The Debian Jones Project

©2005 Keith R. George, Jr -- fair use applies.
Debian is a registered trademark of Software in the Public Interest, Inc.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

What is a Linux Power Newbie?

Linux Power Newbie (LPN) is nothing more than a cute term I that I coined for a Linux beginner who has the power to install his or her own system.

Installation is ultimate power. When you know you can install a new system, you can try anything, sample any new distro with impunity. You can also fix just about anything, because installation is the ultimate repair kit. When you can install just about anything. For system repairs, reinstalling is a rather blunt instrument, but it works, and it works in a whole lot of circumstances. And, as Robert Blake used to say in his old STP commercials, that's the name of that tune!

This means that you can learn Linux from the perspective of getting your hands on it, and not from reading about getting your hands on it. And that's the name of this tune!

Of course, when you reformat your hard drive for an install, you lose all your data, and that can be inconvenient, to say the least. In the beginning, you're going to want to be practicing your installing on a second computer, something cheap and low-end that you picked up somewhere. You can usually pick up a low-end Pentium class computer for under a hundred bucks, if you know where to look, and are just a little bit lucky. My first Linux computer cost me forty dollars at a garage sale, and came with a very decent monitor. Later on, you're going to want to back up your data, which, of course, is always a good habit to get into.

Someday, as you grow in knowledge and are satisfied that you have found the greatest Linux distro, you're not going to need to install your system all the time, just as Keith Richard probably doesn't have to spend hours practicing scales any more. That's how you need to think about installing for a linux beginner. It's like practicing the scales for a beginning musician.

Is it hard to install Linux? If you've never installed an operating system before, you might think so. If you try to read your average Linux installation tutorial, it probably won't convince you otherwise. That's why I can't emphasize the following enough: In my opinion, and barring extraordinary circumstances, installing your average Linux operating system is much, much easier than reading your average Linux installation tutorial! That's why, when I write my own documentation for installing Debian, it's not going to be a traditional "tutorial" so much as a supplement-- an introduction, a reference, an appendix-- to the most direct and concise tutorial possible, the debian-installer program itself. Coming soon to this blog!

Is installing Linux time-consuming? It's like making a cake from a mix, which is time consuming for your oven, but not really for you. Likewise, installing Linux may take up a lot of your computer's time, but not your time... This is another reason why a second computer for learning is a very good idea. More on this later.


  • At 12:51 PM, Blogger BW said…

    Two computers? Why stop there? I have this laptop (Win XP), my old laptop (p3 750, ubuntu), Rigel, the desktop I built (Slack 10, 2.6.9), and the compaq desktop that doesn't work over in the corner... ;-)



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