Is there a Linux guide that lets me make sense of what’s inside?

anand May 26, 2011

Sorry if you have gone through similar questions before. What I want is not a guide which list out various commands, but something which lets me understand what is going on inside the Linux. I am not looking for a practical guide, but some thing which explains to me in some other way, like using metaphors; which would definitely keep an interesting read.

  1. Neeraj
    June 10, 2011 at 5:56 pm

    Larry_m7 pretty much covered it (thanks Larry) but heres my 2p worth...

    I first tried to switch over to linux back in '98 with RedHat Linux 5.1 from a cover CD on PCQuest magazine (an Indian publication) - even the install process required an MS in Computer Science :eye-roll: ... and I'm a B.Tech in Electronics!

    Since, we 'third world'ers aren't as fortunate as you 'first world'ers to have humongous bandwidth Internet connections (The Telecom Authority of India defines 256 kbps as "broadband" - that is kilobits per second!!!) or be able to afford them even now when they're available from our ISPs, so we can't just "download" live CDs. So the best resource for us is to buy indigenous computer magazines like PC Quest, Digit and the German import Chip (republished by Infomedia18 with localisation) which carry cover CDs and now-a-days DVDs with, among other software, various "flavours" of Linux, some of which may have even been indigenised (Indianised) like for example PCQ Linux.

    I successfully installed last year Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat from one such CD, to dual boot with Windows XP Pro, on an Acer laptop.

    Anand, Ubuntu is so wonderfully indigenised that even my BSNL (Indian National Telecom ISP) CDMA 'dongle' was recognised auto-"magically" and I could connect to the Internet without any trouble.

    The help and online (meaning 'soft-copy' in Indian English) documentation which is bundled with Ubuntu Maverick Meerkat has not only allowed me to educate myself about Linux but the ease of use has allowed me to migrate over to Linux successfully with ease.

    I endorse and recommend, from personal experience.

  2. Paul G
    June 4, 2011 at 11:24 am

    Anand  I would love to find what you are after as I would like to switch myself.

    I know how Windows works as I have been with it since the first version (OLD bloke LOL!) but Linux is a completely different animal under the bonnet.

    I would love to understand how the OS works with the folder/file structure. For me, an explanation in BROAD general terms explaining how the various sections of the OS work would be great. Concept rather than details. Things such as Mount, Applications (the App and the User Data), Printing, Network, Sharing (Linux & Samba) etc. Windows has a file structure and Registry that I understand - how does Linux do the same?

    • Anand Warik
      June 4, 2011 at 1:28 pm

      If you know what happens behind closed windows, It wouldn't be difficult for you to understand on open linux. Atleast you know the basics. Individuals like me who were quiet happy using windows and feeling protected with no knowledge are feeling frustrated now that we see power of linux. 
      There are good resources out there and behind the labyrinth of technical jargon i do find some things that matter me the most. Now i understand what Linux ask users to have?
      Patience, Patience and patience. Lets see if i have the will and determination to understand atleast the basics of linux. 

    • Larry_m7
      June 5, 2011 at 2:06 am

      Since you have been through several versions of the Windows Graphical User Interface, the Linux GUi will just be one more. Don't worry about it; you will be able to handle it.

      Download, and burn as a bootable disk, Live disk. This will let you play with Linux without actually installing it. Everything is run from either the CD/DVD or a ram disk built into memory when it boots. This will let you get the feel of the GUI and the see the file structure. Most distros have live disks so you can download several and check out the differences, all for the price of a disk.

      Google [learn linux for windows users] and you will get thousands of hits. A few near the top that look interesting are:
      [Broken Links Removed]

      Also check out and search for learning or intro and Windows and Linux.

      As for Folders: a Folder is a Directory is a Folder. Microsoft renamed directories to folders (with Windows 95?) because they thought "folder" sounded more user friendly than "directory". One minor difference is that Linux/uses/a/forward/slash/to/separate/directories while Windowsusesabackwardslashtoseparatedirectories.

      The file structure is clean, neat, logical and it does one thing that Windows still hasn't quite mastered: All user stuff is *completely* separate from system stuff. You can put all user stuff on a separate disk (very easily), backup that disk and *know* that you have not missed anything (except the user passwords).

      Linux does not have a Registry. Is this good or bad? Don't worry about "mount". If you stick to the GUI, you may never directly use it. By the time you start using the command line, you won't have any trouble.

      Applications are the samein Linux as in Windows. If you've used open source programs, such as Firefox or Open Office, in Windows, you'll find that they work the same way in Linux. Setting up a printer is much the same in Linux as it is in Windows. I.e. most of the time it is simple, but sometimes it is an exercise in frustration.

      User data goes in the user disk space, never the system space, so it is easy to find.

      • Anand Warik
        June 5, 2011 at 3:46 am

        Thanks for sharing good resources, it would definitely help me on my journey

  3. Anand Warik
    May 31, 2011 at 4:35 am

    Sorry everybody for not responding but my internet connection was down. The guides that i have looked always provide commands which is useful for interacting with computers but aren't good for beginners to understand. I recently came across a guide "Unix for the Beginning Mage" by Joe Topjian, which I felt was a great way to introduce Unix concept. It uses metaphors and thus helps us get a grand picture of UNIX. Although it uses a best method to explain, it has limitations and doesn't cover many Unix concepts. What I was looking for is something similar to this which would help me get deeper into Unix using the same path. Thank you all for directing me to useful pages. 

    • Tina
      May 31, 2011 at 6:29 pm

      Thanks for the feedback, Anand!

      Do let us know if you find some other great Linux guides.

  4. Larry_m7
    May 30, 2011 at 4:25 am

    Everybody using any version of Linux should be aware of The Linux Documentation Project at
    There is more there than any sane person would want to know. One of the things you will find there is and you can also find it as an HTML tarball or a pdf. Poke around and you'll probably find a lot more.

  5. Danny Stieben
    May 28, 2011 at 6:43 pm


    MakeUseOf offers a Linux PDF guide where you can learn more about Linux. I'd recommend that you check it out!

  6. Anonymous
    May 28, 2011 at 4:36 pm
  7. Mike
    May 27, 2011 at 4:16 pm

    What do you want to achieve with this "guide" and knowledge? 
    What information or knowledge are you really looking for?Like with any other operating systems there are millions of things going on in the background ~ commands being sent, interrupts triggered, interpreted, forwarded to drivers, APIs and the kernel, translated into machine code etc...Linux Kernel boot process

    Your best bet is to read through any and all Operating System things like on Wikipedia or anything else explains what's going on within an operating system

    Basically it's the same for any and all of them - things just have different names and tasks and sometimes work slightly different

Ads by Google