The three best, Star Wars-influenced approaches to learning Linux

Learning Linux for the first time is surprisingly similar to watching the Star Wars series for the first time. But in which order should you do either?

Recently, a friend and I were discussing the pluses and minuses of watching the Star Wars films in various orders. (What can I say? I didn’t play football in high school. This is what I do.) The primary purpose of our conversation: to find the optimal viewing order to introduce the Star Wars universe to someone who has never seen the films before.

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For example, there is something known as "Machete order" for Star Wars, which has you watching the films in the following order: 4, 5, 2, 3, 6. Watching the films this way provides what is, arguably, the most cohesive and enjoyable "single sitting, first viewing" experience – plus it does away with Episode 1 entirely. Which is a good thing.

All of this got me thinking, what would be the optimal way to introduce Linux to someone who has never used it before? Not simply "what is a good beginner’s Linux Distro"…but how to best introduce someone to the wide, wonderful world of Linux.

After a lengthy discussion, this one with a few of my nerd-ier friends, here are the various "orders" we’ve come up with.

The Classic Order: Fedora -> Mageia -> openSUSE -> Ubuntu

  • The purpose of the "Classic" order is to emulate the progression that many of us took as we found our way in the world of Linux distro’s. So many of us started with good old "Red Hat" back in "the day," then moved on to Mandrake, then to Suse…and finally on to Ubuntu. This is the modern equivalent and will help give those new to Linux a similar experience.

The Masochist Order: Ubuntu -> Fedora -> Arch -> Slackware -> Gentoo -> Linux-From-Scratch

  • The idea of this order is simple – make a person become progressively more hardcore. Start with something that is "new-user friendly" (Ubuntu) and move to progressively more and more complicated systems – ending with a full Linux-From-Scratch system. By the time a person finishes this order he will have the largest neck-beard on the planet.

The Lunduke Order: Ubuntu -> Arch -> openSUSE

  • All of this bring me to my recommended order. Begin with Ubuntu. It’s easy and works well, out of the box, as a good introduction to what Linux can do. Then wait until you want something more hardcore… and install Arch. After a few weeks you feel like a pro, but still run into problems deploying Arch within the company you work for. Move to openSUSE in order to utilize some of the support tools available (such as the Open Build Service to create installers and custom repositories…and Suse Studio to create custom appliances). You then stay on openSUSE but often daydream about running Arch and Ubuntu.

Those are the top three we came up with. What would your ideal "order" be for a person new to Linux?

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