Newbie Resources

From Sfvlug


New Linux 101 Section

We just launched a new Linux 101 section of the wiki. We will eventually combine this Newbie Resources section with the new Linux 101 page, but for now we will still keep them as separate sections until we get a chance to move this wiki to a new server. We will probably keep this site going for as long as EditThis is willing to host us.

Up Front

GNU/Linux newbie you should know that it is now possible to use GNU/Linux without ever having to open a terminal and type in a command. That said, you should also know that the command line opens up a power and flexability that can't be found by using only a GUI interface. Not all resources in this section will require a knowledge of the command line but if you are serious about opening the full potential of this powerful computing platform at least a basic understanding of the command line is essential. Actually you are likely to find that it isn't as difficult as you might fear.

While this section of our wiki is still under heavy construction you should be able to find enough information to get you started. What is presented here now are the bare essentials to get started on learning the power of the command line. If you aren't interested in learning how to use the command line be sure to read documentation on Gnome and/or KDE, the two full featured desktop environments that are available in most of the major distributions.

Newbie Resources

Here are some links that may be of particular interest to those who are new to Linux and the Open Source community and want to learn more.

Before we get too far, the first thing to learn is that Google is indeed your friend. Here is a link to Google's special Linux search: Google the Linux way. This should be your primary general resource, that is why it is placed here at the top of this list.

Before you start bothering your friends or strangers the first thing to learn is how to ask questions that will return useful information and also won't make people upset. You don't want to alienate the people best able to answer questions with answers not found anywhere in print. This guide should be viewed before posting questions to forums, newsgroups, mailing lists, etc. It is appropriate reading for computer users of all skill levels. The author, Eric S. Raymond also has some other FAQs and HOWTOs at his emphasis in on bringing people to a high technical level and may contain information specific to IT professionals and people that want to become IT professionals.

If you haven't yet installed Linux or are looking to change to a different flavor of Linux this site has good up to date information on what is available. Another great download resource is with much Linux software available for download from their servers. You can also find documentation at at a different URL but same folks. They are a collaboration of the center for the public domain and unc-ch with many free and open resources besides software.

A good set of online Linux courses can be found over at That's a great jumping off site for Linux users of all levels. It is where I (Charles Wyble) spent the majority of my online research time in the first year of using Linux.

Local Tutorials:

Newbie Command Line Essentials

Software Resources

So if your new to Linux you probably want an idea of what software you can use with it. Now you can't just go down to your local computer store and buy software for Linux. However you can find software on the internet. The two most popluar sites for finding/downloading software are:

  • A site that tracks releases of several thousand packages. A great site to simply browse and see the wide variety of software available.
  • Source Forge (also known as SF) This site is used to host free/open source software. It is hands down the most popular hosting site out there. I (Charles) host multiple open source projects on the site.

The third way to find software is the package management system in your distrubtution. What I like to do when searching for software is to go on Freshmeat/SF and do a keyword search. I then sort on various criteria (popularity/last update etc). I then open up the websites associated with the software in various tabs. Once I have selected some canidates I install them via my package manager. I use Debian based distrubutions which contain some 15,000 software packages for easy installation. Others in the LUG use Fedora It all comes down to a matter of taste :)

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