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Getting the Documentation That's Right for You

4.1 Getting the Documentation That's Right for You

It is critical to make sure you have documentation that is appropriate to your level of Linux expertise. There is no more certain way to make your experience using Red Hat Linux a failure than to not have the documentation you need, when you need it.

As the name implies, the Official Red Hat Linux 6.0 Getting Started Guide is just that -- a guide to taking those first steps with your newly installed Red Hat Linux system.

Let's take a look at three categories of people using Red Hat Linux, and try to be more explicit in terms of the documentation you'll need. Let's start by figuring out your experience level. Here are the three basic categories:

New To Linux -- Has never used any Linux (or Linux-like) operating system before, or has had only limited exposure to Linux. May or may not have experience using other operating systems (such as Windows). Is this you? If so, please turn to Section 4.1.1.

Some Linux Experience -- Has installed and successfully used Linux (but not Red Hat Linux) before. Or, may have equivalent experience with other Linux-like operating systems. Does this describe you? If so, please turn to Section 4.1.2.

Old Timer -- Has installed and sucessfully used Red Hat Linux before. Are you an old-timer? If so, please turn to Section 4.1.3.

4.1.1 Documentation For First-Time Linux Users

``A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.'' This old saying can be applied to just about any endeavor; we're going to apply it to learning to use your Red Hat Linux system. Learning to use a Linux system effectively can be a long, rewarding journey, where you find that you can easily do things that people with other operating systems can only dream of. But like all journeys, you've got to start somewhere, and take that first step.

And the first step you need to take is to get yourself some documentation! This cannot be stressed enough; without documentation you will only become frustrated at your inability to get your Red Hat Linux system working the way you want.

Here's what you should look for in terms of Linux documentation:

Here is some direction that may help to match all of your requirements:

As you gain more experience using your Red Hat Linux system, you'll probably find that you'll need more in-depth information. Continue reading the next section to find out more about the kinds of documentation that will help you at that point.

4.1.2 Documentation for More Experienced Linux Users

If you've used other Linux distributions, you probably already have a basic grasp of the most frequently used commands. You may have installed your own Linux system, and maybe you've even downloaded and built software you found on the Internet. What sorts of information will you need?

4.1.3 Documentation for Linux Gurus

If you're a long-time Red Hat Linux user, you probably already know that the following pretty much says it all when it comes to documentation:

Use the Force -- Read the source!

There are times when you'll just have to sit there and look at the sources to understand things. Fortunately, because of the freely available nature of Linux, it's easy to get the sources. Now if it were only that easy to understand them...

Now that we've covered documentation, let's look at some other common system tasks.

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