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Getting help with Linux

Regional Linux User Groups have been popularized by the folks at SSC and have really taken off in the past six months. Called GLUE - Groups of Linux Users Everywhere, the idea of regional LUGs has spread to the point that there is now a LUG in almost every major city, and in many out-of-the-way places, too.

Talking to the folks at a LUG can be extremely helpful if you're a complete newbie and need help with Linux. It's also a great way to see some of the amazing things that others are doing with Linux in your area (I always come out of our LUG meetings here in Cleveland having learned something new). And LUGs hosting Linux "Install Fests" are not uncommon. This is a meeting where you can bring in your computer, and LUG volunteers will install Linux on it for you for free (or a small donation).

You may represent a company or other entity with specialized needs or requiring a great deal of support; if so, there is a whole world of Linux consultants out there. Start with the Linux-Consultants HOWTO, but note that a number of traditional computer consulting firms and even ISPs now provide Linux consulting services.

Another rising trend is companies providing pre-configured Linux systems. If you don't yet have the hardware, this can be a good way to purchase a running Linux system and not have to bother with installation.


These sources will almost certainly be able to fulfill any need you have in starting out with, or getting help on, a particular aspect of Linux. Yes, mastering Linux does require some effort, but the best things in life always do. That does not mean running Linux is any more difficult than non-free software or requires you to be a programmer - in fact, anyone can learn Linux! It's just that you do have to put some thought into the process, as you did when you learned to drive a car or to speak a foreign language. Those were worthwhile tasks, and you will find that the time spent learning Linux is, too!