Sunday, 4 November 2012

Newbie Guide for those who want to try out Linux

  Newbie Guide for Linux is a set of 10 generic guidelines that I have put together based on my experiences with Linux. If you are one of those who wants to have a smooth transition to a Linux distro from any other OS and want to keep your Linux "running" without too many :-D  problems then these guidelines may be of of some value to you.
  • Linux Magazines:- The credit goes to the Linux magazines that get sold in the newspaper marts for getting me hooked onto Linux. Most of these come with Live CDs / DVDs which will help in choosing the flavour Linux that you want. They also provide many valuable tips regarding Linux.
  • Bootable DVD:- Always keep a bootable DVD / USB drive at hand, just in case that your trusted machine decides to ditch you one fine morning and you need to reinstall your OS again.
  • Live CD:- It is also advisable to keep bootable Live CD loaded on to a separate USB / Flash drive so that you can quickly browse the net and attend to some other urgent needs like browsing the net to get some info or paying bills online and worry about the broken installation later.
  • In trouble?:- Most of the major distros like openSUSE, Ubuntu, Fedora  host their own forums where you can post your queries and get your answers. There are even distro neutral forums like LinuxQuestions. People are always helpful in these forums. There might be a bad apple here and there but don't forget to be polite :-) in the forums.
  • Basic cmd Line:- I admit it. Nobody likes command line stuff. But  many a time it is much easier and faster to do things in Linux using command line. For example on openSUSE, if you need to upgrade from one version of openSUSE to next all you need to is open the terminal (command line) and then add the  required repositories using command :-
    • sudo zypper ar -f <repo url path>
    • and then use the command "sudo zypper dup" to perform the upgrade.
  • Don't dual boot :- If you dual boot with another OS , you will keep going back to the OS you are used to working with. Thus dual booting prevents you from getting comfortable with Linux.
  • Keep yourself informed:- Lot of cool new things happen in Linux everyday. Reading various news articles about the flavour of Linux you use will keep you updated on the latest software updates and security updates that are heading your way. You can subscribe to various RSS feeds to keep yourself upto date on the various developments that are taking place. These news articles will also provide tips about tweaking and customising your desktop.
  • Distro hopping is not cool :- Every distribution is going to package or repackage the same window managers like GNOME, KDE, XFCE etc: . Pick the desktop manager you like and then pick the distro that does a good job of packaging your favourite DE. Instead of switching distros at the drop of  hat, you can always find ways of customising the distro you are currently using.
  • Package Management:- Learn basic package management for your distro. It will go a long way in better maintenance of  your desktop.
  • Use reliable repos:- Think twice or even thrice before installing packages / rpms / debs from Test repositories and unofficial repos. The packages are in Test repositories for a reason that they have the potential to break your system when installed.


  1. This paragraph:
    "Don't dual boot :- If you dual boot with another OS , you will
    keep going back to the OS you are used to working with. Thus dual
    booting prevents you from getting comfortable with Linux."

    This is what's still happening with me. Windows and Xubuntu.

  2.  Dual boot sounds like a good idea but it really is a trap that drags you back to the OS you are more familiar with . Instead of learning more about Linux you stick retreat back to the fort. Linux is a lot mature these days and you don't need a crutch like dual boot to hold us up. As long as you keep carrying a child it will never stand up on its own feet :-). If you want the other Non Linux OS have it on other machine or you can nowadays run it on a virtual machine.



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