Author Topic: Suggestions for Learning Linux  (Read 496 times)

Offline FreeLancer

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Suggestions for Learning Linux
« on: September 10, 2018, 12:28:58 AM »
I ran DOS on my first PC's back in the late 80's, but haven't had a need to use a command line much since Windows 95.  I switched to Mac about 15 years ago, which was an easy transition, and am happy with Apple's "walled garden" environment for my normal computing and connectivity needs.  Once in awhile I'll need to run some oddball thing from the Terminal, but I just cut and paste the necessary Unix commands from an article describing whatever I need to accomplish.

There is plenty of software that doesn't run on Mac, so I still use Windows a fair bit, but recently I'm finding more software that only runs in Linux.  And while I can figure out how to install and run popular Linux distros, and download typical programs through a Software Manager, I don't know jack about Linux file structure or commands.  And since much of what I'm interested in isn't available through Software Manager, it's back to blindly cutting and pasting without having any understanding of what I'm actually doing. 

Things are at the point now where it's probably time to invest some effort into learning how Linux works but I don't know where to start. 

Offline Carl

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Re: Suggestions for Learning Linux
« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2018, 06:14:19 AM »
  I understand that you want to learn command line and Linux....but you might find ZORIN provides people with a comfortable,Windows - Like environment and it is quite well supplied with software too.  It can be had FREE too.

https://zorinos.com/

Offline David in MN

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Re: Suggestions for Learning Linux
« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2018, 08:15:18 AM »
I used only Linux in college (2000-2004). If you are comfortable with a DOS command line you're about 50% there. The big hurdle is "user control". Apple has none, PC has some, and Linux has total user control. [I know I will offend everyone by saying this but it's what I found.]

I ran Linux because I was using pirated copies of Matlab and Mathmatica and Linux compiled C++ programs faster and that's what I had to use. Linux is a great system for the kids who grew up overclocking config.sys and autoexec.bat.

I'd recommend buying a cheap refurb PC and just running it. If I had a gun to my head and was forced to code I'd default to a Linux system in C++ with a G++ compiler. I'd also run it if I had to do some "heavy lifting" math programs if I was routinely running ODEs, Fourier analysis, or something like Ansys.

I tend to think Linux will have a bright future. If I'm not mistaaken Android runs on a variant. Open-source is a rarity in computing and it definitely reduces cost to developers. Being Linux literate is a prep.

Offline FreeLancer

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Re: Suggestions for Learning Linux
« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2018, 08:59:28 AM »
  I understand that you want to learn command line and Linux....but you might find ZORIN provides people with a comfortable,Windows - Like environment and it is quite well supplied with software too.  It can be had FREE too.

I'll give it a whirl.  Thus far, I've messed around with Ubuntu, Mint, Peppermint, and Elementary OS. 

With so many choices, it's hard to know which distro to start with, or if it even matters.  I will say this, though, compared to when I last dabbled with Ubuntu a dozen years ago, it's a much easier OS to use now.  If I was just needing a stable system for email, browsing, and typical office tasks, getting these types of programs running by using the Software Manager is a breeze.  Back then it was all tarball this and untar that, just to get Firefox up and running.  Unfortunately it's not that much easier for a lot of the software I'd like to try these days, say Electrum Personal Server running with a Bitcoin Core full node, for instance.  After poking around the web I find myself at GitHub hoping for command lines to cut and paste.

Offline Mr. Bill

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Re: Suggestions for Learning Linux
« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2018, 11:39:38 AM »
...I don't know jack about Linux file structure...

Here you go:

Filesystem Hierarchy Standard, Version 3.0 (249KB PDF)

Considering it's a Linux technical document, this is fairly comprehensible.

As you said, any modern desktop Linux is roughly as usable as Mac/Windows for everyday stuff done through the GUI.  I started with Ubuntu, and when they got too control-freak-ish for me I switched to Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE), which is essentially pure Debian plus a bunch of Mint extras.  I like that I can use software from both the LMDE and Debian repositories if I want.

I set up my own first Virtual Private Server last fall, and went with Debian because of familiarity.  It's been satisfactory.

...Unfortunately it's not that much easier for a lot of the software I'd like to try these days, say Electrum Personal Server running with a Bitcoin Core full node, for instance.  After poking around the web I find myself at GitHub hoping for command lines to cut and paste.

Okay.  You're setting yourself up for some serious work here.  The only good news is at least you don't have to compile source code -- you can just download Electrum Personal Server and run it (after a lot of work).

I'm sure you found this already:
https://github.com/chris-belcher/electrum-personal-server
Instructions are a bit sparse -- it's assumed you already know everything about this stuff.  :P

I ran across this interesting project -- it's a set of detailed instructions for setting up Bitcoin/Lightning on a Raspberry Pi:
https://github.com/Stadicus/guides/tree/master/raspibolt
Included are instructions for setting up Electrum Personal Server:
https://github.com/Stadicus/guides/blob/master/raspibolt/raspibolt_64_electrum.md

I think these instructions would be a really good place to start.  Details may be a bit different if you're using something more powerful than a Raspberry Pi, but what runs on a teeny Linux system oughta run on a big one.

Offline fritz_monroe

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Re: Suggestions for Learning Linux
« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2018, 02:17:07 PM »
The way to learn Linux is to use it.  Load up a refurbished laptop and play with it.  Get a distribution that has a large user base so that if you have any issues, you can get an answer quickly.

If you are looking for something like a class, check out Cybrary.  I haven't taken any of their Linux classes, but the other classes I've looked into were pretty good.

I'm a Linux SA at work and we use CentOS on our servers.  At home, I have a Windows desktop that I use for school since Libre Office doesn't convert to MS Office perfectly every time.  My main machine is a refurbished Lenovo T420.  Got it from Ebay and put in a SSD.  Loaded with Ubuntu initially, then Mint, now I'm back to Ubuntu.  It runs like a brand new machine.

I also have a Lenovo ThinkServer that I have loaded with CentOS 7 in the basement.  It's been up for about 2 years, except when we lost power for longer than the UPS could keep it running.  That's my Plex server.

Then there's the Raspberry Pi machines I have all over the place doing various things.  Those are running Rapian, a Debian derivative.

The main thing to do to learn is to play with it.  Just load it up and mess around.

Offline Bradbn4

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Re: Suggestions for Learning Linux
« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2018, 05:11:07 PM »
dedicated computers are cool to learn and play with different operating system software.

What I would recommend is one of two ways; find a real "life" distro that you can run off the dvd drive or USB key; or, use a virtual machine software like V-BOX (Open source / oracle) which  you can get 100% for free (mostly).  Or VMWare which has a 30 day try license but runs about 150/250 for the player and Pro version.

For single person use I like VBOX much better; for large scale commercial use I would rather have VMWare.

For Linux versions I do like Red Hat Fedora for the most advanced feature set, then Red Hat Cent OS which mimic's the Red Hat Enterprise without the support.

I have used and enjoyed a lot of different styles, from the old Slackware releases where I rebuilt the kernel to support some of my unique hardware to Knopix, Suse, and may of the other versions of the OS referenced.

The nice thing about VM's is - it is easy to clone, play around and destroy the environment and re-clone for more fun.

What VM's do I use Both Vbox & VMWARE
What Linux do I use, Red Hat Cent, Suse (moving away), Fedora, Ubuntu, Mint, BSD (Free NAS)

Offline FreeLancer

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Re: Suggestions for Learning Linux
« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2018, 06:31:36 PM »
I have played with Linux and Tails in VirtualBox in the past, but currently I've got different distros running on dedicated machines right now.  Ubuntu's running on a 14" crapbook and I have Bitcoin Core downloading the blockchain for over a week now, only 1 year and 37 weeks left to go.  I have Mint (Cinnamon), Peppermint 9, and Elementary OS running on other crapbooks.  By crapbook, I mean these cheap laptops with 4Gb RAM and 32Gb internal storage, discussed in this thread recently:  http://thesurvivalpodcast.com/forum/index.php?topic=57801.msg753064#msg753064

I don't have plans to make Linux my primary environment, Mac will continue as my daily driver, so that does prevent me from going the full immersion route.  My hope for Linux is to learn enough to be able to use it securely for cryptocurrency and privacy stuff, but not until then.


I'm working through Mr. Bill's Filesystem Paper, and I bought this book, the first third of which hasn't taught me anything, but I think I'm finally just now getting to the good stuff.




Offline FreeLancer

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Re: Suggestions for Learning Linux
« Reply #8 on: September 20, 2018, 04:15:24 PM »
Once in awhile I'll need to run some oddball thing from the Terminal, but I just cut and paste the necessary Unix commands from an article describing whatever I need to accomplish.

In one of those "No shit, Sherlock" epiphanies,  it dawns on Freelancer that Linux commands work in the macOS Terminal, too.

Types in  ls -a

"Ah, I get it now, they hide those Electrum files behind a dot in front of the name, too.  Just like in Linux."

Offline archer

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Re: Suggestions for Learning Linux
« Reply #9 on: September 20, 2018, 06:45:58 PM »
showing my age here. my 1st linux was on floppy, kernel 1.x something. i know manage 90,000 linux servers. have not had a windows workstation for... 20 yrs or so...

Offline Mr. Bill

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Re: Suggestions for Learning Linux
« Reply #10 on: September 20, 2018, 10:03:22 PM »
In one of those "No shit, Sherlock" epiphanies,  it dawns on Freelancer that Linux commands work in the macOS Terminal, too.

 :clap:

Apple doesn't exactly advertise all over the place that it's operating system is Unix plus some extras.  That's saved me a few times while trying to do things on my dad's Mac -- I don't know Mac well, but the terminal window is a lot more familiar.

Offline fritz_monroe

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Re: Suggestions for Learning Linux
« Reply #11 on: September 21, 2018, 07:58:12 PM »
showing my age here. my 1st linux was on floppy, kernel 1.x something. i know manage 90,000 linux servers. have not had a windows workstation for... 20 yrs or so...

Nice.  Impressive Linux.  My first was SCO System V, about 1994 or so, but that was technically UNIX, so I'm not sure.  hehe

I didn't start playing with Linux at home until about 7 or 8 years ago.