Getting the Documentation That's Right for You

While the Official Red Hat Linux Reference Guide digs into more of the nuts and bolts of your Red Hat Linux system, it is critical to make sure you have documentation that is appropriate to your level of Linux expertise. Regardless of your experience with Linux, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed without the right documentation.

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 the section called Documentation For First-Time Linux Users.

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 the section called For the More Experienced.


Has installed and successfully used Red Hat Linux before. Are you an old-timer? If so, please turn to the section called Documentation for Linux Gurus.

Documentation For First-Time Linux Users

"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." This old saying can be applied to learning about your Red Hat Linux system. Learning to use a Linux system effectively can be a long, rewarding journey, in which you find that you can easily do things about which people with other operating systems can only dream. But like all journeys, you've got to start somewhere, and take that first step.

First, 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 the sort of Linux documentation you should get your hands on:

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

Continue reading the next section to find out more about the kinds of documentation that will help you at that point.

For the More Experienced

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?

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…