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Johnnylo Johnnylo is offline
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Default Ubuntu guidance - 06-18-2009, 03:22 PM

I'm new to this site. I own a Mini 10, but am interested in learning about Ubuntu. I'm scouring the outlet site of, looking for the right mini 9 to start my "education." I understand that working with any linux based system requires a sort of re-orienting how you go about performing tasks on the computer, but I'm having difficulty in getting guidance on how it works. What would you suggest? Any particular websites? Any particular book? A class? ... and I'm a hands-on learner with no background in this, so something with screenshots, etc would be helpful. Thanks.
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psyopper psyopper is offline
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Default 06-18-2009, 03:47 PM

There are a LOT of resources out there on using Linux, and especially on Ubuntu, the current de-facto distribution for the masses. Transitioning to Ubuntu/Linux is is quite easy and if you are a hands on learner then the easiest way is to start using it.

Seriously - it's really not that different from Windows in accomplishing day to day tasks and shouldn't take a tutorial to figure out. Where it is different is more a matter of how application menu's are layed out a bit differently. As a "for instance", most applications have a "Preferences" dialog under both systems - in Windows it's usually under the Tools menu and in Linux it's under the Edit menu.

Otherwise the main difference in usability is how the main interface menu is layed out. You are, I'm sure, familiar with the Windows "Start" menu. In Ubuntu you actually have three menu's - The logo menu which organizes installed applications by type: Accessories, Games, Graphics, Internet, Office, Sound and Video, etc. You also have a "Places" menu which acts similiar to "My Computer" and an "System" menu which is like the Control Panel.

What I suggest you do is burn a copy of the Ubuntu 9.04 ISO to a CD/DVD and boot from it. It is a completely self contained version of the OS and you can run it in a non-persistent state from the CD/DVD on your current machine. You do not need to install it to run it from your CD/DVD and it makes absolutely no changes to your HDD. It will be a bit slow of course, but it will function just like Ubuntu would if it were installed on your machine. The only place the live cd is lacking is in 3D accelerated support of Nvidia and ATI cards because these are proprietary drivers.

If you are looking for a website with screenshots, I might suggest a google search for

Ubuntu walkthrough

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reflex reflex is offline
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Default 06-18-2009, 03:51 PM

I'd probably just jump right in. Use Linux as your main web browser, or set up a file server, ... or whatever. And when you run into a problem, Google it. It helps to have a second computer available for those times when you can't get one machine on the Internet.

The main tip I'd have is "take advantage of the package management system". In Ubuntu and other Debian-derived distributions, the GUI package manager is called Synaptic. It's how you can easily install and update the system, drivers, software, etc. It includes everything from simple utilities to full-blown office suites.

And if you find some interesting software on the web, don't follow its installation instructions right away. First look in the package manager to see if it's offered there.

The package manager, and the repository servers that it accesses, are what distinguishes one Linux distribution from another. Don't ignore them.

One final note, frequently you'll see people on the Internet telling you to install software via a terminal (command prompt) command like "sudo apt-get install inkscape". That's just a more direct way of installing packages, if you already know exactly what you want.

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Johnnylo Johnnylo is offline
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Default 06-18-2009, 08:18 PM

Thanks so much for your help. I plan to start right away.
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tiki pirate tiki pirate is offline
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Default 06-19-2009, 02:27 AM

I found the book, "Ubuntu for Non-Geeks" 3rd edition to be helpful for me. It is based on using 8.04/8.10; but, most everything applies to 9.04.

It starts at a pretty basic level and talks and walks you though the first baby steps to compiling programs from source code. I'm am sure there are more in depth books out there; but, this got me started off pretty well.

Also, as reflex pointed out - Synaptic is your friend..

I've been having fun with Ubuntu. It's not quite as easy as OSX to run and use - although, at times I am impressed with its ease of use. For me; Ubuntu is just way more fun to use as it challenges me to learn something new.

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