Copyright © 2002 - 2022 John F. Moore
Copyright © 2002 - 2022 John F. Moore

Lessons in Linux


The lessons contained in this series are designed to introduce Linux to an audience of new users. They will concentrate on what make Linux different than Windows or the Mac.

Linux is more that just an Operating System, it is a tool box. One of it’s strengths is that it gives you the user everything you need to create new programs, or just customize what you have, to your likes.

Linux has flourished because it allowed programmers, or literally anyone who is willing to write computer code, to create and use computer programs which are under their control. At their day jobs, many programmers are hobbled in trying to build elegant programs by marketing pressures. The phrase It’s good enough, ship it. does not resonate with people who like to take pride in what they build. Much like the painter who is never satisfied with his/her work, these are people who enjoy creating and working on elegant software programs.

Have you ever used a computer program that just doesn’t work the way you want it to? Do you wish you could open up the covers and fix the problem? Well Linux allows you to do that by giving you both the source code to the programs, and the tools to rebuild them.

Have you ever wished that you could teach the computer a new trick? Well, in Linux you can. Because it gives you all the tools you need.

Another strength of Linux is that it encourages you to share you ideas, and your source code. The process of looking over another’s work is one of the foundation principles in Science. Each researcher publishes his/her findings and methods. Before their work is accepted as fact, others look over their work and review the findings. Only after other researchers have reproduced the results and understood the findings is the principle accepted. This protects science from people making false claims.

For background information on John F. Moore take a look at this Who is John F Moore page.

Linux Counter
Linux Counter
Talk Name Date Given Place Presented
How Does a Computer Work? - Talking to the CPU 15 April 2020 Zoom Meeting WPCUG Linux & Makers Section
How Does a Computer Work? - CPU 15 January 2020 WPCUG Linux & Makers Section
How Does a Computer Work? - SubSystems 16 October 2019 WPCUG Linux & Makers Section
What is an OS? 4 April 2019 WPCUG General Meeting
Linux server for your home 17 May 2017 WPCUG Linux Section
Picking a Linux Distribution 15 March 2017 WPCUG Linux Section
Learn Linux for Geeks 23 January 2016 On Line
Linux with DIY CNC Router 18 June 2014 WPCUG Linux Section
(By Invite only)
Arch Linux a different type of Linux 19 March 2014 WPCUG Linux Section

This section will be a series of topics discussing different aspects of Linux and how to make use of them. This is not in any specific order or theme. You can jump in anywhere, so read through all the topics before starting. Select what is of interest to you and enjoy.

Where to Start

  • If you have never heard about Linux before you might want to try Why not Choose Linux to get an idea about why someone would choose Linux. If you want to learn more about the creator of Linux you might check your local library for the movie Revolution OS

  • If you are interested in exploring the power of Linux, but are not ready to install a new Operating System, you might have a look at Cygwin for a Linux like environment under Windows. You can then follow the Lessons to get a taste of the power of the Command line in Linux.

  • If you are thinking about how to transition from Windows to Linux, have a look at How to Transition from Windows to Linux Or if you are considering what distribution to install, try What to consider when picking a Linux distribution

  • You finally took the plunge and installed Linux on a computer. Now what? You could consider creating a network in your home by reading Home Network. Or if you are looking for help with a problem consider How to find HELP or even Documentation Galore. Of course you could consult the References below for some of the best documentation I have found available on-line.

If you are already a Linux user, I have several articles on what you can do with Linux. As a tinkerer myself, I keep finding new things to do with Linux. But the thing I like to stress the most about Linux is roll up your sleeves explore.

If you are interested in Computers, think of Linux as a well spring of knowledge. You can dive in and NEVER hit bottom.


  • Compile Your own Application from Source

    This talk is about how to add applications to your distribution of Linux which were NOT part of the original package.

  • Emacs, the Swiss army knife of Linux

    This is a discussion about one application and how it can be used to perform a multitude of tasks in Linux.

  • Desktop Publishing, Linux style

    The Linux system supports a number of tools to allow you to publish your own work professionally or just for fun. This is an overview of the types of word processing and publishing tools available as well as a comparison of their strengths and weaknesses.

  • Documentation Galore

    Windows provides a help system for the user, but Linux provides man pages, info help, release notes, and Howtos in addition to help. How can you use all these different sources of information? You can even convert one into another.

  • How to find HELP

    One of the real strengths of Linux is the help available. This goes beyond documentation to enable users to help one another. The Linux community contains a wealth of information, advice, and even lessons to rival the best universities. Where is this information, and how can I learn from it.

    In addition to the topic of Finding Help, I will answer some questions about backups and how to Virus check and recover files from a Windows computer.

  • How to Transition from Windows to Linux

    So you are tired of fighting Viruses, Adware, Sypware, and programs which think they know how to use a computer better than you do. Have you heard about Linux in the News and wondering what is this new beast? Well here is your chance to make a change. Follow along as we discuss a strategy for converting your Desktop from Windows to Linux.

  • Install Decisions / Postscript and Printers

    Today we will discuss some more options involved in a Linux install. First the difference between Linux Servers and Workstations and then Package selection both during install and later. Following this information on installs and packages we will explore Postscript, and it’s relationship to printers.

  • Linux and Home Automation

    This talk will focus on how to use Linux for Automation around your home. We will focus mostly on how to use the computer to take care of some routine tasks. Some of the automation will be focused on providing information to the home owners. Other parts will look at some ways of using the computer to make the home more information friendly.

  • Picking a Linux distribution

    Picking a Linux distribution can be a complex task if you want to go through a evaluation process. In this presentation I have tried to give you some tools to allow you to make intelligent decisions about which distribution to use.

    To summarize the best way to make a decision is to spend some time learning about distributions. Spend some time talking to people who are more familiar with Linux. And finally plan on spending some time learning about what ever distribution you choose.

  • Why not Choose Linux

    Today we will talk about why Linux is not the first choice of many computer users. We will explore the reasons commercial software is often chosen over open source software. This is not an attack upon any particular brand or type of software, but an exploration of what appears to drive the choices.

  • Customize Linux

    OK you just finished installing Linux on your computer, so now you are done. Not really, now it is time to consider how you can tune the system to make it fit your needs and wants. We will discuss how to go about customizing your system.

  • What’s inside your Computer

    We are going to discuss what hardware is inside your computer. We will be explaining what it is and how it words at a layman’s level.

  • Dual Booting with Windows and Linux

    This talk will show how to start with a Windows install on a computer, and create a dual booting system of Windows and Linux.

  • Window Managers on Linux

    Tonight we are going to have a little fun. On this laptop I will demonstrate 4 different window managers all running under Debian. We will try to configure each of them using the documentation and tools provided.

  • Remote Control over an Intranet

    This discussion will describe several methods of using one computer from another. Now since this is a Linux group, I will focus of using Linux over a network. I will try to be clear on what techniques are for use behind a firewall and which can be used over the Internet.

  • Beginner’s Linux Intro

    People often believe that Linux is only for advanced computer users. I will attempt to disprove this assumption tonight. Lets take a few minutes to have a look at what runs a Personal Computer, then Linux as a new user sees it.

  • Beginner’s Linux Applications

    Most users don’t see the operating system, only applications. So for our second session, lets compare application on Windows and Linux.

  • Let the Penguin help you

    What do you do when your computer won’t boot? How do you remove a file which keep reappearing? How do you recover files when your operating system has crashed?

  • Linux Backup for Windows

    When it comes to backup, most of us don’t do enough. But suppose it was as easy as running a script? Would you do it more often? Lets look at how a dual boot computer can use Linux to backup windows.

  • Dual Boot a new Computer

    Many new computers come with windows installed on the whole disk drive. How can you take this and convert it into a dual booting machine with Windows and Ubuntu?

  • Welcome to Ubuntu

    Your new Ubuntu is fresh from the box and you are dying to use it. But where do you start? We will hitting some of the highlights of the Jaunty Jackalope (9.04).

  • Welcome to Ubuntu File Managers

    When it comes to files and directories in Linux many people have trouble without windows explorer. Since the ability to handle files is critical to computers we are going to review a few file managers for Linux.

  • Welcome to a Fresh Ubuntu Install

    You are ready to start using Ubuntu, but you don’t know what configurations are needed. Since this is new install you are not sure what needs to be done so you can use your system. Today we are going to review what needs to be done to a fresh install. This is picking where the install fest in January 2010 left off.

  • Windows and Open Source Myth or Reality?

    When the IBM PC first came on the market, it opened up the hardware and software to non-IBM companies. The hardware world exploded with many different brands of computers. Before the IBM PC, much of the software on computers was created by the users and often shared. The original OpenSource movement came from MIT and a group called the Free Software Foundation.

    OpenSource exists because people like to create neat applications. Computers allow you to create programs with little cost, distribute them almost free, and contribute to them over time and space. So this freedom is expressed by people creating pet projects and sharing them with the world through the Internet.

  • Netbook Computers and Linux

    Tonight we are going to explore the netbook and linux. I will be using this Lenovo Ideapad S10-3T to demonstrate 6 different versions of Linux. I will also discuss how to go about installing these distributions on a Netbook which has no CD drive.

  • Creating a Web at Home

    Have you ever noticed how useful web pages are? Have you ever thought about how you could use the web at home to find information, share ideas, or just play? Well we are going to learn how to make web pages, and serve them at home.

  • Welcome to Ubuntu

    You just brought home your new Ubuntu system, so where do you start to make it your own? Let look at some common configuration and setup steps you should make.

  • The GUI

    The Graphical User Interface (GUI) has become the default interface for personal computers. Lets take a look at how we got to the GUI, some of it’s components, and variations on how it looks and works. I will be focusing on the Linux implementation of X Windows and the linux display managers.

  • The Command Line is Dead, Long live the Command Line

    The command line is the original type of interactive input to every computer system. Even though the graphical user interface has taken over most peoples interaction with the computer, there is still many valuable uses for the command line, provided you are willing to spend the time needed to learn the commands.

  • Ubuntu Apps of Interest

    We have talked about Ubuntu, but most of us spend more time using the application, not the operating system. So for this talk I choose some applications to explore, Firefox and some music players.

  • Text Processing and the Web

    In the Unix world there have been a number of systems for creating documentation. A number of them are still around and doing well. This talk will explore a few of them to give you an idea how you can convert words on a page into a presentation document.

    One important aspect for this transformation ability is creating and maintaining web sites. We will look at how a Wiki like page can transform into HTML, or XML, or PDF without revision. We will explore how to easily edit a text document which becomes a web page, or a web site

  • Create Your Own Website

    Have you ever thought about creating your own web site. We are going to explore how to create and maintain a web site.

    In this first installment we will talk about some choices and methods of maintaining a web site.

  • Ubuntu 12.04 New Look

    Ubuntu 12.04 is out and contains a new look. But for those of us who are familiar with the old look it can be confusing. So we are going to have a look at the default windowing interface Unity as well as it’s base >Gnome 3.

  • Networking in Linux

    Networking in Linux is something we all use, but do we understand what is needed to make it work? Do we understand how to troubleshoot it when it doesn’t work? What happens when you only have a command line interface? I will attempt to give you both a mini course in networking and how to troubleshoot it in the process. Roll up your sleeves this talk is going to cover lots of details necessary for your Linux chops.

  • LFS and Backup for Linux

    The Linux system follows an organized structure known as Linux File System (LFS) which defines where programs, libraries, and configuration files live. We will explore this structure and discuss how to optimize the layout for your next installation, as well as where to find programs. The LFS will naturally lead to a discussion of how to backup your Linux system for recovery. We will discuss what to back up and what to not backup. Finally we will look at backup tools and how to make your own.

  • Linux the fastest growing OS

    What is it about linux that makes it so popular on so many platforms.

    Linux for Super Computers
    Linux for Routers
    Linux for Embedded systems
    Linux for Servers
    Linux for Virtual Machines
    Linux for Smart Phones
    Linux for people who want control of their computer.

  • InstallFest

    You have a computer that is running windows and you want to install one or more copies of Linux. How do you do that?

    Learn how to partition and install Linux.
    How to configure the boot loader for multiple OSs.
    How to load more than one Linux Version without clobbering /boot
    How to use one version of Linux to rescue another OS.
    How to backup your Master Boot Record and partition table.

    Finally we will use part of the meeting to install Linux on machines people bring to the meeting.

  • Linux vs Windows

    Many of us work in the Windows OS during the day, but go home and use Ubuntu, or another version of Linux in the evening. Even though both use folders, and directories, there are some differences which can be confusing, or liberating.

    In this talk I will list a number of differences and point out the value to the change. Some of the changes are based on different perspectives on how the computer works. Some of simply variations on a theme. and some are simply examples of the engineering principle NIH (Not Invented Here)

  • Arch Linux a different type of Linux

    We have been focusing our attention on the Ubuntu version of linux. But there are other Linux distributions.

    One such distribution is Arch Linux, which is focused on simplicity and gives a lot of control to the user. We will take a closer look at this distribution, and it’s differences from Ubuntu.

  • Linux with DIY CNC Router

    So you decided to build you very own CNC (Computer Numeric Control)router. Now you need software to control the CNC. You need a design program to create your master pieces. You need to convert your master piece for the CNC control software. Linux comes to the rescue. Come along for an interesting walk through wood working Linux style.

  • Learning Linux for Geeks

    So you consider your self to be a computer geek already. But all your experience is in Windows. Now you have a hankering to learn Linux, and don’t know where to start.

    This is an introduction to Linux for you. I will be focusing on the command line since for the advanced user that is where the real power of Linux is found. The GUI is fine for the riffraff, but the power users go for the command line.

  • Linux server for your home

    We have talked about Linux on a desktop machine, but one of the real strengths of Linux is it’s use as a server. Servers often run headless (without a monitor, keyboard, and mouse) tucked away in a closet. Due to the stability of Linux and scheduling capabilities they make good servers.

    For today lets explore what you can do with a server to enhanse your home. I will assume you are running Windows on your laptop or desktop machines, although Linux has some special advantages working with a Linux server.

  • Wiat is an OS?

    What is an OS, and why do we need one?

    Most people are not aware that their computer has an OS, or they think Windows runs the computer. But they don’t realize that Windows is only the software that enables them to run their applications.

    But is Windows the only choice for a personal computer?

    I want to present some other options, and the reasons that Windows might not be your best or only choice.

  • How Does a Computer Work? - SubSystems

    This is the first of three talks about How Does a Computer work. This first talk will discuss the parts around the CPU.

    We are going to discuss hardware and interfaces.

  • How Does a Computer Work? - CPU

    This is the second of three talks about How Does a Computer work. This talk will discuss the CPU.

    For this talk we will focus on the computing engine in the computer.

  • How Does a Computer Work? - Talking to the CPU

    This is the third of three talks How Does a Computer work. This talk will discuss how to talk to the CPu

    We are going to discuss types of instructions, methods of creating the instructions, as well as interrupts.

Advanced Linux

This is a new sub section of the WPCUG dedicated to more advanced topics in linux.

  • Linux From Scratch, What is a Personal Computer

    Before we start to setup our Linux From Scratch system I would like to discuss what is a personal computer. Having an understanding of what makes a computer, and how it operates at a hardware level will help understanding why software works the way it does.

    Before we end we will discuss how to get started with the Linux From Scratch setup.

  • Linux From Scratch, Core Tools

    Tonight we are going to discuss the tools/applications which make up the core applications as defined by LFS (Linux From Scratch), and a couple other small distributions.

    Next we will look at how the system boots and what happens before the boot prompt.

    Lastly, time permitting, we will discuss shell scripts. These scripts and the shell that supports them are what make many of the operations of Linux useful.

  • Linux From Scratch, The Beginning In this session of the WPCUG Linux group we are going to learn how to build a Linux installation by making our own distribution. We will learn how to boot strap a system. How to create a system using the scripts and methods created for Gentoo.

  • Linux From Scratch, Configuring Gentoo In this meeting we will be continuing the install of Gentoo on the machine. We will learn more about configuration for the kernel and finalizing the system.

  • Linux From Scratch, Gentoo Finish Install, and examine Portage and Init In this meeting we will finish the Gentoo install. Then we will look at how the Gentoo package management, Portage, works. Then we will look at how a Linux system initializes.

Home Network

In this section we will be creating a network for use in a Home. The basis is a Linux server and windows/linux clients.

Questions and Answers

Since this is a user group, sometime the meetings will be defined by the questions asked by the group. Since there is no global heading for this type of question and answer sessions, I thought I would give it it’s own section. I will list the question and answer sessions by Date so they are easier to find.

Revolution OS

We saw the movie Revolution OS in the meeting. This movie describes the background behind Open Source, the Free Software Movement, and Linux. I collected a set of web links to the people and ideas discussed in the movie. They are available here. If you liked the movie, consider getting your own copy at Revolution OS from Amazon

Digital Rights Management

Here is a web page pointing you toward more information on DRM and it’s impact on the world of Linux and Home Computing. If you do nothing else in Linux, please get involved in this discussion.

Cygwin (Linux for Windows)

As promised during the second lesson, here are instructions on how to install cygwin locally under windows.

Shell Lessons

The following lessons are aimed at teaching shell programming to a group of software testers. They were part of a series I created for windows users who wanted to learn about Unix. They are a little old, but still valid.


Here are some references which I have come across. Enjoy them.

Written by John F. Moore

Last Revised: Sun 13 Feb 2022 01:20:30 PM EST

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
HTML5 Powered with CSS3 / Styling, and