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Need help getting started with linux

Posted on 2004-08-03
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Last Modified: 2010-04-20
I need help. I have no understanding of linux. I am trying to learn it from a book, but the book cannot answer my questions.
I need some understanding. are there any online free web videos to learn about linux ? any good resources ?
I load linux in secure mode and It takes away my shutdown and restart buttons. How am I supposed to shut it down ?
what does safe mode do ? I need to make a linux mail server. How do I do that ? I can make a linux mail server with windows
in like 20 min.
I would go to www.snapfiles.com, download mail enable mail server, install it. configure it to run on a static ip, create the domains and mailboxes and let it work.
How do I create a linux mail server ?
I cannot even get my network connection to work. I have all the settings punched in. Ip address, gateway, subnet, dns servers.
but I cannot surf the web.
I dont know how driveres are installed either, with windows, I know what to do with device manager to get things working.
I have no clue with linux. I dont even know where to look to see what it has detected. I have no idea what compiling means,
or when i need to do it. I open vi editor, and I dont know how to save or open, or even close the thing.
AAAAAHHHHHHH
How do I use linux. How do I understand it so that I can solve my own problems?
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
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Question by:joncolby
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owensleftfoot earned 160 total points
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You can download  the best book ever written about linux here - http://www.icon.co.za/~psheer/book/
I guarentee everything you need to know will be covered. Best of all its a free download.
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by:pYrania
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The Linux Documentation Project has very qualitative documentation about almost every single topic you can imagine.
I'd recommend you first read through http://tldp.org/LDP/intro-linux/html/index.html which covers the elemental things you need to know.

When you've got a specific question, just come back to the friendly ee community and ask, but better readup as much as possible as it will save all of us time and nerves.
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by:Gns
Gns earned 180 total points
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Looks like you might have installed a recent Mandrake distribution there. I'll talk a bit about the (in-)sanity of the "secure" settings further down. Lets just say here that it might have been a not-so-good choice for you to set it like that.
If it's not Mandrake, well... then the specific advice below would make not-so-much sense:-). But the generic stuff would still be more or less the same.

> I need some understanding. are there any online free web videos to learn about linux ? any good resources ?
... already answered ...

> I load linux in secure mode and It takes away my shutdown and restart buttons. How am I supposed to shut it down ?
Basically: you attain root priveledges and shut it down... A method that will work nicely is
You log in as a regular user and start a terminal. In that terminal you issue the "su" command that will substitute the user (by default to root) when you've given roots password. Now issue the command "shutdown -h now" to halt the system, or "shutdown -r now" to reboot the system.

> what does safe mode do ?
In what context?
If you mean the security level setting, then one can say that it manages all aspects of tunable security settings in a centralized manner.
One irritating thing is that the msec system will enforce the minimum requirements for things like file/directory permissions etc... Perhaps undoing some "relaxation" you've done to be able to live with it:-). It's a bit quirky, but when you get to know it better, and start making it work for, instead if against, you it's actually pretty good.
To start out, I'd suggest that you change the setting to a more relaxed state, or if this continue to give you grief... perform a complete reinstall.
You can set this from the draksec command, which you easily start via the Mandrake Control Center... You can start that either from the galaxy splash-screen, or from the menu->Configure->Configure Your Computer ... Set it to Standard.... At least while you're still relatively new to linux.
As long as you configure a firewall, and regularily run Mandrake Update, this will be enough for a simple email server.

> I need to make a linux mail server. How do I do that ? I can make a linux mail server with windows
> in like 20 min.
> I would go to www.snapfiles.com, download mail enable mail server, install it. configure it to run on a static ip, create the domains and mailboxes and let it
> work.
> How do I create a linux mail server ?
Well, just run rpmdrake from the Mandrake Control Center and install Postfix (if that hasn't allready been done), and possibly an imap server ... You'll find both on the Mandrake-choices Servers->E-mail selection.
Then just add users... Shouldn't take 20 minutes to have something up and running... Finetuning it might take some hours of reading though;-).

> I cannot even get my network connection to work. I have all the settings punched in. Ip address, gateway, subnet, dns servers.
> but I cannot surf the web.
Ok, can you ping other machines on the network?
This might be a "legacy" of the security setting too.

> I dont know how driveres are installed either, with windows, I know what to do with device manager to get things working.
Drivers are generally speaking a part of the kernel. Nowadays most drivers are provided as loadable kernel modules.

> I have no clue with linux. I dont even know where to look to see what it has detected. I have no idea what compiling means,
> or when i need to do it. I open vi editor, and I dont know how to save or open, or even close the thing.
Detection ... well, there is the /proc filesystem that is really a file-view straight into the kernels view of things... And you probably have some nice visualization tools too for this (like harddrake), but I rarely use these... During boot you likely get a lot of info on the console, and can use the dmesg command like this
dmesg | less -e
to page through it. Might look like hierogliphics at first, but will move through stages ("slightly hebrew", "german" -> "fully understandable") if you keep exploring a bit. The info pages above are a good help here.

"Compiling" is the process of transforming program source code instructions to runnable objects (.exe or .com files in windoze). It is performed with the aid of a host of tools whereing the actual compiler program is the most essential. You rarely->never _need_ do this with a modern linux distro.

There are more windoze-like editors than vi... You should perhaps in time learn vi, but it is not a requirement. Use any handy GUI editor you might have installed... Perhaps kate? To exit vi (if you accidentally start it again:-) just type ":q!" (without the quotes).

> AAAAAHHHHHHH
Take a deep breath:-).


> How do I use linux. How do I understand it so that I can solve my own problems?
> AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
Mainly by starting to read up and experiment. For simple stuff, most distributions of linux are fairly intuitive these days, but it is never bad to know what one is doing.
On your system you do already have manual pages and documentation of a sorts. Try the
man man
command to begin with... Then perhaps
man bash
to familiarize yourself with the command shell.

As you read up, I'm certain questions will arise... Don't hesitate to ask them!
We've all been newbies at some time or other;)

-- Glenn
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