Just a brief disclaimer before we move on: I don’t consider myself an expert where Linux is concerned. On the contrary; I’m green as grass and fully aware of that fact. As such, this piece is as much a point of reference for all of you fine folks as it is for me – after all, I’m still finding my way, as well.
Getting started with Linux can be an intimidating experience, at first. Whereas most other operating systems grant the user a certain degree of hand-holding, Linux effectively turns them loose and says “do as you will.”
Although certain distros do feature GUIs; the majority of them – and those which often provide what some refer to as a the ‘true’ Linux experience – are command-line all the way. As such, it’s a bloody easy thing to get lost amongst all the code.
Here are a few helpful tips I’ve discovered – perhaps they’ll help you find your way through.
Use root user privileges carefully
This is something you should remember on pretty much every operating system, but it’s doubly true on Linux. Just as someone with administrative privileges can irreparably bork up a Windows operating system, a root user can completely trash their Linux rig. Unless you’re extremely confident in what you’re doing, set a password for the root user – that way, whenever you’re entering in code that requires root privileges to execute (read: it will make a permanent change to your system); you’ll be prompted for a password.
An antivirus isn’t strictly necessary
…but it is recommended.
Linux is an inherently secure operating system, and as a result, there aren’t really any viruses out there specifically designed to infect it. Unfortunately, it can still be infested with Windows viruses as easily as any other system – the only difference is that on Linux you can unknowingly carry these viruses, spreading them to Windows PCs while your own system remains relatively unharmed.
There is no “right way” to do something
…but there are better and worse ways.
One of the biggest draws of Linux is its openness – you can pretty much carry out a task in whatever fashion you see fit. So long as you know what you’re doing, you’ll eventually complete said task. The power of Linux lies in the freedom it grants to its users – you’ve got the tools to get to the result you’re looking for, and the capability to make the process better.
Participating in the community is richly rewarding
There is, unsurprisingly, a thriving community of Linux developers and enthusiasts online. If you’re planning on delving deep into the operating system, it’d definitely be a good idea to get involved with other Linux users online. You’ll find support for any problems you might come across, tips and tricks for how better to use the OS, and you’ll probably even make a few friends along the way.
A list of basic commands
Which can be found here.