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Learning Linux first time

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July 16, 2011 7:40:37 AM

Hello, I'm recently reaching a point in my studies that a shift towards a new OS is apt, and I feel its time I started to learn Linux properly.

Basically, I'm looking at a potential Win7-Ubuntu dual-boot config on my upcoming personal build, and to add atop that, learning Ubuntu in a crash-course kind of way, about the same way I learnt DOS back in the day (my first OS experience. I still miss the good old command prompt).

Also, from what I've read Ubuntu is perfect for the entry-level guy like me, but I'm looking to learn more about Linux and get deeper into more control of my system. Is it a wise choice?

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a b 5 Linux
July 16, 2011 4:33:24 PM

Kazuma welcome!

I would say that Ubuntu is a fine place to start, but by no means is it the only new-user-friendly distribution out there, actually in the span of time that I've been using it (since the late nineties) Linux in general has become easier to use and had better hardware support (previously, vendors didn't want to help by either providing drivers themselves in the kernel or at very least allowing kernel devs access to the internal details of their devices).

I would suggest that, unless you have a strong reason to avoid this (like, you plan on doing some heavy IO, beat on the CPU a bit, etc.) in Linux, it may make sense to just run Linux under a VM just to get your feet wet in a safe, not-going-to-possibly-screwup-your-disk manner. Once you decide that you do indeed like what you see, then you can start looking at dual-booting (or possibly securing a secondary machine that's purely running Linux)

As for suggestions on starting distros, I think Ubuntu, Linux Mint, even openSuSE and a few other notable distros are fine choices. CentOS/Fedora and the ilk aren't bad either but then you will run into the SELinux framework from time to time (a subsystem that is intended on securing the platform, kinda think of it as UAC on steroids)
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July 18, 2011 2:43:26 AM

Im pretty sure I'll be dual-booting Ubuntu. The main reason is that I will be bringing it to an area of the world wherein malware lives within the very infastructure of the country, without the ISP's nor the government knowing about it.

sounds like something out of wtflandia, right? Well, I personally cannot explain why, during some testing of a reinstall of a Win Vista box I had back home, it gets infected the moment I bring it online to download windows updates. Its gotten so bad that I've had to run its connection through a known true good system just to make sure.

Virtualization is not in my cards mainly because I intend to use Linux as a primary OS, whilst learning it, and trying to wean myself off Windows.

Yeah, Im the kind of guy who steps towards the deep end to learn to swim :p 

EDIT: I just realized it would be a wise move to dual-boot, as I can use one OS when the other is down for some reason (most likely Win7, with some horrid malware/rootkit problem, or the like) and hope to clean it, or go ahead and flush it, reinstall both. I am setting up a second storage drive for my data, with a same-size backup external for the ready opportunity that will happen eventually.
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a b 5 Linux
July 18, 2011 3:47:55 AM

If you want to learn linux I suggest Arch or Gentoo where the OS doesn't auto-magically do things for you.
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July 18, 2011 5:38:03 PM

skittle said:
If you want to learn linux I suggest Arch or Gentoo where the OS doesn't auto-magically do things for you.

having looked at both after you posted it, thats more like dropping onto the deep end of the pool with Ubuntu into going off the Grand Canyon with Arch :p  I'm crazy, but not THAT crazy :p 
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a b 5 Linux
July 18, 2011 7:41:09 PM

I agree. Start with an easy distro like Ubuntu before going for the hard stuff. I also agree with bmouring that you would be well advised to go for the VM approach and forget dual booting for the time being. If you have a problem with malware, set up a firewall on your router.
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July 18, 2011 11:17:06 PM

right, after some more reading and some talking to a Linux-user friend of mine, hes suggested two other distros, both of which I've heard little about.

Anyone know what the differences are between Ubuntu, OpenSUSE, and Linux Mint?
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a b 5 Linux
July 19, 2011 6:41:37 AM

There's not a huge difference between these distributions. Just pick one at random and try it.
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July 19, 2011 9:11:20 PM

Guess thats part of the Linux charm I'm starting to understand now. The power given to the user to decide their destiny (or at least how their OS performs, looks, and feels).

Thanks for the info all, I'll go poke at some distros in livecd form for now while I choose.
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July 19, 2011 9:11:45 PM

Best answer selected by KazumaCTHDWE.
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a b 5 Linux
July 23, 2011 9:43:59 PM

skittle said:
If you want to learn linux I suggest Arch or Gentoo where the OS doesn't auto-magically do things for you.

As a post-avid Gentoo user, there's nothing wrong at all with the distro, but it has a sufficient learning curve that unless the main goal is to learn the ins-and-outs of a linux distro, it's not the best choice for starting to use Linux

(I still use Gentoo on my dev machine, but move back to slack or debian on my severs)
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