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Author Topic: Where should one begin?  (Read 10517 times)

Offline NeoPhyte_Rep

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Re: Where should one begin?
« Reply #15 on: December 15, 2008, 08:02:59 AM »
My question back would be what experience level are these people?
Excellent question, that I thought I answered in the original post.  Shows you how well I've mastered my one and only natural human language.
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I can tell you that people that know some about computers make a real big assumption that everyone knows something about computers. That is not true.
That is the assumption I am trying to get everyone who posts to this thread to set aside for a few moments so we can establish a set of pointers to information that potential new lovers of Open Source Software can use to come up to this group's median level of expertise.
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The vast majority know very little, including teenagers. If you are talking MySpace, Facebook and itunes, then a kid can be very helpful. Other than that, not much knowledge.
Take that description and add the idea they have become curious about the inner workings of what they are using.  Sort of like a teenager that has been through Driver's Education and is now thinking about adding accessories to his/her engine.  Maybe, even, to the point of taking a Mechanics or Engineering course or two.
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I have actually converted a dozen or more novice users to linux and have given more experienced computer users some pointers for doing some things themselves.
I'd appreciate any pointers to available documentation that you normally share.
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All must keep in mind that many people who think they are accomplished Windows users know nothing about burning an iso image, partitioning or other simple tasks that all here would not blink an eye at.
Or even what an ISO image is.
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So, in my experiences, I have usually done the setup for them just like they would get if they bought a new Windows machine.
Of course, since we are only virtually available to these folks, we can't adopt that approach.
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Normally, depending on specs of the machine, I will put on Mepis or Linux Mint. They are relatively simple to understand and they have good community support.
Is it conceivable, someone with the specified lack of knowledge about burning an ISO could install Mepis or Linux Mint themselves?  The point of my original post is: how do we get these folks to the point they can burn an ISO with some idea of what "burning" is and why they would "burn an ISO"?
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Now, I have put DSL and other small distros on old laptops that people wanted to use strickly as a netbook.

I did computer refurbishing for awhile and put my own customized version on them based on DSL because they were mostly p1 and p2's. Little kids had absolutely no problem with the right click fluxbox desktop. The only challenge was if they wanted a printer. I would always need to do that setup as apsfilter isn't for the weak.
Is there some documentation somewhere that would guide them in the installation of a printer, with or without the aid of apsfilter?
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So, for someone who is just getting their feet wet in Linux, I would point them to Mepis, Mint or Ubuntu. I know PCLOS is good too but I tend to swim in the debian pool.  :)
Please flesh out your reasons for "swim(ing) in the debian pool".  I infer your reasons would have something to do with a particular style or tool used in the Debian distributions.

Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to clarify my quest.
Asking all the dumb questions so others need not be afraid.

Offline grabur

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Re: Where should one begin?
« Reply #16 on: June 22, 2009, 06:23:07 PM »
When I first met Windows (Pre Win95), I had an idea of what was happening under the hood. But lost it with later versions.

My first encounter with Linux was Redhat, and it worked fine apart from my video config, that I just couldn't work out (Xorg has been a pain for me for years). Suse was the first Linux to work out the box for me. I then tried Debian and it just worked (despite it supposedly being less user friendly.)

I've stuck in the Debian pool, mainly because of apt-get / aptitude, just because it takes care of dependency hell and installing software is sooo easy. Debian also offers you an upgrade path.

Having said that modern hardware makes installing an OS and Apps far less painful as it's speedier. So I guess I'd be okay to reinstall every year or so, but with Debian I don't need to.

I like Ubuntu as it feels like Debian, but is slightly more modern. I like the fact the installer fits on a CD. I like starting with a small install of Debian / Ubuntu and adding packages when I need them. That's also what draws me to TInycore.

The linux documentation project, is a good place to start for beginners. And so is Tinycore! - as it's small enough to almost fit in your brain. Though I'm sure you can live without knowing all the ins and outs of an OS. Mac users blissfully ignore the innerworkings of the OS.

The novice has soo many concepts to grasp: Hardware of a modern PC ( every few months it changes) , file formats,  networking, internet connections,  filesytems,  applications. Trying to get devices to work etc.

And then with Linux, there is so much choice. Which window manager? Which desktop environment? Which distribution? Partitioning? Which sound server! It's easy to get lost or overwhelmed.

That's why it's good to pick a distro with a good community, one where you can ask questions. You may find a really cool obscure distro, but it may lack the userbase that can prove invaluable.

I'd suggest learning linux from a small distro. You can try Tinycore in a virtual environment. It's quick and easy, and if you screw up, you can just start a fresh.

I also use OSX, and it constantly reminds me that you don't need to learn the inner workings of an OS to appreciate it, and it's sad that Linux hasn't become as simple to administer, though it's getting there.

Your OS should just work, and in the event of a crash you should be able to recover your data easily and repair your OS.

Offline Guy

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Re: Where should one begin?
« Reply #17 on: June 23, 2009, 07:23:03 AM »
When I first started using Linux, I bought an additional hard drive, unplugged the Windows hard drive, and installed Linux on the new one. If I needed to use the computer for something I hadn't learnt in Linux, I could connect the Windows hard drive and do it.

Within a few hours I was browsing the internet in Linux.

It wasn't long before I learnt how to set up multiple partitions, and Grub, so I could have both hard drives connected all of the time.

Not long after that I learnt how to do everything I needed in Linux, so I didn't need Windows on the computer anymore.

Using this method, it didn't matter how many mistakes I made, or how long it took to learn. I was never without a working computer to do what I needed to do.

I suggest people learning a new operating system, keep their old one until they learn the new one. It could be a spare computer, an additional hard drive, a separate partition on the hard drive, or a USB drive.
Many people see what is. Some people see what can be, and make a difference.

Offline alu

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Re: Where should one begin?
« Reply #18 on: June 23, 2009, 01:24:29 PM »
my first use of linux was with DSL (yes it is true); as a newcomer to the linux world, i had never heard about the ability to put a system on an external drive which allows you to get almost all what you need from it in order to perform day-to-day tasks with the ability to work with almost every machine you would like to, at place or on the go; DSL had also what makes TC so interesting: the modularity. i successfully ran dsl as a hosting mail, web, ftp and ssh server for me an my colleagues at the office during 3 years non stop; it was incredible, it has changed the work dynamic in the team, everybody could watch mails, download/upload files, transfer them, exchange them, and run a browser in order to perform simple tasks in the internet through ssh or vnc. nobody has understood how such a system can survive without interruption and under strong virus attacks.

but then, for my own job, and because i wanted to test more linux distributions, i ran knoppix, buntus' flavors, debian, mepis and arch (almost always in the debian pool, i don't know exactly why); it was interesting, no more. i am probably too minimalistic in my use of computer, but i don't need a lot of apps to perform tasks for my job and my hobby; i liked the slak philosophy: one task, one app.   

i have always missed the tinyest and modular concept of DSL though, even if i found DSL too big; i wanted a small based distro., almost naked, on which you can mount and umount everything you want or have to use; SlitaZ was a wonderful promise to me, but too much monolithic (just my opinion); TC came at the right moment with the right men and the only concept which makes sense to me: get what you want out of your machine, or almost what you want, just when you really need it; and if you don't need it, uninstall it; and make it a lot of time, if you have to reboot, don't be afraid, you start from zero again, and can do it again. fine and fun, efficacy, low energy consumption, ease of use, user-friendly (yes, i underline it: such little distros like puppy, slitaz or tc are more user-friendly than some other big ones and this has nothing to do with graphic functions, but because you are 'in' within minutes and without being thrown out after minutes)

i have learned a lot during these years, but i am still feeling quiete new to linux. that's why i choose to use (almost only) cli apps in order to get myself trained to the command line and the scripting of (very simple) files for my needs;

the only things i really miss in linux is a good wine app which would let me configure 2 apps which i need most, and for which i am forced to use windows: a statistical app and a web crawler with mapping functions which needs an crypto-usb key; that was why i tried several emulator in order to make these 2 apps working on a virtual server within linux, but with no success for the last app.

anyway, since i am using linux, i do not only have a good functioning and very flexible system, i also have fun in using it. now, as others, i wanted to get my wife use to it, too (along stupid reflections like 'your best part need the best part' and so on). it took time, and then she accepted, saying that everything should then work 'as in windows'; after spending a week trying to setup a hp laptop (dv6000) with disgusting hardware, using Mint, Ubuntu, Debian and Mepis, without getting everything working 'as in windows', my wife said to me that if i would continue, i would have to choose between sleeping at the hotel for the next weeks, or staying there. end of the evangelisation activities. my wife runs win vista, and she is not always happy, but it is what she needs. there is some realities one has to live with... 'as in linux'.

Offline grabur

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Re: Where should one begin?
« Reply #19 on: July 02, 2009, 01:10:21 PM »
Oh I can't be bothered to evangelise. I've been blissfully happy using bunty, for the last few years, at home and work. Thankfully I never have to touch windows. UNTIL...... You end up being demanded by your family members to fix something, and your the poor so and so, who has to relive the old pains.