: Slackware 14.0
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Question on learning Linux or on subject of interest.


I would to find out from people in here... generally how do you all learn new skills ( linux or other computing skills)

i know there will be some common general answers like keep on practicing..
use it or lose it, etc.

But i believe there must be more than that.

For those who are really successful in Linux skills, do you have
a methodology or framework that you usually use when studying a topic of

How to you record new concepts, or ideas?

At times when i left the topic altogether..and when i try to pick up where i have left..usually i need to start from scratch again.

It's like move a step forward, then two steps backward.

Thanks and appreciate for your valuable advice.

Old 05-30-2013, 04:47 AM   #2
Registered: Aug 2012
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Well, I'm not very skilled, but I just take notes.

Whenever I run into something that I can't figure out, I find out (by reading the manual, then searching on the internet, then asking people) and put the solution in a text file for later reference.

I've got to admit it's usually more efficient to search the internet or LQ, because frankly some of the people who write these manuals... maybe they should stick to writing code. ;-)

For example, who remembers /etc/rc.d/rc.inet1 restart (to restart your network on Slackware) after 5 months have passed? Now I remember it because I've done it a hundred times and eventually you don't need those notes any more.

As for how, I have a "debian" directory which contains maybe 15 text files about various topics ("network", "searching", ...). This is poorly organized because most of the Debian commands work on Slackware and vice versa (for example, you have "grep" and "find" on both from -- I believe -- GNU coreutils which all Linux distributions have).

I've never read a book about Linux or bothered about learning it. I just want to get things done and eventually you pick up a lot. Come to think of it, I did read parts of the SlackBook: it's very good (written in a simple and concise way) and, despite its name, quite distribution-agnostic. Strongly recommended.
Old 05-30-2013, 05:33 AM   #3
Registered: May 2013
Distribution: Debian
Posts: 189

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Hi Guys,

Although there are many distributions out there you will need to know the general basics about Linux first.

Whatever material you use make sure they are LPI approved training material.

There are 3 lever they offer but i suggest you start with your 101 & 102 exams to make up your LPIC1 qualification.

Getting certified and having your qualification on paper will go a long way.

I use the following for reference:

Hope this helps.

Old 05-30-2013, 06:13 AM   #4
Registered: Apr 2008
Location: Singapore
Distribution: Slackware 14.0
Posts: 153

Original Poster
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Thanks guys.. that's help though.

But i am thinking alone the line whereby people talking about MindMap kind of stuff to aid the learning..

So i am thinking whether out there anyone is using something more than MindMap..which aid in learning.. maybe they have formulated their own tools to learn well. Or they might have a way of posing a question to find out the answer.. etc etc...

If those methods work well for those, why not share them.

Old 05-30-2013, 06:15 AM   #5
Registered: Apr 2008
Location: Singapore
Distribution: Slackware 14.0
Posts: 153

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Or maybe do they need a plan of "Attack" on learning or something like that?
Old 05-30-2013, 07:26 AM   #6
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I'm certainly far from expert in Linux or any other OS. however, I have learned to use and configure computers over the years by learning not what to do but why things are done.
I think the example of "/etc/rc.d/rc.inet1 restart" is a good one. To remember this I remember that after making changes to configuration files it is often necessary to restart a service or daemon. I then try to work out where the script to do that may be. For Debian they're in /etc/init.d/ but I know that Slackware is not Debian so I look for them somewhere else. I know that the convention is still to place them under /etc/. Then, when I have found the script, I think "I need to restart so I issue 'restart'".
As another example If I'm working on an IIS server and I make changes to the configuration I know that I may have to restart the IIS service. That I do this from a GUI doesn't change the fact that it's the same as restarting an Apache server on Linux.
To me learning how to use anything is about learning how it works. The precise commands or buttons to press can be found through google or a manual it is knowing what you want to do that's important.
Old 05-30-2013, 08:50 AM   #7
Registered: Apr 2008
Location: Singapore
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273, agreed with you. =)

Hope to get more ideas from you guys.
Old 05-30-2013, 03:28 PM   #8
Registered: Apr 2011
Location: Jakarta, Indonesia
Distribution: Fedora, CentOS
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Personally, I don't think MindMap or something alike would help for "planning the attack". These tools, on the contrary, tend to get in the way of learning. I believe that the only direction to learn how to do things in Linux is to step forward and make things work as told in the documentation (or Google..), then move backward; do it the other way around to get the big picture of what is really happening or what is not, and accomplish the why.

Taking self-notes does no good either because eventually, it gives me a false thought of securing the knowledge required for achieving higher skills in the sysadmin world. When I wrote anything, I forgot everything because it's noted. The good thing of keep-on-practicing method is that when you forgot what to type, your fingers may remember it.

I also found that teaching is actually the best way in learning because you are forced to show proof of your level of knowledge in front of audience. I've had embarrasing moments myself, but it taught me alot.
Old 05-30-2013, 08:23 PM   #9
Registered: Apr 2008
Location: Singapore
Distribution: Slackware 14.0
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Thanks Sibe. :-)

Personally i think note-taking is beneficial to one's knowledge building.
It's kind like imprint the note itself in your brain while you are writing on the paper.

However, if there is no structure of note-taking.. in the end. It become a mess.

We might say (my opinion), note-taking is just a tool; a means to an end. You may not need the note anymore once the skill become a second nature to you. But come to think of it, at times we might want to refer to the stuff we had noted before.

I believe, someone should have a good way of taking note for knowledge building purpose.

Please share! Thanks.
Old 05-31-2013, 02:45 AM   #10
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I mostly collect good links; some are links to entire books/manuals eg, or the ssh manual
Then I've got subject specific ones eg

Search engines are good, especially if I don't already have a link or I can't be bothered finding it (I've got a LOT of links ) often turns up in google; a lot of good howtos/examples there.

Ultimately it is a case of practice and i do write up my own docs for long procedures eg KVM setup & tweaking.

One thing you do have to watch out for is out-of-date or otherwise wrong info (eg example uses a different version => different options/bugs).
Old 05-31-2013, 06:27 AM   #11
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Usually i do on my home server what i studied. And try re-try alternative ways for the same issue.
But more than learn a specific command, i prefer try to understand the logic.
Old 05-31-2013, 10:09 AM   #12
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I have taken lately to using zim-wiki as my techie knowledge repository.
After 20 years in Information Technology, I have amassed several reasons why I don't want to keep my 'notes' anywhere but on the local drive.
Most CMS Webapps suck for notes as markups can play hell with your clipboard.

I studied and learned useful Search Engine (gurgle) strategic inquiries and bookmarked the results.
I have 1 search from 10 years ago that used to return over 10,000 hits for "How To" articles at
Now serving 17,000 if you believe 'em (I don't).

google this for the result:
"How To|howto" +Troubleshoot +"kbhowto"
I study other people's answers to reported issues. Bookmark them.
I live here on LQ (maybe I should detox some?), searching for nuggets I don't have already.

The single biggest tip I can give you is the "site:" delimiter in google search, for example..
this works at and and probably others also.
OR you can just use my google cse for the above.

I have a white-board for less immediate issues.
I use the shit out of 3x5 lined index cards as reminders.

I use custom google search engines such as my Linux-only "dork search" searching 43 linux-specific sites ONLY.

Keep good bookmarks, keep good notes. Even better, set your mind on the goal of "getting organized" and spend some time at it. It doesn't come easy.
A good directory structure under/below ~/Documents is imperative. These directories I have are:
Accounts # client-related info
C9 TaskCoach # timecard application
Legal # cirrhus9 internal stuff.
c9Notes # generic notes
c9archives # historical
Hell, I even have a "notes" directory just for .txt file as I used to 'record' my workups and installs using a text-editor and saving to a distinct filename.
Zim-wiki eliminates that process now.

I use ClipIt (a clipboard manager)
I use Quickfox Notes
I use ReminderFox

I use all this and more all day, every day as I manage my IT infrastructure on a daily basis.

Hope this is useful to you.

Last edited by Habitual; 05-31-2013 at 10:11 AM.
Old 05-31-2013, 10:19 AM   #13
Registered: Jan 2005
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Member Response


I will add my

All of my systems have a 'admin system log'. In this log I place all maintenance, upgrades or procedures hand written details to allow me future references. I also maintain a log for my client machine(s) so I know what I had done or suggestions to what should be done along with solutions to any problems for a particular machine.

As to 'cli', that will depend on how in-depth your experiences are along with frequency of use. To me, debugging, troubleshooting and maintenance are skills learned over time. You can read all the material but if you do not use or manipulate yourself then most times it falls to the bit bucket without retention.

Best thing is to break things down in simplest terms for any diagnosis, by doing this you will integrate skills as you build on diagnosis of a problem by understanding the collect terms and how you reach them. Read, understand and apply!

Some great quotes;

"Knowledge is of two kinds. We Know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information upon it."- Samuel Johnson

Man is a piece of the universe made alive.”- Emerson

A tool is but the extension of a man's hand and a machine is but a complex tool. He that invents a machine augments the power of man and the well being of mankind.” - Henry Ward Beecher

Man is a tool-using animal.”- Carlyle

One machine can do the work of fifty ordinary men. No machine can do the work of one extraordinary man.”- Elbert Hubbard

Men have become the tools of their tools”- Thoreau, Walden
Old 05-31-2013, 10:53 AM   #14
Registered: Dec 2012
Distribution: Debian Wheezy amd64
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I am still in the Newbie stage but I have done some research on your question and here is the best summary:
Your Guide To Mastering linux:

There is also a thread referencing many good resources:

This should get you on a good path!

Edit: oh yeah, onebuck has a sticky at the beginning of this forum that would be a good reference:

Last edited by DavidLee1A; 05-31-2013 at 10:56 AM.
Old 06-02-2013, 06:33 PM   #15
Registered: Dec 2012
Location: Maryland, US
Distribution: Debian
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. . . here is the best summary:
Your Guide To Mastering linux:
I just read this article and it's really very good. Thanks for sharing it.


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