Guide to Linux for Beginners

About Control-Escape

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About Control-Escape

Our Mission

To foster, educate and expand the Open Software community. At Control-Escape, our goal is to help bring new citizens to the open software community, a cultural group existing mostly on the Internet and based on the values of cooperation, sharing, and technical excellence. We seek not just the spread of open software, but of the values inherent in the open software community.

We don’t go around trying to enlist new recruits. Our community isn’t like that (or shouldn’t be, at least). We simply spread the word, figuring that if we build it, you will come. But once you come for a visit, we will try our best to make your stay pleasant, to make you want to live here.

As with any move to a new community, there is a period at the beginning when you don’t know your way around. We try to alleviate that “lost puppy” feeling by providing you with the information you need to find your own way. Unlike many other resources, Control-Escape is designed to be accessible to the novice, the new and prospective user, as well as the power user.

We believe that the GNU/Linux operating system is the best place to begin, and most of the information here is about Linux. However, Linux is not the only open software around, and many of our articles will be useful no matter which operating system you are using. In the true spirit of open software, all our articles and tutorials will be published to the web and accessible free of charge.

Finally, this web site is for you, the new (or prospective) Linux user. If there is any question you need answered, any article you would like to see published here, please contact us at the address below with your request.

Why Call It Control-Escape?

I struggled for a long time to come up with a name for this site. A name that would be recognizable, revealing the spirit of my intent. I went through a dozen or more, most of them impossibly long. I thought about cutesy abbreviations, but that didn’t work out either. Finally I decided to just put it out of my mind for a while, knowing that the best way to find an answer sometimes is not to look for it.

I was thinking about my reasons for adopting Linux, the same reasons that most new users are doing it now. I wanted to get away from Microsoft’s kingdom of mediocrity. I wanted to have control over my own computer. I wanted to climb out of Windows and stand in the Sun (sorry, stretched that metaphor a little too far). I wanted to escape the world of proprietary corporate software, and take control of my own digital destiny. It’s about Control and Escape.

And then I thought, hey, those are both keys on my keyboard. Pressing Ctrl-Esc on Windows is the same as clicking the Start button. What better place to Start than Control-Escape!?

So that’s how I arrived at the name, and that’s what the focus of this site will be. We are here to help you take control of your computer, make it do what you want it to do. I’m not asking “Where do you want to go today?” You know where you’re going. What you need to know is how to get there.

Is Control-Escape for Me?

There are dozens if not hundreds of Linux sites out there now, and many other sites about Open Source and Free Software in general. Many of these sites provide amazing amounts of detailed technical information. Unfortunately, most of it is so technical that you have to be an expert already to understand it. Where are the references for the true novice? There are a lot of people out there who have only used Windows, and we want something better. We know how to use a mouse and a keyboard, but that doesn’t mean we understand the ext2fs file system and cron jobs. Yet many “help” documents assume this type of knowledge.

Control-Escape is a web site for normal people. We have computers that came with Windows pre-installed and we’ve been using them. We might like Windows, we might not, but we are interested in finding something better, in both the technical sense and the ethical sense. We shop around, and Linux looks like the best prospect. We try to adopt it, and then we hit a wall, a mountain of technical knowledge so large we cannot figure out where to begin.

The goal of this site is to get you over that hump, the beginning period when the change seems hardest. It will give you the knowledge that you need to decode all the technobabble and learn for yourself. It will take you from knowing nothing at all (a bad feeling, I know) to being clueful, and then to being powerful, capable of making a system perform to your specifications. When you are finished, your computer will do what you want it to, not what Mr. Bill wants.

And believe me, it isn’t that hard. A few basic principles are all you need to get started. Soon it will seem like second nature. True, it won’t come without effort. But gaining this kind of control is well worth it.

Who’s Behind Control-Escape?

Vince Veselosky, Publisher/Editor

In 1998 Vince was a Microsoft Certified Professional who defected to Linux. He started a Linux help web site immediately after adopting Linux, finding that some basic operations were very simple but not clearly documented. Feedback was so strong that in January, 1999 he registered a domain name and launched Control-Escape as a public resource for the community. Vince now makes his living as a web application architect, building large scale web sites on Linux and open source technologies. He can be reached via email at vince -@-

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