As most linux distros and unix systems share a common history, many
commands are similar but have more or less options.  If you want to
experiment with linux distro's, I can recommend trying out VirtualBox
[1] , which is now distributed by sun.  It is free for non-comercial
use (teaching yourself sounds non commercial to me), and gives you a
chance to try installing several operating systems without having to
worry about trashing your existing (host) system.

In terms of the absolute basics for moving round the system and seeing
what is going on, I would recommend the following commands

bash - use a bash shell which has handy command history and command
completion with the tab key
cd - change directory
ls - list the contents of a direcory
vi - to read, create and edit files.
less - view even very big files easily, and uses standard vi commands
to navigate

The easiest way to learn is through doing, playing and making
mistakes. - and being forced to learn because you HAVE to do something
is a great catalyst to knew knowledge. :)



2008/6/14 Peter Keane <[log in to unmask]>:
> I would second the previous suggestions to install Linux. I wouldn't do
> it as a dual-boot or virtual server (a la vmware), but rather get a used
> pc -- we have a Discount Computer store here in Austin that has stacks
> of old Dell desktops in the $50-$75 dollar range which would be fine
> as a Linux machine -- colleges/universities commonly surplus such
> computers. Choose a distribution (some are so easy to install nowadays
> that you might not learn much!) -- perhaps Debian would be a good
> choice. There are a couple books that I especially like: Michael Stutz's
> "Linux Cookbook" on No Starch press, for instance. No Starch also has a
> book called the "Debian System" that I'll bet is good. If you are really
> brave and have some time on your hands, you might try a distribution
> like Gentoo, which forces you to compile all of the software. They
> happen to have superb documentation as well. Just the process of
> installing the operating system is a useful execise. Other highly
> regarded distributions are Ubuntu, Fedora (both easy to instal), Arch
> Linux (a real hacker's distribution), and others. One of the nice things
> about a dedicated machine is that you can *really* mess up (and you will
> ;-)) and always have the opportunity to erase the hard drive and start
> over.
> My all-time favorite resource/road-map for getting more unix
> saavy is Eric Raymond's "How To Become a Hacker" available at
> --peter keane
>> Hello all,
>> I realize this is a bit off-topic for this list, but I'm hoping someone
>> might have some advice or recommendations for me concerning Unix training.
>> I moved from cataloging to our systems position two years ago. At the time,
>> we were on a maintenance contract with our ILS vendor, meaning I only needed
>> to do very basic things with the server (my job primarily entailed running
>> reports against our data and working with some other locally developed
>> Access applications.)
>> Last summer, we joined a consortium and migrated our catalog to their
>> servers, and would like to do something else now with the server we were
>> previously using for our ILS, probably along the lines of archiving locally
>> produced media on it.
>> But I obviously need more training.  It's a Sun box, running Oracle 9, and
>> I've looked at several companies that do short term classroom training
>> (i.e., ( )), but I've
>> also been considering online coursework, either by Sun (
>> or, perhaps O'Reilly
>> I learn pretty well on my own (I figured out by myself most of the basic
>> Unix stuff in respect to copying and moving files, working with vi, working
>> with the crontab, etc.) but would want any course I sign up for to have an
>> instructor to ask questions of.
>> Does anyone have any experience with any of these programs they'd be
>> willing to share?
>> I'm sending this to several lists, so apologies for cross-posting.
>> Cindee Phillips
>> [log in to unmask]
>> Library Systems Administrator
>> Rolfing Library/Trinity International University
>> Deerfield, IL, 60015 / (847)317-4021

Tim Hodson