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Thread: Should I use Arch to gain experience?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
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    87

    Should I use Arch to gain experience?

    Hey guys. How is everyone?

    So...here's the deal. I came to the Linux world about a year and a half ago, give or take, by installing Ubuntu 9.10 on my Netbook (it's what I had on CD at the time) and using it as a replacement for Windows. I follow a lot of Linux news, and tech news in general. In the past couple of years I have learned a LOT. However, i find that I am still pretty "casual". I don't know how to solve more technical type problems. I know my way around user interfaces, and I know some basic terminal commands and stuff, but other than that, I know very little. Would trying to work my way around arch in a virtual machine, and even intentionally breaking my system and repairing it be a good/helpful experience for me? I appreciate any and all input.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    138
    Distro
    Ubuntu

    Re: Should I use Arch to gain experience?

    I personally would recommend giving Slackware a try over Arch, just personal preference. Instead of breaking something just try something new, setup a webserver or ssh server. You can learn from whatever distro, some just require you to start learning right away.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Manchester UK
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    13,634
    Distro
    Ubuntu

    Re: Should I use Arch to gain experience?

    Using Arch would teach you how to use Arch. You can learn about linux with any distro.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    Fukuoka, Japan
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    1,062
    Distro
    Kubuntu 14.04 Trusty Tahr

    Re: Should I use Arch to gain experience?

    Try Linux From Scratch. Or maybe play around with alpha releases?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
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    The Shadow Gallery
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    6,807

    Re: Should I use Arch to gain experience?

    you can learn Linux from any Linux.

    Installing Arch will teach you about Arch as mentioned above.

    You can break any distro and learn how to fix it, doesnt mean the same will apply in another distro.

    As an example if you install slackware and mess up the boot, repairing grub wont do you any good as it uses lilo.

    try every distro, and learn what you need to learn to achieve your goals.

    The command line will stay pretty much the same across all of them as will the filesystem for the most part so fire up a VM and play with whatever you like.

    Peace
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    1,534

    Re: Should I use Arch to gain experience?

    Linux is just a tool. And what you should learn depends on what you want to do with that tool. If you just want a desktop operating system, then there's really no reason to learn the underlying structure. Just use it as an OS and learn to fix any problems that may arise.

    If you want to use Linux as a web server, then you should try setting one up. The distro itself doesn't matter, just setup ssh, Apache, and whatever else you need.

    If you are just interested in computers in general, I'd recommend learning to program. It will teach you much more, you will be able to achieve more impressive results and it will likely be more enjoyable too. You can do some pretty awesome stuff with Python on Linux.

    In my opinion, there's really not much point in being able to install and configure different distros. It's information that any idiot can read in a manual anyway.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    7,749

    Re: Should I use Arch to gain experience?

    Is "how to fix a system that you deliberate broke" a skill that is important to you?

    Or would you rather a system that "just works" so you can get on with other more important work?

    IMHO the reason to use Arch is that it's the best-executed "rolling release" distro (if that kind of thing appeals to you) not that it will "teach you Linux" because you can do that with any distro.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    4,311
    Distro
    Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin

    Re: Should I use Arch to gain experience?

    I have learned an enormous amount by trying to help in the forums. (This is extracted from Full Circle Magazine, issue 37.)

    Here's the approach I use: I log on to the Ubuntu Forums. I click "New Posts", then click "Last" to get messages which are usually an hour or two old. I scan down the column labelled "Replies", looking for posts which have zero replies. I let my mouse hover over the message subject, which displays the first couple of lines of the message. If it looks like something I might be able to help with, I right-click on the subject, and select "open in new tab". Now I'm looking at the message. One of the interesting items is on the left, a line which shows "beans". This is the number of messages the person has written, and if it's less than a dozen, the OP is probably a new user. These are the ones I really try to help in some way, even if I don't have the final solution.

    Quite often, a new user doesn't get any reply to a question because he doesn't provide enough information. Telling the person how to get that information doesn't solve the problem, but it can help the OP move toward the solution. For example, if it's a question about sound, it might be useful to know what sound hardware is in the OP's computer. Usually, the terminal command "lspci" will display the video and sound hardware identification. Likewise, "lsusb" will identify most webcams. Telling the OP how to run the command, and suggesting that he search the forums using that information, will often help him get the solution.

    If you're going to spend time doing this, you have to be good to yourself: recognize that you won't be able to solve every problem. For example, I don't understand Linux permissions well enough to help anyone with them, but I know a lot about hardware. You also have to avoid getting frustrated with people asking the same questions again and again. You can kindly point out to them that a Google search will find the answer, which has been sitting waiting for them all this time. Be nice, and you will add to the number of people using Ubuntu, one at a time.

    A housekeeping note: if you do much of this, you will find yourself "subscribed" to a large number of message threads. You will need to take a few minutes now and then to unsubscribe. Start at "User CP," then near the bottom of the page is "list subscriptions." Once again, we use "Last" to find the message threads which have been inactive for the longest time. Click the "notification" boxes, select "Delete subscription", then "go".

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Beans
    87

    Re: Should I use Arch to gain experience?

    Thank you very much for all of your replies. It's just that I feel like I don't really know how to solve very many problems at all. The only thing I know about is the general usage of interfaces, some very basic terminal commands, etc. I'm not familiar enough with the underlying components of the system to be of any value, and I feel that this is important to me given that I want to have a business selling preloaded Linux computers in the future.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    7,749

    Re: Should I use Arch to gain experience?

    Don't worry too much about it. Plenty of entrepreneurs have founded successful businesses without understanding every technical detail of their product. It is all about assembling a good team whose knowledge/experience compliments your own. Did you know we have a System 76 subforum (vendor of Ubuntu-preinstalled hardware) right here on ubuntuforums? It might be productive to reach out to them to discuss the pros and cons of your business model.

    Just my 2 cents.

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