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Old 01-22-2009, 08:00 PM   #31
edcaslinux
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Newbie rewbie requesting help


It seems that sometimes when we make comparisons with Windows vs Linux and how difficult Linux is compared to Windows and forget how we have been slowly trained by MS. For those old timers, like myself, who remember installing DOS on a PC and all the trials we went through learning DOS commands until the first DOS Shell was developed; then came Windows v.1.0 with the Windows Executive GUI. We have been indoctrinated slowly for years and through all the version upgrades the learning curves became shorter and shorter. Learning Linux is like learning DOS for the first time, learning to maneuver through the mysterious black screen (in this case the white screen of Linux terminal). I still feel that of all the distros I have taken a nose dive in, that Ubuntu is my best recommendation for the newbie. I would only experiment with a new distro on a separate HD from my daily working HD that I would prefer to keep pristine and safe from my blunders with a new OS. Maybe some of us are not in agreement about doing installs by swapping hard drives or feel that virtualization is the best route, but that extends past the realm of newbie. Those of us that have dealt with hours/days/weeks fixing system crashes know that if the newbie lacks patience, their interest to learn a new OS would end quickly without some instant gratification of a somewhat operational OS to inspire further learning (to me Ubuntu is a quick fix for newbie inspiration).

I began my PC experience with DOS 2.11, as a newbie my patience was really tested learning to master my PC with no hard drive, 16k RAM, 360k floppy drive and a lot of keyboard typing with no mouse. If not for the successes along the way and my own determination I would not have gotten this far. This may be your launching pad except that you have the head start of having Windows experience to back you up. Try Ubuntu as a launching pad and later you can move on to another distro. What I do like about taking this path of OS's is that you would not end up spending hundreds of dollars purchasing new OS's to experiment with (unlike some popular OS that I will not mention). I would pay attention to the other distros named by other members who have tried them, they are reasonable choices that I would not rule out for future distros to learn, but my choice is Ubuntu because I had little difficulty and was immediately productive as I began learning the world of Linux.
 
Old 01-22-2009, 09:15 PM   #32
jlinkels
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edcaslinux View Post
It seems that sometimes when we make comparisons with Windows vs Linux and how difficult Linux is compared to Windows and forget how we have been slowly trained by MS. For those old timers, like myself, who remember installing DOS on a PC and all the trials we went through learning DOS commands until the first DOS Shell was developed; then came Windows v.1.0 with the Windows Executive GUI. We have been indoctrinated slowly for years and through all the version upgrades the learning curves became shorter and shorter. Learning Linux is like learning DOS for the first time, learning to maneuver through the mysterious black screen (in this case the white screen of Linux terminal).
Fully agree with you, except for your choice of Ubuntu of course.

I too started with DOS 2.1 (even older) and a 360k floppy. No, that is not true. I started with an IBM 370 running MVS using punchcards, then a PDP11, a HP1000, Amdahl 470, 6808 on a SWTPC bus (Hell, I wire wrapped that one myself!) and Commodore PET. But on the PC I started with the DOS 2.1 one. It would boot in Basic. Yes, I spent so much time in learning that I cannot imagine that someone doesn't want to put a few hours of effort in finding out how to solve a problem. After W2k that fun was gone. No, not the problems were gone, but the fun of discovering and fixing. So many things became undisclosed, there was no fun anymore. Linux offers me hours, days and weeks of problem solving. There is so many to find out, I'll never run out of discovering things before I die. An eternal puzzle book. For free

jlinkels
 
Old 01-23-2009, 10:48 AM   #33
archtoad6
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So Kris (nadman), going back to your OP, what do you want to learn about Linux? -- Servers, Desktop, the CLI, networking, or what?

If you knew Linux, what would you use it for?

What do you use now, & what do you use it for? Your "on my own time at home after work" has the ring of someone who might be a computer professional, but used to a different environment. Tell us more about yourself & your objectives.
 
Old 01-24-2009, 11:36 AM   #34
nadman
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Originally Posted by PatrickNew View Post
It depends what you mean by "learn Linux". I could recommend something like Ubuntu or Sabayon. These will both do their best to make everything go smoothly for you. But you won't really *learn* much, because they've worked hard to make sure you don't have to. If you really just want to *use* Linux, then one of these is what you want.

If you really do want to learn about the guts of linux, you'll want something more like Red Hat, Gentoo, Slackware, or Debian. If you want something in the middle, I recommend Debian (it's what I use).
Thanks you for the advice. nadman
 
Old 01-24-2009, 11:38 AM   #35
nadman
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Originally Posted by jjthomas View Post
You need to decide if you want to LEARN or USE Linux. As a beginner I suggest you stay away from the 64 bit, for now. Weather you want to learn or use, 32 bit is a good starting point. There is no sense in getting frustrated with the idiosyncrasies of a 64 bit Linux this early in the game.

My suggestion is start with Slackware if you want to learn; If you just want to focus on using I would go with Mandrivia. Ubuntu is good, but since you want to learn I don't think it is a good Linux distro to be learning on. IMHO.

Another suggestion would be get set up with Virtual Machines for testing and learing / using Linux. I see newbies wiping out their Windows Partitions installing Linux. Not a good way to get started with Linux.

One word of caution: BACK UP YOUR DATA before embarking on installing anything on your computer. The data you save will be your own.

-JJ
Thanks JJ. nadman
 
Old 01-24-2009, 11:39 AM   #36
nadman
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Originally Posted by FewClues View Post
Download Ubuntu 8.10 and use it as a Live CD until you are comfortable enough to install it. Ubuntu has a 64bit system but I wouldn't recommend it for a newbie. There are drivers and plug-ins that are needed and not available in 64bit versions. You would need to do a lot of benchmarking to see the significance between the 32 and 64 bit distributions.

Unbuntu will allow you to immediately begin using Linux and at the same time allow you to learn the command line and the use of some of the advanced tools. If you jump in the deep end with debian you could become discouraged. If you jump in with Ubuntu you will be among those using the most popular distribution and therefore find a lot more support.

Once in the Linux mode, you will learn the rest as you need it. Linux is to enjoy! So enjoy while you learn.

http://www.ubuntu.com/getubuntu/download gets it for you.
Thanks FewClues. nadman
 
Old 01-24-2009, 11:40 AM   #37
nadman
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Originally Posted by dreamcarrior View Post
Why do you want to dual boot with Windows XP? I suggest the best way to learn and use Linux is simply installing Linux as your sole operating system. You can pick up any Linux distro. I started my journey with Redhat Linux. DSL and Ubuntu are pretty good. SuSE 10 is really slow, and I don't like it. Currently, I like Redhat most. If you really need Windows, then you can install VM Player and run windows as virtual machines. I have systems only run Linux, and systems only run Windows. It all depends on what you want to do with them. However, if your purpose is to learn the system, you really have to forget about Windows and accomplish all tasks with Linux. This is the only and fast way learning a new operating system.
Thanks dreamcarrior. nadman
 
Old 01-24-2009, 11:44 AM   #38
nadman
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Originally Posted by edcaslinux View Post
I agree with the other posts that Ubuntu 8.10 is good for Linux starters. You will learn some Linux with Ubuntu. One thing you will learn is that it is basically designed around Debian code which one should remember when trying to download and install additional applications and programs. You will encountered problems requiring you to solve by using Ubuntu's terminal interface and Linux commands, so you will be on your way to becoming an intermediate Linux user in no time.
If you follow the advice of one of the other posts of using only one OS instead of dual booting, you may want to do what I have done. I installed a Mobile Rack on my PC where I can swap out hard drives without having to keep opening my PC to disconnect and reconnect cables, in this way I have one drive with only Windows installed and another drive with only Linux (I also have a third drive with dual boot Windows XP Pro and Ubuntu 8.10 installed). A Mobile Rack comes in very handy when I crash one drive either Windows or Ubuntu and I can still function with the other hard drive until I fix my crashed drive.
If you prefer to use another distro of Linux, I would NOT recommend installing on your Windows XP drive, it is very painful recovering from Windows crashes when an installation of another OS makes its modifications. I recommend getting another hard drive to experiment with and leave your Windows XP drive as is, save the additional partition for a Windows XP swapdrive you will need the space very quickly.
Thanks edcaslinux. nadman
 
Old 01-24-2009, 11:44 AM   #39
nadman
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Originally Posted by pusrob View Post
Hi.
First of all, welcome to LQ.
Second: Next time please give a more specific description for your posts. "Newbie rewbie requesting help" is not very good. It can mean lots of things. "I want to learn linux: which distro?" or "distro recommendations needed for learning linux" would be much better. Thanks.
Third: I don't agree with this. Linux never modifies your windows partitions by itself in any way, and windows neither does modify your linux partitions. No harm is done to windows or linux if you dual boot. Recovering a crashed windows partition is actually easier with linux installed, so if you want to keep windows for a while, dual booting is what you need.
Now the distros: choose anything you want, except ubuntu. Ubuntu is the distro you should never use. If you want to learn linux, than Debian, Red Hat (or Fedora?), Sabayon, Slackware and Gentoo is recommended (the last 2 is for later learning). Mepis is also a good start.
I recommend this order of "lessons": Mepis (heavily based on Debian, but simplified (very simple to install and use)), Debian, Slackware (or Red Hat), Sabayon, Gentoo. On the Debian stage you already gonna know a lots of things.
Thanks pusrob. nadman
 
Old 01-24-2009, 11:48 AM   #40
nadman
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Originally Posted by AGer View Post
The first things to learn are file system layout, permissions, booting, command line utilities, shell scripts, configure/make, man - info -How To, and packaging. All that can be learned with ANY distro. Naturally, what you learn about packaging and init scripts will be distro specific, so you may want to study the details of that last.

The amount of distro specific stuff in Ubuntu, Mandriva and the likes is huge. In Gentoo it is just considerable, but this is justified if you also want to know the details of the programs that run on Linux. Slackware has the minimum of distro specific additions.



Possibly you do, but most likely you just need something that works somehow. Do not be concerned with bugs. They do not hinder learning. Any distro can be fixed sooner or later, so let the bugs wait until you are able to fix them or decide to switch the distro to get some other bugs. It is OK to start with 64 bit or dual library since if you run over an extra bug just leave it alone.



This is not true. With some "user friendly" distributions installation of a boot loader, which can fail so that nothing boots, or even total elimination of Windows is just a click away if not the default. Live CD/DVD/Flash distros may mount NTFS partitions read/write and if you write to them you may confuse Windows applications that rely on streams and security descriptors (destruction of NTFS beyond repair is rare our days). Even when mounted read only, an NTFS partition can get marked as "dirty" when you use a "safe" live CD so that you get the blue "checking" screen on the next Windows boot. It is not a big deal but may frighten a newbie. It is harder to damage Linux partitions with Windows without knowing what you are doing, but I never underestimate Windows users.

I find it handy to have a FAT partition to exchange data with Linux. You will also need a swap partition, so if you have only one 20 gig partition for Linux you should create another one for swap. The size of that partition depends on RAM and your desire to hibernate to swap. If you have questions at this stage, remember that the chances you stay for long with the initial Linux setup, be it a distro or partitioning, are low.

I recommend using a virtual machine like Virtual Box from Sun to play with Linux. You can use it to try a live CD or install a distro into the partition you already prepared. This is the safest way, but some accelerated video problems real Linux has cannot be experienced. It also allows you to continue using Windows while Linux is being installed or used, makes actual burning of images optional, and gives an opportunity to see what a distro installer is like before applying it to the real system.

I would not recommend to install any Linux until you know what exactly LILO and GRUB do to your hard disk and how to use dd to be able to undo that.

You may want to have access to your Linux partitioning from your Windows box and the tools you have may influence you installation decisions. For example, if you use a Total Commander plugin and install Slackware, you should choose Reiser FS or modify ext2/ext3 parameters. It is not a problem, just another possible reason why your initial setup will not last for long.

I would avoid free distros that are shadows of commercial "real things" like Fedora, Free SUSE, or, to a lesser extent, Mandriva.

Finally, just in case you are a newbie big time: all distributions are exactly the same OS - Linux - and potentially run the same applications.
Thanks AGer
 
Old 01-24-2009, 11:49 AM   #41
nadman
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Originally Posted by pouletfou View Post
Hy Kris

I suggest you try different distro to find the one that fits your needs. Personnaly, I learned a lot with archlinux and thnik it is a great distro for learning linux.
Thanks pouletfou. nadman
 
Old 01-24-2009, 11:50 AM   #42
nadman
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Originally Posted by raymor View Post
I was going to say the same thing. Asking good questions helps
to get answers. For more similar tips on how to get good help, see:
http://www.bettercgi.com/gpl/smart-questions.html

As far as distributions, I've set up Fedora for several Linux
newbies and that seems to have worked well for them. In the
menus you'll find entries like "Audio Player" which tell you
what the program DOES rather than the NAME of the program, in
this case "XMMS". It was a little annoying to me when they made
that change, but it's good for newbies. We also use the same
Fedora on some top end server clusters because the Fedora distribution
is very flexible. Where other people have said "Red Hat" you
can pretty much substitute "Fedora" - they are essentially
the same, with the Red Hat brand being the paid version.

A LiveCD is kind of neat in that you can play with Linux for a
few minutes without installing anything, but there are some real limitations to that format - without touching the hard drive
there is no way to save anything between sessions. Therefore I
would suggest NOT using a LiveCD once you've made the decision
to spend some time with Linux. I'd use a LiveCD only to check it
out for a few minutes before installing it, or certain other
specific situations such as using someone else's computer.
Thanks raymor. nadman
 
Old 01-24-2009, 11:53 AM   #43
nadman
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Originally Posted by codger51 View Post
My first distro was RedHat 5.0. This was a distro that I actually purchased because it had a book that helped you install the OS. My next distribution was Slackware and I have pretty much stuck with this one and am currently using version 12.1. I have found that you will learn more from Slackware but I do not recommend that you put this on the same machine with Windows until you have some experience. Slackware will run on older equipment and minimal ram so find an old machine (I have it running on a 466 mHz HP Pavillion with 256 MB of ram and a 40 GB drive) and load it up and get it running. You will learn a great deal by doing this without the possibility of damaging your Window box. Enjoy!
Thanks codger51. nadman
 
Old 01-24-2009, 11:56 AM   #44
nadman
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Originally Posted by vimmex View Post
One linux "distro" that was especially created to help people learn linux is Linux From Scratch ( http://www.linuxfromscratch.org/ ). I wouldn't really call it a distro because it's not actually one. It's a book with instructions on how to compile *every* piece of software a linux distro has. So you sort of make your own distro. If this is your first time, you might take a week before you have anything usable as a desktop system, but you'll learn a lot of stuff. It will also train you to do something you need to do if you want to actually learn linux, as opposed to just using it: reading documentation. On the website you'll find many different options, one of them is downloading a live cd which includes all the sources to install a base distro, so you don't have to download each package one by one. This has the added benefit that you don't need to have a previously working linux distro to get you started, which normally you would need.

Even if you don't choose this as your first linux distro, you might want to remember this for a future project, because it really teaches a lot. I used to use it as my main distro, until I decided I wanted something more convenient and moved to Ubuntu. Now I'm using something in between: Arch Linux, which doesn't take too many decisions for me, like Ubuntu does.
Thanks vimmex. nadman
 
Old 01-24-2009, 11:58 AM   #45
nadman
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Originally Posted by s4lt1n3 View Post
My 2 cents:
Use Ubuntu. It is very easy to use as far as Linux distros go, has high compatibility rates in my experience, and you certainly learn CLI (command line) and the Linux file system, and the fact that is it debian-based means you can learn some things about the way a lot of other Linux distros work too.

Dual-boot. In the process of learning / using Linux for me, I hosed my (Linux) system several times, and not having a backup OS to use in case things got to the point where I couldn't even get online and post to a forum is very frustrating. I'm sure you could get to the point where constantly swapping a drive to try a suggested and unsuccessful config file change would be infuriating.

Some of the other newbie friendly distros I'm aware of are Mandriva, Archlinux, and there are Ubuntu spinoffs such as Linux Mint. I also used OpenSUSE quite successfully for a while; it has nice support and is very intuitive.

Do be careful installing a secondary OS. You constantly see people posting dire warnings of data backup if you mess up things up, for example, your partitions. While you could trash your data in a second doing that, I have never, ever had a problem with this. I have never lost data resizing a partition. While I am certainly not going to recommend against backing up or say that data loss is impossible, I have never gotten a spare hard drive to image my data just so I could install an OS. Definitely back up anything that is inexpensible, such as files for work you could be sued for losing.

I think that for a majority of computer users, even people that are extremely knowledgeable and strong computer enthusiasts, the differences between Windows and Linux are somewhat irrelevant. The way they work is different, but you can do pretty much the same things on each. You might notice a difference in the games available for each.

Oh, and virtual boxes are nice for trying stuff, but they are sloooooow.

I usually use live CDs to see if a distro can do things like use my wireless card out of the box.
Thanks s4lt1n3. nadman
 
  


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