[clug] More starting points

Brad Hards bradh at frogmouth.net
Sat Apr 25 03:15:53 GMT 2009

In a moment of philosophising this morning, I decided that we're all beginners 
in some way. It might be at installing a linux distro, it might be at using 
the command line, it might be at C++, or at a web framework, or at newtork 
configuration, or at compiler internals, or building the kernel from source, 
or at using an office suite.

I thought I'd offer some suggestions for (yet more) reading you can do, 
and "launch-off points" for finding things.

A good spot to start for a lot of more traditional unix-ish type commands and 
things is The Linux Documentation Project: http://www.tldp.org/
They have a range of step-by-step instructions (usually called HOWTO, because 
they try to show "how to" do a particular thing. They also have a few longer 
guides, which provide more understanding of what and why.
I'd particularly commend the  Introduction to Linux - A Hands on Guide 
(http://www.tldp.org/LDP/intro-linux/html/index.html for the on-line version, 
but you can find other formats linked off TLDP's guides page.

If you are looking for a shorter set of commands to know, perhaps 
http://www.tldp.org/LDP/GNU-Linux-Tools-Summary/html/index.html might suite.

Moving to graphical user interfaces, the KDE project has a lot of manuals 
available at http://docs.kde.org 
I'd particularly like to point out the "KDE User Guide" 
which is a little out of date, but does include a lot of useful tricks. 
[Example: if you ever find yourself opening a terminal window to just run one 
command, then maybe you could try the mini-cli.  Just press F2]
There are manuals for many applications as well.  That documentation is also 
probably installed on your system as well, and you can probably find it under 

The Gnome project has documentation available at 

A lot of software that originated from the GNU project is documented in "info" 
format. This is probably more important for those beginning software 
development with Linux, but there are some other very useful commands 
documented in that format. There is a special browser for info ("info" 
command will start it and its possible to read it using emacs), but I find 
that browser pretty hard to use. Instead, if you open the KDE browser 
(Konqueror) and type in "info:/" then you'll get a "point-n-click" version. 
You can also read those on line at http://www.gnu.org/manual/manual.html


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