Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

General Linux and Unix question for a beginner

Last response: in Linux/Free BSD
Share
June 5, 2004 1:30:58 AM

Hi all, im curious about what Unix and Linux are all about. I've been a DOS/Windows man my whole life and never really pondered what all the hype about Unix and Linux are. I've got several certifications (A+ and Net+ certified), and i am very motivated and curious about everything computers. So I'd like to start learning more about what these OS's are all about and how to obtain them so i can start using them to increase my overall computer knowledge.

So my questions are:
What should i learn first Unix or Linux? Remember, my goals here are a better understanding of more OS's other than Windows. And mainly would like to just learn them for now for so it will increase my overall computer knowledge.

What's the difference between Unix and Linux?

What's the difference between Windows and Linux/Unix?

What's all the hype about Linux and Unix?

Why would someone want to use Linux over Windows?

How's the security with Unix/Linux compared to Windows?

Is there any other Unix-like OS's out there other than Linux, and how good are they?

Any other info on them would be great, and thanks for anyone who replies.
June 5, 2004 11:25:18 AM

I could recommend you to open almost any book over linux and read the introduction, there's always a little historical about linux and some pro's and con's. Let's just say that linux is much better if you want to customize and have a real secure system. I can't really tell you more over freebsd/netbsd/openbsd because I never tried any other operating system than linux (I know about windows and dos, of course).
to find out more (without opening a book ;-)):
http://www.linux.org/info/index.html (what is linux?)
http://www.linuxiso.org/ (isofiles of many distros)
http://www.linuxhardware.net/ (check your hardware before installing linux)
http://www.freebsd.org/ (some others OS based on Unix)
http://www.openbsd.org/
http://www.netbsd.org/
http://www.tldp.org/ (the linux documentation project)
There's so much to say about it. Read what is linux" first, I think it'll answer a lot of your questions
June 5, 2004 9:14:19 PM

Honestly, you're gonna learn jack just by asking questions on this board. If you really want to learn something about linux/unix, then you should grab an old computer and install a distro of linux on it.

s signature has been formatted to fit your scr
Related resources
June 18, 2004 4:02:48 PM

Give Linux the LIVECD try...boot up off of a CD and you can try Linux out without installing to your hard disk!

2 Distros lead the pack of Live CD's:

1. Knoppix
2. MEPIS

Download either of the .iso files from distrowatch.com
Burn the .iso's with NERO or your favorite burning program

----------
<b>It is always brave to say what everyone thinks. </b> <i>Georges Duhamel</i>

TKS
January 28, 2006 5:32:42 PM

I'm a unix systems admin for the military, and to answer your question as to why use unix/linux?

it makes networking almost idiot proof as long as you know your VI editor commands.
a b 5 Linux
February 8, 2006 8:12:09 AM

It certainly does :D 

Not to mention it's 100% legally free and open source so if you don't like something you can just vi the source and fix it to work anyway you want it to :D 

Semper Fi Linux on! :D 
February 10, 2006 6:11:48 PM

I have found the best way to learn linux, which from my understanding uses the same commands as unix, is to use it. It has great documentation built in, with the man pages, and the resources on the net are fantastic, as has been explained earlier. Good Luck and have fun, I know I do.
a b 5 Linux
February 10, 2006 6:51:56 PM

Quote:
I have found the best way to learn linux, which from my understanding uses the same commands as unix, is to use it. It has great documentation built in, with the man pages, and the resources on the net are fantastic, as has been explained earlier. Good Luck and have fun, I know I do.


Aye, this is true :D 

Linux / BSD / Unix rocks! :D 
February 16, 2006 9:46:03 PM

Linux/UNIX is a great OS. The greastest command of all is the rm -f * it will cure all problems.


Just as a side note I have been doing this since speary/burrows before it was UNIX. Remember UNISYS!!!!



NOTE: If your not an admin don't use this command it can bring a happy day to an end.

:twisted:
a b 5 Linux
February 16, 2006 9:51:31 PM

alias rm="echo"


Seriously don't run that rm command unless you know what you are doing because it will delete everything in the current directory
February 16, 2006 9:57:39 PM

It should always be run from / and use rm -rf *.
a b 5 Linux
February 16, 2006 10:02:00 PM

Quote:
It should always be run from / and use rm -rf *.


LOL

That's even worse! That will recursively remove everything starting from / damaging and or destroying your Unix install.

That's one of the more dangerous commands - so don't try it.

Oh and NEVER cat /dev/zero > /dev/hda
February 17, 2006 2:22:20 PM

You might want to make sure you backup device is /dev/null so you never fill up the tape.

couvier if we joke to much that is just our nature. If you have a question we will answer it.

LOL The real backup device of true UNIX admins.......
February 17, 2006 10:49:13 PM

/me redirects away from all the nerd-talk...

Regarding live-CDs: yes, they're good for evaluating a specific distro vs another, or even proving to windozers that linux can look and feel exactly the same as they're used to, but for free and more secure.

but the original post said "learn".
Quote:
It's only after you've lost everything that you're free to do anything.
.

I learned DOS by screwing it up. things like "simply copying the dos folder from another computer with dos6 doesn't upgrade me from dos5" (well hey, i was only 10).

i learned win98 by screwing it up. majorly. (hey, it's windows, it's easy). lose a few GB of data having to Low-Level format your hard disk a few times and you quickly learn what not to do. (in particular, win98 has some aversion to being run as a dual boot with redhat7).

by the time i got around to installing suse9, i'd learnt a few things.
- Use a seperate harddisk when trying a new OS.
- Even better, disconnect your old windoze drives, so you can't accidentally delete stuff. (i didn't even change my Master Boot Record, installed linux on SCSI disks and changed boot order in the bios whenever i wanted to change).
- Play around with it, stuff it up on purpose. (ie, i've just spent my saturday morning playing around with packages. i seem to have lost my K-menu (start menu). but it was a good way to learn how to install packages from an xterm (dos prompt). I'm gonna have to reinstall, probably, but it's ok, because i purposefully installed it on a different harddisk).
- If you don't have any spare harddisks, try your local xbox-mod shop. my friend works at one, and they're practically giving away old 8-10GB disks from modded systems.
- Even better, use a different system. that way you can be on the 'net with another system or a laptop to get help without rebooting back to windoze. at the very least get one of those "linux-pocketbooks" for quick reference, pages with vi commands and dos/linux command comparisons are very useful.

as for the other questions:

- learn linux first. it's more desktop-oriented than unix. (yes, linux is for servers too, but i've never met unix on a desktop, only servers and workstations). It's also easier to get hold of, as most unixes (unices?) are (or at least were) proprietry, except for freebsd.

- for the rest of other questions:
Unix tends to be more text-based than linux, in my (limited) experience. They're both different and similar to windoze in many ways, read one of those "pocketbooks" for history and more info. Really, the hype is not about *n*x, but about windows. unix has been around since the 60s, when it first grew out of multics. GNU and the GPL have been around since the early 80s, the newest part is actually the Linux kernel, first born in 1991. All of these predate the windows 95 onwards which have been popular, mainly due to marketing hype coming from redmond.
The "hype" of which you speak started in the late 90s, in the tech boom/bubble, with people actually realising that there was a better alternative to windoze.


(my opinion time. one main factor for the tech bubble bursting was because people realised that the current infrastructure couldn't sustain the features people had hoped (and bought stock) for. they tried to scale the infrastructure, but it just cost them more, partly due to having to pay for more licenses for proprietry software. might the tech bubble not have burst so soon or so violently if linux was 5-10 years more mature, or as widespread as it is now?)
a b 5 Linux
February 18, 2006 2:40:06 AM

Quote:
You might want to make sure you backup device is /dev/null so you never fill up the tape.

couvier if we joke to much that is just our nature. If you have a question we will answer it.

LOL The real backup device of true UNIX admins.......



Great suggestion there :D 

That way you will NEVER run out of tape.

LOL

For the benefit if all the n00bs out there: don't use /dev/null as a backup device.
a b 5 Linux
February 18, 2006 2:44:01 AM

Good suggestion. When starting out a new HDD would make life easier and by disconnecting any windows drives you can make sure you don't accidentally destroy anything. :D 
!