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Old 09-27-2006, 08:14 PM   #1
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Unhappy A general introduction to Linux concepts?

Whatever I try searching, I can't seem to find a general introduction to the basic concepts of Linux, and the important ways that it differs from Windows.

Surely there are people in the Linux community who want more Windows users to make the switch? In which case, surely at least one of them has written a clear, accessible beginners guide to how things work on Linux, also addressing any incorrect presumptions Windows users may have?

I expected to find loads of guides like this. But every guide I've found has been very confusing and unhelpful. People seem to be wary of being over-patronising. But Windows users like me need patronising. I want to find a guide that addresses things like:
  • The command line --- what is it, why do you need to use it. And most importantly, where do you find it?
  • Compiling/building/installing --- what??? Imagine you're a Windows user, used to downloading an .exe and running it. A few simple questions later, and your program is installed. Then in Linux, they say things like, "Extract the tarball and compile the source files." What the hell does that mean to an average Windows user? I am aware that programs are compiled from source code, but I don't know how to do this.
  • The file system --- I'm used to having different letters (C:, D:, etc.) representing different volumes of data. A path to a file always begins with one of these letters. On Linux, all file paths seem to start with a slash. Why? How do you know which partition your file is on? Does a file path actually relate to it's physical location?

Does anyone know where I can find a guide like this?
Old 09-27-2006, 08:25 PM   #2
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There are a good number of guides out and about on the net. I suggest you become friends with

Searching at the above site for whatever you want to learn about and adding the term newbie will probably help you out.

A great site for starting out on the linux path is

Old 09-27-2006, 08:26 PM   #3
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Here's one that's general linux oriented.

This one is REALLY good and holds your hand a lot, but it's more Debian and command line oriented. It could probably be applied to Debian derivatives like Ubuntu also. Note that it doesn't get into the Desktop environment much (and what it has is really outdated), but the Linux Basics section is really good. And the whole thing uses the command line, so you'll learn a lot about the command line. Again, just beware that many of the things done in here are done in a Debian centric way.
Old 09-28-2006, 12:04 AM   #4
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[Chapter 1] 1.3 Reasons to Choose or Not Choose Linux

Comparison of Windows and Linux - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Linux vs Windows (a comparison)

Deciding if Linux is Right for You

<Linux> - Google Search < IS your friend.
Old 09-28-2006, 01:27 AM   #5
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Maybe you are looking for something in these lines:

This is a one-man experience of going from Windows to Linux. I haven't read it, but it may help you.

Indeed, since you look interested in passing from Windows to Linux, maybe you would like to document your experience as this guy did. Even if at the end you decide that Linux is not for you, it would be useful for other people. I would like to help you in the process. If you are interested, just send me an email.

Old 09-28-2006, 07:54 PM   #6
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I strongly suggest that you do experiment with Linux, but I also suggest that you do it on a separate machine. You probably have a cast-off machine in your closet; drag it out again. Otherwise, used machines are practically throw-away items even though they have years of life left.

Just make sure that it's a machine of recent vintage .. no more than a couple of years old. It should have adequate memory and other resources, just be perhaps a little slower than you preferred at the time.

An exposure to Linux may well be your first exposure to, well, "anything else but Windows." You shouldn't let your sum-total exposure to computer systems consist of "Windows." Linux offers you an excellent way to study something that is used on computers of all sizes worldwide, that originates from an entirely separate and unrelated lineage. It is valuable, although mind-blowing, experience.
Old 09-28-2006, 10:59 PM   #7
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A really good site that I like to reference from time and time again is


beginners, guide

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