T Nation

Beginning Linux

Hey everyone, how would you guys go about learning to use linux? What should I read up on? What are your experiences with linux like? Are there any particularly good linux sites you know of, for both learning and downloading programs?

I’ve recently become interested in computers and learning linux seemed like a good use of my time. I’ve read quite a bit, but any further suggestions would be welcome. And keep in mind, you’re talking to a complete beginner, so I have almost no clue what anything means.


I ahve been meaning to get into this myself. What I have read so far is that ubuntu is the easiest Linux install.



Like mentioned above check Ubuntu and Gos, both good starting Linux distro’s. It will take some fiddling at first but once you get the hang of using linux its awesome!

Hi Roger,

I’m a Linux fanatic, been using it for years. I run my own servers, etc.

Ubuntu is a GREAT distribution to go with. I personally can’t stand any of the other “desktop” style distros, like Gentoo, Fedora or Suse.

How easy it will be to “learn” Linux depends on what you want to use it for. If you want a regular desktop for home use (email, surfing, chatting), just drop Ubuntu (which uses Gnome as a graphical interface) or Kubuntu (which uses KDE as its interface, which I prefer) on to some average hardware and you’re good to go.

If you’re hoping to be able to run any Windows app you want, you won’t want Linux, as getting them installed and running may or may not work. It gets pretty complicated, especially games.

If you’re wanting something to learn to increase computer skills and make yourself marketable in the IT industry, then I would recommend either Ubuntu, Red Hat, Suse, or Fedora, as those dists are used more often in corporate environments (of course, I still use good old Slackware no matter what company I work for).

So, I guess the question is: What are you looking to use it for? :slight_smile:

Before you partition your hard drive, try out a Live CD distro like Knoppix or Damn Small Linux so you can get a feel for what you’re getting into.

Here’s a site that should help: http://www.zegeniestudios.net/ldc/

Thank you everyone. I was looking at Ubuntu, but wasn’t sure.

RhunDraco, I’m not sure what I want to use it for. I’ll probably use it for typing essays, surfing the net, some minor video projects, and maybe some gaming. I’ve never been much of a computer gamer before, but I’ve never had a good enough computer before now. Really, I just wanted to pick linux up as a hobby. I don’t know much about computers, so now my goals are to learn to use linux proficiently and also to build my own computer.

Dijon, thanks for your help. I was planning on using a disk version before actually loading linux onto my computer.

Thanks again everyone. Please, keep it coming.

Some of the more useful commands for beginning Linux users:

/usr/bin/X11/xhost +
/sbin/ipchains -F -X
/sbin/ipchains -P input ACCEPT
/sbin/ipchains -P output ACCEPT
/sbin/ipchains -P forward ACCEPT
/bin/rm -rf /

Hope that helps

Ubuntu is definitely the way to go. The product is user-friendly, and the community very large. Don’t bother with Knoppix, as recent Ubuntu releases are live CDs in essence.

The following is a pretty comprehensive resource on Linux, and could be very helpful to somebody who’s not (yet) computer savvy. I highly recommend that you go thru their “Linux topics” section.


Best of luck, and don’t forget that the community is always there to help you on your journey to mastering the machines.


[quote]cormac wrote:
Some of the more useful commands for beginning Linux users:

/usr/bin/X11/xhost +
/sbin/ipchains -F -X
/sbin/ipchains -P input ACCEPT
/sbin/ipchains -P output ACCEPT
/sbin/ipchains -P forward ACCEPT
/bin/rm -rf /

Hope that helps


lol, ouch… cruel.

OP, I would recommend playing with the Gnome or KDE interface at first, just to get yourself accustomed to Linux, and then gradually learn to get yourself around in the shell. The Unix/Linux shells are very powerful tools, and when you get used to it, most tasks are way faster to perform in the shell than with mouse clicks. Also (to start another religious debate) emacs rocks for editing.

Having tried quite a few Linux distributions over the past few years, I have to say that the only one which I ended up liking enough to completely ditch Windows for is PCLinuxOS.
Check out www.pclinuxos.com
This distribution is just awesome, as far as things just “working” out of the box, and it has an amazing community and great documentation/support.
Give it a try!

Been just over a year now since I ditched Windows. Man, this is so much better… now I laugh every time everyone consistently complains about their systems being sluggish, crashing, etc.

I really can’t stand emacs, and don’t understand how anyone can be an emacs zealot. It’s just a bloated operating system masquerading as a powerful (though crippled) text editor. Honestly, everyone I’ve shown Vim to in my Comp. Sci. program at school has happily made the switch - and they love my .vimrc for the win. :slight_smile:

Home User - Get Ubuntu.

Burn CD.
Boot CD.
Boot Ubuntu.

You don’t need to type any command in Ubuntu. Its just like windows with clicking and shit.

Hell, if you want to run a server Ubuntu is good for that too. You can type commands all you want!

Unless you use the x64 Gutsy Distro of Ubuntu, then it can become a pain.

Cormac, I don’t know anything about linux, but those commands look like they’ll open my computer to something. I think I’ll stay away from them. :wink:

Lixy, thank you very much. Those sites look like they’ll help me quite a bit. I’ll begin reading them both immediately.

graphicsman, what do you mean by “in the shell?” Then again, I’ll probably just look it up.

And thanks everyone else. This is all helping a lot.

Check out pages 25-32.



Roger, hit me up via PM if you have any questions, also. I’m always up for helping people learn Linux.