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Old 04-09-2006, 12:46 PM   #1
CSMastermind
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Trying Linux for the first time, Looking for info on becoming more involved


Hello everyone and let me thank, in advance, anyone who takes time to read and/or reply to this post. As you proablly guessed from the thread title I'm new to the Linux community and looking for advice on the best way to learn more about Linux and OSS/FS in general. Here's some quick info about me, why I'm looking into Linux now, and what more specifically I'm looking for information on:

About Me
My name is Chris Seltzer, I'm a 19-year-old living in the US (Western PA more specificly). I'm a LCpl in the United States Marine Corp and because of this commitment my free time is limited. I'm a self taught computer enthusiast who loves computer programming and has expirence programming in C++, Java, Basic (and subsequent verision like Visual Basic and Dark Basic), and Python. I have three computer certifications: A+, Net+, and my CCNA. I've dabbled in open source before (as mentioned I spent time programming in Python) but never seriously became involved. I hope to someday attend a university majoring in computer science. I speak English but also can speak some German.

Why Linux/Open Source Now
I've had limited exposure to linux before, I have freinds who run their computers on Linux and I've tried it once or twice just for fun myself. Recently one of my computer's Windows XP instillations became corrupted and not XP wouldn't even reinstall on the box. I opened my CD case to look a program that might help and found an old Knoppix CD I'd been given at a programming contest I attended. It worked first try (with the expection of not having any sound). My computer has been running Knoppix 3.4 off of CD for the past 3 weeks now. The expirence finally pushed me to look deeper into the Linux community.

What am I looking for?
Afew things...mostly information. Here are some questions I have that I wondering if someone here would be kind enough to answer:
  • Is there/what are the best resources to become aquainted with using Linux.
    I.E.: Are there any books or online tourials that cover basic linux commands or provide an overview of the software that's avaliable for the OS?
  • While I'm not fimilar with too much high level progamming I have done work using DirectX and Databases. I'd like to understand more about how operating systems work. What's the best way to learn about this?
    *I know this part of the post might belong in the Distrobutions forums but I didn't want to break up the post or make repeated posts if there wasn't a need.*
  • What's the best distrobution for me to start out with?
    I'm looking for something that I won't have to spend a lot of time configuring or looking for plugins/addons for but still allow me to dig deeper into the OS at a later time. My freinds are split on wether I should use Ubuntu, Slackware, or Xandros (Sorry if I spelled any of those wrong)

I've decicated a single computer as my Linux Box, here's it's Specs:
Processor:
• 3.8GHz Intel Pentium D processor w/800MHz FSB and a 2MB L2 Cache

Graphics Card:
• 256MB PCI-Express x16 NVIDIA GeForce 7600 GT

Sound Card:
• Creative Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS High Def 7.1 Surround Audio

RAM:
• 2GB of Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM at 533MHz
• In the form of two 1024MB Strips of RAM

Hard Drives:
• Two Hard Drives in a Non-RAID configuration
• The System Drive a 120GB
• The Storage Drive a 250GB
• Both Drives Serial ATA 1.5Gb/s at 7,200 RPM w/NCQ and an 8MB Cache

Optical Drives:
• A single 16x Dual Layer DVD±R/W 52x36x52x CD-RW Drive
• No Second Drive
• No Floppy Drive

Monitor:
• A cheap 17” CRT Monitor

Peripherals:
• A cheap basic keyboard
• A cheap basic two button and scroll wheel mechanical mouse
• A cheap pair of speakers

Thanks in advance for any and all help, I really do appreciate it.
 
Old 04-09-2006, 01:24 PM   #2
wanderingmind
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Location: UK
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Hi,

welcome along! Since you have such a cool system & plenty of comp experience, you'll probably learn quite fast. Here's just a few things that came into mind:
[*]Is there/what are the best resources to become aquainted with using Linux.

Hands on learning + perhaps a book to learn some fundamentals in a more stuctured way. And of course, getting excited about new stuff - that's what it's all about for me!

[*]While I'm not fimilar with too much high level progamming I have done work using DirectX and Databases. I'd like to understand more about how operating systems work. What's the best way to learn about this?

The nice thing with linux is that since the code is open, you can dig as deep as you want into *any* feature of the OS (if you want).

[*]What's the best distrobution for me to start out with?

Probably something your friend uses as well because you can ask his help if needed. If I were you, I'd probably download the ubuntu live cd, and see how it works with your hardware. (the file ubuntu-5.10-live-i386.iso, from any of the mirrors in http://www.ubuntu.com/download/)

If if works ok, you might download the install version and install it. Then hit the documentation at http://www.ubuntu.com/support/documentation

Have fun!
 
Old 04-09-2006, 01:38 PM   #3
mcmillan
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Registered: Jul 2005
Distribution: Arch
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For resources there's a lot of good stuff on the internet. For a good beginner guide I liked Linux Beginner Guide. There's also this tutorial that looks good, but I haven't gone through it very much. There's also a lot of good documentation at The linux Documentation Project. A really through resource is The Rute Guide. Personally I've also learned a lot just from browsing these forums, as well as the one for the distos I use.

As for distros, it's a pretty personal decision, based on what you're looking for. If you want to check out differnet options head over to www.distrowatch.com pretty much all the information about them you could need. But if you have friends recommending distros, it would probably be smart to at least start with one of those, since I imagine those are probably the one's they use and they can probably be helpful with distro-specific quirks. If you don't want to be doing lots of configuration Slackware may not be the best choice, though you will probably learn more quickly using it. I liked Ubuntu as my second distros (only used Mandriva for about 2 months). I found it had enough already configured that I had a useable computer almost immediatley but still had enough that I had to do myself that I felt I was learning something. Don't know much about Xandros, other than a repuation as being a real newbie friendly distro, so it will probably have a lot configured for you to begin with.
 
Old 04-09-2006, 03:38 PM   #4
Komakino
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Registered: Feb 2004
Location: Somerset, England
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I'm gonna disagree with the other two. If you really want to learn linux then get slackware. Better still, try a few and see what works for you, though there's a saying: "If you want to learn Red Hat then use Red Hat, if you want to learn SuSE then use SuSE, but if you want to learn linux use Slackware"

As for 'getting involved'...if you want to really get involved with something open source then pop along to www.sourceforge.net and check out the help wanted section. If you feel up to it you can help with some programming, or perhaps with some documentation.
 
Old 04-09-2006, 04:31 PM   #5
XavierP
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Something which hasn't been said is that if you want to get involved and don't want to start a project, you could either find a project to contribute to - either via programming or via writing documentation - or you could find your local Linux User Group (LUG) and see what you can do there. And don't forget to ask and answer in LQ
 
Old 04-09-2006, 06:19 PM   #6
tamoneya
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if your really want to know how your operationg system works you should try LFS which lets you build your entire OS from scratch. You first need to install linux inorder to have a base system so any of your three(ubuntu, slack, xandros) will work. After this if there is something about the OS you dont know it cant be that important. After that i recommend getting involved with a project over at sourceforge.net like XavierP said
 
Old 04-09-2006, 07:59 PM   #7
Electro
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Adding what Komakino said. I suggest either Gentoo or Slackware. Gentoo does gives you an option to install it from scratch if you want to but it gives you a helping hand on the steps.

NOTE:
Installing Linux on SATA hard drives is a little hard to do. I suggest installing Linux on PATA hard drives. If the SATA drives are connected to a Silicon Image controller, I recommend do not use them in Linux. Silicon Image controllers in Linux corrupt data and DMA turns off during use from what I read. Seagate and Maxtor SATA drives are hard to enable DMA in Linux. Creative Labs sound card are POS and you will have trouble getting Audigy 2 ZS to work. I suggest Audiotrak Prodigy 7.1 LT or Terratec Aureon 7.1 Space. They have much more superior sound than Creative Labs cards but at a much lower price. Finally, I recommend using ECC memory.
 
Old 04-10-2006, 04:44 AM   #8
phoenix49
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If u want distro for desktop/home work - first choose your desktop environment. There's 2 major DE's KDE and GNOME. Take a look at shots.osdir.com, and u 'll find how they differ. Then choose your distro between ubuntu, kubuntu, fedora core, suse linux and mandriva. These are most userfriendly, don't try gentoo for the first time, its quite not easy to setup, its for linux geeks, trust me, by the way, welcome to the free world!
 
Old 04-10-2006, 05:50 AM   #9
Komakino
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Quote:
Originally Posted by XavierP
Something which hasn't been said...
Yes it has!!! I said it in the post immediately above yours!
 
Old 04-10-2006, 01:59 PM   #10
XavierP
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Damn you Komakino, beaten again! But you didn't make mention of the LUGs, so ner ner ne ner ner
 
Old 04-11-2006, 12:00 AM   #11
CSMastermind
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Well let me go ahead and thank everyone for the help. I'll head over to Sourceforge when I get the chance. I'm going to check out local Linux User Groups and see what they're all about. Thanks mcmillan for those links, I didn't dig too deep but did find good stuff already, I'll read through more later. As far as distros I'm going to install Kubuntu tomorrow but I think I'm going to try out Slackware on the weekends (Hopefully with the guidence of my freind who uses it). I don't know if I'm ready for LFS until I dabble in the topical Linux world first but I'll bookmark it, I'm sure in a month or two I'm gonna be much more interested. Sadly the machine wasn't built with the intent of running Linux but I'll definitly keep the hardware tips in mind when I do go to build a new box. I'll definitly put PATA drives in but I think I'll take a crack at getting my Audigy to work and see how it turns out. Also I've always leary of ECC's overhead, so I typically don't use ECC memory. Thanks to everyone again for the advice, I'm well on my way now, I'm sure you'll proablly see me around these boards again...till then.
 
  


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