- 1 Getting Help
- 1.1 Books
- 1.2 Forums
- 1.3 IRC Chat
- 1.4 Documentation
- 1.5 Using search engines
- 1.6 YouTube
- 2 Guided lessons
- 2.1 Choose a Linux Distribution
- 2.2 Trying out Linux & FOSS
- 2.3 Install Linux
- 2.4 Open a console
- 2.5 Do I need the command line?
- 2.6 Install Software
- 2.7 Multimedia
- 2.8 Updating and upgrading your distribution
- 2.9 Hardware
- 2.9.1 Printers
- 2.9.2 Scanners
- 2.9.3 Mutifunction Printers
- 2.9.4 Wifi cards and dongles
- 2.9.5 Video cards (GPUs)
- 2.9.6 Soundcards
- 2.9.7 Webcams
- 2.9.8 Keyboards
- 2.9.9 Mouses
- 2.9.10 Satellite cards
- 2.9.11 Hard disks
- 3 Lessons in no particular order
- 4 Tips
- 5 Applications
- 6 Commands
- 7 See also
You learn a lot when reading and writing into forums like www.linuxquestions.org. You can also ask questions and give answers in a chat. For example, if you have a question regarding KDE, point your xchat to irc.kde.org, port 6667, channel #kde and start asking. If you have a question regarding Suse, just join channel #suse and so on. You may also benefit from the Linux Dictionary which contains explanations to words from the Linux world.
Proprietary books on Amazon.com
Make sure to choose up-to-date versions.
Linuxquestions.org is a great forum. You should provide some details about your distribution and hardware.
To know about your hardware use the following commands:
Please visit the following link.
To know what your distribution is:
Don't forget to read the rules before posting.
Before posting please search the forums and the search engines about your problem. Common problems such as multimedia codecs and Nvidia cards are adequately covered in the forums.
use one the these programs: Konversation, Quassel, KVIrc, XChat, HexChat, PidgIn.
If you don't have Internet connection on Linux or your system doesn't boot properly
You may use IRC chat applications on Windows to help you solve your Linux problem. Use Pidgin, Hexchat, mIRC or KVIrc.
For Ubuntu: .
For Linux Mint: 
For Linux in general: 
How to join a channel
Documentation for Ubuntu 18.04 
Documentation for Debian Buster 
Man command: refer to the book "Introduction to Linux-A hands on guide" for more details. Section 2.3 is your target.
Using search engines
Google and duckduckgo are excellent sources for information. If you want to install KDE on Ubuntu 18.04 use the follong keywords
install KDE Ubuntu 18.04
Please pay special attention to these videos:
As a beginner you might want to experience how to…
Choose a Linux Distribution
Main article: Choosing a Linux distribution
It is a good idea to start with a widespread distribution such as Ubuntu, Linux Mint or Fedora, rather than a less widely used distribution. More people using a Linux distribution generally means more support and more active development. If you pick some "kewl" distribution that only a few hundred people use, then you're going to have a very hard time getting your questions answered and getting bugs patched. Mainstream desktop distributions tend to be easy to use out of the box, without requiring a computer science degree to install and configure.
Visit the following websites:
- Librehunt: makes it easier for beginners as well as advanced users to have an easy method to use Linux. Answer some simple question to have a suggestion for the suitable distribution for you.
- Distrotest.net: a website on which you will find many operating systems, which you can test directly online without a installation.
Many Linux distributions (often called "distros") allow you to operate them fully from a live CD/live DVD without having to install them. A live CD/DVD distribution loads and runs from memory and does not perform an installation unless you chose that option. This live CD/DVD gives you the opportunity to "test drive" a system before you make any commitment of time and energy to it.
You can also make a bootable live USB memory stick or flash drive. It works faster than the live DVD. If you have a USB 3.0 port in your computer/laptop (the blue one) be sure to buy a USB 3.0 flash memory (the blue one) to use with the distribution. It will work much much faster and the speed will be nearly the same as a hard disk installation.
You can find a complete listing of current distributions by searching List_of_Linux_distributions, which lists the various options alphabetically, by "family-tree" lineage and also some special characteristics. The list also includes outside links to pages where you can find summaries and reviews for each distribution.
It is best to approach Linux distribution by considering them a group of "families". Each family contain a base distro and the distros the are based on it. There are also independent distros.
|Debian and Debian-based distros||RHEL-based distros||SuSe and OpenSUSE||Arch and Arch-based distros||Gentoo||Slackware||Independent distros|
|Debian||RHEL||SuSe and OpenSUSE||Arch Linux||Gentoo||Slackware||Solus|
|MX Linux (based on Debian)||Fedora||GeckoLinux||Manjaro||Sabayon||Absolute Linux||PCLinuxOS|
|AntiX Linux (based on Debian)||AlmaLinux||ArcoLinux||Redcore Linux||Slackel||Mageia|
|Ubuntu||Oracle Linux||Chakra GNU/Linux||Calculate Linux||Zenwalk Linux||KaOS|
|PopOS! (based on Ubuntu)||Hyperbola GNU/Linux-libre||Funtoo||AUSTRUMI||OpenMandriva|
|Linux Mint (based on Ubuntu)||Parabola GNU/Linux-libre||Linux Console|
|ElementaryOS (based on Ubuntu)||ArchBang Linux||Slitaz|
|ZorinOS (based on Ubuntu)||Namib GNU/Linux||Tiny Core Linux|
|Linux Lite (based on Ubuntu)||EndeavourOS||ALT Linux|
Trying out Linux & FOSS
There are several ways to try out Linux:
- Buy a used desktop/laptop and install Linux on it. This is the safest method.
- Use a virtual machine to run Linux inside Windows.
- Use Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) on Windows 10. This method will give you access to command line CLI only version of Linux (mainly Debian and Ubuntu).
- Boot from a live DVD/USB on your currently used computer.
- Dual boot with Windows (not very safe. You may risk losing your data if you don't know what you are doing)
- Buy the Raspberry Pi 4 or a Raspberry pi 400 single board computer SBC.
- Use Free & open source software on Windows or MacOS such as Libre office, Gimp, SMplayer, VLC, Audacity, Openshot and many others. You can visit this page and look for bold item in the Windows columns. These are the Windows versions of Linux FOSS.
- Use Distrotest website. You can try many distros online.
Main article: Linux installation
Dual-boot is a hardware configuration that permits more than one operating system to be installed concurrently on your computer system. Linux can be installed for dual-boot so that you can choose between Linux and another operating system, even a different Linux distribution, when you start your computer. If you will be running Windows and Linux in a dual-boot configuration, it is generally recommended that you load the Windows operating system (OS) on the first drive booted by the machine's BIOS.
So if you are using a single hard drive that will be partitioned, you would want the Windows OS on the first partition. If you are going to be running two separate hard drives in the same machine, you would want the Windows OS to be on the Primary Master drive (position one) and your Linux OS to be installed on the Primary Slave drive (position two).
The Linux system will identify each IDE drive with the designation of "hd" ("sd" for SATA drives) with successive letters starting from "a", then each partition on the drive will be designated by a number so that your list of drives/partitions might read something like: "hda1 Windows System Files; hda2 Windows User Directories; hdb1 Ubuntu 18.04; hdb2 Ubuntu/home."
It is a good idea to make note of where you will be installing your Linux system and any other partitions that are to be installed as well. Also, disconnect any external devices you might have plugged into your computer, such as a flash drive, MP3 player, etc. This will keep you from accidentally over-writing files or data.
Alternatively, you can install Linux into a VMware virtual machine, or another virtual machine such as Virtualbox. In this case, you can have two or more operating systems running at the same time. The virtual machine installation is explained in more detail on the Virtualization page.
The most common method of installing Linux is to obtain a Linux boot DVD, CD or USB flash drive and basically follow the install procedure and screens. The prompts are given in a straightforward language that is not overly difficult to understand.
Open a console
Main article: Open a console
Modern Linux distributions allow you to do most of your work in the [graphical user interface], much as you do in Windows. But to access the full power of Linux, you need to open a console to issue commands to your Linux system. These commands will be interpreted by a program called a shell.
A console is a window or session that presents you with a prompt line. A console normally presents a prompt line with the cursor resting at the first character past the prompt. This is where you issue your command. Any command results appear beneath your command line. When you open a console, you may be presented with a shell prompt typically displaying your computer's hostname (in this case tweedleburg):
This means you may start typing commands.
- There are six "virtual consoles." Entering Control-ALT-F1 will open "console 1", Control-ALT-F2 will open "console 2", with the final console opened with Control-ALT-F6. You may switch from any console to any other. Usually you are prompted to log into the Linux system at each console. Once you do, you remain logged on until you log out.
- press ALT_F2, type "xterm", then ENTER. This works for most distributions.
- press ALT_F2, type "konsole", then ENTER. konsole is very user-friendly. This will work if KDE is installed.
Now that you have opened a console, try ls as your first command. It must be entered in lower case as:
tweedleburg:~ # ls a.out dom index.txt main.cpp structureparser.cpp structureparser.h structureparser.h.gch
Great - now you are ready to read and understand the article about installing software.
Do I need the command line?
The answer to that question depends on what you want to do with your Linux system and also on which distribution you have installed. Some "distros" like Slackware, Arch and Gentoo are designed for Linux experts and expect some knowledge of the command line. Those that new users are usually directed to, like Linux Mint, Ubuntu and AntiX, provide graphical tools for most of what you want to do.
However, it is always worth learning how to use the command line because you can do so much more with it. The command line interface can allow you to:
- use any command on your system, not just those commands for which someone has created an icon or a menu option
- access any file on your system without having to move to the directory/folder that contains it
- make use of a very fast interface for file management compared with using a graphical file manager
- diagnose and fix problems.
Main article: Installing Software
As opposed to other operating systems, the easiest way to install software is not to download an installer from the web. Instead, you should use the system management tools from your distribution to do this. So, find out your distribution and install the software by its installation measures. For example, to install Firefox in SUSE Linux, you use
yast -i firefox
You can find a complete listing for all distributions at installing software.
|Open-source formats||Proprietary formats|
On Linux, DVD support is provided through the libdvdcss or libdvdcss2 packages.
To install libdvdcss on Ubuntu 18.04, open a terminal and type"
sudo apt install libdvdcss2
sudo apt install libdvdcss
You should now be able to play DVDs on Ubuntu flavors as well as other Debian-based Linux distros.
Some old YouTube videos need Flash plugin to be displayed. It is also used in web games. Flash plugin is developed by Adobe Systems.
To install adobe flash player on Ubuntu 18.04, First enable the canonical partner repository:
1- Open a terminal and type:
sudo apt-add-repository "deb http://archive.canonical.com/ubuntu bionic partner"
2- Update the source list and install the adobe-flashplugin package:
sudo apt update sudo apt install adobe-flashplugin
3- After the installations complete, you need to restart your web browser before access any Flash-enabled content.
To update flash player on Ubuntu 18.04, run the same command:
sudo apt install adobe-flashplugin
The command will update flash player, if new updates are available.
Most web browsers block adobe flash by default, you will have to allow flash manually to play flash contents.
Updating and upgrading your distribution
First of all, You should identify your distribution name and version. To update vs to upgrade vs to dist-upgrade on Debian-based and Ubuntu-based distros:
Debian-based: MX Linux, AntiX and others.
Ubuntu and its flavours: Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Xubuntu, Unbuntu Mate, Ubuntu Budgie.
Linux Mint, ZorinOS, Elementary OS, POP_OS!
To update packages information from all sources:
sudo apt update
This command update the list of packages from the repositories including their version, information and dependencies. If you didn't issue this command before the commands in the following sections you may get an error because the system will try fetch a copy of a package that doesn't exist anymore or an outdated version that was removed from the repositories.
To upgrade a certain package:
sudo apt install <package name>
where <package name> is the name of the package you want to install. for example, if you have Firefox browser version 72 and you want to upgrade to the latest version issue the following command:
sudo apt install firefox
To upgrade the whole system from a Long Term Support version to the next LTS version (for example, from Ubuntu 18.04 LTS to 20.04 LTS)
This applies to Ubuntu and its flavors: 
For Linux Mint:
For Elementary OS: There is no way to upgrade from a major version of Elementary OS to the next major version; You will have to reinstall.
For Pop_OS! : 
for Zorin OS
For Debian: 
For MX Linux
HP and Brother printers have open source drivers for Linux. They easily work on Linux. Some Samsung printers work out-of-the-box on Ubuntu-based distributions. Old Canon printer models won't work with modern Linux distributions.
Wifi cards and dongles
Internal WiFI cards
Video cards (GPUs)
Major vendors of video cards (GPUs: Graphical processing units) are Intel, AMD, and Nvidia.
Intel and AMD video cards drivers are open source. So, there is no need to do anything to make them work properly.
Nvidia cards have two types of drivers:
a) Nouveau driver: open source. The default driver in any distribution. Preinstalled out-of-the-box in most distros.
b) Proprietary driver: closed source. It Needs to be installed manually. It gives better performance for games.
PopOS! has a specific version for devices with Nvidia GPUs. It comes withe the proprietary driver preinstalled. You choose this version to download if you don't mind using closed source software.
Elementary OS and Linux Mint have a command line method only.
For installing Nividia drivers on Ubuntu 18.04 see .
Debian, MX Linux and AntiX have a command line method . It is more suitable for advanced users.
External hard disks
Internal hard disks
Lessons in no particular order
Main article: HowTos
- Pack and unpack files
- Surf the web
- Burn a CD-ROM
- Do office tasks - word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, image manipulation and other
- Get help with networking
- Make backups
- Play games
- Do multimedia tasks: listen to music and watch videos
- Talk to friends online - how to access common instant messaging networks, see also IM.
Main article: Tips
Tips are clever solutions to questions that may not even have come to your mind. Here are some examples:
- KDE specific tips
- Distribution specific tips and tricks
- Programming tips and tricks
- One-click installs with klik
- Passwordless logins
Main article: Applications
Lean how to install applications in Linux.
- Firefox for browsing the web
- mplayer for playing multimedia files
- LibreOffice for creating texts, spreadsheets and presentations
- Thunderbird for reading and writing mail
Main article: commands
- ls : show a directory listing
- df -h : show how much disk space is left
- du -csh myfolder : show how much space is in use by the folder myfolder
- cd : change directory
- cp -r : copy a file
- rm -r : delete a file
- mkdir : make a directory
- chmod : change the file permissions
- pwd : show current working directory
- whoami : show your user name
- hostname : show your host's name
- uptime : show the uptime of your host
- top : show the top CPU consuming processes
Main article: hard drive commands
- hwinfo --storage-ctrl : discover your hard disk controller
- hwinfo --block : discover what disks you have
- hwinfo --partition : discover what partitions you have
- fdisk : divide your disk devices into partitions (USE WITH CAUTION!!)
Main article: Network commands
- hwinfo --netcard :find out your NIC's type and abilities
- ethtool : find out if a cable has been plugged in (link detection)
- ping : find out if a computer is reachable
- ifconfig : set your IP-address
- route : set your default gateway
- nmap : find out about ports information on a computer