Learning Linux
May 2, 2005 11:09 AM   Subscribe

I an not a complete newbie to Linux having done some linux programming, shell scripting and kernel hacking for school but I have huge gaps in my basic linux knowledge. What is the best way to fill them in?

In detail, I have limited knowledge from course related work but that was all very focused on limited domains, with an older kernel, and getting grades.

What is the best distribution for me to use to learn at a power user level? Best book/resource? Best method for learning? While I know daily use is the best way...I want to get up to full speed quicker than that.
posted by srboisvert to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Gentoo, or Linux From Scratch project.
posted by Gyan at 11:33 AM on May 2, 2005

I've enjoyed Craig Hunt's Linux System Administration. Just go through it chapter by chapter and experiment with everything. I also recommend his Linux Security book.
posted by agropyron at 1:19 PM on May 2, 2005

I second Gyan's LFS suggestion. Working your way through the LFS cookbook, and maybe through the BLFS cookbook, will teach you more about basic unix and Linux stuff than just about anything else.
posted by QIbHom at 2:21 PM on May 2, 2005

Think UNIX. UNIX Power Tools.

I'm a Gentoo user, and think it's great for learning, but QIbHom's probably right that building from scratch with LFS would be better.

Finally, scratch your own itches: what are things that you want to accomplish with your computer? Encrypt your home partition? Host your own domain? Make a PVR? Concrete goals help.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 2:47 PM on May 2, 2005

UNIX Power Tools is definitely an awesome book.
posted by agropyron at 4:30 PM on May 2, 2005

I'd suggest running your own server, with perhaps SSH, apache, and samba going. Slackware is great if you want to get to know the internals, since it doesn't provide much in the way of GUI-based administration tools.
posted by lalas at 5:05 PM on May 2, 2005

Another vote for LFS here. I found it immensely helpful in understanding the things that go on behind the scenes in most other distributions including the more power-user friendly ones like gentoo or slackware. The downside is the process can be very time consuming and the product is ultimately unmaintainable (as in: to upgrade significantly the whole thing would have to be rebuilt). I still run one of the systems I built from scratch but it is nowhere near current anymore. Besides LFS I also found it helpful to examine several of the single floppy distributions. They are usually devoid of clutter making it much easier to trace system startup, for example.
posted by darksquirrel at 5:42 PM on May 2, 2005

I have had this question in mind for so long... That Linux from Scratch link looks great!
posted by Chuckles at 6:21 PM on May 2, 2005

Definitely read up on the Linux Filesystem Hierarchy (and anything else that looks interesting at the Linux Documentation Project). The responses to this question may also be helpful.
posted by gsteff at 7:03 PM on May 2, 2005

Another vote for Gentoo or LFS. Also, force yourself to never boot into Windows, unless absolutely required to run sometihng. I'm down to one Windows boot every couple of months now, and it helps.

The Gentoo Forums are a great resource, even if you aren't running Gentoo.
posted by bh at 10:18 AM on May 3, 2005

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