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onebuck 09-14-2010 11:24 AM

So you want to be a GNU/Linux Newbie! What do I do next?
Welcome to the LQ Newbie Forum!

This thread is inspired & modeled from: So you want to be a Slacker! What do I do next? which is provided to aid Slackers.

Neither this post nor I (Onebuck) officially represent in any way.

You have arrived here at and hopefully participation with a great forum community that will help with your GNU/Linux experience. If you have a problem or question then my recommendation is to first read 'How to Ask Questions the Smart Way' so in the future your queries/posts provide information that will aid us in diagnosis of the problem or question(s).

Please give some thought to that 'New Thread Title', it should reflect a quick overall hint to your query. Help ME! Urgent! or even politely 'Please help me with my problem' have no relevance. We know your here for help. Plus these forums are supported by volunteers, no urgency to us. Our time is a value to us and supporting GNU/Linux is one way of giving back to the whole community.

Netiquette is very important here at so along with the reading & understanding the 'LQ Rules' then your LQ experience should be a good one. The LQ Sitemap is very useful to help find the way around. Plus don't forget to re-read and understand the 'LQ Rules.<Emphasis here>


excerpt from LQ Rules
Do not expect LQ members to do your homework - you will learn much more by doing it yourself.
Doesn't say we can't do your homework but it does say that you will benefit by doing it yourself. Just don't expect a LQ member to do it. I'll open a door or point someone to information that hopefully will aid them to concluding their own answers. It's better to approach your text/notes first then the teacher or instructor with issues but nothing says you can't garnish help/information from us that can be presented to them.

Newbies should be aware of their My Profile & LQ UserCP in the 'My LQ' sidebar. Once you learn to navigate around then things will start to fall into place. Look at those sidebars and use them. It won't break. If it does break or not function the way you think it should then post the problem/query in LQ Suggestions & Feedback.

Whenever posting here a request that someone responds with tech-speak to your query and you don't understand then please request a definition. Or ask for the responder to expand on what was presented or to explain what was presented in a clear and concise manner. is a World Community and sometimes things can be lost whenever we use abbreviated text or technical speak when responding thus providing potential confusion. Add to that personalities and things can get very interesting here on

You can find links that will hopefully help your endeavors by looking at 'Slackware-Links'. More than just SlackwareŽ links! Don't forget Linux Wiki & Linux Tutorials here on LQ which have loads of helpful information.

If you look at the side bar menus you will find other useful links to information that will open many doors.

LinuxQuestions Search can be and should be one of the first things for you to use when looking for answers. Since the question you present may have already been answered or something that may lead to alternative means to solve your issue(s). These same resultants may aid in forming a better query to the forum.

Some responders will say Google It or let me Google it for you. They have a point! Google & <Linux> - Google Search will get you loads of information that may aid but you will still need to discern to be able to understand. Sometimes you can post useful links from those same searches to reinforce or support information that you have garnished from someplace. It's better to provide information in a complete sense when asking for help.That's why 'How to Ask Questions the Smart Way' is a helpful source that should be read. I will add that 'How to Answer a Linux Question' is just as important to read for everyone and not just newbies.

Google Linux Software Repositories is another good source that can be speedy when you need something for that particular distribution.

You can look at the Linux Distribution General section of 'Slackware-Links' where you will find some useful links to general information.

Get Your ISO, LiveCD & Pocket OS section has several useful links. One of which will provide you the means to test drive a distribution or a LiveCD to aid in diagnosis. 'The LiveCD List' provides a Very Good List to choose from for such work. Don't forget that sidebar, it has 'Download Linux'.

You should be aware of:
Once You get the ISO downloaded then you should do a md5sum check on the downloaded ISO(s) image(s). This can be done using a M$ Windows application such as 'md5sum.exe' to check the md5sum. Or for Linux from the cli you would do;

~#cd /downloadisolocation      #cdromiso.iso cdromiso.md5

~#md5sum -c cdromiso.md5      #substitute the correct name to check

Once you are sure that everything is OK then you can burn the 'ISO IMAGE' to your selected media. Please note that some users must burn the ISO image at a slower speed to insure a good burn. By slowing the burn speed you may insure that a good copy will be created if the image is indeed valid.

Once the image has been burnt to the media then a 'CdromMd5sumsAfterBurning' check would be advised. Your burn application can fail so a check of the final media would prevent you from some possible headaches.

Linux - Distributions is the place to look for your distribution specific questions. This forum has several
Sub-Forums: Linux From Scratch, Slackware, Debian, Arch, Red Hat, Mandriva, VectorLinux, Fedora, DamnSmallLinux, cAos, ROCK, Feather, Yoper, MEPIS, Ubuntu, Suse/Novell, Puppy, Zenwalk, Grafpup, Bluewhite64, Dreamlinux, Ultra X, Incognito, Linux Mint, Sabayon, Calculate, Gentoo

Whenever posting here on LQ be sure to try an get the proper forum to post within for proper exposure for the request/post. If you happen to have an errant post then use the Report button at the bottom of your post to request specific action(s) by a moderator. They don't bite! Spank maybe but corporal punishment is not that bad. :)


I generally refer these links to a newbie;

Linux Documentation Project
Rute Tutorial & Exposition
Linux Command Guide
Ultimate Linux Newbie Guide
Getting Started with Linux
Bash Reference Manual
Advanced Bash-Scripting Guide
Linux Home Networking
Virtualiation- Top 10

The above links and others can be found at 'Slackware-Links'. More than just SlackwareŽ links!

Hope this Helps!

DavidMcCann 09-14-2010 12:53 PM

Here are a few more points.

1. When you burn a disk, make sure that you set the software to create a disk and not just copy files: you don't want a disk with one file called foobar.iso

2. Before installing, go to the distro's web site and read their installation guide. The time to look up an obscure instruction or question is no in the middle of the installation process.

3. If you are completely new, visit the Ubuntu site, even if you aren't using Ubuntu. It has a good section explaining how Linux differs from Windows.

4. If you want to know what software to use, look at

5. Make sure your profile includes your distro; it makes it much easier for people to help.

6. When you post, use a clear title. Many people here will quickly skim the threads, looking to topics that know something about, and they are unlikely to bother with "HELP ME!!!".

7. Always say exactly what the problem is, what you tried to do about it, and what happened then. We do our best, but few of us are psychic.

8. Never get downhearted: the answer is out there!

onebuck 09-14-2010 01:45 PM


Thanks DavidMcCann!

Much as to the original intent for So you want to be a Slacker! What do I do next? which is provided to aid Slackers.

I hope 'So you want to be a GNU/Linuxer! What do I do next?' can help the Newbie Gnu/Linux community by active participation of LQ member's additions or comments.


onebuck 09-14-2010 04:24 PM


Food for thought to newbies:

Requester Scenario 1:
I've got a ancient PC that I would like to run a GNU/Linux distribution on. Can you make a recommendation?

Response 1:
Welcome to LQ!
First read 'How to Ask Questions the Smart Way' so in the future your queries/posts provide information that will aid us in diagnosis of the problem or question(s).

Second, supply us with hardware specifics or please include manufacture, model number.

What do you expect from GNU/Linux? You could download a LiveCD from 'The LiveCD List'. I suggest KNOPPIX LiveCD at this time to run and hopefully get hardware & driver specifications. That you can post within the vbcode tags # or Quote the information that may lead to recommendation(s). vbcode tags make a post cleaner therefore easier to read.

Requester response:

TimBuckTwo model 1 PII w/32 MB, 500MB HD. Knoppix What? I want to run Linux. With the current stuff. Windows won't load any longer an someone said Linux would. How?

Response 2:

If you had first read as suggested 'How to Ask Questions the Smart Way' so in the future your queries/posts provide information that will aid us in diagnosis of the problem or question(s). You would see what you provided to date lacks a lot of information.

As for hardware that you currently have: You could try a floppy based GNU/Linux install since the BIOS in that hardware will most likely not boot from a CD or even have a USB port. Plus the storage is rather limited.

Your hardware won't support any current GNU/Linux distribution & applications.

Best bet is to purchase newer hardware that can be used.

<End of sample>

No joke! I've seen this scenario more than once. You cannot convert a tricycle into a Harley-Davidson. So why would you expect to run a modern GNU/Linux distribution on antiquated legacy hardware?

Possibly run a GNU/Linux from the same era as the Legacy hardware. Searches would produce loads of information therefore hopefully the means to get a GNU/Linux up & running. Just don't expect much!

I sometimes read old posts just to refresh experiences but I for one don't want to aid someone to get a patchwork of things working to just save that person some $ on my time. I know, you don't have to read or respond. But my response to that is: Why look back? Sure not everyone has the baddest, newest & greatest hardware available to them. Then they should expect to be running software that matches the hardware.

Not meant to come off as a rant but to provide the means to aid others to understand that a current GNU/Linux may not run on older legacy hardware no matter how much you try. Sure it's fun if you know what to do when things go wrong but that's why most of the newbies post here. They just don't understand GNU/Linux at the depth required to experiment or correct faults.


onebuck 09-20-2010 07:18 PM


You can find links that will hopefully help your endeavors by looking at 'Slackware-Links'. More than just SlackwareŽ links!

GNU/Linux-Newbie section of 'Slackware-Links' has some very useful information.

The LQ Linux Wiki can help or Linux Tutorials here on LQ which have loads of helpful instructional tutorials.

Linux HCL here on LQ can answer some of the compatibility questions or problems you may have.

Plus be sure to check out and participate with Linux Bookmarks which will open doors here and elsewhere.

Don't be shy, get involved here at LQ!

Kenny_Strawn 09-20-2010 11:45 PM

I also wanted to point out that using the version of English you would normally use for texting on your phone is extremely poor Netiquette. I have seen it on these forums before and it is very hard to read, and hard-to-read posts, especially original posts, are less likely to get any replies.

faubel 09-21-2010 01:03 AM

hi there
thanks for the guidelines
look forward to learning more about linux and hopefully installing it

hughetorrance 09-21-2010 03:38 AM

My two cents worth are... keep your xp or Ubuntu or whatever on another box so you can still be in contact when you trash the one you are on... LOL and... keep notes,I have just counted mine and it amounts to 20 A4 pages folded over and written on all sides... and as stated above patience and persistence will get you moving on. !

onebuck 09-21-2010 07:47 AM


A new Adobe Flash player for the announcement and downloads.

If you happen to be using Slackware then look at New Adobe flash player for Linux. Alien_Bob has created Slackware packages for the new Adobe flashplayer (32-bit or 64-bit), so you can grab those from



onebuck 09-21-2010 09:28 AM


I'm not a distro-basher so please don't take this post as that.
I use Slackware for the reason of control & simplicity. It's been around for a long time: Linux Distro Timeline should give you a scope.

My experience with other Distributions are mainly with diagnostic uses. I have several LiveCDs that are used to aid in my repairs along with diagnosis of issues. Sure, my Slackware Install disk is used in the same way but there are other good tools: Tools, Recovery, Diagnostic, Emergency has a lot of useful links to some such tools. (R)ecovery (I)s (P)ossible, UBCD Ultimate Boot CD and SystemRescueCd are just a few that are in my toolkit to help me & others when problems arise. Don't forget KNOPPIX which has a load of useful tools.

Damn Small Linux 4.4.10, Puppy Linux 5.1 are two of the small footprint installs.

If you want to distro-hop then Virtual may be the best way. VMs are the means to provide those test beds on one machine. Lot of FUN! :)
Especially if you've got the hardware to support it. Check it out, you'll never know unless an attempt. Loads of information via Search here on LQ.

As a newbie some of the above may seem alien but trust me when you need help it's just a post away. Especially when you compose a understandable complete inquiry. So don't forget to look at 'How to Ask Questions the Smart Way' so in the future your queries provide information that will aid us in diagnosis of the problem or query.

GNU/Linux-Newbie was composed so as to provide some insight along with guidance. The links within have information that will help you to learn some of the syntax & semantics.

<Linux> - Google & LQ Search should provide good links for information if proper keywords or tags are used. Experiment and see what works for you.

My hopes for this thread is that other LQ members participate by adding useful information or Links to aid the GNU/Linux Newbie. Remember, we all start out at the beginning. Some move faster than others but that should provide time for those same persons to aid others that aren't as fast.

"Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information upon it." -Samuel Johnson


onebuck 09-22-2010 09:02 AM


I am posting this link: Different sticky thread needed in Newbie forum in hope of getting some feedback. Hopefully that feedback will help us to provide a better experience here at LQ for newbies.


onebuck 09-24-2010 08:16 AM


You should read the following as a poster to the Linux - Newbie forum here at LQ;

How To Ask Questions The Smart Way is the original.

How To Ask a Question by XavierP & GrapefruiTgirl is a Great LQ post that is abbreviated from Raymond & Moen.

How to Answer a Linux Question is Simon Bridge's excellent composition to aid us in good informational exchanges and should be a read done by ALL.

Great information from the contributors!

onebuck 09-24-2010 01:17 PM


Look at the LQ Spy to get a dynamic up to date listing of threads & posts here at LQ.

I like to keep it on a separate tab within my browser. Another tool to help you lurk here on LQ.

If you prefer static then use;

onebuck 10-02-2010 08:21 AM


If you happen to use FireFox and wish to tweak a bit then look at 'Tweaking Firefox' thread originated by H_TeXMeX_H and contributions by other knowledgeable LQ members. This thread has a lot of content to help you tweak the browser.

onebuck 10-03-2010 06:14 PM


I see the request for the 'Best Distribution' all the time. By doing a Search here on LQ you will find a lot of reference.

Look at Download Linux to get an idea as to what is happening here on LQ.

DistroWatch would be another place to look for the download & frequency.

You might find 'Distro Timeline Chart' & 'Linux Distro Timeline' to be informational.

Then possibly look at 'Linux Distro Chooser' & 'Another Linux Distro Chooser'.


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