Archive of UserLand's first discussion group, started October 5, 1998.

Re: Linux for Dummies?

Author:Tim Moore
Posted:12/3/1998; 7:35:15 PM
Topic:Linux for Dummies?
Msg #:756 (In response to 749)
Prev/Next:755 / 757

Since you've already got KDE running, it's probably easiest to just use that for as much as possible. The developers are working hard at making UNIX easy to use, so you can hopefully ignore the command shell for a little while...

There's probably an icon for your home directory on your desktop and/or your panel. Click it to bring up a file manager. The KDE file manager (called KFM) was inspired somewhat by MSIE4 -- it's pretty much a web browser, except you also browse your file system with it (and FTP sites too!) You can type a pathname into the location bar, just like in IE. Unlike on Windows and Mac OS, the entire filesystem on UNIX is represented as a single hierarchy, with mounted disks being anchored at a point in the hierarchy. So you can browse all of your mounted disks by starting at the root directory "/" and going from there. This may be kind of daunting, though, as a typical installation has a *lot* of files. There are a couple of easier ways to see what you have installed:

1. Run a program called "glint". There's an item in the "K" menu (I can't remember what it's called exactly) which will bring up a small window where you can type a single command (like the Win9x "Run" command). Type "glint" into this window and it will bring up a window where you can browse all of the packages installed on your system. It's arranged by categories, and you can double-click a package to see a brief description of its function and a list of all of its files! The UI is a little rough, but this is really the best way to browse through the software you have on your system.

2. System documentation. There are three basic documentation types on Linux. First are manpages. These date back from System V UNIX (if not before!) and every command has one. They have a tendency to be pretty terse, though. Second are info manuals. These originated with the GNU project, and tend to be more comprehensive then manpages. All GNU programs have info manuals, and many non-GNU programs have them too. Whenever you find a program on your system, try typing "info ". If the program has an info manual, it will show that. If not, it will show the manpage. Press control-H for help. Third, look in the "/usr/doc" directory. This is sub-divided into a directory for each package you have installed. Any documentation not in manpage or info form will probably be in there.

Hope this helps!


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