Suggestions for Beginners FAQ

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Mez
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Suggestions for Beginners FAQ

#1 Post by Mez »

Obviously, as the forum's just been created, there's no such thing as "Frequently Asked" just yet.

Anyone have any suggestions for what could go into this?

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julian67
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Re: Suggestions for Beginners FAQ

#2 Post by julian67 »

A reference and link to the Debian Wiki. Possibly even highlighting the wireless section would ease the passage of a very high proportion of new users.

A reference and link to Debian Reference as well as mention that it can be installed on the user's machine and be available offline, possibly even step by step guide on installing (also makes a nice illustration of how to install software).

A link to http://www.debian.org/ as I'm sure some people download from a link at somewhere like distrowatch, at least I've come across people who seem never to have visited debian.org before installing Debian.

Maybe a link to http://www.debian.org/doc/FAQ/ because that has well written plain English answers to some stuff that comes up over and over.

A link to the Debian related Firefox search plug-ins at http://mycroft.mozdev.org/search-engine ... ame=debian because the Google based search plug-in works much better than the forum search, and there are some other good ones too.

Some other stuff.
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Re: Suggestions for Beginners FAQ

#3 Post by julian67 »

Flash. Flash seems to come up every day, usually more than once (at least twice today and counting).

As the metapackage is in contrib in testing and in backports for stable there could be a howto for Lenny. Testing is pretty much a one liner.
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Re: Suggestions for Beginners FAQ

#4 Post by julian67 »

Another astounding brainwave:

People often have trouble with wireless (and sometimes newer wired) interfaces during install.

This leaves them with an incomplete sources.list. They probably won't have understood the message offered by the installer at the time and may not even realise their sources.list is incomplete. Even if they do realise what happened there is no obvious way to remedy this, so a networking issue has quickly turned into an "I can't install software" issue. So perhaps an example sources.list would be helpful, one for stable and one for testing, and a link to the mirrors, so new users can get the syntax right.
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Re: Suggestions for Beginners FAQ

#5 Post by Tadeas »

There was a discussion about something similar some time ago. Like that time, I suggest something like this, or at least check it for inspiration:
http://forums.gentoo.org/viewforum-f-40 ... 19ab02a6d5
It's a FAQ section of the Gentoo forums. I've found it pretty useful when I was a newbie in Gentoo...
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Re: Suggestions for Beginners FAQ

#6 Post by Bulkley »

Here's one of my favourite tips for beginners and vets too. I plug error messages into Google to see what comes up. More often than not someone else has had the same problem and found a solution. When troubleshooting, Google is your friend.

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Re: Suggestions for Beginners FAQ

#7 Post by Raffles10 »

Absent Minded has covered Google in 'What we expect you have already done'. :wink:
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Re: Suggestions for Beginners FAQ

#8 Post by julian67 »

Raffles10 wrote:Absent Minded has covered Google in 'What we expect you have already done'. :wink:
I think the point being made was that posting verbatim i.e. copy+paste of error messages gives very good specific hits. New users are going to have trouble identifying and describing an issue in their own words or formulating a reasonable search query, but pasting an error message word for word into a search engine can be very effective.
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Re: Suggestions for Beginners FAQ

#9 Post by Absent Minded »

These are some good things I see here. I would like to point you to the fallowing thread so you may make some suggestions to our new members directly:
http://forums.debian.net/viewtopic.php?f=30&t=47080

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Re: Suggestions for Beginners FAQ

#10 Post by Telemachus »

julian67 wrote:I think the point being made was that posting verbatim i.e. copy+paste of error messages gives very good specific hits. New users are going to have trouble identifying and describing an issue in their own words or formulating a reasonable search query, but pasting an error message word for word into a search engine can be very effective.
Yup. I'm frequently amazed how easily I can solve someone else's problem - even if I know zero about the issue - by doing exactly that. So many times a double-quoted chunk of an error message will lead you straight to a mailing list or forum post that gives exactly what you need.
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Re: Suggestions for Beginners FAQ

#11 Post by vrkalak »

How about: FAQ about:
1. How-to's for changing from Lenny to testing to Sid to experimental? (and back)
2. Repositories and backports and such?
3. Adding, updating, upgrading, installing, deleting ... most anything or everything?

I have been using Debian (testing) - Xfce ... and I still have questions. Common questions. Sometimes about 'basic' stuff.

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Re: Suggestions for Beginners FAQ

#12 Post by julian67 »

vrkalak wrote:How about: FAQ about:
1. How-to's for changing from Lenny to testing to Sid to experimental? (and back)
2. Repositories and backports and such?
3. Adding, updating, upgrading, installing, deleting ... most anything or everything?

I have been using Debian (testing) - Xfce ... and I still have questions. Common questions. Sometimes about 'basic' stuff.
How about discouraging beginners from even attempting migrating to sid?
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Re: Suggestions for Beginners FAQ

#13 Post by mojoman »

Fonts come up every now and then so links to information on how to tweak them might be good.

Of course the perennial question on where firefox is (and thunderbird etc) is something that might be answered in the beginners section.

nVidia and ATI drivers. Especially nVidia comes up often.
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Re: Suggestions for Beginners FAQ

#14 Post by oswaldkelso »

This is an effort to give a basic overview of the Debian system and frequently asked questions and how people new to Debian can help them selves as much as possible. Also to explain what is expected of new users in terms of forum etiquette and effort. People here are friendly and helpful but due to the very nature of Debian you are expected to put effort into solving any problems you encounter. This is an effort to get you under way in how to be a good community member and contribute something back! If after trying something you do get stuck or are worried you may do damage or loose data, please post. No one here would want you to wipe out your wedding photos for the sake of asking.

In my effort here, I'll layout my concept. I'll try and make this guide be as sequential as possible. So new users get a basic grasp of things in order in a few sentences with more detailed answers in the links. Basically “Bite sized chunks” linking to FAQ or good how to's that already exist. Maybe some existing how to's should be incorporated? Should info in this refer to “stable only”? Should it at freeze time be updated from info in the forums? Anyway I'll bash on.

A beginners guide to Debian

The basics.

What is Debian?
Debian is an operation system similar to Microsoft windows and Mac OSX. It has several major differences. It's Free it terms of liberty and cost and you are free to contribute to it. Due to the number of different architectures it runs on, it's flexibility and power it is referred to as “The Universal operating system”
http://www.debian.org/intro/about
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Debian
http://d-i.alioth.debian.org/manual/en. ... 01s03.html


Debian gives you the choice of several kernels the most popular being the Linux kernel. The kernel is the software that interacts between your physical hardware and passes information to your application software. Debian tweaks the vanilla kernel for you. but you can make your own modifications with tools Debian provide or use a vanilla kernel.
http://www.kernel.org/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linux_kernel

Many of the programmes used to write applications were created using the GNU tools.
http://www.gnu.org/ All the software in the Debian system is free software that complies with the Debian Free Software Guidelines.(DFSG) http://www.debian.org/social_contract#guidelines

The Debian project recognises the valuable input of both the GNU system and Linux kernel in the full name of the Debian OS. “Debian GNU/Linux”.

How owns Debian? You could say “No one” or “You do”. Unlike most other distributions there is no company or magnanimous dictator behind it. It's users create it and share it. This is why you are encouraged to give back by what ever means you can. Be it programming, graphic design, documentation or sharing you knowledge in the forum.
http://www.debian.org/social_contract

To find out more about Debian finances see here. If you can only give back money. That's fine too.
http://www.debian.org/donations
http://www.spi-inc.org/

Applications that are deemed stable and free enough to be in the Debian system are stored on “repositories” (servers) that are mirrored (duplicated) around the world. Here is a list of official Debian mirrors.
http://www.debian.org/mirror/list There are unofficial mirrors also. These may hold software that has possible paten issues in the USA where Debian is based. These issues may not apply in your country. Some DVD and mp3 software are examples that are not in the official but readily available.


Getting Debian.
http://www.debian.org/distrib/
Most people will have i386 computers, but not all!. As a new user your first task is to make sure you gather as much detail as you can about you system. If you still using another OS use that to gather as much info as you can. Information like Processor type, Graphics card make and model, HD type, is it an ide drive, SCSI, etc. Your network card and wifi, Your monitor, find out what screen resolutions it supports. In short gather as much info as you can on you hardware and write it down or print it out.

Getting-installing software: Apt:aptitude:dpkg:

The graphical display (X window system):

The command line:
http://linuxcommand.org/


Finding information:
man pages
docs
How to search the forum and the web
the wiki

The basic system file structure:

/
etc/
usr
etc.........

The concept of Root and user:


Desktop environments: The concept.

Desktop environments: available repackaged on CD

Gnome:
KDE:
XFCE: and LXDE:

Desktop environments: available from the repositories.

E16
E17

Building your own system with a net install:

Window mangers: The concept:

Available window managers:

File managers: The concept:

Available file managers:

Printing:

Fonts:

Networking:

Ethernet:

Wifi:

Samba:

NFS:

SSH:

FTP:

Graphics drivers:

Free:

Non Free:

ATI:
http://wiki.debian.org/ATIProprietary

Nvidia:
http://wiki.debian.org/NvidiaGraphicsDrivers

I don't want carry on if people think the idea is no good. If there seems to be a general liking for it I'll keep going adding stuff and suitable links. Obviously I'm no word-smith, so suggestions for improvements, deletions and additions welcome.
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Ash init thrakatulûk agh burzum-ishi krimpatul.

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nadir
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Re: Suggestions for Beginners FAQ

#15 Post by nadir »

if you ask me: go on!
some bold headlines would be nice, so the several points are more easy to find (for the more confused of us, like me)
like in this proposal
http://forums.debian.net/viewtopic.php? ... 80#p269160
which i like too. (the post by craigevil, im not the foo-master of setting a link :oops: )

edit: there have been very much good lists of links and other things been posted today. what i like bout craigevils is that its easy to find the problem im looking for. might be for other posts its the same, i havent read all yet.

---
you may wanna add the kernel-how-tos from forums.debian.net-how-to section to your kernel-links,:
http://forums.debian.net/viewtopic.php? ... 25&start=0
http://forums.debian.net/viewtopic.php?t=17035&start=0
they have earned it :-)
and perhaps the one from debians wiki (which contains a linux-kernel-howto too):
http://wiki.debian.org/Kernel
and kernel-newbies:
http://kernelnewbies.org/
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Re: Suggestions for Beginners FAQ

#16 Post by oswaldkelso »

Thanks for the feed back. I'll do as suggested. I'd noticed "Tips from our Members" thread and can link to sections where it makes sense. I doubt I'll have time to do much more until Monday and many things I know naff all about. I was trying to not have to many links in each section but if someone more wordy and knowledgeable than my self has better ideas great.
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Re: Suggestions for Beginners FAQ

#17 Post by oswaldkelso »

I'd just like to inform the forum that the beginners guide is being brought in-house. A table of contents has been created to allow better navigation and is sitting in draft form ready to be up dated. If all goes well the single forum post that exceeds the size limit allowed will be replaced by a multipost version. This should happen as soon as Mez gets the time The new version has the user "beginners guide" which is just a generic name for the group that created the original guide.

Cheers
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Ash init thrakatulûk agh burzum-ishi krimpatul.

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Re: Suggestions for Beginners FAQ

#18 Post by dmhdlr »

A tutorial on the /etc/apt/sources.list would be very helpful for Ubuntu emigres who were shielded from the sight of one by the Ubuntu Software Center, and have no idea what the .list is, what it should look like, how to edit it, etc.
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Re: Suggestions for Beginners FAQ

#19 Post by Sergio »

I do not think so.

You do not need to edit it unless you want to install something special. But in that case you always get a hint that you have to add something to your sources.list. In most cases people even say something like "sudo vi /etc/apt/sources.list". So a real tutorial is not necessarily.
An explanation about "squeeze", "main", "non-free", "contrib" in simple matter would make much more sense. Also the thing about "key ring" (or what ever you call it) for verification, how it works and how to use it in a safe matter would be much more interesting.

I actually believe there are already some topics on that, even if they are outdated or a bit too technical.

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Re: Suggestions for Beginners FAQ

#20 Post by Revenger »

Then you may need tutorial how to use vi/nano (Because of same reason as above) and a tutorial HOW NOT to use sudo, but su, or root login (via console).
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