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Thread: I'd like to learn linux - what tips/resources?

  1. #21
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    I like loading stuff on to a pc from disks personally. One hitch I ran into was lack of support for sata in some older cases.

  2. #22
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    Really? You don't find that loading up from 30 floppies a bit tiresome?

    *Pi stuff is ready to go--just write the image to a flash drive or USB pen drive and you're good.

  3. #23
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    Only in your mind does disk mean floppy by default

    Actually I actually would like to load up some paleolithic distro from floppy. So I can brag that I did. And for thoae who's first experience with linaches involved a tower of floppies, how much did you accomplish with it once it was installed? Probably should start a new thread.

  4. #24
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    I haven't had "driver problems" installing Linux on your typical boring middle-aged PC for a long, long time, so chances are pretty good if you have a random 2000-aught-something-to-a-couple-years-old machine sitting around installing Linux should be a pretty brainless exercise. (There are edge cases in there, sure; go too old, too new, or too high-or-low end you might get tripped up and you also might have issues if you go with one of the "ideologically pure" distributions that gives you grief about binary "non-free" drivers. But by and large installation is the least of your problems.) But, yeah, if you have a Raspberry Pi already it's a no-brainer to just image an SD card and be off to the races.

    Of course, "Learning Linux" is such a broad mandate it's kind of hard to really know where to begin. A modern slick GUI distribution will drop you into a desktop where you essentially don't need to learn anything. (And since Linux can sport several competing GUI desktops it's hard to really generalize specifics between them. Most Windows users would feel initially uncomfortable sitting down at a Macintosh but could probably find their way around well enough after a few hours; that's about how different various Linux desktops typically are from either Windows or each other.) If it's *UNIX* concepts you're interested in learning here's a quick little tutorial that will get you up to speed starting with most of the commands equivalent to those that MS-DOS users typically use at a shell, and then introduces concepts like multi-user-ness, permissions, process control, etc.

    My introduction to Linux was via a UMSDOS-based mini-distribution called "Monkey Linux" that fit on five floppy disks, which I installed on a slightly flaky 486/33 with 8mb of RAM one afternoon in the mid-1990's. I ended up poking at it until about 3AM, at which point I'd figured out how to get it to dial into my ISP at 14.4kbps, downloaded DosEMU and Netscape, and was playing with generating custom XFree86 modelines to overdrive my MultiSync GS monitor to 800x600. Not that I necessarily recommend the trial-by-fire approach; it's certainly a lot easier to avoid these days.
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  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by tipc View Post
    Only in your mind does disk mean floppy by default
    You did say "disk", didn't you? Not "disc" (as in "compact disc"). So practically speaking, what does that leave? Even Zip media is considered by most to be floppies. And a USB pen drive isn't a disk or disc--it's usually a rectangular hunk of electronic storage.


  6. #26

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    So you say that you might need to use it later in the year, do you have any more details?

    Asking to learn about Linux is sort of like asking to learn about the Window NT Kernel, its not really something that you interact with directly. In the case of Linux you will want to learn a particular distribution (sort of the equivalent of Windows 2000 vs XP vs 7 except they are built and maintained by different groups). If you know that you will be working with a Debian-based distro you will want to focus on things line Ubuntu (or in the case of the pi Raspbian), Mint, or Elementary. If you are going to work with RPM-based distros you will want to use Fedora or Red Hat. These aren't the only two options, but they are the most likely suspects.

    Its also important to know if you are going to be using the command line a lot. If so, learning the correct distro is even more important. Confusingly, you can have the same graphical environment (called a desktop environment or window manager) on multiple distros, even though the underlying system is different. So you can run Gnome, for example, on virtually any distro, but on the command line you will start to find differences between the distros when looking at how everything is actually put together.

    One area where differences might come up is installing new software (called packages). Each distribution will have its own package manager for keeping your system up-to-date and for you to find new software to install. On the command line there will be a different command and syntax for the different package managers, but in a GUI more and more there is a standardization on an app store-like experience.

    You will also find differences when it comes to manually setting up a network, creating virtual machines, compiling software, mounting drives, etc...

    That being said, as mentioned in a previous post, all Linux distros will more or less adhere to some basic UNIX principles and you can use the BASH command line just about anywhere, there is is a lot of common ground. Its just the nitty gritty details where things can go astray.

    So it really comes down to "what are you going to do?". Are you going to be working on a web server and will need to know how to install packages and start/stop services? this would make the distro matter a lot. If you are just going to sit down a work station that someone else is managing and using a web browser and text editor, then just think of it as a switch to a very poorly polished (or very advanced, depending on what you get) version of Windows; there will be an adjustment period, but nothing huge.

    I hope this isn't too much or discouraging. I just think its an important point that there is no single Linux to learn. There are several distros, all of which can use several command prompts and several window managers. Luckily, there are only really a few favorites out there so its not that impossible of a task to head in the right direction once you have an idea of what you are trying to do.

    Finally, I will say that if you really don't know what you want or where to even start thinking about it install Ubuntu Mate (https://ubuntu-mate.org/download/) on any mid-range computer you have. Its interface is supposed to have a more traditional feel and its based on Ubuntu, which 90% of help tutorials out there will expect you to be using. Get it on a computer and just use it for a week. When you hit a problem just google "How do I do XYZ on Ubuntu" and you will hopefully get the answer. Skip the pi unless you are doing a command-line only set up, it will be a sub-par experience.

    Good luck and feel free to PM me if you get stuck on something and you don't feel like trying to fight Google for an answer.

  7. #27
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    Most desktop managers are resource hogs. I've used XFCE for years because of its low impact. Resembles the traditional Windows desktop pretty well.

    And learning exactly what? Believe it or not, a graphical desktop is not an integral part of Linux (or Unix). Command-line utilities, however, are.

    As far as Pi goes, a Pi 4 could hold its own over any Pentium 4 desktop system.
    Last edited by Chuck(G); February 14th, 2020 at 08:12 AM.

  8. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck(G) View Post
    Most desktop managers are resource hogs. I've used XFCE for years because of its low impact. Resembles the traditional Windows desktop pretty well.
    I've tried a few options, but I keep gravitating back to the simple combo of WindowMaker, xcompmgr, and a modest but reasonable GUI file manager (SpaceFM is my current go-to, though PCManFM and Thunar are also decent, albeit quite a bit bulkier.) But really, as long as you steer clear of the nightmare masses of interdependencies that are GNOME and KDE, you're pretty alright.
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