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How You Guys Learn Linux

Jeffry Kristianto Yanuar
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 01, 2007
Posts: 759
Hi guys, my name is Jeffry, I'm a Java instructor. I wanted to learn Linux at my own will, I already tried to learn it but I found it was very hard to learn Linux.

I learned using the book titled "Fedora 2008 Unleashed" but I found the book is hard to learn (or maybe I'm learning it in the wrong way). Now I have the book titled "Practical Fedora and RHEL". I wish I can learn it successfully.

I wanted to know how you guys learn Linux. Thanks for your advice. In addition please tell me what else hardware I need to learn it other than the Linux-PC.

Thanks

Jeffry Kristianto Yanuar
SCJP 5.0
SCJA
SCJD (Working on UrlyBird 1.3.2)
Joe Ess
Bartender

Joined: Oct 29, 2001
Posts: 8997
    
    9

I put my pointers in our Linux FAQ.
You don't need additional hardware. You don't even need to install Linux since you can get Live CDs or bootable flash drives.
Learning Linux is mostly a matter of sitting down, using it, getting lost and finding the way out. If there's anything in particular you have a tough time with, feel free to ask.


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Jeffry Kristianto Yanuar
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 01, 2007
Posts: 759
Hi Joe Ess, I want to learn Linux as the end-user as well as the system administrator. How about learning DHCP?, of course we have to test that the clients have the IP provided by the Linux server.

thanks

Jeffry Kristianto Yanuar
SCJP 5.0
SCJA
SCJD (Working on UrlyBird 1.3.2)
Joe Ess
Bartender

Joined: Oct 29, 2001
Posts: 8997
    
    9

All I know about DHCP is that I checked the box next to it in my router's configuration and now I don't have to set up network connections any more.
This article would probably be a good starting point.
Jeffry Kristianto Yanuar
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 01, 2007
Posts: 759
Ok, that's all. Wish me luck in my study.

Thanks

Jeffry Kristianto Yanuar
SCJP 5.0
SCJA
SCJD (Working on UrlyBird 1.3.2)
Freddy Wong
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 11, 2006
Posts: 959

This is the book that I read. It's a pretty good book to learn Linux (Ubuntu) system administration.
http://www.amazon.com/Beginning-Ubuntu-Server-Administration-Professional/dp/1590599233
And I read this book to learn bash. It's also another pretty good book.
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Linux-Shell-Scripting-Bash-Burtch/dp/0672326426

And make sure to get your hands dirty. Happy Linux-ing!


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Katrina Owen
Sheriff

Joined: Nov 03, 2006
Posts: 1367
    
  18
When I started out on linux, all I really needed was a text editor and a typesetter, so I ran vimtutor which got me started using vim (a vi clone), and then learned the syntax for LaTeX, and created perfectly adequate reports for my math and chemistry classes...

Then I needed to figure out how to include graphs. Google being my friend, I found an open source graph thing which could take plain text datapoints and generate whatever I needed, and then output that into a format which I could include in my reports.

Then I decided that I ABSOLUTELY needed skype, and spent goodness knows how much time learning about ALSA drivers and sound and all sorts of things that I promptly forgot once I sort-of got it working.

After that I realized that I needed to be able to test web code on my own computer, and found a tutorial to set up apache and mysql on my computer.

Then I needed to rename a bunch of .mp3 files that had been created on a Windows box and had a whole lot of whitespaces in them, and learned my first little bits about bash scripting.

... and on and on.

The main thing was that each time I learned something it was because there was something I needed/wanted to accomplish. After a while, things started making more sense, and would feed into each other.

I didn't have any lofty goals of sys-admin, just your average user (or luser, as they are sometimes called).

It has been fun and exciting, and all my friends think I'm crazy because I'm willing to debug a wireless connection for 14 hours when I could install windows and have the computer ask me where I'd like that wireless connection.

I suspect that you could learn a lot more a lot faster than I ever did, and there are a lot of resources to help you do that... but you may have to make the chunks a bit smaller (swallowing a muffin can get messy if you try to do it all at once, they say).

However you do it, best of luck to you!
Jeffry Kristianto Yanuar
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 01, 2007
Posts: 759
Did you guys feel frustrated when things go wrong?
Jesper de Jong
Java Cowboy
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Aug 16, 2005
Posts: 14435
    
  23

I don't feel frustrated when things go wrong, but I do when things go wrong and I can't find any way to fix them. But almost always the problem is not new, and you can find information about it on Internet.

That's one of the reasons I like open source much more than Windows: with open source software, I can go much further to find the source of a problem, I can even dive into the source code if necessary. With Windows, I'm stuck if an error happens for which there's no known solution. (For example, automatic updates for some reason don't work anymore on my desktop PC running Vista; it gives an error code and even Microsoft doesn't know what the error code means).

For Ubuntu, you can find a lot of solutions to problems on the Ubuntu forums. For Fedora there are ofcourse also forums, here for example.


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Freddy Wong
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 11, 2006
Posts: 959

When the first time I switched my primary OS from Windows to Linux, it was a nightmare. A lot of things that could be done easily in Windows, I just simply couldn't get them work in Linux. At some point of time, I decided to switch back to Windows. That was back when Linux wasn't very mature and I was just a newbie. I was just a student with limited skills back then.

With Linux nowadays, I don't see those problems that I used to face surfacing a lot anymore. In fact, I never regret that I switched my primary OS to Linux now

But even until now, I do feel frustrated when things go wrong and I can't find a solution for them. Sometimes the solutions are there (forums, mailing list, etc), but I just can't understand their lingo. That's what's driven me to learn Linux more by reading books, trying it, etc.
Tim Holloway
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Jun 25, 2001
Posts: 16308
    
  22

The core Linux system - or any Unix system - is pretty cryptic, I'll admit. Although at least you don't have "mystery processes" named rundll32 and the like eating up your machine with no idea as to whether they're legitimate programs or malware running a spambot network.

I lucked into a very good starter book myself. It was essentially a hardcopy print of the documents at tldp.org. Ran about a thousand pages on extra-thin paper. One thing I've always liked about Linux is that some of the core docs are very well written - and, just as important - most core Linux systems print out errors that not only report what's wrong, but possible causes and cures.

Then again, almost anything was a step up back then. I'd started out on IBM mainframes where you got helpful error messages like "IEC0141I - ERRORPT = ABE OR AN INVALID CODE" and the explanation in the messages manual was essential the same sentence inverted.

Once you've got the basics down, however, a lot of the day-to-day stuff in Linux is more or less independent programs and I pick them up one-by-one as I need them.

One of my best resources is Linux magazines. When I only look for things I know about I limit myself (this is true of life in general, but that's another matter). I like receiving something that I can read without eyestrain that suggests things I didn't know about but might be interested in.


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Jeffry Kristianto Yanuar
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 01, 2007
Posts: 759
Thanks for the reply guys, I myself was frustrating when learning Linux, until now I'm still like that, I just don't have much time since I got the job as a Java instructor. When I have much time, I'll learn it again. I don't give up yet.

Jeffry Kristianto Yanuar
Java Instructor
SCJP 5.0
SCJA
SCJD (Working on UrlyBird 1.3.2) --> testing and documenting the assignment
 
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subject: How You Guys Learn Linux