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-   -   How did you learn Linux? (

Inlovewithmymac 01-07-2008 12:35 PM

How did you learn Linux?
I was just wondering how all of you experts learned the ins and outs of linux and what tips you have for us newbies about learning linux. Any great sites any bad ones? Thoughts on best linux versions?

Poetics 01-07-2008 12:40 PM

If you do any amount of searching on this site you will likely find several score topics about each of your questions.

I would definitely recommend perusing the Newbie forum (this one), as well as Distributions, where there are many (many) threads about which linux distribution people think is 'best' for their particular setup (the real answer: whatever works for you and your preferences).

As to how to learn, it's all a matter of actually using it and having an open mind to exploring and learning new things. That and not being afraid to break a box -- if it happens, it happens and you learn not to do that again.

Good Riddance 98 01-07-2008 12:43 PM

Like any computer thing, fiddling. First in Red Hat Linux 8 then for a while all I had was Knoppix, now I learned with Fedora. Do not be frightened to experiment. If you are not in Root you can not cause that much damage. A good way to learn Linux is to use Live CD's like Knoppix first, they can show you the ropes with very little risk.

As for distribution, judging by your name you use a Mac, is it an Intel Mac? If not I suggest PowerPC Fedora, normal Fedora might run on Intel Macs I am not sure.

Good luck with the wonderful world of GNU/Linux.

PMorph 01-07-2008 12:52 PM

I'm not exactly an expert, but here goes..

Method: Trial and Error
Hint: Make Notes - or regret

arijit_2404 01-07-2008 12:56 PM

Although I am a new user to Linux, but I still installed Fedora 8 on my laptop, and Vector Linux on my desktop (along with Mint) to take the challenge of learning game.
I am now fully switched to Linux and outside of Windows world.
I believe - Linux is freedom.

dv502 01-07-2008 01:14 PM

My first linux distro was Caldera eDesktop back in 1995. What led me to linux was using unix via a shell account in 1993. Today, I use only linux and no windows. And what get smart would say, "And, loving it..."

The only tip I can give you is to read, study and practice. Practice setting up a server, writing shell scripts,...etc.

Experience is the key...

Here are some popular linux podcasts

AwesomeMachine 01-07-2008 01:28 PM

I picked SuSE, and that's pretty much a no brainer. I think I'll write a post today for real beginners.

H_TeXMeX_H 01-07-2008 01:47 PM

I learned Linux best after I switched to Slackware. Before I was using FC4 and 5, but I didn't really learn too much from it. Slackware makes you learn and even want to learn (at least for me).

marciobarbalho 01-07-2008 02:44 PM

Keep it simple stupid!
Slackware, because it works!

Well, I'm new to linux, I've been using slackware since oct 2006. Before, i was using (k)Ubuntu, fedora, mandriva, kurumin (from Brazil), Fenix (from brazil) and Gentoo.

So, use it, pick up one and use it.

sparc86 01-07-2008 03:02 PM

Well, I am a Linux user since 2005. However, I have been using Slackware since the beginning and I have forced myself to use Linux all the time and make all the work in the command line. I don't even have Windows in my personal computer anymore.
So, in other words, that's basically how I learned:

1. Reading
2. Studying
3. Practicing building a home server, shell scripts, etc... (very fun! :D)

By the way, nowadays I'm studying for the LPI test and I really need a new job.

Acron_0248 01-07-2008 03:19 PM

Not an expert but...

I started with Ubuntu Hoary, while I was reading the hoary guide, in some point I decided to try Debian Sid (because I was looking for newer packages that sarge didn't have)

That was a nightmare! as it says in some part of the debian sid faq, sooner or later the system will break, and many times did, but from every error/fix I started to learn this and that, that's how I started (and keep learning)


jimerickso 01-07-2008 03:48 PM

i am not an expert but i taught myself linux by working my way through various distributions. i started with redhat, then fedora, then knoppix, then ubuntu, then slackware, then linux from scratch. my most recent distribution is gentoo which was really a breeze after learning on linux from scratch. i also had a brief foray into unix with freebsd, openbsd, and netbsd. i still occasionally use openbsd to keep my unix skills sharp. i highly recommend linux from scratch it was a real epiphany for me. hope that helps. good luck!

reddazz 01-07-2008 04:28 PM

I don't class myself as an expert, but I learnt a lot (and still do) by trial and error. I also read a lot and try things out on my computers at home.

dive 01-07-2008 07:25 PM

No expert either but read man pages, use google, ask and learn. I think using a distro like slackware has taught me a great deal too.

antis 01-08-2008 03:07 AM

I have leaned alot by installing, crasing and reinstalling different distributions a number of times. Eventually you will "crash" Linux and know how to fix the problem without reinstalling.

I also learn alot by just browsing this forum and reading interesting topics.

And, maybe the most important thing. I bought a small, inexpensive computer which I wanted to set up as a media center in my home. Having a project to work on and trying to get it the way you want is really a good thing Just as in programming I find that it is easier to learn if you do something that you have a big interest in.

So basically, you'll learn alot by trial and error and browsing the forum.

b0uncer 01-08-2008 03:25 AM

I started off by installing it :) I can't say I knew much anything about it except that it had a penguin on the cover, and I recall installing it a few times a week - some days more than once a day - because I happened to mess something up I couldn't fix yet. In the beginning I couldn't do much with it, but after finding a book about UNIX things got a little forward. The beginning was mostly just blind shooting, but eventually I did learn what I can and cannot do, what I should not do, and how things work (not everything, but some of the things).

I think the reason why it took me so "long" to learn the operating system was because there was no documentation (EDIT: of course there were man pages and such, or so I think, but I didn't know they were there, nor how to use them if I did), and moreover, nobody to ask from. When more reading and books came available, and some others installed the thing as well, the learning process went faster. Nowadays when internet is at hand almost everywhere, I think it's a whole lot easier to start learning. The tricks of having the OS work for you (and not vice versa) are learned by trying out, I still think so, but nowadays if you don't know what to do after the setup completes and you meet a "login: " prompt, you can always ask at LQ.

My advice then...well, it must be that (especially new users) should not "be afraid" of the system, but try and do things. It's ok to do a reinstall at the end of the day (I did sometimes) if things get messy, but ultimately doing and experimenting yourself is the most effective way of learning. And whenever you get stuck, first try yourself, but if it doesn't open, simply ask (here, for example). No need to spend weeks over one problem anymore, since help is available.

oskar 01-08-2008 04:22 AM

When I started I didn't have internet access, so I learned with books. Of course, everything you need is out there on the net.
When I started out I was interested in learning about *nix systems. Today I couldn't care less how it works, as long as it works.

LlNUX 01-08-2008 05:36 AM

!!! by having fun !!! that is the best approach. Also by reading, testing and writing:

globaltree 01-08-2008 07:46 AM

Still learning, but here are my two cents of time savers
I am very new to linux. I delved into darwin once mac switched to os x, and I had a look "under the hood"... and, since it was based on bsd, my next step was to try openbsd (figured the makers of openssh would keep puffy secure)--every now and then, about twice a year, since 1999, I would download some distro's iso for powerpc and give it a spin; I never got maclinux going back in 1999, but I did notice that I got further each year.
I remember getting so excited when I saw xeyes on darwin after building Xfree86. But eventually I would get frustrated with the "trials"... wouldn't get sound to work, or my printer... eventually, I would be back to the familiar osx. I tried debian, suse, mepis, and ubuntu... It was with ubuntu, on a i686 that I acquired for my son's "windows only" online homeschool, that I became determined to figure out ubuntu, and make it "contain" windows in its own virtual bubble...

Unfortuanetly, the ubuntu was picking up my ata drive as a scsi, and assigning it a /dev/sda, instead of a /dev/hda... this prevented me from using hdparm to set DMA for my drive, and the edubuntu ran faster off of the live cd than when installed.

Then I discovered slackware. It won my loyalty by working... it wasn't the easiest distro to install. But the users in its large userbase actually share the knowledge they've accumulated :) Thanks Slack Users. It seemed like the intimate details of tweaking darwin (like how to build it from scratch) were not readily acquired online, and are coveted secrets kept by apple developers...they're probably there somewhere, buried in how to manage open directory, etc., but why bother, they're gonna change it by the next release anyways. And in the ubuntu forums, it seems like there are so many noobs that noobs start answering other noobs questions without really knowing, so there were lots of what I call "wild goose threads."

However, slackware knew my drive was ata, and I could use hdparm on it, and it was so fast... wow. Then, the forums melted my questions away, one by one. Now my son's i686 slackware 12 box runs winXP inside virtualBox for his homeschool; he can print to a shared CUPS printer...saned even shares his scanner with the other workstations, and that is something unheard of in windows and mac...we share music folders, software repositories, etc. with NFS. Slackware is the first distribution that actually got a desktop functional enough for me to like it better than os x. Elegant in its simplicity :) Thanks Pat.

And if you made it this far though this monologue, let me add something useful: over all, I think I found more answers in the documentation that comes with the distros, customized to the distro, than in chasing the advise tailored to other distros in wild goose threads. Just as often as not, after a day of futile www searching through other situations' solutions, I'll return to the directory containing the source code I'm trying to compile, and find that the answer was in the README, or in the ./configure --help output.

Now I try README pages, man pages, info pages, searching forum, then posting in forum, in that order. I know there are realtime resources on IRC, but haven't tapped in. Too busy reading man pages.

But I share the sentiments of the former posts about slackware. I think its user base and community are so happy to offer assistance, that I've found that most of my issues have already been answered at LQ, and haven't needed to post many questions at all.

ev0ltn 01-08-2008 08:19 AM

Shell account (I think it was .. no ssh, you had to telnet into it <3 old times ..) -> LiveCDs (Knoppix/Phlak - I loved Phlak) -> Slackware 9.

pixellany 01-08-2008 08:52 AM

How to learn Linux by NOT doing what I did.......

Here is (approximately) what I did:
  1. Very early (Apple-II/Mac 128 era), learned Unix and C. Forgot most of it, but at least remembered that there was such a thing as a CLI
  2. Bought (paid for--in a store!!) SUSE (something like version 2 or 3...;))
  3. Decided that the best way to keep the Windows crutch at the ready was with 2 computers + a KVM switch. Easy access to Windows crutch of course slowed the learning process.
  4. Got distracted and dropped the whole thing for a while.
  5. Tried some of the other distros--eg Fedora 1 or 2---got frustrated and...
  6. Bought SUSE AGAIN!! (You might excuse the first one, but this was dumb---although that version (9?) was pretty good)
  7. Discovered Ubuntu---wow, everything works!!!
  8. got POed at Ubuntu because of the stupid no-root-user thing---discovered Mepis.
  9. got RHEL4 at work--Good news: they support Linux---Bad news: only RHEL
  10. caught the distro-hopper disease (In my case it has been diagnosed as terminal...)
  11. Forced to learn shell-scripting because there were some things I wanted to do with LDAP
  12. After many years of thrashing around, discovered LQ---Joined in Nov 2005. This was the beginning of the really serious push. (Only a coincidence that I was seeing the very real possibility of layoff...;))
  13. At LQ, proved the time-honored principle that learning often comes thru helping others. (Even when some of your advice turns out to be wrong....;)

jag2000 01-08-2008 10:07 AM

I started out with Suse 9.1 and knoppix. this site helped A LOT. will become your best friend. I just kept trying different distros till i found one i liked. I used suse up until 10.1 came out. then it bombed and was horrid. I started trying other distros xandros, Mandrake (at the time, lindows/linspire. Then i kinda got frustrated and left linux alone for a while. opensuse 10.2 came out i started playing with it got ticked cause of my stupid ATI card. got an nvidia and all was well. tried pclinuxos and debian then ubuntu. now im using ubuntu 7.10.

brianL 01-08-2008 11:31 AM

The internet: Google, LQ (of course), downloaded guides from the Linux Documentation Project. I still regard myself as a newbie, learning bit by bit, by trial and error.

weibullguy 01-08-2008 12:44 PM

I'm not a expert, but I can tell you that I learned what I DO know about Linux by:
  1. Breaking Linux (but make sure you backup often if you take this route :))
  2. Using LFS, and now, CLFS for my everyday machine. Maybe that's why #1 happens so much.
  3. Of course, answering questions at!
  4. Contributing to the CBLFS wiki.
  5. Reading the link in #5 in my signature.
Number 1 has really been my greatest teacher. As long as you backup before you go mucking around, you'll figure out what does and doesn't work. Then the challenge is understanding why. I have found that 99.999% +/- 0.001% (I made up those #'s) or more of the problems you encounter are not unique. Some take a little more digging than others, but generally Google has the answer. Read the link in #5 in my signature before you try a mailing list, IRC, etc.

Any great sites?!!! You've already found the greatest, but Bookmark Advanced Bash Scripting, don't worry about the "Advanced" in the title. Learn it, love 'cause you'll need to use it someday if you use Linux.

Best Linux version (distro), Cross Linux from Scratch, of course!

TigerOC 01-08-2008 12:51 PM

Very good post pixellany!

I have a similar history - apple IIe but then skipped MS products because I opted for Xenix (like unix) in my business. Learnt a fair amount of command line because there was no gui at that time. But I digress..........

I used RH, Mandrake and then Corelinux. Really liked Debian. I think I spent 4 days installing and re-installing Debian Woody until I could figure out what the hell they were talking about.

I learnt to make notes about everything I did and still refer to them regularly. I ran a dual boot system for 6 months. Windows '98 was my "safety blanket". I set myself complex tasks to achieve. Since I first saw the Internet I always wanted to have my own server. That was like the ultimate objective.

My own outlook is to push yourself. If you get into Linux then you are probably a "techophile" anyway. Set yourself goals and learn everything you can about the subject and try it. If things go wrong and you don't understand what is going on or cannot figure out what went wrong then ask the good folks here. Most times they will be very patient but other times people can be quite harsh. Persevere and try to phrase questions correctly by doing some reading and giving concise information. Most of the folks here don't want to try and extract huge amounts of info from you. They will just ignore the question. Be prepared with as much info as possible.

Nis2k 01-08-2008 01:13 PM

trial and error

Originally Posted by PMorph (Post 3014560)
I'm not exactly an expert, but here goes..

Method: Trial and Error
Hint: Make Notes - or regret

I totally agree, every OS I have had in the past, I have to reinstall it several times before i get familiar with it. So you don't necessary have to mess ur OS up to learn but trial and error is the best way to learn, good luck!

bahbahthelamb 01-08-2008 01:17 PM

First tried Redhat, in the long-long ago... then Mandrake, Mandriva, FreeBSD, Solaris, Debian, Fedora, Mepis, Ubuntu... the list goes on and on... finally, I found SUSE and have stuck with it. The big problem that I had with learning linux/unix was that I always was on a dual-boot with Windows and left everything setup for Windows to work. Now with NTFS-3g and explore2fs, I was able to make a little more wise decisions about how to manage the dual-boot (quad-boot now), and make linux work throughout everything. The only partition on my computer that I can't work with in linux is the one for Mac OS root (but I'll bet there's a way for me to use that one too, just no need).

A few years ago, my best friend and I decided to start having LFT (Linux Fun Time) a few nights a week. Neither of us knew much about linux, we were both sick of Microsoft's reign of terror, and mac os is like an insult to the end user. During LFT, we'd force ourselves to work in a runlevel 3 like environment. Even if we were in the GUI, we'd edit the conf files in vi; even if there was a way to set it up in some GUI tool, we'd tweak it manually. We'd setup things that we didn't really need, but were curious about. The internet is the limitless resource; you just have to know what the question is. If you hear someone mention something and you don't know what it is, google it (or search here @ LQ). You want to do something with your linux box, but you don't know what linux prog will do it, sourceforge and freshmeat. Get really stumped, start a new thread here. As you can see, we at LQ are tons of geeks that will help you out and not look down our nose because we were all newbies at some time; the only thing we might get guilty of is accidentally not mention that one step that goes without saying to one that's a pinch more advanced (EG, "Whoops, forgot, that'll only work when you're logged in as root).

I choose Linux mostly because of the community support. You ask some MCSEs some Windows related tech question and they assume you're a moron (because there are a TON of idiotic Windows users, I'm one of those MCSEs... hehe), and don't get me started about the Mac gurus, they just have some kind of serious personality glitch. Linux users help other linux users because that's the only way any of us became linux users.

Good luck...

crenclan 01-08-2008 08:35 PM

When I finish learning linux I'll let you know. But seriously, 1st distro was xandros.I'm a distro hopper. Have tried all the popular distros trying to find one to do it all. I haven't found it yet.
I have a seperate rig dedicated to linux. Like others I tweak it until it breaks, then start over. I also use a MS crutch, but after about 2 years I have gotten to the point that I could rely on linux as my only os at home.

TigerOC 01-09-2008 02:46 AM


Originally Posted by crenclan (Post 3016114)
When I finish learning linux I'll let you know.

Really :); - That will be in a very long time because I don't think anyone finishes learning Linux, not even Linus.

vwtech 01-09-2008 12:04 PM

Im still very new to the Linux world but started out 6 months ago with Ubuntu 7.04. Coming from an Windoze Windows world. Now I'm working on earning the Linux+ Cert. I'm forced to use Windows at work but I run Fedora 7 in vmware to study and use during the day. First I started using Beryl and the GUI now I'm studying and learning the commands.
Live CD are great. So far I've tried Ubuntu, Fedora, Centos, OpenSuse and a few others. My goal is two be able to use and administer MS, Linux & OS X. My next Laptop will most likely be a Mac so I can run OS X, MS (whatever)and Linux on the same box.

2damncommon 01-09-2008 09:35 PM


Originally Posted by Inlovewithmymac (Post 3014532)
I was just wondering how all of you experts learned the ins and outs of linux and what tips you have for us newbies about learning linux. Any great sites any bad ones? Thoughts on best linux versions?

If you have a Mac you can open up a terminal to begin using *nix commands.
When I had the chance to do this it was like using a Linux distribution I was not familiar with.

Everyone has different priorities and learns in different ways.
The best way to test Linux now is with a Live-CD/DVD.

About 2000, before I owned a computer, I wound up needing to know how to run an old Windows 3.1/DOS 6.22 PC. I bought a book and knew enough to keep it running in 2 weeks. I added Calmira to make it more like Windows 95/98 for the people that already knew how to use that.

When I had my own PC and became interested in Linux I, surprise, bought a book. Actually a couple. One had lots of pictures on how to use the Gnome desktop on Red Hat and the other a floppy to learn basic command line UNIX on Windows. Then I bought a Mandrake distribution that used KDE. From the Gnome book I learned Linux was just like Windows-you click on icons to run programs. From the command line book I learned UNIX was just like DOS-you type in commands. Just not the same programs or commands. From the Mandrake install I learned about unsupported hardware. :)

With an install of Suse that supported my hardware I was able to use Linux just like I used Windows. I clicked on stuff mostly and sometime I did some basic command line stuff.

I was using the original text YAST in Suse and thought it was a much better administration tool than anything Windows had. But when I decided to use a later Mandrake that supported my hardware and had a few programs I wanted. It did not have YAST! So I learned to use the Mandrake tools. Hmmm, distribution have different system tools.

I understood a little about using the command line and from reading Linux forums knew there was a lot to do from there. I decided I needed a project to begin learning more about Linux and using the command line. I decided to try Linux From Scratch. It was excellent. I learned much more about commands, reading man pages, searching forums and newsgroups for information and getting in over your head sometimes. I also learned what makes a basic Linux system and how much work is put into a distribution.

One does not always understand what is ment by this right away, but, Linux is not Windows.

Actually the question is not how we learned Linux but how you learn about it.

Good Luck

charlie0313 01-09-2008 10:40 PM

I learned with Slackware. It is the only distribution that feels like your really using GNU/Linux, for me at least. It forced me to learn. Also it is really easy to install, which was a plus for me as a noob. Also Slackware has a book on its website that is perfect for getting started with Linux. I would also suggest NOT using a GUI. Use only with the CLI. Once you get the hang of it you will fall in love with how much faster it gets to be. I also think mac's use a unix shell? So you could practice there also.

Use Google
Use man pages
Use forums

And remember that 95% of the time its your fault something isn't working not the software's. That was hard for me to get used to after using windows for so long :)

OSlinuX 01-10-2008 12:24 AM

a few people posted that they learned more after using Slackware. Why is that? and how does it differ to the Ubuntu experience?

2damncommon 01-10-2008 12:40 AM


Originally Posted by OSlinuX (Post 3017404)
a few people posted that they learned more after using Slackware. Why is that? and how does it differ to the Ubuntu experience?

Asking about the difference rather than experiencing the difference is always how some newer Linux users cheat themselves.
Tell me, is the user experience between Slackware 3.x and Slackware 12.x greater than the difference between using Slackware 12.x and Ubuntu 7.x.

inspiron_Droid 01-10-2008 02:53 AM

I acturally learned linux buy crasshing windows my self ( or repairs my sisters xp box). Then while googlelgling one dy back in 2002 i fell acrossedThe super Diminsional Fortress ( IApublic Access Unix System).As I became Acustomed to dysing the verious command line utilities in Netrbsd on my shell accound at SDF I begun to build confidence in navigatinmg the unix syste structure, which lead to multi booting my first ever PC that wasn'e a fa,ily pc and even doing fress installs of verious distributions which I will list late on and old dell poweredge 4200 as well as verious other machiens which i'd rescue from the local dump in Tenafly,NJ.
  1. Ubuntu (from brezzy)

  2. Fedora core 4,5,6and 7

  3. Knoppix
  4. Suse 9,0 Pro (Pre Novel)
    Slack Ware from 9.01

  5. Gentoo (nevery Really worked that well on my platform)

  6. Simply Mepis From pre Simply mepis days
    Linux Xp

I was always able to either apost a question her at lq or just pull up a fire fox or ie window and google it.

It was through setting up my first SAMBA server for my family back in NJ that I fell in love with ubuntu and haven't looked back sense then., how ever as soon as I get a couple of more fharddrives in my current vista box and down frade up withj Ubuntu from vista to XP I will probaly be toing at least I triple boot system with ubuntu,xp and most lickly Centos and I may even thhrough in a gentoo system for kicks.

dracolich 01-10-2008 10:29 AM

I've been using Slackware since 2001. Even as a newbie I only had to reinstall once because I decided to sample another distro. As already mentioned, if you don't login as root when you don't need to you can't do too much damage.

There is nothing that compares to Windows' registry and drive lettering so start by learning the directory structure, where your partitions and external disks are mounted and where your user has access vs root's global access. Don't be afraid to try something. If you need root permission to do something, study first so that you know what you're about to do, how to recover if you make a mistake and be sure to type or click extra carefully.

Tackle one thing at a time and make notes. When you research a question or problem, print it or write it in a notebook. For most distros I think you can easily find a downloadable or printable version of the manual. LQ is one of the best sites for finding answers to common questions, and some uncommon ones, too. And get used to using Google and the man command.


Originally posted by 2damncommon
Tell me, is the user experience between Slackware 3.x and Slackware 12.x greater than the difference between using Slackware 12.x and Ubuntu 7.x.
The difference between Slackware versions is not much at all. I recently installed version 1.1.2 into a VM and found the basic functionality and structure to be almost the same. The experiences between Slackware and Ubuntu are more different. Slackware encourages users to explore, manually configure things and learn the ins-and-outs of the software, while Ubuntu, it seems, is more about just getting to the desktop and using the gui tools. It's fine for people who want a Linux distro just to get the benefits of Linux but it minimizes the need for the commandline and, thus, much of the learning experience.


Originally Posted by crenclan
When I finish learning linux I'll let you know.
I'm suddenly reminded of a commercial I once saw of a guy in front of a monitor displaying the message "You have reached the end of the Internet." As with any field, the idea of finishing learning is equivalent to finding the end of the Internet. :)

dv502 01-10-2008 11:07 AM


Originally Posted by OSlinuX (Post 3017404)
a few people posted that they learned more after using Slackware. Why is that? and how does it differ to the Ubuntu experience?

If you never tried slackware before you wouldn't ask a question like that.

Distros like LFS, gentoo, arch and slackware make you learn more about linux than ubuntu,pclinuxos,opensuse and other newbie like distros.

For example, in slackware the scroll wheel for your mouse is not enabled. You need to enabled it yourself by editing the xorg.conf file. This learning experience has proven helpful. One day, I tried a distro and the scroll wheel was not enabled. Because of using slackware, I knew what I needed to do to fix the scroll wheel problem. I edited the xorg.conf file and the scroll wheel was working. Also, when installing software in slackware you need to handle the dependencies yourself. There are some pre-compile binaries and slackbuild scripts to help install software, but the majority is compiling from source yourself.

Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against those newbie friendly distros. I tried them all my myself. My favorite is pclinuxos.

My point is you need to install one of those distros. LFS,gentoo,arch or slackware to experience what we are talking about.

I've also installed freebsd, openbsd and netbsd in the past. These are not linux distros. They are unix compatible OS's.

Prior to arch, I was running slackware 10.2, then 11.

H_TeXMeX_H 01-10-2008 03:17 PM


Originally Posted by OSlinuX (Post 3017404)
a few people posted that they learned more after using Slackware. Why is that? and how does it differ to the Ubuntu experience?

It's because of many reasons, one of the main ones is that Slackware doesn't hide anything from you, and encourages you to get your hands dirty or toes wet or whatever and find out how everything works. It's also significantly simpler and easier to understand than many other distros, which actually makes a very good distro to learn on.

Ubuntu on the other hand, hides everything from you, most people that come off from using Ubuntu don't even know what a CLI is or what it even stands for. It is very much like Window$, it even has the nice, friendly, pop-up on the toolbar, a new update is available, please click here for more info (or something along those lines). You come off knowing nothing of how to compile or what a compiler is (one is NOT included by default, for the convenience of you not having to worry about what it means or what it is), much less even ever dream of compiling a kernel. Whoah, that would be just insanely difficult and nearly impossible. And more such things ...

Yes, go ahead and flame me, tell me that today 100 users would not have switched from Window$ to Ubuntu because of my post. Tell me that most people simply do not have the knowhow to use Slackware, well perhaps that is true, or perhaps these people simply lack sufficient motivation and self-confidence.

Now, know this. Do NOT use Slackware if you are not willing to take a little time out of your very busy day to read and learn and enrich your mind, no, instead go with something easy like Ubuntu. But if you want to learn Linux, then Slackware is definitely one of the best distros for this. There are others, like LFS, but they take a LOT more of your time. And of course, Gentoo, Arch, and others ... (these don't really take much time, but usually more than Slackware)

inspiron_Droid 01-11-2008 10:14 AM


I am ofended by waht you said about Ubuntu because I have used it to run several successful servers for personal use and as intermediary machiens for connecting to shell servers via ssh. I have also tried is with slack where tono avail though.

However to every man man his own distribution.

arashi256 01-11-2008 10:38 AM


Originally Posted by linux-Hawk (Post 3019015)
I am ofended by waht you said about Ubuntu

You're actually offended by that? Steady there, chief. Whether or not you've managed to set up servers or not with Ubuntu, factually what the man said is true - slackware et al distributions do cut you less slack (as it were) than friendlier distributions such as Ubuntu so you therefore learn more Linux because you basically have to do more tweaking to get the thing to work as you want via the CLI. Thats not to say they're better, obviously, just different.


Originally Posted by linux-Hawk (Post 3019015)
However to every man man his own distribution.

Well, quite - so what was the above hissy fit all about?

Fred Caro 01-11-2008 10:39 AM

Dear all,
found out about linux while on a computer course. Find SUSE is easiest to use and the command line is a handy backup resourse but GUI is easier.The bonus on SUSE is YAST- Mandriva has a similar feature but all are more flexible than Windows. Cost is an issue-Bill Gates will tell you the same. A friend 'crashed' her version of XP and ended up paying though the proboscus for a genuine version of XP as it was not suplied with the original computer.

DavidMcCann 01-11-2008 11:51 AM

How to learn Linux? That depends on what you mean by learning Linux.

If you aspire to be a computer professional, or even just a hobbyist, you will want to know as much as you can about as much as you can. If you just want to use the beast to get on with some work, like writing a book, then you only need to know what you need to know. I'm glad the experts exist, but I've got other fish to fry.

Beware of people (Slackware enthusiasts?) who try to persuade you to use the command line for everything. There are some brilliant commands available, but there also also things that are as old as the hills and will not work well with modern technology or a modern desktop. Gnome (or even KDE) is there for a purpose: try out everything in the menu before you turn your back on it.

Be prepared to find rubbish (or at the least inappropriate advice) on the web. Some pages only apply to a particular distribution and many are well past their sell by date. You can't beat a good book: go through it from cover to cover and try out anything that seems useful.

But above all, do what you want to. Using a computer should be like riding a bicycle: fun as well as useful.

inspiron_Droid 01-11-2008 02:56 PM

arashi2560, H_TexMax_H,

I was only suggesting that HtexMax_H reexamine his stance on Ubuntu being a distribution aimed solely at beginners as I happen to be an intermediate user my self.

iwasapenguin 01-11-2008 07:30 PM

well I was already using a copy of Red Hat 8 from the library (but very badly) so I went back to the same library and ( *hangs head in very gret shame*) got out a late 80´s / early 90´s copy of ¨Unix for dummies¨.

I would advise getting a copy of Fedora for Mac if you have a Power PC of standard if you have an Intel based system, installing KDE in place of GNOME (I´ve seen people give GNOME one look and write of Linux), opening up a program called console and typing in commands from a book called ¨Linux in a nutshell¨.
It is what the ¨For dummies¨ tried to be.

PS: if you hunt round in the Controll Center app in KDE for a few minutes you can find setting that will give your Linux box the menus-at-top-of-screen behavior of a Mac. (I think it was in the desktop settings.)

armanox 01-11-2008 09:37 PM

Well let's see....

I learned Linux under Red Hat Linux 6.1 with the Linux for Dummies book in 2002, then when I had a second computer I gave Slackware 8.1 a shot, and later tried Debian.

I learned how to use Linux with Red Hat (good old days, KDE 1.x and Gnome 1.x; KDE was so much better then GNOME that I stuck with it since). I learned the most about how Linux works with Slackware.

Looking at the old Red Hat Linux vs Ubuntu, Ubuntu ceased to impress me. I'd read on /. about how people were raving that Gutsy added a fallback X diagnostic, and thought, Red Hat 6.1 had that. Ubuntu came off to me as an attempt to bridge the gap between Debian and Red Hat, a user friendly Linux using dpkg and apt (anyone remember Up2date under RH?). Now, I have run Debian on laptops and Ubuntu on servers, but, since I'm redoing my home network, my Desktop (and Laptop) will continue to run Fedora, and I'm switching my server to Gentoo.

deepumnit 01-11-2008 09:57 PM

I am not an expert too! I was kind of forced by Windows to use Linux :) I started off with Fedora Core 6. Well, any brainless guy can learn from it. I used Fedora Bible for reference since I did not have Internet a year and a half ago. Then, I switched to Debian, openSUSE, Gentoo etc. Now, I am back to Fedora! Well, when I first installed Linux along with my Windows, I overwrote the MBR several times, did not know on what to install :confused:

But now, it's been almost a year since I stopped using Windows! And yeah, has been a great teacher till now!

Su-Shee 01-12-2008 10:28 AM

Well, I'm no expert either - not even near a computer scientist - but I learned Linux by simply using it and reading much documentation and asking more experienced people.

When I got my first Linux in '93/'94, I kicked DOS entirely (because I knew how to use elm and ls and gopher on the remote Unix machine where I connected to and didn't have to plug the modem cable any longer to get out of vi or emacs... so I considered myself being capable of managing a Linux - how hard could it be...) so a friend of mine came over and we installed our stuff (not much of a choice in terms of distributions.. ;) ) and went on hours of configuring all the stuff - modelines in X and things like that.

Luckily, there has been an exceptionally well written handbook in German more or less right from the beginning, so I wasn't that lost. I started with something long forgotten on I-don't-know-how-many floppy disks and went on with Slackware, early Suses, went through a phase trying out literally everything out there, had to do my own "distribution" and a few years ago I retired on Slackware again.(No, it really hasn't changed that much, I agree.)

I had to ask much (in Usenet and IRC) of course, but over the years I managed.

Learning Linux to me meant editing Makefiles directly (no configure yet), configuring X by hand, doing downloads with things like zmodem, learning how to switch from a dial-in terminal connection to SLIP, trying to handle the first ISDN-kernels and hoping for the best with the change from a.out to ELF.

I also second the opinion that Slackware is a very good choice to learn, because it enforces more doing-by-yourself and therefore learning than most other distrbutions.

The key, neverthelss is actually _using_ it and really taking a look into documentation - I think, Linux overall is one of THE best and well documented technical subjects out there one can aim to master.

Fred Caro 01-12-2008 05:28 PM

Dear David,
what you said made sense and have already been doing what you suggested but what books do you recommend especially for Mandriva and unix- perhaps a mix of detailed and simple, sorry to be a pain.


H_TeXMeX_H 01-13-2008 10:22 AM


Originally Posted by linux-Hawk (Post 3019334)
arashi2560, H_TexMax_H,

I was only suggesting that HtexMax_H reexamine his stance on Ubuntu being a distribution aimed solely at beginners as I happen to be an intermediate user my self.

That's not what I said, although it also is true.

What I said was that Ubuntu promotes you remaining a beginner or whatever other status you think you may be going into it, forever. It promotes not learning anything but how to point-and-click.

proc 01-13-2008 02:01 PM

I have used RedHat 7, SuSE 10, Slackware {8,9,9.1,10,10.1,10.2,11.0,12.0} and the only thing that taught me the most was Linux from Scratch, not only did it force me to get my hands wet, it made me understand why things work and what could possibly go wrong when you miss with ^_^

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