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Old 07-04-2005, 06:55 PM   #1
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Cool what is a good distro for learning linux?


I've had Fedora Core (2, 3, and now 4) on my computer for a while. I've been basically able to use what I need: LaTeX, email, web broswer, gaim. Wireless has been a problem and it currently stopped working after upgrading from 3 to 4.

Generally, my interaction with linux has been messing around with things until the current problem mysteriously (and temporarily) goes away. I am looking for a way to systematically learn how to administer my own linux workstation so I can use it for my electircal engineering coursework and to produce documentation in addition to normal activities of internet, word processing, and email.

I looked at gentoo and it seems, istalling gentoo forces you to understand linux from the ground up (there also seems to be a coherent and centralized source for documentation). I'm thinking about starting all over with linux by installing gentoo, hoping to get a deeper understanding of my O.S. Before, I take such a risk and investment with my time I was hoping some more experienced users could tell me if they think this is a good idea. How did you guys learn your way around linux? Was it this painful and long process of trying to resolve mysterious computer glitches as they arise, or is there a more direct and rigorous way to understand?

All the books I look at seem too basic, and spend a whole chapters on things like "cp, mv, creating and managing files" and other basic features that don't really enable me to solve problems that are unique to my hardware and needs.

Old 07-04-2005, 07:13 PM   #2
Registered: Jun 2003
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I am a newbee .. ...
Gentoo seems a very good way of learning Linux if you need to know it all or of course "Linux From Scratch" if you really want to go mad ;-)

Tons of Howto's & info : &

Or maybe read tons of kernel docs as well .

Good distro .. heyhey Vectorlinux .. but Slack is supposed to be good for learning .

Old 07-04-2005, 07:45 PM   #3
Registered: Dec 2004
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I posted a very simular question a while back. The most common answer was that all distribution can be tinkered with. If you want to really understand everything, Linux From Scratch is the way to go. I am currently working on the project myself.
Old 07-04-2005, 08:18 PM   #4
Registered: Apr 2004
Location: Newcastle, UK
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Slackware was my tool of choice, mostly everything has to be configure by hand, but the configuration files are excellently documented so its sorta quite easy to get to grips with.

I'd been using Mandrake as a newbie till slackware 9.1, now 10.1 and I keep trying to try out different linux's, I tried Suse 9.1,9.2, Debian, Ubuntu, Fedoracore 3 and Mepis. Even though most these are quite easy to setup I cant help myself dumping them after a day or so and returning to Slackware. Its a simple case of it does exactly what you tell it too, and you know whats going on in your system.

Slackware has a huge following which is very handy when you find yourself scratching your head, which happens quite a bit.

Also I found with newbie distro's like Mandrake, if you dont use their tools and go diving around the system editing files, strange things tend to happen and 9 times out of 10 its time for a re-install.
Old 07-04-2005, 08:19 PM   #5
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Gentoo may _seem_ like you would learn a lot, but the installation process is fairly simple if you can read and follow instructions, and after that is it emerge this and emerge that, and lotsa waiting.
Personally I would recommend Slackware, since it gives you a clean system in the "feeling" of Linux, so anything you learn will be the "correct" way.
Old 07-04-2005, 10:46 PM   #6
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Agreed. I run Gentoo mainly because I don't have to think about anything (and it just won't crash). Slack does nothing for you. You have to learn (and the manual is available online and is excellent).

If you want to learn, my suggestion, in no particular order, is to get: Debian, Mandrake, Fedora, Slackware or Gentoo because they all seem to have better documentation than other distros (they've been around longer). Or, skip Linux and go with one of the BSD's (FreeBSD has great docs).

If you read RUTE, it won't matter as much what distro you use.
Old 07-04-2005, 11:08 PM   #7
Registered: May 2004
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what is a good distro for learning linux?
Gentoo, Slackware, Arch, Crux, and Linux From Scratch would all be good distros for learning Linux, but if you really just want to use Linux, there are a number of others that would be good for that.

Good luck with whatever you should choose...
Old 07-04-2005, 11:28 PM   #8
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im kinda newb in linux also, al my life with linux has been with red hat, since 6.0 to fedora core 4 now, even if theres a lot o time between im still learning things everyday, i really think that any distribution of your choice is good to learn, since you can do all you want in the same way in any linux, with minor modifications.

NOw im trying freeBSD, but i dont leave my linux
Old 07-05-2005, 03:07 AM   #9
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Sorry guys, but almost all linux distros are the same. The only differences are the commands used to install packages or tarbals or the way the files system is organised.

To some extend, if you really wanna sratch your head and make yo brains a little worky then I recommend you to try "knoppix" or try redhat linux 7.2 valhalla coz for it you have to configure many things by yourself compared to redhat linux 8 or 9 where most of the things are configured for you.

I love my distro, redhat linux, sometimes installing tarbals is very tricky and educative.

Have fun man.
Old 07-06-2005, 08:13 PM   #10
Registered: Jun 2005
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Can someone comment on this please. VectorLinux is Slackware-based, so if Slackware is good for learning then would Vector also be good ? Many people say that those who use Slackware are very helpful. I wondered whether Slackware people would be in a position to give advice about Vector.
Old 07-07-2005, 07:32 PM   #11
Registered: Apr 2005
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I use Vector 4.3, and it is nice because you get the power of Slackware, as well as the simplicity, but it is a bit friendly, and there are GUIs to fall back to if needed (for configuration, etc.). It is also good on old hardware (which is why I use it). It would be good for learning (especially if you do everything on the command line and dig around in all the files), plus you can fall back to some of the GUI configuration tools (like vasm) if you really are stuck.
Old 07-07-2005, 07:58 PM   #12
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I learned more about linux from my gentoo install then any other single event. If you go this way I can help. I would say (my opinion) gentoo, slack, debian or lfs would be good to learn from.
Old 07-07-2005, 08:34 PM   #13
Michael Johnson
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If you want to learn about your system and linux from the ground up the you have 2 good choices gentoo and linux from scratch. the next level up is slackware and above that you have FC mandriva. The top of tree with the simplest install is ubuntu kubuntu and similar.
The answer depend on what level you want to start at. The above are examples of where things fit in. There are so many distro's You can't name them all.
Old 07-07-2005, 08:37 PM   #14
Registered: Apr 2005
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Could someone enlighten me as to why Gentoo is seen as so difficult and why you learn so much from it?
If you follow the instructions here: it is more a lesson in typing than anything. Seeing make output scroll by doesn't mean you are learning something
Old 07-07-2005, 08:50 PM   #15
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I supose It wouldn't have to be if you just type with no understanding of what you type but if you take the time to know what you are doing and why it works you learn alot


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