Originally Published: Thursday, 27 September 2001 Author: Jessica Sheffield with the Staff and Volunteers of Linux.com
Published to: learn_articles_firststep/General Page: 1/1 - [Std View]

Linux.com Beginners Week: Linux.com Top Pick of Beginners Web Sites

As Beginners week draws to a close here at Linux.com and folks are starting to settle down after the rush of events and activities, the staff and volunteers of Linux.com thought it would be useful to assemble and review some of the other web sites out there useful for the Linux beginner.

One of the most critical skills a Linux beginner needs is the ability to Web surf. We don't think about surfing often, but the ability to find the right information quickly is a big factor in many of the tasks you will run into on your Linux journey. With that in mind, here at Linux.com we thought a great resource for Beginners week would be a look at many of the web sites out there that a Linux beginner should visit, at least once. Of course, you will also find masses of information on Linux.com, but in the one-in-five trillion (plus or minus 2%) chance you don't find what you need right here, the Staff and Volunteers of Linux.com have put together this list of their favorite watering holes.



The official home page for Caldera Linux. Their "self help" section under Support provides some great resources for Caldera users, and Linux users in general.

Debian GNU/Linux


Debian GNU/Linux is a distribution of the GNU/Linux operating system. The website is dedicated to information about Linux in general and Debian in particular. Debian is a truly "free" operating system in that it is not only open source software, but free of charge as well. The Debian website has information on installing Debian, a support area, news, development information, and some very good facts about free software.



Freshmeat is the largest index of Linux and open source software available on the Web. It has a very easy-to-use search function which allows users to find nearly anything they are looking for. In addition, users can search by category if they are not sure exactly what they are looking for. Freshmeat's main page may look confusing to the new user; what it primarily consists of is updates about pieces of open source software, contributed by the maintainers of that software. The site's main strength is its searchability. Also of interest is the ability to see how old a software program is, when it was last updated, or what the most recent version is. Freshmeat is a must-visit for anyone needing information about open source software applications. (Freshmeat is part of OSDN, which also owns Linux.com.)

GNU's Not Unix!


GNU's Not Unix! is the website of the GNU project, the free operating system based around the Linux kernel. It has translations into over a dozen languages and provides information about many aspects of GNU. The GNU page also hosts the website of the Free Software Foundation which predates Linux by many years, and an index of many free software applications, as well as news, links, projects, and other subsites. The GNU website is volunteer-run. It is heavy on content but very light on design, and navigation can be difficult.



Served by The Internet Software Consortium, Inc. this site is as close as the open source world comes to an "official" site, in this case for distribution of the Linux kernel. Most beginners will not have to worry about their kernel, as it is just one part of a complete distribution that you probably already have. But as you learn more you may start to find you want to update your kernel, or recompile it for some reason. When that need hits you, this is the place to go.

Kernel Newbies


Including frequently asked questions, a complete glossary and plenty of other content gleaned from the #kernelnewbie IRC channel, this site is a fantastic first stop for any beginner interested in doing or just reading about kernel hacking and programming. If that's where you're going, this is a great stop on the way.

Linux Documentation Project


The Linux Documentation Project's website and various mirrors aim to be the most complete repository of Linux information anywhere. It contains guides on installing Linux, how-to's for many software applications and features, FAQs, manual pages for individual Linux commands, and more. The LDP has been translated into many languages and translation projects are ongoing. Documentation for the LDP is community-contributed and reviewed by LDP members and sometimes a little out of date. The website itself is easy to use and search. Documentation is indexed by name and by category.

Linux Games


Everybody loves gaming whether they are willing to admit it or not. This is a fantastic independent site for Linux gamers with up-to-the minute news and information on new releases, ports and everything for Linux Games. You can even leave comments and get involved with other gamers who share your, um, proclivities.

Linux HQ


Another site focused on the Linux Kernel, the LinuxHQ is a nicely organized and easy to use reference site with plenty of links to help you find what you need. You'll also find mailing list archives and information about Linux distributions here.

Linux International


Linux International is a Linux advocacy group dedicated to spreading knowledge about Linux and helping its progress. Their website is quite informational, containing information about LI's goals, contact information, and an interesting history of Linux's early development, written by Linus Torvalds. The Linux International page also has one of the best and most complete answers to the question "What is Linux?" available in on the Web. The site is extremely navigable and easy to comprehend; all the information is laid out in a very easy-to-read format, and everything is easy to find from the left navigation bar.



The Linux ISO site provides links to CD images of many Linux distributions ready for download. The site also has information on burning your own CDs with Linux. A quick and convenient site.

LinuxMafia Slackware Resources


Although this site does not seem to have been updated in quite some time, it was and probably remains one of the best resources for Slackware Linux on the Web. It contains news, how-to's, changes, latest additions, and nearly everything else about Slackware.



Often said to be the easiest distribution for beginners to, well, begin with, Mandrake is a commercial distribution and this is its web site. You'll find a ton of information here for users and would be users of Mandrake including products and support as well as more advanced content aimed at developers.



LinuxNewbie.org is aimed at helping new users learn to use Linux. The site's main strength is its Newbie-ized Help files, which are straightforward how-to's for installing various aspects of Linux. These help files are easily comprehensible by the newest user to Linux. There is also a discussion board for people to talk about their experiences with Linux and to help others. LinuxNewbie.org is a very useful site for anyone looking to get into Linux.

Linux Newbie Administrator Guide


This site takes new users through a seven-step process from deciding whether Linux is right for their needs all the way to advanced commands for programming. Of special note is their "Linux Shortcuts and Commands" which is very useful and well-documented. A must-read for anyone looking to setup Linux at home and administer a home network.

Linux NOW!


Linux NOW! offers a file library, documentation, a discussion forum, and featured articles. The file library consists of a listing of all RPMS (a type of Linux software packaging system) available on the web. There is also a step-by-step tutorial on installing Linux, from reasons to install to the finished installation and what programs and applications to try. The tutorial also includes a section on hardware - what kinds are good under Linux and how to configure them. Linux NOW! has a full search option, but everything is simple to find without searching more than one or two levels of navigation.



Linux.org is one of the most complete repositories of information about Linux on the web. The site is one of the oldest Linux websites, operating since 1994. In that time it has managed to gather a huge amount of data, facts, how-tos, installation guides, and nearly everything else about Linux. Navigation can be a bit difficult as there is so much information to catalog, but the site is fully searchable. Chances are if you're looking for something about Linux, Linux.org has it.



LinuxToday is the closest thing the Linux community has to a daily newspaper - it's sort of a "Headline News" for Linux. The main page is comprised of headlines from other sites with links to the stories, and the occasional feature written by a guest columnist. LinuxToday rarely posts original content, but it is the best place to get all the daily news about Linux quickly. The site is easy to read, if a little haphazard in its layout.

Linux Weekly News


LWN is a weekly online magazine of Linux news, events, columns, and features. LWN has a variety of sections, each with features about aspects of Linux such as security, the kernel, distributions, the desktop, development, commerce, and news and announcements. They also have a Linux History section for folks who want to learn about where it all came from. LWN's content is some of the most informative and deep of any Linux media site, and their editors are excellent. The site is updated daily.

Linux World Conference and Expo


Linux World Conference and Expo is the major Linux conference, much as COMDEX is for the Windows world. The site contains information about the show, how to register, and a list of sponsors which reads like a "Who's Who" of the Linux industry. While the website itself doesn't have a whole lot of information about Linux, the conference session abstracts provide exciting clues about where Linux is headed in the coming years, and the list of sponsors is a fairly accurate list of which companies are participating in the Linux industry.

Red Hat Linux


Red Hat Linux is probably the most popular of the Linux distributions because of its ease of installation and use. Its website is an extension of its commercial product. However, there is a great deal of non-Red Hat-specific information on the site as well, and their support center is one of the best on the Web. You can also register your LUG in their database for free goodies to give out at events.



Seul - Simple End-User Linux - is a completely volunteer supported site that has as its mandate the belief that Linux is (or certainly can be) a powerful operating system for all kinds of computer users, particular desktop users and beginners. Seul is a growing and complete resource including news feeds, plenty of information on software downloads and even hosting many software projects right on the Seul servers. Well worth a regular visit.



Slackware Linux was one of the first Linux distributions to appear. Slackware.com is the official Slackware Linux website. It contains information on downloading or purchasing Slackware, support, manuals, links, and news. Nearly all the material is Slackware-related; there isn't much information about Linux in general, but the information about Slackware is detailed and solid. Slackware is probably the most stable of the Linux distributions because of its long history, but also one of the hardest to use because of its lack of commercial enhancements.



Slashdot: "News for Nerds, Stuff that Matters" has become the flagship of the open source community. Nearly all its content is community-contributed - anyone can submit a story, then the editors choose what appears on the page. There are also several weekly features on topics ranging from editorials to interviews to music and more. Slashdot's strongest point is its community, who comment on every article as it is posted, then moderate each other's comments according to their contribution to the topic. (Slashdot is part of OSDN which also owns Linux.com.)



SourceForge provides free hosting and development tools to free and open source software projects. SourceForge offers, among other things, a CVS repository, mailing lists, bug tracking, message forums, task management software, web site hosting, permanent file archives, full backups, and total web-based administration. There are over 27,000 registered projects on Sourceforge, which has been active almost two years. Many major open source software projects are hosted on SourceForge, which makes it a good place to look for the latest versions of software. (SourceForge is part of OSDN which also owns Linux.com, as if you haven't gotten that already from the earlier mentions.)

Stampede Linux


Stampede Linux is a distribution optimized for speed, and is not based on any of the other distributions (most of the distributions are based on Debian, Red Hat, Slackware, or SuSE Linux). The project is volunteer-driven. Stampede's website is a good source of information about Stampede, but does not contain much general Linux information.

SuSE Linux


SuSE Linux is another distribution of Linux, based in Germany. The SuSE website is well laid out and informational, with documentation about SuSE in particular and Linux in general. The site is searchable and has a prominent link to a sitemap in case you get lost. SuSE is a well-established distribution, particularly in Europe, and the amount and density of information on their website shows it.



Themes.org is a repository for desktop themes for the X window system, a graphical interface used with Unix and Linux. All the themes are community-contributed and freely downloadable. The site also posts news on happenings in the desktop interface and applications world. As of September 26, Themes.org is currently undergoing a redesign, which should be finished soon and make it an even better resource. (Themes.org is part of OSDN... you get the picture)



UK.LINUX.ORG is a website maintained by Alan Cox, author of a great deal of the Linux kernel. It has one of the best basic introductions to Linux available on the web, complete with screenshots from Alan's desktop. The web page also has short summaries of all the major Linux distributions, with a link to their home pages. The Links page has links to Linux groups and vendors in England, the only page on which they are all gathered in one place. Alan also put up a "Linux Y2K" page to dispel fears that Linux might be affected by the Y2K bug. Also on the front page are headlines from other major Linux sites. All in all, UK.LINUX.ORG is a very good portal site for anyone in England looking for information about Linux, and a good informational site for anyone outside of England.



UnixPower.org is a complete source of information about UNIX and its variants, Linux, BSD, Irix, HP-UX, and Solaris. It includes links to documentation, support, how-to's, and information on nearly every variant of Unix, no matter how obscure. The site also has links to *NIX conferences, books, websites, and security groups. It is very easily navigable and well presented.

ZDnet Linux Hardware Database


This commercial site contains one of the most complete Linux hardware databases on the Web. Here you can find reviews, views and news along with compatibility and testing results. Got a question about your hardware or have you just run into that hardware wall? Check out ZDNet's contribution to the community.

We know this isn't a comprehensive list of Linux websites, but it should be enough to get any beginner started on finding the information they need. Of course, we highly recommend you browse our own article archives, resources, and comment boards for Linux information as well. If you know of a great Linux resource for beginners, please post it in a comment with a short description. You can also go to our Links tool to find lots of other great beginner sites. Happy surfing!