If you are new to Linux I recommend doing a basic tutorial. If you need to know more the Linux howtos are the place to look.
The best place to start is The Linux users guide
Also check out the kernel docs - /usr/src/Linux/Documentation
The Linux Documentation project and the The Howto index
Some basic tips for using Linux
The Linux environment is very flexible. All programs can be accessed via a text terminal/console. Many of the programs can also be started with a mouse click. Depending on your level of expertise you may prefer point and click. The terminal is very similar to dos in the Windows operating system only much more powerful. As you become more comfortable using Linux the terminal will become your most powerful friend. From here you can do anything with the computer. Provided you have the right passwords.
There are many commands that can be typed into the terminal which can save a lot of time. To see the full list available open a terminal and press the Tab button. This will give you an option type y and a full list will appear before your eyes.
Some of the more useful commands are:
cd - this changes directories (dir)
eg. cd /usr
will put you into the directory called usr
ls - this prints a list in the terminal of the files and directories in the
man - this prints a manual for the program if it has been installed in the
eg. man ls
prints a manual in the terminal for the ls command. Just press q to close it.
mkdir - this creates a directory.
eg. mkdir /home/newbie/music
creates a dir called music in the ~/newbie directory.
cp - this copies a file from one place to another on your system.
eg. cp /home/newbie/music/song.mp3 /home/newbie/music/album/
copies the file named song.mp3 into the dir called album.
ln - this creates a link from one file to another.
eg. ln -s /mnt/DOS_hda2/music /home/newbie/album
creates a symbollic link between the ~/music dir on your Windows partition and the
~/album dir on your Linux partition. In laymans terms this means all the files you
write to the ~/album dir will actually be written to the ~/music dir on your windows
partition. Now you can read them from both operating systems. Be careful though.
Due to a bug in the older Linux kernels, reading and writing to Windows partitions
too much could result in a corrupted harddrive. This is now fixed but only in kernel
* flags are very useful additions to a text command. eg. ln --help or ln -h will
print a help message for the link command. This will give you all the commonly
used flags available for the command too.