This isn't a flame, it's serious.
Newbie Admins are sprouting up all over, and I'd like to give some advice before they are coldly shut off as some are.
First off, please read everything. When you first extract the distribution, go through every directory and read every document. The very first one you should read is the license. Even if you don't understand what they mean yet, just read them and take note of where to find them. You'll find most of your answers in there.
My second tip is to NEVER 'try' to be more knowledgable than you are in any department here. It's best to honestly state where your knowledge is at in context with the topic at hand. What I mean is if you're having compile errors, let us know if you've never worked with a compiler before, or programed before in general. Also let us know your experience with the operating system you're using. User? Admin? Uber-Geek? For-Dummies-Flunkie? This isn't to insult, it's so those who can help know how to phrase their answers.
Another good idea is to use http://www.google.com
and do some searching on general topics, such as Linux, GNU C, or the name of your chosen code base.
Not intending any snubbing here, but the MUD Community is *not* newbie-oriented when it comes to new administrators. This is where I learned though, and it took a few books on C, 3 years of trial and error, and finally unbreakable determination to get to where I am. It's not something you can just decide to go with and be shown everything step-by-step. If you keep this in mind, then you might find it easier to learn.
Now... with all that said, I strongly recommend you learn the code you're working with. I'm going from the angle that most modern day new MUDs are start-ups of a certain codebase. There's usually not enough people to just stick it out being some sort of 'Idea man'. If you want your MUD to go anywhere, you have to know how it works, inside and out. You have to know how to make changes, and you have to know how to correct the mistakes you *will* make. For this, I recommend a book or ten. I recommend learning as much about the coding language your code base is written in, even if it's just figuring out what the 'syntax' of it is. When I say syntax, think of it being that programming language's grammar rules. Just like your old undying and seemingly immortal English teacher would fail you for using slang or improper grammar in a report, the C Compiler would do the same. Also, much like world languages, there's usually many ways to express the same thing in C.
You should also know a few things about legalities with MUDs. You have a legal contract you've signed when you use that code base. This is why I said read the licenses... Make sure you agree with the terms, because if you don't then you need to find a different code base. You MUST respect the licenses, otherwise you'll be all but dead to the MUD community. You also have to check with your local ISP before you get the idea of trying to run it from your home. Most ISPs consider running *anything* that's publicly accessible a breach in contract, and you could get your service terminated. This isn't to say you can't run it for your own personal use, but I wouldn't recommend using it as a full-time host. Speaking of hosts, you also have obligations to the host you decide to go with. You shouldn't be foolish with who you give your shell password out to, since a shell account is a hacker's playground - they can do much damage to other systems from your account and what evidence would you have otherwise? None.
Lastly, protect yourself and your content. You should write something up and place it in-game and on your website documenting that the additions you make to the game are yours. In most cases, just place a Copyright statement in the game and on your website. To take things a step further, wen you write a new piece of code, or a new area, print it out or save it on a CD and mail it to yourself. See if you can get the post office to affix some sort of seal to the envelope, with some sort of date. This is what's known as the 'Poor man's Copyright'. While it's not concrete in court, it's better than nothing. To take this to the next level, you could research into applying for a copyright.
With all of this said, the main thing to keep in mind is trial and error. You will not get all the answers from the documents or from forums. You will get enough, though... and you have nothing to lose save a little time if you botch something up.