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How to Get the Best Support on Linux Forums

Austin Luong 18-08-2017

Linux isn’t just a kernel — the people around it are just as crucial. They provide support where it’s needed most: for those just starting their foray into Linux The Best Linux Operating Distros The best Linux distros are hard to find. Unless you read our list of the best Linux operating systems for gaming, Raspberry Pi, and more. Read More . It’s a community that expects you to slowly become part of them, learning as you go. And it’s why there are numbers of websites out there ready and willing to help out with any troubles you find 6 Reasons Your Favorite Linux OS Is Plagued by Bugs You found a new Linux operating system to try, and you loved it. But then it went wrong. Sometimes Linux gets buggy after a month or two. The question is, why? Read More along the way.


That being said, it’s important to approach support in a certain way. This is doubly the case when asking questions from something like an internet forum. It’s easy to forget that many people on there are simply volunteering time of their own good will. Plus the Linux community can seem quite imposing at times. If you’re unsure about where to start, this might help you.

1. Visit Specific Forums

Most of the time, you should visit your Linux operating system’s own custom forum before trying anything else. While there are many websites out there The Linux Advantage: 5 Websites You Should Head to for Learning Linux Whether you've been putting off Linux for years or you're just hearing about it, there are ample reasons to start today. Want to try now? These resources will get you started. Read More to help with your Linux needs, having a community that uses the same thing as you do makes it much easier to pinpoint your problems.

debian forums

This way, you might have shared problems with others 4 Surprising Linux Security Issues You Should Be Aware Of They say you should use Linux if you want security. That might be true, but you still need to be on your toes! Read More . Some people might have even solved it themselves, and could be happy to share how they did so. And even if that’s not the case, it’s always nice to be surrounded by like-minded people from time to time.

If you don’t find these forums to be active enough for your taste though, there are plenty of other communities 4 Helpful Communities for New Linux Users You might be wondering, "What do I do now?" If you're at that point, then it's time you joined a Linux community — even if you only intend to lurk. Read More you can become a part of. They may have more users — potential people who can help you out, even if they’re not using quite the same operating system as you.


2. Do a Quick Search

While many people in the Linux community are happy to help out others, you should keep in mind that they’re doing this voluntarily. As such, before asking any sort of question, searching around for similar topics on the discussion forums Internet Forums Reimagined: The Future Of Online Discussions The latest iteration of online communication may indeed be social media, but it seems that the most popular avenue is still the old-fashioned forum. It remains today as an excellent way to structure a community... Read More (or even elsewhere) is usually a good way to go.

This way, if an issue has been resolved by someone else, you won’t be creating any more clutter. If it hasn’t (and the topic is new enough to still be the same problem), then you’ve found a place to ask your question. It’ll also be easier to address multiple people at once, rather than post by post.

gentoo forum search

In fact, some parts of the Linux community have this as an expectation of sorts. Arch Linux Arch Linux: Letting You Build Your Linux System From Scratch For Linux power users, it's highly desirable to be able to completely customize your system. Sometimes, that can be best achieved from the start -- by piecing together the components that you'd like to include... Read More for example, prides itself on its extensive wiki, which has plenty of resources to help people out (other Linux operating systems can benefit too). As such, one of the first questions that’s asked to a person seeking aid on Arch’s forums is whether they’ve checked the wiki first.


Plus, showing that you’ve done some legwork also ups the chance of you getting help. It helps tell others that your problem is unique and therefore something that actually needs support on. And don’t forget, the whole investigation process can be quite useful for your Linux journey Getting Started With Linux and Ubuntu You're interested in switching to Linux... but where do you start? Is your PC compatible? Will your favorite apps work? Here's everything you need to know to get started with Linux. Read More as well.

3. Pick Your Titles Well

If you do end up posting a new question, be sure to make your issues clear from the start. Posting something vague as your topic only makes it harder to get support. After all, there are many reasons a computer isn’t working as it is. By narrowing it down, to say, booting problems How to Fix Your Ubuntu Linux PC When It Won't Boot Although usually reliable, sometimes Ubuntu won't boot. But why is this and how can you repair your PC when Ubuntu won't start? Read More , you’ll get better responses.

You should aim to be as specific as possible, clearly stating what your issues are as your topic. This is much better than trying to grab attention by playing up your problem with all-caps and vague complications. You should also keep in mind which sub-forum your issue belongs in.

arch forum specific


In general, most forums will have multiple sections dedicated to specific types of support. This makes it easier to gain the help you need, so long as you post in the right place. Plus, it makes navigating through lots of calls for aid much easier to handle.

linux forum topics

By combining both a meaningful title and the correct location for it, your post will be that more likely to be seen and responded to.

4. Provide Relevant Information

This goes without saying, but it’s good practice to provide details about the sorts of things you want to achieve or fix. Giving what you know upfront can speed up the process of getting help, and puts less work on others. It also ties in with showing what you’ve already done — work you’ve put in to help narrow down a solution.


fedora problem details

For example, if you’re having troubles with a specific application, you could try attaching its configuration file(s) What Are Config Files? How to Edit Them Safely Most apps are configured via menu options, and some require you to edit a config file. But how do you use a config file? Read More . Anything you deem relevant to the problem at hand could potentially help out in some way. Just remember not to overdo it — a dump of information can be a bit hard to wade through.

That aside, it can be quite educational. You might even start to practice your own troubleshooting skills How To Make Better Sense Of Log Files On Linux and Mac When Linux goes wrong, it can be a nightmare to troubleshoot. Don't waste time on Reddit -- take things into your own hands, and dive into your system's log files to solve the problem! Read More in the process, by making guesses on what appears to be the problem. After all, there’s nothing like solving something all by yourself.

5. Give Something Back

Eventually, you’ll begin picking up more and more about Linux. Once you’re at that stage, why not give back to the community 6 Ways You Can Contribute to Linux Impressed by Linux, want to get involved, but have no programming skills? Here's how to contribute to Linux without coding. Read More in the same way people have helped you out? After all, forums are dependent on the people who are part of them. Taking part in them helps them survive and thrive.

And in a way, you can learn a lot about how your own computer works, especially if you have to explain difficult concepts such as the Linux kernel How to Update Linux Kernel for Improved System Performance The Linux kernel is has regular releases, offering new features and improvements that you have to wait for in a new distribution release - unless you manually upgrade the Linux kernel. We show you how. Read More to new users. Plus, having an active foot in the community is sure to be noticed. Perhaps it might even result in more support for your own needs when the time comes around.

Not to mention, it’s just a nice thing to do, especially if you’ve gotten things out of your Linux operating system’s forum. And the spirit of working together to help others on a common goal is very much an open source philosophy Your Complete Guide to Living a 100% Free and Open Source Life Windows and macOS are commercial, proprietary, closed source operating systems. Linux, and its many applications, are free and open source. Want to use only free and open source software? Here's how. Read More .

Ever shared your tech problems with a forum or discussion board? How did it go? Have you had any Linux forum success stories?

Related topics: Linux, Tech Support.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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  1. dragonmouth
    August 29, 2018 at 4:44 pm

    Linux help sites, just as Windows help sites and Apple help sites, are for providing help with the particular O/S. If you want to mingle, if you want to schmooze, go to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. Those sites are made specifically for getting friendly with people. I wonder how the social network sites users would react if, in the midst of a gab fest, someone started asking specific questions about the workings of Linux. I'm sure that person would be told in no uncertain (hostile) terms to get the F out.

    No, I am not being elitist. Go to Repair Pal or Vehicle Fixer and start schmoozing or discussing recipes for Beef Strogonoff instead of asking automotive repair questions and see how quickly nice posters turn hostile.

  2. jymm
    August 20, 2017 at 10:56 am

    Many different Linux OS forums offer different degrees of help. Though I no longer use Zorin (my first Linux OS used) it was the most helpful forum I have ever used. Zorin is geared towards Linux beginners and the Moderators are very patient and helpful. I now dual boot Ubuntu Mate and Debian Mate. The Ubuntu Mate forum lacks a lot of knowledge and Debian is pretty brutal to beginners (while i joined the Debian forum I have never asked a question there).

    Another helpful forum can be Solus. Ikey answers a lot of questions himself, and has some very knowledgeable followers. Just keep it simple and direct there and do not rag on Linux or Solus as Ikey does not tolerate FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Disinformation).

    One of the biggest problems is people on the forum will tell you search the forum for previous posts on your problem, but the search function on most forums sucks. I have never found any success with the search function. Goggling your question works better.

  3. Pierre
    August 19, 2017 at 9:10 am

    and Don't expect Linux to be the same as that Operating System,
    that you came from.. It's not... it's different.. expect that...
    and there will be some things, that won't work. . . . expect that too.
    - - Because it'd Different for several Reasons,, and not just Legal Ones.

  4. fcd76218
    August 18, 2017 at 4:49 pm

    Don't be lazy and ask about every trivial thing, such as 'How do I change my background?' or 'How do I make my printer work?'
    First do an Internet search for your problem.
    Then before posting a question on a forum, search through the questions that already have been asked and answered. There is a good chance somebody already had your problem.
    Be specific about the hardware you are using.
    Be specific about the O/S you are using (distro, version, desktop environment).
    Give as much detail about your problem as possible.

    • azman
      June 17, 2018 at 4:56 am

      The reason came back to Windows was because the Linux forum people are very hostile. Like if you cant even remember this one very little detail get the f out of Linux and go back to your Windows womb. So I did.

      • dragonmouth
        June 17, 2018 at 2:35 pm

        "Linux forum people are very hostile"
        Only to people who expect everything to be done for them. Windows users get just as snippy when continually asked basic questions to which answers can easily be found online. Linux users were not born with expert knowledge of Linux, just as Windows users were not born knowing Windows. If you ever want to learn an O/S, be it Windows, Linux, OS/X or whatever, rather than just run its applications, sooner or late you will have to take off the training wheels and start learning on your own. Whining about others 'not helping' you is like whining that your Mommy refuses to wipe your runny nose.

        • richard
          August 29, 2018 at 3:58 pm

          actually not everyone wants to learn things about computer. mingling with people in general, they just want computer that do the works for them. not the other way round. and i dont blame them. i dont know much about computer. but i found out by mingling about that most people around me dont understand jack about what i know, compared to you tho my knowledge is maybe pretty much laughable. and some of these people who you called lazy may just dont understand anything to begin with. i found that outfrom many around me. met withhostility, they will just find something better to do. tho i dont think that's anyone's loss.