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Updated 2/18/05

One of the most interesting computer projects that I have undertaken, has been my learning of Linux. A little over four years ago, I became interested in finding an alternative operating system to the Windows environment. I initially started with Mandrake 8.0, moved to RedHat 7.1, tried various flavors of Debian and eventually moved to Lindows.

Currently, I am running three systems. One loaded with Windows XP, Linspire 4.0, Debian Sarge, Mandrake 10.1, Slackware 10, Puppy Linux and Fedora Core 3; another with Windows XP, Fedora Core 3 and Mandrake 10; and finally, the last system with no Windows environment using Linspire 6 beta as my main distro.

All this tinkering has taught me a great deal, reminiscent of my old DOS days and programming with my Apple II+.

Things have come a long way in a few short years. I believe that the Linux operating system is at a critical and ground breaking juncture in truly breaking the barrier that prevented this OS from seriously competing with the big "boys."My most recent experiences with the new beta releases, shows some remarkable advances in hardware compatibility user friendly interfaces

All this being said, let's look at some resources for the newbie and intermediate users alike.

Getting started with Linux

No doubt, if you are new to Linux, there is a lot to learn. Of course, the first place to start is the documentation that comes with your distro (the fancy name for the brand of Linux that you are using). Each distro has it's unique way of adding programs and administration functions. I was wisely led by some experienced Linux users to try Linux Mandrake. I found this to be, by far, the easiest distro to install and configure on a desktop. A good solid product for beginners and experienced uses alike. The links that I will use here have been helpful to me in "learning the ropes."

Once you have the basics down and feel comfortable with your distro, where do you go? Well, hopefully you have found some good clues in the documentation that came with your CD's. Just when you think that you have it want to have fun and change things.

First and foremost, take a look at, a great site for beginners and intermediate users alike. this site helped me learn the basics, as well as deal with some of the more finer points of Linux hardware and software.

Now What?

Now that your system has been up and running, and your comfortable with the distro, how do you upgrade, or get that CD burner working the way that you want it? Or, if you have an old Zip drive, what do you need to know? Unfortunately, one of my favorite sites,, is now offline. I learned a good deal from DaMasta, both in his informative "how-to" articles, as well as the forum he sponsored.

OK, the plug...why not visit us at Linux Compatible? No nonsense and we don't care how experienced or inexperienced you are. Ask a question. If we don't have an answer, we will find a link for you to follow. But got to tell you, these guys are pretty darn good. Just be prepared to do some of your own work...this is the fun of it, isn't it?

If you are itchy to upgrade and see what is the latest, take a look at the following sites (see, I'm still learning also)

  • Linux Compatible
  • DistroWatch Lots of good stuff here.

    *** My own Linux how-to section