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Old 06-23-2004, 03:02 AM   #16
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Originally posted by detpenguin
sounds like you're mind is made up...why are you bothering with linux?
Trying to see what thousands of others see in it I guess... I do apologize for being "rude” as Genesee put it, but it's just that I really have to go on the idea that if so many people treat it as their religion there has to be something there that I don't yet see. And as I've said in another post I'll need to be able to use it in the coming future, and not for a job either, can't quit my university
Old 06-23-2004, 03:03 AM   #17
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Originally posted by mxk
.....Just airing out my frustrations over which random string of characters will get the job done this time....
...Which I suppose could never happen in Windows -- I mean, I'd be shocked if the official solution to a problem recommended that you type in a string of random characters such as, oh, I don't know, maybe something like....

Start Microsoft Notepad or another text editor and type the following case-sensitive syntax: 

@="VB ASP Debugging"
Man! That would be rough!

Anyway, I'm just kidding around, as you were. As for your original question, I'd say that attempting a Linux From Scratch installation might be biting off more than you can chew, particularly if it's your first serious and in-depth experience with Linux. I'd say that an LFS installation would be highly educational and would give you a better understanding of Linux's inner workings, but I think LFS would be better left until after you're more comfortable with Linux.

The question then becomes, "Well, which distro?", and as you can see just within this thread, different people have different preferences. The only way to decide is to try several distros, which you apparently have already done, and choose the one that seems to best fit your needs and preferences. Then stick with it, as has already been suggested, and really make an honest effort to learn it and get comfortable with it. Something else to consider: if you've got Linux on an older, slower machine, and Windows on a powerful, much faster machine, then obviously in a side by side comparison, Windows is always going to seem much faster, and since you're already so familiar with it, it's going to seem much easier to use. That's not a level playing field, and it isn't a fair test, so let me make a bold proposal -- how about if you switch machines, and put Windows on the old machine and Linux on the new. Once you spend some time with Linux and it starts getting familiar, you might find that the decision to toggle that KVM switch could start getting a little harder.

As for books, I'd recommend O'Reilly's Running Linux as well as Sheer's Rute

In any event, good luck with the project and welcome to LQ. -- J.W.
Old 06-23-2004, 03:09 AM   #18
Raphael M
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Starting with Slackware will be a really good way to start with Linux, because Slackware is userfriendly and easy to install and it requires you to learn how to work with a shell.
And if you just need a rest from learning, you can just fire up your favourite gui and go surfing the net or gaming or do whatever you want....
For me it works this way. With using Slackware, i learned more about Linux ( and I still do every day ) in less time, than with any other distro i tryed before.
I also think about giving LFS a try now, because now that i have some experience with linux i think it might be a good thing getting into it really deep.
Without Slackware, I would have turned my back on Linux a long time before, because I had a lot of frustrations with other distros ( mainly the "big ones" ).
Slackware made me return to linux after I have struggled, and it made me stay with linux.
Old 06-23-2004, 03:15 AM   #19
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I just got a nice warm fuzzy feeling when I saw the registry keys

Thanks for the suggestions J.W., but I don't think I can switch the machines as I'm using the new for some work and need to processing power. Not to mention that I still enjoy a nice game of Counter-Strike once in a while

But I'll be sure to take a look at the books you recommend.

Now see what happens, first it's Gentoo great for learning, then it's slackware... Too much choice is the source of all problems (oh man I know I'll get some comments on that one ). I do have a bit of a confession to make though, when I played around with Slackware I did so without any kind of gui what so ever. Figured that would be my best way to learn, but in fact what I wanted to do being a win admin is set up some kind of a server (ftp, mail, whatever), and I wanted to go easy on the system resources... For a newbie that was my big mistake.

Last edited by mxk; 06-23-2004 at 03:21 AM.
Old 06-23-2004, 03:22 AM   #20
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Yet another opinion. Install Slackware. (Or reinstall it, since it seems you already flew through it once.) Use it for awhile. Build LFS from it. IMO, Slackware's the only binary distro worth anything and any source distro would be reasonably useful.

Also, read a lot of historical stuff - check out Raymond's website (Art of Unix Programming may be on another site, also - partly technical, partly historical) and google for the Stephenson 'command line' article and even find the Unix-Haters Handbook. A good chunk of figuring out what's going on is figuring out why and a lot of why lies in *nix's history and computers in general.

You're right that LFS isn't that hard to just *do* but you get out of it what you put in. I had some stuff going on and built mine 'too fast' really. Take your time and research each step - not './configure && make && make install' - 'wow, that was easy' - because that won't teach you much. But research all the tools you're using at a given step and why and look into how it's put together.

And don't compare it to Windows. Linux has plenty of stupid stuff even in the context of Linux. But comparing it to Windows is doing an injustice, like saying an ocean is too wet and rolls around too much and ought to be dry and still like land. Ocean's got barnacles and jellyfish's and bad things, but it's got beauty and power. You'll misunderstand the nature of the bad things and miss the beauties if you're interpreting it as land.

But if you're doing it as an 'I gotta even though I don't want to' then all complaints about how 'EVERYTHING that I was doing seemed to be so illogical and taking up 100 steps instead of one' is really irrelevant. Professionally, as an admin (I would guess) it doesn't matter how illogical it is or how many steps it takes - you gotta do it. Only hobbiests can bitch and moan because they have to evaluate whether this voluntary effort is worth it.
Old 06-23-2004, 03:26 AM   #21
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nah, you're not rude. you're curious, lol. i don't see linux as a's a nice change, and a challenge. the challenge part is what hooked me. i'd love to have even a fraction of the knowledge some of these people here have. maybe one day i will...i dunno. but in the meantime, i realize i'm not gonna master it in a day, a week or a month, and i'm ok with that. the more i use it, the more i learn...i do know that i have learned more than i thought i ever would know just in the few months i've used it, and i've only scratched the surface. if you have time and the curiousity, give it a try, but for more than a few days. you gotta work it, learn it, mess it up a few times, too.

i don't slam windows. i like windows. both windows and linux have a place in the world. windows is great for people who are comfy with point and click and stuff, and there's nothing wrong with that. linux makes you work a bit, but to be honest, i've never crashed linux. i've never had it flop completely to the point of me having to reboot, losing a bunch of data and stuff. it just works. and thanks to a little time and effort, i kinda know why it works. i'm not gonna try to sell you on linux, thats not really what this board is about, just like i wouldn't try to sell someone on windows. it's personal preference. but i find myself using linux probably 98% of the time now. thats how comfortable and confident i am in it. no crashes, no losing dll's where the system won't start, and i can tweak it in ways windows simply doesn't allow. add to that an entire community writing and tweaking and communicating ideas and fixes and programs and upgrading distros all for free? dang. a definate plus
Old 06-23-2004, 03:32 AM   #22
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I have to agree with digiot. For two reasons. One you need to aclimate yourself to thinking about the structure of a linux system and the permissions involved. Two you can only (easily) build Linux from Scratch from a fully functional linux system.

All the rest is learning commands. I dont know the specifics of what it is like to be a sys ad for windows, but do you work from the console much? At some point it becomes a pleasure in Linux.

I would recommend playing with Linux everyday for a couple of weeks. Learn the commands that allow you to deal with do you look at permissions? how do you move files? how do you make directories? Find these basic things out. Once that is done, look up Linux from Scratch and, while reading, build your new system. This will take time and may be painful, but by the time you are done you will be much more familiar with Linux.


Last edited by Kroenecker; 06-24-2004 at 07:43 PM.
Old 06-23-2004, 06:35 AM   #23
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Wow, this thread brings a big smile to my face, I stepped over from Windows XP Pro to Linux about two months back and remember thinking the same thing. To give you the chance to avoid my babble below I'll start with my 2 cents. Force yourself to jump into Linux.That's what I did, I simply destroyed my main Windows XP partition and replaced it with Linux (but I kept all my NTFS data partitions for the first month to make going back easier ). Forcing myself to use Linux every time I used my computer made learning it mandatory and forced me to find solutions instead of thinking wistfully about how easy some things were on Windows, and sneaking back doing it the MS way. BTW I use my computer to work freelance, so it's most definitely not a 'hobby project', and going over was quite a risk but in the end I think it was worth it. If you go the 'take a dive in the deep-end' way and it works out like it did for me, you will start to understand the attraction and power of Linux (and fail to explain it to Windows users later )

Now for the promised inane babbling. I first decided to use Linux two years ago and went your way, main system Win, second machine Linux (multiple distributions). In the end I learned next to nothing (except installing it). Every time the machine refused to do something the 'easy' (read Windows) way I would just skip over to the other system and do it from there. Every time I made a mess of the system it was just a partition-format-reinstall thing.

About four months back I grabbed Linux out of the closet because I needed a file server in the house, and I wasn't planning on paying for another XP license, and I didn't plan on reinstalling the server every 30 days (and I refuse to use a stolen OS). That was the first time I realized how cool some of the configuration items were in Linux. Being able to modify a simple text file (smb.conf) and setting up a few network shares exactly were I wanted them was definitely a change from Windows (IE mandatory shared folders and hidden shares that are next to impossible to close, at least for a non-MSCE like me).

So being happy with my file server I started thinking of my main box. I didn't want to go over to another OS for no reason at all (and I don't think learning in general is a really good goal, I learned Windows and DOS by making mistakes and learning from them), so I made two very specific goals. First I did not want to buy any books, not for cheapness sake, but, well, Linux is a community based OS, so I should be able to learn it by using the internet, and I think it evolves so quickly that books can't be up to date enough. Second I wanted a desktop that looked and operated just like I wanted it to. Well it took me two months to achieve the second goal and I'm quite proud of it, and very happy with it. The first goal I kept as well (which makes my wallet happy )

Now to put a bit of a useful spin on the babble above. I can think of a few things to say that make Linux better (IMHO) then Windows. First off there's choice. For instance I started with the Gnome windows manager, but when that manager couldn't do what I wanted I had the choice to try it with KDE (or I could've gone for ICEWM or another) without a lot of reconfiguration. In Windows that choice is not available. The Window managers that are out there are really good tools to destabilize a system. Second I get control (even with my limited experience), I don't have to hope my network is closed to all but a few machines, I know it is. If I configure my menu's to behave in one way, I know they'll keep doing that until I change it. They won't revert after a reboot (and that was something Windows kept doing to me). There are more good things but these are the main ones for me.

Now on to the bad. Configuring and maintaining a Linux computer is addictive. Sure it's not really necessary to install certain things, but it's just too interesting to leave alone. I invest quite a lot of time each day 'fixing' something that's already working ('making it better' is my standard excuse ). A lot of my Windows using friends actually make fun of it and point to their systems telling me they never need to do things like that. As a Windows administrator you can probably guess how efficiently those boxes run...(insert random thoughts about using adaware, software firewalls and constantly running virusscanners here).

Anyways to end a long story, I would advise you to really jump in and give Linux a serious try. It will make you grumble, it might make you scream in frustration, and I'm happy to hear I'm not the only one who has a problem understanding naming conventions under linux . Don't get stuck in the 'picking a distro' phase, just set a few simple attainable goals and watch how your time slips away as you learn the real differences between Linux and Windows (and as a side effect learn how to use Linux). Oh and good luck.

PS The most fun I've had was actually reinstalling a Windows XP machine for someone else after using nothing but Linux for a month and a half. After constanlty clicking in the wrong place, typing 'ls' instead of 'dir' and using slashes instead of backslashes, I realized I picked up more Linux then I had realized, and I don't think I'll go back to MS, unless Longhorn is really the most brilliant piece of software ever.
Old 06-23-2004, 12:38 PM   #24
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Originally posted by PEACEDOG
my best suggetsion to you is set up a box w/the distro of choice and start using it on a day to day basis. that was a mistake i made when trying to learn linux, i setup a box, configured it, and said to myself, well, that's that. i really didn't learn anything except how to get it installed and configured. finally i jumped in w/both feet. i set up a box w/slack, and started using it on a daily basis for the bulk of my computing needs, the lessons came hard and fast, still learning something new almost every day.
Pretty much the same story here. I messed around a little with a few distros on and off for 2 years, and never learned much in that time. About a year ago I installed Slackware and finally started paying attention to how the system works, and using it daily. After a few months I noticed that I was spending more time with Linux than with Windows, and just decided not to boot Windows anymore.

I think the key is time and desire. Unless you have a brilliant mind, you will need a lot of free time to really learn in a short period of time (I was blessed by getting laid off ). But more important is the desire to learn it and use it...enjoying the process of learning will likely be more rewarding than forcing yourself to learn. In the last 8 months since going full-linux I've learned much more than i did in the 2 years previous to that....mostly a tiny bit each day (i still know very little about networking), but the main thing is that I've been enjoying the process, and not rushing myself with too much information.
Old 06-23-2004, 12:54 PM   #25
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Wow, thanks for all the comments and tips guys, I really appreciate it.

So it looks like I have a long road ahead of me... Currently downloading Slackware and will try get that up and running later today. Now as Meriadoc said it's just a matter of figuring out how not to reinstall the thing every time it doesn't work. hehe
Old 06-23-2004, 01:20 PM   #26
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Originally posted by mxk

Btw, do you say LFS is hardest from experience or from knowing what it involves?
Frankly you will not be able to complete the installation of LFS from where you are right now
nor will you actually understand what you have done when you get to the point where you can't finish,
but you might have learned some stuff. And if the goal is not a working machine go for it.
Yea it's all spelled out
accept for all the stuff that's not spelled out at all
Old 06-23-2004, 01:25 PM   #27
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Originally posted by mxk
first it's Gentoo great for learning, then it's slackware... Too much choice is the source of all problems
get a grip dude -- all linux distributions are fundamentally - under the hood - exactly the same !
Old 06-23-2004, 02:32 PM   #28
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Originally posted by mxk
Trying to see what thousands of others see in it I guess... I do apologize for being "rude” as Genesee put it, but it's just that I really have to go on the idea that if so many people treat it as their religion there has to be something there that I don't yet see. And as I've said in another post I'll need to be able to use it in the coming future, and not for a job either, can't quit my university
just to clarify - at first read, it seemed the general theme of the first post was, paraphrasing: "linux sucks. some other OS is great. but I am forced to use linux. show me how" -- I was suggesting that that might be interpreted badly by a group of people that have spent a great deal of time and effort learning and contributing to linux. if my read was wrong, I rescind the comment

I agree that some of linux is needlessly confusing and deliberately obscure, and some developers have a tendency to be pedantic - but that's only part of the system, and a consequence of how it has evolved. and one great aspect of OSS is that you are free to step in and change whatever you don't like.

Old 06-23-2004, 10:30 PM   #29
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I also find managing linux addictive, isn't it weird? For some reason i always want to do something. I'm always checking to see if their is a newer mm patch for me to apply then recompile. I call it improving just as you do, but it never makes it better lol.

As to me getting into linux, i tried a few years ago on mandrake 7.2 and threw it out 2 days later because it wasn't "Windows" enough for me. Recently i went back into linux on 8 and again threw it out. But then i said screw it and installed mandrake 9.1 and forced myself to use it. And it was pretty successful. I still remember the first thing i compiled from source XMMS 1.2.8. since then i've been using linux almost 100%. I have also tried redhat 9, mandrake 10, Fedora core 2 and relized that Slackware was the way to go. Now i only boot into windows to update my virus definitions then i go back into linux. go figure.
Old 06-24-2004, 12:00 AM   #30
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I went from Mandrake, RH 8 and 9 then Mandrake again and once I tried Slack I was hooked. You learn how to setup the system with slack instead of letting the other distros do it for you. The things to remember about linux is that it is not a GUI it is a console based OS and the GUI is just an add on and configuring is simply done by editing text files. Once you learn what Text files do what, its just a matter of changeing them to suit your needs.


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