If you run into any kind of problem within SUSE Linux on virtually any level, chances are you won't be alone. At least one other person will have had the same problem, and it's likely that someone has come up with a solution. Frequently, that person will have written about the solution online, usually on a web site forum, perhaps in response to someone else with the same problem.
The Internet is the biggest and best form of support for Linux, and it's also usually free of charge. There are hundreds of web sites dedicated to technical help. SUSE itself runs a handful of forums on its web site dedicated to its distribution, but there are many others. Here is a sampling:
Linuxhelp (www.linuxhelp.net) is a busy site with many forums offering help on all aspects of Linux use, from installation through to distro-specific guides.
LinuxQuestions.org (www.linuxquestions.org) is a newbie-friendly site covering hardware, software, installation, distros, and much more.
Computing.Net (www.computing.net) is one of the best and busiest forum sites, covering not just Linux, but all types of computing. Figure 13-5 shows an example of what you'll find there.
Figure 13-5. Computing.Net is just one of a great many web sites that aim to help Linux users of all levels.
JustLinux (www.justlinux.com) is another popular site aimed at newbies, offering help with all aspects of Linux use.
In addition, if you're a fan of newsgroups (Usenet), you'll find there are many Linux-related groups. You can both post messages and search to find the answers to problems. Newsgroups starting with comp.os.linux (news://comp.os.linux.*) offer help on Linux, and there are groups for just about every type of Linux use. A great program available on SUSE Linux for viewing newsgroups is KNode, as shown in Figure 13-6. You can access this program by typing in the knode command from a shell. Alternatively, select K menu ® Run Command, and then type knode in the box. Adding new newsgroups is as simple as clicking the New Groups button and selecting the groups you want from the list that appears.
Figure 13-6. You can use KNode to connect to newsgroups that provide help for Linux newbies.
Another way of finding help is to subscribe to a mailing list. After you sign up with a mailing list, you will receive mail from others on the list, usually asking for help, but sometimes just discussing various matters. You can respond if you wish, or you can simply read what people have to say. The problem with mailing lists is that you receive an enormous amount of mail, particularly on popular lists. However, the messages are usually archived online, and you can browse through them at your leisure without needing to sign up. If you're interested, at http://lists.suse.com/archive/, you can sign up for the mailing list covering SUSE Linux or just read past postings.
All of these online information sources serve an important role. In addition to problem solving, they encourage you to learn about how Linux works. By reading how various problems were overcome, you learn more about how everything functions.
Don't worry too much about seeming naïve when you ask for help online. Just be polite and don't be afraid to mention that you're a beginner, although you're advised to do your research first. You should read any manuals and documentation you have to try to find a solution. It also helps if you provide as much information as possible, such as any error messages and configuration details of your system.