Petter Adsen petter at
Mon Nov 23 08:44:44 UTC 2015

On Sun, 22 Nov 2015 21:34:17 -0500
Scott Blair <scott.blair at> wrote:

> I joined this list for two reasons. The second was for help. Thank
> you for all the help I have gotten. The first was to learn more about
> Linux and Ubuntu. However, I am not near the level you all are that
> provide the answers. I know how to install, update, add programs,
> remove them. I do not have, what I would consider, a firm grasp on
> files and directories or where programs install to and how to edit
> config files without what to put in it and where. i would love be
> really good at the terminal, so I could know what to put in the
> terminal to find out how things are working and if they are right. I
> consider myself to be above beginner and just a little bit below
> average. The books I have found either are for a beginner, that start
> out telling how to install, or too far above my level. What books do
> you recommend for someone in my position?

Take a look at the Debian Administrator's Handbook at - you can read the book online, download a
PDF or purchase a print copy. I would recommend the latter. It is a
very thorough book, and most of the stuff in it will also apply to
Ubuntu. I find it to be very helpful.

There is also the Debian Reference, but as the name implies, it is
more of a reference than an introductory guide. It can still be very
helpful, so it's worth being aware of. You can find it at

I'm not sure what other books to recommend, other than that I've always
been happy with the O'Reilly books - they tend to be thorough. It's
been a few years since I last bought one, though, but they used to be
very good - the series with animals on the covers have been widely
regarded as among the best there are for a long time.

One thing to note, though; among the newer Linux books that have come
out in the last years, there is a *lot* of trash. If I were to buy one,
I would look for one by someone who is active in the Linux community to
support their work, and one that gets good reviews in several places.
The Debian Administrator's Handbook is a good example.

Others have already mentioned The Linux Documentation Project, which
has some nice things. Most of the HOWTOs are quite outdated, but some
are still relevant. At you can find the
Bash Guide for Beginners and the Advanced Bash Scripting Guide - the
latter is very good.

Make sure you read man pages if you need to know something, 'apropos'
can help you find the pages you need. For the GNU tools there are also
'info' pages, the bash pages in particular are thorough. 'man apropos'
and 'man info' will get you started. Make sure to check the 'See Also"
section at the bottom of man pages if a page doesn't give you the
answers you need, as most of the time everything you need to know is

Another thing I would recommend is that you set up a virtual machine or
container with a second installation that you can play around and
experiment with. If you mess up something too badly to recover, you can
just wipe it and install again without interfering with your main
system. Something like virt-manager is easy to use for setting up
virtual machines, Fedora has good documentation for it at:

I hope this will help you get started, just ask if you need more
suggestions or information. :)

Good luck,


"I'm ionized"
"Are you sure?"
"I'm positive."

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