5 Golden Rules to Live By as a New Linux User
You have ignored persistent Linux myths and decided to give Linux a try. How do you ensure that your transition to the new OS is smooth? Stick to the following five rules and you should do just fine. It’s time to get over your fear of failing at Linux .
Choose Your Linux Distribution Well
My introduction to Linux was enjoyable thanks to my easy switch from Windows 7 to Elementary OS Luna . Not all new Linux users are lucky that way.
If you encounter glitch after glitch the first few times you use Linux, it can put you off Linux for good. It’s important to begin with a distro that aligns with your personal computing requirements . We have many resources to help you make a decent choice, based on whether you want to migrate from Windows/Mac , run Linux on an old laptop , etc. Before you switch to Linux though, go through this Should you use Linux? checklist.
The right distribution can make your Linux experience sublime. You might need to experiment a bit before you decide on a distro you like. But with various simple and risk-free options to try Linux , there’s no excuse not to find something that works for you.
Faced with distro indecision? This cheat’s guide to choosing a Linux distro will help you overcome it.
Modern Linux systems work fairly well right out of the box. Sure, you might have to deal with hardware incompatibilities or find Linux replacements for your favorite software. But, for the most part, you don’t need to know much Linux-specific terminology to use the OS itself.
As your Linux usage increases, you’ll come across several terms and resources that will pique your curiosity. What’s this sudo command everyone keeps talking about? What’s the Linux kernel ? What’s a desktop environment ? Take the time to explore such topics and familiarize yourself with Linuxspeak. This will make troubleshooting easier.
Research Commands Before Using Them
In some cases, the Linux command line can be lethal . But that’s not to say you should not use it at all. There are easy and safe ways to learn command line usage (begin with these 40 essential Linux commands ). Exercise a little caution while using the terminal, though. Before copy-pasting a command shared by any random source, do a Web search to see what it does and how it’s supposed to work. Look to reputable sources for information on commands before running them.
To figure out what a specific command does, type man in the terminal followed by the command. This opens a manual that describes what you can use the command for and what parameters it requires to function correctly. For example, here’s what you get when you type man and the command rm.
Deciphering what the manual says may not be easy, but it gives you pause for thought. That’s a good thing when you’re dealing with terminal commands.
Personalize Your Linux Setup
You may not need to fiddle with your Linux setup, but spending time personalizing it can teach you what Linux is capable of and how you can use it to your advantage. For example, during my attempts at distro customization, I learned that I could:
- Use awesome apps like Alacarte (a system menu editor ) and Guake (a dropdown terminal)
- Change window controls on eOS using Elementary Tweaks
- Add a system tray shortcut or an indicator applet to unmount USB drives
- Improve battery life and tweak CPU frequency to optimize system performance
- Delete unnecessary files and packages using Ubuntu Tweak
List tweaks that could make your workflow simpler and improve your Linux experience. Now search for how-tos and tips to make those changes . For example, try finding a way to dock any app to the system tray. Of course, be sure to back up your data before you go about implementing any hacks.
Explore The Linux Community
A friendly and active community of users and developers keeps the Linux platform going. Visit Linux forums, blogs, and YouTube channels to stay up-to-date on security flaws , technical fixes, cool tricks, and news about the latest distros.
Can’t find the right software? Hardware not working? Have a noob question? Feel free to ask for help on popular forums like LinuxQuestions and Ask Ubuntu (distro-specific). You’ll find that your fellow Linux users are quite thorough with their answers. To be on the safe side, triple-check any information you receive.
Losing The “Newbie” Tag
Getting used to the Linux way of doing things will take some time. If you want to get there faster, here are some shortcuts for learning Linux in record time .
You can sidestep major problems and feel at home in the Linux environment with the steps listed above. Someday in the future, when you’re reading about rookie Linux mistakes you’ll realize that you don’t make any of them. That’s how far you have progressed!
What’s the biggest problem you’re facing as a new Linux user? Share it in the comments section. Maybe we or one of our readers can help you fix it.