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Old 03-28-2006, 10:35 PM   #1
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Help me understand linux!

Hey there, I'm pretty new here and have fairly limited computor experience. I've been using computors a majority of my life and once upon a time knew some DOS commands, but don't have a very firm understanding of the way they work. I'm hoping to find a book or something I can read that I can use as a diving board for exploring Linux ie: an understanding of reasons and procedures for hard drive partitioning, hardware setup basics,what goes on during the booting of the system, the sort of things that can help me understand what is going on and draw reasonable conclusions about why it may not be working. I appreciate any suggestions.

Old 03-28-2006, 10:43 PM   #2
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Maybe a little deep background would be a good place to start.

Linux is not Windows
Old 03-28-2006, 11:02 PM   #3
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Some will say pick a distribution and install--others will link you to books.

I will suggest taking it one step at a time: If you can, take a system and dedicate it to Linux. Download Ubuntu, install, and play. This will lead to more questions.

good starting point for free docs:

To buy: Linux in a Nutshell (O'Reilly)
Old 03-28-2006, 11:51 PM   #4
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I recommend the O'Reilly seires as well; they provide very good and useful information for all Linux users. Their books are EXPENSIVE, for a small paperback copy from them you pay 25$, but it is definately well worth it.
Old 03-29-2006, 01:19 AM   #5
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You may begin with:
"The Unix and Internet Fundamentals HOWTO:
Describes the working basics of PC-class computers, Unix-like operating systems, and the Internet in non-technical language."

Read HOWTOs:


Read the handbook of your Linux distro, FAQs, and so on. Enjoy every step.
Old 03-29-2006, 02:22 AM   #6
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I'm a relatively new Linux user. Believe me when I say that the only way to become proficient at Linux is to use it. Migrating from Windows to linux is hard. The learning curve is extremely steep. I am very good with Windows. I have programmed in Windows for 8 years, but I know barely anything about Linux. The first time I installed it. I learned the basic commands like ls, ps, cd, mkfs, fdisk and mv. None of my video files would play. I couldn't figure out the kdevelopment enviroment. I couldn't upgrade my kernel. Finally, I realized that I couldn't do anything I used to do in Windows in Linux except format and move data. I uninstalled it. I waited a year. I installed it again. I learned a bit more. Spent two weeks just trying to recompile my Linux kernal. Got that working. Couldn't get anything else to work. I let linux sit on the hard drive for nine months. I came back recently. Got gxine to play almost every single one of my media files. Learned more about manually making nodes. Yet, I still have so much more to learn. What does the proc directory actually tell me? What are the capabilities of the dd command? How do I make a package outside of a tar file? The list goes on. I will tell you this. The more I use Linux the more I like it. I really enjoy the power that some of these utilities offer like dd and grep. Really, you cannot find replacement utilities in Windows. They just don't exist. Now, get started, get frustrated, ask questions and most importantly try to enjoy the whole ordial.
Old 03-29-2006, 11:04 AM   #7
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Thanks for pointing me in the right direction. I've successfully installed damn small linux and I've played with it for a couple of days. I think I'll check into that Oreilly book, when you're a student $25 for a book seems pretty reasonable.

Old 03-29-2006, 11:31 AM   #8
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Visit your local public library. With any luck, you'll get to read (or photocopy...) a good Linux book for free.

Old 03-29-2006, 12:28 PM   #9
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when you're a student $25 for a book seems pretty reasonable
If you're a college or university student with an engineering school and/or computer science department, see if they have a Linux User's Group (LUG) or similar type organization. See if you can get involved, even if you're not in engineering/CS. The local university where I live let's anyone in the community join theirs. Books and on-line forums are great, but face-to-face is better.
Old 03-29-2006, 12:58 PM   #10
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Head to this page:

and start from the beginning. It will give you a basic understanding of what Linux is, how it works, and how to use the command line effectively. Don't worry, you don't really need to use it, most of the commands that are mentioned there have some graphical interface alternative. But check it out anyway

Old 03-29-2006, 02:10 PM   #11
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Moved: This thread is more suitable in Linux-Newbie and has been moved accordingly to help your thread/question get the exposure it deserves.
Old 03-29-2006, 04:22 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by rickh
Maybe a little deep background would be a good place to start.

Linux is not Windows
Thank you, that was a very good read.
Old 03-29-2006, 04:37 PM   #13
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I can't believe nobody suggested this yet.
The top left of the page has it in downloadable forms.
This is probably one of the best, if not the best, tutorials available.

Good luck, and welcome.


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