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Old 06-07-2010, 09:11 PM   #1
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What does it take to get any good at Linux?


I've been taught Linux in college, I've played around with routers, linux boxes etc, so I know some command line stuff. At the moment I'm using Linux regularly for everyday activities. So I should know my $hit, right? No. Not really.

What is frustrating me is the learning curve. It's as if something's fundamentally not clicking, I spend a decent amount of time researching how xyz works on Linux, and have learned infinitely more on Linux about computing than on Windows, and yet there's this sense of being a complete newb. I still have serious trouble installing this or that, and I've read an entire book on this stuff. Nothing seems to be straight forward.

I'm not trying to learn every thing about the system, just to have a general mastery of the basics and some expertise.

What does it take guys? Twenty god-damn years and a big bushy beard?
Old 06-07-2010, 09:30 PM   #2
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The beard is a must you never really stop learning.

Keep a notebook of anything new you learn, as well as commands you tend to forget.

If you really want to get down and dirty try LFS,

These are both good places for info.
LINUX: Rute User's Tutorial and Exposition -
The Linux Documentation Project -

It helps to have cheat sheets.
The humble Linux cheat sheet -
Linux-Unix Cheat Sheets - The Ultimate Collection -
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Old 06-07-2010, 09:56 PM   #3
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Well, the OP said he doesn't want to learn everything about Linux (LFS kinda forces you to ), so I would recommend something more along the lines of Slackware or Arch, or maybe Gentoo. The former two (dunno if this applies a whole lot to Gentoo as well, never tried it :-S) try to adhere to the "K.I.S.S." or "Keep It Simple, Stupid!" principle, i.e. they are minimalistic in their certain ways of doing things. Slackware tends to be minimalistic when it comes to administration (package dependency management is done manually, lots of software is "vanilla", i.e. not pre-configured), whereas Arch tends to be minimalistic with the content (automatic dependency management, but installs very little by default). As far as Gentoo, I don't know exactly, but being "source-based", I take it that means that all software packages come as source code, and you compile them yourself...? I'm not sure how dependencies are handled, either.

And then of course there are other things to consider like hardware compatibility, media codecs (if applicable), and so on.

As stated above, Linux really is a never-ending learning experience, but for some people this is a good thing. For instance, I've learned quite a bit more about Linux and computers in general after trying Arch (and sticking with it ) than I would have if I had stuck with Ubuntu, the distro I started with.

Last edited by MrCode; 06-07-2010 at 09:58 PM.
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Old 06-08-2010, 12:05 AM   #4
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hmmm.... well I would say a cup of humility and an ocean of patience. I have been using linux since around 1998 and even today I still find new things or commands that I have never known.

However my best teacher has been on this forum. That teacher was users that needed help. Trying to solve their problems has helped me learn more about linux than anybook would ever have taught me. Course so did crashing several machines and cutting my teeth with Slackware.
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Old 06-08-2010, 12:47 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Morgan- View Post
I've read an entire book on this stuff
Not to disparage you, but a single book isn't likely to get you very far. I wouldn't say this is particular to Linux, but is true of any large-ish subject. Read, read, read & do, do, do.
I don't know if there is a particular solution for you, but I must admit that my first introduction to Unix was from a person who clearly understood the 'Unix way', and was able to express that to me in a way that not only made sense, but became a sort of philosophical light for me to follow. It was 25 years ago, give or take, and that philosophical background has always been somewhere near the surface of my conscience when trying to understand a new concept, tool, or program (thank you Alistair B, if you're out there). Without that sort of connection, I'm not sure I could have had any success at dealing with Unix/Linux. If you know anyone who is a dyed-in-the-wool Unix geek, hang out with him/her, and try to let some of the spirit rub off on you.
At the very least, get comfortable with key concepts, especially stuff like standard IO and all of the ways to manipulate it, and the Unix process model, and the concept of 'all IO looks like a file', and regular expressions, and the C programming language, and... Well, it's going to take a while. Enjoy.
--- rod.
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Old 06-08-2010, 01:25 AM   #6
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"What does it take to get any good at Linux?" Curiosity, persistence, a good memory (or good documentation skills) and time.
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