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  1. #1
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus squirrel's Avatar
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    How To Learn To Start Using Linux?

    I know this is a very noob question and will probably draw response like "if you need to ask, you shouldn't be using". But recently I get myself into an online Finance course which requires programming on a language called Python (I don't know what it is, and the instructor has made it crystal clear that he is not gonna be responsible to teach this language if students do not know it, but anyway he stated that the course can still serve as a good start to learn some basic concepts in modern finance, just he cannot give us credit if we can't finish the programming assignment), and it is only supported on Unix / Unix like environment. Damn, if I use Mac, I can also solve this problem since Mac OS X beyond version 10.6 will also be supported, but my antique iMac Power PC is run by Mac OS X 10.3

    I can spare a desktop for the purpose. So, can you guys suggest some starting point?
    Last edited by squirrel; 24-10-2012 at 11:53 AM.

  2. #2
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    So he doesn't admit the existence of Python for Windows?

    http://www.python.org/getit/windows/

    As for learning it, the desktop environment on most Linux distros is pretty similar to anything else (you have a Mac, and you've almost certainly used Windows - the difference between those two is about the same as the difference going to Linux).

    Using the command line basically just needs you to find a list of commands (or tutorial). There's some basic functions you will almost certainly use (ls, mv, cp, mkdir, rm, cd), some which are quite useful (grep, cat, sudo, less, nano), and "the rest". The best way to learn them is through use, really - and if you get lost or confused, google is your friend. There's a thousand other people out there who, just like you, are trying to learn Linux!

    You might not even need the command line if there's some development software for Python which has a GUI for doing everything, but I've never played with it.
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  3. #3
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus squirrel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Danny252 View Post
    So he doesn't admit the existence of Python for Windows?

    http://www.python.org/getit/windows/
    Oh, no, the instructor did suggest ways to run things on Windows, but it seems to bring some issues that some classmates said in the class forum they run into some serious trouble on their own machines. Anyway, this is the first time I heard of Python so I am really a noob here.

  4. #4
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus mashakos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by squirrel View Post
    Damn, if I use Mac, I can also solve this problem since Mac OS X beyond version 10.6 will also be supported, but my antique iMac Power PC is run by Mac OS X 10.3
    Do you need a specific version of Python for the course? AFAIK OSX Panther has Python built-in. (love the crazy naming system! Sounds like a weird aztec god)
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  5. #5
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Sakkura's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by squirrel View Post
    I can spare a desktop for the purpose. So, can you guys suggest some starting point?
    Download Ubuntu (or a similar Average Joe-oriented Linux distribution) and put it on a DVD or on a USB flash drive with this program.

    Install it and go. You can even put it on the same computer you're using now and keep Windows around, just so long as you can spare some room for Linux. The Ubuntu installer can do this for you, probably the same for most distros nowadays.

    Using it is usually pretty simple as long as you stay on the reservation and your hardware isn't too new (since then driver support can be horrendous). If you want to do advanced stuff, that's when things can get complicated.
    Last edited by Sakkura; 24-10-2012 at 01:58 PM.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Danny252 View Post
    The best way to learn them is through use, really - and if you get lost or confused, google is your friend. There's a thousand other people out there who, just like you, are trying to learn Linux!
    I second this advice - I recently switched to using Linux at work (I'm a web developer) and although I'd always thought it would be a bit forbidding, it was actually pretty easy. If you have an objective in mind (i.e. 'I want to learn Linux because', rather than 'I want to learn Linux') you should find it easy to ask the right questions.

  7. #7
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    STOP - REWIND!!!

    Firstly, you're doing a finance course which requires you understand Python? What the holy fuck!?

    Secondly, you don't need another PC to install Linux - nor do you need to consider multi-booting or other faffery like that.

    There are 2 ways forward from where you are

    1 - use a Windows-based Python - there are loads around and Python is Python, it's the same (awkward and odd) thing everywhere
    2 - install VirtualBox (it's free) and then install Linux onto a virtual machine within that

    The latter is my advice - install VB, download a Linux ISO and set that as your 'boot disc' for a new virtual machine (VB has presets for most recent Linuxes) and it will 'install' itself onto that virtual machine - voila, you have a Linux machine running inside your Windows machine and you can do whatever you like to it without worrying about your Windows install.

    Seriously tho - a finance course which requires you understand computers well enough to install an OS and program in Python - is bloody strange...
    Last edited by trjp; 29-11-2012 at 03:16 PM.

  8. #8
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Sparkasaurusmex's Avatar
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    Not bloody strange, just a new modern world.

  9. #9
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    You could take a look at this book: http://learnpythonthehardway.org/

    There are some instructions in the first exercise on how to set everything up in Windows, Linux and Mac. I've been using Python on Windows with no problems at all. You'll have to learn how to use PowerShell/Terminal/bash, there's a book for that too: http://cli.learncodethehardway.org/book/

  10. #10
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Boris's Avatar
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    If you want to learn Linux, I mean really get comfortable with how it works, do a Stage1 Gentoo install. The installation guide those guys made explains why you are taking certain steps.

    If you just want a Linux system to play with, install Linux Mint Cinnamon. It's very user friendly, the interface is a lot like Windows and it works.

    If you just need a Python install, get Python for Windows. It works perfectly well, and it's a pretty easy language to pick up. Considering that he expects you all to figure it out on your own means the assignments can't be too hard either, programming wise.

  11. #11
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus squirrel's Avatar
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    Thanks again for all the new info, guys.

    And yeah, the course requires us to have already been able to programme on Python, but it not gonna cover the fundamentals. Plus, the instructor is actually not a Finance Professor...... he's a Computer Science Professor who runs his own hedge fund, and he said his own pension depends on it.

    He also stated that he could have made things easy for us by covering everything in Windows for educational purpose, but he chose not to, as Linux is the industrial standard of financial industry.
    Last edited by squirrel; 30-11-2012 at 02:35 PM.

  12. #12
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Boris's Avatar
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    Linux is generally considered the standard in most kinds of server settings. Partly because it's free, partly because it's just really really good, partly because you can configure it in a lot of ways, including a very low latency mode, which is apparantly what you want in a financial setting.

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