Helping a friend start with linux

My friend recently asked me how to get their head around linux. My first suggestion was to spend some time in installing and uninstalling different distros onto a spare HDD as a starting point to build confidence. Is this good advice? I suggested Ubuntu and Mint as starters.

What else should I suggest to a moderately tech-savvy person who is unfamiliar with linux except for by name?

man man

And also hours of trial and error and googleing

I say start out with Mint, the new versions of Ubuntu are getting less refined. While Mint just keeps getting better, especially for new users. Tips I would give include:

  1. How to use a package manager for software (as opposed to "search the web and hopefully not download a virus").

  2. How to get software not in the default repo, if necessary (PPAs and .deb files).

  3. Don't fear the terminal, it's not that difficult to grasp after knowing a few basic commands.

  4. Check the driver manager, in case WiFi and Nvidia drivers are necessary.

  5. Google your issues, someone out there may have the solution.

  6. Expiriment with the various customizible aspects, like different themes and desktop environments. To find something you like best.

  7. If you are very comfortable with the Ubuntu-based camp of distros, and want to try something new. Use a virtual machine for testing that other distro you were considering.

  8. Only use the Nvidia driver installer from the official website as a last resort. If you can't get the system package manager to install new drivers.


Thank you.

I have a friend who wanted me to install linux on his computer for him because he had a virus on his computer and no longer needed windows whilst he's in his final year at highschool and didn't want to game during the year.

I ran him through the install process and explained/showed him how to do shitloads of things. Pretty much how things work, why it is they work the way they do, and how it makes more sense that way ie. package management, permissions, ownership, groups, users, directory hierarchy, symbolic and hardlinking, inodes, device mounting, partitioning, common/powerful/useful terminal commands etc.

Tell them to get in an IRC were they can have real time help. Google (DuckDuckGo) every thing. In the terminal "man" and "-help" is their friend. Also read up on Unix.

Join the irc chat room for the distribution of choice. It doesn't hurt to join irc chatrooms of other distributions either, and see what people talk about, and ask if you're unsure what they mean.

Use the man comamnd., for example man tar (man= manual).