If you’re having a problem, you can google for “Linux forums” or, once again, you can replace the word “Linux” with the name of a specific distribution or software. If you can reduce your question, or the description of your problem, to a few clear words you can string them together with plus signs and place the name of the distro somewhere in the string. When you have a problem, remember to google for a solution instead of for the problem. For example, if you have no sound in Puppy Linux, don’t google for
instead, google for:
sound+puppy+fixing OR configuring
If one string doesn’t work, try another. Finding the answer to any question with a search engine is ALL about finding the right question.
My most valuable Linux resource has been the email lists of my Linux User Groups. I belong to our local Highland Lakes Linux User Group, and to the email lists of the Austin Linux Group and San Antonio Linux Users Group. We’re an hour and a half from Austin and over two hours from San Antonio so I’m not able to attend their meetings but they’ve made me welcome on their email lists. Of course I treat them as the invaluable resources they truly are by trying hard to find my own answers before asking them questions and by helping to answer questions others have asked. I have to admit, I’d been on those lists for months before I was ever able to make any sort of contribution and even now, it doesn’t happen often but that’s not the point. I contribute what I can, whenever I can; that’s what matters and I’m not the only non-resident contributor on the Austin and San Antonio lists. Clearly there are other Linux users who feel the same way I do; they don’t care where the email list is coming from as long as they can find other knowledgeable Linux users with whom they can network. Keep that in mind if you get interested in Linux and find that there’s not a LUG near your community, on the web “near” can be a very flexible concept if that’s what’s required. Here are a few places where you can look for a lug.
If you can’t find a LUG on one of these lists, you should consider starting your own and here are a couple of sites which might help you with that:
If you just want to check out a few LUGs, there’s even a webring.
Every Linux distribution I’ve seen, whether it was a live CD or fully installed, comes with an Internet Relay Chat (IRC) Client. There’s a learning curve attached to using an IRC client but if you’re patient and persistent, you can literally get 24/7 help with your Linux questions or problems. Frédéric L. W. Meunier wrote the definitive treatise on Linux and IRC which can be found in many places on the web. A couple of other potentially useful documents might be The IRC Prelude by David Caraballo and Joseph Lo or A beginner’s guide to IRC by Joe ‘Zonker’ Brockmeier. Given an IRC client and a general understanding of how to use it, you need only google the name of your distro, followed by a plus sign and the letters IRC to locate an instant source of information or help. Here, for example, is a google search on Ubuntu plus IRC:
If you happen to be using Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Simply Mepis, Linspire/Freespire, or PCLinuxOS you can Just Ask Matt right here at Lockergnome or if you have Debian Etch questions you can ask me. I may not have the answer but I usually know who to ask *grin*
[tags]Help with Linux, forums, email lists, LUGs, IRC, Just Ask Matt[/tags]