Being a Linux user can be confusing if you’re new to the platform. Especially if you’re used to being able to call up Apple support, or a Microsoft hotline. Finding online tech support for Linux is one of the largest problems in the Linux community, and new users that can’t find easy-to-understand answers often end up switching back to Mac or Windows.
Due to how common it is for new Linux users to have trouble finding tech support, we’ve compiled a great list of places to look to get help.
1. LinuxQuestions on Reddit
If you’re a new Linux user with a problem and have nowhere to turn, the best place to go is LinuxQuestions on Reddit. It’s a massive subreddit with dozens of active people ready to answer any Linux question you have.
The LinuxQuestions subreddit is great because it’s a self-correcting community. Nobody gets a wrong answer because bad answers get voted down. By far, this place is the best resource for a Linux user who needs help to solve a problem.
2. Google+ Linux Communities
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Yes, Google+ is dead. Gone are the days that internet search giant Google is pushing this “alternative” to Facebook and Twitter. It’s easy to see why: it’s not user-friendly, and just isn’t an attractive product given the alternatives.
With all that in mind, Google+ has done something well: communities. These are groups and “clubs,” much like Facebook, that anyone can join and post in. While it’s true that Facebook also has a community system, Google’s is much better, as the vast majority of G+ users are technical people.
Google+ is a super great resource for Linux users in need of guidance. There are dozens of support communities for Linux that anyone can join. Better still, there are even communities on G+ that target specific Linux distributions (Arch Linux, Ubuntu, Debian, etc). If you’ve got a Linux problem you need help with, log into Google+.
3. The Arch Linux Wiki
It might be a bit weird recommending the Arch Linux Wiki to users of different Linux OSes, but it’s actually a great resource. Out of all the Linux wiki reference sites on the internet, the Arch one is the most detailed. It has detailed explanations and walk-throughs for just about everything, no matter how obscure or complicated. Best of all, as Arch Linux uses the same technologies as most modern distributions (minus a few changes here and there), the knowledge you learn on it can be applied to the OS that you’re on.
To be clear, the Arch Linux wiki isn’t perfect, and things can sometimes be wrong, as it’s a community-driven Wiki page. However, for those in need of a detailed technical explanation of how to do things on Linux, this wiki is no joke.
4. Distribution-specific Subreddits
We mentioned Reddit earlier, and for good reason: Reddit is very popular. As a result, many Linux users have created special subreddits (like LinuxQuestions) in an effort to help other users with their problems. Still, subreddits like LinuxQuestions aren’t the only place on the famous site that Linux users should check out.
As it turns out, there are many special distribution-specific subreddits on the Reddit website. These are niche communities that focus only on one Linux distribution. For example: if you have Ubuntu problems, you may find help in r/Ubuntu. For Fedora Linux problems you might check out r/Fedora, and so on.
Distribution-specific subreddits aren’t nearly as open to questions and tech support like something on the level of LinuxQuestions because these special subreddits aren’t just about helping people. However, if you need to ask specific questions about your operating system, this is a great place to start.
5. Distribution-specific Forums
Many Linux distributions set up their own forums for users to ask questions, meet up with other users, organize events, and contribute to ongoing projects.
Social media has taken over most of this list, and it’s not hard to see why since more people are on Reddit than most places online. Still, if you’re looking for high-quality Linux support for your operating system, checking out distro-specific forums is a must!
Not sure how to find the official forum for your Linux operating system? Check the official website where you downloaded a copy of your OS. There’s sure to be a direct link close by!
6. IRC Channels
Though IRC is old, it’s still popular in the Linux community. Virtually every Linux distribution has a dedicated chatroom where anyone can join to chat with developers directly and get solutions to problems. Additionally, many Linux operating systems set up IRC chat rooms specifically for support purposes.
IRC isn’t glamorous, and using it to communicate is often seen as annoying, confusing and cumbersome to new users. However, if you need one-on-one help, there is no substitute for this chat protocol.
To find your Linux OS’s official IRC channel, refer to the support section of the home page.
7. Your Distribution’s Wiki
The Arch Linux Wiki is a top-notch wiki, but if you’re not using Arch Linux, you’ll run into issues sometimes, as there are small differences with every Linux OS. If you need to solve a problem on your Linux PC that you can’t quite understand, consider loading up the official Wiki page for your OS as it will have dozens of articles outlining answers to questions you may have.
While it’s true that not every Wiki is created equal, it’s still a place users should always visit when they need guidance. To find your OS’s official Wiki, ask in the IRC, or check the official website for a link to it.
YouTube is a huge platform with millions of videos going up every second, including answers to Linux questions, walk-through tutorials, and guidance for new users. While we wouldn’t recommend turning to a random YouTube video over official support forums, or well-known community pages, it’s still a great place to find help.
For best results, search for Linux help by typing in a few keywords that relate to your question, and add in a “+ Linux”. Also be sure to check out the AddictiveTips YouTube channel, as we upload dozens of Linux tutorials that are sure to help!