What should I know/read/do to get started with Linux (Ubuntu)

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QUESTION :

I am a Windows user. I work as a web developer. I would like to start using Linux, slowly perhaps as my main OS. I would like to know more abt Linux, like what Anti-Virus/Firewalls are recommended (if needed?) abit more abt the shell commands. And in general, how do what I do in Windows map to Linux

ANSWER :

There are a number of places to go for this.
Here is one:

https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Beginners/FAQ

You could likely take a “unix” course at a local community college, to learn the command line commands.

And, as you will see on the Ubuntu site, it is easy to download Ubuntu and install it in dual-boot mode on your existing system – although it would be nice to have the two side-by-side to avoid rebooting.

Linux comes with a firewall already, and generally you won’t bother with an anti-virus to start with. I am sure there are some anti-virus out there for Linux but you very rarely see anyone mention such a thing.

Start out setting up Apache web server on Windows, and almost everything you do on that should be transportable to Apche on Linux. That might be a way to start becoming familiar with the whole environment.

For what it is worth, I’m trying to get started with linux using it as a guest os with something like virtual box. Networking seems to be troubling me a bit on the guest but otherwise playing with shell and stuff it reduces the risk of doing something crazy that i may regret.

For beginners, ubuntu (http://www.ubuntu.com/) and its derivatives are probably the best place to start. It’s new-user friendly without completely hiding linux from you. So you can start learning about linux as you use it. I would start with standard ubuntu, then try some of the derivatives like linux mint. After a few months of experience, try something like fedora/debian so you can learn more about how the linux ecosystem works.

After about a year, if you really want to know as much as you can about the inner-workings of linux, start with something like arch linux, which isn’t recommended for beginners (unless you are very patient and okay with taking the risk of breaking your system, I was and learned quite a bit from that).

Security-wise, linux has firewall management software that manages its built-in firewall. I haven’t seen any that add a different one to it, although there may be those too. Linux viruses are very rare but they do exist, one pops up every few years. From what I know, doesn’t affect a lot of people and being open-source means the fix will probably be supplied within a very short period of time. You probably don’t need it, but anti-virus software is available.

Clam-av is one good one; it is command-line based by default but also has a graphical version. AVG and Avast also have linux versions. There’s a pretty good summarization here: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Antivirus.

If you are web-developer, you have probably heard of LAMP: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LAMP_(software_bundle)), here’s a ubuntu-guide to setting it up: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/ApacheMySQLPHP but I would highly advise getting at least a couple of months of linux experience before trying it.

Some good sources of Linux information:

http://tldp.org/ – Covers pretty much everything.

For getting into the command-line, which you will want to for sure: http://www.linuxcommand.org/

The Arch Linux wiki is also a good place for advanced linux installation and configuration info: http://wiki.archlinux.org/

p.s. sorry if this is like information overload…

dedoimedo.com has tons of information, reviews and tutorials about a lot of stuff. Reading around there got me hooked and getting comfortable to install Linux (Mint Julia) and since then other distros.

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