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Showing posts with label Linux. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Linux. Show all posts

10 Things a new Linux user should learn

1) All: Auto Clipboard. Try this. Start to compose an email. Use your left mouse to highlight this paragraph, or paragraphs or this entire page. Put your cursor back into the compose email. Click your left and right buttons at the same time. Keyboardless copy/paste. With Firefox/Thunderbird, even the HTML tables and format codes get copied automatically. Play around with this.

2) All: Multiple Desktops. If you are new to Linux, you may still be working in the single desktop mode where you have 8 applications open, but all on the same page. Multiple desktops can be thought of this way. If you have 4 desktops, you have 4 computer monitors you can use. You can ONLY see one of them at a time, but you flip between monitors. This way, OpenOffice is open on one desktop, Thunderbird and Firefox on another desktop. Your CD probably has an "Introduction to the Linux desktop". I know, we all hate reading the basics, but I highly recommend it.

3) All: You are having problems with your system. Let's say, for example, you plug that USB drive in and it doesn't seem to do anything. In general, all messages (good, bad and indifferent) are being written to /var/log/messages. In Suse 9.2, I have to be root to be able to see that file, and I don't know about others. Anyway, you can FileManager-->Super User Mode, then navigate to /var/log and look at messages, you can open a console window "su - root" and then "more /var/log/messages" or to watch it in "real time" as you plug the USB drive in "tail -f /var/log/messages". With tip #1, you can post quickly to that online support forum.

4) Advanced User: Expect and AutoExpect. Imagine you have 300 commands you need to run, ranging from FTP to SSH to copy file, to whatever. Wouldn't it be great to be able to use a program to record everything you type, then script it up automatically and be able to run it? That is what expect does. Using autoexpect, which creates the script, you teach your computer what to "expect". If you type cd /etc, and get /etc prompt, autoexpect is recording it, and when you run it, it will dutifully enter "cd /etc" and once it gets the prompt it expects, will enter the next command it recorded. This is more for the experienced users, but I have used this to create expect scripts that ssh to a remote machine, starts DXPC, exit, spawn another terminal with ssh redirection to grab the DXPC port and redirect it to my local machine, ssh to a third machine, point it to the machine running DXPC, start a process and after all that, the gui, running on the third machine fed through to the DXPC machine is arriving on my local screen after going through the SSH redirection. All this now happens with the click of an icon on my desktop.

5) Advanced User: DXPC A little know utility, but essential for anyone doing remote UNIX/LINUX support over dialup (as I do most every day). When you don't need the security of SSH (like a direct dialup link to a remote site), and need max compression to get that remote GUI locally, Differential X Compression is something you should look at. Again, for the more experienced Linux user.

6) All: Knowing which application does what is sometimes hard. If it isn't in the Start menu, how do you know gFTP is a fantastic FTP Client? It may be installed, it might still be on your CD, but knowing the name is key. Here is a link I relied on a lot, and can point you in the right direction. Linux Native Replacements to Windows Programs

7) All: Autocomplete. OK, you have opened the console to do your thing. Linux bash (most likely your command tool environment) will complete typing for you. Suppose you want to rename ThisIsMyFirstSavedFile.txt to ThisIsMyFirstSavedFile.txt_orig. If you enter the first few letters "Thi" then press tab (or esc twice, UNIX convention) it will finish typing the whole word. If you have another file called ThisIsMySecondSavedFile.txt in the same directory, it will type as far as it can ("ThisIsMy") then beep. Hit tab again, it will list all the possibilities. Once you get good with this, you will wonder how you ever got along without it.

8) All: command History. You are still working in the command line, and you have to enter the command "cp ThisIsMyFirstSavedFile.txt ThisIsMyFirstSavedFile.txt_orig" again. What a pain. Wait, press the up arrow. Each time you press up, the previous command in the history shows up.

9) All: man is your friend. No, not the guy next to you, but man pages. Virtually all command line commands have a man page (manual page). "man cp", "man tail", "man [command]" which will give you syntax and option information. An easier way to read man pages, that I find is simple "man [command]" in google. Someone has posted the man page in HTML format.

10) All: Pico and/or Nano. One or both of these is likely installed, or is on your cd to be installed. These are console text editors. In many help forums, you may have someone tell you to "vi/vim the file and change 45 to 46 on line 200". vi/vim are great, incredibly powerful and completely counterintuitive (until you learn it, then usage is obvious) command line editor. Anywhere you want/need to edit a file in a command tool (as opposed to kwrite, gedit, or any other GUI based editors that you can also use), pico or nano is your tool. Then learn vi/vim to impress your friends.

10 Things a new Linux user needs to unlearn

1) Reboots are not SOP (Standard Operating Procedure). If an application dies, or locks up (which is rare, but can happen, usually with bleeding edge versions of apps), your OS is usually fine. If the app window stays open, iconify it or run xkill and click on it, no worries. The same is true for updates, software installs, etc. Except for kernel upgrades (infrequent), the message "You must reboot for changes to take affect" or what ever you are used to seeing is a thing of the past.
2) "It is recommended that you close all apps before proceeding" is a message you will fail to see. There is no reason to stop listening to online music, surfing the web, downloading updates or new programs and/or flipping back to your word processor, all while burning a music CD. The mouse tie ups common in other "multitasking" operating systems doesn't happen. You know the one where the icon becomes an hourglass and you are free to multi-task once the computer decides to give you cursor control back.
3) You don't need to renew your spyware/spamware and virus checker subscriptions. Sorry, you will have to find something else do with your money. Of course, nothing Linux can do about phishing links, so always beware there, but know that if you install it from your CD or open source vendor, you are spyware and virus free.
4) Linux comes with many, many, many, many applications to do pretty much anything you want to do with a computer. You won't find many Linux applications at the store because 1) they are included on your CDs/DVDs and 2) A free copy is just a download away. Always search your CD first. (with the software install method for the program you want) It is likely there, a few clicks and NO REBOOT away from running on your computer)
5) Stop looking for EULA boxes. You may have to occasionally agree to the GPL, however, email keys, digging out the CDs to find that security code to install xyz, email reminders about upgrades, all that joy doesn't exist, it is all yours to use in any way you desire.
6) Autoconfiguration. After you buy that USB drive, or that printer (you did verify that it is Linux compatible), plug it in then start using it. Your days of loading driver CD:reboot, load application CD:reboot, load OS CD x:reboot, register-click through 6 EULA boxes then finally get around to configuring it are over. You plug the USB drive in, 10 seconds later, it is fully installed and configured, and up opens your filemanager, or a printer dialogue box opens (select paper size, resolution, etc). The same thing you saw during your install, the usual lack of driver configuration is SOP in Linux.
7) You don't need to try to find the Linux equivalent of "PC Doctor" or whatever you are used to. Linux does not slow down over time, installing 40,000 apps (if you have the disk space) does not corrupt anything and feel free to uninstall any app through your distro's GUI interface, you WON'T clutter anything up.
8) Defrag. There is no Linux defrag tool, so don't look for it. In Linux, disks don't fragment in any substantial way. If you keep you HD at 98% all the time, then some fragmentation (obviously, about 2%) can occur since contiguous space is not available.
9) Under the "Start" menu, or Linux equivalent, you will find applications usually (sometimes your vendor makes strange placement choices) grouped in logical terms such as Internet (for of course, internet applications) or Office (for office applications) or Games. This is counter to the usual very logical way of Start-->Roxio-->Easy CD Creator 5-->Easy CD Creator--> Creator (You mean you forgot that Roxio makes the CD creation software for your lightscribe drive?
10) You computer is yours. No one is phoning home to check up on you. None of your music collection is about to be obsolete. None of your players require any internet connection to a "validation server" and none of your computer habits are being sent to any corporate entity that "believes strongly in your privacy" while it collects stats, no program is going to ask for revalidation if you decide to upgrade your motherboard, or video card, or add 3 USB hard drives. Your computer is yours, and you are free.

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