I have a good interest in learning LINUX. I have a very basic knowledge of it and have also installed it a couple of times,but still i would want to learn it from scratch and become a advanced LINUX user. Do ineed to join any 'Linux courses', or is it simple enough to learn it on self. Are there any free tutorials out there which can help me in learning it in a systematic manner?

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The best way to learn Linux is dependant on the type of student you are. Some people like classes, others like to read a book, and try it. For me, I like to try it, and then read the book and figure out how to do it better.

I suggest you install Linux, and use it DAILY. Think of things that you want to achieve. Set some small goals. Consider:

* This week, I want to do web surfing, and figure out how to install Java
* Next week, I want to get my Palm working on it
* Now, I want to play music from my CD-ROM
* Now, I want to install another hard drive, format it, and automate backups
* Now, I want to install a printer
* Now I want to work with Open Office
* Now, I want to try Free Civ and see if I can figure it out
* Now, I want to Load Samba and get my Windoze computer and use it as a file share
* Now, I want to document my system and backup everything and be able to restore
* Now I want to compile my own kernel
* Now, I want to setup netatalk so that my friend's Mac will work with it
* Am I going to program, or be a server administrator?
* MySQL? Apache? Mars-nwe?

The possibilities are endless. With linux, it truly is "Where do you want to go today?"

I would not try to do it all in a week. Give yourself short range goals. Ask questions on forums like this on how to do things. But be precise and specific: I want to learn how to setup a firewall. I heard about IPTABLES. How are they setup?

Understand that you will mess up your machine at times. Understand that you may get advanced enough to realize that you partitioned your hard drive incorrectly, and you are going to need to start over. Understand that books and some reading will help you out a lot, and that you are not alone.

I have been involved with Linux since 1994 or so when I first installed MkLinux on my PowerMac 7100. I discovered a lot of computer science things were much easier than programming on the VAX/VMS, and I could do them at home! I would dual boot to get my homework done. It was amazing! And then I found out about networking, so that my then roommates would not gripe with me online all the time doing homework.

Books? I liked the Wiley Yellow/Black RedHat 9 Unleashed book (although the ones for Fedora 3 would be the latest in that line), or the Red/Orange SAMS Unleashed book.

No one is going to give you a direct roadmap on how to do your thing for free, but there are a lot of suggestions out there to work with. Ask away, and more importantly, enjoy!


Hey thanks for the good comprehensive reply.I liked it.You gave me what i wanted.The weekly thing , more of a common sense though looks preety good. Wonder why didnt it come to me first(may be bcause.."common sense is the most uncommon thing!!" ).Anyways thanks again.
I would look for your advise if i have any problem while learning.
Hope you wont mind, i know you wont!! :)

Bye .....Keep Rockin!!!

my sytem is PIII 733 with a 128 Mb SDram,and i want to dual boot with Win XP.
Is Red hat 9.0 good to start with?


Pent III with 128 MB will work, but I would install more memory to get you beyond 256MB... get you into the 384 range or better. Your system will work a lot better with the more memory, and I think your XP setup will like it too. BUt do not add memory and then remove it. XP will not like that properly.

RedHat 9 is a great place to start, although Fedora Core 3 is the latest one of the "family" to be out there. ABout a year and a half ago, RedHat transformed their plan concerning a free linux, and merged with the Fedora project. Some things have changed, but other things remain the same or very similar.

The other question is hard drive space. Linux will not install like Microsoft Office on part of your hard drive in the NTFS / FAT environment. Linux will want it's own space... just as if you had a C: and a D:.

You will want to backup your present setup, then re-partiton your drive, then re-install XP, and then finally put RedHat 9 on your system. A number of books will tell you how to do that. Some people may recommend Partition Magic or other partition utilities. I prefer doing it the raw way, and as a beginner to the show, you should consider doing it the old fashioned way too. You will learn more.


Ok cool.Now the question is how much space should i allot to the ext3 and swap partitions.In my earlier Linux instllations(RH9) I use to keep some 5Gb for ext3 and 200mb for swap partition.Are these numbers fine??
Also there are 3 CDs of RH9. What all packages should i install intially?

I am learning this also...
Some great suggestions from KC... even for an Apple guy....:)
Seriously... I have Redhat 9 ...4 discs if you include the docs...
But I would also suggest you download one or more of the LIVE CD's
Mepis would be my first choice... Knoppix is also fun...
These are great because you get to play with different distro-butions without having to install them... They boot and run in RAM... Autoconfigure to your hardware etc...

They are much more up to date than RedHat 9...
Newer kernels, newer desktops and more...
You can test drive both KDE and Gnome desktops
They have open office, cd buring software and more...much much more...

The first thing I learned is that with Linux, access to the internet for downloads and updates is critical...

Oh, and Winmodems dont work well in Linux.. obviously...
(So checking your hardware compatibility with the Live CD's just makes sence)

Oh and there are alot of people fighting problems with the Nvidia chipset right now..
Pure luck... I was running ATI...

I run 98se, XP and Mepis dual boot
I have been working on some custom Live versions for different things like data recovery on Windows systems...
Boot to a CD run an OS in RAM and have access to Windows files...


You will want your swap partition to be about 2x of your planned memory use. By this, I mean that if you have 128 MB this week, and are planning to go to 256 MB next week, then plan for a 500 MB swap partition.

It really depends on how you setup your computer that determines how large the partions really are. I typically do 500 MB for /, 500 MB or so for /var, 3500 - 4500 for /usr, 500 for /tmp, 1000 for /internet, and 5000 for /backup. Typically, web server data files are stored in /var, but I plop them out to a different partition, and I also create a /backup and install scripts to comb the file system, and store the files inside /backup.

Redhat 9 or Fedora will offer you a chance for a "typical" workstation, or a server, or a custom build. I tend to run custom, as I like control of what my Linux box is going to be. As a beginner though, you might want to take the Workstation setting and run with it. If you can afford it, however, install EVERYTHING, so that as you discover new things to do with Linux, you are not sent down the fun road of dependancy hell.

If there is one challenge for the beginner to master, it is how to cope with failed dependancies. A lot of linux software is built with other linux software already installed (called modules), and there are times that if you wish to install a particular package, you are going to end up installing 3 - 5 other things as part of that particular package. For example, if you would like to install Adobe Reader, you might need to install a certain libarary and some fonts.

I also agree that Winmodems are not going to respond well to Linux, although there are work arounds that might possibly make it work for you. Another gotcha are wireless cards.

But I will say this... once you get something going on Linux, only the power cord will stop the operation. Boxes can run untouched for months... even years.

I have not tried the Mepis / Knoppix Linux in RAM approaches. Am told that they are neat and cool. I would take a quick peek at them if I was starting out.


You write very well Kc, i like it...i just added to your reputation.......one last question before i begin my quest for exellence in Linux...can i copy my mp3s into a linux partition and play it just as i don in Win.This will tell me how big my ext3 should be.
Also how do i assign space independently to ../ ../temp../internet and all??

I only suggest this for people who REALLY want to learn linux, everyone else divert your eyes!

Go to http://www.linuxfromscratch.org/ and start building your own linux, from scratch! You can even get a printed book with CD for under 20$ if you want to give some support to the project.

This is NOT for the faint of heart, you will learn linux, or be crushed by it :)

If you go this route, you should still be running other distro's for your day to day OS and keep this on another partition or box.

I would not suggest linux from scratch as a way to learn linux.
Yes it is where he wants to be NEXT year...

My approach is to try the live cd...
Push all the buttons, turn all the knobs and drive a few distros around the block...
See what features you like, want or need before building one from the ground up....

can i copy my mp3s into a linux partition and play it just as i don in Win.

That will work, but an even more elegant solution (if you have the disk space) is to create a separate partition, formatted as FAT32, for your mp3s and any other data that you would like to access from both Windows and Linux. Linux fully supports reading and writing to FAT32 partitions, so if you centralize your shared data on such a partition, you won't have to keep separate copies of the data for use in Linux and Windows. If you just need to read data from a Windows partition, Linux does support doing so with NTFS partitions as well as FAT32, but writing to NTFS isn't really fully supported yet.

Also how do i assign space independently to ../ ../temp../internet and all??

You create separate partitions for each of them during the installation process; different distros have different installation routines, so the actual steps you need to take will depend on the specific distro you install. In general though, if you choose to perform a "Workstation" or "Basic" installation, the partitioning will be done for you automatically, and the distro's installation manual should tell you what that default partition scheme will be. However, if you perform a "Custom" install, or if the installer offers an "Advanced" partitioning option, you will be able to over-ride the default scheme and create whatever partitions you desire.

If you're up to it, I'd suggest doing an Expert install. This gives you very fine control over exactly what packages/programs are installed, and it also allows you to install components which, although you'll need them down the line, are not always installed by default. The kernel source/headers and other development software necessary for compiling/installing programs from source code falls into the later category.

Learning linux takes some hard work and study. If you want to learn and get certified, I would recommend http://www.linuxselfstudy.com. You can take the certification courses on your own time, because they are on-line and interactive. I shopped around alot and they offer the best deal out there, ($1000s less than their competitiors), but they are still highly rated. They have some great testimonials too about their linux training. It worked for me!

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