How do I learn More about ...
Regardless of whether you are a relative newb or a seasoned veteran, there is always more to learn. The wonderful thing about Open Souce development is that there is a ethos of community building and empowering others, so there are always people willing to help you along. Here are some general guidelines for how to go about gathering information.
Step 1. Use your Search Engine
The Web is a wonderful place to discover information. Use a search engine, such as Google, to find references to the topic you are looking for. If you have a particular error message you are trying to understand, try typing the error message word for word. A surprizing large number of problems can be solved in this fashion.
Too many results? Sometimes you don't know the exact terminology to search for and what you search for is too vague and you get overwelmed with results. Don't Panic. Google has a simple solution: prepend (put at the beginning) of your seach site:website.com. This lets you search for the pesky error in only Ubuntu's website about the problem you are having. This is a great way to streamline your search process.
Step 2. Come to a LUG hacking social
The LUG sponsors a "hacking social" every week. Don't be put off by the title. People of all levels of expertise are welcome at the weekly event. This is a great place to meet folks who likely have addressed the very same issues you are dealing with. Ask questions, and you can find answers.
Step 3. Study Manuals Carefully
Read the relevant documents carefully and experiment with possible solutions. You will sometimes receive the curt response RTFM. Although this can seem rude (and sometimes is), it is nevertheless often very useful advice. Many simple questions are often explained in the documatation for software systems. Other times the documentation will provide hints about solutions that are close to the problem you are trying to solve. Develop an attitude of exploration.
On the flip side of this point, many important open source software systems do NOT have adequate documentation. For those who do not yet feel comfortable developing open source code, important assistance to the open source movement can be provided by writing clear and helpful documentation (such as user manuals) to aid others who may follow in your tracks.
Step 4. Send a message to a local news group
Send a message to linux-at-lists.orst.edu and/or cs-grad-talk-at-engr.orst.edu. This puts you in touch with a local community of experts. Be polite, and you will often receive detailed and helpful instruction.
Step 5. Try a larger community of experts
Try a system like qunu.com or contacting a community specific to the topic at hand. This connects you with an even larger and more international collection of volunteers. Most open source projects have their own community of developers and users who can help. Again the keys to success are being concise, being focused, and being polite. Long rambling discourses will often be ignored, but if you narrow your question you are more likely to receive useful help. When contacting a new community look for info on how they operate. Some groups will have several mailing lists such as a development list and a user support list. If so be sure to email the right list. If your question is usage or troubleshooting related ask the user support list, if it is a coding or debugging question email the dev list.