Five Tips For New Linux Users

Five Tips For New Linux Users


Want to learn Linux? That’s awesome – it’s an incredible operating system, and Linux knowledge is a very valuable skill in the tech sector.

This guide isn’t going to teach you Linux. Blog posts aren’t the best medium for that. What it will do is get you started by helping with some common hang-ups.

Know Your Programs

Let’s kick things off with a bit of advice for users who are making the switch from Windows to Linux – since if you’re reading this, that’s most likely what you’re doing. The first thing you’ll want are some programs to take the place of what you might be used to.

Courtesy of entrepreneur Jay Mayu, here’s a chart to help keep things straight:  

Music Player Window media player Rhythmbox, Banshee
Video Player VLC, Window media player VLC,Totem
Chat Messenger Gtalk, Facebook messenger Empathy,pidgin
Browser Chrome, Firefox Chrome, Firefox (default)
Text Editor NotePad Gedit
Office Suite MS Office Libre Office (popular), Open office
PDF Reader Adobe PDF Reader Document Viewer
Photo Viewer Windows picture and fax viewer Shotwell
Image Editor Photoshop GIMP
Vector Editor Illustrator InkScape


Alternatively, you can use Wine to run most Windows programs on Linux.

Some Useful Commands To Remember

Our next section comes to us courtesy of Linux Explore. You don’t need to know commands to use Linux, but you’re not making the most of Linux without the command line interface. There are three commands in particular that you should know:


  • apropos: Displays a list of commands based on a particular keyword. For example, apropos “download” will give you a list of the commands you can use to download a file.
  • man: Displays the manual page for a particular command, detailing what the command is, what it does, and how it should be used.
  • -h or -help: Similar to man, these commands display the help file for a command (or simply the help file for your distro).


Check Your Distro’s Tutorials

Of course, you’re only going to be able to learn so much with help commands. By far the best way to learn how to use a Linux distro is by checking out its tutorial section (all but the most obscure distros have one). These tutorials will walk you through everything you need to know about your distribution, from beginner’s commands right up to the advanced stuff.

Fair warning, though: some people might find the tutorials make for heavy reading.

Go Online And Ask For Help

When all else fails and you find yourself stuck on a particular command, just remember that there’s a thriving community on the web that’s ready, willing, and able to assist you. From github to official distribution sites to r/linux to IRC, you’ll find no shortage of helpful advice from veterans. Of course, you’ll find plenty of trolls, too. Always check with the official documentation.

Use A Cheat Sheet

Even the most seasoned veterans forget a command or two every now and then – which is why cheat sheets are such valuable resources for Linux users at every level, from first-time enthusiasts straight up to sysadmins. There are plenty of great cheat sheets out there, so my advice is to do a bit of digging and find one that’s a good fit for you.

Closing Thoughts

Linux can seem intimidating to first-timers, but it doesn’t have to be. By tapping into the right resources and taking stock of a few useful tips and tricks, you can navigate your way through your early days. Once you’ve done that, all you need to do is keep moving forward, and pretty soon you’ll wonder how you ever found the OS difficult in the first place.

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