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What do you want to learn today?

2183 Views 8 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Rosco
As I've made obvious with another post I'm finally get my lazy butt into writing my help site, aptly titled "techiekb" for techie knowledge base. Now the question is, what in regards to Linux do you want to be able to learn there?

I plan on covering shell basics such as simple commands and file system structure. X configuration and how to build a program from source, but what else does a Linux newbie want to know?

I'll also be adding a Cisco section as I learn new things through my CCNA study ... so anyone wanna jump in and write up some Cisco basics *cough*Psuedo*cough* give a shout, all write ups will be credited accordingly.

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That'd sure help me!:winkgrin:

you are gonna laugh at me, not like you guys already dont, but i wouldnt even know the first thing about linux, other than the fact people act like it is better.

as far as i knew, linux was a version of unix that was created to try to keep unix from dying off as a computer language.

i personally dont even see what the difference would be, or what is wrong with windows in the first place.

(other than the fact that anytime you spent millions of dollars keeping stuff updated, the manufacturer of the products are made happy, so they design stuff to fall out of date soon. that is what is up with stuff that only runs on xp. the truth is, anything you can run on xp, you can also run on 98, if you know what things to add to the system.)

but now that linux is big in the industry again, arent they going to do it to us too? make stuff that is 1% better, so tomorrow they can add another tiny peice to it to make it yet again 1% better.

i think they will, just exactly like every major co-operation ive ever heard of.

but as far as your question, i would first have to be told what to do with linux.

can it run off the system without having to remove windows?
can it do all the same things as windows?
can it do anything windows cant do?
how much space does it take?
could you show us a screenshot of the os doing something cool?
is it a text based os, or is it a graphical os?
is it capable of running an interface card?
why dont i see games that will run on it?
why dont i see it included in the list my modem and sound card and stuff will work with?
why dont i know anyone who actually uses it?
and why is it that ive only seen silly little shareware versions of it?
can i get msn messenger to work with it?
can i use my burner with it?

please understand that i have been into computers for a long long time, but i have only seen mainstream stuff.

i remember alot of old stuff.

i remember apple, and can program in not only basic but logo and prodos.
i remember commadore, but hated it.
i remember the timex sinclair os, and it did nothing useful.
i used dos alot, and managed to get into alot of bbs's that didnt really have anything except people whining and playing mudd games.
i remember macintosh's first graphical os, HAHA
i used 3.1 to death, also HAHA, alot like mac.
and then 95, now there was something sorta different, but its only because of the startbar.
98 is a pretty 95.
me is a pretty 98, but not any better than old 98
2000 is a pretty 98, but rebuilt for people with networks
xp is rediculously loaded with extra space and time robbing garbage.

but, after all this time i havent used linux even for a split second, never heard of anyone doing anything fun or productive on it. (other than run servers, and brag about how much better it is, much like what i hear about xp, LOL)

so my question is......

Why Linux?

that seems redundant to me.

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Linux was created to combat high priced Unix systems in the early 90's

Its free (as in speech not beer) which means you can look at modify and even make money off some else's source code

You can do everything that you'd do in windows

Windows and Linux can co-exist on the same hard drive without hurting each other

Linux runs on anything from a 386 w/ 2 megs of ram and up (and probably less then that!)

It lets you take back your OS, no more hidden update messages sent to some faceless corporate geek.

You can chat with it, not MSN specifically in terms of the client app, but there are one's such as Gaim which works alot like trillian

You can do direct development if you so choose, no need for a server.

You can compile your kernel for you! You don't need to support 5 million products make it work, which means way faster boot times :)

You can see what your OS is doing!

its more stable

Its way customizable

You can use your burner

Linux supports most hardware, "winmodems" are starting to be better supported. Check out for more info

I don't mind windows, but I hate things I have to patch something on a nearly daily basis because some company pushed some poor programmer that makes 2 dollars an hour to get his DLL out the door in order to make a deadline, open source may take a little longer, but the quality is there because of that.

You can game on Linux, Wolfenstein, UT, Quake, ect ect

Its literally free :) Can't beat that

Its extensible .... so you have a 386 with a couple of NICS, build yourself a broadband router in 30 minutes at low cost and learn something in the process!

You can view DVD's on Linux

You can download warez ;)

Linux is simply another Operating System ... just like Windows, just like Unix and just like the Mac OS....

there's just so many "cool" things you can do. And if you're a control freak its that much better..

Windows is fine, I'm not opposed to the notion of windows or software development for profit. I'm sick of having to register and machine because I changed out a CPU though. I bought the **** OS and license, let me use it... and don't tell me I'm breaking some BS law ;)

I'm not one of the Linux evangilists who like to say Oh Windows sucks blah blah blah and Linux is so much better blah blah blah. When it comes down to computing at the OS level, you use what works for you, if its Windows great, if its Linux then w00t, if its 9600 baud modem attached to an Atari .. thats great.

I prefer Linux for some of the reasons above and more.
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gotissues68 said:
I plan on covering shell basics such as simple commands and file system structure. X configuration and how to build a program from source, but what else does a Linux newbie want to know?
I have been running Mandrake 8.1 on a separate disk from my Windows 98SE for a few months, I'm quite impressed although I still use 98 for mostly everything until I understand using Linux.

The main problem is the fact that I've grown up with microsoft, from DOS to 3.11 to 95 to XP and my understanding of how their operating systems work is extensive. Give me Linux and I get lost and frustrated.

Instead of unziping a package with winzip... or even pkunzip, you have to use tar and serveral options at the command prompt.
I end up with something like "tar -xzvf filename-", is there no easier way?!?

Whats the difference between gz, bz and bz2?

Tried to set up Samba (file-sharing with windows) and encountered a problem. I needed root permission, which I can get from command prompt by typing "su" and them my root password, can I get this under the gui so I can edit the file.

Another thing I don't understand is the fact that you have a kernel, severval different GUIs, X-Windows, an operating system, and different user accounts. How do I know what option applies to what? Example: If I'm logged in as user A under KDE and I change an option, how do I know if this will affect user B under KDE or user A under GNOME.

Basically, I think a newbie would need to know the following (cuz I know I do!):

1. Mainstream programs under Linux that do the same tasks as the mainstream programs under Windows (eg Winamp, MS Office, media player, messaging clients, etc)

2. The advantages/disadvantages of various GUIs, Internet clients, mail clients etc.

3. Configuring basic things like Samba

4. Setting up LILO/GRUB... how??? How do I make windows the default???? ahhhhhhhh!

5. Use Cygwin on my laptop (mainly for the gcc compiler), but had a look at x-windows... to this day I am still asking myself... what is it???

Good Luck with your knowledge base gotissues68.
Hope I helped a little :)

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thank you

well thank you for the answers. i will have to look into it. dont be surprised if i come back asking about it.

Hi Gary,

In terms of Samba, check out either SWAT which is accessed by going to http://localhost:901 in a browser, still requires root password but you can add authorized users. Also LinNeighborhood is a good resource to get Samba up and running.

Tar is the unix tape archive system. It's a hold over when most backups were undertaken using a tape drive.

gz, bz and bz2 are all compression formats, they are similar to zip files, which by the way can be unzipped under linux/unix with the unzip program provided its installed.

As far as the layout of a system... The way Linux works, and to define a system truly its GNU/Linux because Linux in and of itself is simply the kernel and nothing more, GNU programs are packaged with the kernel to provide a Distribution such as Mandrake or Redhat.

You have the kernel which manages processes and hardware interaction, X windows which provides a User Interface (UI) to the OS, Window Managers because as the various Unices (plural of Unix) converged there became a need for various functionality to be implemented in each.

When you apply a change to user in terms of say a password or UID (User ID) change it affects the system wide configuration for that user, if you make a change in say KDE in where an icon is placed it doesn't affect Gnome since they are 2 different beasts and don't speak to each other.

LILO is configured from /etc/lilo.conf
and Grub (yuck) is configured at /etc/grub.conf

Lilo has sections relating to each OS and its boot image and drive specs, if you reverse where Linux and Windows are placed in order from top to bottom and then re-run /sbin/lilo -v this will make the configuration active and make Windows the default, you can also configure frame buffer support and boot time-outs (which tell when to boot the default OS if none is selected within a pre-determined amount of time)

Hope this helps!

Bob gonna get some picks up soon dude :) And please everyone ask ... I love to help and I Linux is a passion/obsession for me :) The more people I can show the strengths of this great OS the better in my opinion heh
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Thank you kindly for the prompt reply and for clearing some things up for me, I will look into the whole Samba thing.

A bit late but ...

For me, the hardest part about Linux is that it is different from Windows. Most Linux newbies will be thinking about it in Microsoft concepts which don't apply and lead you down blind alleys. I think you should bear this in mind when writing your KB. For example, it took me quite a while to understand that KDE is not Linux in the same way that the GUI for Windows pretty much IS Windows.

You should explain why a removable storage device (e.g. CD-ROM, floppy) is a directory and not a device (or at least you use it like a directory). Again, that's me thinking in terms of what I am familiar with.

You should definitely explain what a shell is because even though I superficially use UNIX at work for simple things, I still don't know.

And I think you should show ways of doing useful things that don't involve command lines, at least at first, because a GUI protects you from the real complexities and allows you to build up knowledge gradually.

I really wish you good luck, Linux needs this if it is ever going to get on a good footing with people who don't know (or want to know) how to program.

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