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This is WikiLearn, a wiki-based site dedicated to collaborative learning of Linux and free and open source software. Among other things, WikiLearn is my learning notepad. Feel free to use WikiLearn the same way. Because it is wiki-based, you can revise or create new pages here. Start by at least skimming this page and some of its links.


  1. Help Wanted: In addition to "collaborators" who are willing to add to and edit the content of WikiLearn, I need help in setting up WikiLearn on its permanent site (initially on SourceForge). If you are interested, do a TWiki search on "ToDo" in page (topic) names and then contact me so we can coordinate efforts. The permanent WikiLearn site will be divided into separate webs by content, for instance, Linux, C, Cpp (for C++), Perl, Python, Oop (for general Object Oriented Programming), AbiWord (and other significant Linux applications wink ), etc.

  2. Don't Write to Me: I suggest that, under normal circumstances, you not write to me directly with any questions. Instead, post your question on an appropriate new or existing WikiLearn page. I will find the question just about as soon as I would find it by reading my email (because, when I'm checking my email regularly I'm also checking the WikiLearn WebChanges page at about the same frequency. And, if I don't have the time or the knowledge to answer your question, maybe somebody else reading the page will. This is, after all, one of the intentions of a wiki.

20030217 Update: Currently my active TWiki page development is more focused on the CFK TWiki. Some of the stuff there is aimed at the same goals as WikiLearn, but it's giving me a fresh start so hopefully some of what I rewrite there will be more clear (especially as I know a little more about Linux at this point). (I do expect to eventually bring that stuff back to WikiLearn.) I am also interested in "pushing" the development of the AbiWord FAQ on TWiki.

I am planning to set up a TWiki on SourceForge to be named WikiLearn. It's taken quite a while, so I am starting to load selected pages to a temporary web (Wikilearn) on this TWiki (twiki.org).

Note: Often I will create pages that are very rough and unfinished (or transfer them from my home TWiki). That's part of what a wiki is for -- we can collaborate on finishing the pages -- see #Brief_Introduction_to_TWiki (on this page).

Among other things, WikiLearn is my learning notepad. Feel free to use WikiLearn the same way.

Because many pages start out rough and unfinished, there must be a means to tell others how accurate the information on a page is likely to be. The exact approach and criteria are still being worked out -- see PageStatus. (But note that new pages are created by default with a PageStatus WebForm -- see the bottom of this page -- the page status can be changed during editing.)

See also:



The goal of WikiLearn is to help people learn to use open source software, especially newbies to open source. This includes myself, and particularly those already familiar with other operating systems and programs.

One way of doing that is by recording learning experiences (mine and others) in a collaborative environment.

Beginner, Reminder, and BehindTheScenes Pages

On WikiLearn I expect to have (at least) two and sometimes three pages on each topic, one named ...Beginner, one named ...Reminder, and sometimes one named something like ...BehindTheScenes.

The one named ...Beginner will have all the step-by-step instructions and details to help a newbie.

The pages named ...BehindTheScenes would provide more explanation, so that, for example, someone could accomplish the same results using their own procedures. As an example, if the ...Beginner and ...Reminder pages deal with something like setting up a network using a GUI tool, the ...BehindTheScenes page might explain what configuration files were changed by the GUI and why, and thus, you would learn how you might configure the network using a text editor. (This approach might also be followed even if the ...Beginner and ...Reminder pages deal with setting up the network using a text editor -- the intent is to provide conceptual rather than rote knowledge.)

The WikiLearn pages on ftp may be a reasonable first cut at this approach -- see these pages:


In other circumstances, there may be pages covering installation (or other appropriate topics), like:


Note that a (blue) question mark indicates a link to a page that does not yet exist.

The one named ...BehindTheScenes would providing more explanation of what the instructions accomplish, so that someone could accomplish the same results using their own procedures. As an example, if the ...Beginner and ...Reminder pages deal with something like setting up a network using a GUI tool, the ...BehindTheScenes page might explain what configuration files were changed by the GUI and why, and how you might configure the network using a text editor.

Brief Introduction to TWiki

A TWiki is a variety of wiki. A wiki is a web site that allows easy collaborative creation and editing of web pages by the reader. To edit this or any twiki page, register at TWiki.TWikiRegistration, then return to this page, scroll down, and click on the "Edit" link (in blue and underlined near the bottom of the page). (Some wikis / twikis require registration to edit, some do not.)

See TWiki.MainFeatures.

Some Useful Links

There are things to learn about TWiki, including the markup language and the Wiki culture and etiquette. Some useful pages include:

Styles of Editing

There are several styles of editing a TWiki page:

  • Add a signed and dated comment near the bottom of a page
  • Add a signed and dated comment within the text of a page, in the appropriate place (often in italics )
  • Correct a typo (usually anonymously)
  • Refactor (rewrite) the entire page, being careful to present the story accurately, including being fair to both sides (if there are sides), and not distorting or misrepresenting anyone. Usually names are taken out of any individual comments -- the comments are integrated in the page and the names are added to a list of contributors at the bottom of the page. If there is a lot of discussion, or depending on other circumstances a new page will be created to maintain the discussion, often on a page titled ...Discussion.

The choice of which approach to take depends on many things including:

  • The style of the page -- some pages are in document mode, some pages are in thread mode.
  • Whether the page is signed or not -- I'll discuss unsigned pages later, because they imply several things, but wikizens are usually more circumspect about modifying a signed page. They are more reluctant to refactor a signed page, but instead post signed comments, perhaps in the hope that the original author will refactor appropriately, at an appropriate time. So far on WikiLearn, people have been reluctant to modify or add to anyone else's material. I'd like to encourage that a little more. -- RandyKramer - 03 Apr 2002

Accuracy and Reliability

Read some of the relevant links in #Some_Useful_Links, then see PageStatus.


When these pages are moved to the "real" WikiLearn website, they will be organized into subwebs, depending on the subject matter. (On my home TWiki I've created about 40 subwebs so far, including ones for Linux, Programming, Cpp (C++), Perl, (Programming) Tools, etc.) On this temporary site, those pages that have been uploaded are all within the Wikilearn web.

UPDATE: I've started loading more pages, trying to use prefixes that identify the topic with the future web, for instance:

  • Oop for the Oop (Object Oriented Programming) web
  • Cpp for the Cpp (C++) web

Search for Information

TWiki has its own built-in search engine (with limitations -- and is difficult) -- click on the Search link at the top of any WikiLearn page.

If you want to browse, you can list all the pages on a web by clicking on the Index link at the top of any WikiLearn page.

TWiki (including WikiLearn) is indexed by Google and other major search engines.

Re Google:

  • You can limit your search to TWiki (which includes WikiLearn by specifying [site:twiki.org <other search terms>].
  • Google indexes TWiki something like every 4 to 6 weeks (last time I checked), so be guided accordingly.
  • Google also indexes TWiki as twiki.sourceforge.net, on a different schedule, so at times you can get "better" results by specifying [site:twiki.sourceforge.net <other search terms>].
  • (Future TWiki enhancement: add more robot.txts files to limit the number of duplicate entries in the Google indices.)

Check for Changes

Some people are interested enough in a particular wiki to regularly check the site for changes. You can do this by clicking the Changes link at the top of any WikiLearn page.

As mentioned above, some TWiki pages are organized in thread mode, so it is (usually easy) to spot changes. For a document mode page (or a hard to find change on a thread mode change) try the diff features at the bottom of the page -- click on diff to see a list of all diffs, click on a "<" to see changes between two specific versions of a TWiki page.

(There is sporadic discussion on twiki.org about improving the diff process to something more like what MS Word does, what I call a word diff, with additions in bold and deletions "struck out".)

Register to Edit

Please register at TWikiRegistration in order to edit (comment) this or any other WikiLearn (or TWiki) page.

After you've registered, click the Edit link at the bottom of the page -- I think editing will be fairly self explanatory. Your name and the date will appear below the textarea edit box to allow you to easily copy and paste your name to the comment(s) you make.

(Aside: If you try to edit and are not registered, you will be redirected to the registration page, perhaps after three tries.)

At least initially don't be too worried about learning or using the TWiki markup -- if you just enter plain text with paragraphs separated by a blank line, your text will be readable. As you get more experience with TWiki you will learn more of the TWiki markup, often by seeing how others use it on the page you are editing. If you want to review the TWiki markup codes, see TWiki.TextFormattingRules.

Register to get a Daily Email Notification of Changed Pages

After registering, you can add your TWiki name to the list at Wikilearn.WebNotify to get a daily email with a list of changed pages on Wikilearn. Note that the "Diff" and ">" options (on the same line as the "Edit", below) will allow you to view "differences" between versions.

UPDATED You can now recieve notifications using RSS. To do this, go to WebRss and copy the URL into your favorite newsreader (i.e. Feedreader)

-- RandyKramer - 17 Aug 2001
-- TWikiGuest - 03 Apr 2003 - Fixed a link to SourceForge.
-- AndrewRJones - 11 Sep 2006 - Added RSS feeds

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Topic revision: r39 - 2007-02-17 - PeterThoeny
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