Don't let my username fool you. I'm actually a relative Linux newb who's just eager to hit runlevel 3 and stay there unless he absolutely has no choice about using the startx command--selectively, of course.
I'm also a bit of a refugee from Slackware 14.0. I tried my hardest to figure out that distro, but for somebody who doesn't already know every command known to man (pun intended), Slackware is just too tough to get off the ground. As you're probably aware, the current state of the apropos command is almost a crime against beginners, because the standard output of that command can cause a newb to become confined to a mental health facility within two weeks of starting to learn Linux; yet, for someone trying to learn GNU commands on his own, apropos is just about the only tool available to figure out what command to type as an argument to man and info. I stared at command not found errors for a full week before deciding to save my sanity and flattening my slackware directories and installing Mint 14 Cinnamon. (And if what I'm saying is confusing you, Slackware 14.0's install defaults to booting at runlevel 3 right at first boot, with only a root account, so that you have to know how to create a limited user account on the command line even to begin using that distro. Now, that's rough! It doesn't help that Slackware 14.0 was released in late 2012 but the official user guide, Slackbook 2.0, was last revised in 2006. Such is the world of Linux.)
I'm pursuing a number of formal educational options. I finished more than two full years of academic college as a total humanities artsy before the subjectivity of humanities disciplines started to get to me and I began to look for something more solidly grounded in the concrete. So, in January, I'll be taking the entry-level computer science department course, called "Introduction to Computer Programming," which explores the rudiments of programming and teaches the basics of Python over the course of four months. After that there's a second Python course that gets into actual code creation for another four months, but it requires concurrent math courses, and I'm likely to need remedial math through a non-credit summer course first. If that doesn't work out, a community college offers a self-paced, online distance learning course leading to Linux+ certification, and I'm eligible to take it, but it's really intended for working system administrators and could be too demanding. Then there's a fun website called Codeacademy that receives funding through donations from rich people and embedded advertising to offer totally free of charge and obligation tutorial-style courses in various programming languages, including HTML, Java, and, yes, Python. Finally, I've been reading and re-reading Machelt "Tille" Garrels' Intro to Linux
, which to my eye is the best beginner Linux book I've yet found. I started off with the 2006 edition, then found a 2008 edition, and then finally managed to locate his most recent website at tille.garrels.be, where he offers a paged HTML-only edition dated 2010, which appears to be the latest one he ever did. I've gone through the first six chapters and am about to start on the really interesting stuff once I plug the holes in my knowledge of what I've already read. From my preliminary glance at chapter 7, it looks a lot like I'll have to spend some time on Codeacademy's Python course so I have some idea how to read scripts before I seriously start studying chapter 7, which appears to be crammed full of script samples but contains no information on script syntax, just explanations of what processes the scripts trigger and what those processes do.