Several years ago, I started dabbling in Linux. I was extremely familiar with the Windows way of doing things.
One of the biggest issues for me to overcome was an understanding of the directory structure. Much like Windows, there are "Accepted" places for certain kinds of files. i.e. the /etc directory is typically for Configuration files. The /home is for the individual user files. /usr /tmp /boot /bin are for User files, Temporary Files, Boot Files, and Binary Files (executable) respectively......
That is just brushing the surface, but you can see how it goes. The more I use it the more I feel more comfortable with it. Today, I maintain a server Running Red Hat 7.3 (It's been VERY stable for me. ) with Apache, PHP, MySQL, eXtremail, samba, etc.... And there are a host of other programs that you can get (for free and for a fee) from the Web or stores (even book stores).
Another overwhelming point is that you have to chose how to install your software. As Vikas points out you can either use "Pre-Compiled" binarys (Red Hat distributes many in forms of RPM's) or you can Compile them your self. Again, as Vikas points out, many of the packages are as simple as ./configure
, and ./make install
but not all. Generally, there is a file (when you unpack and tar your package) called INSTALL or README or something VERY obvious (do an ls listing) as to what to do for an install. Open it in a veiwer (I chose VI) and read it. It generally will tell you EXACTLY what you need to do.
Finally, for learning, there are several books out there. I typically get the Red Hat (or now Fedora Core) Bibles (for the latest version) and find them to be quite helpful. They are not only a reference material, but the go from the basic to the complex.... I am sure you can find a similar book for SUSE. If not there are also books that are generic to LINUX and not manufacturer specific, although they will point out differences in the distributions.
News groups, forums and LUGS (Linux User GroupS) are also a good recourse. Just ask your questions and people will respond.
I hope I have helped you on your path to using Linux. I know it's overwhelming at first, but I think if you are serious about computers, it's a Valuable skill to add to the resume.
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