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How to get started with Linux

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I have never used any OS other than Windows. I love developing on it and it works fine for me, but I would like to expand my knowledge and get into Linux. I don't really know how to go about doing that. If anyone can point me to the absolute beginners guide to Linux I would appreciate it.

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First you must select a distrobution. I started out with ubuntu, but want not too happy with it. I then switched to Fedora Core 4. I enjoy fedora, but I imagine there is better too. Just read about the different distros at www.distrowatch.com
the bigest trick is to find one with good documentation, knowledge dadabase, and a active help forum. This is of course in addition to being stable.

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It depends how you are going to use linux.
If you just want a platform that is easy to install/setup, install your applications/games and be on your way, Ubuntu/Fedora/Suse is good choises. They all focus on a easy install/setup process, and are complete in the sense that you get "everything and then some" installed by default.

If you are going to do development, configuration, administration, running servers, compile the newest kernel or just poke around with all the zillions of command line utilities available for linux, I would suggest a more "tight" distribution like Debian/Gentoo/Slackware.

I have used a few distributions since I started with linux, and I have used Debian for the last years. Some people say its has been the best/most stable distribution since day one, and Im not to argue with that.

Anyway, back to your question, if the last of the above scenarios is the case, it means that you do are willing to do some twiddeling yourself to make things work and dont expect everything to just work out of the box. You will want to make a bookmark to the linux howtos. Howtos is the name of the game when fiddeling with linux. Im sure there is a howto for almost everything. Another thing you will use a lot is the man pages.
If you need info about a speciffic utility, type $ man <utility> in a console window.
Using google to get info is another invaluable resource. The info about linux out there is vast...
One thing I do a lot is just copy and paste the error message(s) into google. There is always a forum out there discussing the exact same problem as yours ^^

I dont have any realy good beginners bookmarks at the moment, but Im sure google has quite a few of them. Just spend some time sorting out the good ones from all the bad/mediocre ones.

Happy hacking =)

[Edited by - pulpfist on March 5, 2006 4:29:32 AM]

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I've been using Linux off-and-on as a desktop OS (as well as for my LAN's gateway/server OS) for a few years now. When I began on a trek into the Linux desktop OS world, it was a *lot* of trial, error, reading, and researching.

I've never had an easier time with a Linux OS, than when I gave Ubuntu a try. With the http://ubuntuguide.org/ site, you get a crash course in how software is installed in Debian-based OS's. With the http://ubuntuforums.org/ site, you have a community of ready-to-help folks who are actually polite (!) enough to respond to your posts (provided you at least sound like you've done a bit of leg-work on your own).

Linux is a great OS, but unless you proceed with caution, you might spend more time tweaking and researching, than actually getting work/play done. I have found that Ubuntu minimized that tweaking quite a bit.

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I hear that Ubuntu Linux is great for beginners. It has a bunch of nice features. You might also want to pick up a book on Unix. Start to learn some of the basic commands. I think that most of the distros today do a pretty good job of detecting hardware and that makes the install easier. You might want to look into a live cd. You can try a bunch of the different distros without actually installing them. That makes it nice to play around with Linux and see if it works for you.

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I love Ubuntu, but for an absolute beginner you may want to try Xandros. It is Debian-based like Ubuntu, but it is much, much more Windows-like at first glance. Of course, being Linux and all, it has all of the features of Linux just under the surface, so you can start to play with things as you feel more comfortable.

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Quote:
Original post by MatrixCubed
I've never had an easier time with a Linux OS, than when I gave Ubuntu a try. With the http://ubuntuguide.org/ site, you get a crash course in how software is installed in Debian-based OS's.


That site has been deprecated(sp?) since Ubuntu 5.10 is out. Use http://help.ubuntu.com instead. Same setup, better contents, loads of errors fixed and targeted at the latest Ubuntu.

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Quote:
Original post by Ezbez
Is Cygwin a good way to learn some Linux commands without having to install an entire distro?


I suppose, but if you wanted to do that you might want try a Live CD.

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Thanks for all the info. Sounds like Ubuntu is the favorite for beginners, but I like smitty's description of Xandros. Anyway, thanks for giving me a direction.

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Yeah, a live CD is nice if you only want to get a test of how linux looks and which commands there are.

I recomend Knoppix.

You just download an .iso (preferably with BitTorrent), and write a CD from it. Then boot with the CD, and linux will automaticly load from the CD without touching your harddrive. It's real sweet.

If you google for 'basic linux commands' you will get a bunch of pages, including Basic Linux Commands from www.reallylinux.com.

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Quote:
Original post by Shae
First you must select a distrobution.

Pardon me, I am about to go completely off-topic.

The word is distribution. Just because everyone abbreviates it as "distro" does not change the root word. "Distro" is a colloquialism, because "distri" is awkward and sounds too much like "petri," as in dish.

All together now, "[b]distribution[/i]."

You may now return to your regularly scheduled posting.

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I work in an all-linux software development shop. Most of the developers we hire have Windows experience and very little Linux or Unix experience. None of them have much trouble making the leap (although I suppose the paycheck is an excellent incentive). The biggest stumbling blocks are usually trying to choose from amongst the embarrassment of development environments, and the usual steep learning curve of mastering the autotools. The latter is usually fixed in a matter of a few hours.

All our new developers use Xandros, and most of them start out with KDevelop as an IDE because it is Windows-like. The braver souls I manage to convert to vi, the One True Editor.

It helps to have good, knowledgable support, so make sure if you have trouble, ask here (?!?) or on the suport forums for your chosen distro.

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Quote:
Original post by Sander
Quote:
Original post by Ezbez
Is Cygwin a good way to learn some Linux commands without having to install an entire distro?


Get a Live CD or one of the VMWare players with Linux on it. Heck, you can even run Linux as a screensaver in Windows!


vmware server is free. i found it to be a great way to test different distros or even run a linux server under windows.

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