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Old 03-01-2006, 03:38 PM   #1
Registered: Aug 2005
Location: Slovenia
Distribution: Fedora, Ubuntu
Posts: 69

Rep: Reputation: 15
Where to start in Linux?


I'm essentialy a linux newbie. I know how few distros look like (Fedora 4, Mandrake,...) and I also have installed and "used" them. I set up DSL connections, VNC, Samba, etc. on them and they worked quite well. But here is the problem...I never learned Linux properly. I solved all the problems trough zilions of howtos. That is the reason I still get the chills when I have to install or setup additional functionality on linux. I never got the "feeling" for linux and confidence of knowhow. I always used the easy way of RMP's or something smilar. I get the chills when there is no RPM and I have to compile a program. There is almost always some library issue I have to solve and I spend looking for that library (which may be some part of some larger library) and installing the right version 10 times as long as installimg the program I was looking for. I always get the feeling that my Linux machine is somehow "dirty" because I don't know where all the things have been copied, how many versions of the same library I have installed, not to talk about uninstall functionality.

To put all the moaning aside...what is the proper way of starting using Linux? I want to learn "text only" mode Linux and after build my knowledge to the graphics interface. I wan't to learn how to properly configure/add linux module by module. I wan't to know how to install/uninstall software properly and not trough some shortcut like RPM, YATS, etc. Which non distro related resources (documents, book) are the best to start with? Again I'm interested in "text only" mode Linux for the start. Which distro for that matter is best to start with?

Thank you to all of you who got trough my moaning and thanx for all your help.

Best regards,
Old 03-01-2006, 03:45 PM   #2
LQ Guru
Registered: Dec 2005
Location: Somewhere on the String
Distribution: Debian Wheezy (x86)
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I've always used Debian and learned a lot by using and the RUTE manual. There's some other newbie docs at the Linux Documentation project.

Everyone I've ever talked to though told me that if I really really wanted to learn linux, to take up Slackware. Then when you feel comfortable, try to build your own distro with Linux From Scratch.

Note that I've never had time to fiddle with LFS or Slack, but I still run a couple of console based Debian installs (no gui present) and feel like I can get around. I do usually still lean on man pages, google and howto's, etc but I figure it's tough to know everything about everything...
Old 03-01-2006, 03:53 PM   #3
Registered: Jan 2006
Location: Israel
Distribution: Windows Xp, Slackware
Posts: 316
Blog Entries: 3

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Get one of the big 3 as I see it: Slackware, Debian, Gentoo.
Old 03-01-2006, 04:18 PM   #4
Registered: Jul 2005
Location: La Paz, Bolivia
Distribution: Debian Sarge - Sid, Slackware, Gentoo, openSuse, Fedora, Ubuntu, Mandriva
Posts: 241

Rep: Reputation: 30
Congratulations Rostfrei, I truly believe that you are in the right path to become a Power Linux user, instead of just focusing on solving some problems, spend some time to have the whole perspective of Linux will be the most valuable tool in your future use of LInux. You're absolutely right, in order to start using Linux for serious work, you need first to learn the basics, the filesystem structure, how the linux kernel interacts with the hardware, learning the use of BASH, the configuration of your system, etc.

I suggest you to read some of the documents in the LDP project:

And read a Linux Book from the first page to the last one. There are plenty of books that cover all these topics, you can buy one, most of them comes with a Linux distro, so you can practice everything that is explained there.

The most important Linux Distros (SuSE, Debian, Gentoo, Fedora, Ubuntu, Mandriva) have also plenty of material so you can master the specifics about each distro. For example:
If you use SuSE you can read the following documents:
or also use /usr/share/doc/manual/suselinux-manual_en/manual.

If you use Debian, you can read the following:

If you want to go deep, try Gentoo:

You don't learn Linux unless you use it, trying to do your normal activities in Linux. Just use it as much as you can.

Last edited by victorh; 03-01-2006 at 04:20 PM.
Old 03-01-2006, 04:43 PM   #5
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Registered: Feb 2005
Distribution: slackware
Posts: 11

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In my opinion Gentoo isn't good for newbie, in fact every software one has to compile. Slackware, Debian should be good way to learn and develop Linux, especialy first one, because I use also Slackware ;-)
Old 03-02-2006, 12:01 AM   #6
Registered: Apr 2002
Location: in a fallen world
Distribution: slackware by choice, others too :} ... android.
Posts: 23,067
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As for the resource you asked for: I'd highly recommend
In the beginning was the command-line
to start with (in this order) :}

Old 03-02-2006, 12:34 AM   #7
Registered: Aug 2005
Location: Slovenia
Distribution: Fedora, Ubuntu
Posts: 69

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 15
Thank you guys for all your sugestions and useful documentation links. I think I'll choose Debian distro. I like the documentation page. I also looked at Rute manual and I think it is very good starting point for me. I noticed that rute.pdf.bz2 PDF version is not awailable anymore. Does anybody have a copy of it? I'd like to print it in a book form.

Again...thank you all !


Last edited by Rostfrei; 03-02-2006 at 12:36 AM.
Old 03-02-2006, 04:11 PM   #8
LQ Newbie
Registered: Feb 2006
Location: Port Macquarie, NSW Australia
Distribution: Debian Sarge, Linspire, Knoppix, DSL
Posts: 3

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Hi Rostfei, I have found it helps to be in an environment you are comfortable in. I have used a few live CDs to see what can be done with Linux, and how to do it. When I started to research a few things, I felt I was getting more from the Debian pages. I decided to try a base install, and add to that, with a netinstall. Going back to command line is the best way to learn any OS. But is was confusing. Enter Midnight Commander. I used Norton Commander years ago, so that made finding and editing editing config files so much easier. That project by the way was to be a proxy server, to reduce my bandwidth usage on downloads. But it may end up as an APT Cacher.

If you have enough hardware laying about, throw together another system, with a typical distro. That way you can always stay in touch with these and similar sites. (and I don't insult these sites with a Micro Sludge PC any more)

The second box also gives you the goal posts, which I find helps when I break the learning box.


Last edited by Geoff_newbie; 03-02-2006 at 04:12 PM.
Old 03-03-2006, 11:07 AM   #9
LQ Guru
Registered: Feb 2004
Location: SE Tennessee, USA
Distribution: Gentoo, LFS
Posts: 8,515
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One of the best learning tools I've used is a diary. A spiral-bound notebook and a number-two pencil.

In that diary, I write down my questions, leaving space for the answers when I find them, and I write down what I did each time I sat down at the computer. When I'm tired at the end of a session, I jot down what I intend to remember.

When you "set out to learn Linux," as you very quickly see, there is just too much to cram into the ol' cranium and expect to keep it there. There are too many aspects to it. So my general approach is to try to expose myself to a lot of different subjects, write them down in my diary, and keep "flying over the forest." From time to time I'll take out my diary, choose a particular "tree," and examine it more closely. The diary approach helps me to minimize the following:
Originally Posted by The Far Side
"May I leave the room, please? My brain is full."


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