Where to begin with linux- my background.

December 16, 2010 at 22:10:33
Specs: Microsoft Windows XP Professional, 1.596 GHz / 1013 MB
My objective:
Immediate: To be able to use linux (Hardy 8.04 LTS) effectively with external custom hardware
Long term: To develop small applications

My Background: I started off as an electronics hobbyist, which i still am. Around 25 yrs ago I moved into microprocessors and have done a fair amount of assembly language programming on the X-86 machines, primarily for hardware interfacing.

As the instruction set became more vast and complicated, so did the programming tools and I had to drop out of mainstream ALP. Meanwhile I took an interest in NI's LabVIEW programming and did some satisfying H/W and S/W projects at work in that area.

I have been keeping myself abreast of OOP and guess I know the basic concepts.

Now I have become aware of this inner urge to do some power programming in Linux, more so because the architecture is still Intel. This is my personal need. I am nearing the end of my career, so my profession does not demand this. This approach also seems to be the way to go for people with my economic background. I'm not exactly living hand to mouth but I cannot spend too much on commercial software. However, I still want to continue my passion of working with a mix of hardware and software. There is just so much of literature out there and I don't know where to begin. Progress is also painfully slow.
Can someone suggest how to go about this from the bottom up? Suggested reading/exercises. Given my background, I prefer deep but simple presentations, which I know is a tall order. That is why I am here. If you have read this far, surely you can help??!!

Thanks very much

I made a wise decision, got a bargain deal, and the next day found that my model was phased out.


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#1
December 17, 2010 at 01:58:41
I learned *nix just by trial and error. My first *nix experience was with FreeBSD, and mainly focused on web sites.

So I setup Apache & learned how to use PERL and about the CGI.

Then I started playing with BIND and hosting my own name services for my personal machines.

Another fun project was building my firewall/router. I created 3 separate networks & isolated them within my house (networks for other people). Also worked on setting up QoS via dummynet so I could control which traffic gets higher priority.


I guess the point is - think of a simple project & just start messing around with it, you can find examples and howtos for almost anything on Google.

And if you're a hardware guy, you might want to look at an Arduino, it's an open source microcontroller that's cheap & easy to work with. You can attach different shields & sensors then write the embedded code to your liking. They're more focused on the embedded software than the hardware, but with an electronics background you could probably make something awesome.

It uses the Processing programming language, which is similar to Python.

There's a lot of neat projects for Arduinos on HackADay too, if you want some ideas:

http://hackaday.com/tag/arduino/


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#2
December 17, 2010 at 07:59:02
Being that Ubuntu is closing in on version 11, why do you want to work with Hardy 8.04 LTS? Why not 10.04 LTS? Supposedly 10.10 is even better but it's not LTS.

http://www.ubuntu.com/


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#3
December 17, 2010 at 12:57:05
Your programming knowledge is the key to your future. If you can code on one os you can on linux/bsd even more easily.

Almost all code is open and under most terms has to be sent or offered with the opensourced apps. It is there for both review and you can compile it.

I'd suggest that you may wish to consider either one of two paths. One is to find some current project that may be inline with your future projects and become a developer. They have forums and email each other and will provide framework and tools to help their project.

Second is more linux based. Make either a Linux From Scratch install or Gentoo install. In two weeks you ought to have a good base to start from. It is valuable training.

Heck, I'd use a pure debian install before ubuntu. You need to know the nuts and bolts first. The disto in linux is part of the coding efforts.

Why did it take me over a year to phone in a problem to ATT?


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#4
December 19, 2010 at 21:47:49
@fmwap, Thanks for the lead. I looked up Arduino and liked it. I Will pursue it. Do I buy the basic version first? I also liked the suggestion of the project based route to linux. I have worked like that in the past. An added advantage with linux is, the support forums are reputed to be very helpful and I am optimistic that I should be able to overcome the teething troubles with the help of the others before me.

@micliq, Well, that just indicates my beginner level of proficiency! I got hardy LTS gratis Canonical (thank you!) , and I have barely scratched the top. I will have to request for the LTS version you have suggested. Thanks.

@jefro, Thanks for the shot in the arm. I will try the two approaches. Also the idea of a "bottom up install" is exciting. Could you elaborate on that? Meanwhile I will begin my homework with a search along those lines. Thanks.

Did I mention that this is a great place?
Thank you

I made a wise decision, got a bargain deal, and the next day found that my model was phased out.


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#5
December 20, 2010 at 13:38:06
Linux From Scratch is not a distro, it is a cookbook.

You can build the entire system like we did 20 years ago. It is very time consuming and the options are almost endless. In the end I assure you will be trained as to the nuts and bolts.

Gentoo is a distro of sorts but has some shortcuts. It used to be almost source based but now has been made easier to install a custom system. It also has an ability to be a disto with all the benefits of using distros.

Why did it take me over a year to phone in a problem to ATT?


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#6
December 23, 2010 at 02:12:31
@jefro
Well OK. Downloaded the LFS live cd iso and made a LFS live disk. I have to work on at least three machines during the course of the day and only one of them has Linux dual boot installed. The rest are Windows machines.
I will have to get fairly well versed with the command line. Looks like using the console is compulsory! Well I think I have my work clearly laid for me. Thanks. I will post again when I come up for air!! Till then, Glub! Glub, glub!!!

I made a wise decision, got a bargain deal, and the next day found that my model was phased out.


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#7
December 23, 2010 at 10:23:47
phantom:

If you are interested in learning the bash shell, this introduction by Mendel Cooper is as good as any on the web:

http://tldp.org/LDP/abs/html/

Don't worry about the "Advanced Bash Scripting" title. The intro assumes no experience.

nails


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#8
December 23, 2010 at 11:13:59
"I got hardy LTS gratis Canonical (thank you!) , and I have barely scratched the top. I will have to request for the LTS version you have suggested. "

requesting cds from canonical takes like 8 weeks.

http://distrowatch.com/

larry


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