jamvaru wrote:have patience with the people in the linux community
they are struggling like you
patience is a valuable commodity
you WILL learn and succeed
I like that advice. When i first tried Linux as an OS a couple of years ago, I got so frustrated that I finally admitted defeat, and returned to Windows (ick.) Now, I realize that I had the wrong distro for me, and that I had little patience for things not working no matter how hard I tried. I was stuck in the Windows mentality that it just works the way it does and you learn within those parameters. Linux is way different, and does require patience, a willingness to learn, and read everything you can, a willingness to "break" your machine and start over, but, in the end, you have created the machine for yourself, the way you use it, not some predetermined notion of what features a user would want in a program (how could they even presume, every user is different.) It is total freedom from the constraints of Windows and Mac OS. You can pretty much customize anything to suit your needs, not a corporation's assumption of your needs. How would they know?
I think, this time around, i have a better understanding of open source, of the "democracy" of computing, of the idea that ideas are meant to be shared not sold for profit (the benefit lies in the designing something that works for you and for others, and sharing that as opposed to keeping it under lock and key). I hope at some point to become as proficient as some of the users on this forum, and be able to write my own scripts, my own little programs to do the things that I want the computer to do.
For the complete newbie:
1) Don't let yourself get overwhelmed, you can find the solution to any problem somewhere.
2) Open your mind to the fact that this is your computer, not theirs.
3) Don't be afraid to try. You might "break" your computer, but you can re-install.
4) Get familiar with the uses of commands like "sudo", "apt-get", "add-apt" , "update", "upgrade", "install" ~ you will use these a lot (beware of "autoremove", I think that command's results are unfixable)
5) Prepare to read, read some more, and research. I recommend getting a notebook just for Linux notes so you can refer back instead of trying to hunt down the information again. Amazon has some good inexpensive eBooks for Ubuntu, command line stuff, etc. the For Dummies is about $20.00, and the Linux Bible will set you back about $27.00, however, there are useful books that are in the $0.99 to $10.00 range. If you don't have a Kindle, most of these books are available in hard copy, but they are more expensive. You can try: half.com, alibris.com, and abebooks.com for used versions of the Linux books.
6) Find a distro you like and are comfortable with. Don't switch out distros every few days. Most, if not all, give you the option to "test" before installing. I like Linux Mint 14/Nadia. i have tried Fedora, Linux Mint 11/12/13 (13 with cinnamon desktop, didn't like so much), and Ubuntu. There are tons of distros, there is definitely one for you.
7) As Jamvaru said: Be patient both with the people in the community and, as a side note, be especially patient with yourself. You will learn and you will succeed, you just have to open your mind to the idea of freedom, democratic use, your machine being truly your machine (this is a garbage in, garbage out set-up), you control what your machine does (this is different than MS Windows that basically assumes all users are alike.....some of us like to tweak things), you have complete freedom to build whatever you need.
Everyone was once a newbie, so don't feel like your questions are stupid. Everyone has had to learn, and you do that by asking "stupid" questions. Once you have the basics down, then you can move on to more complicated stuff. So, just remember, everyone here was once a noob, and most, if not all, came from the Windows/Mac mindset. So, open your mind to learning a new way of viewing computing and have fun! It is fun