8 Tips For New Linux Users

So, you’re thinking about installing Linux, or you have just recently installed it and your looking for some tips on what you should do to maximize your understanding. If your a newcomer to the Linux operating system, the following tips for new Linux users will help you:

  1. Know the CLI. Become familiar with the command line interface before you rely on the GUI tools to do work for you. This will pay off in the long run. If you understand your way around the command line and how to use the tools provided, you’ll be a much smarter Linux user.
  2. Get involved. The Linux community is a great asset when you need help. Check out my article on The Best Linux Web Resources for more information on where to go.
  3. Use regular user accounts. Stay in the habit of only using the root account for required actions. It is considered bad security practice to log into your machine as root and do all of your work as the root user.
  4. Use tab completion. I’m amazed at how many people still do not know that the command line has a tab completion feature. For example, if you type “ls” and then hit the TAB key twice, you will get a display of all the commands that contain “ls” as the first two letters. Tab completion also works for navigating to directories. For example, “cd /home/ad will complete the rest of the directory for me, with an ending result of /home/adam. I wouldn’t be able to navigate around the command line so quickly and efficiently without this feature.
  5. Understand file permissions.
  6. Man Pages. Manual pages are critical to understanding any application and the features that go along with it. Most all Linux commands contain a corresponding man page, which can be accessed from your command line by typing “man command” where command would be replaced with an actual command. Man pages usually contain detailed documentation of what you can do with the command along with examples.
  7. Understand the directory structure.
  8. Don’t give up. It’s easy to get frustrated at your wireless card not being detected, or unable to figure out why something is broken. It’s much harder and takes a lot of patience to be able to research the problem and fix it. It is important not to give up on Linux when something is working your way. You’ll never learn that way. If you have trouble with something, exhaust all your resources, ask people, check mailing list archives, etc. Finally fixing something or figuring out something is much more rewarding then being held by the ankles on a operating system like Windows.

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