Moving On

Moving On

So you now have an understanding of the basics of how Linux works. We talked about the different functions that the operating system is responsible for, what it manages, and a little about how everything fits together. As we move on through the book, well build on these ideas and concepts to give you a complete understanding of a Linux system.

I came from the DOS world before I started on UNIX. I had many preconceptions about the way an operating system “should” behave and react. The way DOS did things was the “right” way. As I learned UNIX, I began to see a completely different world. The hardest part was not that I had to learn a whole new set of commands, but rather that I was fighting myself because I was so used to DOS.

Therefore, I need to make one general comment about UNIX before I let you move on. Always remember that UNIX is not DOS. Nor is it any other operating system for that matter. UNIX is UNIX and Linux is Linux. There are probably as many “dialects” of Linux as there are dialects of UNIX. All have their own subtle differences. As you go through this book, keep that in mind.

For example, I believed that the way commands were given arguments or options was better in DOS. Every time I used a UNIX command, I grumbled about how wrong it was to do things like that. As I learned more about UNIX, I came to realize that many of the decisions on how things work or appear is completely arbitrary. There is no right way of doing many things. There is a DOS way and a UNIX way. Neither is right. You might be used to the DOS way or whatever system you use. However, that does not make it right.

When I started working with Linux, I had several years experience with a half-dozen different dialects of UNIX. It was much easier for me to adjust and simply said to myself, “Oh, so this is the way Linux does it.”

If you are new to Linux, keep in mind that there are going to be differences. There are even differences among the various distributions. If you keep this in mind, you will have a much more enjoyable time learning about the Linux way.

I have always found that the best way to learn something is by doing it. That applies to learning a new operating system as well. Therefore, I suggest that when you find something interesting in this book, go look at your Linux system and see what it looks like on your system. Play with it. Twist it. Tweak it. See if it behaves the way in which you expect and understand.