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getting started with linux and unix?

By apacase ·
I am just getting started. I've been attending classes for A+ certification, for three months. I like the idea of getting away from microsoft, but don't really know how to get started, Help!!

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get your hands dirty

by shelleydoll In reply to getting started with linu ...

I always find the best way to get into a new area of technology is to jump in... First, get yourself a machine that you can play with or create a dual boot partition, and install RedHat Linux, which you can download for free at:
You can also purchase support if you feel you need it from the RedHat home page.
If you'd like to use a different windowing environment, try Gnome:

Next, start actively reading Linux related websites, like,,, and

Finally, get familiar with the command line. You might want to find a mentor or someone who can get you pointed in the right direction with basic file navigation and manipulation commands, etc. Give yourself a project, like building (compiling) and installing apache webserver, mysql, etc. That task will get you familiar with some basics you will need.

Good luck, and congratulations on the switch!

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How to Partition My Laptop

by virleebry In reply to get your hands dirty

I am a student at my local community college. I am majoring in computer programming, graduating in May. I am taking Unix and the class is using Redhat. The computers in the lab that are dedicated to Unix are not working this semester. I am hoping, desperately, that someone could talk me through partitioning my laptop for redhat installation. It would be greatly appreciated. I have 4GB left on my laptop. Thank you.

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unix options

by Jay Eckles In reply to getting started with linu ...

There are several options if you want to run a unix-like operating system at home.

The most popular at home is definitely Linux - you can, as the previous poster mentioned, download one of many different distributions for free from the internet. Linux is starting to mature and the installation programs for some distributions are great. One of the problems you may face is choosing a distribution; unless you have specialized hardware, then stick with a popular distro like Red Hat.

FreeBSD is another popular and free operating system. FreeBSD is Unix, not a unix "workalike" ala Linux. I've never installed FreeBSD, but I have used it quite a bit - it's a great OS, very stable, and quite popular for internet servers. You can get itfrom

Sun offers a very inexpensive version of Solaris for both Sparc and Intel machines for developers. You can find out more information at You pay for the mediaand the shipping; you might also be able to download the software. The installation process for Solaris 8 was easy, but the hardware requirements are very strict and you might have to fiddle a bit to get it working.

Finally, my current favorite version of Unix is Mac OS X. OS X is built upon a BSD system called Darwin, and it is a complete Unix system with a happy Mac GUI on top of it. You have complete access to the command line and you can run any Unix app you can get your hands on including X Windows. It even comes delivered with Apache. Part of the reason it's my favorite is because Mac hardware is higher quality than your typical Wintel machine - I had an old Mac LC III I finally had to give away because it wouldn't stop working. You can run over to to learn more.

Good luck getting into Unix.


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RedHat is enough to start

by Mandar In reply to getting started with linu ...

If you are just jumping to Linux then RedHat Linux is best choice for you.

There is a tremendous flow of tutorials and documentations on the internet regarding your every interest. But I recommend that you must have a linux ready system with you in order to have practical hands on it.

Just try out the installations first. There are very good books available there which you might be interested in. Few of them I am listing out here are RedHat Linux Unleashed, Mastering Linux etc.


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re: getting started with linux

by bigdog In reply to getting started with linu ...

I would get a second machine and a hub or switch. Then I would install either (redhat or mandrake) linux on that machine. They are both great distros for starting out and learning. I cut my teeth on redhat 6.2 and mandrake 7.0 back in the day. Then as mentioned get a linux book that can help you through the distro. There are many books on each distro. Also, i would suggest purchasing the distro first so you have all the CDs. Mandrake and RedHat come with installation books in their distro boxes.

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Another way to start...

by PhoenixRising In reply to getting started with linu ...

Folks might also consider using Microsoft Services for Unix. It is now a free download of a fully functional command line Unix (by Interix).

Since it is a native windows service you can learn the command line while working with the files and directories you are already familiar with in windows. This is how I'm learning about generic Unix/Linux.

You will want to take some precautions though...Make sure you have a solid backup plan for important windows data. You might very well issue a unix command that hoses some critical system files or other important data, and even render your system unbootable! I make disk images so this risk is not a problem for me.

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