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-   -   How did you learn Linux? (

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.

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