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Basic Linux Tips and Tricks, Part 2

Finding Solutions

  • October 8, 2007
  • By A. Lizard

In Part 2 of this three-part series, you will learn what the best systematic approach should be to start solving any problems you might have in Linux. Instead of a scattershot approach, general solutions to Linux problems can be approached in this order:

  1. Is there another available program installed or available via repository that solves the same problem? Does it do what you need it to? If yes, use that program instead.
  2. What is the problem? Usually, error / diagnostic messages displayed at the time of error and/or in the logs after the fact will tell you.
  3. Check program / OS documentation to see if the answer is there
  4. Google on the error message and/or if you can deduce the actual problem from the message,
  5. Try the recommended solutions that appear to apply. They'll probably involve changes in configuration files.
  6. If that fails, look for other solutions.
  7. If you can't find them or make the solutions that appear applicable work, find a user community where you can ask somebody for help.
  8. Contact the developers, either directly via mailing list or web forum or by filing a bug report.

The rest of this article fills in the details you'll need to make this list work for you.

If it's a specific program that won't work, see if there's another program on the computer or available via repository that does the same job. For common tasks, there probably are at least two programs for that purpose already installed on your machine, and if there is only one installed, you can probably get at least one alternative via automated installation via repository.

You can try

$ apropos keyword

or search on one or more keywords at Google

keyword1 keyword2 distroname

with the keyword(s) having to do with whatever program function you're looking for.

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