Absolute Beginner Guide: I need help!

Ubuntu Linux is one of the distributions where ‘Out Of The Box’ is a fact. I don’t know any other distribution which is capable of recognizing as much hardware and what not by default. Except recognizing a lot of hardware which is a good feature, Ubuntu Linux is a very transparent distribution. If it comes down to getting in depth or solving a problems it’s relatively easier to understand and solve than with other distributions.This is my Absolute Beginner Guide which is here to solve the number problem before you can solve the rest! As in normal life you have to know what is going on, to what your problem is related, how to search for a solution, where to search for a solution and how to ask people to help you. All this and more is important if you want problems to be solved quickly and easily.– Know what you are using!A lot of people hear about Ubuntu. They hear nice stories, they hear interesting features and more what makes them curious. But just beginning on a voyage knowing it is a GNU/Linux distribution isn’t enough. Especially if you are a real Absolute Beginner! First, read and learn about GNU/Linux in common. Try to find out why it’s different, read about it’s variations and it’s development methods. If you are planning to install Ubuntu Linux for the first time or you’ve just installed, please read the articles I’ve linked below here. They will help you understand not only the history and important names, they will also show you the fundamentals and principles of something more than just commercial applications and products.- LinuxLinux KernelOpen SourceProprietary SoftwareFree Software FoundationGPLGNUSource CodeLinus TorvaldsRichard StallmanMark ShuttleworthShuttleworth FoundationNow that you know more about GNU/Linux, Ubuntu, GPL and Open Source than you ever did before I think you will be looking from a different point of view towards Ubuntu Linux or any other distribution. Now, after installing Ubuntu and running into some problems you know why you want to solve them and keep using Ubuntu Linux.– How to recognize a problem? Pretty simple you must be thinking. Well, if it would be so, I wouldn’t have posted it in this guide. Switching from one Operating System to an other is a major step. As soon as you login the first time into your newly installed Operating System your orientation is completely gone. All buttons and menu’s where you are used to have are gone. There’s also no start button or logo to click on. Every menu has an other name and all of it takes time to adapt to. Technically Microsoft Windows and GNU/Linux distributions differ very much. So you can’t use the same software you used on Windows for example and you can’t use all the drivers you’ve been using under an other OS. Is that a problem? No. GNU/Linux distributions offer a lot of other applications which can replace their Windows counterparts. But what could be a problem is hardware for example. I have an Epson Stylus DX3850 and I couldn’t get it to work. I forgot to check the Epson website for drivers. After a few minutes I found out the printer is ONLY supported on Microsoft Windows, not even Mac OS X. So that isn’t a problem which can be solved by the community for you. If you can’t get your handheld working for example, try to search Google if there is a solution. If not, well than it also isn’t a problem, it’s just not possible.What is a problem? Well, what if you have an other computer at home with Microsoft Windows on it. But you can’t see the machine over the network using Samba. That is a problem!So you see, there is a big difference between something you can find out really quickly yourself and things you really can’t explain or fix.– Where to find help?A lot of people tend to use Google. That’s nothing bad but there are better solutions. The Ubuntu community has created it’s own resources and documents covering everything from A to Z. It’s always the best to search first through the resources of the community (whether it’s Ubuntu you use or an other distribution). Because problems and manuals are always being released first on the communities network. Search engines pick them up weeks, sometimes months later.Before you are going to hit everything the community has, stop! Just think for a while about what you want! Do you want to know more? Do you want to know the definition? Do you want to solve a problem? Because it are all different things. Below here you will find a lot of resources available for questioning and searching. But take a look what kind of resources it are!- System Documentation (Local Computer -> System -> Help -> System Documentation)This is a documentation about Ubuntu in specific for the absolute Beginner. It tells you about the desktop, the menu’s, applications and everything you see in front of you. It tells you how to add and remove software, it tells you how to update your installation and so on. So basically, this is an Ubuntu manual. Will you find solutions to problems here? I doubt so. This resource tells you how to use, not to solve.- Online Documentation (Local Computer -> System -> Help -> Online Documentation)Also here you won’t find solution to problem. But as with the system documentation you will find knowledge which can always come in handy! But the Online Documentation has one big plus for the absolute beginner. It features the ‘community docs’. These complementary documents have been written by Windows users, Mac OS X users and more people who switched. In there documents they tell you how they adapted themselves to work as efficiently in Ubuntu as they did on their previous Operating System.Ubuntu Online DocumentationUbuntu Community Docs (Complementary)- The Ubuntu WikiguideNow this is yet another great example of Open Source. In this Wiki you will find a lot of community written guides and how-to’s. So if you didn’t got your wifi working yet, just enter wifi in the search field and hit the return button. The Wiki doesn’t solves problems, it tries to prevail them. If you follow the directions and actions as described you will most likely be able to easily get hardware working and services such as Samba working properly!Ubuntu WikiguideBut what if you have a real problem. You followed a guide and you even searched on Google’s special Linux search page? The best option is to sign up with the official Ubuntuforums. There you will be able to both search for a solution and ask for help (if still necessary). But forums are something different than other static resources. They are filled with users, respected users sometimes even guru’s and what not. In order to be helped you must respect the rules of the forum and the community using it.– How to ask for help?Please read the following very carefully and try to remember it. Much (not all) will depend on how you act and provide information. If you do it correctly and by the rules, help will be overwhelming. This is actually the same at a lot of forums.- I’ve signed up, now help me!Wrong! First of all start thinking about your problem. “My internet connection does not work”. This is a bad example. Being able to use internet depends of quite some factors. For instance if your ‘wifi’ card isn’t being recognized, that’s one keyword! So now it’s not anymore: “My internet connection does not work” but “I have problems with my wifi card”. Still this is too vague. Imagine thousands of people posting such threads. How on earth will you be able to find a similar problem. So let us continue. You can’t get it installed, you’ve tried a guide to install wifi drivers but during a command an error appears which isn’t being covered by the guide! That’s a lot more of information. Now we can make out of it: “Error while installing drivers wifi card.” The only keyword left is the brand and model of the wifi card.Here you go, now you have quite some keywords which will make searching for the similar problem and the solution much easier.- I couldn’t find it using the search, PLEAZZZZZZZ HELP ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!This is a really bad way to ask for help! After you couldn’t find a solution using the search function there is one more thing you have to do before posting. You have to select the right forum where to start your thread and read the RULES of that forum section!You might ask yourself: “Why has everything got be done by those rules.” It’s very simple! By keeping everything organized, by names and specific problem descriptions it won’t be necessary to cover one type of problem thousands of times. In the future people with the same problem will be forwarded to your post for example or people will use the search and find your post and the solution right there.- I am waiting for ages, why won’t somebody reply?If you ignore forum rules, that’s what you will get. But even if you did everything according the book you have to realize one thing. A lot of people within the community are using Linux mostly at home, in their free time. So that’s also exactly the time when they are able to help somebody else. Also, some problems are weird, rare, badly described. For somebody who has to invest his own time to help others not every problem is a known problem or understood problem. So always try to be as precise as possible. If you get an error, copy the whole error into you thread. If you have written a script or you are using a command, post the whole command and script with the output. It will only help!So if you keep these forums rules in front of you, problems will usually be solved quite quickly.Ubuntu Web ForumsUbuntu Web Forums (Other Languages)So basically, if you have a problem, a question or whatever surf through this document and you will find a resource which offers the right content for you.

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