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Just starting out and have a question? If it is not in the man pages or the how-to's this is the place!


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Old 05-12-2006, 12:32 PM   #1
LQ Newbie
Registered: May 2006
Location: Texas
Posts: 3

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Wanting to start learning linux

I want to start learning linux but honestly am not sure what distro would be good to start with. (and please before anyone thinks of flaming me I'm just asking because I've seen how many different distros are out there and to be honest I'm not sure what would be a good one to cut my teeth on.) I'd preferably like to learn how to work with one thats CLI (grew up with dos and love it) as well as one with a GUI (familiar with Windows and know that since there are GUI distros out there that knowing them would be good as well.)

I know I need to read up on the white pages as well so I'd also appreciate any help on where to approach this as well. I mean do you just start with the ones at or do you start somewhere else?

Old 05-12-2006, 12:46 PM   #2
LQ Guru
Registered: Nov 2003
Location: N. E. England
Distribution: Fedora, CentOS, Debian
Posts: 16,298

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You can work in the CLI on any distro and most distros ship with KDE or GNOME gui's. KDE is more like Windows (visually) and highly configurable. Try out a few distros before settling on one that you are comfortable with (some distros have live cds so you can test without installing). Take a look at for more info on Linux distros.
Old 05-12-2006, 02:13 PM   #3
LQ Newbie
Registered: May 2006
Distribution: Ubuntu Breezy, Fedora Core 5
Posts: 27

Rep: Reputation: 15
From one newbie to another newbie..welcome The distro I have been using is Ubuntu Breezy. Its a fast install and you dont need to load all the windows drivers. If you are looking for a live CD version(contained all on and runs on the CD)..try Knoppix or Slax.
Old 05-12-2006, 02:50 PM   #4
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Registered: Apr 2004
Location: Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA
Distribution: Debian 9 Stretch
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When you say you want to "learn Linux", what sort of knowledge are you thinking of?

Do you want to just learn how to use any version of Linux? Something easy and functional out-of-box? Then something like Knoppix or Mepis or *ubuntu may be for you.

Do you want to learn how to maintain/troubleshoot Linux, hopefully on a professional level? Then you need to dabble in several varieties of Linux, most importantly Red Hat Enterprise and maybe Debian. In any case, you'll want to be familiar with at least on .rpm distribution (Red Hat or Mandriva or SUSE), and at least one .deb distribution (Debian or ... well, Debian). And also, Slackware.

Do you want to learn about programming in Linux? Then you'll probably want to dabble with Gentoo or Slackware. But Red Hat might be better if you're hoping to do commercial programming; Debian might be better if you want to minimize your basic system administration effort.
Old 05-12-2006, 02:55 PM   #5
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Registered: Oct 2004
Location: Luxemburg
Distribution: Slackware, OS X
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Slackware is a nice distro to learn Linux. Command line is used quite a lot and it also comes with the graphical KDE which is very easy to use if you come from Windows. Also, it has an excellent forum here on with very helpful people.
Old 05-12-2006, 03:00 PM   #6
LQ Veteran
Registered: Nov 2005
Location: Annapolis, MD
Distribution: Arch/XFCE
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To get started with minimum fuss: Ubuntu

To learn (a lot) while you are getting started: Arch

I run both of these at home. At work I use RedHat enterprise because that is the only Linux they officially support. I do not like Redhat, and will likely change soon.
Old 05-12-2006, 03:47 PM   #7
Registered: Aug 2005
Location: Lancashire (United Kingdom)
Distribution: Debian Etch, on 686 machine.
Posts: 509

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I would reccomend going for straight debian and building up from scratch, just installing the base system and then adding xorg and x-window-system etc etc your self. Debian has very few graphical config tools available, egleast not out of the box soyou can jump stright in with a text editor.
Old 05-12-2006, 11:31 PM   #8
Registered: May 2006
Location: Southern California
Distribution: Debian 3.1 (Server only)
Posts: 36

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I recommend Debian Etch as well. Get the latest build here:

As for the HOWTO, installation should be a breeze. After you see the command line, log in as root and:

# apt-get install [ vim | emacs ] sudo x-window-system [ kde | gnome ] [ kdm | gdm ] alsa alsa-utils amarok
Whenever you see [ xxx | yyy ], that means you can use one or the other (or both I suppose). So replace each [ xxx | yyy ] with either xxx, yyy, or both. I recommend the ones listed first: between [ and |. And then:

# visudo
And add

<your_user_name> ALL=(ALL) ALL
to the end of the file. Of course, replace <your_user_name> with the name of the user you created.

Reboot, log in as your user at kdm and you should be (mostly) up and running, except sound. For that, use

$ sudo alsaconf
The end.

Last edited by Maritime; 05-12-2006 at 11:35 PM.
Old 05-15-2006, 01:28 PM   #9
LQ Newbie
Registered: May 2006
Location: Texas
Posts: 3

Original Poster
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Thanks for all the help so far, I trully do feel welcomed. I'm definetly wanting to learn Linux inside and out, have done that with windows. I would ask more questions now but think I'll try to read more of the boards first. Thanks again for the advice on where to start.
Old 05-16-2006, 02:52 AM   #10
Senior Member
Registered: Nov 2004
Distribution: Mandriva mostly, vector 5.1, tried many.Suse gone from HD because bad Novell/Zinblows agreement
Posts: 1,606

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Good resource to learn from:
in LQ bookmark search for newbie then for rute


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