Guidance for new Linux users

GoldenDuckFloats

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I need some help making a tutorial that gradually builds up a reader's technical sophistication (Particularly on how to install and manage software). By providing a roadmap of what new users should know and present them in an order that makes sense.

Each subject can have a short yet detailed description and instead of writing step-by-step instructions ourselves, we reference online web-pages that people have already written. There are plenty of threads on here about system-diagnostics and various programs, but hardly anything that ties them together. We can also look for any gaps that need to be filled in and add them to the description.

One of the reasons why there aren't many Linux users is partly due to how the more experienced users keep telling newcomers to just read the man pages. This is terrible advice, considering there are so many commands that obscure the ones we should be using. Sometimes a simple description of a command and its options isn't enough. We need examples of the different situations it can be applied in and an explanation for the technical jargon that Man-pages don't bother to explain.

Also, it would be more effective to arrange subjects based on 'when' beginners will need to know about them. Such as needing to know how to navigate the Command-Line with cd before teaching the ls command. This should hold true for more complex topics, such as managing servers.

For collaboration, we can either:
  • Write paragraphs in the thread as a quote.
  • Upload a .pdf or document file to GoogleDrive or an equivalent file-sharing service and share a link so others can fork your work.
  • Share the .pdf file in the thread or open a .pdf in your browser as a new tab and take a screen-shot and post that in the thread instead.
 
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poorguy

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One of the reasons why there aren't many Linux users is partly due to how the more experienced users keep telling newcomers to just read the man pages.
Hello GoldenDuckFloats,

Welcome to Linux.org .

I disagree.

Most new Linux users are unwilling to spend a little bit of time to learn some basic Linux how to and what Linux is and how Linux works.

The perspective Linux user must have a willingness and desire to learn how to pick a first Linux distro.

Then learn how to properly create bootable media to install and update the Linux distro and do the basic first setup.

They also need to learn about software alternatives available in the software manger to download and install for the required tasks they are wanting to do.

All of this requires a little bit of research on the part of the new Linux user and if the new Linux user is not willing to do this than the new Linux user more than likely will not have a good first Linux experience.

New Linux users expect Linux to work as Windows does and most Windows users barely know how to keep their Windows computers running.

From my own experience migrating from a Windows environment to Linux required some research about Linux prior to the migration to Linux.

What I know about Linux I learned as I used Linux and from making mistakes and learning how to undo my mistakes if that was possible.

There is a wealth of Linux information already available on the forums for the mainstream Linux distros if the new Linux user is willing to search and learn.

Most new Linux users become discouraged due to their expectations of Linux OOTB and are unwilling to learn Linux.

Windows users who are serious about migrating to Linux will become a successful Linux user because they will have the willingness and desire to do so.

Based on my experience trying to help Windows users migrate to Linux.
 

Alexzee

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Making a tutorial on how to install and manage software won't be easy if you want to explain it for Linux.
There are so many different distributions that it would be almost impossible to do so.

For example Red Hat Enterprise Linux has it's own package management system. Red Hat uses .rpm packages and users have to learn how to install those pkg's.
Debian has a completely different package management system as well and the command line utility, APT works different from yum that Red Hat uses. Debian uses .deb pkg's and those pkg's have to be installed a certain way as well.

Arch Linux, Slackware and other distro's have completely different package management systems too and can't be compared to the others mentioned above.

IF new Linux users would read the distributions documentation (NOT the man pages) they would become more familiar with the distro they are running and learn how to run it efficiently.

Over the years I've been running Linux, I've never refereed a newbie trying Linux to read the man pages. It's better, IMO, to provide a stepping stone rather than a stumbling block to learn Linux. -::-Unless you have been running Linux for a long time man pages look like an all together different language.-::-

The best way to learn how to install and manage software with a Linux system is to get Linux installed, learn the package management system and get to know it really well.

Once a user knows the package management system and how a particular distribution works they can start enjoying Linux fairly quickly.

Doing research as @poorguy mentioned and doing some reading will certainly help to learn the command line and how to run Linux. @poorguy is right, there is a wealth of information out there for folks who want to learn Linux.

As for more complex tasks like running a server under Linux.....again it's all about getting knowledge. If you seek how to run a server under Linux you'll find it.

--::-With Linux there is a commitment.--::-
 

Alexzee

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atanere

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You might make your first tutorial: Linux Security 101

Lesson 1: Do not open documents hosted on a public cloud by an unknown individual, just because they invited you to do so.

Lesson 2: Do not click on email links from anyone, ever, unless you were expecting such links. This logically follows the advice given in Lesson 1.

You probably get the idea.

@GoldenDuckFloats ... welcome! You've only been registered on this forum for a week, and this was your first post. I suggest that you go through the forums here, and you will find there are a number of very diligent people working very hard to help new Linux users on a case-by-case basis already. We might refer to a man page sometimes, but that is not an only, or a typical, response to people. A new tutorial is not needed, in my opinion, but more diligent helpers are always welcome.... please join in. :)

Cheers
 

Vrai

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One of the reasons why there aren't many Linux users is partly due to how the more experienced users keep telling newcomers to just read the man pages. This is terrible advice....
"RTFM" - Read The "Fine" Manual. Yes, it is terrible advice. But it is also very good advice. If a person is not willing to do some reading and research on their own then it is not reasonable to expect others to do it for them. They will probably not have a good experience if they are not willing to put in some effort and apply themselves.
....considering there are so many commands that obscure the ones we should be using. Sometimes a simple description of a command and its options isn't enough. We need examples of the different situations it can be applied in and an explanation for the technical jargon that Man-pages don't bother to explain.
Well, there are lots and lots of books, videos, tutorials, blogs, how-to's, and forums out there. But I think your sentiment is on the right track - a "newb" friendly easily understandable set of instructions. Perhaps something like this:
I wonder if I should make a list of all the various Linux and FOSS resources I have compiled over the years? Might be helpful. Most people just use a search engine though :\

I heard somewhere that www.linux.org was a good place for friendly, helpful advice for beginners ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
 

captain-sensible

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@GoldenDuckFloats recently i've been contributing to slackware docs on a subject that touches on packages for linux.

As has been said there are many distros that do things differently regarding pkgs but i think there would be some scope to write about elements that distros have in common. Historically there was the three step process of installing software that included configure, make & make install. There are pages out there but they hardly touch on elements of CFLAGS CXXFLAGS . Slackbuilds for slackware basically still follow those steps but in a regularized way . There is an irony in that those that have deep understanding probably are the least equipped to understand what it is that those new to linux don't understand.

So whatever you do there is merit in passing it by here and hopefully get feedback
 
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JasKinasis

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A while ago I was looking at the tutorials sections here and I do think that the beginners section could do with a sticky that contains links to all of the beginner tutorials, in a suggested reading order.

The intermediate and advanced tutorials don't really need to be ordered. But I think the beginner ones should be.

Any time someone comments in one of those beginner tutorial threads, the threads with the most recent comments go to the top of that forum. So they keep going out of order.

Otherwise, perhaps have the views of the tutorials sections set so the oldest post is always at the top. So they are listed from start to finish in chronological order of their creation date? Perhaps?!

Either way, means a bit of work for Rob or one of the mods!
 

captain-sensible

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I had a quick look at list surely the first sticky should be "so you want to install Linux" what are the approaches" : eg you have Windows on your PC and want to keep it. You have a PC with windows but don't want to keep it.

What can be done from windows: do defrag, shrink using Windows diskmgmt.msc


Common steps that can be done in preparation for installing lInux ; unless that tutorial is somewhere and i missed it?
 

GoldenDuckFloats

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Becoming a new Linux User: What they DON'T tell you.

Starting off
From my experience, Ubuntu is very unstable. It took a lot of work to get it to use the new graphics card (RX 5500 XT). The bash script AMD provided wrecked my system and I felt quite burnt out after the whole ordeal. But even after switching to Manjaro (Gnome) my $2,000+ AUD computer doesn't feel like a powerful machine that can do anything. Instead, it's more akin to a buggy mess that could freeze any moment. If I use it for anything other than watching videos and browsing the net (Brave browser), such as capturing video, then at its worst, I'll need to do a hard-reset about 6 times a day. Sometimes it freezes anyway, but something like 'snapping' a window to one side of the screen seems to be a sure-fire way to freeze the computer. My CPU is a Ryzen 3600 on a B450M with 16 Gb (3200 MHz) DDR4 ram. Although the Motherboard default settings will start with a lowered ram speed (2133). After changing it to 3000 MHz, it seems to have made things a bit better. But does Gnome really need so much processing power?

Compatability
As a side-note, unlike windows, where you get to use flashy GUI programs (Such as Ryzens Master Utility or Adrenalin) none of these are going to work on Linux. You'll have to find tools that substitute the software provided by the hardware manufacturers, if they exist at all.

While a tremendous amount of work has gone into making Linux (In my case, Manjaro Gnome) 'just work', there's only so much they can do without support from hardware manufacturers. Aside from the GPU, I'm also referring to peripherals with fancy ARGB lights and Hot-Key settings (Mouse, Keyboard, PC Fans, etc). A considerable amount of effort is going to be required on your part to find and learn out to install and use software made by other people.
 

Vrai

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Becoming a new Linux User: What they DON'T tell you.
I understand the "rant". I truly do. It is normal to become frustrated when stuff does not work as expected. But.... "they".... did tell you - in numerous places - such as here - https://www.fsf.org/resources/hw and here https://linux-hardware.org/ and here https://certification.ubuntu.com/ to name a few

Linux is far from 'perfect' but it is the hardware manufacturers and vendors who are at fault and to blame for the lack of support for Linux. And the consumer who purchases hardware without
doing any research and expects Linux to fix it.

Frankly, I am amazed at the number and variety of hardware which DOES WORK with Linux!
Ubuntu is very unstable
Ubuntu is quite stable for a great many people.

The bash script AMD provided wrecked my system
That would seem to be the fault of AMD and not Ubuntu nor Linux.

unlike windows, where you get to use flashy GUI programs (Such as Ryzens Master Utility or Adrenalin) none of these are going to work on Linux.
Again, the manufacturer could provide these "flashy GUI programs" with Linux support if they wanted to. Any dissatisfied customer should definitely let the manufacturer know of their displeasure.

While a tremendous amount of work has gone into making Linux (In my case, Manjaro Gnome) 'just work', there's only so much they can do without support from hardware manufacturers
A very succinct summation of the situation.
 

dos2unix

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Of course if you're poor like me.. Linux has it's advantages.

Windows $120.00 Linux $free
MS Office Pro $280.00 LibreOffice $free
3-D modeler $370.00 Blender $free
Photoshop (up to $1000.00) GIMP $free.
MS VisualStudio $250.00 GCC suite $free.

I could easily add a dozen more programs to the list.
(I'm sure everyone on this forum can).

Certain distro's can have their problems... but windows isn't exactly problem free.
Windows updates have caused millions of problems for millions of people.

Also linux has it's "own flashy GUI prgrams" that windows doesn't have. I-NEX
 

captain-sensible

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i've had to mess with kids and wifes laptops with Windows 10 ; i wouldn't use it if you paid me $2000 + dollars.

There is a "transition"period i guess most of use have gone through probably starting with Windows . When you settle in with Linux , i predicate you won't go back to Windows
 

jglen490

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What we do tell you is this very honest story:
Linux is not Windows
Windows is not Linux

Assuming they are the same is a fool's journey. Windows programs are not compiled to run in Linux, some Windows programs, libraries, and utilities can be made to run in a Linux environment with virualization and assistance with certain other utilities.

They are not the same. They can't be the same. And will not be the same.

So, how about coming back with questions like: "I want to do "X" in Linux, what program will help me do that". You will find a lot of help. If a modern Linux distro is unstable, then it's too bad, but it can be overcome.

I've been a Linux and BSD user for 25+ years and about half of that using *buntu distros. I prefer Kubuntu, but I have not found a bit of instability in any in recent years. What I have seen is time and time again, people experimenting with things about which they are not certain, have not asked for help with, or refuse to take considered advice.
 

GoldenDuckFloats

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i've had to mess with kids and wifes laptops with Windows 10 ; i wouldn't use it if you paid me $2000 + dollars.

There is a "transition"period i guess most of use have gone through probably starting with Windows . When you settle in with Linux , i predicate you won't go back to Windows
That's the problem, I don't think I could go back even if I WANTED to. I've become so accustomed to moving through Directories with the CLT. But everyone seems to be ignoring the problems I'm experiencing. After increasing the RAM clock, my PC only brakes about once per day. Thanks to my mid-high tier hardware, it takes only about 20 sec to get back into the Desktop.

But do you think its the fact that I'm using Gnome or the AMD graphics card? I'm not using their drivers and Manjaro seems to be using it (It shows Navi 14 in the 'about' section of System Settings).
 

GoldenDuckFloats

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I understand the "rant". I truly do. It is normal to become frustrated when stuff does not work as expected. But.... "they".... did tell you - in numerous places - such as here - https://www.fsf.org/resources/hw and here https://linux-hardware.org/ and here https://certification.ubuntu.com/ to name a few
Those are not the web pages that potentially new Linux users will look at. I'm referring to Distro websites that don't mention that the software of your equipment will need to be substituted.
 

captain-sensible

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there is a sort of "attitude" of some distro aficionado to being even against new users. When i suggested that just like the 2 sets of pamphlets that come with gadgets there should be also a "quick guide" for slackware in the form of a single pager as well as chunky guide, to help get new starters up and running. I got a direct communication from Slackware maintainer that he didn't want that clogging up the landing page of a user forum ? My impression is that a lot of slackware aficionado look at noobs as a nuisance .

this is my suggestion for starters
 
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wizardfromoz

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g'day duck, g'day all:) - i'm late to the party.

i'll deal with your last post first.

I'm referring to Distro websites that don't mention that the software of your equipment will need to be substituted.
with the number of different computers out there using nvidia, amd, motherboards, hard drives, and peripherals whether they be printers and logitech mouses (mice?) webcams and keyboards, it would be impractical for distro websites to try to say "this distro does not work with that linux", let alone adding the non-core software such as

Ryzens Master Utility or Adrenalin
can't be done, sadly

that is where research on the part of the user comes in, and there are plenty of forums hosted by manufacturers where you can ask their users if these products will work.

have you considered using a virtual machine, either to guest linux under a windows host, or vice-versa??

chris turner
wizardfromoz
 


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