July 28, 2009

Linux Migration Guide: Finding Help

The Linux community is massive. There are lots of places to go for help, enough so that sorting out which places to try first can be the tough part. Here's a handy guide to where to go when you need help with Linux.

A Good Search Engine

Knowing how to use Google or another search engine is a great way to find information quickly. For anything you're trying to look up involving Linux, be sure to use the term linux in your search. If it's specific to your distribution, then use the distribution's name as well--typically you don't need the name of the distribution and the term "linux" at the same time.

Google actually offers a separate entry point if you want to look up things involving Linux.

Websites

Sure, there's a bias here, but the site you are on now, Linux.com, is a great place to get started for assistance. Between the forums and the Answers section, plus all of the great content, you should be able to find the help you need.

Another popular Linux site for asking and answering questions regarding Linux is LinuxQuestions.org. Not only can you find tons of answers to your own questions there, without even having to ask, you'll also find tutorials, reviews, podcasts, and more.

Linux User Groups

Linux User Groups (LUGs) can be found world-wide and in unexpectedly small towns along with the big cities. They often gather for regular talks from community members and visitors, hold "installfests" where they help people get Linux installed on their computers, and hold other events and gatherings.

These groups can be very welcoming of newcomers. If you find the idea of attending a regular meeting too intimidating at first, most of the LUGs also have Web sites and discussion forums or email lists where you can get started and get more comfortable.

Your Distribution's Site

Most Linux distribution Web sites offer documentation, forums, and some kind of wiki or section for tips and tricks. In addition, people who use your distro may also have Web sites that offer tons of helpful information. It can be worth taking the time to stroll through your distribution's site and just see what's there, so you know what resources they have to offer. If you don't already see a list of the best sites related to your distribution in the forums, then why not post a question there and ask? It's generally a good idea to see if someone has already posted one first.

Here's a list of useful sites for mainstream desktop distributions.

Fedora

Kubuntu

Remember that Kubuntu is another branch of Ubuntu, so many of Ubuntu's resources will work for Kubuntu users.

Mandriva

openSUSE

Ubuntu