Linux For Dummies, 6th Edition - X

Linux
®
FOR
DUMmIES
‰
6TH
EDITION
by Dee-Ann LeBlanc
Linux
®
FOR
DUMmIES
‰
6TH
EDITION
by Dee-Ann LeBlanc
Linux® For Dummies®, 6th Edition
Published by
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About the Author
Dee-Ann LeBlanc, RHCE (Red Hat Certified Engineer), is a writer, course
developer, instructor, and trainer who specializes in Linux. She is the gaming
industry editor for LinuxWorld magazine, and the author of numerous books
on Linux and other computer topics. Dee-Ann is also a regular contributor to
Computer Power User magazine and the new Tux magazine dedicated to the
Linux desktop, among other publications. When Dee-Ann isn’t teaching in
person or online classes, developing course materials, writing technical nonfiction or fantasy fiction, chatting about Linux online or at conferences, or
trying in one way or another to save the world, she hikes with her dogs and
experiments on her husband Rob with new recipes. See the latest that DeeAnn’s up to and join her readers’ mailing list at www.Dee-AnnLeBlanc.com.
(Contact Dee-Ann at dee@renaissoft.com.)
Dedication
I dedicate this book to my husband, who always has to listen to my stressed
whining when I’m running behind, and my dogs, who really would like their
mom to stop staring at the glowing box once in a while.
Author’s Acknowledgments
I, as usual, have lots of people I’d like to thank. First off, thanks to the folks
without whom the earlier editions of this book would have never existed. For
one, there’s John “maddog” Hall for giving me the opportunity to take over
this book’s evolution. He was too busy leading Compaq’s UNIX Software
Group, acting as Executive Director for Linux International, and sitting on the
board of advisors for Sair Linux/GNU certification to continue handling this
project. There’s also the folks at LANWrights for all their hard work, along
with Melanie Hoag and Evan Blomquist for their strong efforts. Finally, of
course, to the editors and staff at Wiley Publishing, Inc. Without them and
their guidance, this book would not exist or continue to improve over time.
Most of all, I’d like to thank the readers who contacted me with their questions, suggestions, and concerns. I apologize to anyone who got lost in the
great deluges of e-mail and didn’t get an answer, but please trust that, at the
very least, when I dug your e-mail out from the pile three months later, I filed
it away as one more thing to consider in the next edition. It’s reader participation that keeps books like this improving over the years, and it’s my goal to
continue refining Linux For Dummies to keep it the best desktop Linux book
available.
Publisher’s Acknowledgments
We’re proud of this book; please send us your comments through our online registration form
located at www.dummies.com/register/.
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Publishing and Editorial for Technology Dummies
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Contents at a Glance
Introduction ................................................................1
Part I: Getting Your Feet Wet .......................................7
Chapter 1: Getting Acquainted with Linux .....................................................................9
Chapter 2: Prepping Your Computer for Linux ............................................................19
Chapter 3: Installing Fedora Core ..................................................................................39
Chapter 4: Installing Other Linux Distributions ..........................................................65
Chapter 5: Booting and Stopping Linux ........................................................................95
Chapter 6: Checking Out Those Desktops .................................................................105
Chapter 7: Configuring Linux .......................................................................................133
Part II: Internet Now! ..............................................147
Chapter 8: Connecting to the Internet ........................................................................149
Chapter 9: Using the Internet .......................................................................................165
Part III: Getting Up to Speed with Linux ....................191
Chapter 10: Manipulating Files and Directories ........................................................193
Chapter 11: Checking Out the Linux Filesystem ........................................................215
Chapter 12: Adding Software to Linux ........................................................................233
Chapter 13: A Secure Linux Box Is a Happy Linux Box .............................................263
Chapter 14: Working without the GUI .........................................................................277
Chapter 15: Gettin’ Gooey with the GUIs ....................................................................293
Part IV: Getting Things Done ....................................307
Chapter 16: Putting the X in Text ................................................................................309
Chapter 17: Word-Processing and More with OpenOffice.org .................................317
Chapter 18: Multimedia Wow! ......................................................................................345
Chapter 19: Windows-Only Media Formats and Programs ......................................359
Part V: The Part of Tens ...........................................367
Chapter 20: Ten Troubleshooting Tips .......................................................................369
Chapter 21: Ten Cool Uses for Knoppix ......................................................................379
Part VI: Appendixes .................................................393
Appendix A: Common Linux Commands ....................................................................395
Appendix B: About the DVD-ROM ...............................................................................405
Index .......................................................................411
Table of Contents
Introduction ..................................................................1
About This Book ...............................................................................................1
How to Use This Book ......................................................................................2
Three Presumptuous Assumptions ................................................................3
How This Book Is Organized ...........................................................................4
Part I: Getting Your Feet Wet .................................................................4
Part II: Internet Now! ..............................................................................4
Part III: Getting Up to Speed with Linux ...............................................5
Part IV: Getting Things Done .................................................................5
Part V: The Part of Tens .........................................................................5
Part VI: Appendixes ................................................................................5
Icons Used in This Book ..................................................................................6
Where to Go from Here ....................................................................................6
Part I: Getting Your Feet Wet .........................................7
Chapter 1: Getting Acquainted with Linux . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9
Is Free Really Free? ...........................................................................................9
Linux: Revolution or Just Another Operating System? .............................10
Anatomy of an Open Source Software Project ............................................13
GNU who? ..............................................................................................13
Who’s in charge of Linux anyway? .....................................................15
Einstein was a volunteer ......................................................................15
Packaging Linux: The Distribution ...............................................................16
Chapter 2: Prepping Your Computer for Linux . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19
Installation Considerations ...........................................................................19
Preparing to Use Linux and Microsoft Windows Together .......................20
Partitioning from scratch for a dual boot ..........................................21
Peeking at your partitions from Windows .........................................22
Peeking at your partitions in Windows 2000 and Windows XP ......22
Checking your partitions in Windows 98 ...........................................24
Making space .........................................................................................26
Working with Disk Partitions ........................................................................28
Choosing a partitioning tool ...............................................................28
Getting and resizing partitions with qtparted ..................................28
Gathering Information about Your Machine ...............................................33
Finally, Finally, Before You Get Started ........................................................37
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Linux For Dummies, 6th Edition
Chapter 3: Installing Fedora Core . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .39
Things to Consider Before You Begin Installation .....................................39
Making a Boot Floppy (if Needed) ................................................................41
The Installation Process ................................................................................43
Your First Boot ................................................................................................60
Chapter 4: Installing Other Linux Distributions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .65
Kickstarting Linux with Knoppix ..................................................................66
Living Large with Linspire .............................................................................66
Installing Linspire .................................................................................67
Recognizing some special Linspire features .....................................70
About the various Linspire versions ..................................................71
Maxin’ Out the Fun with Mandrake ..............................................................71
Installing Mandrake ..............................................................................72
About the various Mandrake versions ...............................................77
Starting off with SuSE .....................................................................................78
Installing SuSE .......................................................................................78
About the various SuSE versions ........................................................85
Zapping Frustration with Xandros ...............................................................85
Installing Xandros .................................................................................86
About the various Xandros versions .................................................91
Using LiveCDs .................................................................................................92
Finding Even More Linux ...............................................................................92
Chapter 5: Booting and Stopping Linux . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .95
Giving Linux the Boot ....................................................................................96
Step 1: Power-On Self-Test (POST) leads to BIOS .............................96
Step 2: The BIOS passes the baton to the boot loader ....................97
Step 3: The boot loader (GRUB or LILO) loads the system
kernel into memory ..........................................................................98
Step 4: Control is handed over to init ................................................99
Don’t Just Turn Off the Machine! ................................................................102
Removing Linux from Your System ............................................................103
Chapter 6: Checking Out Those Desktops . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .105
Introducing the Interfaces ...........................................................................105
Deciding Which Interface to Use ................................................................106
Making the Best of the Command Line ......................................................107
GNOME Basics ..............................................................................................108
The menus ...........................................................................................109
The Run Application tool ...................................................................111
The Lock Screen tool ..........................................................................112
The Log Out tool .................................................................................113
The Panels ...........................................................................................113
The Panel menu ..................................................................................115
The Add To Panel menu option ........................................................116
Playing with desktop icons ...............................................................116
Table of Contents
KDE Basics .....................................................................................................117
Knoppix KDE .......................................................................................118
Linspire KDE ........................................................................................121
Mandrake KDE .....................................................................................124
SuSE KDE ..............................................................................................126
Xandros KDE .......................................................................................128
Switching between GNOME and KDE .........................................................130
Chapter 7: Configuring Linux . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .133
Accounts Great and Small ...........................................................................133
Avoiding root .......................................................................................134
Creating user accounts ......................................................................134
Printing ..........................................................................................................137
Zen and the Art of Linux Configuration .....................................................140
Knoppix tools ......................................................................................141
Linspire tools ......................................................................................142
Mandrake tools ...................................................................................144
Red Hat and Fedora Core tools .........................................................145
SuSE tools ............................................................................................145
Xandros tools ......................................................................................146
Part II: Internet Now! ................................................147
Chapter 8: Connecting to the Internet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .149
Internet Connectivity 101 ............................................................................149
Setting Up the Hardware .............................................................................152
Selecting an Internet Service Provider (ISP) .............................................153
Getting Information You Need from Your ISP ...........................................154
Hooking Up ....................................................................................................155
Configuring Your Connection ......................................................................156
Connecting to (and Disconnecting from) the Internet ............................160
It’s All Fun and Games until Something Doesn’t Work .............................161
Checking whether you can talk to a specific address with ping ....161
Following in your traffic’s footsteps with traceroute .....................162
After You’re Connected ...............................................................................164
Chapter 9: Using the Internet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .165
Meet the Popular Browsers .........................................................................165
Configuring Mozilla ............................................................................166
Them dad-gum browser plug-ins ......................................................172
Navigating Newsgroups ...............................................................................174
Configuring Mozilla to read newsgroups .........................................174
Subscribing to newsgroups ...............................................................176
Reading news ......................................................................................177
Evolving into E-Mail ......................................................................................177
Setting up Evolution ...........................................................................178
Sending and checking e-mail .............................................................184
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Taking Advantage of Instant Messaging ....................................................186
Using the Gaim Instant Messenger ...................................................187
Troubleshooting your IM connections ............................................189
Working with Other Internet Tools ............................................................190
Part III: Getting Up to Speed with Linux .....................191
Chapter 10: Manipulating Files and Directories . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .193
Working with Files in the GUI ......................................................................193
Sailin’ with Nautilus ............................................................................194
Rulin’ with Konqueror ........................................................................201
Excavating with the Xandros File Manager .....................................209
Understanding Filesystem Mechanics .......................................................209
Understanding long format file listings ...........................................210
A permissions primer .........................................................................211
Comprehending file types .................................................................213
Chapter 11: Checking Out the Linux Filesystem . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .215
Introducing the Linux Filesystem ...............................................................215
Meet the root directory .....................................................................216
Meet the /etc subdirectories .............................................................217
Meet the /mnt and /media subdirectories .......................................217
Meet the /usr subdirectories ............................................................218
Finding CDs and More in Your GUI .............................................................219
Navigating the filesystem in Fedora .................................................219
Navigating the Filesystem in Knoppix ..............................................221
Navigating the filesystem in Linspire ...............................................223
Navigating the filesystem in Mandrake ............................................223
Navigating the filesystem in SuSE .....................................................225
Navigating the filesystem in Xandros ..............................................226
Partitions versus Directories ......................................................................226
Formatting Disks ...........................................................................................229
Care and Feeding of Your Filesystem .........................................................229
If your machine fails to reboot ..........................................................229
Don’t run out of room! .......................................................................232
Chapter 12: Adding Software to Linux . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .233
Opening Downloaded Files ..........................................................................233
Compressing and Packaging Files to Share ...............................................235
Updating Your Software ...............................................................................236
Updating Fedora .................................................................................236
Updating Linspire ...............................................................................240
Updating Mandrake ............................................................................242
Updating SuSE .....................................................................................243
Updating Xandros ...............................................................................245
Table of Contents
Installing New Software ...............................................................................247
Eating it up with Fedora’s yum .........................................................247
Clicking and running with Linspire ..................................................253
Making it happen with Mandrake .....................................................255
Sassing with SuSE ...............................................................................258
Xipping with Xandros Networks .......................................................260
Finding More Software .................................................................................261
Upgrading Your OS .......................................................................................262
Chapter 13: A Secure Linux Box Is a Happy Linux Box . . . . . . . . . . .263
Choosing Secure Passwords .......................................................................263
Updating Software ........................................................................................264
Network holes .....................................................................................265
The Secure Shell game (SSH) ............................................................269
Software holes .....................................................................................273
Introducing SELinux ...........................................................................274
Keeping an Eye on Your Log Files with the System Log Viewer .............275
Locating Security Resources .......................................................................276
Chapter 14: Working without the GUI . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .277
Playing the Shell Game ................................................................................278
Understanding bash Command Syntax and Structure ............................280
Starting Programs from the Shell ...............................................................281
Putting Wildcard Expansion to Good Use .................................................282
Working with Long Commands ...................................................................282
Asking Linux to complete a command or filename for you ..........282
Accessing your command history ....................................................283
Working with Variables ................................................................................284
Variables versus environment variables .........................................284
Checking out commonly used environment variables ..................285
Storing and retrieving variables’ values ..........................................286
Using Redirection and Pipes .......................................................................288
Redirecting command output ...........................................................289
Laying pipes ........................................................................................290
“Help!” ..................................................................................................290
Clearing the screen .............................................................................291
Chapter 15: Gettin’ Gooey with the GUIs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .293
Changing GNOME’s Look and Feel .............................................................294
How do ya like them applets? ...........................................................294
Don’t forget the programs .................................................................296
Customizing KDE ..........................................................................................297
Applets keep fallin’ on my head ........................................................298
Adding programs to your panel ........................................................299
Cluttering the desktop with icons ....................................................300
Prettying Up Your Desktop with Themes ..................................................300
Adding themes to GNOME .................................................................301
Adding themes to KDE .......................................................................303
Tweaking the GUI’s Innards .........................................................................305
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Part IV: Getting Things Done ......................................307
Chapter 16: Putting the X in Text . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .309
Viewing the Contents of a Text File ............................................................309
Editing Text Files with nano ........................................................................310
Saving your work as you go ..............................................................311
Saving and moving on with your life ................................................311
Going with gedit ............................................................................................312
Entering and editing text in gedit .....................................................312
Saving your work ................................................................................314
Taking a Quick Look at Kate ........................................................................315
Chapter 17: Word-Processing and More with OpenOffice.org . . . . .317
Word-Processing with OpenOffice.Org Writer ..........................................318
Starting it up ........................................................................................318
Taking a tour of OpenOffice.org Writer ............................................318
Spreadsheets with OpenOffice.Org Calc ...................................................323
Starting it up ........................................................................................323
Taking a tour of OpenOffice.org Calc ...............................................324
Presentations with OpenOffice.Org Impress ............................................327
Starting it up ........................................................................................327
Using the AutoPilot Presentation Wizard ........................................328
Taking a tour of OpenOffice.org Impress .........................................330
Fine Art with OpenOffice.Org Draw ...........................................................333
Starting it up ........................................................................................333
Taking a tour of OpenOffice.org Draw ..............................................334
Layout with OpenOffice.Org Math .............................................................337
Starting it up ........................................................................................337
Taking a tour of OpenOffice.org Math ..............................................338
Configuring Printing for OpenOffice.org ....................................................342
Chapter 18: Multimedia Wow! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .345
Checking Your Sound Card ..........................................................................346
Looking into Your Mixer ..............................................................................346
Investigating Troublesome Sound Issues ..................................................347
Listening to CDs ............................................................................................348
Listening to Internet Radio ..........................................................................349
Listening to Downloaded Music .................................................................351
Ripping Music Tracks from CDs .................................................................352
Burning CDs and DVDs ................................................................................354
Creating and Modifying Graphics ...............................................................355
Watchin’ Movies ...........................................................................................356
Table of Contents
Chapter 19: Windows-Only Media Formats and Programs . . . . . . . .359
Commercial Software ...................................................................................360
CodeWeavers .......................................................................................360
Win4Lin ................................................................................................361
Cedega ..................................................................................................362
VMware ................................................................................................363
Installing and Using Wine ............................................................................364
Part V: The Part of Tens .............................................367
Chapter 20: Ten Troubleshooting Tips . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .369
“The Linux Installer Froze” ..........................................................................370
For Fedora Core Users .................................................................................371
“I Told the Installer to Test My Graphics, and They Failed” ...................372
“The Installer Tested My Graphics Fine, but My GUI Won’t Start” ........373
“I Think I’m in Linux, but I Don’t Know What to Do!” ..............................373
“I Don’t Want to Boot into This!” ................................................................375
Changing your boot environment “permanently” ..........................375
Changing your boot environment just for now ...............................376
“I Want to Change Screen Resolutions” .....................................................376
“My GUI Is Hung, and I’m Stuck!” ................................................................377
“Help, My Machine Hangs During Boot!” ...................................................377
“Aaargh! I Forgot My Root Password! What Do I Do?” .............................378
Chapter 21: Ten Cool Uses for Knoppix . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .379
Rescuing Files off of a Machine that Won’t Boot ......................................379
Recovering a Root Password with Knoppix ..............................................381
Functioning as a Portable Desktop ............................................................383
Installing Knoppix ........................................................................................384
Keeping Knoppix Up to Date .......................................................................386
Installing New Software in LiveCD Knoppix ..............................................388
Installing New Software on an Installed Knoppix System .......................388
Adding More Software Repositories ..........................................................389
Aren’t Sure a Machine Actually Works? .....................................................390
Exploring Tons of Linux Tools ....................................................................391
Part VI: Appendixes ...................................................393
Appendix A: Common Linux Commands . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .395
Linux Commands by Function ....................................................................395
Archiving and compressing ...............................................................396
Built-in bash commands ....................................................................396
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Getting Help ..................................................................................................397
Files and file system ...........................................................................398
mtools ..................................................................................................400
System control ....................................................................................401
Appendix B: About the DVD-ROM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .405
System Requirements ..................................................................................406
Using the DVD-ROM .....................................................................................407
Booting from the DVD-ROM ..............................................................407
Booting from a Linux floppy disk .....................................................408
What You Find in Fedora Core 3 .................................................................408
If You’ve Got Problems (Of the DVD-ROM Kind) ......................................409
Index........................................................................411
Introduction
W
elcome to the fascinating world of open source software that is Linux.
In this book, I introduce you to the wonders of the Linux operating
system, originally created as a labor of love by Linus Torvalds in the early
1990s. My goal is to initiate you into the rapidly growing ranks of Linux users
and enthusiasts busily rewriting the rules for the operating system marketplace.
If you’ve contemplated switching to Linux but find the prospect too forbidding,
you can relax. If you can boil water or set your alarm clock, you, too, can
become a Linux user. (No kidding!)
When this book appeared in its first edition, Linux was an emerging phenomenon that was neither terribly well known nor understood. In this edition —
for a new generation of Linux users — so much material is available that I have
steered this particular title toward what Linux is and how you can make the
best use of it on your desktop. To that end, these pages contain various online
resources, tips, and tricks, as well as more general instruction. If you’re looking for material on servers, many other books can serve your needs.
I keep the amount of technobabble to a minimum and stick with plain English
as much as possible. Besides plain talk about Linux installation, boot-up, configuration, and tuning, I include many examples, plus lots of detailed instructions to help you build and manage your very own Linux machine with a
minimum of stress or confusion.
I also include with this book a handy DVD-ROM that contains Fedora Core 3
and Knoppix, along with the CD-ROM images (the files you use to burn your
own CDs) for Linspire, Mandrake, SuSE, and Xandros. (To find out what exactly
is included on the DVD-ROM, see Appendix B.) If you have no idea of what
any of these items are, don’t worry. You’ll know soon enough!
About This Book
Think of this book as a friendly, approachable guide to tackling terminology
and the Linux collection of tools, utilities, and widgets. Although Linux isn’t
terribly hard to figure out, it does pack a boatload of details, parameters, and
administrivia (administrative trivia, in Unixspeak). You need to wrestle those
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Linux For Dummies, 6th Edition
details into shape while you install, configure, manage, and troubleshoot a
Linux-based computer. Some sample topics you find in this book include the
following:
Understanding where Linux comes from and what it can do for you
Installing the Linux operating system
Working with a Linux system to manage files and add software
Setting up Internet access and surfing the Web
Customizing your Linux system
Managing Linux system security and resources
Although it may seem, at first glance, that working with Linux requires years
of hands-on experience, tons of trial and error, advanced computer science
training, and intense dedication, take heart! It’s not true! If you can tell somebody how to find your office, you can certainly build a Linux system that
does what you want. The purpose of this book isn’t to turn you into a fullblown Linux geek (that’s the ultimate state of Linux enlightenment, of course);
it’s to show you the ins and outs that you need to master in order to build a
smoothly functioning Linux system and to give you the know-how and confidence to use it.
How to Use This Book
This book tells you how to install, configure, and customize a Linux desktop
system. Although you can do most things in Linux these days by pointing
and clicking, you still may want to try using Linux at the command prompt —
where you type detailed instructions to load or configure software, access
files, and do other tasks. In this book, input appears in monospace type
like this:
rmdir /etc/bin/devone
When you type Linux commands or other related information, be sure to
copy the information exactly as you see it in the book, including uppercase
and lowercase letters, because that’s part of the magic that makes Linux
behave properly.
A failure to follow instructions exactly can have all kinds of unfortunate,
unseemly, or unexpected side effects.
The margins of a book don’t give you the same amount of room as your computer screen; therefore, in this book some URLs and lengthy commands at
the command prompt may appear wrapped to the next line. Remember that
your computer sees these wrapped lines as a single set of instructions, or as a
Introduction
single URL — so if you’re typing a hunk of text, keep it on a single line. Don’t
insert a hard return if you see one of these wrapped lines. I clue you in that
it’s supposed to be all one line by breaking the line at a slash mark or a natural word break (to imply “Wait — there’s more!”) and slightly indenting the
overage, as in the following silly example:
www.infocadabra.transylvania.com/nexus/plexus/lexus/
praxis/okay/this/is/a/makebelieve/URL/but/some/real/ones/
are/SERIOUSLY/long.html
Note that as you dig your way into and through this book — and other sources
of Linux wit, wisdom, and inspiration that you’re likely to encounter — you
may find some terms used interchangeably. For example, you may see the
same piece of software called a program, a command, a utility, a script, an
application, or a tool, depending on the source, the context, and the author
of the information you’re consulting. To a large extent, you can treat these
terms as interchangeable, and when an important distinction needs to be
made among them, I’m sure to point it out. Similarly, when you’re working
with various commands or configuration controls, you may also encounter
terms such as flag, switch, option, or parameter used more or less interchangeably. In this case, all these terms refer to ways in which you can
control, refine, or modify basic commands or programs to make them do
what you want. Again, wherever distinctions and clarifications may be
needed, I provide them.
Three Presumptuous Assumptions
They say that making assumptions makes a fool of the person who makes
them and of the person about whom those assumptions are made. (And
just who are they, anyway? I assume that I know, but — never mind.) Even
so, practicality demands that I make a few assumptions about you, gentle
reader:
You can turn your computer on and off.
You know how to use a mouse and a keyboard.
You want to install, configure, and use a desktop Linux system because
you’re curious or interested or it’s your job to do so.
You don’t need to be a master logician or a wizard in the arcane art of programming to use this book, nor do you need a Ph.D. in computer science.
You don’t even need a complete or perfect understanding of what’s going
on in your computer’s innards.
If you can boot a PC or install an application on your machine, you can
install, configure, and manage a basic Linux system. If you have an active
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Linux For Dummies, 6th Edition
imagination and the ability to solve rudimentary problems, that’s even
better — you have already mastered the key ingredients necessary to making
Linux work for you. The rest is mere details and a bit of patience. I can help
you with the details, but the patience is up to you!
How This Book Is Organized
This book contains six major parts, arranged in an order to take you from
Linux installation and configuration through keeping a Linux desktop system
up and running, if not purring like a cat in the sun! Most parts contain three
or more chapters or appendixes, and each chapter or appendix contains
modular sections. Whenever you need help or information, pick up this book
and start anywhere you like, or use the Table of Contents and the index to
locate specific topics or key words.
Following is a breakdown of the book’s six parts and what you find in
each one.
Part I: Getting Your Feet Wet
This part sets the stage and includes an overview of and introduction to the
terms, techniques, and software components that make Linux the raging software tiger that’s so ready, willing, and able do its thing. To be a little more
specific, I start out with a Linux overview that explains what Linux is, where
it came from, and how it works. Next, I tackle the various tasks and activities
involved in preparing for and installing Linux on a PC. If you’re not a diehard
Fedora Core fan, I also cover what’s involved in installing Linspire, Mandrake,
SuSE, and Xandros, but in a little less detail (or this book would be the size
of a set of encyclopedias!) After that, I tell you how to give Linux the boot —
not to get rid of it by any means, but rather, to fire up your brand-new system
to reach the heights of computing ecstasy (at least, I hope it’s as good for
you as it usually is for me)! Finally, I help you explore standard Linux tools
and interfaces, work with accounts, and get the skinny on various aspects of
distribution-related Linux tools.
If you don’t want to install but do want to try Linux, I also give you the option
of using what’s called a LiveCD, or bootable distribution. Knoppix is probably
the most popular of these, so it’s covered here as well.
Part II: Internet Now!
In this part, you explore the issues involved in connecting a Linux system to
the Internet, including configuring a modem, managing a dial-up connection
Introduction
to an Internet Service Provider (or ISP), and configuring the various Internet
protocols involved to make your Internet connection work. You also go
through the details involved in configuring and using a Web browser and
setting up and using an e-mail client and newsreader.
Part III: Getting Up to Speed with Linux
Linux includes a great many facilities and capabilities, so after you get past
the initial installation and configuration, you probably want to use your
system to do something. Here’s where the doing begins! In this part of the
book, you can read about the Linux file system and how to work with files,
directories, and related access rights — called permissions in Linuxspeak.
You discover how to move in, out, and around GNOME and KDE, the two
major graphical interfaces (GUIs) in Linux. In addition, I include an in-depth
exploration of the Linux command-prompt environments, also known as
shells. Part III also contains important security information, along with how
to add software to your system and keep it updated.
Part IV: Getting Things Done
In this part of the book, you discover how to use a variety of software available
in Linux. Everything from plain text editors to full office suites is addressed,
as well as whiz-bang multimedia tools and Microsoft Windows-based file formats and media. Even better, did you know that you can run many Windows
programs under Linux? I show you how in this part.
Part V: The Part of Tens
In this book’s grand climax, I sum up and distill the essence of what you now
know about Linux and its inner workings. Here, you have a chance to revisit
some key troubleshooting tips and tricks for Linux systems and find out more
about how you can use Knoppix, the specialty “bootable” distribution included
with this book.
Part VI: Appendixes
This book ends with a set of appendixes designed to sum up and further
expand on this book’s contents. Appendix A delivers groups of Linux commands, complete with syntax and explanations, arranged according to their
function. Appendix B lists details about what’s on the Linux For Dummies, 6th
Edition, DVD. As I note in this appendix, the materials on the DVD include the
Fedora Core 3 distribution.
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Linux For Dummies, 6th Edition
Icons Used in This Book
Within each chapter, I use icons to highlight particularly important or useful
information. You find the following icons in this book:
The Tip icon flags useful information that makes living with your Linux
system even less complicated than you feared that it might be.
I sometimes use this icon to point out information you just shouldn’t pass
by — don’t overlook these gentle reminders. (The life, sanity, or page you
save may be your own.)
Be cautious when you see this icon — it warns you of things you shouldn’t do.
This icon is meant to emphasize that the consequences of ignoring these bits
of wisdom can be severe.
This icon signals technical details that are informative and interesting but not
critical to understanding and using Linux. Skip these paragraphs if you want
(but please come back and read them later).
Where to Go from Here
This is where you pick a direction and hit the road! Linux For Dummies, 6th
Edition, is much like 1001 Nights because it almost doesn’t matter where you
start out. You look at lots of different scenes and stories as you prepare yourself to build your own Linux system. Although each story has its own distinctive characters and plot, the whole is surely something to marvel at. Don’t
worry — you can handle it. Who cares whether anybody else thinks that
you’re just goofing around? I know that you’re getting ready to have the
time of your life.
Enjoy!
Part I
Getting Your
Feet Wet
T
In this part . . .
his part includes an introduction to the development
and capabilities of the Linux operating system. I also
cover the terms and tools that make Linux what it is,
along with detailed step-by-step instructions about what it
takes to prepare your computer for Linux and to install
Linux on your very own PC. For those interested in Linux
distributions other than Fedora Core 3, which is included
with this book, I also cover what’s involved in installing
four other popular distributions — namely, Linspire,
Mandrake, SuSE, and Xandros. I even explain how to configure this marvelous operating system to do what you
want it to do and how to boot your brand-spanking-new
system into a computing colossus — not to mention how
to shut it off properly so that you don’t lose any data. After
that, you find out what’s involved in working with standard Linux tools, the point-and-click GUI, accounts, and
printers, as well as get a quick tour of your distributionrelated Linux tools.
Chapter 1
Getting Acquainted with Linux
In This Chapter
Describing Linux
Telling Linux apart from the rest of the operating system pack
Depending on GNU and the GPL
Marveling at the Linux Company (or lack thereof)
Checking out popular Linux distributions
Ford, you’re turning into a penguin. Stop it!
— Arthur Dent
W
elcome to the world of Linux, the operating system developed by over
a thousand people around the world! In this chapter, you find out
about Linux itself — what it is, where it comes from, and why it gets so much
attention in the news these days. Prepare to have your assumptions about
how software must be developed and sold challenged, and your mind opened
to new possibilities.
Is Free Really Free?
Understanding Linux requires a radical shift of thought regarding the way
that you acquire and use computer software. (Note: By radical, I mean getting
to the root of the matter rather than putting on beads and camping out in the
administration building.) Your first step toward shifting your mind-set is to
alter your general connotation of the word free to represent freedom, rather
than free lunch. That’s right; you can sell “free” software for a fee . . . and
you’re encouraged to do so, as long as you relay the same freedom to each
recipient of the software.
10
Part I: Getting Your Feet Wet
Don’t scratch your head too hard; these concepts are tough to grasp initially,
especially when you consider the conditioning you’ve received from the marketing departments of the commercial software industry. Perhaps you don’t
know that when you purchase most proprietary, shrink-wrapped software,
you don’t actually own the software; rather, you’re granted permission to use
the software within the bounds dictated by the licensor.
Linux also has a license, but the motives and purpose of the license are much
different from those of most commercial software. Rather than use the license
to protect ownership of the software, the GNU General Public License (GPL)
that Linux is licensed under ensures that the software will always be open to
anyone. No company can ever own or dictate the way in which you use or
modify Linux — though they can have their own individual copyrights and
trademarks on their various brands of it, like Red Hat. In essence, you already
own Linux, and you can use it for anything you like, as long as you propagate
the GPL freedoms to any further recipients of the software.
Linux: Revolution or Just Another
Operating System?
Contrary to popular belief, penguins are not the salvation of modern
technology. Neither do they throw parties for the urban proletariat.
— Anonymous
Author note: Cute quote . . . obviously Anonymous has never been to a
Linux convention!
Before going any further into Linux, I need to get some terminology out of
the way.
Tux is the formal name of the mascot penguin that represents Linux. Rumor
has it that Linux’s creator, Linus Torvalds, is rather fond of these welldressed inhabitants of the Antarctic.
An operating system is the software that runs your computer, handling all of
the interactions between you and the hardware. Whether you’re writing a
letter, calculating a budget, or managing your recipes on your computer, the
operating system provides the essential air that your computer breathes.
Furthermore, an operating system isn’t just one program; it consists of hundreds of smaller programs and utilities that allow us humans to use a computer to do something useful. You then run other programs on top of the
operating system, like a word processor, to get everything done.
Chapter 1: Getting Acquainted with Linux
In recent technological history, Linux has evolved from water cooler techie
chatter to a rock-solid solution for the business enterprise. The same software that was once dismissed as rogue is now being adopted and promoted
by industry leaders such as IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Motorola, and Intel. Each
of these computer manufacturers has, in some way, determined that Linux
provides value for their customers (as well as for their own operations). Of
these companies, the only one that has publicly denounced Linux is Microsoft.
Note that one doesn’t have to look very far to conclude that Microsoft is
merely running scared from the threat that Linux poses to its personal computer operating system monopoly.
Linux has been accused of being “just another operating system.” On the surface, it may appear so, but if you look deeper, you can see that this isn’t so.
The Linux project is a flagship leading the current trend toward open source
and free (as in freedom, not free beer) software within the computing industry. A rock-solid operating system because of the model under which it was
(and continues to be) developed, Linux represents much that is good and
pure in software development.
Two fundamental distinctions separate Linux from the rest of the operating
system pack:
Linux is licensed under the unique and ingenuous GNU General Public
License, which you can read about in the next section.
Linux is developed and maintained by a worldwide team of volunteer
programmers, working together over the Internet.
Linux is great for many reasons, including the fact that the folks who built it
from the ground up wanted it to be:
Multiuser: More than one user can be logged in to a single computer at
one time.
Multiprocess: True pre-emptive multitasking enables the operating
system core to efficiently juggle several programs running at once.
This is important for providing multiple services on one computer.
Multiplatform: Linux currently runs on 24 platforms (hardware types),
including Intel-based PCs, Digital/Compaq Alpha, PowerPC-based Apple
Macintosh, Sun SPARC, Amiga, and StrongARM-based computers.
Interoperable: Linux plays nice with most network protocols (languages)
and operating systems, allowing you to interact with users and computers running Microsoft Windows, Unix, Novell, both Mac OS 9 and the
generation beginning with OS X, and other, more niche groups.
Scalable: As your computing needs grow, you can rely on Linux to grow
with you. The same Linux operating system can run on a desktop computer or a very large, industrial strength server system.
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Part I: Getting Your Feet Wet
Portable: Linux is mostly written in the C programming language. C is a
language created specifically for writing operating system-level software
and can be readily ported (translated) to run on new computer hardware.
Flexible: You can configure the Linux operating system as a network
host, router, graphical workstation, office productivity PC, home entertainment computer, file server, Web server, cluster, or just about any
other computing appliance that you can think of.
Stable: The Linux kernel (the operating system itself) has achieved a
level of maturity that makes most software developers envious. It’s not
uncommon to hear reports of Linux servers running for years without
crashing.
Efficient: The modular design of Linux enables you to include only those
components that you need to run your desired services. Even older
Pentium computers can utilize Linux and become useful again.
Free!: To most people, the most intriguing aspect of Linux is the fact
that it’s often free. How (the capitalists murmur) can anyone build a
better mousetrap with no incentive of direct monetary return?
So, where did Linux come from?
To understand Linux, you need to take a peek at
its rich heritage. Although programming of the
Linux core started in 1991, the design concepts
were based on the time-tested Unix operating
system.
Unix was developed at Bell Telephone
Laboratories in the late 1960s. The original
architects of Unix created it back when there
were few operating systems, with the desire to
have one that shared data, programs, and
resources both efficiently and securely —
something that wasn’t available at this time.
From there, Unix evolved into many different
versions, and its current family tree is so complicated it looks like a kudzu infestation!
In 1991, Linus Torvalds was a computer science
student at the University of Helsinki in Finland.
He wanted an operating system that was like
the Unix system that he’d grown fond of at the
university, but both Unix and the hardware it ran
on were prohibitively expensive. A Unix version
called Minix was available for free, but it didn’t
quite meet his needs. So, as a computer science student, Torvalds studied Minix and then
set out to write a new version himself. In his
own words (recorded for posterity on the
Internet since this was in an early version of an
online chat room), this was, “just a hobby, won’t
be big and professional like gnu.”
Writing an operating system is no small task.
Even after six months of hard work, Torvalds
had made very little progress toward the general utility of the system. He posted what he had
to the Internet and found that many people
shared his interest and curiosity. Before long,
some of the brightest minds around the world
were contributing to Linus’s project by adding
enhancements or fixing bugs (errors in the
code).
Chapter 1: Getting Acquainted with Linux
In this chapter, I intend to answer that last question for you. I also hope to
paint a picture of the open source software development model that created
Linux.
Anatomy of an Open Source
Software Project
Linux isn’t a product. Linux is an organic part of a software ecosystem.
— Michael Robinson, Netrinsics
To the casual observer (and some corporate IT decision-makers), Linux
appears to be a freak mutation — a rogue creature randomly generated by
anarchy. How, after all, can something so complex and discipline-dependent
as a computer operating system be developed by a loosely knit band of volunteer computer geeks from around the world?
Just as science is constantly attempting to classify and explain everything in
existence, technology commentators are still trying to understand how this
open source model can create superior software. Often, the reasons have much
to do with the usual human desire to fill a need with a solution. When a programmer in the Linux world wants a tool, the programmer simply writes one
or bands together with other people who want a similar package to write it
together.
GNU who?
Imagine — software created out of need rather than projected profit. Even
though Unix ultimately became expensive proprietary software, the ideas and
motives for its creation were originally based on need. What people usually
refer to in the singular as the Linux operating system is actually a collection of
software tools that were created with the express purpose of solving specific
computing problems.
Linux also wouldn’t be possible without the vision of a man whom Steven Levy
(author of the book Hackers) refers to as The Last of the Great MIT AI-LAB
Hackers — the original meaning of the word hacker, which meant someone
who plays with code, not the current meaning implying criminal intent. This
pioneer and advocate of freedom software is Richard Stallman.
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Part I: Getting Your Feet Wet
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has long held a reputation
for nurturing the greatest minds in the technological disciplines. In 1984,
Stallman, a gifted student and brilliant programmer at MIT, was faced with a
dilemma — sell his talent to a company for a tidy sum of money or donate
his gifts to the world. He did what we’d all do . . . right?
Stallman set out on a journey to create a completely free operating system
that he would donate to the world. He understands and continues to live the
original hacker ethic, which declares that “information wants to be free.” This
concept wasn’t new in his time. In the early days of the computing industry,
many advancements were made by freely sharing ideas and programming
code. Manufacturer-sponsored user groups brought the best minds together
to solve complicated problems. This ethic, Stallman felt, was lost when companies began to hoard software as their own intellectual property with the
single purpose of profit.
As you may or may not have gathered by this point, widespread and accessible
source code is paramount to successful software development. Source code is
the term for the human-readable text (as opposed to the unreadable ones
and zeros of binary code or an “executable”) that a programmer types to
communicate instructions to the computer.
Writing computer programs in binary is an extremely arduous task. Modern
computer software is usually written in a human-friendly language and then
compiled, or translated, into the computer’s native instruction set. To make
changes to this software, a programmer needs access to a program’s source
code. Most proprietary software comes only as precompiled, and the software
developer keeps the source code for those programs under lock and key.
After determining that his operating system would be built around the conceptual framework of Unix, Stallman wanted the project name to distinguish
his system from Unix. So, he chose the recursive acronym GNU (pronounced
ga-new), which means GNU’s Not Unix.
To finance the GNU project, Stallman organized the Free Software Foundation
(FSF), which sold free software to help feed the programmers who worked on
its continuing development. (Remember, we’re talking free as in free speech,
not free beer.) Although this organization and goal of creating a complete operating system was necessary and important, a much more important piece of
the puzzle had to be put into place to protect this new software from big
business pirates — a concern still all too relevant today as a former Linux
company tries to hijack ownership of decades of volunteer work from thousands of people around the world.
The GNU General Public License (GPL) is a unique and creative software license
that uses copyright law to protect the freedom of the software user, which is
usually the opposite of how a copyright works. Generally, a copyright is an
enforceable designation of ownership and restriction from duplication by
Chapter 1: Getting Acquainted with Linux
anyone but the copyright holder. When software is licensed under the GPL,
recipients are bound by copyright law to respect the freedom of anyone else
to use the software in any way they choose. Software licensed with the GPL is
also known as copyleft software. Another way to remember the GPL is through
its ultimate result: Guaranteed Public for Life.
Who’s in charge of Linux anyway?
As an open source project evolves, various people emerge as leaders. This
leader is often known as the project’s benevolent dictator. A person who
becomes benevolent dictator has probably spent more time than anyone
else on a particular problem and often has some unique insight. Normally,
the words democratic and dictator are never paired in the same sentence,
but the open source model is a very democratic process that endorses the
reign of a benevolent dictator.
Linus Torvalds is still considered the benevolent dictator of the Linux kernel
(the operating system’s core). He ultimately determines what features are
added to the kernel and what features aren’t. The community trusts his vision
and discretion. In the event that he loses interest in the project, or the community decides that he has gone senile, a new leader will emerge from amongst
the very competent people working with him.
Einstein was a volunteer
Someone who is a volunteer or donates their time to a project isn’t necessarily providing a second-rate effort or only working on weekends and holidays.
In fact, any human resource expert will tell you that people who choose to do
a job of their own free will produce the highest quality products.
The volunteers who contribute to open source projects are often leaders in
their field who depend on community collaboration to get useful work done.
The open source concept is no stranger to the scientific community. The
impartial peer-review process that open source projects foster is critical in
validating something as being technically correct.
Those who paint the open source community as copyright violators and
thieves often misunderstand or outright ignore these vital issues. Open
source programmers are very proud of their work and are also very concerned about their own copyrights, not wanting their work to be stolen by
others — hence licenses such as the GPL. This concern creates an atmosphere with the greatest respect for copyright. Those who claim that they are
just being “open source” when they steal other people’s hard work are
grossly misusing the term to soothe their own consciences.
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Part I: Getting Your Feet Wet
Many have also pointed out that if copyright is violated in open source, it is
easy to tell. Watch the news and notice how often large software corporations
are convicted of stealing other people’s code and incorporating it into their
own work. Tracking down such copyright violations is incredibly difficult in a
closed source scheme.
Packaging Linux: The Distribution
What people call a Linux distribution is actually the culmination of the GNU
project’s tools, the Linux kernel, and any number of other open source
(and closed source) software projects that sprang up along the way.
Robert Young, cofounder and current chairman of Red Hat, has coined an
analogy comparing Linux to ketchup. Essentially, the operating system called
Linux, with the GNU tools, Linux kernel, and other software, is a freely available commodity that, like ketchup, different distributors can package and
label in different containers. Anyone is encouraged to package and market
the stuff, even though the ingredients are fundamentally the same.
Linux is a complex, malleable operating system, and thus it can take on many
appearances. The greatest Linux advancement in recent years has been making
it easier to install. After all, the tools that today enable the casual PC user to
install Linux originally weren’t available. Companies such as Red Hat saw this
as an opportunity to add value to an existing product, and the concept took
off like gangbusters.
To draw again on the ketchup analogy, various distributions of Linux have a
slightly different flavor or texture; your distribution preference may be spicy,
mild, thick and gooey, or runny. However, you can rest assured that any of
the following distributions have the same Linux and GNU heart and soul.
Each short description includes a Web address where you can find more
information about each project:
Debian GNU/Linux: This distribution is one of the oldest and is a recognized favorite among advanced technical circles. Historically, it’s relatively difficult to install. The Debian team works closely with the GNU
project and is considered the most “open” of the Linux distributions.
Easier to install (and use) distributions with Debian underneath are
Xandros and Linspire (formerly known as Lindows).
www.debian.org
www.xandros.com
www.linspire.com
Mandrake: This distribution demonstrates the power of the GPL by
allowing this competing company to stand on the shoulders of giants.
Chapter 1: Getting Acquainted with Linux
Mandrake was originally based on Red Hat Linux, something that simply
could not happen in a closed source environment, but has since become
an excellent solution in its own right.
www.mandrakelinux.com
Red Hat and Fedora: Red Hat claims the prize for successfully mass
marketing the Linux operating system. Red Hat has validated Linux by
packaging the GNU and Linux tools in a familiar method of distribution
(shrink-wrapped) and has included value-added features to its product,
such as telephone support, training, and consulting services.
www.redhat.com
http://fedora.redhat.com/
Slackware: Of all the more recognized surviving Linux distributions,
Slackware has been around the longest. In fact, until about a year ago,
the installation interface remained unchanged. Slackware has a very
loyal following, but isn’t well known. Like Debian in terms of spirit, the
Slackware crowd is respected in Linux circles as the weathered old-timers
who share stories of carrying around a shoebox full of diskettes.
www.slackware.com
SuSE: (Pronounced soo-za) This distribution hails from Germany, where
it has a very loyal following. SuSE works closely with the XFree86 project
(the free X graphical server component of all Linux distributions). Consequently, SuSE has a terrific graphical configuration tool called SaX.
www.suse.com
As you can see, many paths (in the form of distributions) lead to Linux. It’s
important to note that, regardless of which distribution you choose, you’re
using the same basic ingredients: the GNU tools and the Linux kernel. The
major differences that you’ll encounter among distributions are
Installation programs: Each distribution has developed its own installation program to help you achieve a running system. Some installation programs are designed for the casual computer user (hiding the technical
details), whereas others are designed with the seasoned system administrator in mind. Some of the simpler ones offer an “expert mode” for
those who want to have more control right from the beginning.
Software versions: Different distributions may use different versions of
the kernel (the core of the operating system) and other supporting software packages. Open source projects are dynamic and release new versions regularly, as opposed to the often sluggish development cycle of
traditional commercial software.
Package managers: Even though one Linux program should be able to
run on any distribution, tools called package managers keep track of the
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Part I: Getting Your Feet Wet
software on your system and ensure that you have all the required supporting software as well. Distributions are usually dependent on one
particular package manager. More recent in the grand scheme of things,
package management has also come to involve adding easy-to-use update
routines as well as the ability to add software without needing a computer
science degree.
It would be impossible to account for every possible installation of every
Linux distribution. Okay, maybe not impossible, but you would need a forklift
to bring your Linux For Dummies book home from the bookstore if I did.
Consequently, I try to summarize the concepts needed to install any Linux
distribution into this one book with enough detail to get you through the
process. As you can imagine, this is a bit of a challenge!
I chose Fedora Core as the sample distribution because Red Hat has become
a recognized Linux standard, and its Fedora Core project is specifically aimed
at home and small business users who cannot afford or have no need to purchase higher-level products. Even better, if you do use Red Hat Enterprise
Linux (RHEL) in your office or organization, Fedora Core is a proving ground
for the technologies that will make their way into RHEL.
In addition to Red Hat coverage, I also include information about other popular distributions with beginners: Linspire, Mandrake, SuSE, and Xandros. I
certainly don’t wish to discount Slackware and Debian because these are
very powerful distributions. I just feel that they are more advanced than the
others and best left for your post-Linux For Dummies endeavors. Included
also is Knoppix, a Live CD that you can use to boot your computer into a full
desktop without having to install a thing!
In fact, the DVD that comes with this book contains more than just Fedora.
Check out Appendix B for a list of what you can find on the DVD.
Chapter 2
Prepping Your Computer for Linux
In This Chapter
Taking basic preinstallation steps
Using Linux and Windows on the same computer
Customizing disk partitions before installation
Knowing (and finding) your hardware information
Preparing for CD or floppy disk installation
M
ost current Linux distributions automatically detect your hardware
and guide you through the installation process. In fact, some people
just dive right in and start installing. However, if you’re setting up a machine
that will run both Windows and Linux (although not at the same time), don’t
leap in without at least reading the section “Preparing to Use Linux and
Microsoft Windows Together,” later in this chapter. You need to make sure
that you have the space to install Linux and that you don’t accidentally wipe
out your Windows installation.
Other people like to start with a bit more caution. You can save yourself
potential headaches — or make it easier to troubleshoot technical
problems — by becoming familiar with your computer’s hardware.
You should watch out for several issues when preparing to install Linux. In
this chapter, I address the tasks that prepare you for the Linux installation
process, such as setting up your system to install Linux directly from the
DVD or CD, or with an installation floppy disk, if you end up needing one.
Installation Considerations
You got to be careful if you don’t know where you are going, because you
might not get there.
— Yogi Berra
If you have a spare machine that’s only going to run Linux and nothing else,
you’re in luck! You can skip all of the “Preparing to Use Linux and Microsoft
20
Part I: Getting Your Feet Wet
Windows Together” section. In fact, if you’re feeling brave, you might want to
skip right to Chapter 3 or 4 (depending on which distribution you’re using)
and start your installation. There’s troubleshooting information in Chapter 20
as well.
If you plan to run both Linux and Microsoft Windows on the same computer —
a scenario called dual booting — DO NOT PROCEED TO CHAPTER 3 without
reading the section “Preparing to Use Linux and Microsoft Windows Together.”
Sorry for yelling, but you can wipe out your whole Windows installation if
you don’t take some precautions!
Preparing to Use Linux and Microsoft
Windows Together
If you’re planning to run Linux and Microsoft Windows on the same machine,
the odds are that you’ve already got Windows installed and have been using
it for some time. Because I hate to hear screams of anguish all the way up
here in western Canada, take a moment to assess what you have and what
you need to do.
On the off chance that you actually don’t have Windows installed yet, you’ll
want to install it before you install Linux. Otherwise, during installation,
Windows will overwrite the part of your hard drive that Linux uses to store
its boot menu. This can create a bit of a mess later when you want to boot
back into Linux! Those who are installing Windows first should skip down
to the section “Working with Disk Partitions” to find out how to set up your
Windows installation so that it causes the least amount of fuss when it’s time
to add Linux.
The majority of you, however, want to dual boot because you’ve got one
machine and it’s already running Windows. If you have a brand new hard
drive to work from that has nothing on it already, skip down to the section
I just mentioned (“Working with Disk Partitions”). You won’t need to do
anything funny with the hard drive that Windows is using. However, if you
need Linux and Windows to share the same hard drive and you already have
Windows installed, you have a bit of extra work to do if you’re using Fedora
Core (the default choice in this book), Linspire, or Xandros — SuSE and
Mandrake can resize things for you, and Knoppix doesn’t install so you
don’t need to make room for it. The rest of this section focuses on getting
you through all this hassle.
Even if you’re using SuSE or Mandrake, which can resize for you, you’ll want
to work through the appropriate “Seeing how much free space you have available” section, later in this chapter, for your version of Windows so that you
can decide how big you want to make your Linux partition when the installer
asks you.
Chapter 2: Prepping Your Computer for Linux
Removable hard drives
One way to handle multiple operating systems
is the removable rack hard drive. The installation entails placing a special carriage into one
of your computer’s hard drive bays. This setup
can be installed in most computers by an experienced individual or a qualified technician.
After this component is installed, you can place
individual hard drives into the carriage, plugging
them in and pulling them out as you might do
with a CD-ROM — although you wouldn’t want
to just yank one out in the middle of doing something on your machine! Using a removable rack
hard drive setup allows you to have a separate
Windows drive and Linux drive. When you’re
using Windows and want to switch to Linux, you
shut down Windows and pull out the drive. Then
you replace it with the Linux drive and boot as
though the Linux drive were always there.
If you’re nervous about managing multiple
operating systems and don’t have room for a
second hard drive in the machine, a removable
rack hard drive is a great alternative. You’ll need
to make sure that your existing hard drive can
fit in the rack, as well as the new one, and it’s
wise to buy more than one loading chassis
(used to slide the drive into the rack) so that you
can just leave your drives in the chassis when
they’re not in the machine.
For more information, see PC Hardware in a
Nutshell, by Robert Bruce Thompson and
Barbara Fritchman Thompson, from O’Reilly &
Associates.
If you’re new to computer hardware, I strongly
recommend that you seek assistance or have a
technician install an additional hard drive or
removable rack setup for you. Improper handling of computer components can damage
your computer. In addition, you must keep
safety in mind when working with electrical
components.
When you install Linux on a system that has Windows already installed, you
can run only one operating system at a time. In other words, if you’re using
Windows and you want to run Linux, you need to shut down Windows, allow
the computer to reboot, and then start Linux. However, with the use of additional software, you can run Linux on a Windows system at the same time
Windows is running. You can also run Windows software within Linux itself!
See Chapter 19 for more information.
Partitioning from scratch for a dual boot
If you plan to take a fresh hard drive and install both Windows and Linux on
it, be sure to install Windows first. While you’re going through the Windows
installation, you will be asked to partition your drives. Your hard drive can
have three primary partitions and one extended partition. Inside that
extended partition, you can have up to 12 logical partitions.
No matter what type of partition you use for Linux, make sure to leave at
least 3GB open for it. Typically, you’ll want even more, because you may like
to download big files like multimedia stuff.
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Part I: Getting Your Feet Wet
Make a note of the partition you leave open, with both the drive it’s on
(the first, second, third, and so on) and the partition number it is on the
disk (again, first, second, and so on). You’ll need this information later,
when you start actually resizing your partitions.
If you’re not installing a fresh machine, you may have to make some changes
to your current install. Proceed to the next section to find out how.
Peeking at your partitions from Windows
Before I get into actually changing anything, it’s important to collect some
information about your current setup. You need to know two major types of
data about your hard drives before you get started adding Linux. The first is
to know whether you have any unpartitioned space left on your hard drive(s),
and if so, how much space you have there. If you have at least 3GB of unpartitioned space, then you can skip straight to the “Gathering Information about
Your Machine” section later in this chapter. (If you want a really minimal installation without even any graphical interface, you don’t need nearly 3GB.)
However, if you don’t have any unpartitioned space, or you have too little
unpartitioned space available (for example, if you like to rip a lot of CDs,
you’ll want more than 3GB of space), the “Seeing how much free space you
have available” section can help you prepare to resize your existing partitions.
Peeking at your partitions in Windows
2000 and Windows XP
Windows 2000 and XP operating systems use accounts to control and secure
the files and folders, so to get information about the computer’s disk space
usage, you first need to be logged on to the system as the Administrator or
with an account that has administrative permissions. Once you have done so,
in Windows 2000/XP, you use the Computer Management application in the
Administrative Tools collection to find the details of the computer’s hard
drive usage. Follow these steps:
1. Open the Control Panel by choosing Start➪Settings➪Control Panel.
2. Open the Administrative Tools folder and double-click the Computer
Management icon.
3. In the left pane of the Computer Management application, click the
Disk Management folder icon.
Within a few seconds, the right pane displays the current status of the
storage devices on your computer, such as the hard drive(s), CD drives,
Chapter 2: Prepping Your Computer for Linux
DVD/CD drives, and so on. Figure 2-1 is an example of the Windows XP
Disk Management display, and Figure 2-2 shows the Windows 2000 Disk
Management interface.
Figure 2-1:
Disk
Management
information
within the
Windows
XP
Computer
Management tool.
Figure 2-2 reflects a computer that has one hard drive and one DVD/CD drive.
The important thing to look for here is the word “Unallocated” in the middle
Disk listing — an example is shown in this figure. Unallocated partitions are
not assigned to any operating system, and so are free to use for your Linux
installation.
If you do find an Unallocated partition, like you see in both Figures 2-1 and
2-2, you’re set if it’s 3GB or larger (see the previous section). Make a note of
which partition this is (what disk is it on and what partition on that disk and
skip ahead to the section “Running Windows and Linux together.” For example,
in Figure 2-1, the partition is on disk 1, and it’s partition 2.
Figure 2-2:
Disk
Management
information
within the
Windows
2000
Computer
Management tool.
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Part I: Getting Your Feet Wet
If you don’t have any (or enough) Unallocated space, keep this window open
and see the section “Making Space,” later in this chapter, for strategies of how
to proceed.
Checking your partitions in Windows 98
If you need Windows and Linux to share the same hard drive, I need you to
do some detective work before I move on. Windows 98 does not provide a
graphical tool like Computer Management. Instead it uses FDISK, which is a
command-line tool that indicates the partitions on your hard drive. To find
out the details about computer’s hard drive in Windows 98, follow these steps:
1. Open an MS-DOS prompt window by choosing Start➪Programs➪
MS-DOS Prompt.
2. Type FDISK and press Enter.
In Windows, you can enter FDISK in uppercase, lowercase, or any mixed
case you like as long as you spell FDISK correctly!
Depending on the size of your hard drive, you may be prompted to display
large disk information. If you don’t see the prompt, the FDISK menu
options appear similar to the ones shown in Figure 2-3.
3. If you see the large disk prompt, choose Y at this prompt and then
press Enter.
The FDISK menu options appear.
Figure 2-3:
FDISK
menu
options.
4. Display the current drive partition information.
If you have more than one hard drive in your computer, FDISK displays a
fifth menu choice to change between disks. To change to another disk,
type 5 and press Enter. The FDISK screen displays all the hard drives in
Chapter 2: Prepping Your Computer for Linux
your system. Type the number of the disk you want and press Enter.
The top of the FDISK menu screen displays the number of the drive
that FDISK is working with.
5. To display partition information for the disk number displayed, type 4
and press Enter.
Figure 2-4 shows an example of the Display Partition Information screen
within FDISK.
Figure 2-4:
Partition
information
in FDISK.
Figure 2-4 indicates that no free, unallocated disk space is on the drive. If
the disk had unpartitioned space, FDISK would display the amount of
space available.
However, in Figure 2-4, you see that a portion of the disk space is configured as an extended partition EXT DOS. Extended partitions can contain
what’s called logical partitions, so it’s possible that there might be free
space available inside the extended partition that you could use to install
another operating system, like Linux, or even another type of Windows.
Think of primary partitions as empty boxes that you put data into.
Extended partitions are those annoying boxes that have a collection of
smaller boxes stacked next to each other inside. You only put data into
the smaller boxes with an extended partition. These smaller boxes are
the logical partitions.
Unfortunately, FDISK doesn’t tell you anything about what’s inside this
extended partition. You have to dig deeper.
6. To view the logical partitions within the extended partition, select the
EXT DOS entry and press Enter.
Figure 2-5 is an example of a logical partition setup. In this case, all
space within the extended partition is currently assigned. You can tell
whether there’s free space by totaling the Usage percentages for the
drive. If they total up to 100 percent, no space is available. (Leave this
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Part I: Getting Your Feet Wet
tool open and go to the section “Making space,” later in this chapter).
On the other hand, if there’s less than 3GB available, you don’t have
enough room, so also go to “Making space.” If you have 3GB or more
available, skip to the section “Preparing to Use Windows and Linux
together.”
Figure 2-5:
Logical
drive
information
in FDISK.
Making space
You may have unallocated space, but less than 3GB worth, or you may have
none at all. Either way, you need to rearrange the data on your hard drive(s)
in order to make room for Linux, unless you decide to add a second hard
drive to the machine. If you’re installing SuSE or Mandrake, these distributions can handle the resizing for you, so users of these Linux versions are
welcome to skip ahead to the section “Running Windows and Linux together.”
Everyone else is encouraged to keep reading.
Keep in mind that you may actually want more than 3GB of space. For example, if you download lots of multimedia, you’ll eat up that space fast!
If it turns out that you have free/unallocated space on more than one spot on
your hard drive (maybe between various partitions), count this space up and
see how much the total is. You can move things around if you have to by
resizing the partitions.
If you don’t have any free/unallocated space, you’ll definitely have to resize
your partitions. The key to doing this is to take a look to see how much of
your drive space you’re really using. In Windows XP and 2000, you can determine how much of your Windows partitions are actually empty by looking at
the Capacity, Free Space, and % columns in the Computer Management tool.
In Windows 98 and 95:
Chapter 2: Prepping Your Computer for Linux
1. Double-click My Computer to open the Computer Management tool.
2. Choose View➪Web Page.
3. Highlight your first drive.
You see something like what is shown in Figure 2-6.
Determining how much space is enough for your Windows setup — you
don’t want to shrink it so much that you run out of space in Windows! —
also involves looking at how you use your machine. Again, if you download
a lot of multimedia stuff and you tend to save it, you need to keep enough
room around for your downloading habit.
If you find that your Windows drives are all too full, or you download and
save too much multimedia, it may be time to burn some of your files off onto
CDs so that you can delete them from your hard drive.
Once you have decided which partition you want to resize, make a note of
which hard drive it’s on and which partition it is (first, third, second, and so
on). You need this information when it comes time to tell the installer where
to put Linux.
Figure 2-6:
How much
disk space
is available
on this
Windows 98
user’s
C: drive.
Commercial tools, such as Partition Magic, provide an easy way to resize and
work with the partitions on your hard drives. You can find information about
Partition Magic from the company’s Web site at www.powerquest.com. In the
next section, “Working with Disk Partitions,” you also find out how to get and
use a free alternative, qtparted.
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Part I: Getting Your Feet Wet
Working with Disk Partitions
In the section “Preparing to Use Linux and Microsoft Windows Together” at
the beginning of this chapter, I discuss why you might need to set aside disk
space for Linux on a computer already running Windows. The techniques I
cover here assume that you have found free space that you can give to Linux,
after you resize your partitions. If you’re installing on a fresh, additional hard
drive, are wiping out a whole hard drive to give it over to Linux, or have a
chunk of Unallocated/Free space bigger than 3GB already that you want to
use and so don’t need to resize anything, skip ahead to the section “Preparing
to Use Windows and Linux Together,” later in this chapter.
A cheap, additional hard drive can be worth its weight in gold if you’re afraid
to change anything on your Windows drive.
Choosing a partitioning tool
Perhaps the easiest and safest way to adjust your existing partitions is
through the use of a commercial program such as Partition Magic. Partition
Magic enables you to view the partition information for your hard drive or
drives. The utility also includes the ability to resize, move, and add partitions. However, you don’t have to go out and buy software just to resize your
partitions. Instead, you can download a free tool to do the job for you.
Before going any further, make a backup of anything you don’t want to lose off
your Windows installation! Things can go wrong during the various steps of
this process, even when using Windows tools on Windows.
If you create an open partition using Partition Magic, after resizing your
Windows partition, make a note of which drive and partition it is (first,
second, and so on). You’ll need it when you’re telling the installer where
to put Linux.
Getting and resizing partitions
with qtparted
A free resizing program you can use is called qtparted. This utility is capable
of working with both VFAT and NTFS partitions, so it can handle both of the
filesystems you may have used when you set up your machine in Windows.
This program comes with Knoppix, which is a Live CD — another term is
bootable distribution — which means that you can put this CD into your
CD-ROM drive, boot your computer with it, and it brings you into a full version of Linux that you don’t have to install. Knoppix is handy for showing
Chapter 2: Prepping Your Computer for Linux
people Linux, but more importantly for my purposes, it’s useful for rescuing
machines that can’t boot and resizing partitions.
Knoppix comes on the DVD included with this book, which is pretty handy.
If you can’t use the DVD for whatever reason, see Chapter 4 for how to get
Knoppix on CD. Before proceeding, double-check that you backed up all your
important data before you proceed. Then, pull out any notes you may have
made in the section “Preparing to Use Linux and Microsoft Windows Together”
earlier in this chapter — about which partition(s) you want to change — and
then do the following:
1. Put your Knoppix CD or the DVD that came with this book into the
CD- or DVD-ROM drive and reboot your computer.
If you’re using the book’s DVD, a boot menu appears — if you have
trouble booting into Knoppix from the DVD, see Appendix B. Just press
Enter to boot into Knoppix, and eventually the Knoppix welcome screen
appears. If you’re using a plain Knoppix CD, your computer boots
directly to the Knoppix welcome screen.
2. At the boot: prompt, press Enter.
Lots of text scrolls by as Knoppix figures out all the hardware on your
system. It takes perhaps a minute for Knoppix to fully launch on many
machines, because it’s got to run entirely from CD-ROM. Once it’s up and
running, you see the Knoppix desktop (see Figure 2-7).
Figure 2-7:
The initial
KNOPPIX
desktop
with the
help
browser
closed.
Main menu
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Part I: Getting Your Feet Wet
If anything goes wrong during the KNOPPIX startup process, press CtrlAlt-Del to reboot and try adding more of the possible boot options
shown with F2 and F3.
3. From the main menu, choose System➪QTParted.
The QTParted tool opens (see Figure 2-8).
4. On the left, select the drive you want to work with.
If necessary, refer to your notes (see the section “Preparing to Use Linux
and Microsoft Windows Together,” earlier in this chapter) to see
whether it’s the first, second, third, or so on of your hard drives. If you
have both IDE and SCSI hard drives, you can tell the difference by the
“hd” starting IDE names and the “sd” starting SCSI names. The order
they’re installed on the machine is indicated alphabetically. For example, hda is the first IDE hard drive, hdb is the second, and so on. (It’s the
same for SCSI, sda and sdb.)
Figure 2-8:
The initial
QTParted
partition
editor
screen.
Once you have made your selection, the drive’s partitions and other
information appear in the bottom and right portions of the window (see
Figure 2-9).
5. On the right, select the partition you want to resize.
Again, refer to your notes from the section “Preparing to Use Linux and
Microsoft Windows Together,” earlier in this chapter, to see which partition you wanted to change.
Chapter 2: Prepping Your Computer for Linux
Figure 2-9:
QTParted
with the first
IDE hard
drive
selected.
6. Choose Operations➪Resize to open the Resize Partition dialog (see
Figure 2-10).
Figure 2-10:
QTParted’s
Resize
partition
dialog box.
7. Make your sizing changes.
Note that you have multiple options here. You can alter the Free Space
Before, the size (New Size), and the Free Space After. If you have smaller
pieces of blank space scattered through your drive between partitions,
you can start by changing the Free Space Before entries to zero, thus
squeezing things together more efficiently by moving all your free space
to the end of the drive. This concept is perhaps better illustrated with
an image, so see Figure 2-11.
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Part I: Getting Your Feet Wet
Figure 2-11:
Squeezing
inefficient
partition
layouts,
taking 2GB 3GB
and 3GB
free space
partitions,
and
combining
them to
make them
5GB.
before
8GB
after
16GB
2GB
3GB
8GB
16GB
5GB
3GB
Empty
8. Click OK to save the changes for that partition.
Your hard drive isn’t permanently changed just yet.
9. Return to Step 5 if you have more partitions you want to change.
Otherwise, proceed to Step 11.
10. Choose File➪Commit to put the changes into effect.
Now is when your hard drive is actually changed!
11. Double-check that you have given yourself at least 3GB, if not more, of
free space to install Linux in.
If not, resize things further.
12. Choose File➪Quit to close QTparted.
You’re now finished with your repartitioning.
13. From the Knoppix main menu, choose Logout.
14. From the End Session for Knoppix dialog box, choose Restart Computer.
15. Click OK to reboot the machine.
The computer may speak as it shuts down. When the shutdown process
completes, you’re told to remove the CD, close the CD-ROM drive, and
press Return/Enter. Follow the instructions and just let the machine
boot back into Windows so that you can make sure nothing went wrong.
If it did, use your Windows system recovery media (such as your XP CD)
to try to repair the damage. Fortunately, such damage is very rare!
After you’ve finished your repartitioning, proceed to the next section so you
can get ready to do the actual installation.
Chapter 2: Prepping Your Computer for Linux
Gathering Information
about Your Machine
Most hardware these days works just fine with Linux. Sometimes, if you have
the very latest whiz-bang video card or some other fancy new type of electronics, you may run into some trouble, so if you’re an early-adopter sort of person,
you’ll want to go to your distribution’s hardware compatibility list and make
sure you’re covered. If you like to be organized and check out hardware ahead
of time anyway, or if you run into problems and want to do some research to
see what’s wrong, you can go to three basic places get information:
The most specific is the list for your particular distribution:
• Fedora: There’s no official Fedora hardware list as yet, though the
Fedora Hardware Project (http://people.ucsc.edu/~maxka/
fhp/) is working to correct this issue. In the meantime, you can
use the Red Hat listings at http://hardware.redhat.com/hcl/.
Keep in mind that this list focuses on business equipment rather
than home stuff and doesn’t entirely apply to Fedora users.
• Linspire: Check out www.linspire.com/lindows_hwsw_
compatibility.php.
• Mandrake: Go to www.mandrakelinux.com/en/hardware.php3.
• SuSE: The place to start is www.suse.com/us/private/support/
online_help/. From here, click the Hardware Database link to
search.
• Xandros: Check out http://support.xandros.com/
hcl-search.php.
For all these hardware lists, don’t worry about items being Certified or
not. Supported will do just fine most of the time.
If you’re new to computers or aren’t that familiar with hardware definitions
and details, you can find a lot of information on the Internet. (One good Web
site is www.tomshardware.com.)
If your hardware isn’t listed, don’t panic. You can also check the generic
Linux hardware list at www.tldp.org/HOWTO/Hardware-HOWTO/.
If you still can’t find the hardware listed, point your Web browser to
www.google.com/linux and do a Web search on the make and model
of the hardware, plus the word Linux. For example, you can search on
Innovision DX700T Linux to find out how other people are faring
with this particular brand and model of hardware (no endorsement of
any hardware mentioned as examples is implied here, of course).
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If worse comes to worse, you might not find support listed for a piece of hardware. Try it anyway; it might work fine with a few minor caveats. For example,
you might not be able to use the very latest features of your latest-generation
video card, but you’ll be able to use it as a generic SVGA at the very least. Also,
sometimes older hardware is left off the lists but is still supported.
When possible, keep your computer manuals (especially the ones for your
video card and monitor) handy, just in case you need them in order to
answer a question asked by the installer — most people won’t have to deal
with this at all, but some will. If the installer can’t detect your video card in
particular, then you’ll need to know exactly what it is, and what its specifications are — or just choose the Generic option. (I get to how to do this when
you install Linux.) If you’re determined to know what exactly is in your
machine or need to find out because you have to do some extra research,
you have the following options:
Use an existing operating system to document your hardware. If your
computer is already running Windows, you can collect a lot of information from the Windows environment. Use one of the following methods,
depending on your system:
• In Windows 98, choose Start➪Settings➪Control Panel➪System➪
Device Manager to access the dialog box shown in Figure 2-12.
• In Windows 2000, choose Start➪Control Panel➪System➪
Hardware➪Device Manager to access the list of hardware
installed on your machine, as shown in Figure 2-13.
Figure 2-12:
In Windows
98, the
Device
Manager
gives you
information
on what
hardware
you have
installed.
Chapter 2: Prepping Your Computer for Linux
Figure 2-13:
The
Windows
2000 Device
Manager.
• In Windows XP, choose Start➪Control Panel➪Printers And Other
Hardware. Here, you can select one of the items from the dialog
box under “or Pick a Control Panel Icon,” or you can look to the
“See Also” section and select System. If you choose System, from
there choose Hardware➪Device Manager (Figure 2-14).
You can double-click each of the items within the Device Manager to display the corresponding details.
Download PC hardware detect tools. If you don’t have any diagnostic
tools and you have a relatively current version of DOS, you can download various PC hardware detect tools, such as PC-CONFIG, from the
Internet. The PC-CONFIG tool contains several screens of information
and menus to choose hardware areas and options. This tool is shareware, and the usage and fee information is available from the Holin
Datentechnik Web site (www.holin.com).
Gather information by reading the screen when the computer starts. If
your system doesn’t contain any operating systems and you don’t have
any of your system’s documentation, you can resort to reading the screen
as your computer starts. On some systems, the video information is displayed as the computer boots. You may have to reboot several times to
read the information if it goes by too fast. Also, some systems display the
PCI components and their settings as the system is starting up. Again, you
may need to reboot several times to gather all the information.
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Part I: Getting Your Feet Wet
Figure 2-14:
The
Windows
XP Device
Manager.
You can try pressing the Pause-Break key on your computer (it should
be near the Scroll Lock key) to get it to freeze during boot. You can then
unfreeze it by pressing any key.
Access the Basic Input/Output System (BIOS) information. Stored in a
small area of memory and retained by a battery, this is sometimes
referred to as CMOS (Complementary Metal-Oxide Semiconductor),
which indicates the type of computer chip that can store and retain
information. The amount of information stored in the BIOS can be very
Laptop considerations
The current distributions of Linux do very well
on relatively new notebooks and laptops. (See
www.linux-laptop.net for an excellent
research site for how Linux gets along with various makes and models.) If your laptop is a
common brand, you shouldn’t encounter any
problems installing Linux. However, laptops
often contain WinModems. (Hardware labeled
with the Win prefix is for Windows, not Linux.)
If you plan on purchasing a laptop for Linux,
check out the modem and other hardware, such
as network cards, to make sure they’re not Win
branded. If the built-in or default hardware for
the laptop is Win labeled or you discover while
researching the machine that it contains a Win
product even if it isn’t properly labeled, you
might be able to switch the offending hardware
for a PC (or PCMCIA) card. Most current laptops
contain at least one PC Card slot so that you can
slip in a PC card modem, network card, or
combo modem-network card. As long as you
stick with a common brand of PC card, it should
be able to work well with Linux.
Chapter 2: Prepping Your Computer for Linux
little to quite a lot. Some newer systems may display several screens of
information about the computer’s hardware.
To access the BIOS, you need to do so before any operating systems load.
Most manufacturers indicate the keyboard key or key sequence to get into
the BIOS, or Setup, on the screen when the system is starting up — for
example, Press Del to enter Setup. If you can’t find the keyboard
sequence, check the manufacturer’s Web site. After you’ve entered the
BIOS, you typically navigate around with the arrow keys, Tab key, or Enter
key. In some BIOS environments, the function keys are also used. Look for
a list of function key options on the top or bottom of the screen.
You especially need to be cautious of labels on hardware boxes and Web sites
that include the term Win (as in Windows). These components, such as
WinModem, don’t contain all the configuration and software in the hardware —
even worse, there may be nothing on the packaging that suggests this limitation. These components are designed to use the Windows operating system to
handle some of the load. Only a very slight chance exists that you can find a
Linux driver for Win hardware. If you do find one, copy it to a floppy before
installing Linux. If you can’t find a driver and you need to use a modem, put
down a little cash and get a modem that is supported properly. For more information about WinModems, see Chapter 8.
Finally, Finally, Before You Get Started
No matter what Linux distribution you choose, it probably comes with a
bootable first CD (out of the CD set) or DVD — Fedora, the distribution
included with this book, comes on a bootable DVD, and if you use the coupon
to get the CDs, the first CD is also bootable. A boxed set might also come
with some floppy disks. You probably won’t need the floppy disks, but some
people do. If you’ve ever booted your system from a CD or DVD, you’ll have
no problem booting from the Linux installation CD. You can find this information in your BIOS, in the section that lets you tell the machine which storage
devices (drives) to check at boot time. If CD-ROM or DVD-ROM isn’t listed in
the options, Chapters 3 and 4 show you how to make an installer boot floppy
for your distribution.
If you have to make changes in your BIOS, make sure to save them when you
exit! It’s easy to forget and end up wondering why the machine isn’t doing
what you told it to do.
Now, before you go any further, there’s one more thing I want you to do:
Locate your Linux distribution’s documentation. These manuals can help
you get past installation roadblocks and contain lots of useful information
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Part I: Getting Your Feet Wet
for after the install is finished. If you purchased your distribution, it probably
came with printed manuals. Otherwise, for the included distributions, you
can find their various help forums and interfaces at:
Fedora: The Fedora Documentation Project (http://fedora.redhat.
com/docs) is still quite new, but its collection should grow over time.
In addition, there’s the Fedora Forum (www.fedoraforum.org), Fedora
News (www.fedoranews.org), and the Unofficial Fedora FAQ (www.
fedorafaq.org).
Linspire: The official Linspire support page is http://support.
linspire.com. Be sure to examine all the links because they contain
lots and lots of help pointers.
Mandrake: The official Mandrake documentation page is www.mandrake
linux.com/en/fdoc.php3, and you can visit an additional help site at
MandrakeExpert.com.
SuSE: The official SuSE support page is www.suse.com/us/private/
support/.
Xandros: The official Xandros support page is http://support.
xandros.com/.
In general, another popular place to go for help is linuxquestions.org. If
you’re ready to install, proceed to Chapter 3 for Fedora and Chapter 4 for
Linspire, Mandrake, SuSE, Xandros, and more.
Chapter 3
Installing Fedora Core
In This Chapter
Considering some last issues before installation
Creating a Fedora installer boot disk
Installing Fedora as a personal desktop
Booting Fedora for the first time
Do, or do not. There is no “try.”
— Yoda, The Empire Strikes Back
N
o longer are arcane glyphs and complex sorcerer’s spells required to
install Linux. The graphical installation is now quite easy to perform
and will be familiar to users coming from another graphical operating system,
such as Microsoft Windows. This chapter provides the details.
If you’re installing Linspire, Mandrake, SuSE or Xandros, proceed to Chapter 4 — do the same if you want to use Knoppix without having to install anything. Even if you’re not using Fedora, however, you can still find out plenty
in this chapter, because all Linux distributions share common elements.
Things to Consider Before
You Begin Installation
You can install Fedora Core by
Booting with the DVD-ROM included in this book and, when you see the
boot menu, typing linux and pressing Enter. If, for some reason, you
don’t see the boot menu, see Appendix B.
Booting with the Fedora Core installation CD, which is CD number 1 if
you ordered the CD set using the included coupons at the back of this
40
Part I: Getting Your Feet Wet
book, or from a third-party vendor such as those listed on the Fedora
Project’s vendors page at (http://fedora.redhat.com/download/
vendors.html).
Booting with an installation floppy disk and having the remainder of the
installation files read from the DVD-ROM or CD.
To begin the installation from the DVD-ROM or CD-ROM, you must first change
your system to start, or boot, from a DVD-ROM or CD-ROM. In Chapter 2, I
cover how to configure a computer to boot from these devices.
If you want or need to make the installation floppy disk and have access to a
Windows system, perform the steps to create the installation floppy covered
in the next section, “Making a Boot Floppy (if Needed).”
After the floppy creation section, the instructions in this chapter tell you how
to follow the installation for Fedora Core 3. I concentrate on Fedora Core 3
and its installation for two main reasons:
Fedora Core 3 is included on the DVD with this book, and the CDs you
can order with your coupon.
Covering the installation of every Linux distribution in existence would
make this book into a set of encyclopedias.
I cover the Personal Desktop installation because it requires little or no hard
drive preparation and doesn’t use umpteen partitions like other installations
do. In addition, the Personal Desktop installation option installs the fun pointand-click stuff that is commonly used on desktop and laptop systems. Server
or service-type applications, such as the Apache Web server and FTP server,
aren’t installed with the Personal Desktop option and aren’t covered in any
detail in this book. However, if you want to use them, you can add these to
your Personal Desktop package selection later in the installation process.
Please note that if you’re installing Red Hat Enterprise Linux, a different version of Fedora Core, or a different distribution of Linux, your screens will look
different from what is shown in this book (for Linspire, Mandrake, SuSE, and
Xandros, see Chapter 4). Each Linux distribution’s installation routine covers
the same basic tasks, but each action may be presented in a different order
or be customized to look different on the screen. For example, one distribution may present account creation before network configuration, and another
may have these two topics reversed.
With Fedora, up until you reach the About To Install (GUI install) screen, you
can back out of the installation without changing anything on your system.
None of the configuration options you make before the About To Install
screen are saved to your disks. After you continue beyond the About To
Install screen, data is written to disk, and your system is changed.
Chapter 3: Installing Fedora Core
Making a Boot Floppy (if Needed)
If you’re having trouble booting from the DVD or CD, you can start the installation from a floppy disk. Because there is no boxed set for Fedora, however,
you’ll have to make this disk yourself. You can find the disk image file — a
fancy way of referring to a snapshot of a floppy disk’s contents — on the DVD
or first CD in the /images directory. You can’t just copy this image onto the
floppy, however. You have to use a special program to make sure that every
tiny part of the image is written over exactly correctly. Assuming that you’re
using Windows right now, the program I use for this purpose is RAWRITE,
which you can download from http://uranus.it.swin.edu.au/~jn/
linux/rawwrite.htm.
To make a boot disk on a Windows system using Fedora Core 3 and the DVD
(or CD) that came with this book, follow these steps (I focus on Windows XP
here, with notes for people using other versions of Windows):
1. Point your Web browser to http://uranus.it.swin.edu.au/~jn/
linux/rawwrite.htm.
2. Click the latest Binary release (at the time of this writing it’s the first
link on the page, rawwritewin-0.7.zip) to download it.
3. When asked what to do with this file, click Save.
4. When the Save As dialog appears, navigate to where you would like to
save the file and click Save to download the file.
This is a small program, so even for dial-up users, it shouldn’t take all day!
5. Once the program is saved on your machine, open your file browser
and navigate to where you have saved it.
If you used the defaults in Windows XP, it’s in the My Documents\
My Downloads folder.
6. If you’re using Windows XP or another version of Windows with a
program like WinZip (http://www.winzip.com/) installed, doubleclick the rawwritewin file to open the archive.
If you don’t have a program that can open this file, download WinZip and
install it on your machine. You can then return to Step 6.
7. If you’re using WinZip, extract the files into the same folder or a new
one and skip to Step 9. If you’re using XP, click Extract All Files to the
left of the folder listing.
This action opens the Extraction Wizard.
8. Follow through the brief wizard, telling it where to extract the files.
When finished, you end up in a folder containing the extracted files.
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Part I: Getting Your Feet Wet
9. Insert the DVD that comes with this book into the DVD drive and
make a note of the drive letter that corresponds to your DVD drive.
If you’re using the CD set, insert the first CD.
10. To create a boot disk, double-click the rawwritewin penguin icon in
the folder.
The RawWrite window appears (see Figure 3-1).
Figure 3-1:
The
RawWrite
disk image
writer.
11. Next to the Image File text box, click the ... button to open the file
browser.
12. Navigate to your DVD-ROM or CD-ROM drive, depending on whether
you’re using the DVD from the book or a CD set for installation.
For many people, this is the D: drive.
13. Double-click the images folder to enter it.
14. Select the file diskboot.img and then click Open.
The file browser dialog closes.
15. Insert a blank 1.44MB floppy disk into the floppy drive.
16. Click the Write button to start writing the image to the floppy disk.
This process can take a few minutes.
Once the image has been written, the Image Successfully Written dialog
box appears.
17. Click OK and then click the Exit button to close the program.
Chapter 3: Installing Fedora Core
After you’ve created the installation boot disk, you need to configure, or
verify, that your computer is set to boot from the floppy drive. The easiest
way to do this is to insert a floppy disk into your main floppy drive, make
sure that no other drives have media in the machine (such as a DVD in your
DVD-ROM drive), and then reboot your computer. If your computer boots
from the floppy, you’re set. You can then pull out the floppy and reboot into
Windows or proceed to the section “The Installation Process.”
If your computer seems to be ignoring the floppy drive as it boots, check in
your system’s BIOS (see Chapter 2.) Make sure that the floppy is listed first.
Then save your changes before exiting the BIOS; otherwise, the items you set
don’t take effect.
The Installation Process
In this chapter, I follow the graphical installation. If you can’t use the graphical installer for some reason (if Linux doesn’t support your video card, for
example), follow the text-based installation instead. The steps are the same,
it’s just not as pretty, and you don’t quite get all the options that you have
available in the point-and-click version.
To install Fedora Core 3, follow these steps:
1. If you want to boot and install from the Fedora DVD-ROM that comes
with this book, place the DVD in your DVD-ROM drive and reboot
your system.
Otherwise:
• Use CD 1 if you ordered or burned your own CD set, placing it into
the CD-ROM drive and rebooting the computer.
• Place the installation floppy disk (see the section “Making a Boot
Floppy (if Needed)” for details) in your floppy drive, put the DVD
or CD 1 in your DVD-ROM or CD-ROM drive, and reboot your
system.
Whether you start the installation from the floppy disk, CD-ROM, or the
DVD-ROM, the first installation screen, shown in Figure 3-2, appears,
though the screen for the DVD-ROM included with this book looks slightly
different than the one from the Fedora CD-ROM. No matter which version
you’re using, this screen contains several options, which are each
described in the following list:
• Install Or Upgrade In Graphical Mode: The first option in the
graphical interface is for installing Fedora Core for the first time or
for upgrading an existing version of Linux. This installation probes
to detect your system’s hardware. The graphical interface is
designed to work with a mouse to select options. If you don’t have
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Part I: Getting Your Feet Wet
a mouse, you can use the keyboard to navigate around the screens.
In most places, the Tab key or the arrow keys advance you to the
next option; the space bar toggles options off and on; and the Enter
key accepts the choices and moves to the next screen. In most
screens, if you want to change a previous setting, a Back button is
available to navigate to earlier selection screens. The graphical
installation screens also include help in the left panel. The content
changes to reflect information about the current configuration
screen. To install by using the graphical interface (which is what
most people do), type linux at the boot: prompt and press Enter.
Figure 3-2:
The initial
Fedora Core
installation
screen.
From Fedora
CD-ROMs,
this screen
looks
slightly
different
than the one
you see on
the DVDROM
included
with this
book.
• Install Or Upgrade In Text Mode: The second option enables you
to install or upgrade Fedora Core using a text menu interface. This
interface presents the options in text menus, and you use the
arrow keys or Tab key to move to the selection area. In some areas,
the spacebar is used to turn options off and on. To install by using
the text interface, type linux text at the boot: prompt and press
Enter.
• Use The Function Keys: The last item listed points out the function
keys displayed at the bottom of the initial installation screen.
The F1 function key presents the initial installation screen, which
allows you to install or upgrade via graphical mode, install or
upgrade via text mode, or use the function keys labeled F2
through F5.
Chapter 3: Installing Fedora Core
The F2 function key includes options for disabling hardware
detection during installation (you must know the details of your
hardware before proceeding); testing the installation media before
proceeding (good option to use if you downloaded the Fedora Core
distribution from Red Hat’s Fedora Project Web site and burned
the software to CDs or a DVD); enabling rescue mode (this is also
the function of the F5 key); using a driver disk, CD, or DVD that
isn’t included with the Linux installation media; and updating your
existing Linux installation.
The F3 function key allows you to set the video options. If you have
experienced problems installing Fedora Core 3 with the graphical
interface, you may want to try a lower resolution. Type linux
lowres at the boot: prompt to use a lower graphic resolution to
install Linux. The linux lowres nofb command allows you to
turn off frame buffering, which can cause problems with some
video cards.
The F4 function key, labeled Kernel, enables you to enter parameters when you install Linux. For example, some help files will tell
you to do something like “turn off autoprobing for your PCI hardware bus.” Here’s where you find out what you need to type.
The F5 function key has two different functions, depending on
whether you’re using the DVD-ROM inclued with this book or the
Fedora CD-ROM set. For the DVD-ROM, F5 shows you information
about the ISO files of other distributions included on the DVD-ROM
(see Chapter 4). Those using CD-ROM sets find an explanation of
rescue mode when pressing F5. Rescue mode (see Chapter 5)
includes many useful utilities to restore your system to a functional
state. To start rescue mode, type linux rescue at the boot:
prompt and press Enter.
2. If you haven’t done so yet and want to do a regular Fedora installation
using a nice point-and-click environment, type linux and press Enter
to start the graphical installation.
Many lines of information scroll past as the installer launches. During
this time, a mini version of Linux is loading.
If you downloaded the full version of Fedora Core and burned it onto
CDs or a DVD yourself, the CD Found (mediacheck) screen appears. This
screen allows you to check the integrity of the media that you’re using
to install Linux. If this is the case, I recommend taking the time to perform this test on all the CDs or the DVD. It’s best to know now if one of
them is damaged or incomplete.
Because the DVD that accompanies this book contains not only a full
edition of Fedora Core 3 (minus the source code; see Appendix B), but
files for a number of other distributions, I don’t recommend trying a
media check on this device. It will most likely fail even though the DVD
is probably fine.
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Part I: Getting Your Feet Wet
Whether you check your media or not, after you’re ready to move on,
the CD Found image disappears and additional text scrolls across the
screen. The last few lines load the graphic engine, a gray screen with a
small X in the middle appears, and then the Welcome To Fedora Core
screen appears. To the left of the screen is a set of instructions explaining how to navigate through this installer.
3. After you’ve finished with the material on the Welcome To Fedora
Core screen, click Next.
The Welcome screen disappears and is replaced by the Language
Selection screen, as shown in Figure 3-3. Linux supports many different
languages.
4. Use the mouse or the ↑ or ↓ keys to select your language and click
Next.
The Keyboard Configuration screen appears, as shown in Figure 3-4.
Different languages arrange the keys differently on keyboards; you may
want to choose the matching language for your keyboard. (The default is
U.S. English.)
5. Choose your keyboard configuration and click Next.
The Installation Type screen appears, as shown in Figure 3-5.
Figure 3-3:
The
Language
Selection
screen.
Chapter 3: Installing Fedora Core
Figure 3-4:
The
Keyboard
Configuration screen.
Figure 3-5:
The
Installation
Type
screen.
47
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Part I: Getting Your Feet Wet
Dealing with damaged CDs or DVDs
If your CD or DVD appears to have a problem,
what you do next depends on where you got the
DVD or CDs. If the DVD came with this book,
contact Wiley Customer Care at 800-762-2974 to
get them replaced. Do not contact Red Hat’s
technical support to have the DVD replaced in
this case.
On the other hand, if you burned your own CDs
or DVD, you may be experiencing one of two different problems. Try burning the media again at
a slower speed. If these media also fail the
media check, download the images again. Or,
they may have been corrupted during the file
transfer, though it’s unlikely.
You have four options:
• Personal Desktop: This option performs an installation for personal
desktop or laptop use and installs a graphical interface. If your
system already contains a copy of Linux, the default for the Personal
Desktop installation is to remove any existing Linux-related partitions and use all the remaining free, unpartitioned disk space. If
you choose this default, any existing non-Linux partitions, such as
DOS/Windows, remain untouched. After installation, you can boot
to Linux and your other existing operating system or systems.
• Workstation: This option installs the graphical interface (X Window
System) and the desktop manager(s) of your choice, much like the
Personal Desktop installation, but also includes tools for software
developers and system administrators.
• Server: This option is designed for a basic Linux-based server for
file and print sharing and Web services. You can also enable other
services and choose to install a graphical environment. When you
select this option, the default disk-partitioning scheme is to remove
ALL existing partitions on ALL your hard drives. This means that all
partitions and operating systems of any type, Linux and others, are
removed, and all drives are erased.
• Custom: This option enables the most flexibility to retain your
existing operating systems and configuration options. You can
choose the packages or applications/roles you want to install, the
size of your disk partitions, and how you want the system to boot.
I cover the Personal Desktop installation in this book for demonstration purposes, but you may select any of the other options that pertain
directly to your system. If you choose another option, keep in mind that
the instructions I include here may vary from your installation experience.
6. Click the Personal Desktop installation option to select it; then click
Next.
The Disk Partitioning Setup screen appears, as shown in Figure 3-6.
You’re given the option to accept an automatic partitioning strategy, or
Chapter 3: Installing Fedora Core
you can define your own partition(s) manually. Your hard drive must contain at least one Linux partition to continue with the installation. I choose
to cover automatic partitioning in this book. If you really, really want to
partition manually, see the nearby sidebar “Defining partitions manually.”
7. Choose Automatically Partition; then click Next.
The Automatic Partitioning screen appears, as shown in Figure 3-7. You
can choose to remove all Linux partitions on your system, remove all
partitions on your system, or keep all existing partitions and use free
space. You also have the option of marking a particular hard drive to
work with. As I suggest in Chapter 2, be sure that you know which hard
drive you want to work with! As a hint, the first hard drive in your computer is typically hda, the second is hdb, and the third is hdc. (With
some kinds of hard drive technology, the first drive will be hde, the
second hdf, and so on — just count from the lowest to the highest.) If
you have SCSI drives, you see sda, sdb, and sdc instead.
Be careful — you lose all data in existing partitions when you choose to
remove partitions. They won’t be immediately changed, however — not
until the final installation screen.
8. Choose the Remove All Linux Partitions On This System option; then
click Next.
A Warning dialog box appears asking whether you want to remove the
partition(s).
Figure 3-6:
The Disk
Partitioning
Setup
screen.
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Part I: Getting Your Feet Wet
Figure 3-7:
The
Automatic
Partitioning
screen.
9. Click Yes.
If you’re really nervous, check the Review check box so that you can
double-check the partition assignments before the installer changes
anything.
The Boot Loader Configuration installation screen appears, as shown in
Figure 3-8.
The first option allows you to change the boot loader from the default of
GRUB to LILO or to choose no boot loader. Keep the default.
The second option allows you to boot to other operating systems than
Linux. If you have other operating systems installed on non-Linux partitions, such as Windows, you can choose to boot to them.
The third option enables you to configure a boot loader password for
added security.
The last option allows you to select advanced boot loader options.
In your list of boot options (Fedora, Windows, and so on), make sure that
a checkmark appears in the box next to the option you want to boot into
by default — when you don’t manually make a selection from the menu.
Chapter 3: Installing Fedora Core
Figure 3-8:
The Boot
Loader Configuration
screen.
Defining partitions manually
If you choose to define partitions manually, you’ll
be using Red Hat’s Disk Druid. Disk Druid enables
you to delete existing partitions and add new partitions. If you don’t know how to use Disk Druid, I
recommend that you not proceed any further.
Click Back to return to the Automatic Partitioning
screen and choose to review the automatic setup
Disk Druid suggests instead of starting from
scratch.
If you choose to Review and decide to change
things, there’s some things you’ll want to know.
For example, there’s something called a mount
point, which is where a device (maybe the
first partition on your first IDE hard drive, which
would be /dev/hda1) attaches onto your filesystem (a particular directory in your directory
hierarchy). The start for your filesystem is the
“root directory,” which is shown as /. You need
to have a partition mounted as /, and you want
it to be as large as possible if you’re not making
many partitions. You also want a partition
mounted as /boot, but it can be small, maybe
100MB. Finally, you want a partition around
twice the size of your memory that’s assigned
the swap filesystem type, to act as your virtual
memory. (There’s no mount point for swap, just
a filesystem type). Otherwise, when it comes to
Fedora, you’ll be sticking with ext3 as your
filesystem type because it’s the default. I get
more into these kinds of things in Chapter 10.
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Part I: Getting Your Feet Wet
10. After making any selections to the boot loader configuration settings,
click Next.
The Network Configuration screen appears, as shown in Figure 3-9.
11. If you’re using a modem and don’t have an Ethernet card in this
system, you won’t see this screen at all, so skip to Step 13. If you’re
using Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) on your network
to set the computer’s hostname, choose the Automatically Via DHCP
option. If you aren’t using DHCP to define the hostname, choose the
Manually option and enter a hostname.
First, make sure the eth0 checkbox is checked so that your computer
activates its networking when it boots. Then, if you’re using DHCP, this
setup allows another service or system to set all the networking parameters for your computer so that it can communicate properly on a network or on the Internet. If you’re connected to a high-speed Internet
service, such as DSL, your computer is probably configured to use DHCP
for all the settings except the hostname, which gives an identity to your
computer. If your computer is part of a company network, the DHCP
services may provide the hostname in addition to the rest of the parameters. Check with the network administrator or IT department for the
appropriate information for your network.
To manually set the hostname of your Linux system (rather than letting
the DHCP server pick one for you), make sure that the Automatically Via
DHCP option is not selected and then configure the following:
• Type a name for your computer in the field to the right of the
Manually label. I recommend that you use only alphanumeric
(letters and numbers) characters for the name of your computer.
Sometimes, using other characters may interfere with an application and make it difficult to access your machine from a network.
• If you’re not using DHCP for the other network settings, click the
Edit button to the right of the Network Devices list. In the Edit
Interface eth0 window, remove the check next to Configure Using
DHCP. Enter values for the IP Address and netmask settings and
click OK. After you enter these two values, the remaining fields
under the Miscellaneous Settings label are enabled. If you don’t
know what your IP address or netmask are supposed to be, ask
your administrator.
• Enter values in the Gateway and DNS fields that are valid for your
network. If your network has more than one DNS server, you can
enter up to three DNS server addresses.
I cover DHCP and other IP-related information in more detail in Chapter 7.
12. After you’ve made all your selections and entered your data, click Next.
The Firewall Configuration screen appears, as shown in Figure 3-10.
Chapter 3: Installing Fedora Core
Figure 3-9:
The
Network
Configuration screen.
Figure 3-10:
The Firewall
Configuration screen.
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Part I: Getting Your Feet Wet
Firewalls protect your system from unauthorized access and discovery.
When you’re connected to the Internet with a high-speed connection,
your computer appears as one of the hundreds of thousands of other systems on the Internet. I wish that I could tell you that there aren’t tons of
nasty people and programs trying to break into your computer, but unfortunately, there’s lots of them. A firewall is your first (but not only) protective barrier against cyber-hoodlums, viruses, worms, and a host of other
items that might try to skulk in through doors that should have been kept
closed; see the sidebar “Firewalls and you” for more information.
13. Unless you are 100-percent sure that this computer is safe from both
the Internet and other machines you may have on your home or office
network (keeping in mind that before viruses and worms, most business computer break-ins happened from inside rather than outside),
leave Enable Firewall as your firewall setting.
If you are absolutely determined to have your firewall off, select No
Firewall. I wish you luck!
14. Determine which of the available services you want to let through
your firewall.
I recommend enabling Remote Login (SSH) so that you can access this
computer remotely using the techniques discussed in Chapter 12. While
I don’t cover running your own Web server, if you intend to run one on
this computer, you’ll also want to enable the Web Server (HTTP, HTTPS)
entry; if you just want to browse the Web, you don’t need to enable this
one, it’s just if you want to run your own server on this computer. The
same goes for FTP (which can be handy for moving files around) and
SMTP. If you intend to run an FTP server or a mail server (SMTP), then
you’ll need to enable these.
15. Next to each item you want to enable, click in the box so that it has a
checkmark in it.
For my desktop machines, I tend to check the SSH and FTP entries.
For how to use an FTP client to get files off of this machine later, see
Chapter 8.
16. Determine whether you want to use SELinux or not.
SELinux (otherwise known as Security-Enhanced Linux) is explained in
great geekly terms at http://people.redhat.com/kwade/fedoradocs/selinux-faq-en/. For those who aren’t interested in reading
through such a document until their eyes cross, I give you a summary in
the sidebar “Introducing SELinux.” Keep in mind that if you’ve never
used Linux or another form of Unix, you may find it difficult enough to
learn your way through the usual user, group, and owner permission
system used to control file and directory access. You can turn on
SELinux later (I go more into SELinux in Chapter 12) if you decide it’s
time to get to know it.
Chapter 3: Installing Fedora Core
Firewalls and you
Anyone connected to the Internet, especially
using broadband (see Chapter 7 for more on the
different types of connections available; broadband tends to be DSL and Cable), really should
have a firewall of some sort. You can purchase
a firewall appliance (a special little box that you
use to connect to the Internet and then hook up
your other computer[s] to) or have a Linux box
doing your firewalling for just itself, or even for
your whole home or business network.
Although this is quite an extensive topic that
can easily take an entire book of its own, I cover
some of the basics in Chapter 7. In the meantime, protect at least this machine with a firewall of its own.
17. If you intend to use SELinux, determine whether you want to actually
activate it or put it into a warning state; otherwise, under Enable
SELinux, select Disabled and skip to Step 19.
I highly recommend that if you do intend to play with SELinux, you for
now set it to Warn. This way, you can see what it does without it getting
in your way, which is a handy method of learning how it works.
18. If you didn’t disable SELinux, select Active or Warn.
I assume that you selected Warn for the remainder of this book.
19. Click Next to proceed to the next stage of your installation.
The Additional Language Support screen appears, as shown in Figure 3-11.
Your Linux system can support multiple languages at the same time. If you
add languages, be sure to set which you want for your default.
20. Select the languages for your Linux installation and click the Next
button to continue.
The Time Zone Selection screen appears, as shown in Figure 3-12. If you
don’t find the exact name of the city you’re in, choose another city in
your same time zone that supports the same options, such as daylight
savings time. You can also click the UTC (Universal Time, Coordinated)
Offset tab at the top of the screen and select your offset from UTC time
and whether you use daylight savings time. If your computer uses UTC,
you can also choose this option.
If it turns out that your computer is (or isn’t) using UTC and you chose
the wrong way, you can change this value after you’ve installed the computer, so don’t sweat this setting too much.
21. Choose the time zone in which your Linux system resides.
If you travel, set it to where you are now. You can change this setting
whenever you need to later.
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Figure 3-11:
The
Additional
Language
Support
screen.
Figure 3-12:
The Time
Zone
Selection
screen.
Chapter 3: Installing Fedora Core
Introducing SELinux
Security-Enhanced Linux (SELinux) was developed by the USA’s NSA (National Security
Agency, www.nsa.gov/selinux/) and gives
you more fine-grained control over everything
that’s happening on your system than the standard user, group, and owner permissions used
by default in the Linux world. SELinux is not limited to Fedora Core; it’s available as an extension in a growing number of Linux distributions.
In general, solid computer security policies
involve giving people and programs only the
amount of access that they strictly require, so
those who have a heavy need for limiting what
people and software can do because they’re
running mission-critical servers or are operating in a realm that has a need for serious security measures find that SELinux lets them have
far more control of who can do what on their
system. For the average home or small business
user’s desktop system, SELinux can be overkill,
though if you’re looking to play with this technology and become familiar with it for your
resume or other reasons, your home desktop
can be an ideal trial platform for such a purpose.
Because SELinux is quite extensive, I only touch
on it in Chapter 12, but I do give you enough
information to get you started.
22. Click Next to proceed to the next step in your installation.
The Set Root Password screen appears.
23. In the Root Password screen, type the root (administrator) account
password into the Root Password field and then type the same password in the Confirm field.
You don’t see the password when you type it — just an asterisk for each
character. The asterisks prevent unauthorized individuals from seeing
the password. If you mistype something in one of the boxes, you’re
warned when you try to move on to the next step of the installation and
have the chance to re-enter the values.
Don’t forget your root password! You need it to do to do any administration task on your Linux box.
24. After you’ve entered your root password twice, click Next.
The Package Installation Defaults screen appears. You can choose to
install the current default list of packages or choose to customize the set
of packages
25. Choose the Install Default Software Packages option or the Customize
Software Packages To Be Installed option.
I recommend selecting the Customize option so that you can have more
control over what you put on your system. I assume that this option is
the one you selected.
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26. Click Next to proceed to the next item in the installation process.
The Package Group Selection screen appears (see Figure 3-13). There are
two different ways of selecting programs in the Fedora Core (and many
other Linux distribution) installer: by group or individually. You start by
choosing groups. For example, the first group is X Window System, which
you can think of as the wireframe of your point and click interface. The
second is the GNOME Desktop, which is one form of paper mache that
can be placed on top of the X Window System for a consistent look and
feel. Third is the KDE (K Desktop Environment), which is another version
of papier mâche (see Chapter 6 for more on these and their differences).
If you want access to both environments, be sure to click the box next to
KDE to put a check in it.
Next to each group that you have marked with a check (or that’s
selected by default), you see the word Details with an underline beneath
it. If you click Details, a dialog box appears with two different lists of
packages: Base and Optional. The Base items are always installed when
you select this group of software. The Optional items are up to you.
If you want to try everything available the first time around, you can
scroll down to the bottom and select Everything (which in fact doesn’t
install everything, but mostly everything). Otherwise, play around and
pick and choose. You can add more software later (see Chapter 12) if
you realize you left something out.
Figure 3-13:
The
Package
Group
Selection
screen.
Chapter 3: Installing Fedora Core
27. When you have selected all the packages and package groups that you
want to install, click Next.
First, a dialog box appears telling you that the installer is looking over
your list of selected software. If it discovers that you have left out programs that software you chose depends on, it offers you the chance to
add those, too. Say yes! Then, once that’s done, the About To Install
screen appears.
If you fear at all that your machine may be too slow to run a regular
desktop, make sure to click the XFCE box under Desktops. That way, if
you find that GNOME or KDE slows your computer down too much, you
can try using XFCE instead to speed things up. Chapter 6 explains more
about these various desktops.
If you want to stop your installation of Linux, the About To Install screen
is the last place where you can stop without changing anything on your
hard drive(s). To stop the installation, press Ctrl+Alt+Del, and your
system reboots. Be sure to pull out the DVD or first CD if you don’t
intend to restart your installation.
28. Once you’re ready to commit to the installation, click Next.
The Required Install Media dialog appears. This handy dialog tells you
exactly what DVDs (though there’s just one if you’re using a DVD!) or
CDs (one through four) you need for the installation. If you’re using CDs,
you may not need all four of them, depending on the software you
requested. Often, a desktop install only needs the first two.
Okay, you can still stop or restart the install at this point without changing anything on your computer! If you chicken out or realize you messed
something up, click Reboot.
29. When you’re ready to proceed, click Continue.
The Installing Packages screen appears. The system first prepares for
the install and then starts the install. As the system is installing, you
see progress bars for each individual package being installed and total
installation progress. You’re also given a “Remaining time” value that is
more or less accurate. Obviously, if it takes you five minutes to notice
that the installer has asked for another CD, then this delay adds to your
total installation time!
After the package installation has finished, you reach the final installation
screen, which has text beginning with “Congratulations, the installation is
complete.” The CD or DVD is automatically ejected (if not, manually eject
it); if you used a floppy disk, remove this as well. Once the media has all
been removed, click Reboot to restart your machine and proceed to the
next section, “Your First Boot.”
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Your First Boot
The first time your Fedora Core system boots, you have the first chance to
see your new boot menu. Select the Linux entry and press Enter, or just sit
back and let it boot on its own. If for any reason your computer fails to boot
at this point, see Chapter 5.The first time your computer boots up, you see
the first boot Welcome screen, as shown in Figure 3-14. Do the following in
order to complete your machine’s initial setup:
1. Click Next to proceed to the setup routine.
The License Agreement screen appears, as shown in Figure 3-15.
2. Read through this text, select Yes, I Agree To The License Agreement
and then click Next.
The Date And Time screen appears.
3. If you’re on a computer network that is currently connected to the
Internet, and is usually connected to the Internet (or your network
administrator told you to use a time server), click the Network Time
Protocol tab. Otherwise, skip to Step 7.
Letting a time server control your date and time makes sure that your
computer gets regular input on what time and day it really is. Otherwise,
over time your computer’s clock actually drifts.
Figure 3-14:
The Fedora
Core
Firstboot
Welcome
screen.
Chapter 3: Installing Fedora Core
Figure 3-15:
The Fedora
Core
License
Agreement.
4. Click the Enable Network Time Protocol check box to enable this feature and click the Use Local Time Source check box to disable local
time control.
5. In the Server drop-down list box, click one of the time servers available, or enter the address for the time server your network administrator gave you.
6. Click Add to choose this server.
7. If you intend to control the date and time on the machine manually,
verify that the date and time are accurate; if they’re not correct, fix
these settings now.
8. After you’ve finished adjusting the date and/or network time server,
click Next to proceed.
If you told the system to use the Network Time Protocol (NTP), it may
take a moment for the system to contact the server you selected. After a
few seconds, the Display dialog box appears, as shown in Figure 3-16.
9. In the Resolution drop-down list box, select the video resolution you
want to use.
You’re only offered the resolutions the installer thinks your monitor and
video card support. If you find that you aren’t offered a full range, go
ahead and select the best you can get, and you can change the video settings later. A popular setting is 1,024 x 768.
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Figure 3-16:
The Display
first boot
screen.
If it looks like your graphics capabilities were guessed wrong or if a
specific monitor doesn’t appear next to the first button in this dialog
box, click the Configure button, which lets you open a set of dialog
boxes allowing you to choose your graphics card and/or monitor.
10. In the Color Depth drop-down list box, select the number of colors
you want to be able to use.
Again, you’re offered what the installer thinks your system supports.
You’ll probably want Millions Of Colors.
11. Click Next to continue your firstboot machine setup.
The System User screen appears, as shown in Figure 3-17.
12. Type the name you want for your personal account into the Username
text box.
For example, zorro.
13. Type your name into the Full Name text box.
For example, Zorro the Dog.
14. Enter your account password both in the Password and Confirm
Password text boxes.
Chapter 3: Installing Fedora Core
Figure 3-17:
The System
User first
boot screen.
This password is the one for your personal account and has nothing to
do with your root (administrator) account. Feel free to use a different
password than you did for root. In fact, it’s a good idea to do so. If you
accidentally don’t type the password the same both times, you’re
warned in Step 14 and returned to this step.
15. Click the Next button to proceed.
The Sound Card screen appears.
16. Make sure that your speakers or headphones are on and click the Play
Test Sound button.
You should hear a sound from the right channel, the left, and then both
at the same time.
17. When asked whether you heard the sound properly, click Yes if you
heard all three sounds and No if you did not.
If you didn’t hear the sounds properly, see Chapter 18 for help with getting your sound working later.
18. Click Next to proceed.
The Additional CDs screen appears. You probably don’t have any extra
CDs you want to install things from at this point. If you do, go ahead and
click the Install button. I’ll assume that you don’t.
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19. When you’re finished with the additional CDs, click Next to continue.
That’s it! Click Finish Setup. You’ve just survived the second Linux
gauntlet! Your computer now brings you to a graphical login prompt. See
Chapter 5 for instructions on how to proceed.
Chapter 4
Installing Other Linux
Distributions
In This Chapter
Loving Linspire
Demystifying Mandrake
Getting to know SuSE
Xapping your brain with Xandros
Discovering even more Linux!
I
f you read any of the chapters in the book, you understand that Linux
is more than just some newfangled computer program. Linux is a fully
equipped workshop of software tools and building materials that you can use
to construct any of a wide spectrum of computing solutions. Developing the
killer Linux distribution has been the Holy Grail of the Linux community. This
ultimate Linux distribution would provide all the support and capability that
the preschooler, the rocket scientist, the housewife, and the crotchety old
computer science professor would need to harness the power available with
Linux.
However, it’s just about impossible to make something that makes absolutely
everyone happy. In this chapter, I survey four more of the most popular and
easiest-to-install distributions. Some of these distributions are commercial
products, so my hope is that if you’re considering getting one of those, this
chapter helps you decide which one of these (if not Fedora) meets your needs.
I don’t cover every aspect of the commercial items, such as how much support
you get. For more information, see the appropriate Web sites.
Occasionally in this chapter, I mention burning an “ISO image” onto a CD-ROM
or DVD-ROM. When this subject comes up, refer to the sidebar “Burning Your
ISOs” for tips. When I refer to ISO images included on this book’s DVD-ROM,
you find these images in the DVD-ROM’s distros folder.
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Part I: Getting Your Feet Wet
Burning your ISOs
If you end up needing to use the ISO files on the
DVD-ROM or that you download in order to
create distribution CD-ROMs or DVD-ROMs, I
have some handy tips that can make this process
easier for you. First, you need CD burning software, such as the popular Nero program (www.
nero.com/en). Once you have a CD burning
tool, look at the file size of the ISO you need to
burn. While most ISOs can be burned onto a
standard 650MB/74 minute CD-R or CD-RW,
some are large enough that you need to purchase 700MB/80 minute ones instead. Knoppix is
one that needs the larger CD-Rs. Another is
Mandrake.
When possible, use CD-RWs, because they’re
rewriteable and you’re able to download and
burn other distributions or newer versions onto
them later. CD-RWs are just a great way to avoid
having to throw out a lot of CDs to go to the landfills. However, your burner has to actually support rewriteable functions. Look on its front to
see whether it says CD-R (it can’t rewrite), or CDRW (it can rewrite).
As you prepare to burn your CD or DVD, make
sure that your software understands that you
want to burn an ISO (often the word to look for
is image) and not just a file. If you burn your CD
or DVD, put it into the drive, open it up, and then
see only one file, you have burned it incorrectly.
An ISO should be unpacked onto the CD or DVD
as a bunch of files and directories.
Finally, it’s a good idea to burn these types of CDs
and DVDs at a speed of four or less. You reduce
your chance of introducing errors this way.
Kickstarting Linux with Knoppix
In Chapter 2, I explain that Knoppix is included on the DVD-ROM that came
with this book. You can boot with the book’s DVD-ROM and just press Enter
from its main menu to boot into Knoppix Linux, skipping any need to install
anything onto your computer. If you’re concerned about messing up something on your computer with an installation, give Knoppix a try.
If the DVD-ROM included with this book doesn’t work, see Appendix B. If you
don’t have a DVD-ROM drive, you can download the CD-ROM ISO image to
burn onto your own CD by going to www.knoppix.net/get.php.
Living Large with Linspire
Linspire (www.linspire.com) — formerly known as Lindows — is especially
designed for people coming over from the Windows world to Linux. This
commercial distribution offers additional subscription services available that
Chapter 4: Installing Other Linux Distributions
I describe in the “About the various Linspire versions” and “Recognizing
some special Linspire features” sections. Linspire is designed for ease of
installation and ease of adding new software and contains many tutorials to
help people get used to the system. Yet, Linspire isn’t designed in particular
for the aspiring Linux geek.
Linspire is built as a friendlier version of the more advanced, but popular,
Debian (www.debian.org) distribution.
If you’re curious, you’re in luck — an ISO file to create your own CD-ROM of
the full version of Linspire is included on the DVD-ROM that came with this
book! (It’s in the DVD-ROM’s distros folder.) In Chapter 12, you can sign up
for your free trial of the Click And Run Warehouse for getting and installing
software so that you can decide for yourself whether it’s worth paying for
membership after that.
If you decide to purchase Linspire, you have a number of options:
Purchase it online and download it immediately from the Linspire Web
site.
Purchase it online and have a physical box shipped.
Purchase a boxed set in a store (www.linspire.com/lindows_feature_
reseller.php).
Purchase a computer with Linspire pre-installed (www.linspire.com/
lindows_feature_preinstall.php).
Linspire offers a nice FAQ on burning the CD at http://info.linspire.com/
installhelp/. The info is helpful whether you’re burning it from the DVDROM that came with this book, or one you acquired from Linspire directly.
Installing Linspire
Linspire is primarily a commercial distribution, and you have access to this
through the ISO image included on the DVD-ROM that came with this book. I
cover this full Linspire 4.5 release. Differences between this and other versions are addressed in the “About the various Linspire versions” section.
To install Linspire 4.5:
1. Place the CD into your CD-ROM drive.
2. Boot the machine.
If the machine ignores your CD-ROM and tries to boot normally, see
Chapter 2 on how to make the necessary changes to your BIOS.
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Part I: Getting Your Feet Wet
3. At the initial screen, click Install and press Enter.
Linspire starts doing all the standard pre-installation tasks, such as scanning your computer’s hardware and starting the installer. After a bit, the
progress bar begins to fill. After it’s done, your screen turns black.
(Don’t panic! It’s supposed to!) You eventually reach the Install Method
dialog box, shown in Figure 4-1.
4. If you’re installing Linspire on a computer by itself or letting it
have an entire hard drive, select Take Over An Entire Hard Disk.
Otherwise, if Linspire has to share a hard drive with another
operating system, select Advanced Install.
Because the second option is more complex, I cover that one. If you
choose the first option, the next step asks you which hard drive you
want Linspire to use. Use the order that Windows sees them in, so the
first drive is C:, the second is D:, and so on. If you have to, you can look
in the BIOS at the sizes and other information to try to tell which is first,
second, or third.
You need existing free space before proceeding; otherwise, the installer
won’t let you get to the partition selection screen. See Chapter 2 for how
to free up space.
5. Once you’ve made your selection, click Next to proceed.
The Advanced Install dialog box appears, as shown in Figure 4-2.
Figure 4-1:
The Linspire
Install
Method
dialog box.
Chapter 4: Installing Other Linux Distributions
Figure 4-2:
The Linspire
Advanced
Install
dialog box.
6. From the list, select the hard drive (if you want to install onto an
entire drive) or partition (if you want to install in a particular emptied
partition) you want to install Linspire onto and then click Next.
The Computer Name And Password dialog box appears, as shown in
Figure 4-3.
7. Type the name you want this computer to have into the Computer
Name text box.
For example, maybe you want to name your computer Fred.
8. Type your administrative password into both of the Password text
boxes and then press Enter.
The Setup Confirmation dialog box appears.
9. Read the values specified in the dialog box and then click Finish when
you’re ready to start the install.
Yes, that’s it! Your install now begins. You may be asked to verify that
you want to take over a hard drive or partition; if so, double-check the
information it shows you and answer appropriately.
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Part I: Getting Your Feet Wet
Figure 4-3:
The Linspire
Computer
Name And
Password
dialog box.
10. When the installation finishes, click OK.
The machine brings you to a screen that lets you remove the CD-ROM
from the drive.
11. When prompted, remove the CD from the drive and then press a key
to reboot the machine; to boot it, select Linspire from the options and
press Enter (or just let it do so on its own).
Recognizing some special Linspire features
One of the most talked about special features of Linspire is its CNR (Click
and Run) Warehouse. This online store allows you to surf through more than
a thousand software programs and purchase, download, and install them
with just a few clicks. Even better, if you subscribe to the CNR service — you
get a free one-year membership when you purchase Linspire — a lot of the
items in the Warehouse are free. (You don’t need to keep your CNR membership up to date to keep using the software you downloaded; after you’ve got
it, it’s yours.) I cover how to add software using this service in Chapter 11.
Another cool aspect of some versions of Linspire is the audio/visual tutorials.
After your installation is complete, the tutorials immediately launch to start
walking you through how to use the system. You can stop them and come
back to them at any time.
Chapter 4: Installing Other Linux Distributions
About the various Linspire versions
The folks at Linspire are pretty creative about putting together packaging
options. In the section “Living Large with Linspire, earlier in this chapter, I
address the various ways you can purchase this distribution. In this section,
I look at the various ways Linspire is packaged for boxed sets and downloads.
I’m not going to go into all the add-ons. (If I did that for every distribution,
this book would end up an encyclopedia!) Instead, I look at the main versions
available at the time of this writing:
Linspire 4.5: The main Linspire product. This version has lots of software included, as well as the Click And Run Warehouse (see Chapter 12)
and support. An ISO for this version is included in the distros folder of
this book’s DVD-ROM, though you do need to buy Click And Run Warehouse access and support separately in the included version.
Linspire 4.5 Laptop Edition: Includes extra support for hardware that’s
typically in laptop settings.
Linspire 4.5 Developers Edition: Includes more than 100 software development tools and utilities.
Linspire 4.5 Desktop Enterprise Assessment Kit: A one-stop shop that
can help you evaluate whether your company is ready to move to Linux
on the desktop.
Linspire Live!: A bootable CD-ROM that you can put in your hard drive,
reboot your machine, and immediately have access to a Linspire desktop without having to install anything.
Maxin’ Out the Fun with Mandrake
Mandrake (www.mandrake-linux.com) has a huge, enthusiastic fan base.
This distribution, designed in 1998 with the goal of creating an easy and intuitive installation for everyone, specializes in ease of use for both server and
home/office installations. To accomplish this objective, the creators of
Mandrake focused on the goal of making an easy transition from your
Microsoft Windows or Mac skills to Linux.
In this section, I focus on Mandrake Version 10.1. The ISO files required to
install this distribution are included within the distros folder on the DVDROM that come with this book, so you just need to burn them onto CD-ROMs
to get started. You can also download this distribution for free (from www.man
drake-linux.com) if you can’t use the DVD-ROM, or you can purchase a
boxed set with manuals and more from the Mandrake online store (www.man
drakesoft.com). To download Mandrake:
1. Point your Web browser to www.mandrake-linux.com.
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2. Click the Download link.
You are taken to the Mandrakelinux Downloads page. In this page, you’re
asked whether you want to sign up for its users’ club (which, for a minimal monthly fee, gives you access to all kinds of extras and early downloads), or whether you already are a member or are thinking of becoming
one. If you become a serious Mandrake fan, then joining the club is definitely something you’ll want to consider!
3. If you’re not quite ready to join the club, click the Now button next
to I’m Already A Member Of The Club Or Plan On Registering Soon,
Please Send Me To The Download Page. Otherwise, go ahead and
register for the club and then return to Step 1.
This action brings you to the main download page.
4. Click the Mandrakelinux 10.1 Official ISOs/i586 link.
This action jumps down to the Mandrakelinux 10.1 Official ISO Images
For I586 And Higher section of the Downloads page.
5. Look through the list of countries and click the download location
that’s physically closest to you.
6. Download the three Mandrakelinux10.1-Official-Download files.
Each of these files is a full CD-ROM’s worth of material, so if you’re using
dial-up or have bandwidth limits, you may find it easier to purchase the
CDs from Mandrake or a third-party, such from www.cheapbytes.com. If
you do download them yourself, see Chapter 2 for advice on properly
burning Linux ISO files onto CD-ROMs.
In Chapter 2, I mention that Mandrake can resize your existing Windows partitions, so you don’t need to do this task ahead of time.
Installing Mandrake
After you’ve burned or purchased Mandrake on CD-ROMs or a DVD, install it
as follows:
1. Place CD 1 or the DVD into your CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive and
reboot the computer.
If the computer ignores your CD-ROM and tries to boot normally, see
Chapter 2 on how to make the necessary changes to your BIOS. The initial installer screen appears.
2. Either press F1 to see more options (typically, if you know you need to
use a special option) or press Enter to start the installation.
I assume that you press Enter. Lots of text scrolls by. The screen
changes to a black-and-blue motif, with blue dialogs appearing as various devices are detected, and then finally you reach the Language selection dialog box, shown in Figure 4-4.
Chapter 4: Installing Other Linux Distributions
Figure 4-4:
The Mandrake 10.1
Language
Selection
dialog box.
3. If you want to use a language other than American English as your
default language, select the appropriate language in the list and then
click Next.
The License screen appears. Read the license, select Accept, and then
click Next. The Security screen appears.
4. Leave your security level at Standard, unless you want to experiment
with High.
Going higher than High may make using the computer such a pain to use
as a client that you’ll be tempted to shut off security completely, which
defeats the purpose! Still, some people like to play with the really paranoid level. It’s up to you. I assume that you stayed with Standard.
5. If you want to have a particular nonroot user on the system (or e-mail
address) receive all security-related notifications (recommended),
enter the login account you’ll be creating for that user or the e-mail
address to use in the Security Administrator text box; if not, skip to
Step 6.
Remember, anything that reduces how much you have to log in as root is
good, as long as it doesn’t also reduce your security. I tend to choose an
e-mail address for this text box.
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6. Click Next.
The initial disk partitioning screen appears. The options you see here
depend on what the partitioning program (DrakX) finds on your hard
drive(s), so you may see something different than what I’m seeing.
7. Select the partitioning option you want to use.
Do not select Use Existing Partitions — if this option is even available —
unless you went ahead and set up the machine’s partitions ahead of
time. Typically, you want one of the other options. If you’re giving over
an entire hard drive to Linux, then select Erase Entire Disk. If your Linux
install has to share a drive with another operating system (or you know
you want to set up your partitions a certain way) then select Custom
Disk Partitioning or select Use Free Space if you have free space available. Other options may also appear, depending on what’s currently on
your system. For example, you may see Erase Entire Disk, which lets you
wipe your Windows installation. If you choose Erase Entire Disk, accept
the default partitioning and skip to Step 10.
8. Click Next.
The Partitioning screen appears. You can choose existing partitions
by clicking the partitions in the graphical listing. Each has a suggested
mount point (see Chapter 3 for more on mount points) already attached.
You can delete or resize a particular partition by clicking the appropriate button below the partition graphics. If you already have a bunch of
free, unallocated space, you can click the Auto Allocate button to have
Mandrake suggest a set of new partitions for you. To create a new one,
click the empty space and then click Create. You can see an example
layout in Figure 4-5.
9. After you’re finished laying out your partitions, click Done.
As the warning that appears says, the changes are made to your hard
drive when you click Done. After the formatting is complete, the installer
scans through its list of software. Then, the installation media dialog box
appears.
10. Only three CD ISOs are available for download, so if you downloaded
those three, unselect CDs 4 and 5 in the list and then click OK. If you
do have a CD 4 and 5, just click OK.
The Package Group Selection screen appears (see Figure 4-6).
11. Choose the groups of packages that you want to install.
For a desktop, you might include each of the items in the Workstation
section, plus both KDE and GNOME in the Graphical environments if you
have the room. These items give you lots of software to play with.
Chapter 4: Installing Other Linux Distributions
Figure 4-5:
The
Mandrake
10.1 Custom
Partitioning
dialog box
with an
example
disk layout.
Figure 4-6:
The Man
drake 10.1
Package
Group
Selection
dialog box.
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Part I: Getting Your Feet Wet
12. Select the Individual Package Selection box if you want to look inside
each group and choose what you want.
I assume that you clicked this option.
13. Click Next.
The Choose The Packages You Want To Install dialog box appears.
14. Select and remove packages according to your needs.
In the left column, you can click a right-facing arrow to expand a category and see all the groups beneath it, or you can click a down-facing
arrow to compress the category and clean up the list. A checkmark next
to a group means that you selected that group, and a checkmark next to
the category means you selected the whole category.
You also find arrows next to groups. Expand a group, and you can see on
the left all the software that will and won’t be installed — you won’t get
everything from the group by default. You can then click any package in
the list to see a description on the right. If you find that a package that
you want isn’t being installed, click the empty box next to its name to
check it. If you don’t want to install something that’s checked, click the
checkmark to unselect it.
15. After you’re ready to move on, click Install.
The installation begins. You’re given a projection of how much time it
will take. Keep in mind that if you need to swap CDs, you won’t know
until it asks you for the next one, so don’t just walk away and ignore the
system expecting it to be finished when you get back. You can click the
Details button to see the progress for each individual package.
As with most mainstream Linux distributions, Mandrake has tasks to take
care of after the main installation, before you start using the system. After the
main files are placed onto your system (but before rebooting), you’re asked
to do things like enter your root (administrative) password. (See Chapter 3
for how to select a strong root (administrative) password and why you want
to do so.)
After you choose your root password, you’re asked to create a regular user
account. When you do so, click the icon image and have fun selecting a picture to go with your user account. Speaking of users, do not configure the
computer to automatically log in any account unless no one else could possibly have access to the machine. It’s not a very secure practice, and it’s a
great way to set yourself up for some annoying practical jokes.
When you reach the Summary screen — which isn’t entirely a Summary
because it lets you configure things that you haven’t looked at yet — make
sure that everything is set properly. In particular, the Graphical Interface
entry refers to your monitor and video card. If these devices aren’t configured, then you’ll definitely want to change that. In the Security section, click
Configuration next to Firewall, uncheck the Everything checkbox, and add
Chapter 4: Installing Other Linux Distributions
checks only next to the services you’ll run on this computer. For example,
you may want to check SSH, FTP, and Echo (ping).
Finally, when given the chance to download updated packages, select Yes if
you are already on a network that’s connected to the Internet. Otherwise, you
can do it later.
After you finish this part of the configuration process, you’re asked to reboot.
Then, believe it or not, there’s a few more configuration tasks to take care of.
First you’ll see a user survey. If you want to fill it out, fine, otherwise skip it by
just clicking Next. In the Choose Desktop dialog, click the dropdown list box and
play with the various desktops and themes. Selecting something shows you
what it will look like. After this, you can register for the Mandrake Club (www.
mandrakeclub.com), and then finally you’re done and can use the machine!
About the various Mandrake versions
Mandrake offers both server and desktop solutions, but I focus on the desktop
here — which is considered by many to be Mandrake’s real strength. You can
see Mandrake’s full range of commercial products by going to www.mandrake
soft.com/products, and you can see the full range of download options by
following the instructions available in the earlier section, “Maxin’ Out the Fun
with Mandrake.” I also focus only on items, as usual, that include the desktop
itself rather than also covering add-ons.
At the time of this writing, you can purchase and/or download Mandrake for
the desktop in the following versions:
Mandrake 10.1: The full download version included with this book. You
can use it for desktop, server, and everything in between.
MandrakeMove: The LiveCD version of Mandrake, which allows you to
pop the CD-ROM into any PC, boot the PC with this CD-ROM, and find
yourself in a fully functional Mandrake environment without having to
install anything.
Mandrake 10.1 Discovery: A commercial package for people brand new
to Linux. This package includes MandrakeMove.
Mandrake 10.1 PowerPack: The “regular” full-featured commercial desktop package.
Mandrake 10.1 PowerPack+: The power-user commercial desktop
offering.
Mandrake also has commercial and/or free versions available for a number of
other hardware architectures, such as AMD64, PowerPC, and SPARC. In addition to this, if you’re a bleeding edge kind of person — which is how geeks refer
to the “very latest and greatest that most people haven’t started using” — you
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may enjoy downloading the Mandrake Cooker (www.mandrakelinux.com/en/
cookerdevel.php3), which is the development (“beta”) version. Most people,
though, are better off sticking with the main version of Mandrake, because
betas, in general, are more full of bugs — hence, the term beta test.
Starting off with SuSE
The SuSE (“SOO-za”, www.suse.com) company and Linux distribution
were founded in 1992 and were purchased by Novell (www.novell.com)
in 2004. The distribution is named after a German acronym for Software und
Systementwicklung (Software and System Development). One SuSE claim to
fame is its international support (most major distributions provide a level of
support for users around the globe, but some have better language integration for particular groups than others; SuSE understandably excels in the
German and western European space).
SuSE is primarily a commercial distribution, though it has a limited free
option that I discuss in the section “About the various SuSE versions.” Rather
than compare a limited free version against other people’s full versions, I
walk you through the installation of the full SuSE Linux Professional 9.2. Also,
while most distributions have one form or another of integrated configuration setup, SuSE’s YaST is particularly extensive, and is equally so without a
GUI — an unfortunate rarity. The manuals that come with the boxed versions
are also nice and thick, serving as a nice add-on for this book, online help,
user forums, and so on.
A Live CD containing SuSE 9.2 with KDE is included as an ISO file within the
distros folder on the DVD-ROM that comes with this book. No install is
required, so you can just burn the ISO onto a CD-ROM, put the CD into your
drive, and boot your machine to experience this version of SuSE Linux.
Installing SuSE
The SuSE Linux 9.2 Professional boxed set comes with two thick manuals,
five CDs, and two DVDs (for those who want to install instead from DVD). In
Chapter 2, I mention that SuSE can resize your existing Windows partitions, so
you don’t need to do this step ahead of time. If you’re using the version of SuSE
included with this book, then you don’t need to go through this installation
procedure. I cover it here for those who purchased the full version of SuSE.
To install this distribution:
1. Put either CD 1 or DVD 1 (the one on the left) in your CD-ROM or DVDROM drive.
If you’re using the DVDs, make sure that Side A is facing up.
Chapter 4: Installing Other Linux Distributions
2. Reboot your machine.
The Welcome screen appears, followed by the installer’s menu.
3. Choose Installation from the menu and press Enter.
A progress bar appears as the installer launches. After that, the initializing hardware screen appears. The process of figuring out what hardware
you have on your computer can be a bit slow, so just be patient.
Finally, the Welcome To YaST2 (the system’s installer and administration
program) screen appears.
4. Select the primary language you want to use on this computer and
then click Accept to proceed.
The Installation Settings screen appears (see Figure 4-7). It can take a
minute or so for the system to complete its auto-detection routine and
fill out all the entries.
5. Look at the values beneath System and determine whether (to the best
of your knowledge) they’re correct. If not, click the System link and
wait while SuSE autodetects all the hardware on your system in more
detail. When it has finished, look through the list and then click OK.
6. If you’re not using a U.S. layout keyboard (if you’re in North America
and have no idea, you’re using a U.S. layout keyboard), click the
Keyboard Layout link and select the appropriate setting. When you’re
ready to proceed, click Accept.
Figure 4-7:
The
SuSE 9.2
Installation
Settings
screen in
text mode
(there is
also a
graphical
installer).
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You can click in the Keyboard Test text box and then type to make sure
that your keyboard is being recognized properly. If you like to heavily
customize how your keyboard works, then click the Expert Settings
button to do so.
7. Look at the item listed under Mouse. If it is blatantly incorrect (it has
chosen the best match it can find for your particular hardware), such
as choosing a USB mouse when you have a PS/2, then click the Mouse
link to go to the Mouse configuration screen.
Be sure to click the Test button to then test your new mouse setting if
you change it.
A USB mouse has a (around half-inch) wide but flat connector and a PS/2
mouse has a round one. A serial mouse is much bigger than both, being
over an inch wide.
8. In the Partitioning section, if you aren’t happy with what you’re being
offered, click the Partitioning link. Otherwise, skip to Step 13.
Clicking the link brings you to the Suggested Partitioning screen.
9. If you want to just make some adjustments, click the Base Partition
Setup on this Proposal radio button. If you want to completely change
the recommended partitioning setup, select the Create Custom
Partition Setup button.
Because the last option is really for more advanced users, I assume that
you chosen Base Partition Setup on this Proposal, to adjust what you
were already assigned.
10. Click Next to make your changes.
The Expert Partitioner dialog box opens (see Figure 4-8).
Figure 4-8:
The SuSE
9.2 Expert
Partitioner
dialog box in
text mode,
rather than
graphical
mode.
Chapter 4: Installing Other Linux Distributions
11. Make your changes.
You can change the size of a partition by clicking it in the list (ignore
the whole drive entry, such as /dev/hda, focus instead on the partitions,
such as /dev/hda1) and then clicking the Edit button to open the Edit
Existing Partition dialog box. If you want to resize one of your NTFS or
FAT32 partitions, then click that partition in the list and click the Resize
button to get the job done.
12. Once you’re finished with your changes, click Next to return to the
Installation Settings dialog box.
13. Click the Software link.
You probably do want to pick and choose what programs to install! This
action brings you to the Software Selection screen.
14. Click Detailed Selection.
Because I’m focusing on a point-and-click desktop setup, it’s safe to
assume here that you don’t want Minimum system (no GUI at all) or
Minimum graphical system (a very bare-bones, old-time GUI that doesn’t
take up much RAM but lacks many of the nice desktop bells and whistles
many have grown to love). Clicking Detailed Selection takes you to the
individual software selection screen (see Figure 4-9).
15. Spend as much time here as you want, surfing through the options
and selecting items to add.
Here’s a recommended technique for working through this dialog box as
a first timer. Start by looking to the left, under Selection, and picking the
big groups you want to use. As a desktop user, you may want to add All
Of KDE, GNOME system (picking both of these groups lets you have both
GUIs to choose from and play with), Games, and Multimedia. Choosing
these groups adds big chunks of programs to your list. You can look in
the lower left to see how much of your disk all your selections take up.
Figure 4-9:
The
SuSE 9.2
Individual
Software
Selection
screen in
text mode,
rather than
graphical
mode.
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From there, to make it easier on yourself, click the Filter drop-down list
box and select Package Groups. This action changes the listing on the
left to software types. You can click the + marks to expand lists and –
marks to shrink them. Then, on the right, you can look at the individual
programs in the group selected on the left and then check them to add
them to your installation list or uncheck them to remove them.
16. When you think you’re done, look on the bottom of the screen and
select Check Dependencies.
17. If the response is All Package Dependencies Are OK, then click OK
and proceed to Step 18. Otherwise, say yes to anything needed to fix
dependency problems, and when you’ve got it all sorted out, then you
can proceed to Step 18.
18. Click Accept when you’re happy with your software selections.
You may be told that extra packages have been added to fix dependencies, even if you were told the dependencies are okay. Click Continue if
this happens.
19. If you know that you don’t want to boot directly to the Linux-added
boot menu, where you can choose what operating system and version
to boot into, click the Booting link. Most people will want to leave the
boot loader setting alone, so if you don’t want to change these values,
go to Step 20.
If you do click the Booting link, you see the Boot Loader Setup screen.
To change a particular entry, click it and then click Edit to open the
appropriate editing dialog box. Items of interest include
• Boot Loader Location: If you want to use a different boot menu
generator, you have to change the boot loader location to a different partition (a good spot is the /boot partition, so if you put /boot
in /dev/hda1, that’s what you’d select). However, you have to make
sure to then tell your boot menu program where to find the Linux
boot loader!
• Default Section: This is the one you’re most likely to want to
change. Click this item and then choose Edit, and you see the
screen where you can tell SuSE which option you want to boot into
if you don’t make a selection before the boot loader times out and
starts booting automatically.
• Available Sections: If you want to add a new boot menu option,
click this one, choose Edit, and then click Add from the Boot
Loader Setup – Sections Management screen.
If you chose to make changes, once you’re ready to move on, click Finish
to return to the main Installation Settings screen.
Chapter 4: Installing Other Linux Distributions
20. If your time zone is not set correctly, click the Time zone entry and
change it.
Choose your region on the left and then the time zone on the right.
21. If you want your default language to be something other than U.S.flavored English, click the Language entry and make your changes.
22. If you want your machine to boot into command line mode, click
Default Runlevel and select Full Multiuser With Network.
23. Finally, click Accept to open the Confirm Package License: flashplayer dialog box.
24. Read the license and then click I agree to proceed to the Confirm
Installation dialog box.
25. If you’re sure you want to keep going, click Install. If you’ve changed
your mind, click No to go back to the Installation Settings dialog box.
Let the installation begin! The SuSE installer shows you which disks it
needs, how much material it needs from them, and a progress bar for
each as it goes through the install.
After the install is finished, remove the CD or DVD and reboot. SuSE continues
with its post-installation setup routine. The cool thing is that if you forget to
pop out the CD or DVD, the system boots properly regardless — just remember to remove the CD or DVD before you reboot again, for good measure!
Because I don’t have infinite space in this book, I give you some quick notes
on how to walk through this initial boot setup routine. (Keep in mind that you
can change the configuration for any of these items later if you need to.)
See Chapter 3 on how to choose a solid password for the root (administrative) user.
In the Network Configuration section, first check to see that your Ethernet
card (Network Adapter), DSL modem, ISDN adapter, dial-up modem, or
whatever you’re using is properly detected. If it is, you see the make and
model of the card. If not, you see Not Detected. If it’s not detected, click
the link for that section to go to its configuration section and under
Available, select the Other (Not Detected) option. Click Configure to open
the configuration interface. There, you can tell the interface the details of
your device. You may need information from your ISP or hardware documentation in order to do so. (See Chapter 7 for coverage of the technology
and issues you run into when setting up networking.) If the process gets
overwhelming, just click Back until you return to the main Network
Configuration section and select the Skip Configuration radio button so
that you can go to Chapter 7 to set things up.
I also suggest in Network Configuration that you change ssh to enabled.
You can find out learn more about this option in Chapter 13.
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When you reach Test Internet Connection, select Yes (if you’re able to
access the Internet right now) and then Next. If your attempt fails, try
connecting a few more times. Sometimes the tester just doesn’t wait
long enough for the connection to get through, so don’t be discouraged
if you need to give up and move on.
When asked whether you want to get online updates, say Yes (if you’re
able to access the Internet right now.) That way, you’ll be starting with a
fully up-to-date system. In the Installation Source drop-down list box,
select the physically closest site to you. Then, click the Manually Select
Patches box so that it’s empty; that way, it automatically updates everything and doesn’t ask you annoying questions every few seconds. If you
want, go ahead and click Configure Fully Automatic Update while you’re
at it so that you can make sure that your system keeps itself current on
its own. (I look at how to do this in Chapter 12 as well.) This update can
take a while, and sometimes it needs to ask you questions. If it says it’s
running into an error getting a patch, keep telling it to try again for a bit.
Usually, the error corrects itself within five attempts or so. If you’ve tried
ten times or more and it still doesn’t go through, tell it to skip that fix.
Again, if your Internet connection doesn’t work, don’t worry; you can
update later using Chapter 12.
One of the more confusing sections is the User Authentication Method
(login) screen. Leave this setting as Stand-Alone machine unless you
know for a fact that your machine is part of an NIS or LDAP network.
Someone has to have set up NIS or LDAP, so if it’s your network and you
didn’t, you’re not using it.
In the Add A New Local User screen, the User Login box is where you
define the name of your login account. The Full User Name is where you
put your full name so that it appears right in your e-mail From headers
and all that fun stuff. Because you want to avoid the root account when
possible (see Chapter 3), if the account you’re creating now is the one
that you’ll use most of the time you’re logged in, select the Receive
System Mail box to put an X in it. This way, you get all the system warnings and whatnot here and don’t have to log in as root to see them. On
the other hand, I don’t recommend leaving Auto Login checked. You
should have to actually log into the machine, or it’s too easy for people
to use your account.
The Release Notes can be worth reading just to see what little things
crop up that might apply to you, and what tips you might find useful for
dealing with your personal setup needs.
The Hardware Configuration section works just like the others. If you
want to fuss with something, click the appropriate link, and you can
always just leave it as is and look at it later. I deal with sound (see
Chapter 18) and printing (see Chapter 7) later, in particular.
After you’re finished setting up things, you’re brought to a login screen. Go
ahead and start exploring! When you log in, the Welcome To SuSE Linux 9.2
Chapter 4: Installing Other Linux Distributions
dialog box opens. You can browse through its options by clicking the links or
click the Close link to get rid of it and start playing with your new setup.
About the various SuSE versions
SuSE has a broad range of server and desktop products, from the home user
to the enterprise. As usual, I focus on the desktop. You can examine the full
range of SuSe offerings at its Web site, www.suse.com, if you’re interested in
finding out more information. The desktop versions available from SuSE
include
SuSE Linux LiveEval: The SuSE LiveCD. You can download this version
from www.suse.com/us/private/download/ftp/live_eval_int.
html, burn it to CD, and boot into a SuSE environment without having to
install. An ISO for this version is included in the distros folder of this
book’s DVD-ROM. The LiveCD, however, comes in two versions: the KDEbased version (see Chapter 6), which is the default GUI in SuSE, and a
GNOME version.
SuSE Linux 9.2 Personal: The SuSE baseline desktop product. Comes
with the LiveEval. You can purchase a boxed set with manuals or download the CD-ROM image from www.suse.com/us/private/download/
ftp/personal_iso_int.html.
SuSE Linux 9.2 Professional: A far more extensive version of SuSE, with
five CDs’ and two DVDs’ worth of material. Useful for both desktop and
server. This is the version of SuSE covered in this chapter.
SuSE Linux Download: You can download and install SuSE free of charge
beyond the Personal edition, but you’re getting something in between
the Personal and Professional, as some of the software included in the
boxed sets requires license fees to other companies and so cannot be
freely given away without significant cost to Novell. The installation
process in this case isn’t particularly simple, so I don’t typically recommend it to beginners. If you want to find out more about this version, go
to www.suse.com/us/private/download/suse_linux/ and read the
installation guidelines for the FTP install.
Zapping Frustration with Xandros
Xandros (www.xandros.com) is another commercial distribution especially
designed for people coming over from the Windows world to Linux and is in
particular designed to integrate well with existing Windows networks in the
workplace. It’s another Debian-based distribution that is not meant for those
who want to become Linux geeks and is instead focused on people who just
want to get their work done. An ISO of the free version of this distribution is
included in the distros folder of this book’s DVD-ROM.
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If you decide to purchase Xandros, you have a number of options:
Purchase it online and have a physical box shipped.
Purchase a boxed set in a store. You can find a list of places that carry
Xandros by going to www.xandros.com/partners/channelpartners.html.
Purchase a computer with Xandros pre-installed (www.xandros.com/
partners/oempcs.html).You also have a free option. See the section
“About the various Xandros versions” for more information. Xandros is
also particularly designed to make the transition from Windows to Linux
as simple as possible. As such, you can expect to find the layout and other
issues to be similar to those in Windows XP. One handy item Xandros has
introduced is the Xandros Networks tool, which is accessible from the
desktop as an icon you can double-click. Xandros Networks lets you see
the latest news from Xandros, browse through an online store for software, some of which is free to registered users. Downloading and installation through Xandros Networks requires just a few clicks.
You can purchase, through Xandros Networks, a Premium Membership to get
access to discounts, early access to software, and more.
Installing Xandros
Again, because I cover the full versions of everything else, I cover the full
Deluxe Xandros Desktop OS Version 2.5 installation here. To install this version:
1. Place the CD-ROM into your CD-ROM drive.
2. Reboot your computer.
If your computer ignores the CD, then you need to change your BIOS so
that it looks at the CD-ROM drive before your hard drive(s). (See
Chapters 2 and 3 for more information.) If your computer sees the CD
but seems to have problems launching the installation program, reboot
and press the Shift key as the Xandros screen comes up to see your troubleshooting options.
3. When you reach the Welcome dialog box, click Next.
The End User License Agreement displays.
4. Read the agreement, click I Accept This Agreement and then click
Next.
The Installation Selection screen appears.
5. Choose either Express or Custom Install and then click Next.
I assume that you’ve chosen Custom, because it’s the more complex
option. When you click Next, the Software Selection screen appears
(see Figure 4-10).
Chapter 4: Installing Other Linux Distributions
Figure 4-10:
The
Xandros 2.5
Software
Selection
screen.
6. Select the software group you want to install.
Unless you’re short on space, you might enjoy choosing the Complete
Desktop because it gives you all the software — if you want, choose
Complete to start with and then start removing items by clicking their
checkmarks. Or choose Custom and then start adding things. When you
click an item in the lower list, you see a description on the bottom of the
screen.
If you do choose Complete, do look in the Servers section and remove
Apache (the Web server) from the list, along with FTP Server — unless
you know for a fact that you intend to use an FTP server to let people
get files.
7. After you finish choosing your software, click Next.
The Disk Configuration screen appears.
8. Select the disk configuration option that best represents what you
need to do.
Handily, in some versions, you can resize Windows partitions, even
NTFS ones. I assume that you have a free hard drive that you want to use
for Linux, just to be different from the other sections in this chapter, so I
assume that you selected Take Over Disk Or Partition.
9. When you’re ready to proceed, click Next.
The Disk Configuration dialog box appears, as shown in Figure 4-11.
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Figure 4-11:
The
Xandros 2.5
Disk Configuration
dialog box.
10. If you want to give a partition over to Xandros, then click that partition in the listing.
For an entire hard drive, you see them listed as IDE2, IDE2, and so on (or
SCSI1, SCSI2, and so on).
11. Click Next to proceed.
The Disk Configuration Summary dialog box appears.
12. Examine the summary and click Back if something’s wrong, or Next if
you’re ready to move on.
The Network Connection Configuration dialog box appears.
13. Select the network device you want to use.
Typically, a desktop machine has only an Ethernet card, modem, or wireless card.
14. If you’re supposed to use DHCP, just click Next and skip to Step 18.
Otherwise, click Edit.
The Edit Interface dialog box opens.
15. If you’re using a dial-up modem, select Do Not Configure Network
Interface, click OK, and skip to Step 17. Otherwise, select Static
Address if you were told an IP address to use.
Modem setup is covered in Chapter 8.
16. Fill in the IP Address and Subnet Mask fields as they were given to
you by your ISP and then click OK.
Chapter 4: Installing Other Linux Distributions
17. Click Next to continue your installation.
The Administration Configuration dialog box appears.
18. Type your Administrator (root) password in both of the password text
boxes.
See Chapter 3 for a discussion on safe use of the root account.
19. In case your computer needs to integrate with a Windows network,
enter a name for it in the Computer Name text box.
You’re typing the NETBIOS name if you’re familiar with those. Follow the
rules specified in that part of the dialog box. Traditionally, a NETBIOS
name is in all capital letters.
20. Click the Make User Home Folders Private checkbox.
This feature not only make it easier for each user to keep data private,
but helps the layout conform to what Red Hat uses in Fedora, making it
easier for this book to make sense for you.
21. Click Next to proceed.
The User Account Configuration screen appears.
22. Click the Add button to create a normal user’s account.
The Add/Edit User Account dialog box appears (see Figure 4-12).
Because you want to avoid the Administrator (root) account as much as
possible (see Chapter 3), this regular account is the one you use most of
the time.
23. Enter your login name in the User Name text box.
Your login name might be something like bob.
Figure 4-12:
The
Xandros 2.5
Add/Edit
User
Account
dialog box.
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24. Enter your full name in the Full Name text box.
This name will, for example, as the full name field in your e-mail.
25. Enter your password in both password text boxes and click OK to
create the account.
26. Click Next to proceed.
The Installation Summary dialog box appears.
27. Inspect the summary. If everything is as it should be, click Finish.
Otherwise, click Back as much as you need to in order to fix things
and then work forward to this step once again.
Up until this point, nothing has been changed on your computer. When
you click Finish, your installation actually begins. After it’s done, the
Installation Complete dialog box appears.
28. If you want to create a boot floppy disk (recommended), then put a
floppy disk in your floppy drive and click Create. Otherwise, go to
Step 29.
29. Click Exit once you’re ready to reboot the computer into Xandros.
30. Eject the CD when prompted and press Enter to reboot.
When the Xandros boot screen appears, you can either select the
Xandros option and press Enter, or wait until it starts up on its own.
As with the other distributions covered in this book, Xandros has a number
of post-installation setup tasks for you to walk through. When you reach the
login prompt, use your regular user account, which should automatically be
selected. Type your password and click Login (or press Enter) to log into the
account and start the First Run Wizard. Some notes for walking through this
process:
Under Regional Settings, Locale is just for your language issues. It doesn’t
have anything to do with your time zone and whatnot. Also, unless you
know for a fact that you want a particular item in Character set, just stick
with what you’re assigned. It’s chosen based on your language, because a
character set is literally the characters you have available to type. It’s the
same with keyboard layout.
You don’t have to set up your printers right now, but if you want to, go
ahead in the Printers dialog box. I look closer at printers in Chapter 6.
Under System Behavior, you’re choosing a combination of look and feel
elements (will it look like Microsoft Windows, MacOS, Linux — referred
to as KDE here rather than Linux, you find out more about KDE in
Chapter 6 —, and so on?) along with how the system actually behaves.
My coverage of Xandros in this book sticks to the default Xandros
setting unless otherwise stated, but feel free to play with yours!
Chapter 4: Installing Other Linux Distributions
Under Registration, it’s up to you whether you want to register immediately. You can always register later. You need to register in order to get
technical support, so you’ll probably want to register before you run into
trouble. Registration also lets you download some of the programs available in Xandros Networks (see the section “Recognizing some Xandros
special features”) for free!
When you reach the Finish screen, if you’re on a network that’s already
connected to the Internet, click the Xandros Networks icon to update
your system. This action makes sure that you’ve got all the latest security and bug fixes. The updater is automatic.
When your update is complete, you’re left with the Xandros Networks screen
in the foreground and the First Run Wizard in the background. Click the First
Run Wizard icon on your lower panel to pull this dialog box to the front and
then click Finish to complete your first run process. You may get a message
that your desktop has to be restarted. Click Yes, which logs you out of your
account and restarts the GUI, bringing you back to a login prompt.
About the various Xandros versions
Xandros focuses on the desktop and has offerings for both home and business users. The free and commercial versions from Xandros include (at the
time of this writing):
Xandros 2.5 Open Circulation Edition: A free version, slightly different
from the main commercial version, available through bittorrent, a P2P
filesharing network popular with legitimate software distributors as a
way to get CD and DVD images quickly to their users. See www.xandros.
com/products/home/desktopoc/dsk_oc_download_windows.html
for instructions.
Xandros Desktop OS Version 2.5 Standard Edition: The primary home
use version of the Xandros desktop.
Xandros Desktop OS Version 2.5 Deluxe Edition: Includes additional
software for interoperating with Windows and Windows software, including the ability to resize NTFS partitions.
Xandros Desktop Version 2.5 Business Edition: Includes extra software
on top of what you would get with the Deluxe Edition, which allows
Xandros to better integrate as a desktop on a Windows network, along
with Sun’s StarOffice, the commercial product behind the OpenOffice.
.000.org suite covered in Chapter 17. However, Xandros 3 may well be
available by the time you purchase this book. If so, it’s well worth checking out.
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Using LiveCDs
As I mention throughout this chapter (and book), LiveCDs (or bootable distributions) are versions of Linux that you can launch directly by rebooting a computer using a Live CD-ROM (or DVD-ROM). The beauty of these versions, from a
Linux newbie’s point of view, is that you can try something out without having
to actually install anything on your system. Old-timers love LiveCDs, too. If a
system is broken into, rebooting it with a LiveCD is a way of giving yourself a
“known good” (undamaged) system to work from while repairing the damage
on the computer itself. Also, many bootable distributions offer highly specialized environments for particular tasks . . . but I’m getting ahead of myself.
You also need to keep in mind that LiveCDs tend to be slower than a traditionally installed system. Everything has to run directly from the CD or DVDROM, after all.
Make sure, too, that you’re able save things if you need to. Doing so can
require some planning, or at least a bit of thought — see Chapter 21 for how to
accomplish this. When all else fails, I quickly configure the mail client and just
e-mail attachments to myself. That’s how I got those NTFS resizing images (see
Chapter 2) from Knoppix over to my Fedora machine while writing this book!
You also can usually access your real hard drive space from a bootable distribution, though whether it supports NTFS or not depends on the version.
Knoppix does support NTFS, though it’s best to use it as read-only.
Another popular option with LiveCDs is to use portable storage like USB keychains. That way, you can carry around your keychain and your bootable distribution and have access to your preferred environment and your data at the
same time. The important thing to know about USB storage is that Linux sees
these items as SCSI drives, so if you have to access them manually (see
Chapter 11) you’ll access them as SCSI partitions. For example, if you’ve got
your USB keychain plugged into the first SCSI slot, it would probably be
/dev/sda1.
Finally, not all LiveCDs work with all PCs. The cool thing is that if one doesn’t
work with yours, you just shrug and download another!
Finding Even More Linux
More than 200 different Linux distributions are available today, with new
ones being created every year while others fade from existence as the initial
enthusiasm or funding behind them dwindles away. Many of these distributions are general purpose, or at least similar purpose (full desktop, full
server, and so on), and so provide similar base software and surrounding
Chapter 4: Installing Other Linux Distributions
tools to one another with different configurations, documentation, GUI trappings, installation procedures, and other bells and whistles. Even then, some
general-purpose distributions serve some markets better than others. For
example, TurboLinux is popular in Japan, Red Flag Linux is the official choice in
China, and Conectiva is popular in Spanish-speaking countries. More specialpurpose distributions exist as well. LiveCDs fall under this category, but even
they fall into subcategories, with some of them (like Knoppix) serving the
general-purpose segment, while others are fine-tuned as multimedia centers,
system-rescue environments, and other cool specialist toys. To dig through the
many distributions available, check out DistroWatch (www.distrowatch.org)
and let your mouse do the walking through over three-hundred distributions. If
you can’t find enough to choose from here, go to this site’s Related Links section, and you can find plenty more.
If you don’t want to download and burn all this stuff and don’t know any helpful Linux geeks, you may want to look up a local Linux Users Group (LUG).
You can find a list of LUGs worldwide, listed by geographic region, on the
GLUE (Groups of Linux Users Everywhere) Web site: www.ssc.com:8080/
glue/groups. These folks are always happy to help the technologically challenged. These user groups also regularly sponsor events, called demo days or
install-fests, where you can bring your computer and get all the help you need.
These events are usually lots of fun for computer enthusiasts — hot- and
cold-running caffeine and enough know-how to do just about anything with a
computer.
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Chapter 5
Booting and Stopping Linux
In This Chapter
Understanding what happens when you turn on your Linux machine
Identifying and isolating boot problems
Shutting down safely
I like work; it fascinates me. I can sit back and look at it for hours.
— Jerome K. Jerome
I
f you came here from Chapter 3 or 4, you likely just survived the first gauntlet of the Linux world: installing the operating system. I hope that booting
for the first time worked well. If it did and you decide that most of this chapter
isn’t for you, at least skip to the last section in this chapter, “Don’t Just Turn
Off the Machine!” Otherwise, if you’re interested in learning about what your
machine does as it boots (this chapter can get pretty geeky!), read on.
Your Linux installation failing to boot properly is not necessarily an emergency. Much of this chapter is designed to help you deal with any problems
you might run into. Before you curse Linux, remember that installing an operating system is no small task and that, because many technical variables are
associated with such an installation, many computer manufacturers insist on
performing the task at the factory. Companies such as Hewlett Packard and
Wal-mart (believe it or not) have been offering Linux pre-installed, so if you’re
too discouraged at this point or are reading ahead and are too nervous to
give it a shot, you can either use Knoppix (see Chapter 4 for how to use
Knoppix without having to install it) or purchase a pre-installed machine
from a vendor or a local computer builder.
To unravel the mystery of a Linux system that won’t boot requires a bit of
understanding of how your computer starts up.
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Giving Linux the Boot
Let’s face it: As enjoyable as the experience of staring at a dormant computer
is, the real fun starts when you turn on the computer. As with any electronic
device, opening the electron floodgate is the first step to fun. A computer,
however, has much more stuff to do than your toaster oven. Rather than act
as a simple heating element, your computer has to check all those gizmos
that you (or the manufacturer) plugged into your computer’s motherboard.
After the initial power-up, the computer performs some simple hardware
tests (called the POST, or Power-Up Self Test) to determine whether those
various components are working properly.
Checking all your hardware is just the beginning. Between the time you turn
the computer on and the moment the glowing phosphor on your monitor
prompts you for a login name, the computer is building itself an empire. If
you listen and watch carefully, your computer and monitor show signs of the
boot process through bleeps, buzzes, whirring motors, clicks, messages on
the monitor, and blinking lights.
Although you have heard the cliché “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” the boot
process goes fairly quickly. This is pretty amazing, considering that the architecture of an operating system makes Rome’s look like a stack of cardboard
boxes and that each time you power up your computer, it must build its
whole operating system in memory. (Remember that an operating system is
the core software that makes your computer work.) This process can be
broken into four main steps, which I discuss in the following sections.
Step 1: Power-On Self-Test
(POST) leads to BIOS
The POST process really has nothing to do with the operating system. Your
computer performs this step whether you’re running Linux or another operating system such as Windows XP.
Some symptoms of a failed POST include
An unusual series of long and short beeps.
Nothing displayed on the monitor.
No apparent activity other than the whirring fan on the power supply.
A puff of smoke or the pungent smell of burning electrical components
from your computer case.
An error message, displayed on the monitor, indicating a hardware failure.
If you encounter any of these problems, you have hardware troubles that
need to be resolved before you can proceed. Chances are, if your computer
Chapter 5: Booting and Stopping Linux
was running properly before you began your Linux installation, your computer should be getting through the POST just fine — POST problems don’t
tend to be caused by installing a new operating system; they’re far more fundamental to the computer itself.
For all but the last of these errors, it’s time to question your nephew Mortimer,
who was last seen lurking around your computer with a screwdriver. (Or take
your computer into a computer repair shop!) If you see an error message indicating a hardware failure, you might have a shot of fixing the problem in the
BIOS. As the POST does its thing and finishes up, it briefly displays (usually at
the bottom of the screen) instructions on how to enter “setup.” Typically, these
instructions mention pressing the DEL key or a function key such as F1. When
you press this key, if all goes well, you usually see a blue screen with black and
white text. From here, if you’re familiar with your hardware, you can try to
figure out and fix the problem. However, many people would rather have a root
canal with no anesthesia than mess with this stuff, so you may want to grab the
nearest teenager or computer repair shop to take a look.
The good news is that if you can get to the BIOS at all, the problem may be
easier to fix than one where the computer fails before you reach the BIOS.
Step 2: The BIOS passes the
baton to the boot loader
After the BIOS gives the okey-dokey with a successful POST, the BIOS locates
the first hard drive in your system and reads the first sector of that disk, which
is often referred to as the MBR (Master Boot Record). On that first chunk of
disk is a small program called a boot loader. The boot loader doesn’t know
much about anything, except how to start loading your operating system.
Two boot loader programs understand how to load a Linux operating system:
LILO (LInux LOader) and GRUB (GRand Unified Boot loader). LILO has been a
tried-and-true boot loader for as long as Linux has been a gleam in a geek’s
eyeball. GRUB is a newer and much more sophisticated boot loader program
than LILO. Many distributions allow you to choose your boot loader. Typically,
most people just stick with the defaults, which are as follows for the five distributions discussed in this book:
Distribution
Default Boot Loader
Fedora Core
GRUB
Linspire
LILO, with its own special routines on top of it.
Mandrake
LILO
SuSE
GRUB
Xandros
LILO, with its own special routines on top
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Custom boot disks
You can protect against boot loader failures after
you get your installation working by making a
custom boot floppy disk, which you can use to
boot the system if the boot loader on your hard
drive gets corrupted. Many distributions have
special programs or tools available to make
custom boot disks for you, and some will offer to
make the disks during installation. The programs
to make a disk manually are mkbootdisk for
Fedora Core and Mandrake, drakfloppy for
Mandrake as well, yast for SuSE, and build-bootfloppy for Xandros. However, a custom boot disk
won’t help you if something goes wrong with the
later boot steps. It’s only good for boot loader
problems. After you manage to boot with the
floppy, open a terminal window (see Chapter 14),
type su - to become the root (administrative)
user, and then double-check which boot loader
your distribution uses. For LILO, type lilo -v
to try to repair your boot loader on your hard
drive. For GRUB, look in the file /boot/grub/
menu.lst and look for a line in the beginning
with the text “boot=” — for example, it may say
boot=/dev/hde. Then, type grub-install
bootdrive, where bootdrive is the hard drive
listed in the boot line, such as grub-install
/dev/hde. Now you can try rebooting without
the floppy in the floppy drive.
Sometimes “bad things” can happen to your boot loader. One common symptom of boot loader problems is a message saying that the operating system
could not be found. Another hint that the problem is your boot loader is if you
never see your boot menu, which is a screen that comes up during the boot
process that lets you choose what operating system and version to boot.
The boot menu will look different from distribution to distribution.
If you suspect a boot loader problem, see the section “Entering Rescue
Mode,” later in this chapter. For another option, see the sidebar “Custom
Boot Disks.”
Step 3: The boot loader (GRUB or LILO)
loads the system kernel into memory
Every computer (and electronic device) requires an operating system to run.
The technical term for this operating system, or at least the core of it, is the
kernel. If the kernel is your maestro, orchestrating all the components of your
computer and delegating resources in a logical and cooperative manner, the
boot loader is the red carpet on which the maestro arrives.
Many Linux distributions today actually put up a GUI progress screen during
the kernel loading and system initialization phase (after the kernel finishes
loading, when it finishes up the boot process). If you want to see what happens, you can typically click an icon or press a key. Just look for instructions
on how to “see details.”
Chapter 5: Booting and Stopping Linux
This list shows some symptoms of a missing, incorrect, or corrupt system
kernel — all would occur after you either make your menu selection and
press Enter, or just let the boot loader do its thing automatically without
choosing anything:
The system freezes.
A few dots appear across the top of the monitor, and then the system
freezes.
A few messages appear on the screen, and the final message reads
kernel panic.
The system reboots automatically.
You know when the kernel is loading because you start to see crazy text like:
Uncompressing Linux... Ok, booting the kernel.
audit(1092566112,337:0): initialized
Recovering from a kernel loading failure (aside from “operating system not
found” — see previous section) is one of the more challenging issues in Linux.
This task is unfortunately not for the faint of heart. On the other hand, the
failed kernel may be an updated one. If you have more than one Linux option
in your boot menu, look at the version numbers for each of the options and
choose the second newest. Doing so lets you boot into the last working kernel
and have a working system. Then you can open up www.google.com and
search on the error messages or wait until the next kernel update comes out
and ignore the bad one for now.
In the case where it’s your original install that doesn’t properly start, you
unfortunately don’t have a fallback kernel option. If this is your problem, I
recommend either contacting your distribution’s support address (if you purchased a commercial product) or joining the installation or beginner’s help
discussion list if you downloaded a free product. See Chapter 2 to find out
where to locate help for each distribution discussed in this book.
Step 4: Control is handed over to init
Once the kernel’s finished loading, it passes off the system initialization
process to a program named init. The init program is responsible for starting all services and programs. You can see these processes starting as they
scroll up the screen with [OK] or [FAILED] on the right side of the monitor. If
you see these lines, you know that your kernel has finished loading.
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The main problems you may encounter with init are services (programs
that run in the background) that fail to start properly, as is indicated by the
[FAILED] status shown during the boot process. Many of these services don’t
keep you from logging in and using your system. Services usually fail because
of misconfigurations or unsupported hardware drivers. Sometimes a problem
service takes a long time to start up, so you may need some patience while you
wait it out. Once the machine boots up, you can use the techniques described
in Chapter 12 to shut off the problem service if it’s being a pain. If the machine
can’t boot because of this service, you’ll need to access your distribution’s
rescue mode to shut off the service. Rescue mode is covered in the next section. Entering Rescue ModeHeavy-duty system repair tends to happen in rescue
mode, which is a special boot selection that simulates your hard disk in what
is called a RAM disk, holding the files entirely in memory. The benefit of this
disk is that you can perform necessary system surgery without requiring utilities that are part of the installed system; everything you need is part of the
rescue disk. The drawback is that this is a purely command-line interface,
and you really have to know your stuff to find your way around.
Appendix A contains a list of Linux commands, roadmap to try to help you
out. Chapter 20 addresses, among other things, how to fix your boot loaders
from here if your problem is with the boot loader, and how to track down the
error messages your kernel might have left behind. You may also be able to
find helpful tips by reviewing your distribution’s documentation and help
forums.
Knoppix is quite popular to use for system rescues because it’s a whole distribution on a CD. (For more on Knoppix and live CDs, see Chapter 2.) See
Chapter 20 for more on using Knoppix for things like rescuing broken Linux
(and even Windows) systems.
Just about every Linux distribution includes a rescue mode. Due to space
restrictions, I have room to cover entering only Fedora’s rescue mode in stepby-step detail, but at the very least, here’s a quick reference to how to find
the rescue mode in the distributions covered in this book:
Linspire: The CD contains a rescue mode. When the installer starts, use
your arrow keys to select Diagnostics and then press Enter.
Fedora: The DVD, or the first installation CD, contains a rescue mode
that you can enter by typing linux rescue at the installer’s boot
prompt.
Mandrake: The first CD contains a rescue mode. When the installer
starts, press F1 to access the command prompt, type rescue, and press
Enter.
Chapter 5: Booting and Stopping Linux
SuSE: The DVD, or the first installation CD, contains a Rescue System
menu option. Use your arrow keys to highlight this option and press
Enter.
Xandros: The CD contains a rescue mode. When the installer starts,
press the Shift key. This action opens a list of menu options. Use the
arrow keys to select Rescue Console, and press Enter.
To enter rescue mode in Fedora Core, place the DVD or your first CD into
your DVD-ROM or CD-ROM drive and boot the machine. Then follow these
steps:
1. When the disk first loads, type linux rescue at the boot prompt.
This action begins booting the system into maintenance mode.
2. Select your language and press Enter.
3. Select your keyboard type and press Enter.
The rescue system does its thing for a while, perhaps a minute or two on
a slow system.
4. When asked whether you want to start the network interfaces, answer
No unless you know you need to download something.
5. At the Rescue screen, select one of the three options offered and then
press Enter.
Your three options are
• Continue: The rescue interface tracks down your installed Fedora
Core system for you.
If you select this option (or the next) and it fails, you may need to
reboot and restart the rescue system. After restarting, choose Skip.
• Read-Only: The same as Continue, but you aren’t able to make any
changes to your hard drive installation.
• Skip: Don’t bother trying to locate the filesystem, just give me a
prompt!
I assume that you chose Continue. If so, a shell prompt (the rescue
command-line interface) appears, and you now have access to the
rescue interface.
6. If the rescue process was able to load your Fedora installation, type
chroot/mnt/sysimage to be able to use your system without having
to type /mnt/sysimage in front of everything.
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Don’t Just Turn Off the Machine!
Even when you’re not tapping the keyboard or clicking buttons, Linux is still
running along in the background and doing lots of housekeeping chores.
Some of these chores may involve swapping cached data to and from the
fixed disk — a geeky way of saying that it’s actually jotting down things onto
your hard drive that before it had just been making sure to remember in
RAM. When you shut off the power out of the blue, anything the computer
was remembering but hadn’t written is lost, kind of like when you or I fall
asleep before making a to-do list for the next day.
If you’re used to Windows 98, you need to recondition yourself from just
shutting off the power when you’re finished. For one thing, many Linux users
leave their computers on when they’re not using them; they just log out of
their accounts so that no one can mess with their stuff and shut off the monitor because monitors draw a lot of power. When you do decide to turn off
your Linux machine, for whatever reason, you must shut down the computer
in an orderly manner.
You can use one of these methods to shut down Linux properly:
If you’re in the GUI, log out of your account using the main menu’s Log
Out option and then click the display manager option that says,
strangely enough, Shut Down.
If you have a command prompt open, enter the halt command at the
shell prompt (#) followed by the root password, and Linux shuts itself
down and tells you when it’s all right to turn off the machine.
If you have a command prompt open, enter the reboot command, and
Linux goes through the motions of shutting itself down and then immediately reboots the machine.
If you have a command prompt open, entering shutdown -f now is the
most traditionally accepted method. The shutdown command optionally
allows you to send messages to logged-in users and determine how long
until the shutdown takes place. Another method is the poweroff command, which is just an alias to the previously mentioned halt command.
If you do accidentally cut the power to your Linux box, take heart; all is not
lost. More often than not, you can reboot your computer and pick up where
you left off. However, you may have to pay for your error by waiting during a
quick file system check while the machine makes sure that nothing was damaged. This process is similar to the one in Windows, where, if you power off
incorrectly, the operating system may need to scan its hard drives to make
sure that everything is okay.
Chapter 5: Booting and Stopping Linux
If you’re plagued with brief power outages or spikes that cause your computer to reboot, look into getting a UPS (Uninterruptable Power Supply) for
your computer. These heavy recharging batteries can not only protect your
computer from damage — read the box to see what features a particular UPS
offers — but can also provide an extra five minutes or more of power to give
you a chance to properly close your files and shut down a machine when the
power goes out. Better yet, for those really brief spikes, the only inconvenience you’ll have to deal with if you have a UPS in place is listening to it complain with beeps. Your computer won’t be affected by the spike at all!
Removing Linux from Your System
Although I’d hate to see you go, I’d also hate to see you get trapped in Linux
if you don’t want to use it! How to most easily get rid of Linux depends on
what you want to do:
If you want to replace Linux with Windows, just install Windows on the
machine. It will overwrite all of Linux, including the boot menu.
If you want to remove Linux from a dual boot setup, then boot into your
Windows option, access a command prompt, and type fdisk /mbr. This
action removes the Linux boot loader. It doesn’t erase Linux, but you
can then format the Linux drive(s) or partition(s) for Windows.
Windows XP and Xandros users have a special command they can use to
remove this distribution. Boot your machine using your XP CD-ROM into the
Recovery Console. Change to the Windows directory and then type fixmbr.
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Chapter 6
Checking Out Those Desktops
In This Chapter
Finding your way around Fedora
Kicking around Knoppix
Looking around Linspire
Messing around with Mandrake
Seeing what’s what with SuSE
Xightseeing around Xandros
A bus station is where a bus stops.
A train station is where a train stops.
On my desk, I have a workstation. . . .
— Steven Wright
A
lot of people like to characterize Linux as a DOS-like environment,
where all you can do is operate in this antique-feeling world where you
have to type a lot of cryptic stuff and can’t see any pretty pictures. However,
the Linux desktop offers you quite a nice working environment, as you see
throughout this chapter. The cool thing is that most of it is configurable.
Those who like to customize their systems can have way too much fun
changing things around.
Introducing the Interfaces
Linux has two interface types: the command-line interface and the graphical
user interface (GUI). If you use other computer systems, such as Windows or
the Macintosh, you’re already familiar with a GUI. Most Linux distributions
include different versions of the GUI (which takes up the majority of this
chapter), which you can heavily customize.
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If you’ve been using computers for many years, you may also be familiar
with the command-line interface, which usually consists of a black screen
with white text. The initial release and early development of Linux was all
command-line-oriented; GUIs then grew as the icing on the Linux cake,
making it a lot more colorful to use and easier for people who would
rather point and click than type.
In choosing between the command-line and the GUI, you need to consider a
number of factors. For a lot of people, this decision is pretty much a no-brainer
issue. They have no intention of leaving GUIs behind. That’s fine, but at the
very least, you may want to become familiar with what’s under the hood. Some
day, your GUI might break and leave you at the ever-dreaded login prompt!
Deciding Which Interface to Use
One important factor when choosing between the command-line interface
and a GUI is speed. Keep in mind that if you’re a programmer who needs to
compile programs or a scientist who needs to run software that does heavy
number crunching, the GUI slows down your system. You also need to typically shut off the GUI when using Linux as a server, because it’s mostly a
waste of RAM and processing speed — more often than not, a server just
does its thing with no one sitting there watching over it.
Readability can also be a big issue when choosing between the GUI and
the command prompt. If you have a hard time reading text in those small
command-prompt windows from within the GUI (Chapters 14 and 20 cover
various ways to switch around), you can either make the windows and the
font bigger, or work directly with the command prompt outside of the GUI.
However, on a desktop that you want to use for word-processing or editing
images, you’ll want a point-and-click environment. This setup is the type I
focus on, but I don’t leave you without any clue about the command-line,
just in case!
You also can choose from two major GUI versions: GNOME and KDE. Some
people prefer one, and some the other, and I’m not here to tell you which to
use. If you stuck with the defaults for your distribution, then you’re using
Fedora: GNOME
Knoppix: KDE
Linspire: KDE
Mandrake: KDE
SuSE: KDE
Xandros: KDE
Chapter 6: Checking Out Those Desktops
Most distributions come with both KDE and GNOME, so most users simply
choose their preferred desktop. While it may look from here as though KDE is
particularly popular compared to GNOME, this isn’t necessarily the case.
Both are excellent desktops with strong fan bases. It’s a pretty personal preference, so I encourage you to install and experiment with both and to see
which you like better. The cool thing is that you can run most KDE programs
under GNOME and vice versa. This ability is vital when it comes to making it
easier on developers (and users) in the Linux community. When you ask
people why they chose one over another, often they really can’t give you
much of a good answer aside from “That’s what I’ve always used.” Keep this
in mind when people try to convince you that one or the other is the best
thing since sliced bread!
I cover how to switch between KDE and GNOME later in this chapter in the
section “Switching between GNOME and KDE.”
Making the Best of the Command Line
The Linux command-line interface provides a quick and easy way of entering
commands and executing actions. Even if you’re mostly a “GUI person,” after
you get the hang of using the command line, you discover that it’s faster to
perform some tasks at the command line than with a mouse in the GUI environment. However, if you prefer to use a GUI interface as your working
environment, you can easily open a terminal window, which is a commandprompt window, to perform your command-driven tasks without having to
completely leave the point-and-click environment (see Chapter 14).
There are some interesting things that you might find useful to know about
using the command-line interface. One difference between the Linux command line and other interface command lines, such as the Windows MS-DOS
prompt, is that Linux commands are case sensitive. Typing LS is completely
different from typing ls, and, in fact, gives you an error because there is an
ls command but there is no LS command. The Linux command line also has
an autocompletion feature. If you know the first few characters of a command
or filename, type part of it and press Tab to complete the rest automatically.
For example, if you’re trying to use the less command to view the contents
of the file /home/bob/grocery_list, you can type less /home/bob/gro
and press Tab to try and complete the filename. However, if you also have the
subdirectory (folder) /home/bob/group_projects, you hear a beep. You
can press the Tab key again, like double-clicking a mouse, to see the output:
grocery_list
group_projects
The cool thing here is that the command prompt beneath these items still
has the text less gro so that you don’t have to retype it! You can then see
that typing a c makes it clear that you’re referring to grocery and not group,
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so you just add a c to make less groc and press Tab again to finish the
autocompletion. This technique can save you a ton of typing, especially with
really long filenames!
Most Linux distributions also keep a running history of the most recently
used commands. To use this list, press the up-arrow key on your keyboard.
This action pulls up the last command you typed. As you continue to press
the up-arrow key, you step through the most recently entered commands
from the most to least recent. If you accidentally pass what you’re looking
for, use the down-arrow key to go back. When the command you want appears
at the command prompt, press Enter to execute the command, or edit it and
then press Enter.
In Chapter 14, I cover the command-line environment in more detail.
When you installed Linux, you added a graphical login by default. (This addition is true for all the versions discussed in this book.) Some versions of Linux
give you the option of choosing a graphical or command-line login, which can
cause a lot of confusion for folks who accidentally choose the command-line
option. If you did so (or think you did) and find yourself lost after the machine
boots up, see Chapter 19.
GNOME Basics
GNOME stands for the GNU Network Object Model Environment — not that
this expansion tells you much! Suffice it to say that GNOME is a full graphical
environment. I focus here on Fedora since it is the only distribution I’m covering that uses GNOME by default. Figure 6-1 shows you what you see once
you log into the system and the GUI finishes launching.
To find out more about GNOME, visit the main GNOME site, at www.gnome.org.
Keep in mind that the programs you have depend on the type of installation
you chose and what customizations you made; if what you have is different
from what you see in descriptions or the figures, don’t panic!
The GNOME desktop environment is essentially broken into four separate
parts:
The menus
The menu and icon panel at the top of the screen
The desktop panel on the bottom of the screen
The icons on your desktop
Chapter 6: Checking Out Those Desktops
Figure 6-1:
The default
GNOME
desktop
in Fedora
Core 3.
The menus
There are two primary menus in GNOME and Fedora Core 3. One of these is
accessible through the Applications button on the upper panel, and the other
is available by clicking Actions next to it. The Applications menu contains the
options shown in Table 6-1, and the Actions menu’s contents are shown in
Table 6-2.
Menu items that have an arrow on their right offer submenus, which you can
open by holding your mouse on that menu choice. Often, the submenus have
their own submenus within that offer even more programs.
Table 6-1
Fedora Applications Menu Contents,
Listed in the Order That They Appear
Menu Choice
What You Find
Accessories
Small, specific-function GNOME and X programs.
Contains a calculator, character map, dictionary, file
roller, Pilot/Handspring tool, and text editor.
Games
A collection of games.
(continued)
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Table 6-1 (continued)
Menu Choice
What You Find
Graphics
A variety of graphics programs, including The GIMP.
Internet
A few Internet tools, such as Evolution (e-mail and calendar program), Gaim (instant messenger), and Mozilla
(Web browser).
Office
The OpenOffice.org suite of applications (word-processing,
drawing, and more).
Preferences
Access to programs to control the look and feel of the
GNOME and Linux graphical interface.
Sound & Video
Programs, such as a CD player and sound recorder, for
working with your computer’s multimedia hardware.
System Settings
Many tools for working with your computer’s hardware,
such as display settings and packages to view and configure the software packages installed on your system.
System Tools
Many tools for managing, monitoring, and updating your
system, such as the Internet Configuration Wizard, Red
Hat Network, and a System Logs viewer.
File Browser
The Nautilus file manager, defaulting to your home
folder’s contents.
Help
The Help Browser, for exploring the electronic documentation included in the Linux distribution.
Network Servers
The Nautilus file manager, defaulting to your network for
file browsing — for example, your Windows network.
Table 6-2
Fedora Actions Menu Contents,
Listed in the Order That They Appear
Menu Choice
What You Find
Run Application
The dialog box you can use to run a specific
program without opening a virtual terminal.
Search for Files
The Search Tool window, for locating files in the
file system.
Recent Documents
A selection of the last files you opened from the
file manager.
Take Screenshot
Capture a PNG format image of your desktop.
Chapter 6: Checking Out Those Desktops
Menu Choice
What You Find
Lock Screen
The capability to set your machine so that no
one can use your GNOME login without entering your password. This feature is a good one if
you need to walk away from the computer for a
while (but don’t want to log out of your account)
and other people are around.
Log Out
The capability to exit the GNOME session, shut
down, or reboot the computer — if you know
the password of the root account.
The Run Application tool
After you choose the Run Application tool on the main menu, the Run Application dialog box appears, as shown in Figure 6-2. You can make this dialog
box friendlier by clicking the Show List Of Known Applications arrow at the
bottom of the dialog box, which gives you a point-and-click way to choose.
Figure 6-2:
The
GNOME Run
Application
dialog box
with Show
List Of
Known
Applications
selected.
To run a program using this dialog box:
1. Either select the application from the Known Applications list or type
its full path by hand.
For example, you might type /usr/bin/gimp.
2. If you want this program to operate on a particular file, click the Run
With File button. Otherwise, skip to Step 5.
The Choose A File To Append To This Command dialog box appears (see
Figure 6-3).
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Figure 6-3:
The GNOME
Choose A
File To
Append To
This
Command
dialog box.
3. If the file is in your user home directory, navigate down to it. If the
file is elsewhere on your system, double-click the Filesystem button
and navigate to it.
4. After you have the file selected, click OK.
This action returns you to the main dialog box.
5. Click the Run button to run the program.
The Lock Screen tool
If you have your screensaver turned on (from the main menu, choose
Preferences➪Screensaver to change this setting) and choose the Lock Screen
option from the main menu, your screen fades to black, or your screen saver
appears. Then, if anyone moves the mouse or uses your keyboard, a dialog
box appears with your login name in it and a password field. You can get back
to work by entering your password. Until then, you’re safe in knowing that no
one else can mosey up to your computer and send off a joke e-mail to your
boss while pretending to be you. Note that if you’re logged in as the root
user, the Lock Screen option doesn’t work.
I’m referring to just the GUI here, not the whole machine. Folks who know
how to sidestep out of GNOME (something I discuss in Chapters 14 and 20)
can start a virtual terminal session and do whatever they want. If you left
yourself logged into one of the virtual terminals, they can then do something
Chapter 6: Checking Out Those Desktops
there without trouble. Don’t think of this feature as something that completely
secures your computer! Your best bet if you’re walking away is to check all
the virtual terminals and make sure that you’re not logged into any of them.
Then you can either log out of your GUI or just use the Lock Screen option.
The Log Out tool
After you choose the Log Out option on the main menu, the screen darkens
and the Are You Sure You Want To Log Out? dialog box opens. To use this
dialog box, follow these steps:
1. If you want GNOME to remember which items you have open and
return you to its current state after you log back in, make sure that
you select the Save Current Setup check box.
This feature doesn’t work with all programs, just some (mostly the ones
that are actually part of GNOME).
2. Click Log Out, Shut Down, or Restart The Computer to set the appropriate action into motion or click Cancel if you don’t want to do any
of them.
These options do the following:
• Log Out: Closes GNOME and returns to a login prompt.
• Shut Down: Shuts the machine down and then off.
• Restart The Computer: Shuts down the machine and then brings it
back up.
3. Click OK to go through with your choice or Cancel if you change your
mind.
The Panels
Along the top and bottom of your GNOME desktop lives a pair of panels.
Since these bars are neatly divided into sections, take a look at what’s in each
section from left to right, starting with the top panel. On the far left side of
the top panel is the Applications button discussed earlier in the section “The
menus.” To its right is the Actions button, also discussed in the same section.
As you continue your journey to the right, you run into the standard set of
Fedora tools (refer to Figure 6-1). You can reach all these items through the
main menu, but they’re placed on the Panel so that you can find them quickly
and easily:
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Firefox: The Worldplanet-with-a-mouse pointer icon opens the Firefox
Web browser. See Chapter 9 for more.
Evolution: Just to the right of the Web browser button; launches an
e-mail and calendar program. See Chapter 9 for more.
OpenOffice.org Writer: Resembles two pieces of paper (and a pen) and
opens the OpenOffice.org Writer word-processing program. See Chapter
17 for more.
OpenOffice.org Impress: Opens the OpenOffice.org Impress presentation creation program. See Chapter 17 for more.
OpenOffice.org Calc: Opens the OpenOffice.org spreadsheet program.
See Chapter 17 for more.
Then you see a large blank space where you can add new icons. After the
blank space, you find, from left to right:
Updater applet: This icon alerts you to available updates for your
system. (See Chapter 12 for more information.)
Date and Time applet: Here you can see the day and time.
Master Volume Control applet: Click this to open the master volume
control.
Now for the bottom panel. From left to right, you find on this panel:
Hide/Restore Desktop Applications: This button lets you minimize all of
your running programs immediately and then re-open them again with
just one click.
Taskbar: In this large space, you find entries for each program running
on your desktop. You can change a program’s status by using the boxes
as indicated:
• If a program is minimized, you can open its window by clicking its
panel task box.
• If a program is maximized but buried under another program, click
its task box on the panel to bring this program to the front.
• If a program is maximized and on top, you can minimize it by clicking its panel task box.
Workspace Switcher: Allows you to work in four different desktop environments during a single login session. Each desktop environment has
the same menus, panels, and background, but you can run different programs in each of the environments. It’s an easy way to remain organized
while you’re working in multiple programs. Try it out. It’s like having four
monitors in one!
Chapter 6: Checking Out Those Desktops
Want to move a program from one workplace window to another? Click the
little arrow in the program’s upper right corner and select one of the following options:
Put On All Workspaces: Makes the window show up on all four.
Move To Workspace Right: Slides the window horizontally to the right,
into the “next door” workspace.
Move To Another Workspace: Gives you the option of specifying
Workspace 1 (far left), 2 (second in from the left), 3 (third in from
the left), or 4 (far right).
You can see which workspace an open window is in at a glance by looking at
the Workspace Switcher and spotting the little windows that match how your
desktop is laid out.
The Panel menu
It’s time to take a look at how to change the look and feel of your panels. You
can customize your upper and lower panels individually through the Panel
menu, which you open by finding free space on the panel you want to work
with and then right-clicking to pull up the Panel’s context menu. For a list of
what this menu’s items offer, see Table 6-3.
If you have so many programs open that you’re using the whole width of the
task box section, you may not have any free space to right-click in. You may
need to close an application or two to open up space.
Table 6-3
GNOME Panel Menu Contents
Menu Choice
What You Find
Add To Panel
The applets, menus, and other objects you can add
to your main panel
Delete This Panel
The capability to delete a secondary panel but not
the main icon panel
Properties
The options for setting this panel’s behavior
New Panel
The options for creating new panels that sit on
different parts of the screen
Help
The Help browser for GNOME
(continued)
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Table 6-3 (continued)
Menu Choice
What You Find
About Panels
A dialog box with some basic Panel information
About GNOME
A dialog box with some basic GNOME information
The Add To Panel menu option
The Add To Panel dialog box (see Figure 6-4) is accessible from the Panel menu
(see the previous section). This dialog box contains a list of applets — small,
specialized programs you can use to add particular functionality to a panel.
To add one of these applets to your panel, open the dialog box, select the
applet you want to use, and then click Add. The applet now appears on your
panel. If you right-click the applet and choose Move, you can then slide the
applet along your panel until you have it where you want it and then click to
release it.
Figure 6-4:
The
GNOME
Add To
Bottom
Panel
dialog box.
Playing with desktop icons
Your initial desktop icons form a vertical line along the top left of your screen
(refer to Figure 6-1). In order from top to bottom:
Chapter 6: Checking Out Those Desktops
Computer: Opens the Nautilus file manager (see Chapter 10) with a list
of your CD-ROM drive(s), hard drive(s), and more.
Home: Opens the Nautilus browser (Chapter 10) with your home
directory’s contents displayed.
Trash: A GNOME shortcut that opens the Nautilus file manager to the
Trash folder, which contains files that you dragged into it because you
weren’t sure if you wanted to delete them or not.
To use the trashcan, drag into it any files you want to delete. Later, if you’re
sure that you want to be rid of them, you can empty the trash in one of three
ways:
Empty the entire contents by right-clicking the trashcan icon and choosing Empty Trash from the context menu. When asked for confirmation,
click Empty.
Open the trashcan by double-clicking the icon. Then delete the entire
contents of the trashcan by choosing File➪Empty Trash.
Open the trashcan by double-clicking the icon. To delete an individual
item from the Trash, right-click it to pull up the Trash context menu, and
choose Delete From Trash from the pop-up menu. When asked whether
you’re sure, click the Delete button to finish the job.
You can select more than one item by holding the Ctrl key to individually
select them even if they’re not next to each other; holding the Shift key
to select a range of items; or left-clicking and then dragging to collect all
the items that are in a box together.
Another way to remove items from the trashcan is to delete them manually from ~/.Trash.
KDE Basics
KDE, the Y, is the default in most of the distributions covered here. Therefore,
I break out sections for each of the distributions so that you can see the differences and find your way around. I skip Fedora here because I’m only covering default desktops (Fedora, Mandrake, and SuSE all give you the option of
choosing between GNOME and KDE if you installed both), and instead focus
on Knoppix, Linspire, Mandrake, SuSE, and Xandros.
All the distributions share similarities, yet each one is organized in a unique
way that its particular vendor or project group feels makes the most sense
for their user base.
To find out more about KDE, visit the main KDE Web site, at www.kde.org.
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Knoppix KDE
The default Knoppix desktop is shown in Figure 6-5. From the top to bottom,
the desktop icons you see (with some variations depending on what drives
you have on your machine) include
Trash: Where you put those files that you aren’t quite sure yet that you
want to delete.
CD-ROM: If you have a CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive, it likely appears
next. You can click this icon to open the Konqueror file manager (see
Chapter 10) to the contents of your CD-ROM.
Floppy Disk: Even if you don’t have a floppy drive, this icon appears. You
can click this icon to open the Konqueror file manager (see Chapter 10)
to the contents of your floppy disk.
Hard Disk Partition [hda1]: You have one of these icons for each hard
drive partition on your system. Chapter 11 makes it more clear how to
tell them apart.
KNOPPIX: Click to open Konqueror to information about Knoppix.
At the bottom of your screen is your panel — if you came here from the
“GNOME Basics,” earlier in this chapter, note that KDE has only one panel
compared to GNOME’s two. Table 6-4 details the Knoppix panel’s contents.
Figure 6-5:
The default
Knoppix
3.6 KDE
desktop.
Chapter 6: Checking Out Those Desktops
Table 6-4
The Knoppix 3.6 Panel Icons
Icon
What It Opens
Main Menu
The Knoppix main menu.
Knoppix Menu
A special menu with just the Knoppix-specific items,
which contains the same entries as the main menu➪
KNOPPIX menu.
Window List
Pops up a menu helping you to organize your desktop
windows.
Show Desktop
Minimizes or maximizes all open programs.
Personal Files
Opens the Konqueror file browser to your home
directory’s contents.
Terminal Program
Opens a command-line window.
Web Browser
Opens the Konqueror program, which also serves as a
Web browser.
Mozilla Browser
Opens the Mozilla Web browser.
Open Office
Opens the OpenOffice.org Writer word processor
(see Chapter 17).
Workspace Switcher
Lets you pretend to have four different monitors, by
running different programs in different workspaces. You
can move programs from one workspace to another by
clicking the down arrow in their upper left corner and
selecting To Desktop.
Taskbar
Contains an entry for each program you currently
have open.
KLaptop applet
If you’re using a laptop, the KLaptop applet shows if your
laptop is plugged in or not and what its battery level is.
Language applet
Shows you what language you are set to and lets you
change languages. See Chapter 15 for more on applets.
Monitor Settings applet Lets you change your screen resolution and other display
information.
KMix applet
Launches the KDE mixer (see Chapter 18).
Time and Date applet
Shows you the time and day.
The right-facing arrows to the left and right of the Panel allow you to contract
it to the left or right, so you can use the extra screen real-estate.
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When you open the Knoppix main menu, you’re faced with an impressive
amount of software when you consider that it’s all got to run off of a single
CD-ROM. This main menu includes
Recently Used Applications: The recent programs you opened using
the menu so that you don’t have to go digging for them again.
Development: Software development tools.
Editors: Various text editors.
Edutainment: Educational games.
Emulators: Software used to emulate other platforms.
Games: Lots of games.
Graphics: Image editors.
Help: The help menu.
Internet: Internet-related software.
KNOPPIX: Knoppix-specific menus.
Multimedia: Sound, video, and other multimedia software.
Office: Various office productivity programs.
OpenOffice.org 1.1.2: The OpenOffice.org office suite (see Chapter 17).
Settings: Various system settings.
System: System and administration tools.
Toys: Silly but fun stuff.
Utilities: More interesting tools.
Find Files: The search program.
Help: The help interface.
Home: The Konqueror file manager open to your home directory.
WINE: The Windows software handler (see Chapter 19).
Bookmarks: Bookmarks you’ve set in your Web browser(s).
Quick Browser: Quick way to open various points in your filesystem in
Konqueror (see Chapter 11).
Run Command: An interface for starting programs by hand.
Lock Screen: The same as the lock screen application in Table 6-2.
Logout: Log out of your account, reboot the machine, or shut it down.
Chapter 6: Checking Out Those Desktops
Linspire KDE
The default Linspire desktop is shown in Figure 6-6. From top to bottom, the
desktop icons you see on your default installation are shown in Table 6-5.
Some of these icons are similar or identical to what you find in Knoppix KDE,
and others depend on what hardware you have on your system (such as the
CD-RW/DVD-ROM item in the table).
Table 6-5
The Linspire 4.5 Desktop Icons
Icon Name
What It Launches
My Computer
The Konqueror file manager with a list of places in
your computer including your desktop, documents,
programs, network shares, and your system (the base
directory of your computer’s filesystem).
My Documents
The Konqueror file manager with your My Documents
directory.
Network Browser
The Konqueror file manager with your network
shares, if you have any available.
CD-RW/DVD-ROM
The Konqueror file manager with the contents of your
CD-ROM, DVD-ROM, or whatever you have if you have
one inserted; otherwise, the session this icon opens is
empty. This icon is named according to what kind of
drive you have.
Floppy
The Konqueror file manager with the contents of the
floppy disk inserted if you have one inserted. Otherwise, the session this icon opens is empty. Even if you
don’t have a floppy drive, this icon appears.
Printers
The KDE Printer Control Module. (See the Printing
section for more information.)
Trash
The KDE trash can. Its works similarly to the GNOME
trash can, which I cover in the earlier section “Playing
with desktop icons.”
Internet Connection Tools
Opens the Konqueror file manager to a collection
of various connection tools. (For more detail, see
Chapter 8.)
Mail
Opens the Linspire Internet suite to its e-mail
program (see Chapter 9).
(continued)
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Table 6-5 (continued)
Icon Name
What It Launches
Web Browser
Opens the Linspire Internet suite to its Web browser
(see Chapter 8).
CNR
Opens the browser to the Click N Run Warehouse
(see Chapter 12).
Looking at the Linspire Panel, you see, from left to right:
The Linspire main menu.
The Linspire help menu, which has a number of help options available.
The Konqueror file manager (see Chapter 10).
The Click N Run Warehouse, Web browser, and e-mail client (see Table 6-5).
The GAIM instant messenger (see Chapter 9).
The Desktop icon, which instantly minimizes everything.
The task box section (see the earlier section, “The Panel”).
The CNR icon again.
Figure 6-6:
The default
Linspire
4.5 KDE
desktop.
Chapter 6: Checking Out Those Desktops
The VirusSafe icon (see Chapter 13).
The SurfSafe icon (see Chapter 13).
The volume controller.
The battery level indicator if you’re using a laptop.
A top/bottom pair of icons. The top is the Lock Screen tool (refer to
Table 6-1). The bottom is the End Linspire Session tool where you can
select whether you want to Logout, Shutdown, or Restart. The Quick
Restart option is an automated logout that logs you right back in.
The clock and calendar applet.
A right-facing arrow that lets you contract your Panel so that you can
use the rest of your screen’s real-estate.
When you click the main menu icon (the fancy L on the left of your Panel),
you see the menu items shown in Table 6-6.
Table 6-6
The Linspire 4.5 Main Menu
Menu Entry
What You Find
Programs
All the applications on your system.
My Documents
Your default document saving directory.
Settings
Your system settings.
Search
A tool to search your filesystems.
LindowsHelpAndSupport
All the Linspire help options, the same as you
find if you click the Help icon on the Panel.
Recent Documents
The documents you opened most recently
through your file manager.
Run Command
The Run Command dialog box, which is similar to
that covered in the section “The Run Application
tool.”
Configure Panel
Panel configuration options (see Chapter 15).
Terminate Application
A cool program that finds and stops a program
that has hung and is just sitting there, frozen.
Lock Screen
The same as the Lock Screen menu item discussed in Table 6-1.
Logout/QuickRestart
The same logout utility used in the Linspire
Panel.
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Mandrake KDE
The default Mandrake desktop is shown in Figure 6-7. From top to bottom,
the desktop icons you might see on your default installation are
Home: The Konqueror file browser with the contents of your account’s
home directory.
Welcome: The Welcome To Mandrake Linux utility.
Floppy: The Konqueror file browser with the contents of your floppy
disk, if you have one in your floppy drive.
Trash: The KDE trash can. It works similarly to the GNOME trash can.
(see the earlier section, “Playing with desktop icons.”)
Figure 6-7:
The default
Mandrake
10.1 KDE
desktop.
The contents of the Panel are, from left to right:
The main menu star icon.
Instantly minimize or maximize every window on your desktop.
The Emacs text editor.
The command-line terminal.
The system configuration program.
The tiny little up arrow to the right of the system configuration program
opens the task bar menu, which lets you slide the section of your Panel that
shows the icons for open programs in order to make room for more Panel
shortcuts. Next is the task bar itself, where you see a box for each program
you have open. After the task bar appears, again from left to right, you see
Chapter 6: Checking Out Those Desktops
The Workspace Switcher. (See the earlier section “The Panel.”) The tiny
arrows to the left and right of the Pager bring up the Pager context menu,
which you can use to move and configure this tool.
The network connection status tool.
The MandrakeOnline launcher, for keeping your system current
(see Chapter 12).
The master volume control, which launches the KDE audio mixer
(see Chapter 18).
The KDE Organizer calendar tool.
The screen adjustment tool.
The KDE CD player (see Chapter 18).
The amaroK audio player (see Chapter 18).
The Kaffine media player (see Chapter 18).
The clock applet, which also has tiny arrows next to it to allow you to
pull up its configuration menu.
Mandrake’s main menu is detailed in Table 6-7. Many of these contents may
be familiar if you have read the GNOME and other KDE sections in this chapter. As usual, exactly what you find here depends on the software you selected
when you installed Mandrake.
Table 6-7
The Mandrake 10.1 Main Menu’s Contents
Menu Entry
What You Find
Office
Work-related utilities such as word-processors.
Internet
Internet-related tools, like IRC and FTP clients.
Multimedia
Graphical, sound, and video tools.
System
Configuration-related tools and utilities.
More Applications
Less popular but just as important programs, including
software development tools, games, text editors, and
financial tools.
Home
The Konqueror file manager open to your home directory’s
contents.
Find
The search interface.
Recent Documents
A menu of the documents you opened most recently
through your file manager.
(continued)
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Table 6-7 (continued)
Menu Entry
What You Find
Run Command
The Run Command dialog box, which is similar to the one
covered in the earlier section “The Run Application tool.”
Start New Session
A secondary GUI login, which is great if you need to let
someone log in for a moment to do something without
having to shut off all your programs.
Lock Screen
The same as the Lock Screen menu item discussed in
Table 6-1.
Logout
The chance to End Session Only (log out), Turn Off
Computer (shut down), or Restart Computer (restart).
SuSE KDE
Figure 6-8 shows you the default SuSE KDE desktop. If you put many of these
the KDE desktops side by side, you would notice a lot of similarities. As with
Knoppix, SuSE is set up for you to open desktop items with a single-click rather
than a double-click in many cases, which is default KDE behavior but not used
by Mandrake, Linspire, or Xandros.
Figure 6-8:
The SuSE
9.2 default
KDE
desktop.
Chapter 6: Checking Out Those Desktops
The desktop icons are, starting with the horizontal row on the left:
Trash: The KDE trash can, which works similarly to the GNOME trash.
(See the section “Playing with desktop icons,” earlier in this chapter.)
SuSE: The Welcome to SuSE Linux 9.2 tool.
Office: The OpenOffice.org launcher (see Chapter 17).
Beneath the horizontal row is another row of desktop icons, which are (from
left to right):
Netword Browsing: Opens the Konqueror file manager to a list of all
your network file shares, including Windows Network shares.
My Computer: Opens the Konqueror file manager to a list of removable
media, such as your CD-ROM drive.
Beneath these icons, you see the Printer icon, which opens the KDE print
manager.
Moving down to your panel, you find, from left to right, many familiar items if
you look up at the Mandrake section:
The SuSE main menu.
The Konqueror file manager opening your home directory.
The KDE command-line terminal.
The SuSE Help Center.
The Konqueror Web Browser.
The Kontact e-mail program (see Chapter 9).
The Workspace Switcher (described many times throughout this chapter).
The taskbar, where each program has an entry.
A sextet of tiny icons. The top left is the battery monitor if you’re using
a laptop. The bottom left is the Klipper clipboard tool. The top middle
is the PCMCIA profile manager. The bottom middle is the SuSEWatcher
updater tool. The top right is the volume control, and the bottom right
is the SuSE hardware management tool.
The KDE clock.
The SuSE main menu is detailed in Table 6-8. As always, what you find in this
menu depends on which software you have installed.
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Table 6-8
The SuSE 9.2 Main Menu Contents
Menu Entry
What You Find
Games
Games!
Graphics
Drawing tools, image editors, and more.
Internet
Internet-related tools.
Multimedia
CD, DVD, jukebox, TV and other multimedia tools.
Office
Work-related office tools.
System
Tools for managing your system.
Utilities
Handy utilities.
Control Center
The KDE Control Center, which is a great central place to
customize your system.
Find Files
The filesystem searching utility.
Home
The Konqueror file browser open to your home directory.
SuSE help-center
SuSE help information.
Bookmarks
Your Web browsing bookmarks.
Run Command
The Run Command dialog box, which is similar to the one
covered in the GNOME section “The Run Application tool.”
Switch User
The same as Mandrake’s “Start New Session” option.
Lock Session
The same as everyone’s Lock Screen option.
Logout
The same as Mandrake’s Logout option.
Xandros KDE
Figure 6-9 displays the default Xandros desktop. As you can see, Xandros
offers another customized version of KDE.
A vertical row of icons sits to the left of your desktop. These icons are, from
top to bottom:
Trash: The KDE trash can, which works similarly to the GNOME trash
can. (See the earlier section “Playing with desktop icons.”)
Home: The Xandros File Manager (see Chapter 10) opening to your
home directory’s contents.
Chapter 6: Checking Out Those Desktops
Figure 6-9:
The default
Xandros
2.5 desktop.
Quick Start Guide: Launches the Xandros Quick Start Help guide.
Web Browser: Launches the Mozilla Web browser (see Chapter 9).
Xandros Networks: Launches the software update and adding tool
(see Chapter 12).
Your Xandros Panel, from left to right, launches
The main menu.
Mozilla Web browser.
The Mozilla e-mail client.
The Xandros file manager to your home directory.
Xandros Desktop Help.
The desktop clearing tool, letting you minimize everything on your
desktop all at once.
The task bar, where the programs you’re running appear.
The Workplace Switcher, as discussed earlier in this chapter in the
section “The Panel.”
The desktop locking tool.
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The logout, restart, or shut down tool.
The Switch User tool, as discussed in the “Mandrake KDE” section.
The clock and calendar.
The Panel compression arrow.
Table 6-9 breaks down the Xandros main menu.
Table 6-9
The Xandros 2.5 Main Menu
Menu Entry
What You Find
Applications
All your programs.
Find
Two search utilities, one to search your filesystem and
the other to search for particular computers if you’re on a
large network.
Control Center
The Xandros/KDE Control Center, which is great for
customizing your system.
Xandros File Manager
The file manager, open to your home directory.
Xandros Networks
The system updater and software installation interface.
Help
The Xandros Desktop Help Center.
Recent Documents
Menu to open documents you recently opened using the
file manager.
Run Command
The Run Command dialog box, which is similar to the one
covered in earlier section “The Run Application tool.”
Switch User
The same as Switch User in the previous sections.
Log Out
The same as Log Out in the previous sections.
Switching between GNOME and KDE
When a distribution offers you a choice between desktops, and you installed
both desktops, you can typically select which one to use when you log in.
Here’s how you do so from the login window in the distributions that support
this feature:
Chapter 6: Checking Out Those Desktops
Fedora Core: Click the Session icon on the lower part of your login
screen to bring up a dialog box where you can choose which GUI you
want to use.
Mandrake: After you select your username, you’re given more login
options. Choose the GUI you want to use from the Session Type dropdown list box.
SuSE: After you enter or select your username, click the Menu button to
open its context menu. Choose Session Type and then, from that submenu, choose GNOME, KDE, or one of the others if you want to play
around with your options.
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Chapter 7
Configuring Linux
In This Chapter
Creating user accounts
Setting up your printing
Finding cool configuration tools
The doctor can bury his mistakes but an architect can only advise his client
to plant vines.
— Frank Lloyd Wright (1869–1959)
U
nlike both the architect and the doctor, the computer user isn’t stuck
with configuration mistakes. You can tweak and change things until
you’re happy with them! Because the first thing a lot of people like to do with
a new system is get it set up just right, I thought I’d spend this chapter sharing some of the core bits of knowledge that can help you do just this. You
start by finding out more about user accounts and why I am so insistent that
you create a special one for your own personal use in Chapter 3. Then, you
find out how to set up your machine to talk to your printer. I also show you
where the cool configuration tools are for your distribution so that you can
get down to some serious customization.
Accounts Great and Small
Linux is a multiuser operating system. It allows everyone to have a unique
account and allows more than one user to log on at the same time. Typically,
even if you’re the only user on a system, you need an account of your own
that isn’t the root user’s. (I explain why in the next section). In addition,
having multiple accounts is especially fun for experimenting with different
user setups. That way, you can create a main account to be more careful with
and a goofing around account to completely mess around with.
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Avoiding root
The root user, also known as the superuser or just root, has access to anything
and everything on your machine. There is no blocking root from a directory,
file, command, or device. Because of this factor, many Linux beginners figure
that they may as well use the root account all the time because it’s so
convenient.
However, for lots of good reasons, you shouldn’t use the root account for
everyday use:
You don’t always need root-level access.
Root-level access is as much a curse as it is a blessing. If you mess up as
a regular user, you mess up only the stuff in your account. If you mess up
as the root user, you can wipe out everything — all the files on your entire
Linux system! That’s why some Linux distributions like SuSE give you a
nasty red background when you’re in the root account (in the GUI) — as
a dire warning. In fact, Mandrake doesn’t even give you root as one of
the options to select in the GUI login. SuSE doesn’t give you a graphical
option for root, but you can type it into the Username text box.
Don’t think that you can wipe out everything? Many experienced Linux
administrators tell horror stories about the day they made a fatal typo
or weren’t paying attention to what they were doing and completely
destroyed an installation.
If you send e-mail or news posts as root for anything other than serious
administrative business, people think that you don’t know what you’re
doing or are showing off.
Root comes with too much temptation. The superuser can read other
people’s e-mail messages and files, which introduces a few “tiny” ethical
issues.
Linspire has a slightly different philosophy. You have only one account when
you’re using Linspire, by default. However, in the next section, I show you
how to create new accounts so that you don’t have to use root — or let
someone who’s borrowing your computer for a moment to browse the
Web do it under root!
Creating user accounts
Most Linux distributions include a graphical interface application for creating
and managing user accounts. Here’s how you can find this application for
your distribution:
Fedora Core: Choose Applications➪System Settings➪Users And Groups
opens the User Manager.
Chapter 7: Configuring Linux
Knoppix: From the main menu, choose ➪System➪KUser to open the KDE
User Manager.
Linspire: From the main menu, choose Settings➪User Manager opens
the KDE User Manager.
Mandrake: From the main menu, choose System➪Configuration➪
Other➪ User Administration opens the Userdrake tool.
SuSE: From the main menu, choose System➪YaST opens up YaST. (See the
upcoming section “SuSE tools” for more on YaST.) On the left, choose
Security and Users. Then, on the right, choose Edit And Create Users to
open the User And Group Administration dialog.
Xandros: Choose Launch➪Control Center opens up the Xandros Contol
Center. From here, click the plus next to System Administration to expand
this menu and then click User Manager to open the KDE User Manager.
While these tools aren’t identical from distribution to distribution, they’re all
quite similar and work in essentially the same way. After all, each application
has pretty standard steps to creating user accounts. I walk you through how
to create user accounts in Fedora Core, and most of the same steps apply
elsewhere.
To create a new user account in Fedora:
1. Choose Applications➪System Settings➪Users And Groups.
Because you’re (hopefully) using a regular user account, the Password
for root dialog appears.
2. Enter the root password and click OK.
The User Manager window opens, as shown in Figure 7-1. When the
application opens, the user account you created during installation
already appears.
Figure 7-1:
The User
Manager
application,
in Fedora
Core 3.
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3. Click the Add User button.
The Create New User dialog box opens, as shown in Figure 7-2.
Figure 7-2:
The Create
New User
dialog box in
the User
Manager
application,
in Fedora
Core 3.
4. Enter a name for your new user in the User Name field.
In Linux, the case of the user account is important, so note the case as
you type the information. Typically, people use all lowercase so that
they don’t have to keep track.
5. Fill in the user’s full name (as you want it to in an e-mail From header,
for example) or nickname in the Full Name field.
6. Enter the password in both Password fields.
Creating good passwords
Good passwords consist of the following:
Six or more characters
A combination of numbers, letters, and even
punctuation marks
No family or pet names, friends’ names,
birthdays, anniversaries, or other items that
someone can easily guess about you
Uppercase and lowercase characters
No dictionary words
Chapter 7: Configuring Linux
The remaining items are more advanced, so you can ignore them
for now.
7. Click OK to save the new account.
8. If you want to create another account, repeat Steps 3 through 7; if
you’re finished, choose File➪Quit to close the user creation program.
Printing
Unless you live in a paperless environment, you most likely need to print
something (such as a letter, a picture from your digital camera, or an invoice)
from time to time. Therefore, you need to set up your Linux system to print. It
can be helpful to know, before you continue, the make and model of your
printer and how it’s connected to your computer:
Is it a local printer, meaning that it’s connected directly to your computer
through a parallel, serial, or USB port?
Is it a network printer, meaning that it doesn’t have to be connected to a
computer and sits on the network as its own machine?
Is it a remote printer but not a network printer, meaning that it’s connected
to another computer on your network? If so, is this a Windows, Linux, or
OS X computer?
You can find your printer configuration tool by:
Fedora: Choose Applications➪System Settings➪Printing to open the
Printer Configuration tool.
Knoppix: From the main menu, choose KNOPPIX➪Configure➪Configure
Printer(s) to open the Configure - Printers tool.
Linspire: Double-click the Printers desktop icon to open the Printers KDE
Control Module and then click the Add Printer/Class button (the icon on
the left in the top row) to open the Add Printer Wizard.
Mandrake: From the main menu, choose System➪ Configuration➪
Configure Your Computer items to open the Mandrake Control Center.
Within this dialog box, click Hardware and then Printers to start
Printerdrake.
SuSE: From the main menu, choose System➪YaST to open the YaST tool
discussed later in this chapter, in the section “SuSE tools.” From here,
select Hardware on the left, and then Printer on the right, to open the
Printer Configuration tool.
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Xandros: You had the option to add a printer with the First Run Wizard
the first time your system booted, though, of course, you can skip this
with no problem. If you skipped printer setup, go to the main menu and
choose Control Center to open the Xandros/KDE Control Center. Click
the plus sign next to Peripherals to expand this menu and then choose
Printers. Choose Add to open the Add Printer Wizard dialog box.
In this section, I describe how to set up a printer only in Fedora due to space
restrictions. Although each application is different, they all involve the same
basic steps for configuration, even though these steps may be in different
orders or worded a little bit differently. Follow these steps for Fedora (or if
you’re using another distribution, read through here and use what you learn
to set up your printing through the appropriate tool):
1. To access the printing setup tool, from the main menu, choose
Applications➪System Settings➪Printing.
The Printer Configuration window appears, as shown in Figure 7-3.
If you’re not logged in as root, you’re prompted to enter the root
password.
Figure 7-3:
The opening
window of
the Printer
Configuration tool.
2. To begin setting up your printer, click the New button.
The Add A New Print Queue window appears. Click the Forward button
to advance to the next step.
3. In the Queue Name window, type the name you want to assign to this
particular printer.
If you have multiple printers, add something in the Short description
text box to help you tell them apart later.
4. When finished, click the Forward button to advance to the next step.
The Queue Type dialog box appears, as shown in Figure 7-4.
Chapter 7: Configuring Linux
Figure 7-4:
The Queue
Type dialog
box in the
Printer
Configuration tool.
5. Using the drop-down list, select the type of queue you need.
The queue type corresponds to how the printer is connected:
• If the printer is directly attached to your Linux system, choose the
Local Printer option (Locally-Connected)
• If yours is a networked printer that understands the Internet
Printing Protocol (IPP), or is attached across your network to
another Unix (including Linux and OS X) machine, select
Networked CUPS (IPP)
• If yours is a printer connected to another UNIX machine that’s
using LPD, choose Networked UNIX (LPD)
• If the printer is attached to a Windows machine on your network,
select Networked Windows (SMB)
• If the printer is attached to a Novell Netware machine on your network, select Networked Novell (NCP)
• If the printer has HP JetDirect networking technology, then choose
Networked JetDirect
The dialog box changes format depending on which of these items you
selected.
6. Enter the additional information required for your particular choice.
For example, if you chose Networked CUPS (IPP), you need to fill in the
print server’s name (or IP address). You can ignore the Path text box
and keep the defaults. Each of these options explains what information
it needs from you. Click the Help button, if necessary.
7. After you’ve entered the information, click Forward.
The Printer Model dialog box appears.
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8. Click the Generic bar to open the list box that allows you to select
your printer’s manufacturer and then scroll to the appropriate option.
The selection of models changes, according to your manufacturer’s list.
Choosing the correct make and model of your printer is important
because Linux loads and associates a specific print driver that corresponds to the information you supplied. If the wrong printer make and
model are specified, the wrong print driver (the software the operating
system uses to talk to the printer) is used. The result of this mismatch
is usually garbled characters and symbols when you attempt to print
to your printer.
9. Select your printer model and then click Forward.
The Finish And Create New Print Queue dialog box appears.
10. In the Finish And Create The New Print Queue dialog box, click Finish
to enable your new printer.
You’re offered the opportunity to print a test page.
11. Click Yes to print a test page.
If this page doesn’t print properly, make sure that you set the proper make
and model for your printer. Some manufacturers assign similar model
numbers to very different printers, and it’s easy to get them confused.
12. If the test page comes out great, click Yes when you’re asked whether
it looks okay; if it doesn’t come out at all or it looks garbled, click No.
If your answer was No, you’re shown a copy of all the data that went to
the log file when you tried to print. Scroll down to the last few lines to
find hints to what your problem is. This situation happened to me once,
and it turned out to be a problem with my networking, not a problem
with my printer! If you’re having problems, return to the beginning of
this process and make sure that all your selections are correct.
If your test page is okay and you clicked Yes, the main Printer Configuration window appears, and your new printer is listed in the tool.
13. Choose Action➪Quit➪Save to close the printer configuration tool.
Zen and the Art of Linux Configuration
One of the items that makes each distribution stand apart from the others is
its collection of configuration tools. The friendlier the tools, the more likely
that folks new to Linux will flock to that distribution. Mind you, old timers
don’t mind having easy tools around either when they’re moving from one
distribution to another. It saves them from having to re-learn where each distribution keeps their configuration files.
Chapter 7: Configuring Linux
In this section, I look at the configuration tools available in each version of
Linux covered in this book. An important thing to note is that the Control
Panels in each of the KDE-default distributions (all but Fedora) all look (and
work) in very similar manners because they’re all based on the main KDE
Control Panel.
Knoppix tools
Knoppix comes with so many tools that it’s easy to get lost as you stagger
around the menus, overwhelmed. The main place to find configuration tools
in this distribution is by choosing KNOPPIX from the main menu (the K in the
bottom left corner). Inside this menu is a set of submenus, some of which offer
configuration options:
Configure: Options for setting up your computer’s TV card, printers, a
real home directory that sticks around between the times you boot with
this distribution (see Chapter 21), and more.
Network/Internet: Internet connection (see Chapter 8) programs for
everything from modems to ISDN.
Services: Options for starting various servers useful on the desktop,
such as SSH (see Chapter 13) and Samba for offering Linux files to your
Windows machines over your network.
In addition to this location, you also find configuration programs by choosing
Settings from the main menu:
Change Password: This program lets you set a password for the account
you’re logged in under. However, it doesn’t accept a blank password, and
the defaults for Knoppix logins (the regular knoppix account and the
root account) are both empty passwords. You’ll want to open a virtual
terminal (see Chapter 14) and type passwd in order to set an initial password for your account before you can use the GUI tool.
Configure The Panel: This program lets you customize your panel —
moving it elsewhere, hiding it, changing its appearance, and so on.
Control Center: This option opens the KDE Control Center.
Desktop Settings Wizard: This option opens the KDE setup wizard.
Menu Editor: This option opens the KDE Menu Editor, where you can
customize your main menu’s contents.
Menu Updating Tool: This option searches your system for particular
programs and adds them to your menus if they’re not there.
Printing Manager: This program (see Figure 7-5) opens a handy print
manager that can help you do things like printing to PDFs, sending to fax
machines, and so on.
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Figure 7-5:
The
Konqueror
3.6 Printing
Manager.
Linspire tools
The first time you run Linspire, the First Time Setup dialog box appears, and
it will keep appearing until you check the I Agree To License checkbox. In this
tool, you have the option of walking through a system configuration process,
setting values like your time zone, date, time, resetting your main password,
changing your screen’s resolution, creating new user accounts, and renaming
the machine. Clicking Finish closes the tool and launches the Linspire Audio
Assist Tutorials. Feel free to listen to (and watch) these as long as you like
before moving on!
If you want to bail out immediately from the Audio Assist Tutorials, click the
X in the upper-right corner to close the tutorials.
To find the remaining configuration tools, choose settings from the main
menu (the L in the bottom left corner) and then choose one of the following
commands:
Chapter 7: Configuring Linux
Change Password: Change the password for the account you’re
currently using.
Programs To Autostart: Contains shortcuts for the programs you
want to start automatically when you log in. Add items to this folder
(once it’s open):
1. Open the main menu.
2. Browse to the program you want to launch when Linspire starts.
3. Drag the program into the Autostart window.
4. When the context menu pops up, select Copy Here, and your
new Autostart shortcut appears.
Rename Computer: Change the name you assigned to this computer.
User Manager: Create and remove user accounts.
Control Panel: The Linspire Control Panel (see Figure 7-6) is the central
point for configuring this distribution for everything except adding and
updating your software. You find out how to do work with this panel in
Chapter 12.
Figure 7-6:
The Linspire
4.5 Control
Panel.
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Mandrake tools
Mandrake includes many configuration tools, though actually some of
them are duplicates — you often have the option of running a large tool,
or just the small component of that tool that you want to deal with. You can
find most of the Mandrake tools by going to the main menu and choosing
System➪Configuration. This submenu contains the following options:
Configure Your Desktop: The KDE Control Center contains many, many
options for tweaking your desktop settings. Each user on your system
can change things according to their own preferences.
KDE: Each individual option here maps to one of the choices in the KDE
Control Center. It’s a handy way to avoid having to open up the whole
tool just to make one change.
Hardware: A number of the hardware-related settings from the
Mandrake Control Center are available here, eliminating the need to
always open that tool.
Packaging: This may be one of your more popular options as you use
Mandrake over time. Here’s where you find many of the Mandrake
Control Center options for managing your software. (See Chapter 12 to
find out more about these options.)
Printing: This option leads you to printer-related programs and utilities.
Other: A smattering of tools— some available in the Mandrake Control
Center and some just plain handy by themselves.
Configure Your Computer: The Mandrake Control Center (see Figure
7-7) is usable only by the system administrator (root), who can alter
system-wide settings here.
Figure 7-7:
The
Mandrake
Control
Center in
Mandrake
10.1.
Chapter 7: Configuring Linux
Red Hat and Fedora Core tools
Red Hat’s Fedora Core community project comes with a number of tools
developed by Red Hat for its commercial products, as well as a variety of
tools built by the community, such as the GNOME Project’s tools. When it
comes to customizing your desktop, you can find most of what you’re looking
by choosing Applications➪Preferences. Rather than having a large control
center, GNOME has opted to keep the configuration tools broken into smaller,
individual programs. You find this layout in other GNOME installations as well.
Keeping with the theme of smaller, more specialized tools, your various
system-wide configuration options are available by choosing Applications➪
System Settings.
SuSE tools
Like Mandrake, SuSE offers two primary places to configure your system. One
of them is (again) the KDE Control Center, which is available by going to the
lizard (geek-o) head in the lower left corner (the main menu) and choosing
Control Center. This version of the KDE Control Center is slightly different
than the standard one as it’s got support for YaST’s (Yet Another Setup Tool’s)
modules — each of the individual configuration routines within YaST — built
in. However, to use YaST directly, you can go to the main menu and choose
System➪YaST (see Figure 7-8).
Figure 7-8:
The YaST
interface in
SuSE 9.2.
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You can use many of the tools discussed in this chapter at the command
prompt, though not all of them. YaST actually has a full command-line version
in case you’re not using a GUI!
Finally, you can look in one more place. From the main menu, choose System➪
Configuration:
OpenOffice.org Printer Administration: See Chapter 17 for more about
this tool.
SaX2: The base GUI configuration tool.
YaST: The system configuration tool.
Xandros tools
Xandros offers a customized version of the KDE Control Center called the
Xandros Control Center, available by choosing Launch ➪ Control Center (see
Figure 7-9). Both your system-wide and your individual look and feel settings
are available in this tool.
Figure 7-9:
The
Xandros
Control
Center in
Xandros 2.5.
As you can see, the cool thing about learning one Linux distribution is that
you’re learning useful things to help you survive another version of Linux.
Remember that all of these distributions are relatives, like cousins. Now get
out there and have some fun tweaking your system!
Part II
Internet Now!
I
In this part . . .
n this part, you make the necessary mental and physical connections to hook up your Linux machine to the
Internet, including configuring telephone dial-up to an
Internet Service Provider (ISP). You also discover how to
do some basic network troubleshooting, just in case
things don’t go perfectly. Next, you set up your Web
browser, e-mail client, and newsreader software so that
you can surf the Web, send and receive e-mail, and access
newsgroups. Armed with the facilities you install in this
part, you enable yourself to extend and customize your
Linux system to your heart’s content. You also find out
how to travel on the electronic highways and byways of
the Internet to get things done!
Chapter 8
Connecting to the Internet
In This Chapter
Understanding common Internet connection methods
Setting up your Internet connection
Connecting to your Internet Service Provider (ISP)
Understanding enough TCP/IP to be dangerous
Every improvement in communication makes the bore more terrible.
— Frank Moore Colby
Y
ou may already be connected to the Internet if you’re on a machine that’s
connected to a LAN and configured the networking during installation.
To test whether you have a connection, open up a Web browser and try to go
to an outside Web site (like www.linuxworld.com). If it works, you’re up! No
need for this chapter. Otherwise, read on.
Internet Connectivity 101
A few words regarding the broadband options (DSL and cable) are in order
before I begin. The word broadband has a technical definition, but I just use it
to mean high-speed Internet access. Although a dial-up modem can typically
transmit information at speeds up to 56 kilobits (thousand bits) per second,
broadband connections can reach 50 times that speed. Nowadays, the Web
contains lots of images and multimedia elements, and enjoying these features
through a 56 kbps dial-up modem is similar to drinking a cold glass of water
with an eyedropper when you’re dying of thirst.
Don’t let high-speed providers discourage you from using Linux with their
services. Just because they don’t support Linux directly doesn’t mean that the
technology doesn’t work with Linux. TCP/IP (the set of traffic rules for the Internet) was developed for the Unix operating system, from which Linux descends.
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If you have the luxury of dual-booting to Windows, your ISP can help you
install your broadband connection, and then you can tinker with getting
Linux connected as you have the time and inclination. I point you to some
sites that can help you configure your broadband connection as you look at
the types available:
Cable modems: Many cable television companies have expanded their
product lines to include Internet access over their cable infrastructure.
When you subscribe to a cable Internet service, the installation technician often can provide you with a special device, called a cable modem,
along with a standard network adapter (like an Ethernet card). The technician then installs the network adapter into your computer and connects
the cable modem to it. As far as speed goes, to get the exact speeds
available, you need to talk to your cable provider. The following Web
page provides a document that contains helpful information about
various cable providers and Linux:
www.tldp.org/HOWTO/Cable-Modem
Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN): Not too long ago, ISDN was
one of the only residential high-speed options. It appeared when 28 Kbps
(half the speed of today’s regular dial-up modems) was about all that
you could milk from the copper strands that connected your telephone
to the telephone company. ISDN is still available in some areas and
promises a steady 128 Kbps — as long as you’re within 3.4 miles of the
telephone company’s central office. You need two special devices to use
ISDN: an ISDN modem (typically provided by the ISDN ISP) and a network adapter (sometimes an Ethernet card). Because ISDN is used so
little these days, not many specific sites are devoted to it. The overall
modem HOWTO (http://tldp.org/HOWTO/Modem-HOWTO.html) does
contain pointers to the latest ISDN information, as well as just being
plain interesting to read.
Digital Subscriber Line (DSL): DSL works much like ISDN in that it carries
data to your telephone jack in a digital format. DSL is popular because it
provides a faster connection with lower installation and service costs
than ISDN, and it utilizes the existing copper telephone wiring provided
by your telephone company. You can even use the same phone line as a
regular phone line! A DSL connection requires additional communication
hardware, which your Internet Service Provider (ISP) should provide.
Note that several variants of DSL exist:
• IDSL (over an IDSN line) ISDN line
• Symmetric Digital Subscriber Line (SDSL)
• Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL)
• Generic DSL (XDSL)
Chapter 8: Connecting to the Internet
You can find out from your ISP how fast your DSL connection would be,
because it varies. For an overview of DSL and Linux, visit the following
Web page:
www.tldp.org/HOWTO/DSL-HOWTO/
Satellite modems: Those who live in particularly remote or lowinfrastructure areas might go the route of satellite modems (http://
tldp.org/HOWTO/Sat-HOWTO.html). You can consider this service
equivalent in many ways to cable, in that you get it typically through
the same providers that you get your satellite television signals from.
Satellite has some drawbacks in that if your satellite television service
is unreliable, your Internet service suffers the same fate. The upload
and download speeds can also vary dramatically.
Dial-up modems: The dial-up modem is still widely used in areas where
broadband is either not available or not affordable. It translates the digital signal from the computer into an analog signal required for transmission from the wall jack to the telephone company. Because the modem
utilizes existing voice telephone service, you don’t need any special setup
beyond subscribing to an ISP. However, you can’t use the same phone
line for both dial-up and a conversation at the same time. See the sidebar
“Beware of devices posing as modems” for additional concerns if you’re
going the dial-up route.
Wireless: The realm of wireless networking is where Linux today may give
you the most trouble, depending on what kind of wireless you’re using.
Four major types of wireless exist, and they’re often referred to as a group
as WiFi: 802.11a, 802.11b, and 802.11g, and Bluetooth, which are also
referred to as just A, B, and G. A and B are the best supported, both being
older than G, but G is the one most people should aim for because it has
the best security. A and B are also the best supported in Linux so far,
because again, they’ve been around the longest. G’s security also adds
levels of complexity that require more cooperation from the manufacturers of the cards. Many wireless cards today are, in fact, capable of doing
more than one of these types.
The best advice I can give here is to do a Web search on the make and
model of your wireless card (or the one you’re thinking of buying), plus
the word Linux, and see what you find — and, of course, you can check
the hardware compatibility pages for the distributions as well. Because
this area is one where technology is quickly advancing, always check the
dates on the resources you find and make sure that they’re recent. Even
being six months old can mean you’re getting out-of-date information.
Some useful links (some are more advanced than others) for this topic
include the following:
• Wireless LAN resources for Linux: www.hpl.hp.com/personal/
Jean_Tourrilhes/Linux/
• A method for using Windows wireless drivers in Linux: www.
linuxant.com/driverloader
• Network Topology Guide: www.homenethelp.com/network
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Beware of devices posing as modems
I try to save you from some frustration — and
your computer from your ball-peen hammer.
Many Linux newbies have become irritated by
not being able to communicate with their internal modems. “After all,” the newbie reasons,
“the same hardware works when I was running
Microsoft Windows.”
Well, here’s the story: Years ago, hardware
manufacturers developed a device, called a
software modem, in an effort to reduce hardware costs. The idea was to trim some responsibility from the modem and relegate these
tasks to the operating system. The result was an
inexpensive modem that routed signals to proprietary software that operated only under
Microsoft Windows. In short, these so-called
modems, also known as WinModems, aren’t
really modems at all, but, rather, are telephone
cable interfaces to Windows.
The following list shows methods you can use
to determine whether you have a software
modem:
The model number has a HCF-, HSP-, or
HSF- in front of it.
The packaging refers to the device as a
WinModem or designates that it works
with only Windows (though sometimes
these labels can be misleading because
some manufacturers just don’t bother to list
other operating systems even though their
hardware will work with those operating
systems).
Windows recognizes your modem, but
Linux doesn’t.
In short, if you determine that you have a software modem, Linux simply doesn’t work with it.
For the adventurous out there, the LinModem
project (linmodems.org) has successfully
written Linux drivers to work with a few of these
software modems. I encourage you to become
involved in this type of project, if you’re so
moved. These explorers drive the wonderful
world of freedom software, which Linux is a
prominent part of.
The bummer in all this is that, although you
probably saved a few bucks by buying a
machine with a software modem, you most
likely need a real modem to use with Linux
(unless you are lucky enough to have a
LinModem). Your best bet is to purchase an
external modem so that you can leave the software modem in place and have the external one
just for Linux (or any other computer you may
want to move it to later).
Setting Up the Hardware
Before you get too comfortable in your chair, you must physically check
some items that may require you to do some low-level maneuvers (such as
crawling under your desk):
Cable modem, DSL modem, or any other fancy contraption: If you have
one of these babies, you need to make sure that:
• An Ethernet cable (like a phone cable but the connector is wider)
is plugged into your computer’s Ethernet card and into the special
cable, DSL, satellite, or ISDN modem your ISP installed.
Chapter 8: Connecting to the Internet
• The fancy modem thing is powered on. (These contraptions often
have their own power supplies.)
External modem: If you have an external modem (one that’s independent of your computer case), you need to verify that:
• A cable is securely connected from the modem to the proper port
on the computer.
• The modem is powered on. (External modems have their own
power supply.)
• One end of a telephone cable is plugged into the wall jack, and the
opposite end is plugged into the modem.
Internal modem: If you have an internal modem, you need to verify that:
• The modem is not a software modem. See the sidebar “Beware of
devices posing as modems” if you’re not sure what a software
modem is or whether you have one.
• One end of a telephone cable is plugged into the wall jack, and the
opposite end is plugged into the phone plug on the back of your
computer.
Wireless cards: If you have a wireless card, you also have to have a
wireless router to collect and direct your wireless traffic between computers and/or bridge to let your wireless card talk to your Ethernet network. How far and through what (walls, floors, and so on) a wireless
router or bridge can be from the card depends on the technology you’re
using. Some handy primers on wireless hardware and setup include
• How WiFi Works: http://computer.howstuffworks.com/
wireless-network.htm
• Creating a Wireless Network: www.wi-fi.org/OpenSection/
design.asp?TID=2
Okay, now you can climb back into your chair.
Selecting an Internet Service
Provider (ISP)
Because of the meteoric rise in the popularity of Linux, many ISPs are training
their support staff in the ways of Linux. If you already have a dial-up service,
give one of them a call to let them know of your Linux pursuits. Chances are,
that person already has information pertinent to Linux subscribers and can
provide you with that information. If you’re shopping for a new ISP, this section offers some practical selection advice.
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Some ISPs provide their own proprietary software that you must install on
your PC to connect to the Internet. The software they provide is likely to run
only on Windows. Several free dial-up services don’t work with Linux because
of this fact. The proprietary software meddles with the operating system to
ensure that banner advertising isn’t hidden or that you stay dialed in for only
a specified duration.
If you’re shopping around for an ISP, consider these questions:
Can you get local dial-up numbers across the country and around the
world? If you travel often and need Internet access from different cities,
this service is a handy money (and headache) saver.
Does it provide technical support for Linux? If you’re planning on running Linux, this consideration is an important one. However, it doesn’t
have to be a deal breaker.
Can you get a recommendation? Ask a friend. An ISP’s best friend is an
endorsement from a satisfied customer.
Will you have trouble dialing in? Although a subscriber-to-line ratio of
7-to-1 (an average of seven or fewer subscribers per line) or better isn’t
an entirely accurate measure of how often you’ll get busy signals, it’s
probably the easiest measure for consumers.
Getting Information You Need
from Your ISP
Most reputable ISPs provide you with a customer information sheet after you
sign up for its services. This sheet should include the following information at
the minimum:
Local telephone dial-in numbers
User login name
User login password
E-mail address
E-mail outbound host or Simple Mail Transport Protocol (SMTP) server
E-mail inbound host or Post Office Protocol (POP) server
News host
Whether your computer address will be
• Static: You always have the same IP address. Static addresses are
more common for servers than for desktops. If you’re using static,
Chapter 8: Connecting to the Internet
your ISP needs to give you your nameserver IP addresses, your
gateway address, the network address, and the netmask. This
information should all be on the customer information sheet.
• Dynamic: Your IP address changes each time you connect, or at
regular intervals. On most desktops, you just don’t always need to
have the same address, and it makes life easier on ISPs. It also
makes life easier for computer like laptops, which get moved
around often from network to network. If you’re using dynamic
addressing, you’re told that you need to connect using DHCP.
With this information, you can establish an Internet connection by using your
Linux system.
Hooking Up
Fortunately, the Linux vendors provide tools that reduce the complexity of
hooking up with Linux. It’s not that networking has changed, but rather that
many of its details have been hidden so that you just have to click here and
press a key there. Not long ago, configuring dial-up networking (in particular)
on a Linux machine was nothing short of debugging a defective Rube Goldberg
contraption.
The Internet connection configuration tools available in the distributions
covered within this book are:
Linspire: Double-click the Internet Connection Tools icon on your desktop to open the Connection Tools folder. Then double-click the appropriate icon from there.
Fedora: Choose Applications➪System Settings➪Network to open the
Network Configuration dialog box. Click New to start the Configuration
wizard.
Mandrake: From the main menu, choose System➪Configuration➪
Configure Your Computer to open the Mandrake Control Center. Choose
Network & Internet➪New Connection to access the Connection Creation
wizard.
SuSE: From the main menu, choose System➪YaST to open the YaST configuration tool. On the left, select Network Devices. On the right, choose
the type of hardware you have in order to start configuring your setup.
Xandros: From the main menu, choose Control Center to open the
Xandros Control Center. Click the plus next to Network to expand that
menu and then choose Internet Connection to open your connection
listing — you might need to click the Administrator button to enter
your root password. Click New to launch the Connection Wizard.
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Sometimes the choice isn’t as obvious as you think. For example, maybe you
have DSL, but because the DSL connection is going through your Ethernet
card, your system sees it as a LAN/Ethernet connection. So if you can’t get
your connection to work, play with these factors.
Again, because I have only so much space, I walk you through setup using
Fedora. Many of the decisions and required pieces of information are the
same from distribution to distribution, so again, if you’re not using Fedora,
read through this section and use what you find out here to work on your
own computer.
Configuring Your Connection
With your ISP’s information in hand and a glowing monitor in front of you,
follow these steps to configure your dial-up connection to the Internet in
Fedora:
1. From the GUI desktop, choose Applications➪System Settings➪Network.
2. Enter your root password in the dialog box, if necessary.
If you’re logged in as a regular user (not root), you’re prompted to enter
the root password.
The Network Configuration dialog box opens (see Figure 8-1).
Figure 8-1:
The
Network
Configuration
dialog box
in Fedora
Core 3.
3. In the Network Configuration dialog box, click the New button.
Chapter 8: Connecting to the Internet
The Select Device Type dialog box appears, as shown in Figure 8-2.
Because I can’t cover all network connection types at once, and the
dial-up modem is the most complicated, I follow the dial-up option
from here. Choose the right hardware type for yourself and proceed.
Figure 8-2:
The Select
Device Type
dialog box in
Fedora Core
3’s Network
Configuration tool.
4. To set up a dial-up modem, select Modem Connection from the Device
Type list box and then click the Forward button.
After you click Forward, the tool probes for your modem. If your modem
can’t be found (again, I follow through the most difficult option), the
Select Modem dialog box appears, as shown in Figure 8-3. I assume that
you’re staring this dialog box in the face. If it doesn’t appear, proceed
through your configuration until it matches these steps again.
Figure 8-3:
The Select
Modem
dialog box in
the Network
Configuration tool.
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5. Select the proper device from the Modem Device drop-down list.
If you know your modem is on COM1 or COM2 in Windows, translating
this techno-talk to Linux isn’t hard: You just need to subtract 1. So, it’s
ttyS0 for COM1 and ttyS1 for COM2. If you’re not using a USB mouse
(it has a flat, rectangular connector), then your modem is probably on
COM2. If you’re using a USB mouse, your modem is probably on COM1.
6. Select your modem’s speed from the Baud Rate drop-down list.
If you were told to use a specific speed, choose that speed here.
Otherwise, choose the highest number available. The key is to try the
highest setting and, if that doesn’t work, start choosing slower and
slower ones until you’re able to properly make the connection.
Leave the Flow Control setting alone. Only change this setting if you’re
having a hard time getting your modem connection to work, or you’re
told by your ISP that you specifically need to select either Software Flow
Control or No (None) Flow Control.
7. Turn on your modem volume so that you can hear what it’s doing
while testing it.
You’ll want to come back later and shut off the volume. (Well, most
people do; some like to leave it on. I think the 56.6kbps modems sound
like an alien game of Pong, personally, while they’re connecting). It’s up
to you how loud you want to set the sound, as long as you can hear it.
Leave Touch Tone Dialing activated unless you live in an area that only
supports rotary phones.
8. Click Forward to proceed.
The Select Provider dialog box appears, as shown in Figure 8-4.
Figure 8-4:
The Select
Provider
dialog box in
Fedora Core
3’s Network
Configuration tool.
Chapter 8: Connecting to the Internet
9. Enter your ISP information and then click Forward.
The default list of countries that your ISP may be from is pretty limited.
If you live in one of these regions, select your country, then the ISP — at
which point the dialing entries are completed for you — and then skip to
Step 16. Otherwise, proceed to the next step.
10. In the Prefix text box, enter any dialing prefix you have to dial before
the actual phone number.
This prefix may be a long distance item, such as 1 for North American
long distance calls, or a 9 to dial out of your building — or even 91 if you
need to dial 9 to get out and you’re dialing long distance. If you don’t
need a prefix, leave this box blank.
11. In the Area Code text box, enter the area code your modem needs to
dial if it needs to dial one.
In some places, you have to dial the area code even if you’re dialing a
local number. If you don’t have to use an area code, leave this box blank.
12. In the Phone Number text box, enter the phone number (minus prefix
and area code) your modem needs to dial.
Dashes aren’t necessary.
13. In the Provider Name text box, type the name of your ISP.
You just use this name as a description for this dial-up entry.
14. In the Login Name text box, enter your dial-in account login name.
15. In the Password text box, enter your dial-in account login password.
16. Click Forward.
The IP Settings dialog box appears, as shown in Figure 8-5.
17. In the IP Settings dialog box, select the appropriate radio button for
whether your modem needs to obtain its IP addressing information
from the ISP (DHCP, as discussed in the section “Getting Information
You Need from Your ISP,” earlier in this chapter) or whether you need
to tell it what its IP data is (static).
Your ISP should have given you which of these you require. DHCP is the
default. If you choose Static, the lower portion of the dialog box
becomes available.
18. If you selected DHCP, and your ISP told you to automatically get your
nameserver settings from its equipment, leave the Automatically
Obtain DNS Information From Provider box checked. Otherwise,
uncheck it.
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Figure 8-5:
The IP
Settings
dialog box
in Fedora
Core 3’s
Network
configuration tool.
19. If you selected static, fill in the Address, Subnet Mask, and Default
Gateway Address as given to you by your ISP.
20. Click Forward to proceed to the summary dialog box and then click
Apply to add the modem you have just set up to your main Network
Configuration dialog box.
You now have a modem entry (look in the Type column) in your
Network Configuration tool.
Connecting to (and Disconnecting
from) the Internet
To connect to the Internet, highlight the modem entry you just created
(see preceding section) and click the Activate button. With any luck, your
modem springs to life with some beeps and then buzzes along with a dialog
box indicating that a connection is being made. After a successful connection, the Network Configuration dialog box appears again; this time, the
Status column of the modem device reads Active. Congratulations; you’re
now connected to the Internet!
To disconnect, click the Deactivate button in the Network Configuration
dialog box. Your settings remain; the next time you want to connect, just
open this dialog box and click Activate. If all is not well, skip to the section
“It’s All Fun and Games until Something Doesn’t Work” to find out how to
get help.
Chapter 8: Connecting to the Internet
It’s All Fun and Games until
Something Doesn’t Work
In a perfect world, the dial-up configuration steps in the preceding section
would work 100 percent of the time. The Linux vendors have truly hidden all
the mystery that has traditionally surrounded networking. Unfortunately, in
many situations (mostly related to modems and hardware), a simplified configuration doesn’t work. If you can’t connect to the Internet after following
these steps, an excellent site to find help is LinuxQuestions.org (www.linux
questions.org). It’s simply impossible for me to anticipate the wide range
of problems people can run into, and this site is well known for its helpful
community members.
Also, go to your favorite Web search site and search on the error message
you’re getting from the system, or some keywords involved with the error,
such as the network hardware’s make and model, and the name of your
distribution. You can use two cool tools when you’re trying to figure out
what’s wrong with your network connection or trying to gather information
that can help someone else figure out what’s wrong: the handy command line
programs ping and traceroute. Together, you can use these commands to
figure out where the problem might be when you can’t reach something over
a network. These commands are discussed in the next two sections.
Some firewalls block the kind of traffic sent with pings and traceroutes, so
these commands don’t always work as expected, even with a good connection.
Checking whether you can talk
to a specific address with ping
The ping command is akin to a submarine using sonar to detect other
objects in the ocean. Sonar sends out a ping signal, which reflects off a hard
surface. By measuring the amount of time between sending the ping and the
ping’s return, the submarine’s engineer can determine whether an object is
out there and how far from the submarine the object is.
The ping command in Linux provides information similar to what sonar provides. If you consider the Internet to be your ocean, you can determine, by
pinging, what other network computers exist and also how long it takes for
your ping to return. You use this command in the format ping hostname or
ping ipaddress, such as ping bob.example.com or ping 192.168.1.5. If
you can’t ping another computer in your house or office (assuming that you
have them all connected with Ethernet and not on separate dial-up connections), then something is wrong with the machine you’re pinging from. On the
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other hand, if you can ping another machine in your house or office but you
can’t ping a machine elsewhere on the Internet, then something may be
wrong with your connection to your ISP.
Latency, or the amount of time it takes for a signal to travel on the Internet,
has little to do with physical distance. Rather, factors such as network traffic,
bandwidth, and network hardware all contribute to a slow latency. These factors determine whether a ping to your neighbor’s computer takes longer
than pinging a host at the South Pole.
For example, try pinging Yahoo! by opening a command prompt (see
Chapter 14) and typing the following command:
ping www.yahoo.com
Press Ctrl+C to stop the ping; otherwise, your computer continues to ping
the target.
The output, as shown in Figure 8-6, provides information about what ping is
doing. If the ping can’t reach the host, you receive a message that the host is
unreachable. If the ping can reach the host, you receive feedback that provides
how long it takes — in milliseconds (ms) — for the signal from your computer
to get to the destination computer and back again — the lower the numbers,
the better. For computers connected through Ethernet, a ping time of 1 ms to 3
ms is an acceptable response time. For dial-up connections, expect somewhere
around 150 ms. When you start seeing ping times climbing to 900 ms or higher,
the network is likely under heavy use (or you have something wrong with your
cables).
Following in your traffic’s
footsteps with traceroute
Another fun command is traceroute, which allows you to see all the computers your data goes through on its way to a destination. Simply type the
command traceroute hostname, such as traceroute bob.example.com or
traceroute 192.168.1.5. After a few moments, you receive a list of all
computers between you and the designated hostname and how long it took
for the data to travel to each one of them in turn, as shown in Figure 8-7.
Try Yahoo.com! again as an example. Open a command prompt (see Chapter
14), type traceroute yahoo.com, and press Enter. It can take a moment for
the data to start filling in, but when it does, each line of your traceroute
results represents a hop. Each hop represents a physical machine your data
must travel through in order to get where it’s going. You can identify heavy
network congestion and other problems by making note of the larger numbers in the list.
Chapter 8: Connecting to the Internet
Figure 8-6:
Sample
results of
the ping
command.
Figure 8-7:
The end of a
set of
results from
the trace
route
utility.
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Sometimes, especially when you’re troubleshooting the reason that you can’t
access your intended Web site, you perform a traceroute that times out
somewhere along the way. This situation usually indicates that a “traffic accident” has occurred somewhere along the information superhighway. Give it a
few minutes and try again. If you get this problem consistently, it may mean
that a site is down or that a firewall is blocking the traffic.
After You’re Connected
After you’re connected, you’ll probably want to leap straight to Chapter 9 for
how to use the various Internet programs available to you. In the meantime,
let me offer you a number of sites you might find useful when you need help,
have questions, or otherwise want to explore the Linux world further —
some of these are pretty geeky, but you’ll grow into them! You also may want
to update your machine (see Chapter 12), add new software (also Chapter
12), and give extra thought to system security (see Chapter 13) to protect
yourself from nasty people and programs.
Useful sites include
www.linuxsecurity.com: A somewhat geeky but useful place where
you can track what’s going on in the world of Linux security.
www.kerneltraffic.org: Everything you never wanted to know about
what’s happening with the Linux kernel but were afraid to ask. This place
is great for tracking what new features are being added, if you’re interested in things like bleeding-edge hardware or just like to be “in the know.”
www.linuxquestions.org: I mention this one elsewhere in the book,
but it’s worth a mention again. This site is a popular hangout for people
who have questions to ask, and those who like to help them.
http://linux-newbie.sunsite.dk/: The Linux Newbie Administrator
Guide is a massive collection of information that you may find useful.
www.tuxfiles.org: A collection of short help files on individual topics
of interest.
www.tldp.org: Contains lots of help documentation written for various
user levels.
www.slashdot.org: Uber-geek (with a rather hostile culture, unfortunately) hangout with lots of pointers to interesting articles online. Best
used to view the articles and skip the arguments in the comments
section.
In addition to these recommendations, your favorite search site can be very
handy.
Chapter 9
Using the Internet
In This Chapter
Browsing the Web
Reading newsgroups
Checking and sending e-mail
Sending instant messages
Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach him to use the Net, and
he won’t bother you for weeks.
— Anonymous
T
he Internet is a vast network of computers that spans the globe. Many different types of computers and operating systems work together to allow
you access to information across the Internet. Linux, along with its related
Unix operating system, has long supported and worked with the Internet.
Practically all the different services available on the Internet are available
from your Linux desktop.
When you install Linux (see Chapters 3 and 4), one or more Web browsers,
mail programs, and instant messaging tools are placed onto your new system.
In this chapter, I introduce you to some tools you can use to access different
services on the Internet, such as accessing Web sites, using e-mail, investigating newsgroups, and utilizing FTP — assuming that your Internet connection
is configured (see Chapter 8).
Meet the Popular Browsers
Many people attribute the explosive growth of the Internet to the graphical
Web browser. The Internet has been around for much longer than the invention
of the browser. It’s just that most of the work done on the Internet was in plain
old text, which held little attraction for those people who like pretty pictures.
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A number of graphical Web browsers are available for Linux. The default
browser included with each of the distributions covered in this book is:
Fedora: Firefox (www.mozilla.org/products/firefox, based on
Mozilla)
Knoppix: Konqueror (www.konqueror.org), though Mozilla is also
included by default
Linspire: Customized Mozilla
Mandrake: Konqueror, though Mozilla and Epiphany (www.gnome.org/
projects/epiphany, which is based on Mozilla as well) are also both
included by default
SuSE: Konqueror
Xandros: Mozilla
You can easily add the browsers that aren’t included by default to most of
these distributions (see Chapter 12). Another popular browser in Linux is
Opera (www.opera.com).
Many browsers are based on Mozilla, aren’t they? And Mozilla is a branch off
of Netscape. Because Mozilla is included with so many of these distributions
(and can be easily added to the rest), I focus on it here. Mozilla is actually
more complex than both its Epiphany and Firefox love-children, and so you’ll
find those other options easier to figure out — and Epiphany and Firefox also
work very similarly to Mozilla. In fact, Firefox doesn’t have the same huge
pile of configuration routines in its Preferences dialog box because it doesn’t
have mail and news to contend with.
Mozilla, Firefox, and Opera are all available for Windows and OS X as well!
Configuring Mozilla
You can start surfing right now, if you want. You don’t need to customize your
browser. However, you may want to take a moment to tell Mozilla your preferences, such as the default Web site to show when it starts up, what font sizes
to use by default, what colors to use, and many other options.
The following steps introduce you to the Preferences window, where all the
Mozilla configuration parameters are stored:
1. Start Mozilla.
How you start Mozilla depends on which distribution you’re using.
Typically it’s either a shortcut on your Panel (Knoppix, Linspire, and
Xandros) or is available in the Internet portion of your main menu. Be
patient; Mozilla is a large program, and it usually takes a few seconds
to start up.
Chapter 9: Using the Internet
2. Choose Edit➪Preferences.
The Preferences window appears, as shown in Figure 9-1. While this
dialog box may look different from distribution to distribution, I’ve
double-checked that all the options are the same and point out any
place where they aren’t.
Notice that many configuration options are available. Throughout the
rest of this chapter, I guide you through configuring a few of the essential settings. In addition, I encourage you to explore the many other
options available along the way!
3. Use the left pane of the Preferences window to access the various
preferences categories.
You can expand any of the major categories by clicking the small plus
sign (+) or right arrow next to them, and contract them again by clicking
the small minus sign (-) or down arrow. Each category has a main menu
and submenus, so don’t forget to click the category names as well as the
subcategories.
4. If you get tired of reading through menus, just click OK (if you made
changes you want to keep) or Cancel (if you made no changes or don’t
want to keep your changes) at any time to close the Preferences
dialog box and get back to surfing.
Figure 9-1:
The Mozilla
Preferences
window in
Fedora
Core 3.
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Appearance preferences
Selecting the Appearance main menu option — Figure 9-2 — allows you to
determine how you want Mozilla to look and act when it loads. Its basic setup
is governed by three separate sections: When Mozilla/Internet Suite Starts
Up, Open; Show Toolbars As; and the miscellaneous section at the bottom.
The first section determines what parts of Mozilla should launch when you
start up the browser. The options here are
Navigator: The browser itself. This one is selected by default.
Composer: The Web page creation part of Mozilla.
Mail & Newsgroups: The e-mail and newsgroups part of Mozilla. (This
one is only available in some distributions by default.)
You can have more than one of these selected at a time, and all the ones you’ve
chosen start when you open your browser. Or, you can choose to launch the
additional pieces separately through the Window menu, just when you need
them.
The second section allows you determine how you want to see your toolbars:
Pictures and text: Show buttons on your Mozilla toolbars and text with
them.
Text only: Don’t bother showing the pictures.
Pictures only: Don’t bother showing the text.
Figure 9-2:
The Mozilla
Appearance
Preferences
window in
Fedora
Core 3.
Chapter 9: Using the Internet
Finally, the bottom section of this dialog box allows you to make a few more
customization tweaks:
Show Tooltips: When you hover your mouse pointer over a Mozilla
option, a little tip pops up onto your screen.
Show Web Site Icons: Grabs and uses the tiny little icons some Web
sites put next to their URLs, showing them in your bookmarks next to
the labels.
Smooth Scrolling: Makes sure that when you scroll, you’re doing so.
Available in Fedora Core 3 but not Linspire or Xandros.
Resize Large Images To Fit In The Browser Window: Doesn’t force you
to scroll around a big image to see the whole thing at once, but instead
fits it into the window. Underneath Appearances, the remaining menu
entries are:
Fonts: Enables you to set your preferred typeface. For desktop resolutions of 1024 x 768 and higher, I recommend jacking up your font sizes
immediately. (Otherwise, become very familiar with the key combinations Ctrl-+ to make all the fonts in the browser bigger, and Ctrl-– to
make them smaller. Use the + and – on your number pad and not your
main keyboard.)
Colors: Sets your text colors and whether you want to override explicit
Web page settings. This setting is an important one for color-blind
people.
Themes: Allows you to put a custom paint job on your Mozilla
installation.
Languages/Content: Allows you to set the sidebar preferences of your
browser to a particular locale’s language.
If you aren’t sure about how to use a particular setting, click the Help button
to open the Mozilla help interface.
Navigator preferences
The Navigator category (see Figure 9-1) enables you to select the behavior of
your browser when it’s first started. These settings are divided into three sections: Display On, Home Page, and Select The Buttons You Want To See In The
Toolbars. In the first section, the first thing you do is choose which aspect of
Mozilla you’re setting by choosing one of the following from the drop-down
list box above the radio buttons:
Navigator Startup: Specify what to do when the main browser window
opens.
New Window: Specify what to do if you click a link that launches a new
window or choose File➪New➪Navigator Window.
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New Tab: Specify what to do if you have your browser/Navigator set
to use tabbed browsing and open up a new tab or choose File➪New➪
Navigator Tab. Tabbed browsing reflects the latest craze in Web browser
capabilities, especially among those who hate having their desktop cluttered with windows. It allows you to have multiple surfing destinations,
all in one window, and change between them by clicking tabs. See later
in this same section for more on tabbed browsing.
After you’ve selected which item you’re configuring, you can then choose one
of the following for its default behavior when it launches:
Blank Page: Open this item without opening any pages.
Home Page: Open this item to my home page.
Last Page Visited: Open this item to a copy of an open page or the last
one I visited.
In the Home Page section, you can specify the home page to use for the times
that you want to have a default page loaded. You have one of the following
options for choosing this page:
Enter the URL you want to use in the Location text box.
Click Choose File and browse to the file (on your computer) that you
want to use as your default and then click Open to add it to the Location
text box.
Surf to the page you want to use for your home page and click the Use
Current Page button to add it to your Location text box.
Open up multiple tabs and, in each of them, surf to the pages you want
to open by default. Then click Use Current Group to have all these tabs
added to the Location text box. (It actually says “Home Page Group Is
Set” in the text box.)
Change the home page back to the last setting you had by clicking Restore
Default. For me, it defaults to the hard-coded Fedora Project page.
Finally, in the bottom section, you can choose which buttons should show
up in your top two Mozilla toolbars, from Bookmarks (lower toolbar), Go
(upper toolbar), Home (lower toolbar), Search (upper toolbar), and Print
(upper toolbar).
You can actually control what’s in the lower toolbar with quite a bit of detail,
by choosing Bookmarks➪Manage Bookmarks and then changing what you
find in the Personal Toolbar Folder. That’s a really fun option to play with!
Chapter 9: Using the Internet
Underneath Navigator, you can also check out:
History: The History text box enables you to designate how many days
you want your browser to remember where you’ve been. You can click
the Clear History button to clear the history manually at any time, or
click the Clear Location Bar button in this same dialog box to remove
the list of sites it suggests whenever you’re trying to type a new URL.
Languages: No, this option doesn’t automatically translate the content
of a Web page into the preferred language. Rather, some Web page
authors provide their Web pages in more than one language. If it’s an
option, this one merely lets you decide language preference.
Helper Applications: In this table, you designate applications to intercept
special file types. An example is a .pdf file, which requires the Adobe
Acrobat Reader in order to view it. You can specify the application and
optional arguments that need to be passed to the program.
Smart Browsing: With this option, you can set the characteristics of the
What’s Related tab, which is on the Sidebar (located in the left pane of
the browser window). The What’s Related tab provides a drop-down
menu listing sites that may be related to the displayed Web site.
Internet Search: Search engines have become an integral part of Web
browsing. To accommodate searching, Mozilla can integrate your
favorite search engine right into your browser. You can click the dropdown button under Default Search Engine and choose your preference.
Tabbed Browsing: You can customize how your tabbed browsing functions, if you like to play with this feature.
Downloads: Mozilla provides you with a helpful download manager that
lets you watch the progress of multiple files, all in a single window. You
can even see the last items you downloaded.
Other preferences
Other preferences you may want to check out before you start using Mozilla
include
Composer: If you like to build Web pages, you may want to check out
Mozilla’s Composer feature and its preferences. Of course, other Web
page-building programs are out there. Your version of Linux probably
offers one or more of the following: Bluefish (http://bluefish.open
office.nl/), N|Vu (www.nvu.com/), Quanta Plus (http://kdeweb
dev.org/), or others.
Mail & Newsgroups: If you intend to use Mozilla for your e-mail and
newsgroups (the default in Linspire and Xandros), you can set up cosmetic and other look-and-feel issues for how these features behave in
this section. However, you actually tell Mozilla what your e-mail account
is and what newsgroups to read, among other things, elsewhere.
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Privacy & Security: Network security has become a very big issue for
everybody connected to the Internet. Although the typically nontechnical
media often sensationalizes this issue, security should still be a consideration for all users of the Internet. Every time you send an e-mail or click a
Web site, you’re exchanging information across a network. Although you
don’t need to lose sleep over it, you should be conscious of every request
you make on the Internet. Even though completely securing your information is impossible, you can feel reasonably confident that your exchanged
Internet information is safe because of the default options that Mozilla has
provided. See the Popup Windows portion in particular for how to keep
these annoyances from cluttering your screen!
Advanced: This category provides options that affect the entire Mozilla
user environment. Options include whether you want to enable Java
applets or XSLT Web pages. This area is also where you can flush your
cache — your browser’s memory of what you’ve been doing and where
you’ve been, but not your bookmarks — and establish your proxy settings in the Cache and Proxies submenus. (If you’ve never before been
told to use a proxy, you don’t need one.)
Them dad-gum browser plug-ins
Do you ever get irritated at those Web sites that insist that you download a
plug-in, or additional piece of software, just to view the site? The difference
between a plug-in and an external program is this: A plug-in displays the results
in the browser, and an external program runs outside the browser. Although
these plug-ins are annoying if you’re just looking for some basic information,
they can provide some pretty cool stuff, such as streaming video and music
through your Web browser.
Plug-ins provide browser capability extensions, which are programs that interface with the browser to provide nonstandard features, such as sound and
video. The digital age is still in its infancy, so the industry hasn’t yet adopted
these multimedia formats as standard. In turn, the developers have chosen
not to build support into the Mozilla browser. Rather, the plug-in architecture
enables software developers to innovate without requiring the supporting
browser to know what to do with newly emerging media formats.
Chapter 12 explains how to add the popular plug-ins (like Macromedia’s Flash
plug-in) to your system for each of the distributions covered in this book.
You may also be interested in is “helper applications,” (programs Mozilla
launches to handle particular types of contents, like PDF viewers) which you
can configure in the Preferences dialog box by opening up the Navigator
menu and choosing Helper Applications. This section lets you tell Mozilla
Chapter 9: Using the Internet
what programs to launch in order to open particular types of files, so if you
find that you’re often having to do something manually, you can go into this
dialog box to automate the process of accessing file types you use all the
time.
Surfing the Web
Mozilla is your viewing window into the wonderful World Wide Web. Mozilla’s
primary purpose is to fetch Web pages on your command, download all their
graphics and related files into your computer’s memory, and, finally, render
the page for your interactive viewing pleasure.
If you’re used to using Internet Explorer or Netscape, using Mozilla should be
a snap. It has all the familiar navigation tools, such as an address bar; Back,
Forward, Reload, and Stop buttons; and a feature that stores links to your
favorite Web sites (bookmarks).
Mozilla, like Netscape, also has a Sidebar feature — press F9 to show and
hide it (see Figure 9-3) — which you can use to find sites related to the one
you’re visiting, search for a word or phrase on the Internet, access bookmarked Web pages, or access a Web page you recently visited (through the
History option).
Figure 9-3:
Mozilla with
the Sidebar
open, in
Fedora
Core 3.
Sidebar
Web pages
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Navigating Newsgroups
Although e-mail is usually directed at an individual, you can think of newsgroups as public-message bulletin boards where people with similar interests
come together to discuss a topic. Newsgroups (like Web forums) are also
great places to find technical support.
Newsgroup support isn’t included in Firefox, but you can use the information
in Chapter 12 to install Thunderbird (www.mozilla.org/products/thunder
bird, an e-mail and newsgroup reader based on Mozilla, so it’s similar to
what’s shown in this book) or Pan, which is another popular choice.
Configuring Mozilla to read newsgroups
With the newsgroup server information that your ISP provides, follow these
steps to access the world’s largest cork board:
1. Choose Window➪Mail & Newsgroups (Fedora users, choose Window➪
Composer).
The first time you open this menu option, you immediately see the
Account Wizard, shown in Figure 9-4. After you set up your newsgroups,
selecting this option brings you to the (mail and news) message center
window with your Inbox selected by default.
2. Select the Newsgroup Account radio button and click Next.
Figure 9-4:
The Mozilla
Account
Wizard in
Knoppix 3.6.
Chapter 9: Using the Internet
3. Enter your full name or the nickname you want to use into the Your
Name text box.
4. Enter your e-mail address into the Email Address text box.
Because spammers harvest (collect) e-mail addresses of people to spam
through newsgroup postings, many people like to “mangle” their e-mail
address in their posts so that humans can make changes but a computer
can’t easily tell what the real e-mail address is. Typically, you would set
your e-mail address to something like meatexampledotcom and leave a
note at the end of all your posts (in your signature, usually) to convert
it — for this example, it would be me@example.com.
5. Click Next and then enter your newsgroup server address into the
Newsgroup Server text box.
If your ISP didn’t give you this information already, check its Web site or
contact its support team to find out what to use here.
6. Click Next and then type a descriptive name in the Account Name
text box.
7. Read the summary and verify that it’s correct. If not, click Back and
go fix what’s wrong. If correct, click Finish.
The Mail & Newsgroups portion of Mozilla opens (see Figure 9-5).
Figure 9-5:
The Mozilla
Mail &
News
groups
interface in
Knoppix 3.6.
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Subscribing to newsgroups
To read newsgroups, you first must subscribe to the ones you want to check
out, and then you have to load their new posts (individual messages). To activate these subscriptions:
1. Click your newsgroup server in the list on the left (the Local Folders
entry beneath it is your e-mail interface).
The settings and configuration screen appears, as shown in Figure 9-6.
2. Click Manage Newsgroup Subscriptions.
The Subscribe dialog box appears. The first time open this dialog box,
you’re in for a wait as an index of all the newsgroups downloads to your
browser. Tens of thousands of newsgroup titles are out there, so even
though the browser is downloading only the newsgroup names, the
process takes some time. The status bar at the bottom of the dialog box
indicates progress.
3. After all the newsgroup titles have loaded into your browser, scroll
through the list for topics of interest. When you find a newsgroup you
want to subscribe to, click in its Subscribe box in the listing to put a
checkmark in it.
Figure 9-6:
The Mozilla
News
groups
settings
interface in
Knoppix 3.6.
Chapter 9: Using the Internet
Newsgroups tend to be in hierarchies, so when you see a triangle to a
listing’s left, click it to expand and see the subgroups inside that group.
The section comp.os.linux (so that’s comp➪os➪linux) contains a
number of Linux newsgroups you may be interested in.
4. Click OK.
You’re now back at the Manage Newsgroup Subscriptions dialog box.
Reading news
To read your news after you’ve configured Mozilla for this purpose (by
following the instructions in the previous section):
1. From the main Mail & Newsgroups dialog box or the Manage
Newsgroup Subscriptions dialog box, click the newsgroup you
want to read.
The Download Headers window pops up with a message stating that
needs to load headers (for each post, the name of the person who
posted and the subject assigned to the post) for this group. If it’s a busy
newsgroup or it’s the first time you’ve read this one, you may be
prompted for the number of message headers you want to download.
2. If you are asked how many headers to download, select either
Download All Headers or specify how many headers to download.
The default of 500 is a good number. If you don’t want to see any of the
others (not a bad idea when you’re just starting in a group, or you’ll
never get to the new stuff), click the Mark Remaining Headers as Read
checkbox.
3. Click Download.
The program goes to the news server and grabs the basic information
about the news posts. You can now scroll through the messages and
read or contribute to this newsgroup by clicking one of the headers.
Seeing what your peers are doing around the world is educational, if
nothing else!
You need to be aware of the written and unwritten rules for newsgroup etiquette, which vary wildly from group to group. I recommend that you read
the Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) page for the newsgroup and lurk for a
while before posting questions and comments.
Evolving into E-Mail
While most people think of the Web when they think of the Internet,
e-mail may, in fact, be the most used and beloved of Internet applications.
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A multitude of e-mail programs is available for Linux users. The defaults in
the various distributions discussed in this book are
Knoppix: KMail (http://kmail.kde.org/), although Mozilla Mail is
also included
Fedora: Evolution (www.novell.com/products/evolution
Linspire: Mozilla Mail
Mandrake: Kmail, with Kontact and Evolution also installed
SuSE: Kontact (www.kontact.org)
Xandros: Mozilla MailEvolution and Kontact should both remind you
very much of Outlook, so if you like being able to integrate your calendar, address book, task manager, and e-mail, you should like these
programs. Mozilla Mail and KMail are more single-purpose. Because
Evolution is the default client in the distribution included with this book
(Fedora Core 3), I cover this program in the most detail in this chapter.
This program should also be simple to add (see Chapter 12) to most distributions because it’s so popular.
Another popular mail program is Thunderbird (www.mozilla.org/
products/thunderbird), which is a spin-off of Mozilla Mail.
Setting up Evolution
The first time you open Evolution, the program walks you through the setup
process, so be sure to have the following information on hand:
Your assigned e-mail address, in the format username@example.org.
The type of mail server used for incoming mail: for example, POP.
The name of the mail server used for incoming mail, in the format
servername.example.org.
The type of mail server used for outgoing mail: for example, SMTP.
The name of the mail server used for outgoing mail, in the format
servername.example.org. This name may be the same as for the
incoming mail server.
Any special type of authentication required, for both mail coming in and
going out. This authentication is typically just passwords for incoming
mail and may be nothing for outgoing mail.
After you start Evolution for the first time, the Evolution Setup Assistant
launches.
Chapter 9: Using the Internet
Click Forward to proceed past the Welcome screen, after which the Identity
dialog box (see Figure 9-7) opens. To fill in this dialog box, complete the following steps:
1. Change the Full Name field, if you want.
Some people don’t want to use their real name and opt to use a nickname. There may or may not be default values assigned, depending on
what other programs you’ve configured on your machine.
2. Change the E-Mail Address field if it doesn’t match the address your
ISP gave you (it probably doesn’t).
3. If you want this particular account to be your default mail account,
make sure the Make This My Default Account check box is checked.
Otherwise, make sure it is unchecked.
4. Click Forward to proceed.
The Receiving Mail dialog box opens.
5. In the Server Type list box, select the type of incoming e-mail server
your ISP uses.
Figure 9-7:
The
Evolution
Identity
dialog box
in Fedora
Core 3.
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Leave it as None if you don’t want to receive e-mail on this computer —
this setting is useful if you only want to be able to send or only want to
use the calendar and task management features in Evolution. Depending
on which item you choose, the dialog box changes to ask for the appropriate information. I assume that you’re using a POP mail server to
receive mail, so what you’ll see when you select POP is shown in Figure
9-8. If you’re not using POP, then complete the dialog box you do see and
then proceed to Step 17.
The latest versions of Evolution have support for Microsoft Exchange
servers available. If you need this, it may or may not be already installed
in your distribution. For Fedora, use the information in Chapter 12 to
add the “evolution-connector” package to your system and then restart
the Evolution setup process.
6. Enter the full name for your POP mail server in the Host text box.
The name may be something like pop.example.com.
7. Enter your login name for checking mail in the Username text box.
If your e-mail address is jane@example.com, your username is jane.
8. If you were told to use SSL for security, in the Use Secure Connection
(SSL) drop-down list box, select either Always or Whenever Possible,
depending on what your ISP has specified.
Figure 9-8:
The
Evolution
Receiving
Mail dialog
box, with
POP
selected,
in Fedora
Core 3.
Chapter 9: Using the Internet
9. Under Authentication Type, select the appropriate authentication
option.
If you don’t know what kinds of authentication your mail server uses,
click the Check For Supported Types button. Typically, it’s just
Password.
10. Check the Remember This Password checkbox so that you don’t have
to enter your e-mail password every time you check mail.
If you’re going to walk away from your computer and someone else may
possibly access it, protect yourself from outgoing prank e-mails by going
to the main menu and selecting Lock Screen. Doing so makes sure that
no one can use your GUI until you type in your login password.
You have to have your screen saver turned on for this feature to work.
Screen savers are on by default.
11. Click Forward to proceed to the secondary Receiving Mail dialog box
(see Figure 9-9).
Whether or not this dialog box exists is determined by which type of
incoming mail server you’re using. If you’re not using POP and you get a
secondary dialog box, it may not match the one shown here, though it
does share some of the options shown.
12. If you want to check for new e-mail automatically, check the
Automatically Check For New Mail check box.
Figure 9-9:
The
secondary
Evolution
Receiving
Mail dialog
box, for POP
mail users
in Fedora
Core 3.
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If you don’t have a permanent connection to the Internet, you may
prefer to check mail manually. If so, leave the box unchecked and skip to
Step 14.
13. In the Minutes text box, set how often you want to automatically
check for new e-mail.
14. If you check mail from multiple computers, you may want to check the
Leave Messages On Server check box so that you can access the same
messages from all your machines.
If you select this option, you’ll end up with copies of messages on multiple machines, but it also means that you’ll have access to your e-mail no
matter where you’re checking it from. Keep in mind that occasionally
you’ll need to uncheck this box and check mail, just to clear out all the
space that your e-mail is taking up on the server. You don’t want to run
out of space.
15. If your ISP told you not to use POP3 extensions, then check the
Disable Support For All POP3 Extensions check box.
16. Click Forward to proceed.
You’re now finished setting up for incoming mail. In the Sending Mail
dialog box, shown in Figure 9-10, do the following:
Figure 9-10:
The
Evolution
Sending
Mail dialog
in Fedora
Core 3.
Chapter 9: Using the Internet
17. Change the Server Type entry if yours isn’t SMTP.
I assume that you’re sending e-mail with SMTP.
18. Enter the full name of the SMTP mail server in the Host text box.
The name may be something like smtp.example.com.
19. If you were told to use SSL for security, in the Use Secure Connection
(SSL) drop-down list box, select either Always or Whenever Possible,
depending on what your ISP has specified.
20. If you were told to use additional authentication for sending mail,
check the Server Requires Authentication check box.
Typically, nothing is required here. If you don’t check this box, skip to
the next set of instructions. Otherwise, proceed to the next step.
21. Under Authentication, select the appropriate type as instructed by
your ISP.
If you’re not sure, click Check For Supported Types.
22. Under Username, enter the login name you’re supposed to use to
authenticate with your outgoing mail server.
This name may be different from the one you use for incoming mail.
23. Check the Remember Password check box so that you don’t have to
enter your password each time you send mail.
Just make sure, again, to log out or use the Lock Screen option so that
no one can send joke e-mails at your expense!
24. Click Forward to proceed.
You have now reached the wonderfully simple Account Management
dialog box.
25. Either leave the Name entry as it is (your e-mail address) or change it
to something descriptive so that you can tell which account you’re
looking at if you have a list of accounts you need to use.
It’s common for your e-mail address to appear in this final box as something like jane@computer5.example.com. If this happens for you, you’ll
want to edit this entry so that it matches your real e-mail address, which
in Jane’s case is jane@example.com.
26. Click Forward to proceed to the Timezone dialog box.
27. Click a city that’s in the same time zone you’re in or use the dropdown list box to select your location or time zone.
28. Click Forward to proceed to the Done dialog box.
Here you see just a quick message saying that you’re finished.
29. Click Apply to save your settings.
The Evolution program opens, as shown in Figure 9-11.
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Figure 9-11:
The
Evolution
application
window
in Fedora
Core 3,
with the
Microsoft
Exchange
connector
installed.
Sending and checking e-mail
The following steps outline how to create a new e-mail message and send it:
1. Click New.
A Compose A Message window opens, as shown in Figure 9-12. If you
want to open another new item such as a new contact list entry or a new
calendar appointment, click the arrow next to New to open the list of
options to choose from.
2. Type the recipient’s e-mail address (such as bob@example.net) or a
list of addresses separated by commas (such as bob@example.net,
tom@example.org) in the To text box.
3. If you need to add a CC (Carbon Copy) or BCC (Blind Carbon Copy) to
the list of recipients, open the mail message’s View menu and select
the appropriate field(s) to appear and then enter the appropriate
address(es) into those fields.
4. Type the topic of your e-mail into the Subject text box.
Chapter 9: Using the Internet
Figure 9-12:
An Evolution
Compose
A Message
window
in Fedora
Core 3.
5. In the lower window, type the body of your e-mail.
Use the handy formatting buttons and the Format menu if you want to
“pretty up” your e-mail. If you want to use the formatting buttons, set
your Format type to HTML first.
6. If you want to add a signature to the bottom of your e-mail, click the
drop-down list box next to Signature and select Autogenerated.
To create custom signatures, go to the main Evolution window and
choose Tools➪Settings to open the Evolution Settings dialog box (see
Figure 9-13). Select the account you want to create the signature(s) for
and then click the Edit button to open the Evolution Account Editor. In
this dialog box, in the Identity tab, click Add New Signature. Here, you
can create and format your new signature, and after you click the Save
and Close button, you can choose which signature should be the default
in the Identity tab’s Signature drop-down list box. Get rid of the extra
dialog boxes by clicking OK or Close on each one.
7. When you finish typing your message, click the Send button.
The e-mail is now added to your Outbox, where you can edit it if you want.
8. Click the Send/Receive button.
Your e-mail goes out, and Evolution checks for new incoming mail.
Take some time to really explore Evolution. As you can see just from the figures in this chapter, this program has many features, including the ability to
filter junk mail.
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Figure 9-13:
The
Evolution
Settings
dialog in
Fedora
Core 3.
Taking Advantage of Instant Messaging
Instant messaging between people is like using a telephone — except that you
type your conversation rather than speak it. In addition, you can simultaneously hold multiple instant messaging conversations without the need for
additional connections to the Internet. America Online (AOL) provides one
popular instant messaging service, named AOL Instant Messenger, or AIM.
Others are ICQ and MSN. A wide variety of computer operating systems,
including Linux, support these various services (and, in fact, GAIM runs on
more than just Linux).
The distributions covered in this book use the following instant message programs by default:
Fedora: Gaim (http://gaim.sourceforge.net/)
Knoppix: Gaim
Linspire: Gaim
Mandrake: Kopete (http://kopete.kde.org/)
SuSE: Kopete
Xandros: Kopete (http://kopete.kde.org/)
Chapter 9: Using the Internet
Because Gaim is the default in Fedora, that’s what I cover in detail.
Using the Gaim Instant Messenger
You launch Gaim with the following menu selections:
Fedora: Choose Applications➪Internet➪IM (GAIM Internet Messenger).
Knoppix: From the main menu, choose Internet➪Gaim Instant
Messenger.
Linspire: From the main menu, choose Programs➪Internet➪Instant
Messenger.
After the application starts for the first time (see Figure 9-14), its main and
account management dialog boxes both appear. To tell GAIM about one of
your IM accounts:
1. Click the Add button in the Accounts dialog box.
The Add Account dialog box, shown in Figure 9-15, appears.
Figure 9-14:
The GAIM
IM client
with its
main dialog
box plus
Accounts
dialog box
open in
Fedora
Core 3.
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Figure 9-15:
The GAIM
Add
Account
dialog box
in Fedora
Core 3.
2. In the Protocol drop-down list box, select the IM network you want
to use.
Your options are AIM/ICQ (if you need to use either AIM or ICQ, choose
this option), Gadu-Gadu, Groupwise, IRC, Jabber, MSN, Napster, SILC,
Yahoo, and Zephyr.
3. In the Screen Name text box, enter the login name for your IM
account.
If you’re using ICQ, use your membership number.
4. In the Password text box, enter your IM password for this account.
5. In the Alias text box, enter the name you actually want to have show
up in people’s IM clients, unless you want to use your screen name.
6. Click the Remember Password check box to put a check in it so that
you don’t have to enter your password every time you connect to this
IM service.
Remember to log out or use the Lock Screen option if you walk away
from your computer, just in case someone gets it in his head to go play a
trick on you and send messages to people using your IM client.
7. Check the Auto-Login box if you want GAIM to automatically log this
account on when you start it.
Chapter 9: Using the Internet
8. If you get e-mail through this service and want to know when new
mail has arrived, check the New Mail Notifications check box.
9. If you want to use a tiny picture as a buddy icon (of yourself, your
dog, or whatever else you might want to use), click the Open button
next to the Buddy Icon label and then navigate to the picture you
want to use.
10. If you want access to the more advanced options for this IM service,
click the Show More Options arrow to expand the Add Account
dialog box.
11. When you finish entering your information, click Save to add this IM
account to your accounts list.
Go through this process for each account you want to use with GAIM. Then,
in the main dialog box , click Sign On to log into all the accounts that you
selected as Auto-Login. You can also open the Accounts dialog box by clicking Accounts from the main dialog box and then clicking the individual check
boxes next to the accounts to log into them one by one. After you connect,
you can alter your preferences in the Buddy List dialog box by choosing
Tools➪Preferences. Again, GAIM has more to it than this, so it’s definitely
worth playing around with this tool.
Troubleshooting your IM connections
If you’ve been using most of these IM clients with other operating systems,
after your Linux system has successfully connected to the IM service, your
existing buddy lists are automatically imported. If you haven’t ever used AIM
or MSN, you can now set up buddy lists. Buddy lists contain the usernames of
people you want to communicate with through the instant messaging service.
Your buddy list lets you know when your “buddies” are online and available
to receive an instant message.
Sometimes, your Linux system is unable to connect properly to the IM service. When this problem happens, an error message pops up on your screen
and indicates a failure to connect. You may be unable to connect to the IM
service for several reasons:
You may have entered the wrong password for your IM account or
chosen the incorrect IM account name.
Your computer may not be connected to the Internet. Try opening your
Web browser to see whether you can get to a Web site, which tells you
whether you’re connected to the Internet.
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If you can open a Web site but can’t get IM to work, the IM system may
be unavailable. This problem occurs at times because of maintenance of
the IM service or an excessive amount of traffic on the Internet or on the
IM service.
If you attempt to access the IM service from your computer at work,
your company or organization may block the IM service for security or
productivity reasons. If using IM at your work is permitted, check with
your network administrator to see whether he can help you out.
Often, companies use firewalls between the company’s network and the
Internet to keep out unwanted traffic on the company’s network. If the
firewall is configured to block IM traffic, you cannot use IM across the
Internet.
Working with Other Internet Tools
You may want to explore a variety of other types of tools, depending on your
needs. This section covers some pointers to get you started, so if you go to
Chapter 12 and want to add the appropriate software (or find yourself digging
through menus and wondering what the program may be called), you aren’t
completely lost.
FTP programs: If you want to FTP, a commonly used program in the
Linux world is GFTP. This program is available for all five distributions
discussed in this book, although it’s only installed by default in
Mandrake. The KDE equivalent is KBear.
IRC programs: While the IM clients support IRC these days, you may
prefer a program that’s used only for IRC. Common programs for this
purpose are X-Chat and KIRC.
File sharing: LimeWire is a popular one if you want to use the Gnutella
network.
RSS readers: Firefox has a number of RSS extensions designed for it. In
addition, Straw is a popular RSS program.
In general, if you’re not sure what programs to use, do a Web search on the
type of thing you want to do (like RSS) and the word Linux. So, to find all the
Linux-based file-sharing programs that handle BitTorrent (a popular network
for distributing, among other things, legal copies of Linux distributions), you
can search on
file sharing bittorrent linux
Part III
Getting Up to
Speed with Linux
I
In this part . . .
n this part of the book, I expand my coverage of Linux
beyond what’s part and parcel of the operating system
to include its many other facilities and capabilities. These
components are critical to making Linux the raging monster of productivity that a well-constructed, properly configured system can represent.
Here you read about the Linux file system and how to
manage its constituent files and directories, as well as how
to control which users or groups are permitted to access
these vital system resources. You also can read about
using the Linux command-prompt environment, known as
the shell, along with some key capabilities that should be
part of any savvy Linux user’s standard repertoire.
In addition, you find out how to keep your system current
and install new software. You also get the inside scoop on
all that security stuff that computer experts are always
going on about. Those who like working without a net can
dabble with working on the command line, while those who
want nothing to do with (gasp) typing can leap straight to
the fun of customizing the look and feel of your GUI.
Chapter 10
Manipulating Files
and Directories
In This Chapter
Encountering Linux file types
Managing Linux file permissions
Maneuvering through the file system
Working with file system contents
Referring to multiple files at once using wildcards
There is no need to do any housework at all. After the first four years, the
dirt doesn’t get any worse.
— Quentin Crisp
T
here’s no avoiding it. At some point, you have to work with the files and
directories in your system. Fortunately, after you get familiar with the
rules and commands, you feel more comfortable (even if you find yourself
being reminded from time to time of working in good old MS-DOS). Because
many people find that working at the command line is easier when dealing
with files, in this chapter I cover both the typed commands and the graphical
tools you have at your disposal.
Working with Files in the GUI
People who prefer to stay graphical like to work with the GUI file managers
offered in Linux instead of having to access a command prompt to work with
files. A file manager is a program, such as Windows Explorer, that enables you
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to dig through and manipulate your files and directories with your mouse and
sometimes just a bit of typing. In this section, I take you on a tour of the file
managers that, by default, come with popular Linux distributions.
Sailin’ with Nautilus
In the GNOME desktop environment (so in Fedora Core if you’re using the distribution defaults), the file manager is Nautilus. To find this program, doubleclick the Home icon on your desktop. Figure 10-1 shows an example of what
you can see with Nautilus open in an example home directory.
If you want to play with a more sophisticated version of Nautilus, select
Applications➪File Browser.
Finding your way around
Moving through the file system in Nautilus involves a couple of different
skills. In the first place, you need to know where you want to begin. This
factor decision isn’t as difficult as it sounds, however. In the Places menu,
you find the following options:
Home: Your home directory, which is where all (or most of) of your files
and documents go.
Computer: All your hard drives, floppy drives, CD and DVD-ROM drives,
and other permanent and removable storage devices.
Templates: Your document templates. Copy or move a document into
this section (I tell you how in the section “Copying and moving files,”
later in this chapter). When you right-click on your desktop and choose
Create Document from the context menu that appears, you’re able to
choose the items in your Templates folder as a basis for the document
that you want to make.
Trash: The contents of your trash bin. I address how to empty it in the
section “Taking out the trash,” later in this chapter.
CD Creator: Your CD waiting room. If you want to make a CD that contains a bunch of files (as opposed to creating an ISO image), move those
files to this location. You can find out about creating CDs in Chapter 18,
because many people create CDs in the context of multimedia.
After you choose one of the preceding commands, a separate window opens,
leaving the window you were already working in open as well. You can close
the original window if you want by choosing File➪Close or clicking the X in
the window’s upper right corner.
Chapter 10: Manipulating Files and Directories
Figure 10-1:
Nautilus
displaying
Dee’s home
directory
in Fedora
Core 3.
Navigating your filesystem
To open a directory in Nautilus, locate its name in the list and double-click it.
A new folder that contains the directory’s contents opens. As you move
through subdirectories, a new folder opens each time. If you find that you’ve
got way too many directories open, choose one of the following commands:
File➪Close Parent Folders: Closes all the folders used to get to this
directory.
File➪Close All Folders: Closes all the file browser folders you have open.
File➪Close: Closes just this folder.
You can also return to a folder previously accessed, if you want. (For example, maybe you’re in /home/jane/documents/invoices and want to go back
to /home/jane without opening and closing multiple folders). To do so, look
at the very bottom of the folder window to find the name of the subdirectory
you’re in (such as invoices). Click that name, and you open a list that has all
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the parent directories plus the current one. The list might look like the following for the example:
home
jane
documents
invoices
Then, to back up, you can select the spot in the directory tree (for example,
jane to go to /home/jane) you want to move to.
Setting how much you see in a folder
Are you getting too much information about each file or not enough?
Experiment with the View menu. The major listing options under the View
include the following commands
View As Catalog: This command is available only when images are in the
folder, as shown earlier in Figure 10-1. It shows all the images as though
you’re looking through a photo album and doesn’t show anything else.
View As Icons: This default option shows all files as icons with names
beneath them (see Figure 10-2).
View As List: This command gives you a list of information about the
file, as well as its icon and name (see Figure 10-3).
Figure 10-2:
Nautilus
with the
View As
Icons option
in Dee’s
home
directory
in Fedora
Core 3.
Chapter 10: Manipulating Files and Directories
Figure 10-3:
Nautilus
with the
View As List
option in
Dee’s home
directory
in Fedora
Core 3.
Along with these View menu commands, you can also use
Reload: If you just created a file and don’t see it in the folder, select this
option.
Show Hidden Files: All files in Linux whose names start with a dot (for
example, .profile) are hidden files, meaning that you have to explicitly
tell Linux you want to see them.
Visible Columns: Opens the folder’s Visible Columns dialog box, which
you can use to pick the information (and its order) that appears when
using View As List.
Along with these commands, you can choose the View menu’s Zoom In, Zoom
Out, and Normal Size options if you need to change the size of the folder’s
contents.
Opening files and running programs
To open a file or run a program in Nautilus, double-click it. That’s it! Well, not
entirely. You can also right-click a file to open the context menu and then
choose one of the following from the context menu:
Open with program: If the file is associated with a particular program
already, choosing this option is the same as double-clicking the file.
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More than one of these options may be listed, if your system knows that
you have more than one program installed that can do the job.
Open with Other Application: Choosing this option opens a submenu
that (often) contains a list of installed programs that can handle this file.
You can select one of these programs or choose Open With Other Application to open the Open With dialog box. From this dialog box, you can
• Type in the full path to the application (the full directory path, like
/usr/bin/konqueror)
• Click the Browse button to open a file browser and surf to the program you want to use
After you select the program to open the file with, click Open to proceed.
Copying and moving files
You can copy and move items using two different methods in Nautilus. The
first is by using the usual method you’re probably familiar with from Windows
or the Mac OS — clicking and grabbing a file or folder and then dragging it
where you want to go. You can click and drag between folder windows and
into folder icons. Following are some handy tips:
Hold down the Ctrl key while you drag if you want to make a copy rather
than just move the file.
If you want to drag the file into a folder icon, make sure that the folder
icon is highlighted before you release the mouse.
If you want to drag the file into a folder window but not into one of the
folder icons, make sure that the folder icons are not highlighted before
you release the mouse.
The other method for copying and moving files and directories involves the
following steps:
1. Right-click the file or directory you want to copy or move.
2. From the context menu that appears, choose Cut File if you want to
move the file or Copy File if you want to copy it.
The file doesn’t disappear after you make your selection if you’re trying
to move it.
3. Select the folder you want to move the file into.
Don’t double-click it; just click it.
4. Do one of the following:
• If you want to move or copy the file into a folder window, rightclick inside that window (just make sure that nothing is highlighted) and then choose Paste Files.
Chapter 10: Manipulating Files and Directories
• If you want to move or copy the file into a folder icon, right-click
the icon and then choose Paste Files Into Folder.
Creating files and folders
To create a new file or folder in Nautilus:
1. Browse to the folder you want to create the item in.
You need to open a window for that folder and work from within that
window.
2. Right-click on an empty spot inside that folder.
Make sure that you didn’t highlight anything in the folder.) A context
menu appears.
3. Depending on what you want to accomplish, choose either Create
Folder or Create Document.
The Create Folder command creates a new folder in this directory. The
Create Document command opens the submenu that lets you choose to
create either a document from a Template (top section, if you already
have templates created) or an Empty File.
The folder or file appears, highlighted.
4. Type the name you want to assign to this folder or file and then press
Enter.
The name is assigned to the folder or file.
Deleting files and folders
To use Nautilus to delete either a file or a directory from the file system,
follow these steps:
1. Browse to the file or directory’s location.
2. Select the file(s) or folder(s).
You can select the file or folder by doing one of the following:
• Clicking the item to highlight its name.
• Holding Shift down and then clicking at the end of the row or column
you want to select. (These items all must be lined up straight.)
• Holding Ctrl down and clicking each individual item you want to
select.
• Clicking and dragging your mouse button so that you make a box
that contains all the items you want to select.
3. Press the Delete key or right-click and select Move To Trash.
The file or folder vanishes from view. Keep in mind that if the folder contains other files or folders, they go right along with it.
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These deleted items aren’t fully deleted yet. Deleting with Nautilus puts the
files in the Trash folder, which you can open by double-clicking the Trash
icon on your desktop or choosing Places➪Trash in the Nautilus window.
Taking out the trash
You can permanently delete the contents of your Trash folder by following
these steps:
1. Right-click the Trash icon.
This action opens a shortcut menu with options listed.
2. Choose Empty Trash from the shortcut menu.
A confirmation dialog box opens.
3. Click Empty in the confirmation dialog box to delete the contents of
the Trash folder.
Linux permanently removes the items in the Trash folder. You can tell
whether the Trash folder is by looking at the Trash waste can. If it’s
empty, it contains no files. If you see papers in it, it contains trash.
Viewing and changing permissions
Every file in Linux (and other forms of Unix) has a set of permissions that
govern who is allowed to view it, run it, delete it, and so on. These permissions are used to make sure that people can’t mess with the system’s or each
other’s files, so they’re pretty important. In this section, I focus on how to
work with files in the GUI. See the section “A permissions primer,” later in
this chapter, for a breakdown of how file permissions work.
To view and change a file or directory’s permissions in Nautilus, you need to
follow these steps:
1. Browse to the file or directory’s location.
Opening the folder window that contains this item is sufficient.
2. Right-click the file or directory.
A context menu appears.
3. Choose Properties from the context menu.
The Properties dialog box appears with the Basic tab open.
4. Click the Permissions tab.
The Permissions portion of the Properties dialog box appears, as shown
in Figure 10-4.
Chapter 10: Manipulating Files and Directories
Figure 10-4:
The Nautilus
file
manager’s
Properties
dialog box
with the
Permissions
tab displayed, in
Fedora
Core 3.
5. Set the new permissions and ownerships.
See the section “A permissions primer,” later in this chapter, for a breakdown of what all this stuff means.
6. Click Close to close the dialog box.
The file’s permissions are now changed.
Rulin’ with Konqueror
In KDE (and thus Linspire, Mandrake, and SuSE), the default file manager is
Konqueror, shown in Figure 10-5. You can access this program in these distributions by doing the following:
Linspire: Double-click the My Documents icon.
Mandrake: Double-click the Home icon.
SuSE: Single-click the My Computer icon.
Keep in mind that Konqueror looks slightly different from distribution to distribution and may have different default settings as well. For example, SuSE
has a little side pane, while Linspire and Mandrake do not. You can turn the
side pane on and off by pressing F9 or choosing Window➪Show Navigation
Panel.
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Figure 10-5:
The
Konqueror
file manager
open to My
Computer in
SuSE 9.2.
Navigating your filesystem
Moving through the file system in Konqueror mostly involves being familiar
with the main row of icons beneath the top menus. These icons are, from left
to right:
Up arrow: Go up a directory. For example, from /usr/bin to /usr.
Left arrow: Go back to the last directory you visited.
Right arrow: If you went back previously, takes you to the directory you
went back from.
Home: Shows the contents of your home directory.
Some of the distributions, such as SuSE, offer extra shortcuts in the Go menu.
To open a directory in Konqueror, locate it in the list and click or double-click
it, depending on how your system is set up to behave. (In Linspire and
Mandrake it’s double-click, while in SuSE, it’s just a single click.) The window
changes to that folder’s contents.
Setting how much you see in a folder
If you want to see more or less information about each file, experiment by
choosing View➪View Mode (or find the icons to the right of the Konqueror
icon bar, below the menus). The major listing options in View➪View Mode
may include (depending on the version of Konqueror you’re using):
Icon View: Shows all files as icons with names beneath them (refer to
Figure 10-5). It’s the default option
MultiColumn View: Lines your icons up in columns instead of rows.
Chapter 10: Manipulating Files and Directories
Tree View: Shows a list of information about the file, as well as its icon
and name (see Figure 10-6). You can expand each folder in this list by
clicking the plus sign next to it; to collapse the list, clicking the minus
sign next to it.
Info List View: Shows the icons and names in small list format.
Detailed List View: Works like Tree View, but lacks the ability to expand
and collapse directories.
Text View: Works like Detailed List View but without the pretty icons.
GwenView Image Browser View: Lets you use an image browser embedded in your file browser (Figure 10-7). If you choose this view option, use
the left hand tabs to click on the Home icon and browse to the folder
you want to view.
File Size View: Shows a funky graphical representation of your filesystem (Figure 10-8), with directories in blue, files in brown, and programs
you can run in green. It’s not available in all the distributions covered in
this book, as this feature is pretty new. When you add new files, they
don’t show up unless you choose View➪Reload or click the Reload icon.
Figure 10-6:
Konqueror
with the
Tree View
option in
dee’s home
directory in
SuSE 9.2.
Along with these View menu settings, you can also use
Reload: If you just created a file and don’t see it in the folder, choose
this option.
Show Hidden Files: All files in Linux whose names start with a dot (for
example, .profile) are hidden files, meaning that you have to explicitly
tell Linux you want to see them.
Specialty menus: Each view type has an additional configuration menu
available toward the bottom of the View menu.
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Figure 10-7:
Konqueror
with the
GwenView
Image
Browser
View option
in dee’s
home
directory in
SuSE 9.2.
Figure 10-8:
Konqueror
with the
FSViewPart
option in
dee’s home
directory in
SuSE 9.2.
Chapter 10: Manipulating Files and Directories
Opening files and running programs
To open a file or run a program in Konqueror, single or double-click it,
depending on the distribution you’re using and how it’s set up. That’s it! Well,
not entirely, Konqueror itself may not support the file format. You can also
right-click a file to open the context menu and choose Open With. From there,
you can either choose one of the suggested options in the context submenu,
or you can choose Other to access the Open With dialog box (Figure 10-9). To
use this dialog box:
1. Either browse in the lower section to select which program you want
to use to open this file or type the full path to the application (the full
directory path, like /usr/bin/konqueror) in the text box.
If you need to browse the filesystem, click the little folder icon to the
right of the text box to open the browser.
2. If you want to always use this application to open files of this type,
check the Remember application association for this type of file
checkbox.
3. Click OK to open or run the file.
Figure 10-9:
Konqueror’s
Open With
dialog box in
SuSE 9.2.
Copying and moving files
You can copy and move items using two different methods in Konqueror. The
first is by using the usual method you’re probably familiar with — clicking
and grabbing a file or folder and then dragging it where you want to go. The
Tree View is handy for this method because you can open up folders until
you find the one you want to copy into and then click and drag the file or
folder into it. When you do so, a little context menu pops up asking whether
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you want to move the file, copy it, link it (see the section “Understanding
directory contents” to find out more about links), or cancel and not do
anything.
The other method for copying and moving files and directories involves the
following steps:
1. Right-click the file or directory you want to copy or move.
2. In the context menu that appears, choose Copy To if you want to move
the file or Move To if you want to copy it.
A new menu appears.
3. Select the folder you want to move the file.
You can do so by:
• Navigating through the submenus until you find the location you
want and choosing Copy Here or Move Here from inside the folder
you want to use.
• Clicking the Browse button and using the file browser to navigate to
where you want to copy or move the file to and then clicking OK.
Creating files and folders
To create a new file or folder in Konqueror:
1. Browse to the folder you want to create the item in.
2. Right-click inside that folder.
Make sure that you didn’t highlight anything in there. A context menu
appears.
3. Choose Create New.
A submenu appears.
4. Depending on what you want to accomplish, choose either Folder or
File.
These commands do the following:
• Folder: Creates a new folder in this directory.
• File: Opens the submenu that lets you choose to create a new
HTML File (Web page), Link To Application (program shortcut),
Link To Location (Web link), or Text File.
5. In the query dialog box, enter the name for the folder or file you’re
creating.
6. Click OK to finish the creation process.
Chapter 10: Manipulating Files and Directories
Deleting files and folders
To use Konqueror to delete either a file or a directory from the file system,
follow these steps:
1. Browse to the file or directory’s location.
2. Choose the file(s) or folder(s) you want to delete.
You can do so by:
• Holding Shift down and then clicking at the end of the row or
column that you want to select. (These items all must be lined
up straight.)
• Holding Ctrl down and clicking each individual item you want to
select.
• Clicking and dragging your mouse button so that you make a box
that contains all the items you want to select.
3. Delete your file or folder.
To do so, either:
• Press the Delete key and say that yes, you want to move this item
or these items to the Trash.
• Right-click over the item(s) and choose either Delete to permanently remove the file or Move To Trash to give yourself the option
to back up and pull it back out of the Trash later.
Taking out the trash
You can permanently delete the contents of your Trash folder by following
these steps:
1. Right-click the Trash icon.
This action opens a shortcut menu.
2. Choose Empty Trash Bin.
Linux permanently removes the items in the Trash folder. You can tell
whether your waste can is empty by looking at it. If nothing’s in there,
it’s empty; if you see papers in it, you have files in the Trash.
Viewing and changing permissions
Every file in Linux (and other forms of Unix) has a set of permissions that
govern who is allowed to access it, run it, delete it, and so on. These permissions are used to make sure that people can’t mess with the system’s files,
or each other’s, so they’re pretty important. See the section “A permissions
primer,” later in this chapter, for a breakdown file permissions in general. I
focus here on how to work with them in the GUI.
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To view and change a file or directory’s permissions in Konqueror, you need
to follow these steps:
1. Browse to the file or directory’s location.
Opening the folder that contains this item is sufficient.
2. Right-click the file or directory.
A context menu appears.
3. Choose Properties from the context menu.
The Properties dialog box opens with the General tab open.
4. Click the Permissions tab.
The Permissions portion of the Properties dialog box appears, as shown
in Figure 10-10.
Figure 10-10:
Konqueror’s
Properties
dialog box
with the
Permissions
tab
displayed, in
SuSE 9.2.
5. Set the new permissions and ownerships.
If you want to know how file access permissions work in Linux, see the
section “A Permission Primer,” later in this chapter.
6. Click OK to close the dialog box.
The file’s permissions are now changed.
Chapter 10: Manipulating Files and Directories
Excavating with the Xandros File Manager
Xandros offers a custom file manager (see Figure 10-11) that looks to be
based on Konqueror. One method of accessing this file manager is by
double-clicking the Home directory on your desktop. This file manager works
similarly to the other file managers in this chapter. Because I am limited on
space, I’ll leave it at that, reminding you that Xandros in particular is designed
for Windows users, so you can expect its file manager to be laid out and function like Windows Explorer.
Figure 10-11:
The
Xandros file
manager in
Xandros 2.5.
Understanding Filesystem Mechanics
Chapter 11 focuses on how the filesystem is laid out, but this chapter covers
what’s happening under the hood as far as how to understand what you’re
seeing in filesystem listings. These features are identical across Linux distributions, as the underpinning of working with Linux remains at least mostly the
same no matter what version of Linux you’re using.
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Understanding long format file listings
Remember those detailed list views in the file managers? They typically contain information similar to this ls -la output here (see Appendix A for a list
of commonly used commands in Linux):
drwx-----drwxr-xr-x
-rw-r--r--rw-r--r--rw-r--r--
2
5
1
1
1
dee
root
dee
dee
dee
dee 4096 Jul 29 07:48 .
root 4096 Jul 27 11:57 ..
dee
24 Jul 27 06:50 .bash_logout
dee
230 Jul 27 06:50 .bash_profile
dee
124 Jul 27 06:50 .bashrc
You may find some parts of this format easier to understand, at a glance, than
others. The first item in each listing (the part with the letters and dashes —
for example, the drwx------ in the first line) is the permission set assigned
to the item. Briefly, permissions define who can read the file, change it, or run
it if it’s a program. You can read more about permissions in “A permissions
primer,” later in this chapter. The second item in the first line (in this case, 2)
is the number of links to the item.
A link is a fake file listing that points to another file, making a kind of shortcut. You use two kinds of links in Linux and Unix:
Soft link: This link is like a Windows shortcut in that the link points back
to the original file, and anything you do to the link happens to the original file. Erase the original file, and the link remains, but it becomes unusable. The link is broken without the original file.
Hard link: This link doesn’t have a counterpart in the Windows world.
A hard link isn’t just a shortcut; it’s another instance of the file itself.
The data in this file is saved in only one place, but you can edit either
the original or the link, and the edit is saved for both instances of the
file. Erase the original, and the file still exists as long as the link is there.
It’s like two doors to the same room!
The third item (dee) is the file’s owner, and the fourth (dee) is the group —
depending on which version of Linux you’re using, both these items may or
may not be identical. You can find out more about both of these in “A permissions primer,” later in this chapter. The fifth item is the file’s size in bytes. All
directories show up as 4,096 bytes. Everything else has its own size. You can
tell an empty file from the size of 0 bytes.
The sixth, seventh, and eighth entries are all related to the last time the file
was changed: the month (Jul), the date (29), and the time in 24-hour format
(07:48). Finally, the ninth item is the filename (for example, bash logout, in
the third row).
Chapter 10: Manipulating Files and Directories
A permissions primer
If you find yourself scratching your head when looking at parts of that long
format file listing, don’t worry. The “Comprehending file types” section, later
in this chapter, gives you a feeling for the first letter on each line, but nine
more characters are attached to that item before you get to the next column.
This group of nine is the set of permissions (also called a permission set) for
the file or directory. Linux, Unix, and even Mac OS X use permissions as a
way of providing file and directory security by giving you the means to specify exactly who can look at your files, who can change them, and even who
can run your programs. You need this capability when you have a bunch of
different users on the same machine, networked to the world.
Checking out the triads
Each permission set consists of three triads. Each of the triads has the same
basic structure but controls a different aspect of who can use what. Consider
the long format listing for /home/dee in the following code:
total 20
drwx-----drwxr-xr-x
-rw-r--r--rw-r--r--rw-r--r--rw-rw-r--
2
5
1
1
1
1
dee
root
dee
dee
dee
dee
dee 4096 Jul 29 07:48 .
root 4096 Jul 27 11:57 ..
dee
24 Jul 27 06:50 .bash_logout
dee
230 Jul 27 06:50 .bash_profile
dee
124 Jul 27 06:50 .bashrc
dee
0 Jul 29 07:48 lsfile
The first character in the permission set refers to the type of file. For a directory, the character is shown as a d, as you see here for the first two items in
the preceding list; files are designated with a dash (-) instead. Each file or
directory’s permission set is a group of nine characters — that is, the nine
characters that follow the first character (for a total of ten). But this group of
nine is really three groups of three, as shown in Figure 10-12.
R
W
Users
Figure 10-12:
Breakdown
of the nine
permission
characters.
E
R
W
Groups
Legend:
R=Read
W=Write
E=Execute
E
R
W
Others
E
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The three triads are read as follows:
The first triad consists of the second, third, and fourth characters in the
long format file listing. This triad sets the permissions for the user, or
owner, of the file. (Owners are discussed in the “Beware of owners” section, later in this chapter.)
The second triad consists of the fifth, sixth, and seventh characters in
the long format file listing. This triad sets the permissions for the group
that is assigned to the file. (Groups are discussed in the “Hanging out in
groups” section, later in this chapter.)
The third triad consists of the eighth, ninth, and tenth characters in the
long format file listing. This triad sets the permissions for other, or
everyone who isn’t the file’s owner or a member of the owning group.
Although each triad is often different from the others, the internal structure
of each one is made up in the same way. Focus specifically on how to read
one triad before looking at the set of them together. Each triad includes three
characters:
The first character is either an r or a dash. The r stands for read permission. If r is set, the triad allows the entity it stands for (user, group, or
other) to view the directory or file’s contents.
The second character is either a w or a dash. The w stands for write permission. If w is set, the triad allows the entity it stands for to add or edit
items to, or in, this directory or file.
The third character is either an x or a dash. The x stands for execute
permission. If x is set, the triad allows the entity it stands for to run
programs contained in this directory or to run the particular program
in this file.
In all cases, if the dash sits in place of r, w, or x, the triad doesn’t allow the
entity the read, write, or execute permission.
The following sections describe owners and groups in more detail.
Beware of owners
You may have noticed by now that I talk a great deal about owners (users)
and groups in Linux. Every file and directory has both of these components: a
user from the /etc/passwd file that’s assigned as its owner and a group from
/etc/group assigned as the group.
Although an everyday user probably doesn’t need to change file ownerships
often, the root user does so regularly. If you add the file comments, for example, to /home/tom while you’re logged on as the superuser (another term for
the administrator, who is the person who owns the root account), root owns
that file. The user tom can’t do anything with it unless you have set the last
Chapter 10: Manipulating Files and Directories
triad’s permissions to allow the other folks (those who aren’t the file’s owner
or in the specified group) to read and write to the file. But this method is a
pretty sloppy way of doing things because the whole idea of permissions is to
reduce access, not to give everyone access. Instead, remember to change the
file’s owner to the user tom. You do this with the chown (change owner) command. For example, by typing chown tom comments, root changes the ownership over to tom. Then tom can work with this file and even change its
permissions to something he prefers.
Hanging out in groups
Groups are more interesting to work with than owners. You use groups to
allow the root user to assign to multiple users the ability to share certain file
system areas. For example, in many versions of Linux, all users are added to
a group named users (SuSE does this, for example). Then, rather than a long
format file listing such as the one shown in earlier in this chapter, you may
see the following:
total 20
drwx-----drwxr-xr-x
-rw-r--r--rw-r--r--rw-r--r--rw-rw-r--
2
5
1
1
1
1
dee
root
dee
dee
dee
dee
users
root
users
users
users
users
4096 Jul 29 07:48 .
4096 Jul 27 11:57 ..
24 Jul 27 06:50 .bash_logout
230 Jul 27 06:50 .bash_profile
124 Jul 27 06:50 .bashrc
0 Jul 29 07:48 lsfile
In other distributions (such as Fedora) a unique group is created for every
user, which is why the earlier listings showed the owner and group items as
identical (dee dee).
Comprehending file types
The first letter in any long format file listing tells you which type of file you’re
dealing with. In Table 10-1, I list the types you’re likely to run into.
Table 10-1
Linux File Types
Label
Type
Description
-
Regular file
The item is an everyday file, such as a
text file or program.
b
Block device
The item is a driver (control program) for
a storage medium, such as a hard drive
or CD-ROM drive.
(continued)
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Table 10-1 (continued)
Label
Type
Description
c
Character device
The item is a driver (control program) for
a piece of hardware that transmits data,
such as a modem.
d
Directory
The item is a container for files, also
referred to as a folder in some operating
systems’ lingo.
In addition to this, you find lots more different file types out there in the
Linux world. By types, I’m not referring to extensions, such as .exe or .doc.
Linux sees everything within its file system — even directories and hardware
like your monitor — as “files.” As a result, assigning a type to a file is merely a
Linux machine’s way of keeping track of what’s what.
The main thing Windows users in particular want to know when they move to
Linux is how to recognize programs. Rather than looking for files with particular extensions (like .exe) programs have (or need to have) an executable
permission set so the system knows they are allowed to run. You can view or
set this permission for a file by going to the Nautilus or Konqueror section
and looking up how to do so.
Chapter 11
Checking Out the Linux Filesystem
In This Chapter
Discovering the root directory and subdirectories
Discerning partitions from directories
Adding removable media to the filesystem
Caring for your filesystem
Accessing shared files on Windows computers
I have an existential map. It has “You are here” written all over it.
— Steven Wright
O
ne of the most frustrating things about learning a new operating
system can be figuring out where it keeps files. Rather than keep all
important system files in a single directory, such as the C:\Windows directory in Microsoft Windows, Linux follows the lead of its Unix cousins and
spreads things out a bit more. Although the Linux and Windows setups
involve different methods, they are both logical, though it may not feel
that way until you understand where to look.
Another issue you come across is adding new media — hard drives, floppy
disks, CD-ROMs, DVD-ROMs, zip disks, and more — to the existing filesystem.
In this chapter, I focus on how the filesystem is organized and other handy
topics, such as how to access data on a floppy disk. (In Chapter 10, you can
find hints on how to do this when looking through the file managers.)
Introducing the Linux Filesystem
Linux may be all by itself on your hard drive, or maybe it’s sharing your
hard drive with another operating system, such as Microsoft Windows. All
the hard drive space you allocated for Linux during the installation process
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is the majority of your Linux filesystem. Because you’re running your own Linux
machine, you need to be familiar with how it’s put together — especially the
sections that are dangerous to mess with!
Meet the root directory
Everything in the Linux filesystem is relative to the root directory, which is
referred to as / and is the file-system base, a doorway into all your files —
don’t confuse this with the root user, which is the system administrator. The
root directory contains a mostly predictable set of subdirectories. Each distribution varies slightly, but certain standards exist to which they all conform. The standards keep us all sane.
If you’re interested in these standards, go to www.pathname.com/fhs and
look at the latest version of the rules.
Rather than flood you with everything at once, I start by talking about the
base directories, meaning the items you find in /. Table 11-1 lists what you
might find in this base location. (This list can vary some from distribution
to distribution.) An asterisk (*) at the end of a description indicates that
you shouldn’t mess with this directory unless you have a really good reason
because it contains files that are very important to the functioning of your
system.
Table 11-1
Standard / Contents in Linux
Directory
Contains
/bin
Essential commands that everyone needs to use at any time*
/boot
The information that boots the machine, including your kernel*
/dev
The device drivers for all the hardware that your system needs
to interface with*
/etc
The configuration files for your system*
/home
The home directories for each of your users
/lib
The libraries, or code that many programs (and the kernel) use*
/media
A spot where you add temporary media, such as floppy disks
and CD-ROMs; not all distributions have this directory
/mnt
Another spot where you add temporary media, such as floppy
disks and CD-ROMs, along with networked drives and other
items you aren’t permanently adding to your filesystem
Chapter 11: Checking Out the Linux Filesystem
Directory
Contains
/opt
The location that some people decide to use (and some programs want to use) for installing new software packages, such
as word processors and office suites
/root
The superuser’s (root user’s) home directory
/sbin
The commands the system administrator needs access to*
/srv
Data for your system’s services (the programs that run in the
background)*
/tmp
The place where everyone and everything store temporary files
/usr
A complex hierarchy of additional programs and files
/var
The data that changes frequently, such as log files and your mail
Some of these directories have some equally important subdirectories, which
I cover in the upcoming sections.
Meet the /etc subdirectories
Although the exact subdirectories that exist in /etc can change from distribution to distribution, the following two are fairly standard:
The /etc/X11 directory contains configuration details for the X Window
System (X), which runs your Graphical User Interface (GUI). See Chapter 15 for more on the GUI.
The /etc/opt directory contains configuration files for the programs in
the /opt directory, if you decide to use it.
An important addition in Fedora is /etc/sysconfig, which contains configuration information for the services that start at boot time, including things
like your networking.
Meet the /mnt and /media subdirectories
You may or may not have any subdirectories in /media or /mnt by default
(and you may not have both of these directories at the same time). Typically,
however, you do have the following:
The /mnt/floppy or /media/floppy directory is used for adding a
floppy disk to your filesystem — instead of the word floppy, you might
see fd0 instead.
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The /mnt/cdrom directory is used for adding a CD-ROM to your filesystem in some distributions, and others use /media/cdrom (or /media/
dvd, /media/cdrecorder, and so on, depending on what type of hardware you have).
In the “Adding Media to Your Filesystem” section, later in this chapter, I show
you how to add these items for each of the distributions.
Meet the /usr subdirectories
The /usr directory is often referred to as its own miniature filesystem hierarchy. This directory has lots of important or interesting subdirectories, as
shown in Table 11-2. An asterisk (*) at the end of a description indicates that
you need to leave that directory alone unless you have good reason to mess
with it — after you gain lots of experience with Linux and know exactly what
changes you need to make — so that you don’t accidentally alter something
your system needs in order to function correctly. An important thing to
remember about this segment of the filesystem is that many advanced
Linux users often use /usr to store programs that can be shared with
other machines.
Table 11-2
Standard /usr Subdirectories
Subdirectory
Contents
/usr/X11R6
The files that run the X Window System (the wireframe for
your GUI)*
/usr/bin
The commands that aren’t essential for users but are
useful*
/usr/games
The games that you install on your system, except for
those that you can choose to place in /opt
/usr/include
The files that the C programming language needs for the
system and its programs*
/usr/lib
The code used by many of the programs in this /usr subhierarchy*
/usr/local
The programs and other items that you want to keep
locally, even if you’re sharing everything else in /usr
/usr/sbin
The commands that aren’t essential for administrators but
are useful*
Chapter 11: Checking Out the Linux Filesystem
Subdirectory
Contents
/usr/share
The information that you can use on any Linux machine,
even if it’s running incredibly different hardware from
what this one is running*
/usr/src
The source code that you use to build the programs on
your system
Finding CDs and More in Your GUI
Chapter 10 covers how to use the file managers that come with the distributions covered with this book (and most other Linux desktop-based distributions, for that matter) — Nautilus and Konqueror. In this section, I take a look
at how to use these tools to find your way around the filesystem. Some distributions make this process more intuitive than others, mostly due to tons of
handy shortcuts that mean you have to know less of what’s happening under
the hood — a pretty handy thing for desktop users.
Navigating the filesystem in Fedora
Because Fedora’s default GUI is GNOME (see Chapter 6), which is different
from all the other distributions discussed in this book, you use Nautilus
(see Chapter 10) to find your way around. Some things are made pretty
easy for you:
When you insert a data CD-ROM or DVD-ROM, an icon may or may not
appear on your desktop. If it doesn’t appear, double-click the Computer
icon and then the drive’s icon within the Nautilus window in order to
access the CD-ROM’s or DVD-ROM’s contents and add an icon to your
desktop. You can later remove these items by right-clicking and choosing Eject from the shortcut menu.
When you plug in a USB storage device such as a keychain, Fedora automatically adds an icon onto your desktop for that item, which you can
double-click to open. Once you’re finished working with the USB device,
close all of the windows that were using it, right-click its icon on the
desktop, and choose Unmount. Now it’s safe to remove the keychain.
When you insert a music CD, Fedora opens a music player and begins
playing it.
When you insert a video DVD, Fedora is not configured to auto-run its
contents. See Chapter 18 for more on watching DVDs.
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To turn on or off auto-run or auto-loading for these various items, from
the main menu, choose Preferences➪Removable Storage. If you shut off
auto-loading for something, you can access a device’s contents from any
Nautilus window by choosing Places➪Computer and double-clicking the
appropriate icon in there. This action adds an icon onto your desktop as
well.
When you insert a blank CD or DVD writeable or re-writeable, Fedora
opens Nautilus to the CD/DVD Creator window. (You can find out more
about burning in Chapter 18.)
When it comes to floppies, the computer can’t reliably detect that a
floppy was put into the drive. So, put the floppy into the drive and then,
from any Nautilus window, choose Places➪Computer➪Floppy to access
its contents and add a floppy icon on your desktop. To remove the
floppy, right-click the floppy icon on your desktop or in your Nautilus
Computer window and then choose Unmount Volume. Wait until the
floppy drive light is off before removing the floppy.
If you want to access a network drive from Windows or that someone
has set up on another Linux computer, double-click the Computer icon
on your desktop (or choose Places➪ Computer) from any Nautilus
window) and then double-click the Network icon. This action lets you
browse through your network to the computers that are offering files.
If you want to access part of your Linux filesystem, double-click the
Computer icon on your desktop (or choose Places➪ Computer) from
any Nautilus window) and then double-click the Filesystem icon.
If you want to access something on one of your hard drives that isn’t
part of your Linux installation (maybe a Windows drive).
For the last option listed, follow these steps:
1. Open a command line terminal.
See Chapter 14 if you’re not sure how to do so.
2. Type su - to become the root (administrative) user.
3. Type fdisk -l to see all your hard drives and partitions.
If you’re looking for a Windows partition, then you can find it right here.
Ignore the items that have text similar to Windows 95 Ext’d; they’re not
really a data partition. Anything that has NTFS or FAT32 or VFAT is a
Windows partition and is what you’re interested in. If you’re looking for
a Linux partition (maybe you have more than one distribution installed
on your system), then you want the ones that have the word Linux in
their description and not the word swap.
Chapter 11: Checking Out the Linux Filesystem
4. If you need to access an NTFS partition, see Chapter 12 for how to use
yum to add NTFS support.
You can search to see whether you have NTFS support in your current
set of yum repositories by typing yum search ntfs. If no matches are
found, then you may need to add another repository.
5. When you think you know what partition you want to try, type mount
-t type /dev/partition /mnt to add it to your filesystem, where
type is the filesystem type as shown in Table 11-3 and partition is the
letter and number combination you saw in fdisk (such as hde2).
So, for example, after adding NTFS support, you might type mount -t
ntfs /dev/hde2 /mnt. Once you do so, you can find all of that partition’s contents under the /mnt directory.
Table 11-3
Common Filesystem Types
Type
Description
ext2
“Older” Linux filesystem type
ext3
“Newer” Linux filesystem type, used by default in Fedora and
Red Hat, among others
ntfs
“Newer” Windows filesystem type, started with Windows NT
and commonly used in Windows XP
reiserfs
Another “newer” Linux filesystem type, used by default in
Mandrake and SuSE, among others
vfat
“Older” Windows filesystem type, such as FAT32 and MS-DOS
6. Browse as you need to.
You may find that you have read-only access to your NTFS partition and
can’t change anything on it.
7. When you’re finished, type umount /mnt to remove the partition’s
contents from your filesystem.
The preceding steps work for all distributions, except for Step 4. You just
need to find out how your distribution handles NTFS.
Navigating the Filesystem in Knoppix
Knoppix is another distribution that makes things as easy as possible, with a
few little bumps along the way. When your system starts up, it automatically
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has icons along the left of your desktop for every drive and partition it finds.
To help you find your way around:
It’s important to realize that because Knoppix is a bootable distribution,
you already have a CD-ROM in use in the drive! If you only have one
CD/DVD-ROM drive, you’re stuck. You can’t eject Knoppix, because the
CD is acting as your hard drive, containing all your programming. Here’s
where a portable drive can come in handy.
To use a floppy, place it in your floppy drive and then click the floppy
icon to access its content. (If you’re using a machine without a floppy
drive, Knoppix fools you and puts a floppy icon on the desktop anyway!)
You can then right-click the floppy and choose Actions➪Unmount to
save everything before removing it from the drive.
To access drives on your network:
1. Click the monitor icon on your panel to open a command line
terminal window.
2. In the terminal, type su -.
You are now in Knoppix as the root user. There’s no password by
default, but you can set one if you want.
3. Type /etc/init.d/lisa start.
This action starts one of the two programs necessary to get easy
network browsing working.
4. Click any of the drive icons on your desktop.
The Konqueror file browser opens.
5. Look to the left panel of icons on your Konqueror window and
click the bottom one (Services).
The Services section of Konqueror appears.
6. Click LAN Browser.
Now you have access to the computers that are offering shared
folders on your network!
7. Browse away.
To access your Linux filesystem:
1. Click any of the drive icons on your machine.
The Konqueror file browser opens.
2. Look to the left panel of icons on your Konqueror window and
click the icon above the bottom one (Root Folder).
Your root folder’s contents appear.
3. Navigate at will!
Chapter 11: Checking Out the Linux Filesystem
To access partitions and drives on your machine that aren’t part of your
Linux installation (like a Windows drive), click the various Hard Disk
Partition icons until you find the one you’re looking for.
Navigating the filesystem in Linspire
Because Linspire is designed for the absolute newcomer, you expect its
filesystem navigation to be a point-and-click snap, and indeed they’ve made it
pretty easy on you. To navigate your filesystem in this distribution:
When you insert a data CD, CD-ROM, DVD, or DVD-ROM, Linspire opens
a file browsing window with the item’s contents. To remove the item
from your system, right-click its icon on the desktop and choose Eject.
When you insert a music CD, the CD player launches with the CD loaded.
When you insert a video DVD, if you don’t have the (commercial) DVD
player installed, Linspire opens a CNR window where you can purchase
this player. If you’re a CNR member, the price is less than $5!
When you insert a blank CD or DVD writeable or re-writeable, Linspire
doesn’t do anything automatically. See Chapter 18 for how to burn CDs
and DVDs.
When you insert a floppy, you need to double-click the Floppy icon to
access its contents — this icon exists even if you don’t have a floppy
drive. When you’re finished with the floppy, right-click the icon and
choose Unmount before you remove the disk. Don’t remove the disk
until the drive light turns off, when you can be sure that all the data is
saved properly.
To access something on your network, double-click the Network
Browser icon and browse away. Another option is to double-click the My
Computer icon and then double-click Network Shares.
To access something in your Linux filesystem, double-click the My
Computer icon and then the System icon.
To access something on one of your other partitions (maybe a Windows
partition), double-click the My Computer icon and then the appropriate
drive.
Navigating the filesystem in Mandrake
Mandrake doesn’t offer quite as many obvious shortcuts as the others. To
find your way around:
When you insert a data CD, CD-ROM, DVD, or DVD-ROM, Mandrake adds
an icon to your desktop. You can then double-click that icon to access
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the item’s contents. To remove the item from the drive, right-click the
icon and choose Eject.
When you insert a music CD, the CD player launches with the CD loaded.
When you insert a video DVD, nothing happens. See Chapter 18 for more
on multimedia.
When you insert a blank CD or DVD writeable or re-writeable, burning
software opens. See Chapter 18 for more details.
When you insert a floppy, you need to double-click the Floppy icon —
one of two filesystem icons on your desktop — to access its contents. To
remove it, right-click the icon and choose Unmount.
Accessing files on your network is a bit more complex:
1. Open the Mandrake Software Installer (see Chapter 12).
2. In the Search text box, type lisa and then click Search.
The installer shows you all packages that have the text “lisa” in their
name.
3. Click the lisa box and click Install.
The program asks you for the appropriate CD.
4. Place the CD into the drive, close the drive, and click OK.
The installer adds the lisa program to your system.
5. Close the installer.
6. Click the monitor icon on your panel to open a command line terminal window.
7. In the terminal, type su You’re now in Mandrake as the root user. There’s no password by default
but you can set one if you want.
8. Type /etc/init.d/lisa start
This action starts one of the two programs necessary to get easy network browsing working.
9. Open the Konqueror file browser from anywhere (see Chapter 10).
10. Choose Settings➪Toolbars➪Show Extra Toolbar.
A new toolbar appears.
11. In the new toolbar, click the leftmost icon (Show Navigation Panel).
The Navigation Panel appears. You can get rid of the extra toolbar now if
you want.
12. In the Navigation Panel, click the bottom icon (Services).
Chapter 11: Checking Out the Linux Filesystem
The Services section appears.
13. Click LAN Browser.
The contents of your LAN appear.
14. Browse away.
Continuing through the list of how to access various parts of your
filesystem:
• To access something in your Linux filesystem, open the Konqueror
file browser. In its Location text box, type a / and press Enter.
• To access something on one of your other partitions (maybe a
Windows partition), open the Konqueror file browser and type
/dev/hd and select the appropriate option from the list. This may
take some trial and error at first (and it makes more sense in the
section “Partitions versus Directories,” later in this chapter).
Navigating the filesystem in SuSE
SuSE is another distribution that offers some handy icons to make the browsing process more intuitive. To find your way around in SuSE:
When you insert a data CD, CD-ROM, DVD, or DVD-ROM, a Konqueror
window opens with the item’s contents. You can remove the CD by closing the window and pressing the eject button on your computer.
When you insert a music CD or a video DVD, SuSE recognizes it as such
and asks whether it should open the item with a particular tool. Click
Yes if you want it to do so, and No if not. If you want your choice to be
your default answer, make sure to click the Do Not Ask Again check box
to add the X. You may receive a message that DVD playback for all or
particular DVDs is disabled due to legal reasons. If so, see Chapter 18.
When you insert a blank CD or DVD writeable or re-writeable, burning
software opens. See Chapter 18 for more on burning CDs and DVDs.
When you insert a floppy, click the My Computer icon on your desktop,
and then the Floppy icon, to access its contents. When you’re finished,
close the window and press the ejection button on your computer to
remove the floppy.
To access something on your network, click the Network Browsing icon
on your desktop.
To access something in your Linux filesystem, click the My Computer
icon on your desktop and look to the left hand vertical row of icons on
the window. Click the second up from the bottom (Root).
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To access something on one of your other partitions (maybe a Windows
partition) click the My Computer icon on your desktop and then browse
through the contents of your hard drive(s) — which are represented
here with a separate icon for each partition. It may take some trial and
error to figure out, but you’ll find what you’re looking for.
Navigating the filesystem in Xandros
Because Xandros is another distribution aimed at newcomers, you expect it
to be easy to navigate. Here’s how to find your way around in this one:
When you insert a data CD, CD-ROM, DVD, or DVD-ROM, the Xandros
File Manager opens to its contents. You can remove this item by closing
the window and pressing the eject button on your computer.
When you insert a music CD, a music player opens.
When you insert a video DVD, a video player may or may not open. See
Chapter 18 for more on using multimedia.
When you insert a blank CD or DVD writeable or re-writeable, a CD creation window appears.
When you insert a floppy, to access its contents, open the Xandros File
Manager (see Chapter 10) and click the Floppy entry on the left. When
you’re finished, close the window and eject the floppy using the button
on the computer.
To access something on your network, open the Xandros File Manager
(see Chapter 10). Either select Windows Network or NFS (Unix/Linux)
network on the left.
To access something in your Linux filesystem, open the Xandros File
Manager (see Chapter 10) and choose Go➪All File Systems.
To access something on one of your other partitions (maybe a Windows
partition), look for it on the left.
Partitions versus Directories
One very important thing to understand about the Linux filesystem is that it
may not all be on one single hard drive or hard drive partition, and yet you
don’t have to keep track of what drive or partition it’s on like you do in other
operating systems. In the Microsoft Windows world, if you use separate hard
drives or partitions, you have a specific letter designation for each one. The
primary hard drive is C, the next is D, and so on. Under Linux, each of these
drives and partitions quietly blends together.
Chapter 11: Checking Out the Linux Filesystem
If you partitioned your hard drives on your own, you know that you needed
to specify a mount point for each partition — which is like an empty spot in a
puzzle, where the outside partition or media can be plugged into the rest of
the filesystem. In the case of a hard drive partition that’s part of your primary
filesystem and added at boot time, the mount point isn’t in the /mnt or /media
part of the filesystem. It’s an item in the root directory — maybe /boot or / or
/usr — or anywhere else in your directory hierarchy (like /usr/share). Later,
when you’re working on the computer, you don’t need to know or care about
whether the directories or files are all on one drive or are on multiple drives.
You just do your thing.
The times you do need to know how Linux sees the hardware are when you’re
trying to add new hard drives, install the machine while not using automatic
partitioning, or access temporary media. Table 11-4 lists a common breakdown
of popular hardware designations. Note that these designations aren’t in /mnt
or /media; they’re in /dev. They’re the actual device driver shortcuts — which
point to the real drivers. These names are typically used for convenience so
that you don’t have to remember exactly which driver to deal with.
Table 11-4
Common Drive Designations
Designation
Description
/dev/cdrom
CD-ROM drive; if you have more than one, then you may
have /dev/cdrom1 and so on, and you also may see
/dev/cdwriter, /dev/dvd, or even a hard drive designation such as /dev/hda
/dev/fd0
Floppy drive 1
/dev/fd1
Floppy drive 2
/dev/hda
First IDE hard drive
/dev/hda1
First IDE hard drive, first primary or extended partition
/dev/hda2
First IDE hard drive, second primary or extended partition
/dev/hdb
Second IDE hard drive
/dev/hdb1
Second IDE hard drive, first primary or extended partition
/dev/hdb2
Second IDE hard drive, second primary or extended
partition
/dev/sda
First SCSI hard drive
/dev/sda1
First SCSI hard drive, first primary or extended partition,
and often also a small USB drive like a thumbnail/keyring
storage device
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You probably see a pattern by now. A hard drive has a three-letter
designation:
An IDE drive’s designation starts with /dev/hd; the first drive of this
type is a, the second is b, and so on. The third IDE drive looks like this:
/dev/hdc. If you’re using something like a Promise controller that
bypasses the main IDE controllers (I know, this is technical stuff), then
your first IDE hard drive will, in fact, show up as /dev/hde. I know this
one from personal experience!
A SCSI drive’s designation starts with /dev/sd; the first drive of this
type is also a, the second is b, and so on. The fourth SCSI drive looks like
this: /dev/sdd. USB drives are also seen as SCSI devices. A little item
like a USB keychain is often seen as /dev/sda1 by your system if you
don’t have any permanent SCSI drives attached.
The number that follows the three-letter designation represents the partition
you’re referring to. I cover partitioning your hard drive in Chapter 2.
In Figure 11-1, I break down this concept, hopefully making it a bit more
accessible. In this case, the user created three partitions for Linux. The first
IDE drive is a single partition, allocated for the root partition. The second
IDE drive is broken into two partitions. The first was given /usr; and the
second, /var.
If you move around the filesystem, you can’t tell (and don’t need to know)
which of these directories is on which drive. The prompt, for example, doesn’t
change based on which drive each directory is on; the commands used for
moving around the filesystem (see Appendix A) don’t care about the underlying hard drive or drives.
Windows
A:
Floppy
/mnt/floppy Floppy
B:
CDROM
/mnt/cdrom CDROM
First IDE
drive
Figure 11-1:
Linux versus
Windows in
handling
partitions
and hard
drives.
Second
IDE
drive
Linux
/dev/hda1
/
C:
D:
E:
/dev/hdb1
/usr
/dev/hdb2
/var
First
partition
Second
partition
First
partition
Second
partition
First IDE
drive
Second
IDE
drive
Chapter 11: Checking Out the Linux Filesystem
Formatting Disks
A floppy disk, USB keychain, and any other small(ish) storage device often
comes as a blank slate or formatted for Windows or Macintosh use (most
often these days they come formatted for Windows). If the item is a blank
slate, no computer can use it for anything. You can actually just use the item
in Windows format with no problem, or you can format — change its base
setup — for Linux. (The handy thing about leaving it as a Windows disk is
that you can then use it to share things with Windows users).
To format a floppy, place the floppy into your floppy drive and do the following:
Fedora: Choose Applications➪System Tools➪Floppy Formatter.
Knoppix: Right-click the floppy icon on the desktop and choose
Actions➪Format Floppy Disk.
Linspire: From the main menu, choose Programs➪Utilities➪Floppy
Formatter.
Mandrake: From the main menu, choose System➪Configuration➪
Hardware➪KFloppy.
SuSE: From the main menu, choose System➪Filesystem➪KFloppy.
Xandros: Open the Xandros File Manager (see Chapter 10), right-click
the Floppy entry in the left section, and choose Format. You may have to
click the Floppy item first to open its contents before you can format it.
Typically, the defaults are what you’ll want to choose. If you want to format
the disks for Linux, use the Linux Native (ext2) format. To share disks with
Windows users, choose DOS (FAT). Another setting you may want to choose
is Thorough rather than Quick.
Care and Feeding of Your Filesystem
Regardless of which operating system you’re using, you need to keep your
filesystem healthy and happy. Everything that you need to operate the
machine and do your work (or play) on it exists in that filesystem. Keep it in
good shape, and it’s sure to treat you well in return. Fortunately, Linux does
some of it automatically for you.
If your machine fails to reboot
If your machine didn’t shut down cleanly (a nice euphemism meaning that it
either crashed or you shut the power off without properly telling the machine
to shut down, as discussed in Chapter 5), the system checks the filesystem if
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necessary at boot time, taking the need to do this out of your hands.
Sometimes, however, if something went really wrong, you get this unnerving
prompt that tells you to enter your password or press Control-D to continue.
If this prompt appears, type your root (administrative) password, press
Enter, and the follow these steps. Don’t worry; more often than not, you can
actually fix this problem:
Because it’s a bit of an art at times trying to figure out which partition may be
damaged, I walk you through a process where you check the most likely ones
to bring you to this state and then work through the rest in turn.
1. Type df -h to see a list of all your partitions.
The df command lists the mounted partitions and media in addition to
some statistics about them. You may, for example, see something like
the following:
Filesystem
/dev/hde2
/dev/hde1
none
/dev/hdf3
Size
54G
99M
506M
54G
Used Avail Use% Mounted on
27G
24G 54% /
6.0M
88M
7% /boot
0 506M
0% /dev/shm
39G
13G 76% /mnt/FC1
2. Look for an item with /boot in the right column.
If you find one, great. Proceed to Step 3. Otherwise, skip to Step 10.
3. On that same line, look on the left column to see what partition /boot
is on.
In this example, /boot is on /dev/hde1.
4. Type mount.
This command gives you something even more cryptic looking. In my
example, it may be
/dev/hde2 on / type ext3 (rw)
none on /proc type proc (rw)
none on /sys type sysfs (rw)
none on /dev/pts type devpts (rw,gid=5,mode=620)
usbdevfs on /proc/bus/usb type usbdevfs (rw)
/dev/hde1 on /boot type ext3 (rw)
none on /dev/shm type tmpfs (rw)
/dev/hdf3 on /mnt/FC1 type ext3 (rw)
sunrpc on /var/lib/nfs/rpc_pipefs type rpc_pipefs (rw)
5. Locate the line with /boot on it once again and look at what “type” is
being used.
In this case, /boot on /dev/hde1 is formatted as type ext3. Keep this
in mind. You’ll need to use this information in Step 8.
6. Type umount /boot.
This command should release the partition.
Chapter 11: Checking Out the Linux Filesystem
You never, never, never, never, never want to run the command I’m
about to use on a partition you’re using or you will mess it up badly!
7. Type df -h again to make sure that this partition is no longer listed.
In the example, you should now see:
Filesystem
/dev/hde2
none
/dev/hdf3
Size
54G
506M
54G
Used Avail Use% Mounted on
27G
24G 54% /
0 506M
0% /dev/shm
39G
13G 76% /mnt/FC1
See, no /boot partition!
8. What you type now depends on what type setting /boot had:
• ext2 or ext3: Type e2fsck -fy partition, such as e2fsck -fy
/dev/hde1
• reiserfs: Type reiserfsck --fix-fixable partition, such
as reiserfsck --fix-fixable /dev/hde1, and if this gives
you more errors, follow with reiserfsck --rebuild-tree
partition, such as reiserfsck –rebuild-tree /dev/hde1
9. Type exit and let the machine try to reboot.
If the machine can reboot, you’re done, yay! If not, return to Step 6 and
run through the process again. Sometimes, you actually need to try
the fix more than once. If you reboot again at the end and it still fails,
proceed.
10. Repeat Steps 1 and 4, but this time look for the lines that correspond
to the / directory.
In my example, / is mounted from /dev/hde2 and is formatted using
ext3. Unfortunately, you can’t remove the / filesystem since it’s got all of
your commands! But, there is still a safe way to do this.
11. Type mount -o remount,ro /.
This command releases the root (/) partition and then adds it again, but
this time as read-only so things won’t be changing as you’re working on
it. That makes what you’re about to do safe.
12. Repeat Step 8 for the / partition.
So, for my example, the / partition is /dev/hde2, so you’d be starting
with ext2fsck -fy /dev/hde2 or reiserfsck --fix-fixable
/dev/hde2
13. Repeat Step 9.
Again, if it fails to reboot, repeat Steps 10 through 12 to see whether that
fixes things.
Unfortunately, at this point, if the problem still occurs, it could be many,
many things. Now is a good time to go to your local Linux Users’ Group (see
Chapter 4) or online help site.
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Don’t run out of room!
One of the most insidious problems that all computer users run into from time
to time is a lack of disk space. The scope of this problem really depends on a
number of things. The primary issue is that, if your root partition becomes 99
or 100 percent full, you need to use emergency rescue techniques (refer to
Chapter 5) to boot the machine and clean it out. That’s no fun, is it?
In the beginning, you’re probably not in danger of filling the drives, unless
you barely had enough room to install Linux in the first place. However, over
time, you may forget about watching the drives for remaining space. Even
experienced administrators run into this problem, so certainly you’re forgiven if you do it too!
Really do try to make doing the following a habit:
1. Open a command prompt window (see Chapter 14).
2. Type df -h.
That’s it! As you can see earlier in the section “If your machine fails to
reboot,” though you ignored it at the time, the columns include
Size: How big the partition is.
Used: How much of the partition has been used already.
Avail: How much is left.
Use%: So we don’t have to do mental math, a % of how much of the partition has been used up.
When you start reaching 90 percent, it’s time to start doing some
housecleaning!
Chapter 12
Adding Software to Linux
In This Chapter
Recognizing tarballs, RPMs, and compressed files
Creating tarballs and archives
Compressing files
Opening tarballs, archives, and compressed files
Installing and removing RPMs
I will make you shorter by the head.
— Queen Elizabeth I
W
hen you start using a new operating system, one of the most frustrating
things is trying to figure out all the goofy file extensions. The Windows
world has .exe and .zip. The Macintosh world has .bin and .hqx. What
about the Linux world? It certainly has its fair share of bizarre extensions,
but, really, they make a great deal of sense after you know the programs that
make them. In this chapter, you find out all about .tar, .gz, .tar.gz, .tgz,
.bz2, and .rpm. Anyone up for a game of Scrabble with alphabet soup?
After you’ve got the letter jumble all figured out, you’ll be happy to find that
Linux offers a number of cool tools for working with these crazy files, updating your system, adding new software, and more.
Opening Downloaded Files
The Linux and Unix worlds are full of strange terms and acronyms. For example, if someone comes up to you out of the blue and starts talking about tarballs, you probably get a mental image of sticky, smelly balls of tar, maybe
rolled in feathers. Yet a tarball is something you run into regularly in the Linux
world, especially when you’re looking for software or you need to save yourself some space. A tarball is a bunch of files (and possibly directories) packaged together in a tar file and then compressed by using the gzip utility.
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WinZip can open tarballs with no problem on a Windows computer.
Fortunately, all you need to know is how to double-click a file in order to
access the many types listed in Table 12-1. Once you double-click the file,
your File Manager shows you what’s inside.
While Table 12-1 mentions operating systems, ‘it doesn’t contain hard and
fast rules. People tend to use whatever kind of programs they’re comfortable
with no matter what operating system they’re on.
Table 12-1
Potential Formats for Downloaded Files
Extension
Meaning
Program(s)
Involved
.bz
Older form of .bz2.
bzip, bunzip
.bz2
Extensive Linux and Unix compressed file.
bzip2, bunzip2
.deb
Not a file to “open;” see the “Installing New
Software” section, later in this chapter.
apt
.gz
Typical compressed file for Linux and Unix.
gzip, gunzip
.iso
A CD-ROM or DVD-ROM “image,” which is a
See Chapter 18.
single file that contains a CD or DVD’s entire
contents. You have to tell your CD or DVD burner
software that this file is an image so that it knows
not to just place a copy of this file onto the media.
.rpm
Not a file to “open;” ‘“”see the “Installing
New Software” section, later in this chapter.
rpm
.tar
A bunch of files bundled together.
tar
.tar.bz2
A tarball, which in this case is a .tar file inside
a .bz2 file.
tar, bzip2,
bunzip2
.tar.gz
A traditional tarball, which is a .tar file
inside a .gz file.
tar, gunzip, gzip
.tgz
A traditional tarball, which is a .tar file
inside a .gz file.
tar, gunzip, gzip
.Z
Old-style Unix compressed file.
compress,
uncompress
.zip
Windows ZIP file.
zip, unzip
WinZip (www.winzip.com) can handle .gz, .tgz, and .tar.gz files (along with
the .bz2 versions) for Windows users.
Chapter 12: Adding Software to Linux
Compressing and Packaging
Files to Share
Life isn’t all about “take, take, take” (or at least I should hope not!) Sometimes
you’ve just gotta give. Creating care packages to share with other folks
involves learning how to tell Nautilus (GNOME users) or Konqueror (KDE
users) that you want to do so. However, because the overall process is so
similar, I don’t break these steps down into separate sections.
To package up and compress files for sending off to other people, navigate to
the location where you’ve stored the file(s) — see Chapter 10 for how to
move about — and then:
1. Determine whether you want to compress or package a single file, a
group of files, or a whole folder.
If the files and folders that you want to bundle together are flung all over
the place in your folders, you may want to create a new folder and copy
the items you want to bundle together into it. Chapter 10 shows you
how to do so.
2. Select the item(s) you want to package.
Chapter 10 explains how to do so. If you want to select a whole folder,
navigate into its parent folder and just select the folder’s icon instead of
entering it.
3. Right-click over the item(s) (or if you’re using Nautilus, you can also
choose the Edit menu).
The context menu appears if you right-clicked or, in Nautilus, the Edit
menu opens.
4. Create your archive.
How you create your archive depends on what distribution you’re using:
• Fedora: In the context or Edit menu, choose Create Archive. In
both cases, the Create Archive dialog box appears, suggesting a
tarball (see Table 12-1) version of the file. If this is what you want,
leave it alone, or change the file extensions (as discussed in the
table) to match what you want. Then click Create, and you’re finished with these steps.
• Knoppix and Mandrake: In the context menu, select Actions and
then the appropriate Create option as guided by Table 12-1: Create
gzipped tar Archive means to make a .tar.gz or .tgz file; Create
bzipped tar Archive means to make a .tar.bz2 or .tbz2 file; and
Create zip Archive means to make a .zip file.
• Linspire: You cannot use the file browser in Linspire 4.5 to create
an archive. Instead, you’ll have to go to the main menu➪Programs➪
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Utilities➪Archiving Tool to open the Ark program (which is available with most of the distributions listed here as well).
• SuSE: In the context menu, select Compress➪Compress As. See
Table 12-1 to help you determine which format you want to use.
• Xandros: In the context menu, choose Add to ZIP Archive if you’re
sharing with Windows users, or Create TGZ Archive to make a tarball, as discussed in Table 12-1.
5. If you want to rename the file or change where it should go in your
filesystem, do so now.
Leave the .tar.gz or .gz part alone. Just change the first part. For
example, if you’re archiving the Files folder, then the suggested name
might be Files.tar.gz. If you wanted to use Files100305.tar.gz for
the actual name, you would just add the date into the existing name.
6. Click OK.
The archive is created.
Updating Your Software
In the last couple of years, updating your operating system and software in
Linux has become easier and easier. Each Linux distribution has its own way
of handling updates, so I cover how to do update each one in its own section.
The cool thing is that you’re actually updating your operating system and its
software all at once. Be sure to be connected to the Internet before you try to
update!
I don’t cover how to update Knoppix, however, because if you’re using
Knoppix, you didn’t install anything to update! If you’re interested in
installing and updating Knoppix, see Chapter 21.
Updating Fedora
If you look to the right of your upper Fedora panel, you see a big red circle
with a white exclamation point inside or a blue circle with a checkmark. This
is your updater, and once you configure it, the red circle warns you that
you’ve got updates available that you haven’t applied yet. Click this icon,
and the Red Hat Network (RHN) Alert Notification Tool dialog box appears
(see Figure 12-1). You can see the updates available in the main (Available
Updates) tab, where you can decide whether you want to launch the updater.
To update your system from the RHN Alert Notification Tool:
1. Click Launch up2date.
Chapter 12: Adding Software to Linux
Figure 12-1:
The Red Hat
Network
Alert
Notification
Tool dialog
box,
Available
Updates tab.
This action opens either the Red Hat Network Configuration dialog
box, shown in Figure 12-2, or the Red Hat Update Agent, depending on
whether you’ve already configured this tool — either way, you may first
be asked to enter your root (administrative password). If you get the
Configuration dialog box, then proceed to Step 2. If you get the Update
Agent, skip to Step 10.
2. If your ISP or employer requires you to use a Web proxy, then click
the Enable HTTP Proxy check box to put a check in it; otherwise, skip
to Step 6.
3. Enter the address for your proxy in the associated text box.
4. If the proxy requires authentication, click the Use Authentication box.
If not, skip to Step 6.
5. Enter your proxy login and password in the Username and Password
text boxes.
Figure 12-2:
The General
tab of
Red Hat
Network
Configuration dialog
box.
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I am going to skip the Retrieval/Installation tab because I recommend
that you keep all the defaults anyway. If you want to find out more about
what’s available in this tab, point a Web browser to www.redhat.com/
docs/manuals/RHNetwork/ref-guide/3.4 and click section 2.4.1,
“Using the Red Hat Update Agent Configuration Tool.”
6. Click the Package Exceptions tab to move to this section of the dialog
box (see Figure 12-3).
Figure 12-3:
The
Package
Exceptions
tab of the
Red Hat
Network
Configuration
dialog box.
7. Click kernel and then click Remove.
You’re now able to automatically update your operating system as well
as your software.
8. Click OK to proceed.
A Question dialog box opens. It asks you about creating a GPG (www.
gnupg.org) security key.
9. Click Yes.
You’re now able to have your updater verify that the updates sent to you
are from Red Hat and not from some nasty place! Now the Welcome To
Red Hat Update Agent dialog box appears.
10. Click Forward to proceed.
The Channels dialog box, shown in Figure 12-4, appears.
11. Click Forward to proceed.
A progress window appears, showing you a slider bar as the updater
checks to see what’s available. Once the available updates are recorded,
the Available Package Updates dialog box appears.
Chapter 12: Adding Software to Linux
Figure 12-4:
The update
agent’s
Channels
dialog box.
12. Click Select All Packages.
If you want, you can individually pick the items you want to update. If
you want to know why an update is available, click the item in the list
and look in the bottom section to find out what that item is for; then
click View Advisory to see why the update is available.
13. When you’re ready to proceed, click Forward.
The system makes sure that all dependencies are met, and then the
Retrieving Packages dialog box appears. Two progress bars, one for individual packages and one for the total set of downloads, show you how
much longer you have to go. When the downloads are finished, the
Forward button becomes available.
14. Click Forward when the download is done.
The Installing Packages dialog box appears. The system now installs all
the updates it just grabbed and then offers you the Forward button
when you’re done.
15. Click Forward when the installation is complete.
The All Finished dialog box appears.
16. Click the Finished button, and you’re done.
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Sometimes this process can be slow, freeze up, or be downright ornery. If any
of this happens to you, cancel out of the update and restart it (though first
give it a few minutes to see whether the program unfreezes on its own).
Updating Linspire
Here’s where you get to meet Linspire’s Click And Run Warehouse (CNR)! It’s
pretty cool stuff, especially for folks new to Linux. To update your system
using CNR:
1. Double-click the CNR icon on the bottom left of your desktop, or
single-click the icon on the left of your panel.
These two icons look identical — they’re running men on a green background. When you activate this icon, the CNR-Client dialog box appears
(see Figure 12-5).
2. If you’re using a free version of Linspire, click Get Membership and
then Start Free Trial to sign up. If you’re using a version you purchased, choose Settings➪Login/Logout.
I’m going to stick with the purchased instructions, because they’re going
to apply to free users as well once you’ve got your trial membership
information. The My.Linspire Login screen appears.
Figure 12-5:
The Linspire
CNR Client.
Chapter 12: Adding Software to Linux
3. Enter your e-mail address in the Email Address text box.
4. If you haven’t set up your CNR account yet, then click No, I Need To
Create A New Account. Otherwise, click Yes, I Have An Account
Password and enter that password in the text box.
I’m going to cover created accounts, because it’s just an issue of filling
out forms to set up for CNR.
5. Click Go! to proceed.
Remember, I’m assuming that you’ve set up your account at this point.
After you click Go, you suddenly start seeing notices that you have
updates available. When these messages appear, notice that a new icon
appears to the right of your panel. It’s a green circle with a blue arrow
pointing up. You can click this icon to load the update for that piece of
software immediately rather than proceeding through the rest of these
steps. I’m going to focus on updating the whole system at the moment
because you may have more than one update available.
6. Click the My Products tab.
The My Products section appears (see Figure 12-6).
7. Click Available Updates to see what software updates are available.
You may not have many at all, or you may have a lot.
8. Select the update(s) you want to apply.
Figure 12-6:
The My
Products
tab of
Linspire 4.5
CNR Client.
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9. Click Install/Update Selected to begin the update.
The Install/Update Products — CNR Client dialog box appears to let you
know that the item(s) have been added to your download queue. If you
don’t want to receive this notice again, click the Do Not Show This
Message Again check box.
10. Click the X in the upper right hand corner to close the CNR Client.
Updating Mandrake
To update your Mandrake system, do the following:
1. Choose System➪Configuration➪Packaging➪ Mandrakelinux Update.
You may be asked for your root (administrative) password. The rpmdrake dialog box then appears to ask whether you really want to update
your system.
2. Click Yes when asked whether it’s okay to continue.
Another question dialog box appears, asking whether you’re connected
to the Internet.
3. When you’re sure your Internet connection is on, click Yes to continue.
After rpmdrake finds the list of mirrors — sites you can use for updates —
the Please Choose The Desired Mirror dialog box appears.
4. Select the location closest to you and then click OK.
Once the update server can be contacted, the Software Packages Update
dialog box appears (see Figure 12-7).
Figure 12-7:
The
Software
Packages
Update
dialog box in
Mandrake
10.1.
Chapter 12: Adding Software to Linux
5. Click Bugfixes and Normal Updates to add these two update groups to
your selections.
6. Click All to choose everything you can update.
You may be told that some packages can’t be updated due to dependency issues. That’s fine; just leave them for now.
7. Click Install to proceed.
A progress dialog box shows you how far you are with each selected
package.
8. When the update is complete, click OK to close the notification dialog
box and then Quit to close the updater.
Sometimes this process can be slow, freeze up, or be a bit of a pain, depending on how many people are trying to do it at the same time. If you have
problems, cancel out of the update and restart it (though first give it a few
minutes to see whether the program unfreezes on its own). You also may
want to try a different update source, even one in another country, if you
continually have problems with a specific one. If the update didn’t succeed,
you’re offered the chance to select one again if you start over from Step 1.
Updating SuSE
If you look on your SuSE panel, toward the right, you find a collection of tiny
icons. One of these icons is probably a blue circle containing a white exclamation point. This is the SuSE Watcher, which is your friend when it comes to
system updates:
1. Click the SuSE Watcher icon.
A Question dialog box opens, asking if you want to activate the update
service.
2. Click Yes.
The susewatcher dialog box, shown in Figure 12-8, appears.
3. Click Start Online Update.
You may be asked for your root (administrator) password, enter it and
click OK if you are. After this, the YaST Online Update dialog box
appears, as shown in Figure 12-9.
4. In the Installation Source drop-down list box, select the update server
closest to you.
5. Click Manually Select Patches to remove the X from the box.
Otherwise you have to keep telling the updater Yes to various updates.
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Figure 12-8:
The susewatcher
system
updater
dialog box.
6. If you want to set up SuSE to automatically update itself (recommended if you’re permanently connected to the Internet), click the
Configure Fully Automatic Update button; otherwise, skip to Step 11.
The YOU Automatic Mode Setup dialog box appears.
Figure 12-9:
SuSE’s YaST
Online
Update
dialog box.
Chapter 12: Adding Software to Linux
7. Click Enable Automatic Update to add an X to its box.
The rest of the dialog box’s settings become available.
8. Change the hour (in 24 hour format) to the hour of the day you want
to have this update run.
It’s handy to run updates late at night when you’re not using the
computer.
9. If you don’t want the updater to install the updates, only download
them so that you can add them yourself, click Only Download Patches.
10. Click OK to close the YOU Automatic Update Mode Setup dialog box.
11. Click Next to check for updates.
For many reasons, this process may fail when nothing is actually wrong.
If it fails, make sure that you’re connected to the Internet. If you are,
then try again. If it fails five or ten times in a row, choose another update
server and then try again — a failure actually leaves you in the proper
dialog box to make the change immediately so you don’t have to fuss
around. Changing servers typically solves your problem.
Once the check begins, the Retrieving Information about New Updates
dialog box shows you a progress bar. Then, when all the information has
been gathered, the Patch Download And Installation dialog box appears.
You see two progress bars here, one labeled Patch Progress for the particular update being applied (which is described in the upper portion of
the dialog) and the other for Total Progress so that you can see how
long you have remaining.
If you want SuSE to erase the intermediate items it downloads during the
update process, click Remove Source Packages After Update.
When the update is complete, the Finish button becomes available.
12. Click Finish to proceed to the Writing System Configuration
dialog box.
Here SuSE is just making sure that it knows where everything is. After
this process is finished, the YaST Online Update dialog box closes. You
can close the SuSE Watcher dialog box by clicking the Close button.
From now on, if you’ve automated updates, you won’t have to do this by
hand. If you elected to do it by hand, watch for that little icon (which turns
into a green circle with a face in it once you’ve updated) to turn red again.
Updating Xandros
Xandros has added the Xandros Networks in order to help its users update
their system and add new software with ease. To use this tool to update your
operating system and software:
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1. Double-click the Xandros Networks icon on the left of your desktop.
The Xandros Networks dialog box opens (see Figure 12-10).
2. When told the tool needs to download information, click OK.
After the download is complete, the Xandros Networks dialog box fills
in. You have the option of installing all updates at once (recommended)
or selecting them much as you do in Microsoft Windows. If you want to
select them, click the Application Updates item on the left and follow the
instructions. I walk you through how to do them all at once.
3. Choose File➪Install All Latest Updates From Xandros to install all
available updates.
A progress bar lets you see how far along you’ve come in grabbing the
list. When the full list is downloaded, the Get Latest Updates dialog box
appears.
4. Click OK to proceed.
The password dialog box appears.
5. Enter your Administrator/root password and press Enter.
The update begins. When it’s complete, the Enter button goes away, and
the animations stop.
6. Click Close to close the Updater dialog box.
7. Choose File➪Quit to close the Xandros Networks client.
Figure 12-10:
The
Xandros
Networks
dialog box.
Chapter 12: Adding Software to Linux
Installing New Software
In many cases, installing new software isn’t much harder than updating; it
just depends on the distribution and what tools have been incorporated for
this process. My focus in this section is on using these tools. Later, in the section “Finding More New Software” I address how to add programs that aren’t
included in these tools. Within each distribution’s section, I also tell you how
to add many of the programs discussed throughout this book.
Again, Knoppix isn’t included here, since you can’t permanently install new
software onto a CD!
Eating it up with Fedora’s yum
Fedora doesn’t offer a graphical software installation program, but you can
download a very cool one from the FedoraNEWS site called GYUM. To download and install this program:
1. Point your Web browser to www.fedoranews.org/tchung/gyum/.
2. Look through the page for a link to this software for “FC3” (Fedora
Core 3).
3. Click through the link. You see something similar to:
Parent Directory
gyum-1.0-1.fc2.noarch.rpm
gyum-1.0-1.fc2.src.rpm
gyum-1.0.tar.gz
gyum.spec
30-Jul-2004
30-Jul-2004
30-Jul-2004
30-Jul-2004
14:49
14:49
14:49
14:49
25K
23K
20K
2.8K
4. Download the file with the word “noarch” in it.
5. Double-click your home directory icon on your desktop.
6. Double-click the Desktop icon and then the Downloads icon.
7. Double-click the RPM to install it. After you have this handy program
installed, you can add some software sources and then discover how to
use Gyum!
If, for whatever reason, you prefer to add software from the command line
rather than through gyum (maybe you just don’t like the program), you can
use the yum command directly in text. See the www.fedoranews.org site for
helpful articles and tutorials to get you through this process.
Adding yum repositories
Yum uses what’s called repositories (sites that offer software in a way that
yum can understand) in order to track what’s available and grab what it
needs. By default, only the main Fedora repository is available for many
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reasons, some legal, so the first thing most people do is go add a bunch of
repositories to their list. To add some cool repositories, do the following:
1. Point your Web browser to www.fedoratracker.org.
2. Click Repositories.
The repository search page appears.
3. In the For Fedora Version drop-down list box, select Release 3.
4. In the Show Results As drop-down list box, select Apt/Yum Config Files.
5. Click Submit Query.
The tracker searches for all the repositories it knows about for Fedora
Core 3.
6. Scroll down past the Global Options and Fedora Core Repositories
sections.
You already have global options set (to find out more about these,
access a command prompt — see Chapter 14 if you’re not sure how to
do so — and type man yum.conf).
7. In the sections below the ones you just skipped, select the repositories
you want to add.
I typically recommend fedora.us and rpm.livna.org (note the warnings for users within the US) at the very least, along with Macromedia’s
site, which doesn’t show up in the tracker. For Macromedia’s Flash
plugin, hold onto the following information, which you need in Step 12:
[macromedia]
name=Macromedia Flash
gpgcheck=0
baseurl=http://sluglug.ucsc.edu/macromedia/apt/fedora/$releasever/
You can ignore the indentations; the indented item is actually part of the
line above it.
You may want to try other repositories as well.
8. Open a command line terminal.
If you’re not sure how, see Chapter 14.
9. Type su - to temporarily gain root access and then enter your password when prompted or log into the GUI as root.
10. Open the /etc/yum.conf file in your preferred text editor.
Chapter 16 covers text editors, if you need help.
11. Go down to the bottom of the file, below all the existing text.
12. Add the required text for the repositories you chose from the tracker
site.
Chapter 12: Adding Software to Linux
For example, you might add:
[livna-stable]
name=Livna.org Fedora Compatible Packages (stable)
baseurl=http://rpm.livna.org/fedora/$releasever/$basearch/yum/stable
[fedora-us]
name=Fedora.us The Non Red Hat Fedora packages (stable)
baseurl=http://download.fedora.us/fedora/fedora/$releasever/$basearch/RPMS.
stable
[fedora-us updates]
name=Fedora.us Updates
baseurl=http://download.fedora.us/fedora/fedora/$releasever/$basearch/RPMS.
updates/
[macromedia]
name=Macromedia Flash
baseurl=http://sluglug.ucsc.edu/macromedia/apt/fedora/$releasever/
13. Save and exit the file.
You now have access to a ton of software!
You won’t be able to update these programs through the graphical updater
discussed earlier unless you add them to its configuration as well. To do so,
you’ll need to edit the file /etc/sysconfig/rhn/sources and follow the instructions in that file. However, you will be able to update these programs using
gyum, the program discussed in the next section, so don’t worry if you don’t
want to mess with editing more files! If you want to update from the command line, type su - to become the root user and then type yum -y update.
Getting new software with Gyum
If you’ve already installed Gyum, you’re ready to have some fun. To add new
programs using Gyum, do the following:
1. Open a command line terminal.
See Chapter 14 if you’re not sure how.
2. Type su - to temporarily gain root access and then enter your password when prompted or log into the GUI as root.
Chapter 6 covers how to create your own desktop icons and program
launchers so that you don’t have to always go through this typing stuff.
3. Type gyum.
The Gyum tool (see Figure 12-11) appears. Expect this tool to take a long
time to load the initial list of software! After this first time, it will be
faster, I promise.
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Figure 12-11:
The Gyum
tool in
Fedora
Core 3.
4. Scroll through the Install section to find what you’re looking for or
type a keyword in the Search text box and then click the Search
button to cut down on the possibilities.
5. Click the item you’re considering.
A description of the package appears in the dialog box’s bottom left
panel.
6. If you want to install this package, click in the box to add a checkmark.
7. Return to Step 4 and work back through for each package you want
to add.
8. When you’re ready to install your selections, click the Install button.
The message Resolving Dependencies appears in the bottom of the
dialog. That means that yum is making sure that nothing else needs to
be added in order to install these programs.
9. If any requirements have to be met, a Proceed dialog box opens,
asking whether it’s okay to install the additional programs listed; click
Continue if this dialog box appears.
You can watch the progress messages in the dialog box’s bottom right
and the bottom of its screen. Eventually, text such as:
Installed: Canna-devel 3.7p1-6.i386
Dep Installed: Canna-libs 3.7p1-6.i386
Transaction(s) Complete
Chapter 12: Adding Software to Linux
appears, and then more text comes up as gyum adjusts its software listing. Seeing the last line shown tells you that the installation went okay.
10. When you’re finished, click the X at the top-right corner to close this
tool.
From time to time, the yum repositories can get overworked, and gyum
freezes up. If this happens, just close it and try again. Gyum is a pretty new
program, so it should get nicer over time. For example, readers of Linux For
Dummies, 5th Edition, had to use yum by hand!
Adding the software in this book
I discuss a number of programs in this book, and you may want to give them
a try. Some are already installed if you did a default Desktop installation of
Fedora Core 3. Others you need to add. You can add many through yum:
To add Mozilla to Fedora Core 3, type yum install mozilla
To add Konqueror (and the KDE desktop along with it) to Fedora Core 3,
type yum install kdebase
To add Kmail and/or Kontact (and the KDE desktop along with it) to
Fedora Core 3, type yum install kdepim
To add Thunderbird to Fedora Core 3, type yum install thunderbird
To install the Macromedia Flash plugin to Fedora Core 3, make sure that
you’ve added the Macromedia repository listed in the section “Adding
yum repositories” and then type yum install flash-plugin
Two major items you may want to add are not available through the yum
repositories, but aren’t too terrible to install either. The first of these is support for Java stuff you’ll run into on the Web and elsewhere. To add Java
support to Fedora Core 3:
1. Point your Web browser to www.java.com/j2se/1.5.0/download.jsp.
The Java Runtime Environment download page appears.
2. Scroll down to the section entitled J2SE 5.0 JRE.
3. Click the Download JRE button in this section.
4. Double-click your home directory icon on the desktop to open your
file browser.
5. Right-click on the file that looks similar to j2re-1_4_2_05-linux-i586rpm.bin and choose Properties.
The file’s Properties dialog box appears.
6. Click the Permissions tab.
The Permissions section of the file Properties dialog box appears.
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7. Under Owner, select Execute and then click Close.
This file can now be run as a program.
8. Right-click on your desktop and select Open Terminal.
A terminal window appears.
9. The file similar to j2re-1_4_2_05-linux-i586-rpm.bin should be in your
default directory; type ls to make sure.
10. Type ./j2re-1_4_2_05-linux-i586-rpm.bin to start the extraction
process.
You get Sun’s Java license, or at least part of it. You may at some point
also be asked for your root (administrative) password. Enter it when
asked and click OK.
11. At each screen that ends with MORE, press the space bar to proceed.
You eventually reach the text Do You Agree To The Above License Terms?
12. Type yes and press Enter to proceed.
A file similar to j2re-1.4.2-05.i586.rpm now appears in the directory.
13. In your file browser, double-click the j2re RPM file.
The RPM is installed for you. You now have Java support.
Another item you may want to add support for is RealPlayer, which gives you
MP3 support and can handle lots of different multimedia formats. To add this
software:
1. Point your Web browser to www.real.com/linux.
You see Real’s Linux page.
2. Click the Download RPM link beneath the big Download RealPlayer
button.
The Opening RealPlayer dialog box appears.
3. Make sure that the Save To Disk option is selected.
4. Click OK to download the file.
The Download Manager dialog box appears. It’s safe to close your
browser now or to browse to another site. Once the download has finished, you can close this dialog box, too.
5. Double-click your home directory icon on the desktop to open your
file browser.
6. Navigate to the folder where you saved the file.
7. Double-click the RealPlayer RPM.
You’re asked for your root password.
Chapter 12: Adding Software to Linux
8. Type your root password and click OK.
The Completed System Preparation dialog box appears.
9. Click Continue to install the program.
Once this process is complete, RealPlayer 10 appears in the Sound &
Video menu.
Clicking and running with Linspire
Playing with Linspire’s CNR Warehouse can be a lot of fun. To add new software with CNR, do the following:
1. Double-click the CNR icon on the bottom left of your desktop or to
single-click the one on left of your panel.
These two icons look identical; they’re running men on a green background. When you activate it, the CNR-Client dialog box appears, as
shown earlier in this chapter (see Figure 12-5).
2. Look on the left for the section labeled CNR Warehouse.
3. Click the + next to it, if you see one, to expand this menu.
The contents of the Warehouse appear, if they were hidden.
4. Browse!
Browsing is the fun part! CNR actually allows you to download free software and to access commercial (pay for) software in the same interface,
making it easy to install, which is pretty cool. So, find something you
want to add.
5. Once you’ve located a program you want to add, the listing looks
something like what’s shown in Figure 12-12.
6. Install the program or read more about it.
What you do in this step depends on how much you know about the
program:
• If you know you want to install this program immediately, click the
green running man icon to add this software with just one click.
• If you want to know more about this program, click the blue I
button to access an information page. From there, you can click
the CNR button to add the program or click Back to change your
mind and not install it.
What’s this Aisle stuff you’re seeing? You can create Aisles to group similar
programs together in a menu and then let other Linspire users access them.
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Figure 12-12:
The CNR
listing for
Java (IBM).
Believe it or not, that’s it. If you followed these instructions, you probably
just installed a program! Of course, if you chose something that you have to
purchase, there’s a bit more involved, but it’s not bad.
You can also actually add things using the Programs menu and its submenus.
If you know, for example, that you’re looking for a Multimedia application,
choose Programs➪Multimedia & Design➪CNR More. Then, you can just
select the application that you want to add to open the CNR tool directly to
that program’s page and then click the CNR button to install it.
Adding the software in this book
You can add most software for Linspire through the CNR Warehouse. To find
the packages discussed in this book and add them, open your CNR client,
click the CNR Membership Services tab, and look in the following CNR
Warehouse sections:
Macromedia Flash support: Choose Multimedia & Design➪Animation➪
Flash 7 Plug-In.
Java support: Choose Internet➪Browsers➪Java (IBM).
Ximian Evolution: Choose Internet➪Email➪Ximian Evolution.
Kmail: Choose Internet➪Email➪Kmail.
Chapter 12: Adding Software to Linux
To add Firefox or Thunderbird, go to www.mozilla.org and follow the
instructions there.
Making it happen with Mandrake
If you read the Fedora section earlier in this chapter, you’re familiar with the
idea of finding software repositories that contain handy prepackaged software
just waiting to be added to your computer. Such repositories also exist for
Mandrake, adding to this distribution’s ease of use. First, you must locate
these repositories, add them to your system so that it knows where to look,
and then finally you can dig around for whatever software you’re interested in.
Finding Mandrake repositories
To add repositories to Mandrake, you need to locate those that interest you
most:
1. Point your Web browser to http://easyurpmi.zarb.org/.
2. In section one, in the Version drop-down list box, choose 10.1 Official.
3. In Architecture, choose i586.
4. Click Proceed to Step 2.
You advance to the second portion of the Web page.
5. Under Core Distribution, check the box labeled Source Contrib. Then,
in its corresponding drop-down list box, choose the location closest
to you.
6. In part 3, decide whether to check the box under External Add-Ons.
See the legal concerns section in Chapter 18 to help you determine
whether to check the box under External Add-Ons. If you check this box,
then choose a download location to use along with it. (You won’t be able
to find one in North America.)
7. If you do a lot of stuff in Java, then go under Other Sources, check the
first box, and select the location for jpackage (www.jpackage.org)
downloads.
8. Click Proceed to Step 3.
Rather than typing the stuff listed in Step 3 at the command line, you’re going
to enter it into the GUI. Proceed to the next section to find out how. (However,
you are welcome to just type the items as described on the page, if that’s what
you want to do.)
Adding Mandrake repositories to your system
After you have the list of repositories you want to add open in your browser
(see the previous section for how to do so), choose System➪Configuration➪
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Packaging➪Software Media Manager (see Figure 12-13) and then do the
following:
1. Click Add.
The Add A Medium dialog box, shown in Figure 12-14, appears.
Figure 12-13:
The Man
drake 10.1
Software
Media
Manager.
Figure 12-14:
The Man
drake 10.1
Software
Media
Manager’s
Add A
Medium
dialog box.
2. Look at the beginning of the URL you were given to determine what it
starts with.
For example, if you see the line:
urpmi.addmedia plf ftp://ftp.cica.es/mirrors/Linux/
plf/mandrake/10.1 with hdlist.cz
you’re interested in the ftp:// part. In this case, it’s an FTP URL; you
can tell by the :// bit.
3. Select the appropriate radio button along the top.
Following the example, I would select FTP server.
Chapter 12: Adding Software to Linux
4. In the Name text box, enter a short but descriptive name for this
repository.
Typically, I stick with the short name shown in the listing, such as plf in
the case of the example.
5. In the URL text box, enter the URL you got from the Web site.
For example, type ftp://ftp.cica.es/mirrors/Linux/plf/
mandrake/10.1.
6. Click the Relative path to synthesis/hdlist box.
7. Add the text that appears on the Web site’s output for this entry, after
the word “with.”
Given the preceding example, I would add hdlist.cz.
8. Click OK.
The tool downloads pertinent information from the site you just added.
9. If you want to add more repositories, return to Step 1. Otherwise,
click OK to close the tool.
Installing software in Mandrake
After you’ve added your repositories (by following the instructions in the
previous section), you can start adding new software using the Mandrake GUI
tools. To do so:
1. Choose System➪Configuration➪Packaging➪Install Software.
The Software Packages Installation dialog box appears (see Figure 12-15).
2. Type a keyword into the text box next to Find.
For example, you might type mp3.
3. Click Search.
The tool now searches through all the package descriptions and displays a list of those that contain the keyword.
4. In the package listing, select a package you think you might be interested in.
More information about that package appears to the right.
5. If you want to add the program, click in its box to add a check.
If it turns out that the program you select needs other programs, a
dialog box pops up notifying you that they’ll be added as well. Click OK
to proceed if this happens. Then, return to Step 2 if you want to look for
more programs.
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Figure 12-15:
The Man
drake 10.1
Software
Packages
Installation
dialog box.
6. When you’re ready to add all the software you’ve selected, click
Install.
If some of the software comes from your Mandrake CDs, you’re asked to
insert the appropriate CD when it’s needed.
7. Once you’re finished, click Quit.
Adding the software in this book
To add the particular programs discussed in this book, add the following
packages using the Installation Manager:
Firefox: mozilla-firefox (search on mozilla)
Thunderbird: mozilla-thunderbird (search on mozilla)
Flash plugin: swfdec-mozilla (search on mozilla)
For RealPlayer and browser support for Java, however, see the Fedora section for how to add these items by hand.
Sassing with SuSE
SuSE’s boxed sets come with an amazing amount of software. Just navigating
the maze of what’s included can be enough to make you tear your hair out if
you don’t know how to use the software management tools. Don’t worry. I
Chapter 12: Adding Software to Linux
don’t want to see any of you go bald (or more bald than you already are!) So,
here’s how you use it.
As with most SuSE administration functions, start by choosing System➪YaST
to pull up the SuSE administration tool. From there:
1. Choose Software➪Install And Remove Software.
The software management dialog box appears, as shown in Figure 12-16.
2. Under Search in, click Description to make sure that you’re searching
in program descriptions for your keywords.
3. Enter your keyword in the Search text box.
For example, maybe you want to see what SuSE offers involving the
quicktime movie format.
4. Click Search.
A progress bar probably appears to let you know that SuSE is searching
through all the program names and descriptions. When the search is
complete, a list of possibilities appears in the top right of the dialog box.
5. Click a program to learn more about it.
More information appears on the lower right portion of the window.
Figure 12-16:
The SuSE
YaST
software
management dialog
box.
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6. For the programs you want to install, click the box next to the item to
add a checkmark.
7. Continue searching and selecting software.
8. When you’re ready to proceed, click Accept.
If there are no dependencies, then the installation begins. If other programs need to be added in order to satisfy dependencies, the Changed
Packages dialog box appears. Click Continue to accept these additional
packages.
9. Insert the appropriate CDs as they’re requested.
After everything is installed, SuSE rebuilds the necessary configuration
files, and then the software installation tool closes.
Prefer to use the DVDs? When you first enter YaST, choose Software ➪Change
Source Of Installation. In the Software Source Media dialog box, choose Add➪
DVD to add the DVDs to the list. Then select the DVD entry in the listing and
click Up so that it’s in the list before the CDs. Click Finish, and you’re ready to
move on!
After you’ve added the software, because you’re adding it from the installation media, you will probably want to update your system so that you get the
latest versions of what you just added.
Adding the software in this book
To add the various programs discussed in this book, open up the YaST software management tool as discussed in the previous section, and then, in the
Filter drop-down list box, choose Package Groups. Now you can see on the
left a list of all the major package groups; and on the right are the contents of
the selected group. You can find the programs you’re looking for in the following Package Groups locations:
Macromedia Flash plug-in: Choose Productivity➪Networking➪Web➪
Browsers➪flash-player.
Java support: Development➪Languages➪Java➪java2-j2re.
Firefox: Productivity➪Networking➪Web➪Browsers➪MozillaFirefox.
Xipping with Xandros Networks
Just as Linspire users can use the CNR Warehouse to add software, Xandros
users can use Xandros Networks. To add software using this tool:
1. Double-click the Xandros Networks icon on your desktop.
The Xandros Networks dialog box opens.
Chapter 12: Adding Software to Linux
2. Click the plus next to New Applications to expand that section of the
menu.
3. Browse through the categories.
4. When you find a program you want to install, click the Install Product
link next to it.
The Install Software dialog box appears.
5. Click OK in the dialog box to download and install the program.
You may be asked to enter your root (Administrator’s) password. Then,
the software is downloaded and added to your machine. No muss, no
fuss! When the update is complete, the Updating System dialog box
stays open.
6. Click Close to close the Updating System dialog box.
7. If you want to add more software, return to Step 3. If you’re finished,
choose File➪Quit.
Adding the software in this book
Many of the programs discussed in this book are either already installed
(such as the Flash and Java plugins) or aren’t offered through Xandros
Networks. You can find Kmail by choosing Internet➪KDE Mail in the New
Applications section. To add more software to your system, see the section
“Finding More Software.”
Finding More Software
What if you can’t find what you’re looking for through the official (and not so
official) sources discussed in the previous section? Those aren’t your only
options. While I can’t anticipate every situation you might find yourself in, I
can at least give you some tips for how to find extra software and how to
install much of it.
The general steps for finding new software involve
1. Find out what you want by opening your favorite Web search engine
and searching on a feature and the word linux.
For example, maybe you want something comparable to the program
irfanview from the Windows world, so you would search on irfanview
linux.
2. Sort through the search results and see whether a particular program
is suggested. If not, then add the word equivalent to your search and
search again.
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So, to continue the example, you would search again but this time using
irfanview linux equivalent. Now you start to see a program called
xnview mentioned. It wouldn’t hurt to turn around and look and see
whether your distribution’s software installation manager offers this
program, before you bother installing it by hand.
3. Do a Web search on the Linux program you’re interested in.
You more often than not find the program’s home page.
4. Click through to that program’s home page.
5. Click through the Download link on that page.
6. Locate and download the most specific version matching your
distribution.
You may be offered, say, Windows, Unix, and Linux options. You would
choose Linux in that case. If offered Linux x86 versus Linux ppc, choose
x86 unless you’re using Linux on an Apple Macintosh computer (which
is not covered in this book). If you’re offered an RPM or a tarball (see the
beginning of this chapter for more information on these), then choose
an RPM if you’re using Fedora, SuSE, or Mandrake, and a tarball if you’re
using Linspire or Xandros — or if you tried the RPM on your Fedora,
SuSE, or Mandrake system and it didn’t work.
7. Once you have the program downloaded, install it as follows:
• If it’s an RPM, open your file manager and double-click the download in order to install it.
• If it’s a tarball, open your file manager and double-click the file in
order to open it up and look at its contents. There should be a file
in there called README or INSTALL. This file contains instructions
on what you need to do, and there may be more instructions available on the Web site itself. Working with tarballs just requires practice; it gets easier over time, so extract the file and get to it!
Upgrading Your OS
When a new version of your Linux distribution comes out, you may find that
you want to upgrade to it. Typically, you can upgrade by downloading or purchasing the new version, starting it just as you would start a new installation
but choosing Upgrade instead of Install. That’s it!
Chapter 13
A Secure Linux Box Is
a Happy Linux Box
In This Chapter
Implementing strong passwords
Keeping your system up to date
Plugging security holes
Using the System Logs Viewer
Securing your system by using best practices
I am Inspector Clouseau, and I am on official police business.
— Inspector Clouseau
Y
ou don’t leave the front door of your house open when you go to work,
do you? How about leaving it shut and locked but with a few nice, big
windows open? The problem is that many people do this every day with their
computers, and they don’t even know it! In this chapter, I take a look at where
your open doors and windows are and what you can do to secure them.
Every user’s actions affect your overall system security. If your family members or officemates need access to your Linux machine, take the time to sit
down and explain the facts of secure life to them. They can then apply this
information to the other computers they use, because these issues aren’t
specific to Linux.
Choosing Secure Passwords
The first line of defense from intruders is the collection of passwords used
on your system. For each account you have set up on your system, the passwords must be strong and difficult to figure out. If even one of the accounts
has a weak password, you may be in for some trouble. Amazingly enough,
in 70 percent of the cases where unauthorized individuals gained access to
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systems, the password for an account was the word password itself! When
choosing good passwords, follow these rules:
Don’t use any part of your name.
Don’t use the names of friends, loved ones, or pets.
Don’t use birthdays, anniversaries, or other easily guessed dates.
Don’t use dictionary words.
Don’t keep your password written down near your computer, unless it’s
buried in something else, such as writing it into an address.
Don’t tell anyone your password. If someone needs to access specific
files, give the person an account and set up permissions and groups
properly so that they can do so.
Do use a mix of lowercase letters, capital letters, and numbers.
Do ensure that your password contains a minimum of eight characters.
Do use acronyms made from sentences, such as having the password
M8yodniT to stand for “My eight-year-old dog’s name is Tabby.”
Every person on your system needs to follow these rules, including you!
Consider keeping a sheet of paper with these rules on it next to the machine.
I can’t stress this advice enough: Never give out your password. Make sure
that the people using your machine understand this rule. You can always find
alternative methods to accomplish a task without giving out your password.
If someone wants to use your machine, make an account for that person.
Then they can have their own password!
Updating Software
All users can download and install new software. Of course, the programs
they install are limited to the user’s own permissions. The thing to be careful
of here — with any operating system — is that you don’t get a version of a
program that has been tampered with or is even an all-out fake trying to trick
folks into installing it.
Most Linux applications and other Linux software programs are distributed
by way of the Internet. In fact, the development cycle of new (and updates
to) Linux software revolves around the Internet for file exchange, e-mail, and
forum or newsgroup discussions. Make sure that you and other users of your
Linux system are comfortable with the Web sites that are used and visited.
You need to develop a list of trusted sites that provide you with the information you need and are not misleading in their presentation. As a starting
point, you can trust all the Web sites referenced in this book because I have
accessed them all. If either you or a user of your Linux system is unsure
Chapter 13: A Secure Linux Box Is a Happy Linux Box
whether you can trust a particular Web site, do some research and perhaps
ask others for their opinions.
Chapter 12 details how to keep your distribution and its software up to date.
Please, please, please, do so! After all, as the person in charge, your job is to
make sure that this computer stays intruder-free. In addition to making sure
that you do all the same things a user would do for both your user accounts
and the superuser (root) account, no matter which Linux distribution you’re
running, you must keep up-to-date with security problems.
Network holes
On a Linux server or workstation — or any computer at all, using any operating system — you should not have any network services running that you
don’t intend to use. Think of each network program running as a glass
window or sliding glass door in your house. Each network service is a weak
spot, and many nasty folks are out there on the Internet who like to go up to
all the houses and make note of how many windows and glass are on them,
what kinds they are, and how easy they are to breach.
Controlling your services
The more flexible your distribution — as far as its ability to run desktops and
many types of servers — the more services it may have running in the background by default. To open the network service management program for
your distribution:
Fedora: Choose Applications➪System Settings➪Server Settings➪
Services (see Figure 13-1).
Knoppix: From the main menu, choose KNOPPIX➪Services. There is no
central service control unit, but because this distribution is designed as
a desktop, few services are available. This menu contains each service
you have access to.
Linspire: There is no central service configuration point, but this distribution is designed to be purely desktop, so there is little to do here
anyway.
Mandrake: From the main menu, choose System➪Configuration➪
Configure Your Computer➪System➪Services.
SuSE: From the main menu, choose System➪YaST➪Network Services.
There is no central service control unit, but in this section, you can
select each service individually to see whether it’s on and find out more
about it. If you’re asked to install software when selecting a service, say
no if you don’t intend to use it! Clicking Cancel does the trick.
Xandros: Choose Launch➪Control Center➪System Administration➪
Services. There are few services here to deal with, however, because this
system is designed strictly as a desktop.
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Figure 13-1:
The Fedora
Service Configuration
dialog box.
Services you may be interested in turning on or off include
apmd: This service may not be necessary in anything but a laptop. It’s
used for monitoring battery power.
iptables: This service is your firewall (more on the firewall in the section
“Controlling and adjusting your firewall” later in this chapter). If you
need to momentarily shut it down, you can do so using the service control dialog box.
isdn: This daemon is typically on by default in some distributions “just
in case,” but if you’re not using ISDN networking (see Chapter 8) you
don’t need it.
kudzu: If you’re using Fedora and keep getting bugged about hardware
stuff at boot time, shutting off this service will stop those messages. You
can run it manually as root if you change hardware later.
lisa: Discussed earlier in Chapter 11 in conjunction with network browsing in certain distributions.
mDNSresponder: Shut this service off unless you’re a Howl (www.porch
dogsoft.com/products/howl) devotee. The nifd service should also
be on or off (matching) with this one since it’s related.
mdmonitor: Shut this service off unless you implemented software RAID
during your installation. (You had to go out of your way to do so, so if
you don’t know, you probably didn’t!) If you change this service to on or
off, make sure that mdmpd is also on or off (matching) as well.
Chapter 13: A Secure Linux Box Is a Happy Linux Box
pcmcia: You only need this on laptops. It’s for PCMCIA card support.
sendmail: Even though you’re probably not in need of a full-fledged mail
server, shutting this service off can have unintended consequences
since it’s used to even handle internal mail on your system. Leave it on.
smartd: If you’re getting errors for this one at boot time, shut it off. It
only works with certain IDE hard drives, so if you’re not using that type
of drive, it gives a (harmless) error.
spamassassin: If you want to use this program in conjunction with your
mail program, go for it! This program is used by default with Evolution in
Fedora (see Chapter 9), so if you’re using this combination of tools leave
this service on.
yum: On Fedora, lets you run a nightly automatic update for those
whose machines are connected overnight.
In Fedora, when you check or uncheck a service, you make sure that it does
or doesn’t turn on when you reboot. You need to use the Start and Stop buttons to deal with it immediately. Use the bottom right part of the dialog to
see whether Fedora is running right now.
Controlling and adjusting your firewall
Even better (but just as essential) than turning off unnecessary services is to
make sure that you have a firewall in place. A firewall is like putting a big
bunker around your house. It would then have openings that only fit people
wanting to do certain kinds of things. Friends could fit in through one door,
family another, and package deliveries to another.
In computer networks, each of the services discussed earlier always comes in
through the same door (port, in computer-world lingo). You use firewalls to
prevent anyone from being able to so much as touch a door, or port, unless
you’ve explicitly set it up so that they can do so. This technique is especially
important if you’re on a cable network (see Chapter 8), where there’s always
some overactive jerk out there using his computer to knock on every other
computer on the network’s doors to see where it can get in.
You probably already did some basic firewall setup during installation. If you
ever want to make changes, do the following:
Fedora: Choose Applications➪System Settings➪SecurityLevel (see
Figure 13-2).
Knoppix: None. But, then, what could they change on a system running
from CD-ROM? Not much.
Linspire: From the main menu, choose Programs➪Utilities➪CNR More➪
Firestarter. This tool helps you set up your firewall and is installed under
the Utilities menu.
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Mandrake: From the main menu, choose System➪Configuration➪
Configure Your Computer➪Security➪Firewall. Uncheck the first box
and when asked if you want to install Shorewall, say yes.
SuSE: From the main menu, choose System➪YaST➪Security and Users➪
Firewall.
Xandros: Go to the Xandros Networks tool (see Chapter 12) and choose
New Applications➪System➪Administrator Tools➪Firestarter. This tool
helps you set up your firewall and is installed under Launch➪
Applications➪System➪Administrator Tools➪Firestarter.
Figure 13-2:
The Fedora
firewall
control
dialog box.
Your options are typically something like Enable Firewall and Disable Firewall.
If you have your computer directly connected to the Internet — and most computers are — make sure to use Enable Firewall. The only time that you should
not have this firewall in place is when your machine(s) are behind a strong firewall already, or you have a critical application that won’t work otherwise. For
just one application, though, that’s one huge risk! You can find out how to open
up the proper doors in the firewall for that one program instead.
Firewall lingo you may find handy includes
eth0: Your first Ethernet (network) card.
ppp0: Your first modem.
HTTP and HTTPS: Web stuff; only needed if you’re running a Web
server.
Chapter 13: A Secure Linux Box Is a Happy Linux Box
FTP and FTPS: FTP server stuff; you don’t need it if you’re not running
an FTP server.
SSH: Select this one to keep open. I explain it in the next section.
Additional “security” products from Linspire include (in their Click And Run
Warehouse under Services) SurfSafe parental controls and VirusSafe antivirus
software.
The Secure Shell game (SSH)
One cool thing about Linux is that you can use the command line to connect
to your account from anywhere, as long as you have the right software (and
the machine you’re connecting to isn’t behind some kind of blocking software). Some people tell you to use the telnet program to do this, but I beg
you not to. Do not open the Telnet port in the security tool and do not use
the telnet program. It sends information across the Internet in nice, raw text
that anyone can snoop through.
First, you need to make sure that you enable SSH in your firewall. (See the
section “Controlling and adjusting your firewall,” earlier in this chapter). In
Linspire, you need to add the program to connect out from your machine
using SSH:
1. Open the CNR Warehouse (see Chapter 12).
2. Choose Install CNR Warehouse➪Utilities➪Security & Encryption➪
Secure Shell.
In some other distributions, you need to do the following to let people ssh
into the machine (the distributions not mentioned here are set up to do so by
default):
Knoppix: From the main menu, choose KNOPPIX➪Services➪
Start SSH Server.
Mandrake: Use the software installer (see Chapter 12) to add the
openssh-server program. Then, use the services control interface (see
the section “Controlling your services,” earlier in this chapter) to activate sshd.
Xandros: Do the following:
1. Choose Control Center➪Services.
2. Click the Administrator button and enter your root (administrator) password.
3. Select ssh in the list.
4. Click Properties.
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5. In Start Mode, select System Startup.
6. Click OK.
7. If in the Status column, the ssh row doesn’t say Running, click
Start to start the server.
8. Choose File➪Quit.
Installing a Windows SSH program
If you want to connect to your SSH-enabled Linux box — or, actually, to any
computer set up to accept SSH connections, not just a Linux one — from a
Windows computer, go to www.siliconcircus.com/penguinet/ and get
the PenguiNet telnet and SSH client for Windows (please don’t use this for
telnet, just SSH). A 30-day trial version is available, and if you like it, the full
version is only around $25.
To install PenguiNet under Windows after downloading PN2setup.exe, just
follow these steps:
1. Open your file manager (such as Windows Explorer), browse to where
you saved the download, and double-click the PN2setup.exe program.
This action opens the PenguiNet Setup Wizard.
2. Click Next to proceed.
The License Agreement dialog box opens.
3. After you read the agreement (something you should always do), click
I Accept This Agreement and then click Next to proceed.
The Select Destination Directory dialog box opens. I usually just stick
with the defaults.
4. After you select the directory in which to install PenguiNet, click Next.
The Select Start Menu Folder dialog box appears.
5. After you select the proper folder, click Next.
The Select Additional Tasks dialog box appears. If you want to create a
desktop icon or Quick Launch button, select the appropriate check boxes.
6. After you have chosen your additional tasks, click Next.
The Ready To Install dialog box appears.
7. Click Install to begin your PenguiNet installation.
An installation progress dialog box appears. When the installation is finished, the final installation screen appears.
8. Select one or both of the final items.
I recommend that you check at least Run PenguiNet. You may also want
to select View The PenguiNet Documentation if you like to get familiar
with programs by reading their manuals.
Chapter 13: A Secure Linux Box Is a Happy Linux Box
9. Click Finish.
The PenguiNet window appears (if you checked Run PenguiNet), as
shown in Figure 13-3.
Figure 13-3:
The
PenguiNet
connection
program in
Windows.
Setting up and making your SSH connection in Windows
Either you have PenguiNet open from having installed it, or you need to open
it now from your desktop shortcut or the Start menu. After you have done so,
follow these steps:
1. Choose Session➪Connection Profiles.
The Connection Profiles dialog box opens, as shown in Figure 13-4.
Figure 13-4:
The
PenguiNet
Connection
Profiles
dialog box.
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2. Click Add to open a new profile.
3. Enter the name for this profile in the Profile Name text box.
4. Enter your Linux box’s IP address in the Host text box.
5. Enter your Linux login name in the Username text box.
You cannot use the root account here. Doing so is terribly bad for security.
6. Enter your Linux login password in the Password text box.
7. Click Connect to make the connection to your Linux machine.
The Host Key Not Found dialog box opens the first time you connect
this way. Click Connect and save the host key. You don’t have to do this
step again from this Windows machine. Check out Figure 13-5 to see a
Linux command-line interface window on a Windows box! (I’m not sure
why this default font is so “freehand”; you can change it for all your
sessions by choosing Format➪Change Font or per Connection Profile
in the Preferences menu by selecting the profile and clicking the
Appearance tab.)
Figure 13-5:
Your Linux
command
line in
Windows!
When you’re finished, type logout at the command line, and your connection
closes.
Chapter 13: A Secure Linux Box Is a Happy Linux Box
Connecting to your Linux box from another Linux box with SSH
Yes, you can connect from another Linux box, too. This task is a bit less complicated. Open a terminal window (see Chapter 14) and follow these steps:
1. Type ssh username@ipaddress to open the connection.
For example, type ssh dee@192.168.1.6. After you do this step, the
following text appears:
The authenticity of host ‘192.168.1.6 (192.168.1.6)’
can’t be established.
RSA key fingerprint is
ed:68:0f:e3:78:56:c9:b3:d6:6e:25:86:77:52:a7:66.
Are you sure you want to continue connecting (yes/no)?
2. Type yes and press Enter.
You now see these lines:
Warning: Permanently added ‘192.168.1.6’ (RSA) to the
list of known hosts.
dee@192.168.1.6’s password:
3. Enter your login password and press Enter. Now you’re in!
Close the connection by logging out of the account (type logout).
Connecting to your Linux box from a
Macintosh running OS X with SSH
The process from a Macintosh is similar to that under Linux. Go to
Applications➪Utilities➪Terminal.app, which opens a command line window
for you. Then type
ssh IPaddress
to access the same user account on the remote machine, or type
ssh login@IPaddress
if you want to access the account login instead of the same account you’re
using on the Mac.
Software holes
When someone is already in your system — whether or not they’re allowed
to be there — you have additional security concerns to keep in mind. One of
these involves what software you have on the machine. Believe it or not, each
piece of software is a potential security hole. If someone can get a program to
crash in just the right way, they can get greater access to your system than
they should. That’s a very bad thing!
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One way to close software holes is to remove all programs you don’t need.
You can always add them later, if necessary. How exactly you do this task
depends on the package-management scheme your distribution runs:
Fedora: You can use yum at the command line or gyum’s Remove tab
(see Chapter 12).
Knoppix: You run it off CD, so it’s hard to remove anything!
Linspire: Open the CLICK and Run client (Chapter 12), click the My
Products tab, select the program you want to remove from the list, and
then click Uninstall Selected.
Mandrake: From the main menu, choose System➪Configuration➪
Packaging➪Remove Software. In the dialog box, check the boxes for the
programs you want to remove. When you’re ready to proceed, click
Remove.
SuSE: Choose System➪YaST➪Software➪Install And Remove Software.
Locate the program you want to remove (see Chapter 12). Installed software has a checkmark next to it. Click the mark until it becomes a trash
can and then click Accept.
Xandros: Open the Xandros Networks client as discussed in Chapter 12.
Choose Installed Applications, browse to the program you want to
remove, and click the Remove link.
If it turns out that, as a result of dependencies, you lose other software that
you want to keep, make sure to cancel the removal.
Introducing SELinux
SELinux, or Security-Enhanced Linux (www.nsa.gov/selinux/index.cfm)
was developed by the National Security Agency (NSA) in the United States to
add a new level of security on top of what’s already available in Linux. To use
SELinux in your distribution:
Fedora: Open the firewall control tool (see the section “Controlling and
adjusting your firewall,” earlier in this chapter) and click the SELinux
tab. If you want to just see what SELinux would do, check the Enabled
check box (if it isn’t already checked). If you want to enforce the policies
you’ve created, check the Enforcing Current check box. To completely
deactivate it (which will probably speed up your boot time), make sure
that both boxes are unchecked. My best advice for playing with this
advanced feature is to go and read the site mentioned at the beginning
of this section and then the Fedora-specific FAQ at http://people.red
hat.com/kwade/fedora-docs/selinux-faq-en/.
Knoppix: Not available.
Chapter 13: A Secure Linux Box Is a Happy Linux Box
Linspire: If you open the CNR client (see Chapter 12) and search for
selinux, you find a number of options. These packages are still in development as of this writing.
Mandrake: Use the software installation tool (see Chapter 12) and install
the program libselinux — this step requires you to have added external
repositories (see Chapter 12). However, utilizing this tool has been left a
fairly advanced exercise for the truly curious.
SuSE: Installed by default.
Xandros: Not available.
SELinux is overkill for the average desktop user, but using it on your desktop
can be useful when it comes to learning how SELinux works.
Keeping an Eye on Your Log Files
with the System Log Viewer
One other security issue you may want to configure concerns log files. Your
network programs, kernel, and other programs all run log files, which contain
records of what has been happening on your system. You may be amazed at
just how much information gets put in them! They’re mostly in /var/log;
take a look sometime.
Fortunately, tools are available that can help mere mortals sift through the
wheat to look for the chaff of bugs and intruders.
To find your distribution’s System Logs viewer:
Fedora: Choose Applications➪System Tools➪System Logs (see
Figure 13-6).
Knoppix: None.
Linspire: From the CNR Warehouse (see Chapter 12), choose Utilities➪
XWatch.
Sometimes the fastest way to find a program in the CNR Warehouse is to use
the Search text box.
Mandrake: Using Chapter 12, install swatch. Then, from the main menu,
choose System➪Monitoring➪System Log.
SuSE: Use Chapter 12 to install kwatch, and then start it by choosing the
main menu➪System➪Monitor➪kwatch.
Xandros: None.
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Figure 13-6:
The Fedora
System
Logs
watcher.
Locating Security Resources
You can find a plethora of information on the Internet about desktop, network, and Linux security. Because of the massive volume of information available, I list some Web sites I like for security issues:
www.sans.org: One of the major security-related sites on the Internet.
http://grc.com/intro.htm: Provides some interesting tools, such as
tools to test which ports are open on a system. Also, this site features
many excellent articles dealing with system and network security.
http://seifried.org/lasg/: Contains the Linux Administrator’s
Security Guide.
www.linux-firewall-tools.com/linux/: Offers tips for firewalls and
security on Linux systems.
www.linuxsecurity.com/: Presents a plethora of information from
Linux Security.com.
www.securityspace.com/sspace: Has lots of information about security issues and tools for different operating systems
Chapter 14
Working without the GUI
In This Chapter
Understanding the user shell environment
Customizing the bash environment
Working with commands
Tinkering with variables
Using redirection and pipes
Using yet more wildcards
Using a variety of commands
Whom computers would destroy, they must first drive mad.
— Anonymous
M
any computing old-timers speak fondly of the command line. Others
who developed their skills by pointing and clicking refer to the command line as some antiquated tool used by crusty old-timers. The truth is
that most skilled computing professionals recognize the merits of both the
graphical user interface (GUI) and the command-line interface (CLI). You
must understand that the command line provides a powerful lever for operating your computer. If you ever watch over the shoulder of a skilled Linux
geek, you notice that, after logging in, he doesn’t take long to start tapping
out seemingly cryptic instructions on a command line.
In this chapter, I explore the Linux program that provides the CLI, which is
called the bash shell. Although many shells are available for Linux, bash is
the most common, and for good reason. Basically, the creators of bash rolled
many good features of other shells into one terrific package.
Each shell has its own way of handling commands and its own additional set
of tools. I start by explaining what a shell really is, and when you understand
that, you’re ready to get down and dirty with bash. I cover specifically
what you can do with some of the best features of the bash shell. Then, I continue with working at the command prompt and get into bash shell interior
decorating.
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Shells come equipped to perform certain functions. Most of these features
have evolved over time to assist the command-line jockey with myriad
tasks. Although I only scratch the surface here, you’re encouraged to read
the man page for bash because it’s likely one of the more complete and readable man pages in existence. You can read all about how to use man pages
(the online Help system in Linux) in the “Help!” section, later in this chapter.
Playing the Shell Game
You need a way to tell the computer what you want it to do. In Linux, one of
the ways to communicate with the computer is through something called the
shell. A shell isn’t a graphical thing; it’s the sum total of the commands and
syntax you have available to you to do your work.
The shell environment is rather dull and boring by graphical desktop standards. When you start the shell, all you see is a short prompt, such as a $,
followed by a blinking cursor awaiting your keyboard entry. (Later in this
section, I show you a couple of methods for accessing the shell.)
The default shell used in Linux is the bash shell. This work environment is
based on the original Unix shell, which is called the Bourne shell and is also
referred to as sh. The term bash stands for the Bourne again shell. The bash
shell comes with most Linux distributions.
If you installed your Linux distribution to log in to a graphical desktop, such
as GNOME or the KDE environment, you’re likely not looking at a shell prompt.
Rather, you interact with your computer via a mouse. You can start a bash
session from within the GUI desktop in a couple ways.
The quickest method to activate a bash session is to:
Fedora: Right-click on your desktop and choose Open Terminal from the
context menu that pops up.
Mandrake: Click the Terminal Program icon on your Panel. (It looks like
a computer monitor.)
SuSE: Click the Terminal Program icon on your Panel. (It looks like a
computer monitor with a shell on it — get it? shell?)
Notice that not all the distributions covered here offer a shortcut on the panel
or desktop. Instead, you can also choose commands from each program’s
main menu unless otherwise specified:
Linspire: Choose Programs➪Utilities➪Console.
Fedora: Choose Applications➪System Tools➪Terminal.
Chapter 14: Working without the GUI
Mandrake: Choose System➪Terminals➪Konsole.
SuSE: Choose System➪Terminal➪Konsole.
Xandros: Choose Applications➪System➪Console.
Often, your shell prompt includes helpful information. For example, if you’re
logged in as evan on the machine deepthink in Fedora Core 3, your prompt
looks like this:
[evan@deepthink evan]$
Before surveying a few of the shell capabilities, I need to tell you about another
method for starting a shell session. First of all, notice that your shell prompt
is merely inside a window that is part of your GUI desktop. Suppose that you
want to start a shell session in a character-only or text environment.
To switch to a text environment, press Ctrl+Alt+F2. Don’t be alarmed when
your familiar graphical desktop disappears. It’s still running in the background,
and you can get back to where you left off in a moment. But first, a few words
about the boring text screen you’re looking at now (I hope).
You’re looking at a virtual terminal, one of several available with your default
installation. You probably see something like this:
deepthink login:
Go ahead and type your username and password, which you’re prompted for.
You see a message indicating your last login date followed by the bash prompt:
[evan@deepthink evan]$
Notice the similarity between this prompt and the open window you left
behind in the GUI desktop. Both prompts are an indication that you have a
bash session open. Note that, although it’s accurate to say they’re both the
results of using the bash shell, they’re distinct and separate instances of the
same program. In other words, the environment you’re working with here is
exclusive of the bash environment you still have open in the GUI terminal
window.
Are you wondering where your GUI desktop has gone? Just to settle your
nerves a bit, do some jumping around. The GUI desktop is located at virtual
terminal (VT) number 7 by default. You now have VT-2 open. Position your
piano-playing fingers and strike the chord Ctrl+Alt+F7. Within a second or
two, your screen should flash and return you to your graphical desktop. Neat,
huh? And guess what? The bash session you left open on VT-2 is still there;
you never logged out. Go back again by pressing Ctrl+Alt+F2. Voilà! — right
where you left it. Feel free to jump back and forth a few times and try some
other VTs (F1 through F6). Whoopee! This virtual terminal stuff rocks.
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Okay, when you have grown weary and bored with this little trick, exit (literally, type exit) to log out from each VT you may have opened and return to
the graphical desktop and your bash prompt. Then you can explore what all
the fuss is about with this shell doohickey.
Understanding bash Command
Syntax and Structure
Many people happily skip through their Linux use without understanding the
fundamentals of commands in the bash shell. Note that this approach makes
you lose out on some cool capabilities available in bash. The more you know
about how this shell’s “language” works, the more interesting things you can
do with it.
The basics of using bash at the command prompt often involve typing a command and any of its flags and values. For example, you enter the ls -la ~
command to see a long-format listing of all files in your home directory, including those that start with a dot (.), which are hidden files. That other mysterious squiggle character is technically called a tilde. The tilde is a bash shortcut
character that points to a user’s home directory. For this example, I merely
list the contents of my home directory.
You can break a command into three distinct components:
The command name
The options or flags
The arguments
Consider this example.
Start with a simple command. The du command lists the contents of the
directory you’re now in, and its subdirectories, and how much hard drive
space each item takes up, with a total at the end. Try typing just the du
command by itself:
du
That’s neat, but it probably raises more questions than it answers. The
output gives you a long listing of data, but of what? Are those numbers in
bytes, kilobytes, or messages from outer space? To clarify, try adding a
simple option to your command:
du -h
Chapter 14: Working without the GUI
You’re still issuing the same command, but now you’re providing additional
direction on what you want displayed. The -h option tells du to show you the
information in terms that humans can read more easily. Now Ms, Ks, and Gs
appear next to the numbers so that you can see how big these numbers actually are. But, wait — there’s more. What if you just want to know the total
amount of disk space this directory and its subdirectories are taking up?
That calls for the -s flag:
du -s
What if you want the total for a different directory? Or just one of your subdirectories? In my case, I keep a Music subdirectory for the items I have copied
from my CDs into Oggs (see Chapter 18). I can type the following command to
see how much hard drive space that directory takes up in a human-readable
way rather than have to count zeroes:
du -sh ~/Music
In this example, du is the command name, -sh indicates the flags (options),
and ~/Music is an argument. The -sh flags can be accompanied by many
more flags that provide various options applicable to the command.
Are you wondering where to find all the available options and arguments of a
particular command? Most commands offer man pages, which are discussed
in the “Help!” section, later in this chapter. Another good place to turn is
the --help option, available with many commands. Note that --help displays a terse list of options, but it’s nice and quick if you already know about
an option but just can’t remember exactly which one it is. Try it by entering
the following command:
du –-help
Cool, huh?
Starting Programs from the Shell
The most obvious, but perhaps not so apparent, use of the shell is to start
other programs. Most utilities you use in Linux are separate and distinct executable programs. Users need a method to start these programs. In the GUI,
you can associate an icon with a particular program, and the graphical environment contains the intelligence to start the program. Note that programs
often require information drawn from environment variables, which are a
part of the shell environment. (I discuss environment variables in more detail
in the section “Working with Variables,” later in this chapter.) For this reason,
the GUI often calls the intended program via the bash shell. So you see, even
the GUI finds the shell a necessity — although the GUI does its best to hide
this detail from users.
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For example, in the GUI after you have a terminal window open, type the following command at the prompt:
mahjongg
After a few seconds, the Mahjongg game is displayed. You can start any program at a command prompt that you can click from the GNOME menu if you
know what the underlying program name is. Note that if you’re in a virtual
terminal (press Alt+F1) instead of the GUI, you may see an error message.
Some programs require a graphical environment in which to run, which a
character-based terminal obviously doesn’t have.
Putting Wildcard Expansion to Good Use
Computing life would be tedious if you had to repeat the same command on
multiple files. After all, aren’t repetitive tasks what the computer was designed
to do? Wildcard expansion refers to the ability of one command to be executed
against many files. The asterisk (*) and the question mark (?) are two wildcard
characters that are used to match any filename, or a portion of a filename. For
example, you can use the following command to see a long directory listing
that includes only files that end with a .doc filename extension:
ls -l *.doc
The files listed may include resume.doc, cover_letter.doc, and
to_editor.doc, for example.
Working with Long Commands
As you become used to the command line, you should learn some shortcuts
to ease your typing chores. In this section, I show you some features of the
bash shell designed to make your life on the command line as pleasant as
possible. These features include command-line completion, editing, and using
the history of previously entered commands.
Asking Linux to complete a command
or filename for you
Considering that you do much more typing on the command line in Linux
than you may normally do in a GUI environment, a feature that provides
typing shortcuts wherever possible is great. Command completion is a
function of the shell that completes filename and system commands.
Chapter 14: Working without the GUI
The capability of the Linux file system to deal with practically unlimited sizes
of filenames means that many filenames can become huge. Typing these long
filenames can become cumbersome. Fortunately, with command completion,
typing a command or a long filename is short work.
You may want to use command completion in two situations: to enter a command or to complete a filename.
Completing a command
Suppose that you want to type a command, but you can remember only that
it begins with the letters up and is supposed to return the length of time that
has passed since the system was rebooted. Type up at the command prompt
and then press Tab:
[evan@deepthink evan]$ up[TAB]
One of two things happens:
If only one matching command is in the search path (directory locations
for searching for programs; type echo $PATH to find out what yours is),
your command line is completed with that command, and the system
waits for you to press Enter to execute the command.
If you hear a beep, it means that more than one command begins with
up. Simply press Tab a second time, and all the possibilities are displayed.
Locate the command on the list and continue typing it until the first letters are unique, at which point you can press the Tab key to complete
the command.
Completing a filename
Command-line completion isn’t only for commands; if you’re typing a filename on your command line, you only need to type the first few characters
and then press Tab. The shell usually searches the current working directory
for filenames that match what you have typed and subsequently completes
the filename on the command line. This feature behaves the same way as the
command-completion feature in that, if more than one file contains the letters
you type, you hear a beep and need to press Tab again to see a list of choices.
It takes a little getting used to, but after you have control of the Tab key and
the shell command-line completion feature, you may wonder how you ever
got along without it.
Accessing your command history
It’s nice of the shell to remember what you have done, for better or worse.
Having the shell keep track of the commands you enter makes it easy to
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return to those gawd-awfully long commands you pecked at a while ago —
even days ago! Let me give you an example. Suppose that yesterday you managed to issue a command to find all the core dump files in your system (core
dump files are massive files containing debugging data that only an expert
programmer or your computer can understand) and delete them. The command looked something like this:
find / -name core -exec rm {} \;
To re-execute the command, all you need to do is fish it out of your shell history and rerun it. The simplest way (if you’re repeating the exact same version
of the command you used last time, which in this case would be the find
command) is to type !find and press Enter. Doing so tells your system to
look through your history and rerun the last instance of find in the list.
On the other hand, if you have run the find command more than once and
want to make sure that you’re re-executing the right version, you need to
read through your command history. You can do so line by line by pressing
the up-arrow key repeatedly until you locate the command you want to
re-execute. Then just press the Enter key to run the command again.
The history command lists your last 20 commands (by default) when you
enter it at the prompt, in case you’re curious about what they were.
Working with Variables
Variables in the bash shell are words or strings of text that computers use to
represent a piece of data. An example of using a variable is setting the variable
fruit to contain the text apple. A number of standard variables contain
information about your account and environment settings.
Variables versus environment variables
The first thing I need to make clear is that the bash shell has two classes of
variables:
Variables: A variable can be referenced in a program or shell session,
but it’s visible and available to only that session or program.
Environment variables: An environment variable can also be referenced
by the shell or program. However, it has the added behavior of having
its value copied to any other program or shell that is created from its
environment.
Chapter 14: Working without the GUI
You can usually tell at a glance the difference between a variable and an environment variable in bash. The normal convention is to name local variables
in all lowercase or in mixed-case characters. An environment variable, however, is usually always in all uppercase letters.
Checking out commonly used
environment variables
The bash shell has many environment variables. You may be amazed at the
range of items these variables store. The handy thing is that, if something is
stored in a variable, you can change it to suit your needs! In Table 14-1, I list
the environment variables you’re most likely to want to work with.
Table 14-1
Commonly Used bash Environment Variables
Environment Variable
Purpose
Value
HISTSIZE
Determines the number
of previously typed commands that are stored.
Number of
commands
HOME
Sets the location of your
home directory.
The path to your
home directory
MAILCHECK
Sets how often the bash
shell checks for new mail
in your mailbox. If mail has
arrived, you see a message
similar to You have new
mail the next time you do
something at the command
prompt.
Number of seconds
to wait between
checks
PATH
Sets the directories that
bash looks in, and the order
to look in them to find a program name you type at the
command prompt.
Colon-separated
directories
PS1
Sets your command prompt.
Command and formatting characters
used to form the
prompt
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Most environment variables are established for you by the system administrator or perhaps by the shell itself. These variables are mostly read by programs to gather information, and you don’t need to change their values.
However, you may want to alter the value of some environment variables. For
example, in Table 14-1, the first entry, HISTSIZE, determines the number of
lines of command-line history that are kept on file. You may have read the
discussion, earlier in this chapter, of re-executing a command from yesterday.
(If not, refer to the section “Accessing your command history.”) By setting a
higher number for HISTSIZE, you can save an even longer list of previously
executed commands.
Storing and retrieving variables’ values
To assign a value to a variable, you just use the variable name followed by an
equals sign (=) followed by the value to store:
MyVariable=MyValue
To retrieve the value represented by that variable, you need to precede the
variable name with a dollar sign ($). Look at a variable, created by the shell,
that determines what your prompt looks like. This variable is named PS1.
First, you view the value being held by PS1:
echo $PS1
You likely see something like the following line:
[\u@\h \W]\$
Each of the characters preceded by a backslash represents a special instruction to the shell to return specific information when the shell prompt is referenced. See Table 14-2 for examples of special slash-characters you can use in
customizing your prompt.
Table 14-2
Pieces of the PS1 Puzzle
Component
Result
\!
Prints the position of the command in your history list.
\#
Prints the number of commands you have used during the
current shell session.
\$
Prints a $ for user accounts or a # for the superuser.
\d
Prints the date in the following format: day month date.
Chapter 14: Working without the GUI
Component
Result
\h
Prints the name of the machine you’re logged in to.
\n
Moves down to the next line.
\s
Prints bash for the bash shell.
\t
Prints the time in 24-hour format.
\u
Prints your username.
\w
Prints the lowest current directory level.
\W
Prints the entire current directory.
Okay, on with the example; to change your shell prompt to something more
amusing, enter the following line:
PS1=’Hello \u, what can I do for you? => ‘
Note the single quotes. Immediately after pressing the Enter key, you see that
your prompt has changed into something more inviting. Don’t worry if you
would rather have the original prompt: You can either reassign to the original
prompt the value stored in PS1 or simply log out and log in again, and you’re
back to familiar territory.
Are you wondering which other variables your system has in store for you?
You can view all environment variables at one time by typing env. Note that
you may not have any reason to access variables on the command line as a
casual use of Linux. However, after you get more proficient, you may want to
journey into the shell programming capabilities of bash, in which case variable
storage is quite handy, just as it is in any computer programming language.
What’s with those single quotes? You have to be careful of some details
when changing environment variables. If you’re just assigning something to
a number, you could just use, for example, HISTSIZE=250. However, if you
want to use something with spaces in it, you need to use quotes. Which kind
of quotes you use depends on what else you want to do.
If you want to display exactly what you have specified, use single quotes to
create a literal text string. For example, type the following line at a command
prompt:
echo ‘Hello, my name is $USER’
Kinda goofy, huh? Take a look at a different kind of string that the shell interprets differently: an interpolated string. An interpolated value is one in which
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the shell interprets special characters before processing the value. Rather than
use single quotes, this time you use the same example with double quotes:
echo “Hello, my name is $USER”
Notice what the output is this time. Rather than display the exact text you
provided, the shell replaces the variable name, designated with a dollar sign,
with the actual value stored in that variable.
Why did I use single quotes in the PS1 example? The items with the backslashes (\) are interpreted one way or another. However, if you use double
quotes with PS1, they’re interpreted only once, so that item that lists what
directory you’re in changes only the first time. With a single quote, the variables are interpreted every time you do something. The double-quote example shows something like Hello, my name is bob. However, the single
quote comes up with Hello, my name is $USER.
If you’re going to play around with environment variables, I recommend that
you start by using the methods I discuss in this section. After you have decided
that you’re comfortable with any changes you have made, you can make your
changes permanent by opening the ~/.bash_profile file and adding the
same text there. The next time you log in, the changes go into effect. You can
make changes for all your users’ profiles in /etc/profile as well.
If you experiment heavily with these files, create a separate user account so
that you can do whatever you want without messing up your own login. This
advice especially goes for /etc/profile. You can damage everyone’s logins
with this one! To create a separate /etc/profile, you can make a backup
by typing cp /etc/profile /etc/profile.original. Then, edit /etc/
profile knowing that you can always delete it with the rm command and use
the mv command to rename /etc/profile.original to /etc/profile.
Don’t be too discouraged if you don’t understand all this variable stuff right
now. As you become more proficient with Linux, you should explore shell
scripting. Shell scripting is the art of creating computer programs with just
the shell. Most Linux and Unix administrators speak shell script language
like you and I speak our native tongues.
Using Redirection and Pipes
Redirection and pipes facilitate the flow of information. A pipe is exactly what
it sounds like: It directs the output of one program to the input of another
program. A pipeline may consist of several utilities plumbed together by
pipes. At either end of this pipeline is, optionally, a redirection.
Chapter 14: Working without the GUI
Almost all Linux utilities that require input and output have been plumbed with
the following common interfaces: stdin (standard input), stdout (standard
output), and stderr (standard error). By having a common method to feed
input to a program or read data from the output of a program, you can glue
utilities together into sophisticated solutions.
Redirecting command output
I discuss redirecting command output here because it’s by far the most
common form of information detouring. One example of output redirection
involves telling a command to send its results to a file rather than to the
screen, as you probably have been used to seeing. Start in some familiar territory by typing ls -la ~ and then pressing Enter, to produce something like
the following:
total 20
drwx-----drwxr-xr-x
-rw-r-----rw-r-----rw-r-----rw-rw-r--
2
5
1
1
1
1
sue
root
sue
sue
sue
sue
users
root
users
users
users
users
4096 Oct 30 07:48 .
4096 Oct 30 11:57 ..
24 Oct 30 06:50 .bash_logout
230 Oct 30 06:50 .bash_profile
124 Oct 30 06:50 .bashrc
0 Jan 2 07:48 wishlist
Want to send this information to a file instead? You can use the > redirection
operator to tell bash to send the data into a file instead of onto your screen.
Enter the following command to send the information to a file named listing:
ls -la ~ > listing
Notice that nothing displays on the screen, as you normally would expect.
That’s because the shell has rerouted the output to a file named listing.
To verify that the directory listing is there, enter the following command:
cat listing
The cat (and more) is explained Chapter 16.
Note that if you type ls -la ~ > listing again, the data is overwritten,
meaning that the file’s contents are wiped out and replaced with the new
output. You can avoid this situation by using >> as your redirection operator,
which tells bash to add the command’s output to the end of the specified file.
If you type ls -la ~ >> listing in the same directory after making no
changes, the contents of listing are as follows:
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total 20
drwx-----drwxr-xr-x
-rw-r-----rw-r-----rw-r-----rw-rw-r-total 20
drwx-----drwxr-xr-x
-rw-r-----rw-r-----rw-r-----rw-rw-r--
2
5
1
1
1
1
sue
root
sue
sue
sue
sue
users
root
users
users
users
users
4096 Oct 30 07:48 .
4096 Oct 30 11:57 ..
24 Oct 30 06:50 .bash_logout
230 Oct 30 06:50 .bash_profile
124 Oct 30 06:50 .bashrc
0 Jan 2 07:48 wishlist
2
5
1
1
1
1
sue
root
sue
sue
sue
sue
users
root
users
users
users
users
4096 Oct 30 07:48 .
4096 Oct 30 11:57 ..
24 Oct 30 06:50 .bash_logout
230 Oct 30 06:50 .bash_profile
124 Oct 30 06:50 .bashrc
0 Jan 2 07:48 wishlist
Laying pipes
Another bash shell feature enables you to connect commands so that the
output of one becomes the input for the next one. This feature is referred
to as a pipe. Suppose that you want to look over the details of all files in the
/etc directory in long-listing format. If you type ls -la /etc to do so, a
massive listing appears, and much of the information scrolls right past you.
Although you can back up a bit by pressing Shift+PageUp, you may not be
able to see everything.
To see all the information, you can do one of two things:
Send the data to a file with redirection by typing something like ls -la
/etc > ~/etclisting and then review the contents of ~/etclisting
with your favorite editor.
Pipe the output to the more command(see Chapter 16).
To pipe the output to more, type ls -la directory_path | more, where
directory_path is the directory for which you want to list the contents.
The | symbol (which on the keyboard looks more like two vertical bars
stacked on top of each other rather than just one solid line) tells bash that
you want to use a pipe.
“Help!”
The man page system is the electronic manual for Linux (man is short for
manual), designed to provide users with a convenient reference to all the
detailed command information. This information includes command prompt
options, file formats, and program function usage.
Chapter 14: Working without the GUI
The syntax for drawing a man page is man <command name>.
Don’t know the command you’re looking for or need basic information about
using the man page system? Just type man man to get started. When you’re
finished reading the man page, press Q to exit.
Clearing the screen
The clear and reset commands are handy to know about when you’re
working in a shell. The clear command simply wipes the bash screen clean.
Don’t worry; it’s not deleting any files or changing any settings — it’s just
tidying up so that you can start dumping new stuff to the screen again.
The reset command is a little more interesting. Suppose that you try listing
a binary file to the screen with the cat command. After the computer finishes
puking the result of executing the cat command on a binary file, you may get
lucky and still be able to read your prompt. More likely, your prompt has
been rendered into box characters of no special meaning, and typing on the
keyboard gives you more of the same. To get back to normal, just type reset
and press Enter. Note that it doesn’t look like you’re typing the word reset,
but rest assured that the computer understands the series of characters and,
after a couple seconds, should restore your shell environment to your native
language.
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Chapter 15
Gettin’ Gooey with the GUIs
In This Chapter
Adding applets to the panel
Adding programs to the desktop
Downloading and setting up themes
Configuring the X Window System
T
he X Window System (or X) opens a world of possibilities. X is, in general,
a set of applications that work together to provide a graphical interface.
Think of these applications as the wireframe beneath your GUI, with GNOME
and KDE (see Chapter 6) offering the pretty paper mâche coating. Some of
these applications draw windows, some manage the look and feel, and others
handle other aspects of the graphical world for you. All of them are configurable and even replaceable, which is enough to make the average user’s
eyes cross with way too many options!
GNOME and KDE are entirely creatures of convenience, offering integrated
sets of window dressing so that you don’t have to pick and choose your components. In this chapter, you get a chance to alter both KDE and GNOME’s
behavior to suit your own needs. For example, if you have a hard time reading text in those small command-prompt windows in the GUI, you can make
both the windows and their fonts larger. You can change a wealth of other
things, too, so read on and take a look.
If something goes terribly wrong in the GUI and you need to exit in a hurry,
press Ctrl+Alt+Backspace. This key combination does one of two things. If
you boot into the GUI, it collapses your GUI session and takes you to the GUI
login prompt. However, if you boot to the command line, this key combination collapses the GUI immediately, taking you to the command line.
However, press Ctrl+Alt+Backspace only in an emergency. This key combination doesn’t cleanly stop the programs involved. You end up with all kinds of
bits and pieces of programs, files, and more on your system.
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Changing GNOME’s Look and Feel
Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.
— Anonymous
The GNOME desktop environment has an amazing set of features for you to
explore. Some of these customization features are nice and practical, and
others are just plain fun. I tried to group the types of changes into related
topics so that you can peruse them easily. In general (including in Fedora),
you can find all the GNOME configuration options by going to the main
menu’s Preferences menu. Because Fedora is the only distribution covered in
this book that uses GNOME by default, I focus on Fedora in this chapter.
How do ya like them applets?
Applets are a collection of miniprograms that do anything from display the
time to show system status — some can even show the depressing trickle of
your battery power running out if you’re using a laptop. Sure, some of these
miniprograms are more useful than others. Then again, everybody needs a
bit of entertainment too, right?
Adding an applet icon to the panel
You can have fun sifting through to see what kinds of applets are available to
you. To look through your options and perhaps add an applet to the panel
(remember that the panel is the bar along the bottom of your screen), follow
these steps:
1. Right-click any free space on one of your panels and choose Add To
Panel.
The Add To (Bottom or Top, accordingly) Panel dialog box appears, as
shown in Figure 15-1.
If you don’t see an Add To Panel command, you’re probably looking at
the context menu for one of the applications on the panel. Try rightclicking elsewhere on the panel or closing some programs so that you
can free up space amongst the minimized programs in the middle of
your panel.
2. Browse the available applets.
3. After you select the applet you want to add to your panel, click Add.
The applet is now on your panel.
If you then want to move the applet elsewhere on your panel, right-click it
and choose Move from the shortcut menu. Then you can drag the applet
around and click after you have it where you want to put it.
Chapter 15: Gettin’ Gooey with the GUIs
Figure 15-1:
The GNOME
and
Fedora 3
Add To
Bottom
Panel
dialog box.
Configuring an applet
After you have an applet placed and running, you may be able to play with
configuration options. Some of these options enable you to change what
information is displayed. Others have a variety of look-and-feel settings.
To check for which configuration and other options are available for your
applet, follow these steps:
1. Right-click the applet and examine the shortcut menu that appears.
This shortcut menu is different from applet to applet. The bottom portion is always the same: Remove From Panel and Move. Common entries
for the top portion are Help and About. The rest of the items are either
configuration options (see Step 2) or special applet features, such as the
ability to copy the date from the Clock applet.
2. Choose Preferences from the shortcut menu.
Not every applet has a Preferences dialog box. If this one does, the
dialog box opens when you choose this option, and whichever configuration features this applet has are displayed.
3. Alter the selections in the Preferences dialog box to customize this
applet’s behavior.
Now you get to have some fun. Make changes so that you can see what
this applet can do — as you make your changes, they appear in the
applet on your panel. Each applet has its own set of features, so I can’t
do a general walkthrough here. Just remember that you can always go
back and change the settings or remove the applet from your panel later.
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4. Click Close to save your changes and close the dialog box.
Ditching an applet
You have room for only so many applets. And, if you’re like me, you probably
don’t want to have every bit of free space cluttered with icons. To remove an
applet from the panel, simply right-click the applet you want to remove and
choose Remove From Panel from the shortcut menu that appears. With nary
a whimper, the applet vanishes from the panel.
Don’t forget the programs
You may be looking at your panel and wondering whether you can make any
changes to the programs listed there, like you can with applets. The good
news is that you can change the programs on the bar! They fit in the same
empty spaces that applets do. You can also add a program to your desktop
itself, if you want.
Adding a program to the panel
If you have a program you end up using often, you can add it to your panel by
following these steps:
1. Click Applications in Fedora or (if you’re using GNOME in another distribution) the distribution’s Main Menu button and browse to the program you want to add to the bar.
Don’t open the program. Just point to the menu item with your mouse
pointer.
2. Right-click the program and choose Add This Launcher To Panel.
An icon for this program appears on your panel.
After you have your program on the panel, you can run the program just by
clicking its icon.
You can also add a drawer (menu button) to your panel for an entire menu. To
do so:
1. Open the main menu and browse to the submenu you want to add.
2. Enter that submenu.
For example, if you want to add a button for the Graphics menu to your
panel, open the main menu, move your mouse to the Graphics menu,
and then move your mouse to the right into the contents of the Graphics
menu.
3. Right-click to open the context menu.
4. Choose Entire Menu.
Chapter 15: Gettin’ Gooey with the GUIs
5. Choose either Add This As Drawer To Panel or Add This As Menu To
Panel.
A drawer shows you its contents in icons only, while a menu looks more
like the actual submenu from the main menu.
Removing a program from the panel
If you want to remove one of the programs on the panel, just right-click the
icon you want to remove and choose Remove From Panel from the shortcut
menu that appears. The icon vanishes from the panel. That’s it!
Adding a program to the desktop
The panel has only so much room. Maybe you would rather have your program shortcuts lined up on the desktop as you do in Windows. To add a
program to the desktop, follow these steps:
1. Click the Main Menu button to open the GNOME main menu.
2. Browse to the submenu containing the program you want to add to
the desktop.
3. Select the program you want to add to the desktop.
Don’t open the program — just move your mouse pointer to it. For
example, to add The GIMP, you move your mouse to the words The GIMP
so that they’re highlighted.
4. Click and hold the mouse button on the program name and drag it to
the desktop; then let go of the button.
Be sure to drag this item to the side (not up through the menu). A little
piece-of-paper graphic follows your mouse pointer until you release
the mouse button. After you do so, your new shortcut is added to the
desktop.
If you’re not happy with where a desktop icon is placed, click it and then drag
it to a new location.
Removing a program from the desktop
To get rid of an icon you have on your desktop, right-click the icon and
choose Move To Trash from the shortcut menu that appears.
Customizing KDE
Don’t worry, you KDE users: You have plenty of options, too. You can customize your KDE setup in lots of ways, from the fun to the practical, so that
you truly enjoy using it. As with GNOME, in fact, you can choose from far
more features than I have room to cover in this chapter, so if you enjoy
fiddling with the look and feel of your GUI, do some exploring on your own!
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Applets keep fallin’ on my head
Applets are miniprograms that do all sorts of things. An applet may display
the time, show system status, or even offer a little frivolous fun. All kinds of
applets are available out in the great big world of computer programming.
A number of applets are included with your default KDE installation, though
some of them are more useful than others.
Adding an applet icon to the panel
An interesting combination of applets is available in KDE, and you can easily
add and remove these little gems from your KDE Panel as suits your needs.
To add an applet to the panel (remember that the panel is the bar along the
bottom of your screen) in KDE, follow these steps:
1. Right-click a blank spot on the panel.
The panel’s menu opens.
2. Choose Add➪Applet.
You find yourself looking at the Applet submenu’s contents.
3. Choose the applet you want to add to the Panel.
On a particularly crowded panel bar, you may have to use the right and left
arrow bars at the panel’s ends to see the applet. You may need to delete from
the panel, in fact, any items you don’t use, to ensure that everything can
show up. (See the section “Removing an applet,” later in this chapter.)
See those vertical bars between various panel entries? Hover your mouse
pointer over them, and the pointer changes into a two-headed arrow. You can
drag those vertical bars left and right to expand and contract various parts of
your panel. You can also click the little arrows at the top to open menus
related to the applets.
Configuring an applet
Some applets have options that let you customize how they behave. Others
are more boring and just do the same old thing no matter what you would
prefer. To check which configuration and other options are available for your
applet, follow these steps:
1. Right-click the applet and examine the shortcut menu that appears.
This shortcut menu is different from applet to applet. In fact, there
doesn’t seem to be any real consistency in the menu options! (And
not every applet even has a shortcut menu.) Look for entries such
as Preferences, Settings, or the word Configure.
Chapter 15: Gettin’ Gooey with the GUIs
2. Choose the appropriate command from the shortcut menu.
If you see a Configure or Preferences dialog box, make your changes and
click Apply to see how that affects your applet without closing the
dialog box. You may see more than one configuration dialog box or submenu, as is the case for the KNewsTicker applet.
3. Alter the selections in the dialog box to customize this applet’s
behavior.
Experiment as much as you want. Just remember that you can always go
back and change the settings or remove the applet from your panel later.
4. Close the dialog box.
In a Preferences dialog box, click OK to close the window. Settings dialog
boxes typically have a button, aptly named Defaults, that enables you to
restore your defaults.
Removing an applet
You have room for only so many applets. And, if you’re like me, you probably
don’t want to have every bit of free space cluttered with icons. To remove an
applet from the panel, follow these steps:
1. Right-click the panel on an empty spot.
2. Choose Remove➪Applet.
The series of submenus opens, and you’re finally looking at a list of the
applets you now have on your panel.
3. Choose the applet you want to remove from the panel.
The applet is no longer on your panel.
Adding programs to your panel
You can also add programs to your KDE Panel. To do so:
1. Right-click on a blank spot on your panel.
2. From the shortcut menu, choose Add➪Application Button.
3. From the Application Button submenu, browse to the program you
want to add and select it.
The program appears on the left or right of your panel, depending on
where you have room. (You remove programs from the panel the same
way that you remove applets.)
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Cluttering the desktop with icons
KDE allows you to alter which applets and programs appear on your panel,
and on your desktop. Managing these shortcuts is a simple operation after
you understand how it works.
Adding a program to the desktop
The panel has only so much room. Maybe you would rather have your program shortcuts lined up on the desktop as you do in Windows. To add one of
these shortcuts, follow these steps:
1. Click the Main Menu button to open the KDE main menu.
2. Open the submenu containing the program for which you want to
make a shortcut.
For example, if you want to add The GIMP, open the Graphics submenu.
3. Choose the program for which you want to make a shortcut.
Don’t open the program. For example, to add The GIMP, you move your
mouse to the program and then click and hold the mouse button.
4. Drag the program to the desktop.
A little graphic follows your mouse pointer until you release the mouse
button, at which point you’re asked whether you want to add the shortcut to the desktop but not remove it from the menu (Copy Here); add
the shortcut to the desktop and remove it from the menu (Move Here);
or make an obvious shortcut that looks more like a Windows shortcut
(Link Here). Typically, you choose Link Here.
If you’re not happy with where a desktop icon is placed, click it and then drag
it to a new location.
Removing a program from the desktop
If you want to remove one of the programs from the desktop, just right-click
the icon you want to remove and choose Delete or Move To Trash, depending
on which option is available — if you move items into the trash, remember to
empty the trash later. The icon vanishes from the panel or desktop. That’s it!
Prettying Up Your Desktop with Themes
You may be familiar with the ability to install desktop themes under Microsoft
Windows. A theme in the desktop world refers to color schemes, images, and
Chapter 15: Gettin’ Gooey with the GUIs
sounds applied to all portions of the desktop — window borders, fonts, icons,
sound effects, and more — as part of a single, centralized entity. Many people
are happy to find out that themes are available in the Linux world, too.
Many distributions offer collections of backgrounds you can download or
that are already included. Chapter 12 includes pointers for the downloadable
ones, and you can find the already installed ones usually by right-clicking on
your desktop and choosing the option similar to Change Desktop
Background.
Adding themes to GNOME
A large number of themes is available on the Internet for the GNOME desktop
environment. To find and grab these themes for your own use, follow these
steps:
1. Point your Web browser to http://themes.freshmeat.net.
You’re taken to the Themes Web site, where any number of GUI customization items is offered.
If you’re heavy into playing with customization, you can also check out
http://art.gnome.org.
2. Click GTK, which is part of the GNOME desktop environment.
This action brings you to the appropriate section, to ensure that you
choose themes that work with your system.
3. Select the GTK 2.X area.
Now you’re in the section for the latest version of GNOME.
4. Browse and choose the theme you want to try.
You can use the Sort Order drop-down list box to change the order in
which the items are displayed. Keep your eye out for the requirements
(sometimes called “dependencies”) that go with the theme. Some themes
require additional “engines” (software that runs behind the scenes), and
you want to avoid them if you’re uncomfortable with finding and adding
software at this point. You’re safe if you’re looking for GTK themes and it
mentions Metacity — that’s part of the Fedora Core GNOME setup.
5. After you have chosen your theme, click its name to go to the themespecific page.
There, you can find any comments someone has about the theme.
6. Scroll down if necessary and click the link under Tar/GZ or Tar/BZ2.
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Your browser asks for specifics on where you want to place the file. If
you want to use this theme only for yourself, place it in your home directory or a subdirectory within your home. If you want to share the theme
with others, place it in a directory that everyone can reach — you may
need to make one and set its permissions appropriately.
7. From the main menu, choose Preferences➪Theme.
This action opens the GNOME Theme Preferences dialog box, shown in
Figure 15-2.
8. Double-click your user’s Home directory icon on your desktop.
The File Manager opens.
9. Browse to where you stored the theme.
10. Make sure that the theme file is a .tar.gz file.
If not, you need to see Chapter 12 on how to convert this file to this
format.
11. Select the theme file and drag it into the left (Installer) pane of the
Theme Preferences dialog box.
An installer dialog box opens.
12. Click Install.
Your new theme is added to the themes list.
Figure 15-2:
The GNOME
Theme
Preferences
dialog box.
Chapter 15: Gettin’ Gooey with the GUIs
13. Select your new theme in the listing.
Your desktop changes to match the theme.
14. Click Close when you’re finished, and the Theme Preferences dialog
box closes.
Adding themes to KDE
Just as with GNOME, many themes are available for the KDE desktop. Most
of the distributions covered in this book are using KDE version 3.3, so I am
going to focus on this version. If you are a Xandros 2.5 or Linspire 4.5 user,
you are using KDE 3.1. Mandrake 10.1 folks are using KDE 3.2. However,
Xandros will be updated to version 3 by the time this book is released,
and Linspire will update as well soon thereafter. Plus, Linspire offers lots
of themes through its Click and Run Warehouse, so see Chapter 12 for
how to add them. If you have updated your Mandrake system as discussed
in Chapter 12, you are also probably using KDE 3.3.
To find and add themes for KDE 3.3:
1. Point your Web browser to www.kde-look.org.
2. Under Themes/Styles, click KDE>3.2.
3. Among the tabs on the top, click the choice that will sort the themes
in the method you prefer.
For example, you might click Highest Rated in order to see the themes
people like the most.
4. Browse and click the name of the theme you want to try.
This action takes you to the theme’s page. Here, you find information
about the theme, perhaps instructions on how to install it (unfortunately. there doesn’t seem to be a lot of consistency here), and more. If
you are nervous or have been having trouble getting themes to install,
make sure to look for a theme that lists KDE 3.3 specifically. Folks feeling
more adventurous might choose one for the 3.2 series. Reading the user
comments can also be helpful in telling you if the theme is easy or difficult to install.
5. Scroll down to the Download link and click it.
This link is usually at the base of the initial description information.
When you click, a file browser dialog box appears.
6. Browse to where you want to save the file and click Save.
The file is saved into the location you chose.
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7. If the file ends in .gz, .zip, .tar.gzip, or .tar.bz2, uncompress the
file.
(If you’re not sure how to uncompress the file, see Chapter 12.)
The file may instead end in .kth or .ktheme. In this case, you don’t need
to open it up, so skip to Step 11.
8. If you had to uncompress the file, open a command line terminal.
If you don’t know how to open a command line terminal, see Chapter 14.
9. Use the cd command to change into the directory containing the files
you extracted.
10. Put the theme files in their proper places:
• If installation instructions appear on the item’s page, follow them
now.
• If no installation instructions appear and the files you created
aren’t .kth or .ktheme files, you should see an INSTALL or
README file explaining what to do. Follow those instructions.
• If you created a .kth or .ktheme file, continue to the next step.
11. Open your KDE Control Center.
To do so in:
• Fedora: From the main menu, choose Control Center➪Appearances
& Themes➪Theme Manager.
• Linspire: From the main menu, choose Settings➪Control Panel➪
Look & Feel➪Theme Manager.
• Mandrake: From the main menu, choose System➪Configuration➪
Configure Your Desktop➪Look & Feel➪Theme Manager
• SuSE: From the main menu, choose Control Center➪Appearances
& Themes➪Theme Manager.
• Xandros: From the main menu, choose Control Center➪Display➪
Background.
12. If you see the theme you downloaded already there, select it and
you’re done! Otherwise, open your file browser (see Chapters 10
and 12) and browse to the directory you saved the theme into.
13. Drag the theme file onto the Control Center dialog box.
Your theme should now appear. Select it, and have fun trying it out!
You may find that you have to look in the various sections (Background,
Colors, Window Decorations, Icons, and so on) to find all the pieces of the
Chapter 15: Gettin’ Gooey with the GUIs
theme. If your Theme Manager has a theme customization section on the
bottom with buttons (like Fedora’s), you may have to click in each of those
to find your new theme’s information.
Tweaking the GUI’s Innards
Behind GNOME and KDE lurks the X Window System, or “X.” X provides the
skeletal GUI structure and functionality. GNOME and KDE make use of this
skeleton to provide you with a pleasant GUI environment. Whenever you configure hardware or other basic GUI features like resolution, you actually work
with X, and not GNOME or KDE. In this section, I introduce you to the critical
components of X and point you to some useful X configuration tools.
The /etc/X11/XF86Config,/etc/X11/XF86Config-4, or /etc/X11/xorg.
conf file contains your X configuration. (All three files look the same inside.)
Although this file is just a normal text file, the format is complicated and confusing. Rather than make you work with this file by hand, the various Linux
distributions provide a number of tools. (See Chapter 20 for which tool
comes with which distribution.)
If you really enjoy experimenting with GUIs and fiddling with them, you can
do a number of things. Go to www.linuxdoc.org and read the various X
Window System and XFree86-related HOWTO files. Some are quite technical,
but some are a bit more friendly, and you may be surprised by just how much
you can tweak the Linux GUI. You can also find www.gnome.org and www.
kde.org, as well as dozens of other useful sites out there.
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Part IV
Getting Things
Done
F
In this part . . .
or many people, this part is the fun one! You find out
how to edit files at the command line and in the GUI,
including getting down and dirty with OpenOffice.org, the
free office suite that rocks the Linux (and Windows, and
OS X) world. You also get a bit crazy playing with multimedia. CDs, DVDs, audio files, movies, Internet radio . . .
the sky’s the limit when it comes to making your Linux
machine a multimedia center.
Finally, for those who just can’t leave Windows-only software and file formats behind, I cover how to add support
for many of these items. I don’t make the claim that everything Windows is supported under Linux, but you may be
surprised at just how easy it is to find a way to use your
Windows “stuff” (that’s a high-level technical term, you
know).
Chapter 16
Putting the X in Text
In This Chapter
Viewing the contents of text files
Manipulating text files in nano
Editing text files with Kate
Working with text files in gedit
F
rom text editors to word processors, Linux offers a wide variety of
options for working with words. In this chapter, I take a look at different
ways to view the contents of a text file, using some simple text editors in
both the non-GUI and GUI environments. In Chapter 17, I take a look at office
suites for those who would rather do word-processing!
Viewing the Contents of a Text File
Almost all configuration files in Linux are text files. In addition, many pseudoprograms (called shell scripts), all HTML documentation, and many other
items in your system are text files. Fortunately, if you just want to see what’s
in a text file and don’t want to do anything to its contents, you don’t have to
use an editor or word processor. You can use three command-line commands
to view text files: cat, less, and more. I would bet that you will grow to love
them.
Yes, that first command is cat, and it’s taken from the word concatenate,
which means “to bring together end to end” — you can use the cat command
on multiple text files to have their text joined, one file’s contents directly
after another’s. Typically, you use this command in the Linux world in the
format cat filename, where the contents of the file filename are displayed
on the screen. For example, if you create the short text file greetings and
then type cat greetings, you see the following:
$ cat greetings
These are the contents of the greetings file.
Meow!
$ _
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Of course, if the file contains more than a screen’s worth of information, cat
spews it all out at one time like a big hairball, and all but the last screen of
text scrolls off the screen. It’s’ a good thing that you have some other
choices. The one you’re likely to choose is less, which displays the contents
of a file a full screen at a time. Then you press the spacebar to continue to
the next screen. You can also use the arrow keys to move up and down one
line at a time, if you want.
An alternative to less is more. The main difference between the two is that
with more, you can move only forward through the file and see only a
screen’s worth of information at a time. You can’t back up.
To use either less or more, the format is similar to the format used with the
cat command: less filename or more filename. When you finish reading
the document, press Q to exit.
Editing Text Files with nano
If you aren’t using (or can’t use) the GUI, then you have numerous text editors available to you. The most powerful of these are vi and emacs, which
you’ll hear many people go on about. However, both these programs require
a learning curve. For beginners who want to just edit the dang file and move
on, I recommend nano and pico. These two editors are very similar, and one
or the other is typically included with most Linux distribution (but, unfortunately, not all). The “friendly” text editors included with the distributions discussed in this book are
Fedora: nano
Knoppix: None.
Linspire: None; see Chapter 12 add one
Mandrake: None; see Chapter 12 to add one (jed and joe are both
available)
SuSE: pico
Xandros: editor, which has a menu of function keys at the bottom of its
screen
To open a file in nano, type nano filename, such as nano file1. This action
opens the file in the nano editor, as shown in Figure 16-1.
You can then edit or type in that file as much as you need to.
Chapter 16: Putting the X in Text
Figure 16-1:
The file
file1
open in the
nano editor
in Fedora
Core 3.
Saving your work as you go
To save your file’s contents without closing it (so that you can keep working
on it):
1. Press Ctrl-O to Write Out.
A prompt appears toward the bottom of the screen, asking for the name
of the file and offering the current name as the default option.
2. If you want to use the same name, press Enter. If you want to change
the name, make your changes and then press Enter.
The lower part of your screen now displays that it wrote (saved) a certain number of lines.
3. Get back to work!
Saving and moving on with your life
To save your file’s contents and close it (because you’re done working on it
for now) — or to close the file and not save the changes — do the following:
1. Press Ctrl-X to Exit.
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A prompt appears toward the bottom of the screen, asking whether it
should save the modified buffer. This question is a fancy way of asking
whether you want to save your changes.
2. Press Y to save your changes or press N to not save them.
If you press Y, you’re asked for the name of the file and offered the current name as the default option. If you press N, nano closed and exited,
so you’re finished with these steps.
3. If you want to use the same name, press Enter. If you want to change
the name, make your changes and then press Enter.
The nano editor closes, and your file is saved.
Going with gedit
You’re not stuck with just command-prompt-based text editors in Linux. Lots
of graphical options are available. In this section, I cover gedit because it is
the default GUI text editor for Fedora, which is on the DVD included with this
book. The default GUI editors for the full range of distributions covered are as
follows:
Fedora: Access gedit by choosing Accessories➪Text Editor (see
Figure 16-2).
Knoppix: Access KWrite or Kate by choosing Editors➪KWrite or
Editors➪Kate.
Linspire: Access KWrite by choosing Programs➪Business & Finance➪
Text Editor, or KWrite in Programs➪Software Development➪Advanced
Text Editor.
Mandrake: Access Kate or KWrite by choosing More Applications➪
Editors➪Kate or More Applications➪Editors➪KWrite.
SuSE: Access Kate by choosing Utilities➪Editor.
Xandros: Access KWrite (very similar to gedit and Kate) by choosing
Applications➪Accessories➪Text Editor.
Entering and editing text in gedit
gedit is strictly a text editor, in that you use it to generate raw text, whereas
a word processor creates marked-up text that can be opened only by programs that can read that word processor’s file formatting. If you want to add
bold, italics, underlines, or any other special features to your document, proceed to the next chapter.
Chapter 16: Putting the X in Text
Figure 16-2:
The gedit
window
with a blank
file.
To enter text in gedit, just click within the big white space and start typing.
You have access to the standard collection of editing tools, such as cut,
paste, and copy. To use these, select the text you want to work with and then
click the appropriate button on the gedit toolbar (or right-click and choose
the appropriate command from the context menu).
The really interesting thing about this particular text editor is its plug-ins.
To use these features, you need to follow these steps:
1. Choose Edit➪Preferences in gedit.
This action opens the Preferences dialog box.
2. Click the Plug-Ins tab.
The Plug-Ins tab’s contents appear.
3. Click an item you’re interested in within the Plug-Ins tab.
4. Click the About Plugin button to get more information.
The information is contained within the small About window that
appears.
5. Click Close to get rid of the About window.
6. If you want to use this plug-in, click in its check box.
The plug-in is activated if a check appears in the check box.
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7. If the Configure Plug-In button becomes active for the plug-in you just
selected, click the button to open the tool’s plug-in configuration
dialog box.
This dialog box will be different depending on which plug-in you’re
using.
8. When you’re finished with the individual plug-in’s configuration, click
OK to return to the Preferences dialog box.
9. If you want to examine more plug-ins, return to Step 3.
10. When you’re finished selecting plug-ins, click Close to close the
Preferences dialog box.
You can now access the plug-ins from your gedit menus. Each one is placed
in its appropriate location: for example, Change Case appears on the Edit
menu.
Saving your work
As with most programs, you have two choices for saving your work. You can
save your work and keep going or save it and then close the program. To just
save the file and keep going, follow these steps:
1. Click the Save button.
This button looks like a floppy disk. If you haven’t ever saved this file,
clicking it opens the Save As dialog box.
2. Click the right-facing arrow toward the bottom left.
The filesystem browser opens.
3. Browse through the directories in the left or right pane until you’re in
the directory where you want to save the file.
Double-click the name of a directory to enter it or click the .. in the left
pane’s listing to move up a level in the directory tree.
4. Type the file’s name in the Selection text box.
5. Click OK to save the file.
The dialog box closes.
To close gedit, follow these steps:
1. Choose File➪Quit.
If you haven’t saved this file since the last time you changed it, the
Question dialog box appears.
Chapter 16: Putting the X in Text
2. If you see the dialog box, click Save to save your work or click Don’t
Save to abandon it.
The program closes, unless you have more than one file open, in which
case you see the Question dialog box for each file you have altered but
not saved.
Taking a Quick Look at Kate
Kate (see Figure 16-3) is the default editor in KDE and works much the same
way as gedit does. However, Kate is actually a bit fancier than gedit, offering features such as exporting to HTML (choose File➪Export), filtering various types of markup and coding to help spot errors (choose Tools➪
Highlight Mode), and more.
Figure 16-3:
The Kate
editor in
SuSE 9.2.
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Chapter 17
Word-Processing and More
with OpenOffice.org
In This Chapter
Installing the OpenOffice.org suite
Word-processing with OpenOffice.org Writer
“Spreadsheeting” with OpenOffice.org Calc
Presenting with OpenOffice.org Impress
Drawing with OpenOffice.org Draw
Formulating with OpenOffice.org Math
Configuring printing for the OpenOffice.org suite
Words fly, writing remains.
— Spanish proverb, from Dictionary of Proverbs, by Delfín Carbonell Basset
T
hese days, just about everyone who has a computer has at least one
office suite at their fingertips. If they’re Microsoft Windows users, this
suite is probably Microsoft Office, although it may be another worthy contender, such as Corel WordPerfect Office. In Linux, typically the suite is
OpenOffice.org. This suite comes with Calc (a spreadsheet), Draw (diagrams
and figures), Impress (for presentations), Math (a word processor for writing
mathematical formulas), and Writer (for word-processing).
After you figure out how to use one of the programs in this suite, you may be
happy to find that the others are designed to look and work in very similar
ways. You can even open and save files in Microsoft Office format, if you need
to share them with people using it — and you can edit the Office files people
send you, too.
That’s enough about OpenOffice.org. In this chapter, you can actually use it!
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Part IV: Getting Things Done
Other office suites available for Linux users are the OpenOffice.org relative
StarOffice (www.sun.com/staroffice), Applixware Office (www.vista
source.com/products), KOffice (www.koffice.org), and GNOME Office
(http://www.gnome.org/gnome-office/).
Word-Processing with
OpenOffice.Org Writer
Word processors are almost required equipment these days. Kids use them
to write letters to their grandparents. Grandparents use them to write letters
to their grandkids. Whether you’re working on the great American novel or a
school book report, OpenOffice.org Writer has all the best features you’d
expect to find these days in a word processor.
Starting it up
To start OpenOffice.org Writer in the distributions covered in this book, do
the following:
Fedora Core: Choose Applications➪Office➪OpenOffice.org Writer. Or
you can click the OpenOffice.org Writer button on your upper panel.
Knoppix: From the main menu, choose ➪Office➪OpenOffice.org Writer.
Linspire: From the main menu, choose ➪Programs➪Business &
Finance➪OpenOffice.org 1.1.0➪OpenOffice Writer.
Mandrake: From the main menu, choose
Office➪Wordprocessors➪OpenOffice.org Writer.
SuSE: From the main menu, choose Office➪Word processor.
Xandros: Choose Launch➪Applications➪OpenOffice.org➪Word
Processor. Xandros users who purchased the product also have the
option to install StarOffice through Xandros Networks (see Chapter 12),
which is the commercial version of OpenOffice and contains additional
fonts, templates, and more.
When you first open OpenOffice.org Writer, you may see a Paragraph Styles
dialog box. Click the X in the upper-right corner to close this box and to get it
out of the way for now.
Taking a tour of OpenOffice.org Writer
Before you proceed, take a look at the GUI layout shown in Figure 17-1.
Chapter 17: Word-Processing and More with OpenOffice.org
Figure 17-1:
The Open
Office.org
Writer
layout.
Main toolbar
Along the left side of the window is the main toolbar. Each icon in this series
represents a different functionality. If a button is extensible (it has a little
arrow on it), you can click it to open a tiny dialog box containing the options
therein. Each icon is described in Table 17-1; for an example of what you see
when you click an extensible button, see Figure 17-2. If you determine that
you want to remove this toolbar, choose View➪Toolbars➪Main Toolbar.
Figure 17-2:
The
OpenOffice.
org Writer’s
Show Form
Functions
button on
the main
toolbar,
expanded.
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Table 17-1
The OpenOffice.org Writer Main
Toolbar, from Top to Bottom
Button
What You Can Do
Extensible?
Insert
Place an element (a table, another document,
or a picture, for example) at the cursor’s current
location.
Yes
Insert Fields
Place a text element (current date, subject, or
author’s name, for example) at the cursor’s
current location.
Yes
Insert Object
Place an object (a chart, a mathematical formula,
or an applet, for example) at the cursor’s current
location.
Yes
Show Draw
Functions
Access the many OpenOffice.org drawing utilities.
Yes
Show Form
Functions
Build forms with their respective special
features (text boxes, radio buttons, and more).
Yes
Edit AutoText
Adjust the various settings for commonly
used phrases to recall at the click of a button.
Yes
Direct Cursor
On/Off
Add or remove special functionality that automatically formats text and objects according to
where you click on the page (clicking in the
middle centers the item, for example).
No
Spellcheck
Run the spell checker on your entire document
or the selected text.
No
AutoSpellcheck
On/Off
Activate or turn off the automatic spell checker
feature.
No
Find On/Off
Open or close the Find and Replace dialog box.
No
Data Sources
Open or close the Data Sources dialog box,
which lets you access databases previously
specified by using the dialog box accessed
by choosing Tools_Data Sources.
No
Nonprinting
Characters
On/Off
Show all spaces, returns at the ends of paragraphs, and other characters that you don’t
normally see in your documents.
No
Graphics On/Off
Show embedded images, or just show placeholders so that you can see where they are
without seeing the images.
No
Online Layout
Tell OpenOffice.org Writer to show your
document as a Web page.
No
Chapter 17: Word-Processing and More with OpenOffice.org
Menu bar
Along the top of the window is the menu bar, something you should be used
to if you typically work in Microsoft Windows. OpenOffice.org Writer has all
the features you’d expect from a modern word processor. It has too many
menu options to cover in depth, so I give you instead a (nonexhaustive) summary of what you find on each major menu:
File: The usual Open, Save, Save As, Print, and Print Preview (under the
term Page Preview) commands, along with a set of wizards (under the
term AutoPilot) plus the ability to send documents through e-mail,
create templates, and create Web pages
Edit: The usual Select All and Find commands, along with change tracking, document merging, and document comparing
View: The usual Zoom functions and toolbars, along with the abilities to
show or hide formatting characters, to see what the document would
look like as a Web page, and to access your database information
Insert: The usual page breaks and special characters, along with
indexes, tables, bookmarks, headers, footers, and cross-references
Format: The usual character, paragraph, and page settings, along with
styles, autoformatting capabilities, and columns
Tools: The usual spell-checking and thesaurus entries, in addition to
hyphenation, autocorrection, an image gallery, and a bibliography
database
These menus have more features than what is listed here. Go through and
take a look; you may find a new favorite feature in there somewhere.
Function bar
Directly below the menu bar in a default setup is the function bar, which you
can remove at any time by using the View menu. This series of icons allows
you single-click access to the most commonly used File and Edit features,
among others. Table 17-2 lays out, from left to right, what you find on the
default Function bar. The extensible items can all be opened to show a further set of options.
Table 17-2
The OpenOffice.org Writer Function
Bar, from Left to Right
Button or Item
What You Can Do
Extensible?
New
Open new documents of various types.
Yes
Open File
Open an existing file for reading or editing.
No
(continued)
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Part IV: Getting Things Done
Table 17-2 (continued)
Button or Item
What You Can Do
Extensible?
Save Document
Save the current document. If you haven’t saved No
this document before, the Save As dialog box opens.
Edit File
Edit the displayed Web page.
No
Export Directly
as PDF
Opens a Save As dialog box with PDF selected
as the file type.
No
Print File Directly
Send a file to the default printer.
No
Cut
Remove the selected text from the document
and save it in memory.
No
Copy
Make a copy of the selected document text and
save it in memory.
No
Paste
Place the text from memory into the document
at the cursor’s current location.
No
Undo
Undo the last change you made to the document. Yes
Redo
Reinstate the last change to the document after
using Undo to cancel it.
Yes
Navigator On/Off
Open or close the Navigator window, which
allows you to jump to specific features within
your document.
No
Stylist On/Off
Open or close the Paragraph Styles window,
which allows you to select the particular style
to apply to selected text.
No
Hyperlink Dialog
Open or close a dialog box that you can use to
build complex hyperlinks.
No
Gallery
Open or close a dialog box that provides access
to clip art.
No
Zoom
Alter how large the document shows on
your screen.
No
Object bar
The object bar is directly below the function bar in a default OpenOffice.org
setup. As usual, you can remove the object bar at any time by using the View
menu. This series of icons allows you to click buttons and expand drop-down
list boxes that represent standard word-processing functions, such as styles,
fonts, font sizes, and formatting instructions. Most features on this bar are
identical to what you see in most modern word processors. The button for
paragraph background formatting is the only one that’s particularly unusual.
Chapter 17: Word-Processing and More with OpenOffice.org
This toolbar actually changes depending on what you’re doing. If your cursor
is within a table, for example, then the object bar contains useful buttons for
working with tables.
Ruler
Directly below the object bar in a default OpenOffice.org setup is the ruler. All
modern word processors offer this item, which marks out the margins and
tabs, for example, of your document in the measuring system of your choice.
To change which system you want to use, right-click the ruler to open the
Measurements pop-up dialog box.
Your document
Oh, yeah — that big, blocked-off white space takes up most of the window.
That’s where you work on your documents! Just click in there and start
typing. You can also access a Formatting shortcut menu by right-clicking in
the document section.
OpenOffice.org Writer supports the following file formats (and more): its own
“text” format that it uses in common with StarWriter (.SXW), Microsoft Word
95, 6.0, 97, 2000, and XP (.DOC), Rich Text Format (.RTF), Text (.TXT), and
Web Page (.HTML).
Spreadsheets with OpenOffice.Org Calc
Some people like to balance their checkbooks by hand. When I first graduated from a university, I decided that it was time to get hold of my finances,
and a spreadsheet was the way to do it. These days, I use spreadsheets to
keep track of my “time card” when I’m doing consulting or contract work,
help me manage project teams, and complete other tasks. I’m sure that you
have your favorite uses for spreadsheets. The following sections take a look
at OpenOffice.org Calc so that you can get to work.
Starting it up
To start OpenOffice.org Calc in the distributions I cover in this book, do the
following:
Fedora Core: Choose Applications➪Office➪OpenOffice.org Calc. Or you
can click the OpenOffice.org Calc button in the lower panel.
Knoppix: From the main menu, choose Office➪OpenOffice.org➪Open
Office.org Calc.
Linspire: From the main menu, choose Programs➪Business & Finance➪
OpenOffice.org 1.1.0➪OpenOffice Calc.
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Mandrake: From the main menu, choose Office➪Spreadsheets➪
OpenOffice.org Calc.
SuSE: From the main menu, choose Office➪Spreadsheet.
Xandros: Choose Launch➪OpenOffice.org➪ Spreadsheet.
Taking a tour of OpenOffice.org Calc
Much of what you see in OpenOffice.org Calc should look familiar, between
looking through OpenOffice.org Writer and other spreadsheet programs you
have used. Take a look at the GUI layout shown in Figure 17-3.
Main toolbar
Along the left side of the window is the main toolbar, which you can remove
at any time by choosing View➪Toolbars➪Main Toolbar. Each icon in this
series represents a different functionality. Just as with OpenOffice.org Writer,
if a button is extensible (it has a little arrow on it), you can click it to open a
dialog box containing the options contained within. Each icon is described in
Table 17-3.
Figure 17-3:
The
OpenOffice.
org Calc
layout.
Chapter 17: Word-Processing and More with OpenOffice.org
Table 17-3
The OpenOffice.org Calc Main
Toolbar, from Top to Bottom
Button
What You Can Do
Extensible?
Insert
Place an element (a table, another document,
or a picture, for example) at the cursor’s current
location.
Yes
Insert Cells
Place a cell (or column or row) at the cursor’s
current location.
Yes
Insert Object
Place an object (a chart, a mathematical
formula, or an applet, for example) at the
cursor’s current location.
Yes
Show Draw
Functions
Access the many OpenOffice.org drawing
utilities.
Yes
Show Form
Functions
Build forms with their respective special features Yes
(text boxes, radio buttons, and more).
AutoFormat
Quickly format a collection of cells in one of a
variety of ways.
No
Choose Themes
Quickly assign a color-coordinated look
to a sheet.
No
Spellcheck
Run the spell-checker on your entire document
or the selected text.
No
AutoSpellcheck
On/Off
Activate or turn off the automatic spell-check
feature.
No
Find On/Off
Open or close the Find and Replace dialog box.
No
Data Sources
Open or close the Data Sources dialog box,
which brings up the same dialog box as the
Tools➪Data Sources menu selections.
No
Menu bar
Along the top of the window is the menu bar, a standard in the GUI world no
matter which operating system you’re using. OpenOffice.org Calc has all the
features you would expect from a modern spreadsheet system. It has too
many menu options to cover in depth, so, instead, here’s a (nonexhaustive)
summary of what you find on each menu:
File: The usual Open, Save, Save As, Print, and Print Preview (under the
term Page Preview) commands, along with a set of wizards (under the
term AutoPilot) plus the ability to send documents through e-mail,
create templates, and create Web pages
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Edit: The usual Select All and Find commands, along with change tracking, headers and footers, and plug-in loading
View: The usual Zoom functions and toolbars, along with the options for
showing or hiding column and row headers and accessing database
information
Insert: The usual page breaks and special characters, along with cells,
rows, functions, and external data
Format: The usual cell and row formatting, cell merging, and page settings, along with conditional formatting
Tools: The usual spell-checking and thesaurus entries, in addition to
hyphenation, autocorrection features, an image gallery, and a bibliography database
Data: The usual data selection, sorting, and grouping routines in one
easy place for quick access.
These menus have more features than those listed here. Go through and take
a look; you may find a new favorite feature in there somewhere.
Function bar
Directly below the menu bar in a default setup is the function bar, which you
can remove at any time by using the View menu. This series of icons allows
you single-click access to the most commonly used File and Edit features,
among others. The function bar in OpenOffice.org Calc is identical to that
shown in Table 17-2 for OpenOffice.org Writer.
Object bar
The object bar is directly below the function bar in a default OpenOffice.org
setup. As usual, you can remove the object bar at any time by using the View
menu. This series of icons allows you to click buttons and expand drop-down
list boxes that represent standard spreadsheet functions, such as styles,
fonts, font sizes, and number formatting instructions. Most features on this
bar are identical to what you see in most modern spreadsheets.
Formula bar
Directly below the object bar in a default OpenOffice.org Calc setup is the
Formula bar. Table 17-4 lays out what you find in this short collection of
entries. This bar actually changes depending on what you’re doing, offering
you buttons for particular tasks, so don’t panic if you look here and this table
doesn’t match what you see on your own Formula bar.
Chapter 17: Word-Processing and More with OpenOffice.org
Table 17-4 The OpenOffice.org Calc Formula Bar, from Left to Right
Button
What You Can Do
Sheet Area
Shows what row and column you’re in. Type the coordinates
and press Enter to jump directly to a cell.
AutoPilot:
Functions
Click to open the AutoPilot: Functions dialog box and browse to
find the particular spreadsheet function you’re looking for.
Sum
Click to start a SUM (addition) function in the Input Line.
Function
Click to place an = in the Input Line to signal that you’re about to
enter a function.
Input Line
Assign values or enter functions to fill a spreadsheet cell.
Your document
The document area is where you work on your spreadsheet. Just pick a cell
and start typing. You can also access a Formatting shortcut menu by rightclicking in the document section.
OpenOffice.org Calc supports the following file formats (and more): its own
spreadsheet format (.SXC); Data Interchange Format (.DIF); dBASE (.DBF);
Microsoft Excel 95, 5.0, 97, 2000, and XP (.DOC); text-based comma-separated
values (.CSV), Symbolic Link (SYLK), and Web Page (.HTML).
Presentations with OpenOffice.Org
Impress
Most people would rather eat glass than speak in front of a group of people.
Still, if you have to, you may as well have some cool presentation software to
back you up. This program is what I use when I speak at conferences. (I use
it even when my clients want me to send in my presentation in Microsoft
PowerPoint format. Shh! Don’t tell — they don’t know the difference!) Give
OpenOffice.org Impress a chance to impress you.
Starting it up
To start OpenOffice.org Impress in the distributions I cover in this book, do
the following:
Fedora Core: Choose Applications➪Office➪OpenOffice.org Impress. Or,
you can click the OpenOffice.org Impress button on your lower panel.
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Knoppix: From the main menu, choose Office➪OpenOffice.org➪
OpenOffice.org Impress.
Linspire: From the main menu, choose Programs➪Business & Finance➪
OpenOffice.org 1.1.0➪OpenOffice Impress.
Mandrake: From the main menu, choose Office➪Presentations➪
OpenOffice.org Impress.
SuSE: From the main menu, choose Office➪Presentation.
Xandros: Choose Launch➪Applications➪OpenOffice.org➪Presentation.
Using the AutoPilot Presentation Wizard
When you open OpenOffice.org Impress, the first thing that launches is the
AutoPilot Presentation wizard (see Figure 17-4), which you can also open
later manually by choosing File➪AutoPilot. If you don’t want this wizard to
show up the next time you open OpenOffice.org Impress, then click the Do
Not Show This Dialog Again box.
To use this wizard, follow these steps:
1. Leave the Empty Presentation option selected (unless you have a template you need to work from) and click Next.
Dialog 2 appears.
Figure 17-4:
The Open
Office.org
AutoPilot
Presentation wizard.
Chapter 17: Word-Processing and More with OpenOffice.org
2. If you want to select one of the default slide backgrounds that come
with OpenOffice.org Impress, you can do so by looking to the Select a
slide design drop-down list box, choosing Presentation Backgrounds,
and then clicking the various options to see what they look like to the
right of the dialog box.
By default, there aren’t many background templates. This is one area
where Sun’s StarOffice offers added value.
3. If you want to select a presentation (content) layout template that was
designed specifically for the template you chose in this dialog box’s
screen 1, you can do so by looking to the Select A Slide Design dropdown list box, choosing Presentation(s), and then selecting the presentation type you want to use.
Again, you find limited options here by default.
4. If you want your presentation ultimately to appear on something
other than a computer screen, adjust the Select An Output medium
to match its intended setting.
Your choices are Screen, Overhead Sheet, Slide, and Paper.
5. Click Next to proceed.
Dialog 3 appears.
6. Under Select a slide transition, experiment with the various options in
the Effect and Speed drop-down list boxes to narrow down how you
want to move from one slide to another.
OpenOffice.org Impress animates these transitions for you as long as the
Preview box is checked.
7. If you want to navigate manually from one slide to the next (the
Default option) while you give your presentation, skip to Step 10. If
you want to have your presentation advance automatically, click the
Automatic option.
8. In Duration Of Page, set how long you want each slide to stay up.
9. In Duration Of Pause, set how long of a blank gap you want to have
between slides.
If you have Show Logo checked, the OpenOffice.org logo appears during
the blank pauses.
10. After you have your settings selected, click Create to proceed.
OpenOffice.org Impress opens, as shown in Figure 17-5. You may find it
useful to click the X in the upper right of the Modify Slide dialog box so
that you can actually see the application for now!
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Figure 17-5:
The Open
Office.org
Impress
default look.
Taking a tour of OpenOffice.org Impress
Before you proceed, take a look at the GUI layout shown in Figure 17-5. The
little Presentation dialog box may look like clutter to some, but I personally
find it helpful as I’m creating and editing presentations. If you don’t need it,
just click the X in the upper right corner of the dialog box to get rid of it. You
can bring it back at any time by choosing View➪Toolbars➪Presentation.
Main toolbar
Along the left side of the window is the main toolbar, which you can remove
at any time by choosing View➪Toolbars➪Main Toolbar. Each icon in this
series represents a different functionality. If a button is extensible (has a little
arrow on it), you can click it to open a dialog box and see the options contained within. Each icon is described in Table 17-5. As you can see, this main
toolbar is significantly different from the other OpenOffice.org programs
because of the different needs you have in this context.
Chapter 17: Word-Processing and More with OpenOffice.org
Table 17-5
The OpenOffice.org Impress Main Toolbar,
from Top to Bottom
Button
What You Can Do
Extensible?
Select
Set the mouse pointer to select a particular
element or section of a slide.
No
Zoom
Use a set of options that let you zoom in and out
on the slide.
Yes
Text
Use a variety of methods for entering text
on a slide.
Yes
Rectangle
Easily draw various forms of rectangles.
Yes
Ellipse
Easily draw various forms of ellipses.
Yes
3D Objects
Easily draw spheres, cubes, and more.
Yes
Curve
Easily draw curvy lines and even freeform.
Yes
Lines and Arrows Use a selection of connector lines and arrows.
Yes
Connector
Use another set of connector symbols and lines.
Yes
Rotate
Rotate a selected object on a specific axis.
No
Alignment
Shift the selected object to a specific alignment
on the page.
Yes
Arrange
Move objects higher or lower in the stack.
Yes
Insert
Insert items, such as graphs.
Yes
Menu bar
Along the top of the window is the menu bar. OpenOffice.org Impress has the
many features you’d expect from a modern presentation package. It has too
many menu options to cover in depth, so I give you instead a (nonexhaustive) summary of what you find on each menu:
File: The usual Open, Save, Save As, Print, and Print Preview commands,
along with a set of wizards (under the term AutoPilot) plus the ability to
send documents through e-mail and create templates
Edit: The usual Select All and Find commands, along with the ability to
quickly duplicate a slide
View: The usual Zoom functions and toolbars, along with the ability to
select whether you’re looking at just slides, notes, or another section
Insert: The usual new slide, along with charts, frames, graphics, and
spreadsheets
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Format: The usual text formatting features, along with layout, graphics,
and style formatting
Tools: The usual spell-checking feature, in addition to hyphenation, autocorrection, an image gallery, and a bibliography database
Slide Show: The usual slide show controller menu
These menus have more features than those listed here. Don’t forget to do
some exploring on your own.
Function bar
Directly below the menu bar in a default setup is the function bar, which you
can remove at any time by using the View menu. This series of icons allows
you single-click access to the most commonly used File and Edit features,
among others. The Function bar in OpenOffice.org Impress is the same as
that in OpenOffice.org Writer, shown earlier in Table 17-2.
Object bar
The object bar is directly below the function bar in a default OpenOffice.org
setup. As usual, you can remove the object bar at any time by using the View
menu. This series of icons allows you to click buttons and expand drop-down
list boxes that represent standard presentation-software functions, such as
arrow styles, colors, line styles, and other formatting instructions. Most features on this bar are identical to what you see in most modern presentation
programs.
View switchers
Along the top of your right-hand scrollbar, and along the left of your bottom
scrollbar, you find a series of tiny buttons. Each button represents a different
View available in OpenOffice.org Impress, and you can use these buttons to
easily switch between various views. Table 17-6 outlines the available views
and what you find in them.
Table 17-6
Available OpenOffice.org Impress Views
View
What You Find
Drawing
Individual slide view in which you can add art to your slide.
Handout
Four slides per page, as you might print it for handouts.
Layer
Allows you to switch between various slide layers. By default,
your choices are the Default (top) layer and the Background
Objects layer where you can create and edit backgrounds without
altering your slide content.
Master
Individual slide view in which you can apply master formatting
that will apply to all slides.
Chapter 17: Word-Processing and More with OpenOffice.org
View
What You Find
Notes
Individual slide view in which you can see a small version of the
slide plus your notes about that slide.
Outline
All-slides view with the slides listed in order for easy stepping
through. Along the side, the slides are shown in thumbnail mode in
a separate window as you navigate.
Slide
Right column: All-slides view with as many slides packed in as
possible in columns and rows.
Bottom row:
Allows you to use the views on the right.
Ruler
Directly below the Object bar (and to the right of the main toolbar) is your
pair of rulers. These items mark out margins and tabs,. To change measuring
systems, right-click the appropriate ruler and select what you want to use.
Your document
Oh, yeah — that big white space takes up most of the window. That’s where
you work on your slides! Just click there and start typing. You can also access
a formatting shortctut menu by right-clicking in the document section and
choosing Slide➪Page Setup.
OpenOffice.org Impress supports the following file formats (and more): its
own presentation format (.SXI), and Microsoft PowerPoint 97, 2000, and XP
(.PPT or .PPS).
Fine Art with OpenOffice.Org Draw
Whether you’re an aspiring graphic artist or just need a tool that lets you
generate simple graphics for use on their own, in a presentation, or elsewhere, OpenOffice.org Draw provides a host of drawing functions. If nothing
else, it’s a whole lot of fun to play with! Not everything in life has to be
practical.
Starting it up
To start OpenOffice.org Draw in the distributions I cover in this book, do the
following:
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Fedora Core: Choose Applications➪Office➪OpenOffice.org Draw.
Knoppix: From the main menu, choose Office➪OpenOffice.org➪
OpenOffice.org Draw.
Linspire: From the main menu, choose Programs➪Business &
Finance➪OpenOffice.org 1.1.0➪OpenOffice Draw.
Mandrake: From the main menu, choose Office➪Drawing➪
OpenOffice.org Draw.
SuSE: From the main menu, choose Graphics➪Vector Drawing.
Xandros: Choose Launch➪Applications➪OpenOffice.org➪
Drawing Editor.
Taking a tour of OpenOffice.org Draw
Before you proceed, take a look at the GUI layout shown in Figure 17-6.
Figure 17-6:
The
OpenOffice.
org Draw
layout.
Chapter 17: Word-Processing and More with OpenOffice.org
Main toolbar
Along the left side of the window is the main toolbar, which you can remove
at any time by choosing View➪Toolbars➪Main Toolbar. Each icon in this
series represents a different functionality. If a button is extensible (has a little
arrow on it), you can click on it to open a dialog box with the options contained within. Each icon is described in Table 17-7. As you can see, this main
toolbar is more similar to that in OpenOffice.org Impress than to the one in
OpenOffice.org Writer.
Table 17-7
The OpenOffice.org Draw Main
Toolbar, from Top to Bottom
Button
What You Can Do
Extensible?
Select
Set the mouse pointer to select a particular
element or section of a slide.
No
Zoom
Use a set of options that let you zoom in and out
on the slide.
Yes
Text
Use a variety of methods for entering text
onto a slide.
Yes
Rectangle
Easily draw various forms of rectangles.
Yes
Ellipse
Easily draw various forms of ellipses.
Yes
3D Objects
Easily draw spheres, cubes, and more.
Yes
Curve
Easily draw curvy lines and even freeform.
Yes
Lines and Arrows Use a selection of connector lines and arrows.
Yes
Connector
Use another set of connector symbols and lines.
Yes
Effects
Open the Special Effects dialog box to rotate, flip, Yes
and otherwise manipulate your images.
Alignment
Shift the selected object to a specific alignment
on the page.
Yes
Arrange
Move objects higher or lower in the stack.
Yes
Insert
Insert items, such as graphs.
Yes
3D Controller
Open the 3D Effects dialog box.
No
Menu bar
Along the top of the window is the usual menu bar. OpenOffice.org Draw is a
typical “vector” graphics program, meaning that it relies on lines rather than
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dots or other techniques. See Chapter 18 for discussion of the software used
for editing photographs and other heavy-detail work.
OpenOffice.org Draw has too many menu options to cover in depth, so I give
you instead a (nonexhaustive) summary of what you find on each menu:
File: The usual Open, Save, Save As, Print, and Export commands, along
with a set of wizards (under the term AutoPilot) plus the ability to send
documents through e-mail and create templates
Edit: The usual Find and Replace, Image Map, and other such editing
commands
View: The usual Zoom functions and toolbars, along with the ability to
select the display quality and place the program in Preview mode
Insert: The usual charts, frames, graphics, and spreadsheets, along with
scanning functions
Format: The usual brush and graphics formatting, along with layers and
style formatting
Tools: The usual spell-checking, as well as hyphenation, autocorrection,
an image gallery, and an eyedropper for grabbing colors
Modify: Various options for altering the appearance of an object.
These menus have more features those listed here. Go through and take a
look; you may find a new favorite feature in there somewhere.
Function bar
Directly below the menu bar in a default setup is the function bar, which you
can remove at any time by using the View menu. This series of icons allows
you single-click access to the most commonly used File and Edit features,
among others. The function bar in OpenOffice.org Draw is identical to that
in the other OpenOffice.org applications (refer to Table 17-2).
Object bar
The object bar is directly below the function bar in a default OpenOffice.org
setup. As usual, you can remove the object bar at any time by using the View
menu. This series of icons allows you to click buttons and expand drop-down
list boxes that represent standard presentation software functions, such as
arrow styles, colors, line styles, and other formatting instructions. This one
is identical to the one you found in OpenOffice.org Impress.
Ruler
Directly below the object bar (and to the right of the main toolbar) in a
default OpenOffice.org setup are the rulers. These items mark out the margins and tabs, for example, of your document in the measuring system of
your choice. To change which system you want to use, right-click the ruler
and change the Measurements to your preferences.
Chapter 17: Word-Processing and More with OpenOffice.org
Your document
Click in that big white space and start doodling. You can also access a formatting pop-up menu by right-clicking in the document section.
OpenOffice.org Draw appears at first glance to have the most limited file type
support for saving when you use the Save As dialog box , but in fact, it supports a wide range of graphics formats. You can save images to a format
other than the OpenOffice.org Draw format (.SXD) by choosing File➪Export.
Supported graphics formats are BMP, EMF, EPS, GIF, JPEG, MET, PBM, PCT,
PGM, PNG, PPM, RAS, SVG, SWF (Flash), TIFF, WMF, and XPM.
Layout with OpenOffice.Org Math
There’s nothing like trying to type a math or science report and having to
either use multiple lines to show your equations (which never looks right!)
or write them by hand. OpenOffice.org Math is a great solution to this problem. You can lay out your equations and more in this program and then insert
them into any of your OpenOffice.org documents. Whether you’re a middle
school student or a professional engineer, OpenOffice.org Math just may
thrill you.
Many OpenOffice.org Math functions are different from what you’re used to if
you have looked at all the other OpenOffice.org programs. However, in many
ways this program is less complex than some, thanks to its special-purpose
nature. Keep in mind that it’s not a calculation program. It’s for laying out
complex formulas on paper or the screen.
Starting it up
To start OpenOffice.org Math in the distributions I cover in this book, do the
following:
Fedora Core: Choose Applications➪Office➪OpenOffice.org Math.
Knoppix: From the main menu, choose Office➪OpenOffice.org➪
OpenOffice.org Math.
Linspire: From the main menu, choose Programs➪Business & Finance➪
OpenOffice.org 1.1.0➪OpenOffice Math.
Mandrake: From the main menu, choose Office➪Wordprocessors➪
OpenOffice.org Math.
SuSE: From the main menu, choose Office➪Office Suite. When the
Templates And Documents – New Document window appears, choose
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New Document➪Formula and then click Open. You can also open any
type of document from any of the OpenOffice.org tools.
Xandros: Choose Launch➪Applications➪OpenOffice.org➪
Formula Editor.
Taking a tour of OpenOffice.org Math
Before you proceed, take a look at the GUI layout shown in Figure 17-7.
Close the Selection dialog box by clicking the small X in the upper right
corner of its window for now, to keep things as uncluttered as possible. You
can get it back at any time by choosing View➪Selection.
Main toolbar
Along the left side of the window is the main toolbar, which you can remove
at any time by choosing View➪Toolbars➪Main Toolbar. Each icon in this
series represents a different functionality. You’re likely to find this main toolbar quite different from those in the other OpenOffice.org programs. Mostly,
it’s just smaller. Each icon is described in Table 17-8.
Figure 17-7:
The
OpenOffice.
org Math
layout.
Chapter 17: Word-Processing and More with OpenOffice.org
Table 17-8
The OpenOffice.org Math Main
Toolbar, from Top to Bottom
Button
What You Can Do
Zoom In
Enlarge the contents of the document section.
Zoom Out
Shrink the contents of the document section.
Zoom 100%
Shrink or enlarge to the contents’ original size.
Entire Formula
Enlarge or shrink the formula so that it fits in the full screen.
Refresh
If you have View➪AutoUpdate Display enabled, update the document area to match the Commands area.
Formula
Cursor
Click within the formula in Document view so that your cursor
automatically moves to that position in the Commands area.
Symbols
Open the Symbols dialog box, which contains both Greek and
other special-purpose mathematical symbols.
Menu bar
Along the top of the window is the menu bar, a standard in the GUI world no
matter which operating system you’re using. OpenOffice.org Math may be
unlike any program you may have used already, so I don’t say anything about
what you may expect to find there. I just give you a (nonexhaustive) summary of what you find on each menu:
File: The usual Open, Save, Save As, and Print commands that you find
in most GUI programs, along with a set of wizards (under the term
AutoPilot) and the ability to send documents through e-mail, create
templates, and create Web pages
Edit: The usual Select All and Find commands, along with specialized
commands for moving within the formula
View: The usual Zoom functions and toolbars, along with screen update
features and more
Format: The usual font type, font size, spacing, and alignment features
and more
Tools: The usual Configure and Options entries for customizing the program’s setup and behaviors, in addition to formula importing and access
to the symbol catalog
Function bar
Directly below the menu bar in a default setup is the function bar, which you
can remove at any time by using the View menu. This series of icons allows
you single-click access to the most commonly used File and Edit features,
among others. Again, the function bar here is the same as that in Table 17-2.
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Document section
Things get tricky here if you’ve never used formula-editing software. You can’t
type anything in the main (upper) document window in OpenOffice.org Math.
Instead, you type in the Commands (lower) window. Right-clicking in the
Commands window opens a shortcut menu. To help you get used to working
with the formulas, I suggest that you play around with this tool. For example,
if you have never used software like this, you might follow these steps:
1. Right-click in the Commands window.
The main shortcut menu opens.
2. Select a submenu to open.
For example, Formats
3. Select a formula component within this submenu.
I’m a geek, and I fondly remember taking a class on matrices, so I chose
matrix {...} as an example. Immediately, the code that’s needed in order
to add a matrix to my formula appears in the Commands dialog box. A
moment later, because I’m letting the program refresh the rest of the
screen as I work, I see what the matrix looks like in the document
window. The combination is shown in Figure 17-8.
Figure 17-8:
Starting
to add a
matrix in
OpenOffice.
org Math.
Chapter 17: Word-Processing and More with OpenOffice.org
4. Replace each of the <?> entries with the proper letters and numbers
for your formula.
When I change matrix{<?> # <?> ## <?> # <?>} to matrix{A # B ##
C # D}, I see the result shown in Figure 17-9.
5. Continue adding components to the formula until you’re finished.
Suppose that you want to multiply the matrix by 3. To find out how,
press Enter to go down to the next line in the Commands window (to use
as “scratch paper”), right-click to display the pop-up menu, and choose
Unary/Binary Operators➪a Times b. This choice adds the phrase <?>
times <?> beneath the matrix code. Now you know how to format a
multiplication, so erase this phrase and use it as a guideline to change
your formula to:
3 times matrix{A # B ## C # D}
This line gives the result shown in Figure 17-20. I could go on, but I hope
by now that you’re eager to start with your own explorations!
Figure 17-9:
A4x4
matrix in
OpenOffice.
org Math.
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Figure 17-10:
A complete
formula in
OpenOffice.
org Math.
OpenOffice.org Math supports (among others) its own format (.SXM) and
MathML 1.01 (.MML), which isn’t a program. MathML is a standard, similar to
HTML for working on the Web, and 1.01 is a specific version of this standard.
For this particular version of MathML, see www.w3.org/TR/REC-MathML/.
The main standard page is available at www.w3.org/Math/. If you need to
add formulas to Web pages, this site can be quite an interesting read!
Configuring Printing for OpenOffice.org
Before you can print from OpenOffice.org, you may need to set up printing
for this suite. If you already set up your printing in Chapter 7, try printing a
page from any of the OpenOffice.org applications and see whether it works.
For those that are unable to print from OpenOffice.org but can print from
other applications, open the OpenOffice.org print tool from:
Fedora: Integrated with the main print manager, so you don’t need to do
anything.
Knoppix: From the main menu, choose Office➪OpenOffice.org➪
OpenOffice.org Printer Administration.
Chapter 17: Word-Processing and More with OpenOffice.org
Linspire: From the main menu, choose Programs➪Business & Finance➪
OpenOffice.org 1.1.0➪OpenOffice Printer Administration.
Mandrake: Integrated with the main print manager, so you don’t need to
do anything.
SuSE: Integrated with the main print manager, so you don’t need to do
anything.
Xandros: Choose Launch➪Applications➪OpenOffice.org➪Printer
Administration.
Then do the following:
1. Click New Printer.
The Choose A Device Type dialog box appears.
2. Make sure that Add A Printer is selected and then click Next.
The Choose A Driver dialog box appears.
3. Scroll through this screen and locate the make and model of your
printer or choose Generic Printer.
4. After you make your selection, click Next.
The Choose A Command Line dialog box appears.
5. Click Next to skip this item.
The Choose A Name dialog box appears.
6. Change the name for this printer if you want.
7. If you want to use this printer as your default, click the Use As Default
Printer box.
8. Click Finish to add this printer to your list and then Close to close the
printing tool.
Before you close the tool, you may want to click Test Page to see whether
you can print a test page.
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Chapter 18
Multimedia Wow!
In This Chapter
Listening to music
Using, recording to, and ripping from CDs
Creating and modifying high-powered graphics with The GIMP
Watching movies
The price of freedom is responsibility, but it’s a bargain, because freedom is
priceless.
— Hugh Downs
I
n these days of computing in noisy Technicolor, it just doesn’t feel like a
computer unless you can make it sing and dance. This used to be a weak
point for Linux, but these days there’s little that I can’t do on my Linux desktop machine. From listening to CDs to watching QuickTime movies, you can
do just about anything. Sometimes it just takes a bit of elbow grease to get
things working.
Time to take a trip on the wild side and get your Linux box doing the Macarena.
Because legal complications surround a number of multimedia programs and
their use in countries like the United States of America, some multimedia capabilities had to be removed from some Linux distributions. However, these
capabilities are still available if you know where to look — and if you’re in a
legal jurisdiction that allows listening to MP3s, watching DVDs, or other touchy
subjects under patent laws and the DMCA. Chapter 12 shows you how to add
many of the features discussed throughout this chapter.
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Checking Your Sound Card
Before you can listen to tunes, you have to make sure that your sound card is
working properly. After the configuration issues are dealt with, you can move
on to the fun stuff like listening to CDs and Internet radio and downloading
tunes.
Many distributions ask you to test your sound as part of the installation or
immediate post-installation routine. Just in case you skipped this step, the
first thing to do here is locate the sound-testing program (if one exists) to see
whether yours is working:
Fedora: Choose Applications➪System Settings➪Soundcard Detection to
see whether the card is correctly detected and plays test sounds.
Knoppix: From the main menu, choose KNOPPIX➪Configure➪Soundcard
Configuration to start the sound configuration utility.
Linspire: From the main menu, choose Settings➪Control Panel➪
Advanced Settings➪Information➪Sound to see whether the card is
correctly detected.
Mandrake: From the main menu, choose System➪Configuration➪
Configure Your Desktop➪Sound➪Sound System➪Hardware to see
whether the card is correctly detected.
SuSE: From the main menu, choose Control Center➪Sound &
Multimedia➪ Sound System➪Hardware to see what card has been
found.
Xandros: Choose Launch➪Control Center➪Hardware Information➪
Sound to see what sound card the operating system found.
Looking into Your Mixer
If the card seems to be detected properly, then a look at your mixer is the
next important step. Sometimes cards are picked up right, and yet the mixer
for some reason by default has things muted, or other strange things are set.
To find the mixer:
Fedora: Choose Applications➪Sound & Video➪Volume Control.
Knoppix: From the main menu, choose Multimedia➪KMix.
Linspire: From the main menu, choose Programs➪Audio & MP3➪
Volume.
Chapter 18: Multimedia Wow!
Mandrake: From the main menu, choose Multimedia➪Sound➪KMix.
SuSE: From the main menu, choose Multimedia➪Volume Control. You
may find other programs useful in this menu as well.
Xandros: Choose Launch➪Applications➪Multimedia➪Sound Mixer.
Mixer terms of interest include the following:
Lock: When two slider bars appear for a setting, this option just makes
sure that they’re always level with one another.
Mute: No sound comes from this section.
PCM: Control the volume for audio files as opposed to, say, CDs.
Volume: Control the overall volume.
Finally, many of the distributions have a little volume control icon on the
panel. If everything else looks right but you get no sound, click it and make
sure that it hasn’t been pulled down to the bottom.
Investigating Troublesome Sound Issues
If your sound isn’t working, your card may not be supported. The following
strategies can help you to track down a potential solution:
Proceed to the manufacturer’s Web site and locate the page for the specific card that you have. This page often has a link to technical support,
drivers, and downloads. If it does, follow these links and see whether a
driver (the piece of software that tells your operating system how to talk
to each piece of hardware) is available for your card in Linux. If drivers
are listed by kernel version — the version of the Linux core that you’re
using — type uname -r to see your version number and then choose
the closest driver that you can. You also might have to try the central
tech support page on that site if there isn’t one dedicated to the hardware in question.
Search on www.google.com for the make and model of your card, plus
the word Linux. For example, I might search for
Yamaha YMF-744B Linux
You may be lucky enough to find a nice, simple solution to your problem.
Or, you may find one that requires you to have a degree in Geekspeak. If
so, see the Web sites that I mention in Chapter 1 for where to go for help
that you can understand.
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Two special sound-related projects in Linux also might be able to help
you. One is Advanced Linux Sound Architecture (ALSA), which you can
find at www.alsa-project.org/. The other is Open Sound System (OSS)
at www.opensound.com/. There’s also the Linux Sound & MIDI site at
http://linux-sound.org/.
Listening to CDs
Most of the distributions automatically open up CD players when you place a
music CD into the drive. You can, of course, also open the CD player manually
if you choose, from:
Fedora: Choose Applications➪Sound & Video➪CD Player (see
Figure 18-1).
Figure 18-1:
The plainJane CD
Player in
Fedora
with a
CD playing.
Knoppix: From the main menu, choose Multimedia➪KsCD, with the minor
caveat that you need to have a second CD drive to use it because the
main CD drive has Knoppix in it!
Linspire: From the main menu, choose Programs➪Audio & MP3➪CD
Player.
Mandrake: From the main menu, choose Multimedia➪Sound➪KsCD.
SuSE: From the main menu, choose Multimedia➪CD Player (see
Figure 18-2).
Figure 18-2:
The KsCD in
SuSE with a
CD playing.
Chapter 18: Multimedia Wow!
Xandros: Choose Launch➪Applications➪Multimedia➪CD Player. In most
cases, if the CD in question is registered in the CD DataBase (CDDB), the
title and the song names load so that you can see what you’re listening
to. (CD DataBase is one of the services that tells your media players
what the name of your CD is and what songs are on it; you can find out
more at www.gracenote.com/.)
If CDDB doesn’t recognize your CD, you can add it to the database by:
Fedora: In the row above the bottom, click the Track Editor button to
open the CDDB Track Editor (see Figure 18-3), type the pertinent information, and then click Save. You can click the right-facing arrows to
expand this dialog box to enter even more information.
Figure 18-3:
The CD
Player’s
CDDB
Track Editor
dialog box
in Fedora.
Knoppix, Mandrake, and SuSE: Click the CDDB button, type the pertinent information, and then click Upload.
Linspire and Xandros: In the row one above the bottom, click the freedb
Dialog icon, type the pertinent information, and then click Upload.
Other menus are available in these players as well. Take a moment to explore
and set up their default behavior so that it matches what you like.
Listening to Internet Radio
Listening to Internet radio stations in Linux is not always the simplest thing
in the world, depending on your distribution. Because of various laws, patents,
and licensing problems, some formats like MP3 are not always supported out
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of the box. The best way to see what you’re set up to support right now is to
simply try and listen. After you’re sure that your sound is set up properly,
you can try many Web sites with your default browser:
SHOUTcast for finding links to thousands of online stations, at
www.shoutcast.com/
Radio-Locator for finding “regular” radio stations offering online
versions, at www.radio-locator.com/
The first place to try is SHOUTcast. When you find a station that you want to
listen to:
1. Click the Tune In! button.
If you already have your software set up, you can listen automatically.
However, you probably don’t if you haven’t listened to online radio
before. If you’ve never listened to this program’s format before, you will
be asked what program to open the content with.
2. If a program is suggested, click OK to proceed. Otherwise, you will
need to navigate through your filesystem to manually choose the
program.
If you have never used this program before, it probably has a setup routine it will want you to go through before you continue.
3. If required, walk through the program’s setup routine.
Even after all of this you might be told that the file format isn’t supported.
Fortunately, you are told here what format this is (for example, mpeg).
4. If your software doesn’t support the file’s format, install a program
that does.
For mpeg and VFS, go to Chapter 12 and find how to add RealPlayer. For
ASX and ASF, which are Windows Media Player formats, use Chapter 12
to install mplayer-plugin or Kaffine, or see Chapter 19 for products that
let you run Windows software under Linux.
Software you’re likely to encounter as you experiment with Internet radio
includes
Amarok: A full-featured audio player that’s got some really cool features
like the ability to load images of your album covers.
Rhythmbox: This is just called the Music Player in Fedora. See how to
add MP3 support to this program in the section “Listening to downloaded music.” It can play CDs, Internet (streaming) radio, and
downloaded music.
RealPlayer: The all-too-familiar program from other operating systems.
It can play Internet (streaming) radio and downloaded music.
Chapter 18: Multimedia Wow!
HelixPlayer: A version of RealPlayer without the pieces that have to be
handed with pay licenses (like MP3s). It can play Internet (streaming)
radio and downloaded music.
MPlayer-Plugin: A browser plug-in that you can use at times to listen to
formats that other players may not support, including Windows formats.
Least likely to be legal if you’re in the United States.
XMMS: A Winamp clone that can play Internet (streaming) radio and
downloaded music. Sometimes comes with MP3 support and sometimes
doesn’t, but typically ‘you can add MP3 support regardless through your
distribution’s extra repositories (see Chapter 12).
Kaffeine: A full-featured audio/video media player for Internet (streaming)
radio, downloaded files, CDs, DVDs, and so on. Again, this program is of
questionable legality in the United States. In SuSE, if you get a complaint
about “demux” not being included, install the oggmtools package (see
Chapter 4).
Xine: A full-featured audio/video media player for Internet (streaming)
radio, downloaded files, CDs, DVDs, and so on. Again, this program is of
questionable legality in the United States. In SuSE, if you get a complaint
about “demux” not being included, install the oggmtools package (see
Chapter 4).
Listening to Downloaded Music
Downloading music from the Internet is a fun activity. A lot of people like to
pretend that it’s both legal and ethical, when, in fact, it’s often theft, depending on where you grabbed the music. I leave that ethical issue between you
and your belief system of choice, but because my own ethics say that it’s
theft, I’m going to focus on showing you music that you’re welcome to download — legally and ethically! Take a look at strategies for finding such music,
along with how to listen to it.
One place to find such material is on a band’s own Web site. Many groups
today realize that offering free downloads of their work is a great PR move —
if people love the sample songs, they’re more likely to go out and buy the
album. For an example, I use one of my own favorite bands, Evanescence
(www.evanescence.com).
Evanescence, like many other bands, has its page done mostly with
Macromedia’s Flash tool. (See Chapter 12 for how to add this functionality
to your distribution.) To listen to music files in general:
Fedora: Choose Applications➪Sound & Video➪Music Player.
Knoppix: From the main menu, choose Multimedia➪Sound➪XMMS.
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Linspire: From the main menu, choose Programs➪Audio & MP3➪CNR
More➪Lsongs to download this tool, and install it in the Audio & MP3
menu.
Mandrake: From the main menu, choose Multimedia➪Sound➪Amarok.
SuSE: From the main menu, choose Multimedia➪Audio Player.
Xandros: Choose Launch➪Applications➪Multimedia➪Media Player. After
you’re done, to see whether you can listen to any music here, click the
Music link. The songs are in the Flash window on the left. You have the
option of clicking real for RealPlayer, windows for Windows Media
Player, or lyrics to see the words for this song.
Ripping Music Tracks from CDs
This is another topic that’s impossible to cover without at least acknowledging that both ethics and legal issues are involved. I’m not going to get into
legalities here, but my personal ethics are that it’s fine to rip (copy) music
off my own CDs for my own use. If I want to pull my favorite songs off CDs
that I purchased and set them up so I can listen to them collectively in a
random playlist off of my computer’s hard drive, I don’t see a problem with
this. However, doing this and then taking the CD back for a refund is theft, in
my opinion.
So, with that said, a number of music ripping programs are available in Linux:
Fedora: Choose Applications➪Sound & Video➪Sound Juicer CD Ripper
(see Figure 18-4).
Figure 18-4:
The Sound
Juicer
CD Ripper
in Fedora.
Chapter 18: Multimedia Wow!
Knoppix: None, though you’d need a second CD drive anyway!
Linspire: From the main menu, choose Programs➪Audio & MP3➪CNR
More➪G-Rip, and add this program, which is then kept in the Audio &
MP3 menu.
Mandrake: From the main menu, choose Multimedia➪Sound➪CD Ripper
(KAudioCreator).
SuSE: From the main menu, choose Multimedia➪CD/DVD Tools.
Xandros: None, though you can use the Xandros File Manager to burn
CDs. (See the section “Burning CDs and DVDs,” later in this chapter.)
To rip songs, with the Sound Juicer, from a CD that you’ve already inserted:
1. For each song that you don’t want to rip, uncheck the Extract check
box, next to the song.
The check mark disappears for each song that you don’t want to digitize.
2. Choose Edit➪Preferences.
The Preferences dialog box appears, as shown in Figure 18-5.
Figure 18-5:
The Sound
Juicer
Preferences
dialog box.
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Part IV: Getting Things Done
3. Select your preferred sound format.
I highly suggest Ogg Vorbis because this format is easily handled on
Linux machines without any inherent legal problems and is also better
compressed than MP3 for equivalent sound.
4. Use the Browse button to select where you want your sound files
saved.
5. In the Output Name section, select how you want Sound Juicer to
name and arrange the files in subdirectories.
6. Make any other configuration changes you want to make.
7. When finished making changes, click Close.
The dialog box closes.
8. Click Extract.
The Progress dialog box appears, showing you what track you’re on and
how far within that track you are.
9. Choose CD➪Eject.
The CD tray opens.
10. Remove the CD and close the tray.
11. Close Sound Juicer.
Burning CDs and DVDs
A CD burner is a great way to make data backups (especially if it’s a rewriteable), save and share your digital photos, put together multimedia memento
scrapbooks, and more. Many tools are available that allow you to burn CDs
under Linux:
Fedora: Choose Applications➪Sound & Video➪K3b if you have KDE
installed, or add grip (see Chapter 12).
Knoppix: From the main menu, choose Multimedia➪K3b.
Linspire: From the main menu, choose Programs➪Audio & MP3➪
CD Burner.
Mandrake: None installed by default. Using Chapter 12, look for the
programs arson, xcdroast, and rhythmbox.
SuSE: From the main menu, choose Multimedia➪CD/DVD Burning.
Xandros: Choose Launcher➪Applications➪Multimedia➪CD Writer.
Chapter 18: Multimedia Wow!
Creating and Modifying Graphics
The GIMP is a graphics program that’s considered in many ways equivalent to
Adobe Photoshop. Many don’t consider The GIMP the friendliest program on
the planet, but at the very least, it has enough features to keep you busy experimenting for weeks! To open The GIMP:
The GIMP may not already be installed. In Linspire and Xandros in particular,
you might need to use what you learned in Chapter 12 to add this software
before you can use it.
Fedora: Choose Applications➪Graphics➪GIMP Image Editor.
Knoppix: From the main menu, choose Graphics➪GIMP Image Editor.
Linspire: From the main menu, choose Programs➪Multimedia & Design➪
CNR More➪GIMP, which is installed under Multimedia & Design.
Mandrake: From the main menu, choose Multimedia➪Graphics➪The
GIMP v2.
SuSE: From the main menu, choose Graphics➪Image Editing.
Xandros: Choose Launch➪Applications➪Graphics➪GIMP Image Editor.
When you start The GIMP for the first time, you have to walk through its
user setup routine. Fortunately, you can just click Continue each time, unless
you’re a graphics guru who has a particular reason to want to do things in a
different way. After you’ve clicked past all these dialog boxes, a collection of
one or more dialog boxes pops up containing the GIMP main dialog box (see
Figure 18-6) plus additional tool dialog boxes. I recommend closing all but the
main one for now, just to keep your screen and brain uncluttered.
Figure 18-6:
The GIMP’s
main dialog
box in
Mandrake
10.1.
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The GIMP is an incredibly complex program, with entire books written for the
people who really want to use it heavily. Great starter links for working with
The GIMP are
GIMP Tutorials Pointer Page: http://empyrean.lib.ndsu.nodak.
edu/~nem/gimp/tuts
RRU GIMP Tutorial: www.rru.com/~meo/gimp/Tutorial
The official GIMP.org site’s tutorials page: www.gimp.org/tutorials/
The GIMP Savvy Web site (with a full book available for reading
online): http://gimp-savvy.com/
Watchin’ Movies
These days, you can watch many kinds of movies on your computer. Whether
it’s a Flash animation, a DVD, or a movie trailer, you’ve got the tools that you
need right at your fingertips (or just a click away). You may have even
installed some already while trying to access other multimedia features. Here
are some of the tools of the trade.
Watching a DVD in Linux is a bit of a legal quagmire if you live in the United
States. The Digital Milennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and other issues make
it tricky for any open source program to navigate the licensing maze when it
comes to movies that are encoded or protected in various fashions. However,
not all DVDs have such countermeasures enabled: There are DVDs that
Americans can watch under Linux with no trouble. (Note that I say watch,
and not copy or pirate.)
For more on the DMCA and the problems it causes, see anti-dmca.org.
To watch a DVD in Linux, first check Chapter 11 to see what your distribution
will do if you just pop a DVD into your drive. Of course, you can also start a
program by hand, though you may have to download it first:
Fedora: Doesn’t ship with any DVD players by default. Use Chapter 12 to
add repositories so you can install Kaffeine, Xine, or Mplayer.
Knoppix: From the main menu, choose Multimedia➪Video➪xine media
layer.
Linspire: Purchase a legal DVD player from the Click And Run Warehouse
by going to the main menu and choosing Programs➪ Multimedia &
Design➪CNR More➪DVD Player (see Figure 18-7). Or install Mplayer
from the same place.
Chapter 18: Multimedia Wow!
Figure 18-7:
The
Linspire
DVD
Player in
Linspire 4.5.
Mandrake: From the main menu, choose Multimedia➪Video➪Kaffeine.
SuSE: From the main menu, choose Multimedia➪Video Player.
Xandros: Launch➪Applications➪Multimedia➪Video Player.
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Chapter 19
Windows-Only Media Formats
and Programs
In This Chapter
Running Microsoft Office and Web tools with CrossOver Office
Using Windows inside Linux with Win4Lin
Playing Windows games with Cedega
Creating a “virtual computer” inside Linux with VMWare
Trying out the free Windows inside Linux tool, WINE
A gentleman is a man who can play the accordion, but doesn’t.
— Unknown
T
here is little more maddening for computer users than to find a file online
or have someone send a file, just to discover that they can’t use it. While
this issue is less of a problem for Linux users as each day passes, things do
sometimes still crop up that have to be dealt with so that you can move forward instead of spinning your wheels. Also, you may want certain programs
that you just can’t live without and haven’t found a replacement that you’re
happy with yet.
Fortunately, you have a number of options available in both of these scenarios. If you’re looking for software, then a good place to start (aside from
Chapter 12) is linuxshop.ru/linuxbegin/win-lin-soft-en/. Here, you
can see whether there really isn’t a Linux tool that can do the job. You may
be surprised. After looking at this site, you have two options. You can take
advantage of commercial packages that can help you to access these documents and features under Linux, or you can wade in and try to get Wine
working, which is the free base beneath all these tools. When it comes to file
formats, you also ultimately may have to go looking for ways to run Windows
tools under Linux to handle files that you otherwise can’t use under Linux
quite yet. Do a Web search on the file format (for example, .doc) and the
word linux for recommendations as well.
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Commercial Software
A growing number of commercially available tools let you work with anything
from Microsoft Office to your Windows games under Linux. Mind you, ultimately the Linux user’s goal is to not have to use any of these extra program
layers — but in the meantime, it’s nice not to be inconvenienced. I’ve reviewed
or at least used every one of these products (often more than once over the
years), so I’m not just going by their Web sites.
Many of these vendors offer server, as well as desktop products. I’m focusing
on the desktop. For more about their server products, check out their Web
sites.
CodeWeavers
CodeWeavers (www.codeweavers.com) provides an excellent product that I
use from time to time: CrossOver Office. This program allows you to use
Microsoft Office (along with a growing number of office applications) directly
under Linux. It also comes with a hefty number of plug-ins (see Figure 19-1)
that you might miss when it comes to Web surfing. It’s a bit jarring to run
Microsoft Word and Windows Media Player under Linux at first — because
there’s no native (without special software) way to do this otherwise — but
it’s certainly handy. You can even use the iPod’s iTunes through CrossOver
Office!
Figure 19-1:
The
CrossOver
Office Install
Software
dialog
box, in
Xandros 2.5.
Chapter 19: Windows-Only Media Formats and Programs
What I most appreciate about CodeWeavers (and all these companies, really)
is that they are very upfront about what works really well, what works except
for a few features, and what works not so well. All you have to do is check
their Web site. For those who always seem to want to scream “piracy” when it
comes to Linux, you actually do have to own the programs you want to run
(say, ‘Microsoft Office) and install them through CrossOver Office off of
their original CDs or DVDs. However, you don’t have to own the version of
Microsoft Windows the software would run under. CodeWeavers has built a
re-implementation of the necessary Windows functionality under the hood
instead.
Are you an iPod and iTunes junkie? There’s no Linux version of iTunes available, but CrossOver Office lets you run iTunes under Linux.
A plus to CodeWeavers CrossOver Office is that the applications run in individual windows just like every other program on your machine. A minus is
that not all Windows software is supported, because hooks have to be built
under the hood for each new piece of software.
CrossOver Office comes with the Xandros Deluxe desktop (available for installation through the Xandros Networks, see Chapter 12) and is available for
purchase from the Xandros Networks store for other Xandros users.
Win4Lin
Another option is Win4Lin from NeTraverse (www.netraverse.com/).
Win4Lin actually offers you a platform within which you install Microsoft
Windows (so have those CDs handy) and then run programs on top of it. As
of this writing, Win4Lin supports Windows 95, 98 (see Figure 19-2), and ME.
Soon, it will support newer versions of Windows as well.
A plus to Win4Lin is that it supports a more full range of Windows software. A
minus is that it runs in its own separate window, so its applications aren’t
integrated into the rest of your desktop. You also have to actually keep your
Microsoft Windows operating system CDs around because you need to be
able to install the operating system into Win4Lin — though you can then put
them in storage after you’ve done the installation. You also end up having to
have a special kernel (boot session) to run Win4Lin 5.0, so if you hate rebooting, this program may not be the solution for you — though you could just
make this your default boot option.
Win4Lin is available for purchase for Linspire users through their Click
And Run Warehouse; from the main menu, choose Programs➪Utilities➪
CNR More➪Win4Lin.
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Figure 19-2:
Windows 98
installing
under
Win4Lin
in a SuSE
9.1 window.
Cedega
More interested in games than office tools? There’s also TransGaming’s
Cedega (www.transgaming.com), which was once called WineX. This version
of the free Wine project (see the upcoming section “Installing and Using Wine”)
is specifically designed to support Direct X, which is used in Windows to make
programming for multimedia and games easier. Subscribers have access to
regular updates, allowing them to make use of their favorite games and also
add any games they like to the growing list of games that are being tested
with the system.
Go to www.transgaming.com/searchgame.php, scroll to the bottom of the
screen, and click the Here link. A listing of all games, in order, appears so that
you’re able to find out what games are supported at what level. A handy
new(ish) feature is the Point2Play installer (see Figure 19-3), which you
can use to ready your computer for the Cedega experience.
A plus to Cedega is, again, that you don’t need to keep those Windows CDs
lying around. However, its support for individual games can be spotty, so be
sure to check the Web site before you invest in this product. Also, be sure to
make use of the help forums!
Chapter 19: Windows-Only Media Formats and Programs
Figure 19-3:
The TransGaming
Point2Play
installer.
VMware
If you absolutely have to do something under Windows itself but only have
one computer and it’s running Linux (or vice versa, for that matter), there’s
VMware (www.vmware.com). This is a popular tool in technical support offices
where people need access to many different kinds of machines to test things.
It’s also popular with authors, like myself, because it allows us to grab those
tricky screenshots of the boot process and installer screens.
In VMware, you run a full session of another operating system (or even an
extra session of the same one you’re running on the main machine) within
your desktop — see Figure 19-4. If your machine is powerful enough, you
could have five different operating systems all running in their own windows
on a single computer.
A minus to VMWare is that it requires a bit of extra oomph in your system.
Check out its requirements and then try to go as far above them as you can.
It also runs in a self-contained window. A plus, though, is that this program
really is the next best thing to buying another computer.
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Figure 19-4:
A VMware
window
containing
Windows
XP, but
running
in Linux.
Installing and Using Wine
And then there’s Wine (www.winehq.org), a complete rebuild of Microsoft
Windows 9x functionality that runs under Linux. Wine is in many ways the
mother of everything in the previous section. However, because it’s a free
and very complicated project, it’s not quite as friendly as the commercial
versions. It’s kind of like the others but with all the makeup and hairspray
removed.
Some Linux distributions offer Wine RPMs directly on their installation CDs
or through their packaging schemes. For the distributions covered in this
book, do the following to install WINE for the distributions that don’t have
it already installed, or to start it for the distributions that do have it. (See
Chapter 12 for more details on installing software.)
Chapter 19: Windows-Only Media Formats and Programs
Fedora Core: Available through yum, depending on what repositories
you’ve added (see Chapter 12). Type yum search wine to find the
available packages. Then, install both of them. For example, on my AMD
Athlon machine, I type yum -y install winesetuptk wine.athlon
in order to install the setup tool and the main program.
Knoppix: From the main menu, choose WINE.
Linspire: From the main menu, choose Programs➪Software
Development➪CNR More➪WINE for Linspire.
Mandrake: Available through the package installation program
(Chapter 12). Search for wine. (xwine is not the same as WineX.)
SuSE: Available through YaST’s software installation routine (see
Chapter 12). You can find it in System➪Emulators➪PC ➪WINE.
Xandros: Not available. The adventurous are welcome to go to
www.winehq.org, click the Download link, and try to build this
program from source code (see Chapter 12).
You can find the Wine documentation at www.winehq.org/site/docs/
wine-user/index. Start in the “Configuring Wine” section.
Now comes the fun part — trying to run your old Windows software. You
don’t really run Wine, per se. Instead, you invoke Wine whenever you need to
use something from the Windows world. To install a Windows program through
Wine, insert the CD-ROM or floppy into the appropriate drive. Your distribution might open the File Manager for you, or you may need to open the File
Manager manually. Regardless, your goal is to run the installation routine,
which is typically SETUP.EXE. You can double-click this icon in the File
Manager and, when asked what program you want to use to open this file,
answer wine.
As I write this, I’m trying some old home design program I bought back when
I was silly enough to think I’d be able to afford to build a house before I was
ninety. Because it’s difficult to describe a standard Wine session, I thought I’d
walk you through how this goes for me.
The installer loads and runs just fine. I stick with the defaults (because Wine
is still a work-in-progress and it’s best not to taunt it with getting too fancy)
and then wait while the installer adds all of the files to my SuSE system. Now,
to run my new old software. To run a Wine program, I first need to know what
the path is to that program. I can find it by looking in the ~/.wine directory.
In this case, the program was installed into /home/dee/.wine/fake_
windows/Program Files/HOUSE. The file house.exe looks like the one
for launching the program.
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If you’re trying to find the .wine directory in the GUI and can’t see it, you
probably have to go to the View menu and choose Show Hidden Files. So, to
run the program, I double-click it and, when asked what program to run it with,
enter wine. That’s it (see Figure 19-5). Now pull out those old Windows 95
and 98 CDs and give them a try! Not all of them will work, but some probably
will. The cool thing is that you can keep trying them on and off over time as
newer versions of Wine come out.
Figure 19-5:
WINE
running an
old home
design
Windows 98
program.
Part V
The Part of Tens
I
In this part . . .
n this part of the book, I cover answers to the questions
most frequently asked about Linux. I explain some key
Linux installation and setup points, as well as share more
routine troubleshooting tips and tricks. I also talk about
the most popular bootable distribution: Knoppix. Rather
than telling you just how to use Knoppix like any other distribution (I figure you’d like to have an installed machine
so that you can enjoy it, rather than just using a LiveCD),
you discover some cool ways to make use of Knoppix to
rescue floundering computers, including Windows boxes.
I only hope you enjoy reading this part of the book as
much as I enjoyed writing it!
Chapter 20
Ten Troubleshooting Tips
In This Chapter
Dealing with frozen installations
Changing your boot environment
Recovering when you see some black-and-white text screen!
Escaping a hung GUI
Using multiple resolutions
T
roubleshooting is like reading a mystery novel. You have some facts,
symptoms, and details, but you don’t know whodunit. You have to take
whatever information you have, work with that data, weigh the various possibilities, and then narrow them to a single suspect. Finally, you need to test
your theory and prove that your suspect is the guilty party.
Troubleshooting problems in Linux (or any operating system) can encompass
many hardware and software issues. Whether the problem is the operating
system, the hardware, or a service giving you fits, you can use some basic
troubleshooting techniques to start your investigations:
Document the problem. Write down any and all symptoms that the
system is showing, including actions you can and can’t do. Jot down
any information you see in error messages.
Examine the Linux log files. You can find most of these in the /var/log
directory. Look for the word “error.”
Compare your problem system with a working system running the
same distribution and version. Sometimes, comparing configuration
files and settings may uncover the problem or narrow the possibilities.
Check connections. Check to make sure that all the hardware is connected properly and powered on. Verify that all cables and connections
are attached properly. There’s always someone, somewhere, accidentally kicking a cable out from a wall connection.
Remove new hardware. Remove any hardware that you have changed or
added recently (before the problem started) and see whether the problem
disappears. If so, you can probably conclude that the new or changed
hardware (or its driver) is the culprit and start researching solutions.
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Part V: The Part of Tens
Reduce the number of active programs. Stop running unnecessary services and applications that aren’t related to the problem at hand. You may
more easily figure out what’s happening if other services and applications
aren’t getting in the way.
Check to see whether the problem is reproducible. Does the same
sequence of events produce the same problem? Suppose that when
you try to print to a color printer, nothing happens. If nothing happens
every time you attempt to print, the problem is reproducible. If, instead,
sometimes your information is printed and at other times it isn’t, the
problem pattern isn’t the same and isn’t reproducible — or it’s caused
by something more complicated than just clicking one button. Unfortunately, problems that are nonreproducible are more difficult to resolve
because it seems that no set pattern of events re-creates those problems.
After you’ve come up with a solution, take a few moments to document the
situation. Note the symptoms of the problem, its cause, and the solution you
implement. The next time you encounter the same problem, you can call on
your notes for a solution rather than reinvent the wheel.
If you don’t have any problems to troubleshoot (yet), document your environment before you do. Making a backup of your /etc directory and your
/boot directory is a great place to start.
“The Linux Installer Froze”
When you’re installing Linux, the installation may just freeze. If it does, wait
a bit and make sure that the installation program really froze. (Sometimes,
the software just takes a while to process information.) If the software looks
like it has frozen, there’s no harm in rebooting your computer and starting
over — just as you would do with any operating system installation. Sometimes, you can reboot and never have that problem again. At other times, the
problem may happen twice in a row and then be fine the third time. Be sure
to try several times before giving up.
If the installation still freezes in the same spot or close to the same spot, go
to the distribution’s support pages (see Chapter 2). These pages may talk
about some known problems and solutions that can help you and should
show you how to join discussion lists in order to get more assistance.
Otherwise, diagnosing the problem can be tricky and may seem more like
voodoo than science. Here are some tips:
If this problem happens repeatedly at exactly the same spot, you may
have a bad installation disk. If you’re a Fedora Core or Red Hat Enterprise Linux user, see the next section, “For Fedora Core Users,” and then
return here if that technique doesn’t solve your problem. Otherwise, try
the disk in another machine if possible and see whether the installation
Chapter 20: Ten Troubleshooting Tips
fails in the same place there. If you purchased this disk with a Linux distribution, contact the distribution’s technical support team. If you got
the disk with a book, contact the publisher’s technical support team. If
you burned the disk yourself, try burning a new copy at a slower speed.
If this problem happens repeatedly at exactly the same spot and you
don’t have a bad installation disk, the trouble may be with one of
your machine’s hardware components. If you can, try trading hardware
between machines. If not, you may need to choose a different machine
on which to install Linux or try another distribution.
If the problem seems to happen randomly, your particular Linux distribution may not be compatible with that particular machine. Again,
you can try trading some hardware around, installing Linux on another
machine, or using another distribution.
If you’re not sure whether your installer has frozen, try pressing various
combinations of Alt+F#, where # corresponds to one of the function keys.
Depending on the distribution, the installer has not completely frozen if
you can see different screens when you try this technique.
For Fedora Core Users with CD-ROMs
When installing Red Hat Linux 7.3 or later (Fedora Core 3 is considered “later”),
a special solution is available to people who run into problems that seem to
have absolutely no explanation, such as the installer freezing.
This solution doesn’t work with the DVD provided with this book, because it
contains more than just the Fedora software, so continue with this section
only if you downloaded your own DVD or purchased it from a third party, or if
you downloaded or otherwise acquired the Fedora CDs.
If your installation keeps dying while Anaconda (the Red Hat installer program)
is placing packages on your hard drive, follow these steps to try to fix it:
1. Place the DVD-ROM or the first Fedora Core CD-ROM into your drive.
2. Reboot the machine.
3. Wait until you reach the boot screen where you usually press Enter to
start the installation.
If you reach a graphical installation screen, you missed the screen you’re
looking for. You need to reboot, repeat this step, and then proceed.
4. At the prompt, type linux mediacheck and then press Enter.
Text scrolls by, and then you see a screen with a bright blue background.
Then the CD Found dialog box appears.
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5. Tab to the OK button and press Enter to proceed to the media
examination.
This step opens the Media Check dialog box. If you’ve changed your
mind and just want to start the installation, use the Tab or arrow keys to
select Skip and then press Enter.
6. If you want to test the first CD-ROM or the DVD-ROM, tab to the Test
button and press Enter. If you want to test another installation CD-ROM,
tab to the Eject CD button and press Enter.
If you chose the second option, remove the first CD-ROM from the
CD-ROM drive and replace it with the CD-ROM you want to test. Close
the CD-ROM drive and make sure that Test is selected.
7. Press Enter to begin the media check.
The Media Check status box opens and shows you the name assigned to
the DVD-ROM or CD-ROM and how much progress has been made. At the
end of the inspection, the Media Check Result dialog box opens.
8. Look at the text after and the result is.
If the result is PASS, nothing is wrong with the DVD-ROM or CD-ROM itself.
Your installation woes are caused by something else. Return to the section “The Linux Installer Froze,” earlier in this chapter.
If the result is FAIL, the DVD-ROM or CD-ROM you just tested is flawed.
If you purchased this CD-ROM or DVD-ROM, you need to talk to the company you purchased it from to see whether you can get a replacement.
On the other hand, if you burned your own DVD-ROM or CD-ROM, I recommend doing one of the following:
• Burn the DVD-ROM or CD-ROM again, at a speed of 4x or lower.
• Burn the DVD-ROM or CD-ROM again on a newer drive with
BurnProof technology (www.burn-proof.com) or something
similar.
If the DVD-ROM that came with this book is defective, contact the technical
support address listed in this book, not Red Hat. However, remember that the
media checking routine does not give you a reliable PASS or FAIL for this particular DVD-ROM.
“I Told the Installer to Test My
Graphics, and They Failed”
The installer may have misguessed what hardware you have. Double-check
the settings as best you can. If they look right, try choosing a lower resolution for now and testing again, and if that fails try a lower number of colors
Chapter 20: Ten Troubleshooting Tips
and test again. You can then try setting things back the way you want them
after the machine is fully installed and updated, when it hopefully will have a
fix for whatever the problem might be.
“The Installer Tested My Graphics
Fine, but My GUI Won’t Start”
If your Linux installation program showed you a GUI test screen saying that
you were ready to proceed with the rest of the installation, you probably
expected that the GUI would start with no problem. Unfortunately, that
doesn’t always happen.
Each distribution has its own set of graphics configuration tools. If you boot
your machine for the first time and see error messages when you’re trying to
enter the GUI automatically or when you type startx to start the GUI manually, use the following tools to fix the problem:
In Fedora Core, use system-config-display.
In Knoppix, you don’t install. Use the options available when you boot it
in order to tell it specifics about your display.
In Linspire, use xf86config.
In Mandrake, use drakconf and select the Display option.
In SuSE, use sax2.
In Xandros, use xf86config.
Your last resort is xf86config. This fully text-based tool should be
available with most distributions. It may be called xf86config4.
“I Think I’m in Linux, but I Don’t
Know What to Do!”
Two different screens tend to cause panic to folks new to Linux. The first of
these screens, shown in Figure 20-1, is in fact a sign that you installed the
software and booted the machine successfully. Jump for joy! It’s just that
you’re booting into the command-line environment rather than the GUI environment. If you reach a screen similar to the one shown in Figure 20-1, the
computer is asking you to log in with the username for an account and a password that you created during the installation process.
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Figure 20-1:
A Linux
commandline login
prompt.
If you created only the root account, you can log in there as root.
After you enter the username and password, you find yourself at the screen
shown in Figure 20-2, which just happens to be the second spot where people
get worried. If you see this screen, you have not only booted properly into
Linux, but you’re also logged in and using the machine! Give yourself a good
pat on the back.
Figure 20-2:
Logged
in at the
Linux command line.
What do you do from here? Anything you want. Surf through this book for
commands you want to run. Type startx to start up the GUI. If you didn’t
install any GUI (which means you selected a minimal install option with no
graphical interface, or you actually unselected graphics), you may want to
reinstall, or you’ll have to add all the tools by hand (which is not a quick job!)
Chapter 20: Ten Troubleshooting Tips
“I Don’t Want to Boot into This!”
Are you booting into the command-line environment when you want to use
only the GUI? Or are you finding that you’re already booting into the GUI and
you would rather boot to that nice, clean, black-and-white command-line
screen? You’re not stuck with either of these options. You can change them
at any time.
You can press Ctrl-Alt-F# to change out of the GUI to a command line terminal
at any time and then Alt-F7 or Alt-F8 to switch back.
Changing your boot environment
“permanently”
The word permanently is in quotes in the heading because you can, of course,
go back and change this setting later, if you want. Permanently just refers to
the fact that after you have made this change, every time you boot the system,
it automatically goes into the preferred environment until you change it.
You can’t make this change in Linspire or Xandros unless you want to boot
into single-user mode, which is basically “safe mode” and not much use. Well,
okay, you can, but you would need a techie friend to set up a bunch of stuff
for you. Linspire and Xandros assume that you don’t want to do this. You can’t
do this in Knoppix either, but then it’s a Live CD so you won’t be doing anything permanent to it.
To make this change in Fedora, Mandrake, or SuSE, you need to edit what’s
called a runlevel. Fortunately, all three of these distributions use the same
runlevel settings, so the instructions are the same for all of them:
1. In the GUI, open a command line terminal.
If you’re not sure how to do so, see Chapter 14. If you’re not in the GUI
and you’re already logged in, type su - to become the root user.
2. Type cp /etc/inittab /etc/inittab.old to make a backup.
Now, if something happens while you’re editing the inittab file, you
can always restart fresh with the old version.
3. Open the inittab file in your preferred text editor.
Some Linux text editors are covered in Chapter 16.
4. Scroll down until you find a line similar to the following:
id:5:initdefault:
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This line appears near the top of the file. What you’re interested in here
is the number. In most mainstream Linux distributions, the number 5
tells Linux to boot into the GUI, and the number 3 tells Linux to boot
into the command line. In the preceding example, therefore, I boot into
the GUI.
5. Change the number in this line.
If it’s a 5, change it to 3, and vice versa. Make sure that all colons and
other items are left properly in place, or else your machine will have
problems booting later.
6. Save and exit the file.
The changes go into effect the next time you reboot the system.
If you do end up having problems booting the system, in many current Linux
distributions (including the one that comes with this book) your installation
disk can be used as an emergency boot disk. Check your documentation for
information about the distribution you’re using if it’s not Red Hat 10.
Changing your boot environment
just for now
At any time, you can have your Linux box switch between full command-line
mode and full GUI mode. The instructions I give here assume that you’re using
Fedora, Mandrake, or SuSE. (Knoppix, Linspire, and Xandros don’t give you
this option.)
To switch between modes, do the following:
To change from the GUI login to the command-line login, open a terminal
window and type (as root) init 3.
To change from the command line login to the GUI login, type (as root)
init 5.
“I Want to Change Screen Resolutions”
Do you want or need to swap between resolutions in the GUI on the fly? Suppose that you want to use 1,024 x 768, but you work on Web pages and want to
be able to see how they look in a browser at 800 x 600 or even 640 x 480. Your
machine is very likely already set up to do this, but you just need to know how!
If your machine is set up for it, you can change resolutions by pressing the
key combination Ctrl+Alt+Plus, where Plus is the big plus (+) sign on your
number pad — you can’t use the plus sign on the main keyboard for this one.
Chapter 20: Ten Troubleshooting Tips
If you’re using a keyboard without a number pad — as you will be if you’re
using a laptop — or your machine isn’t set up to be able to change on the fly,
you need to change your resolution through your display configuration program. You can find this option at:
Fedora: Choose Applications➪System Settings➪Display.
Knoppix: From the main menu, choose Settings➪Control Center➪
Peripherals➪Display.
Linspire: From the main menu, choose Settings➪Control Panel➪
Look & Feel➪Display.
Mandrake: From the main menu, choose System➪Configuration➪
Configure Your Desktop➪Peripherals➪Display.
SuSE: From the main menu, choose Control Center➪Peripherals➪Display.
Xandros: Choose Launch➪Control Center➪Display➪Settings.
“My GUI Is Hung, and I’m Stuck!”
One quick solution to this problem is the key combination Ctrl+Alt+Backspace.
If this doesn’t do the trick, your system is in really bad shape! Try to switch
to a virtual terminal by using Ctrl+Alt+F5. If this key combination also does
nothing, you need to reboot the machine.
“Help, My Machine Hangs During Boot!”
When configuring a Linux machine, you may encounter problems with the
/etc/grub.conf file. This file indicates the operating system or systems to
which your system can boot, and the file also contains Linux startup settings.
Linux can boot from any of your hard drives — not just the master IDE drive
on the primary IDE channel. Consider this list of potential solutions if the
/etc/grub.conf file makes trouble:
If you have altered or added hard drives, you may need to change the
boot line in the /etc/grub.conf file.
If you haven’t made hardware changes, check to make sure that your
/etc/grub.conf file is referring to the correct location of the Linux
image. (The program code that loads and executes at runtime and is
located in the /boot directory.)
If the location under the /boot directory or the device for the root entry
is incorrect, your system can’t boot to Linux. In this situation, a rescue
or emergency disk is helpful. Refer to Chapter 5 for instructions on using
a rescue disk.
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If you’re working with a multiboot operating system environment, be
sure that your /etc/grub.conf file contains entries for each of your
operating systems. Each operating system or Linux installation needs
to be in separate entries.
If your file contains entries to switch to a higher-resolution display and
you have boot problems, try reducing the video setting to simple VGA.
Linux allows you to use spaces and other characters in filenames that you may
or may not be able to use in filenames on other operating systems. However,
some Linux applications may stumble when they encounter file or directory
names containing spaces. Usually, a safe bet is to stick with alphanumeric
characters and avoid spaces and odd characters, such as question marks
and exclamation points.
“Aaargh! I Forgot My Root Password!
What Do I Do?”
Fear not. You have a way around this problem! You need to boot into single
user mode, which you can accomplish by rebooting your machine and then
doing the following:
Fedora: If you see a blue screen with the words “Press any key to enter
the menu,” press a key. At the GRUB boot screen, press E, which takes
you to a configuration file. Use the arrow keys to go to the line starting
with kernel, and press E again to edit that line. At the end of the line,
add the word single, press Enter to put the change into place, and then
press B to boot the machine.
Knoppix: You don’t need to because you can just reboot the machine
and start over.
Linspire and SuSE: See Chapter 21 for how to use Knoppix to recover
your root password. Even in single user/failsafe mode, you need the root
password for these distributions.
Mandrake: Reboot the computer and at the boot menu, select the
Failsafe option.
Xandros: At the Xandros boot screen, select Configure (Expert). When
you reach the Give Root Password For Maintenance prompt, enter your
password.
No matter what distribution you’re using, now’s your chance to change the
root password to one you can remember. Type passwd and then enter the
new password twice as directed. When you’re done, type exit and then boot
the machine normally.
Chapter 21
Ten Cool Uses for Knoppix
In This Chapter
Rescuing files off a dead machine
Testing, testing!
Carrying around a portable Linux desktop
Installing Knoppix
Until you walk a mile in another man’s moccasins you can’t imagine the
smell.
— Robert Byrne
L
iveCDs are a great way to experiment with Linux in general, or a particular distribution of Linux, because many of them offer a live version for
download or purchase. Because Knoppix is recommended as the LiveCD to
use for pre-installation tasks in this book, I thought I would make sure to give
you some more fun things you can do with this CD-ROM so that you don’t feel
like you wasted your time burning it! I won’t even do what my husband suggested and make one of the ten entries being to use the disk as a frisbee,
because I’d hate for you to feel cheated out of something truly cool.
Rescuing Files off of a Machine
that Won’t Boot
One cool use for Knoppix is to recover the important files that might be left on
a messed up computer that otherwise won’t boot. You can use Knoppix for this
task whether those files are in Linux or Windows (even on an NTFS partition!).
Then you can either e-mail the files to yourself — you can find a simple e-mail
program in the main menu where you choose Internet➪KMail — or attach a
USB storage device to the machine and copy the data onto it.
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To access a USB storage device, plug it in, and Knoppix automatically adds
an icon on your desktop for it! However, there’s a caveat here. It mounts all
filesystems as read-only so that you’re going to have to change the USB drive
to read-write first:
1. Click the terminal with the black screen icon on your panel.
A terminal window appears.
2. Type su - to become the root (administrative) user.
You’re not prompted for a password.
3. Look at the new icon and see what was put in the brackets.
For example, [sda1], which is the typical label for a USB drive.
4. Type mount -o remount,rw /mnt/drive to remount the drive as
read-write.
So, for example, mount -o remount,rw /mnt/sda1
5. Find where the files are that you want to copy off of your hard
drive(s), using the GUI.
If you have lots in lots of places, focus on one group for now and come
back and do another later.
6. Look in the Location bar for the folder the files are in.
So, for example, if it says file:/mnt/hda1/web, the folder is /mnt/hda1/web.
7. Use the cd command to change to this directory in the command line
terminal.
For example, cd /mnt/hda1/web
8. Type ls to see the directory’s contents.
There they are!
9. Use the cp command to copy the file(s) you want to copy over.
Some hints:
• To copy all files in this directory and all its subdirectories to
/dev/sda1, type cp -r * /dev/sda1
• To copy all the files in this directory but no subdirectories, type cp
* /dev/sda1
• To copy all files whose names begin with an a, type cp a* /dev/
sda1
• You may want to bundle and compress the files first. In that case,
use the program found in the main menu by choosing Utilities➪Ark
to do so and tell it to create the archive directly on the USB drive,
which shows up on your desktop as Hard Disk Partition [sda1]
(which refers to /dev/sda1 and /mnt/sda1).
Chapter 21: Ten Cool Uses for Knoppix
10. Right-click the USB device on your desktop and select Unmount.
This action makes sure that all your data was saved properly.
Recovering a Root Password
with Knoppix
If you’re using SuSE, Linspire, or another distribution that requires you to enter
a root password even to enter single user mode, you need external tools to
help you recover when you forget what your root password is. This problem
is another major reason that many system administrators keep Knoppix on
hand. To recover your root password, do the following:
1. Place the Knoppix CD or the DVD-ROM that came with this book into
your CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive.
2. Reboot the computer.
If you’re using the DVD-ROM that came with this book, press Enter when
you reach the boot menu. If, for some reason, the DVD-ROM doesn’t
boot, see Appendix B.
3. After the computer successfully boots into Knoppix, determine which
partition refers to your main Linux installation.
You’re looking for your root (/) partition. Chapter 11 details what you
find there if that helps. Basically, open each of the partition icons on
your desktop and figure out which one looks like the right section of
your filesystem.
4. After you find the proper partition, if you currently don’t have a file
browser window open anywhere within that partition, click the partition icon to open the browser now.
For example, if the root partition is /dev/hda3, click the Hard Disk
Partition [hda3] icon.
5. Click the Terminal Program icon on your panel.
A terminal window opens.
6. Type su - to access the root user’s account.
You’re not prompted for a password.
7. Make sure to close the file browsing window that’s accessing your
root partition.
8. Type mount -r remount rw /dev/partition to remove the partition
and re-add it as a full read-write filesystem.
For example, if your root partition was on /dev/hda3, you type cd/
mnt/hda3.
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9. Type cd /mnt/partition to change to the root partition’s base
directory.
10. Type cd etc to enter the /etc directory, relative to where it’s
attached to your current setup.
11. Type cp passwd passwd-orig to make a backup copy of your main
user and password file.
Don’t skip this step. It lets you can revert to the original file if you mess
something up!
12. Type joe passwd to open the /etc/passwd file in the joe text editor.
You can press Ctrl-K and then the H key to display the Help menu at the
top of the screen at any time. To get rid of that menu, press the same key
combination again.
13. Look for the line similar to root:x:0:0:root:/root:/bin/bash
14. Delete the x (or anything else) from between the first two colons so
that the line looks more like the following:
root::0:0:root:/root:/bin/bash
15. Press Ctrl-K and then the X key to save the file and exit the program.
16. When asked for the name of the file to save, just press Enter to accept
the default.
17. Type reboot to reboot the machine.
18. When the CD-ROM ejects, remove it from the drive and press Enter to
continue rebooting.
19. After you reboot into your system, log into a regular user account.
20. Open a terminal window.
If you’re not sure how to do so, see Chapter 14.
21. Type su - and press Enter to become the root user.
When you deleted that in Step 14, you actually erased any password
from the root user. If you’re prompted for a password, just press Enter
without typing anything.
22. Open the /etc/passwd file in your preferred text editor.
23. Find the line you edited before.
It should look something like:
root::0:0:root:/root:/bin/bash
24. Add the x back into place between the two colons.
Remember, this is a lowercase x. It should look like the following now:
root:x:0:0:root:/root:/bin/bash
Chapter 21: Ten Cool Uses for Knoppix
25. Save and exit the file.
26. Type passwd and press Enter.
You’re prompted for a new root password.
Functioning as a Portable Desktop
You can carry your Knoppix CD and a USB device that contains your home
directory’s contents, to always have your preferred desktop on hand no matter
where you go. Or, if you’re not allowed to replace your current OS (or your
host’s OS) but don’t want to have to go through all the stuff in the first section
of this chapter:
1. From the main menu, choose KNOPPIX➪Configure➪Create A Persistent
KNOPPIX Home Directory.
A query dialog box appears.
2. If you want to make a USB device as the home directory, insert it now.
Don’t proceed until you see the new hard disk partition icon appear on
the desktop.
3. Click Yes in the query dialog box.
Another query dialog box appears, asking whether you want to put your
directory on one of the listed partitions.
4. Select the partition or USB device you want to save your
information on.
Another query box appears.
5. If you want to use the whole device (maybe a whole USB keychain),
choose Yes. If you want to just use up a bit of someone’s existing
Windows partition, click No.
Don’t overwrite your host’s or spouse’s Windows partition! That would
tend to annoy them! Another query dialog box appears. It tells you how
much space on that device is currently used and how much is available.
6. Enter how many MB of space you want to use to store your Knoppix
files and click OK.
Knoppix does what it needs to do and then offers you another dialog box.
7. If you want to encrypt (secure) your data, select Yes. Otherwise,
select No.
If you choose encryption, you’d better not forget your password! I’m
going to assume you chose No.
8. Make a note of where you are told your home directory is and what
you’ll type in the boot prompt.
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For example, home=/dev/sda1. Whenever you put the Knoppix CD into
this machine and boot it, you type that information at the boot prompt
in the format knoppix home=/dev/sda1. This command tells Knoppix
to go look and find your home directory.
9. While you’re at it, from the main menu, choose KNOPPIX➪Configure➪
Save KNOPPIX Configuration.
Now you can configure things to your preferences and have it be persistent. A dialog box appears.
10. Stick with the defaults for the types of configuration files and just
click OK.
Another query dialog box opens.
11. Choose your new home location for saving and click OK.
Make note of the information in the final dialog box. Now you would type,
at the boot prompt, knoppix home=/dev/sda1 myconfig=/dev/sda1.
Installing Knoppix
While Knoppix is primarily a LiveCD, you can actually install this distribution.
If you decide to do so, you may want to first see Chapter 2 for how to make any
changes you might need to make on your machine before beginning the installation. For example, you may want to have already created the partition you
want to put Knoppix in. Fortunately, you can use Knoppix to make the partition! (Again, see Chapter 2.) You can also, instead of starting with Step 5 in
the upcoming steps, choose the Partition menu option to do your partitioning during the installation and then, when the partitioning is done, return to
Step 5.
Another caveat is that Knoppix doesn’t have a friendly way to set up your boot
menu for dual booting. One (long) way around this is to install Fedora or one
of the other versions of Linux included on the DVD-ROM first and then look in
the file /boot/grub/menu.lst. You find an entry that looks something like the
following:
title Windows XP
root (hd0,0)
makeactive
chainloader +1
Copy this section down. After you’ve installed Knoppix, you can then go edit
its /boot/grub/menu.lst file to add the four lines you found in the other distribution to it and reboot. This actions adds a boot menu entry for Windows.
(It’s important that you don’t just copy the hd0,0 part from here, unless your
Windows installation is really on the first hard drive, in its first partition.)
Chapter 21: Ten Cool Uses for Knoppix
Once you’re ready to proceed, place the DVD that came with this book (or a
Knoppix CD-ROM) into your DVD-ROM or CD-ROM drive and reboot the machine. If you’re using the DVD that came with this book, press Enter at the boot
prompt. If you don’t see a boot prompt, see Appendix B.
After you’re fully in your Knoppix desktop, complete the following steps.
If you’re using a newer version of Knoppix than the one that comes with this
book, the instructions for the latest version are available online at
http://www.freenet.org.nz/misc/knoppix-install.html.
1. Press the key combination Ctrl-Alt-F1 to exit the GUI and enter
command-line mode.
You can use F1 through F6 to do this from any version of Linux. Cool, huh?
To get back, simply press Ctrl-Alt-F7 or Ctrl-Alt-F8. Whether it’s 7 or 8
varies from version to version, so try 7 and if that doesn’t work, use 8.
2. If you see a bunch of colorful text but no prompt (which will look like
root@tty1[/]#), press Enter to pull up the prompt.
3. Type /KNOPPIX/usr/sbin/knx2hd
The screen turns blue and the Initialisation of Knoppix-Installation screen
appears. (Initialisation is the UK spelling of the American and Canadian
Initialization.)
4. Press Enter.
The Knoppix Main-Menu screen appears.
5. Use your up and down arrows to select Configure Installation and
press Enter.
The Choose System Type screen appears.
6. Use your up and down arrows to select Beginner and press Enter.
The Creating Knoppix Configuration Step (1/7) screen appears.
7. Use your up and down arrows to select the partition you want to
install Knoppix in, press the space bar to mark that partition, and
then press Enter.
The Creating Knoppix Configuration Step (2/7) screen appears.
8. Type your full name in the format Firstname Lastname and press Enter.
The Creating Knoppix Configuration Step (3/7) screen appears.
9. If you don’t want to use the suggested login name, change it here and
then press Enter.
The Creating Knoppix Configuration Step (4/7) screen appears.
10. Type this login account’s password and press Enter.
The text box goes blank, but the screen doesn’t otherwise change.
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11. Type the password again and press Enter.
The Creating Knoppix Configuration Step (5/7) screen appears.
12. Type your root (Administrator’s) password, press Enter, and then
repeat as you did before with the login account’s password.
After the second time, the Creating Knoppix Configuration Step (6/7)
screen appears.
13. Type the name to assign to this computer and press Enter.
The Creating Knoppix Configuration Step (7/7) screen appears.
14. Accept the settings in this screen (unless you’re positive that you want
to change them) and press Enter.
The Knoppix Main-Menu screen returns. Keep in mind that following this
step sets you up to only have Knoppix as a boot option.
15. Use your up and down arrows to select Start Installation and
press Enter.
The Starting Knoppix Installation screen appears. Review the information shown.
16. If something is wrong, use the Tab key to select No and press Enter
and then return to Step 5 to make changes. Otherwise, use the Tab
key to select Yes and press Enter.
The installation begins. When it finishes, the Creating Floppy Disk screen
appears.
17. If you want to create a boot floppy disk (which can be handy if something happens to your boot menu), use Tab to select Yes. Otherwise,
use Tab to select No. Press Enter.
I assume that you’re not creating a boot disk with these instructions. If
you choose to do so, Knoppix will walk you through the process. When
you either finish making the boot disk or skip it, the Installation
Successful screen appears.
18. Press Enter to close the installation program.
19. Type reboot to reboot the machine.
You’re told when it’s safe to eject the DVD-ROM or CD-ROM. From there,
you’ll be booting into Knoppix, or at least into its boot menu!
Keeping Knoppix Up to Date
If you decided to install Knoppix, as discussed in the previous section, then
you need to keep it up to date so that all security vulnerabilities and bug fixes
Chapter 21: Ten Cool Uses for Knoppix
are taken care of. After you’re installed and logged into Knoppix using one of
your accounts, connect to the Internet. Then:
1. Choose System➪KPackage (Package Manager).
The KPackage package management program opens.
2. In KPackage, choose Special➪Apt: Debian➪Update.
A separate KPackage window appears.
3. When asked for your root password, type it and press Enter.
Within the secondary window, you can watch the update process. Once
you see the text RESULT=# (where # stands for any number), the update
is complete. You’ll also see the word Done a bit above it.
4. Click Cancel to close the second window.
It takes a minute or so for KPackage to process the new package lists it
just downloaded.
5. In KPackage, choose Special➪Apt: Debian➪Upgrade.
The Update selection just grabbed the latest list of available packages.
Choosing Upgrade now grabs all the updated software and installs it. A
secondary window appears, and you can watch what’s happening in
there. First, KPackage figures out what software it needs to update.
6. When asked whether you want to continue, type Y and press Enter.
Now, KPackage actually grabs the updates to install them. This process
can take a while (an hour or longer) the first time you do it, depending
on how long your version of Knoppix has been available. You can tell
how much longer it has to go by watching the percentage marker in the
bottom left of the window. Once the download is complete, KPackage
begins configuring the packages for installation.
7. If you’re asked questions about how to configure packages, answer
them as best you can and press Enter after your answer.
Unfortunately, this process can feel a bit cryptic. You can always go
back and change things if you have to, later. Often a default is offered,
so try just pressing Enter if you’re not sure what else to do. After you’ve
answered all the questions, the updating begins. The longer your download took, the longer your update will take, so again be prepared to wait.
You also may be asked more configuration questions along the way, so
make sure to at least glance at the screen from time to time.
The secondary window closes on its own once the update is complete.
You can now close KPackage.
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Part V: The Part of Tens
Installing New Software
in LiveCD Knoppix
There are two ways to install new software in Knoppix, depending on whether
you’re using Knoppix as a LiveCD (you didn’t install it), or whether you actually installed it. If you installed Knoppix, see the next section, “Installing New
Software on an Installed Knoppix System.”
To add new software when you’re using Knoppix as a LiveCD — remember that
it will be lost when you reboot, unless you use the techniques detailed in the
section “Functioning As a Portable Desktop,” earlier in this chapter — make
sure that you’re connected to the Internet and then:
1. From the main menu, choose KNOPPIX➪System➪Install Software
(while running from CD).
The Disclaimer dialog box appears.
2. Read the dialog box’s contents and click OK.
The Choose Software dialog box appears. Here, you find a relatively
limited set of options.
3. Select the program you want to add and click OK.
The installation details dialog box appears.
4. Read the dialog box’s contents and click OK.
The software is downloaded and added. When finished, the Success
dialog box appears.
5. Click OK to remove the dialog box.
Installing New Software on an Installed
Knoppix System
If you installed Knoppix, you can add software to your system by making sure
that you’re connected to the Internet and then doing the following:
1. From the main menu, choose System➪KPackage (Package Manager).
The KPackage package management program opens.
2. Click the New tab to see the list of software that you don’t have
installed.
Chapter 21: Ten Cool Uses for Knoppix
3. Click program names to see descriptions on the right. Once you have
selected a program you want to install, click the dot to its right to
replace it with a checkmark.
4. Continue selecting programs until you’ve marked all that you want to
install.
5. Click Install once you’re ready to add everything you have marked.
Just as with updating, the more you choose to add, the longer it takes
to download and add the software. You may be asked configuration
questions along the way. KPackage walks you through the rest of the
process.
Adding More Software Repositories
Did you install Knoppix, but you can’t find all the programs you want to add?
Because Knoppix is a variant of the Debian distribution (www.debian.org),
you can usually add anything to Knoppix that you can add to Debian. So, the
trick is to find the proper Debian software repositories and add them to your
system so that KPackage knows where to find them.
The skills described in this section are useful for those using Linspire and
Xandros as well, because both of those distributions are based on Debian, too.
To do so:
1. Click the terminal icon on your panel to open a terminal window.
2. Type cat /etc/debian_version to find out which version of Debian
your version of Knoppix relates to.
The Knoppix included on the DVD-ROM that comes with this book is
Knoppix 3.6, which is related to Debian 3.1. Going to Debian’s Web site,
you see that this release is called “sarge” (www.debian.org/releases/
sarge) — it can be important in Debian to know the name; sometimes
it’s used more often than the number.
3. Click the View The Full List Of Sites link and wait for the large page
to load.
If there’s a specific program you want, click the Search For A Package
link instead.
4. Within this page, use your browser’s search feature to search for the
Debian version name.
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Part V: The Part of Tens
For example, you would search for sarge if you’re using the version of
Knoppix that came with this book. Unfortunately, a lot of what you find
is going to be somewhat cryptic. Pick a repository or three.
5. Once you have found something you’re interested in, check to see
whether a red X is in its check box.
If so, that repository isn’t incredibly stable, and you may not want to
use it.
6. If there is no red X, or you’re willing to risk an unstable repository just
in case it’s up and working, click the Download As Text link to the right
of the listing.
You’re brought to a page that looks like the following (the indented items
are actually part of the previous line; there are only three lines here):
# Helix Software for Debian
deb http://helix.alioth.debian.org/deb sid main non-free
deb http://helix.alioth.debian.org/deb sarge main non-free
7. Find the line in this listing that has the name of your Debian version
in it.
For example, the last line has sarge in it.
8. Open the /etc/apt/sources.list in your favorite text editor.
9. At the end of the file, add the line you found.
For example:
deb http://helix.alioth.debian.org/deb sarge main non-free
There are other repositories listed in here that you can make available
by removing the # at the beginning of their line. Only do this with lines
formatted like the preceding code line. Everything else is a “Comment,”
which is used to just leave notes so you can understand what you’re
looking at.
10. Save and exit the file.
Go to the section “Keeping Knoppix Up to Date,” earlier in this chapter for
how to load up the new list of software and then go to the section “Installing
new Software on an Installed Knoppix System” for how to add software from
your new repositories.
Aren’t Sure a Machine Actually Works?
If you’re having hardware trouble, you can try booting a machine from Knoppix
to get a hint of where the problem is. If the machine can boot with Knoppix,
Chapter 21: Ten Cool Uses for Knoppix
then the problem may be hard-drive oriented. If you run into identical problems with Knoppix that you did under Windows or another form of Linux,
then you have more hints there.
I had problems on one machine with three different distributions, and after
a lot of frustration and observation, I realized that the machine only crashed
in the GUI in all three, and never when I was just using the command line.
I changed the machine’s video card and voilà, everything was fine.
Exploring Tons of Linux Tools
Knoppix comes with an amazing array of tools for just one CD-ROM. You can
play with multimedia tools for television, sound editing, and more without
having to hunt down and install a new piece of software. When you find something you really like, then you can go about seeing whether you can get it and
add it for your own distribution. Heck, a lot of this software is available for
Windows, too!
You can also use Knoppix to test documents like Web sites and wordprocessing files to make sure that they work right under Linux. You can
even check to see whether WINE (see Chapter 19) can handle a particular
Windows program that you’re hoping to run, because WINE comes installed
by default in Knoppix. If the program works in Knoppix, you might then not
bother to install WINE under another distribution.
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Part V: The Part of Tens
Part VI
Appendixes
T
In this part . . .
his part adds some extra material to support the rest
of this book. Starting with the ever-popular and useful
Appendix A, you find a reasonably comprehensive and
friendly compendium of common Linux commands, ready
for use as a desktop reference. Appendix B provides an
overview of and information about the DVD included with
this book (and how to get a set of CDs if you don’t have a
DVD-ROM drive), including basic booting instructions
when installing Red Hat Linux and a list of what’s on
the DVD.
Appendix A
Common Linux Commands
In This Appendix
Archiving and compression commands
Communication commands
File commands
System control commands
C
omputing novices often marvel at the keyboard dance Linux experts typically perform. Sure, these experts know about modern advances like the
mouse and graphical interface, but these keyboard musicians prefer the home
keys and find that they can work faster with the keyboard. It takes some time
to reach this level of proficiency, but every expert was a novice at one time,
and any novice can become an expert by delving into the various commands
available and getting plenty of practice.
In this appendix, you find the commands listed by themes, according to what
they can actually do for you.
So, read on — and dazzle your friends with your command-prompt finesse.
When they ask you how and where you figured out all those commands, just
smile and mumble something about the voices in your head — and, of
course, keep this section dog-eared and within reach of your computer.
Linux Commands by Function
Because every command serves a specific purpose, organizing these tools
into groups according to their individual functions isn’t difficult. If you know
what you need to do but don’t know which command does the job, flip
through this section to start your search. From here, you can dig further by
referencing man pages and other help information (online sites and reference
books, for example) or by looking in this book’s index for further coverage.
To access a man page, type man command at a command prompt. For example, man ls shows you the help information for the file listing command.
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Part VI: Appendixes
Archiving and compressing
Although disk space isn’t as much of a premium as it once was, bandwidth
and backup media still are. Subsequently, this group provides a potpourri of
tools for compacting and organizing data for storage, as shown in Table A-1.
Table A-1
Archiving and Compressing Tools
Command
Purpose
bzip2
Compresses files into .bz2 format. Used mostly for
incredibly large sets of text files (which is what source
code actually is).
compress
Compresses files into .Z format. Pretty old and not
used much in the Linux world.
gunzip
Uncompresses .gz files and .tgz files.
gzip
Compresses files into .gz format.
tar
Packages files together in a group.
uncompress
Uncompresses files from .Z format.
unzip
Uncompresses files from .zip format.
zip
Compresses files into .zip format.
Built-in bash commands
Some commands don’t even seem to exist if you try to look up their help
information in the man pages, and the commands don’t show up as files on
your system. Remember, as you type commands at the prompt, that you’re
communicating with a type of program called a shell. (In my case, it’s bash,
the default Linux shell.) The shell has a set of commands, included in the following list, that you can use to communicate with it, as shown in Table A-2.
Table A-2
Shell Commands
Command
Purpose
alias
Creates command shortcuts.
env
Lists your current environment variables and their settings.
export
Whenever you’re told to set an environment variable, use
this first so that the variable will be remembered properly.
Appendix A: Common Linux Commands
Command
Purpose
history
Lists off the last 1,000 commands you’ve typed.
unalias
Removes command shortcuts.
If you try to view the man page entry for some of these commands, you find
instead the help information for BASH BUILTINS loads. To search through
this massive manual, press the forward slash (/) key to open the man search
interface and then type the name of the command you want to search for.
Press Enter to start the search. The interface stops in the first spot where the
term is found. If you want to try again, press the N key to proceed to the next
occurrence of the word.
For example, you might be reading the massive bash man page (type man
bash to access this page), but perhaps you’re only interested in items related
to prompts, which are the bits of text that appear to the left of your cursor in
a text window. An example prompt is
[dee@catherine dee]$
So, you might type /prompt and press Enter to jump down to the first
instance of this word. If the text around the word doesn’t reflect what you’re
looking for, you’d press the N key to jump to the next one, and so on.
Getting Help
When you’re digging around for help on a command, you can call on an interesting range of shell commands for assistance, as shown in Table A-3.
Table A-3
Shell Help Commands
Command
Purpose
apropos
Looks for commands that contain a keyword in their man page
descriptions.
info
One way of finding help information. You can find instructions for this
tool at www.gnu.org/software/texinfo/manual/info/
man
The primary way of getting help in Linux and Unix.
whatis
Gets a one-line description of a command.
Locating details about the command-prompt options of a command is a
never-ending pursuit. The man page system provides some helpful guides at
your fingertips for rapidly finding this detailed information.
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Part VI: Appendixes
Files and file system
No matter which operating system you’re using, it’s hard to do anything without being able to find your way through and work with the file system. The
following utilities help you find your way:
File organization
Boxing, packing, sorting, shipping — I’m always shuffling files around on my
system. File organization commands provide tools for moving files and file
system units around, as shown in Table A-4.
Table A-4
File Organization Tools
Command
Purpose
cd
Changes directories.
cp
Copies a file.
df
Shows partitions and how much space they have.
du
Shows how much disk is being used in the current directory
and below.
ln
Creates a shortcut.
ls
Lists the contents of a directory or information about a file.
mkdir
Creates a directory.
mv
Moves or renames a file.
pwd
Shows the path for the directory you’re currently in.
rm
Deletes a file.
rmdir
Deletes an empty directory.
File attributes
Files are much like candy bars. The wrappers provide information about the
ingredients, size, and package date — all descriptive of the tasty nugget
inside. (Perhaps the wrapper is even childproof.) Files keep all this wrapper
information in an inode. Along with the capability to change file inode information, these commands can return data about the content of the file, as
shown in Table A-5.
Appendix A: Common Linux Commands
Table A-5
File Attributes Commands
Command
Purpose
chgrp
Changes the group associated with a file.
chmod
Changes a file’s permissions.
chown
Changes who owns a file.
file
Shows what type of file you’re dealing with.
stat
Shows some statistics about the file.
touch
Creates an empty file of this name.
wc
Shows how many words, lines, and so on are in this file.
File locators
Where, oh, where can my file be? These commands, shown in Table A-6, help
you locate files in Linux’s monster tree-structure file system:
Table A-6
File Locators Commands
Command
Purpose
find
Hard-core filesystem search tool.
locate
Lighter weight filesystem search tool.
which
Tells you the path for the program that would be run if you
typed this command.
File viewers
File browsing is a favorite pastime of many a system user. These tools provide a variety of utilities for viewing the contents of readable files of all sizes.
Unlike using a full-screen editor, you cannot damage the contents of a file
with these commands, shown in Table A-7, because they’re read-only tools:
Table A-7
File Viewers
Command
Purpose
cat
Dumps the contents of the file to your screen.
head
Shows the first ten lines of a file.
(continued)
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Part VI: Appendixes
Table A-7 (continued)
Command
Purpose
less
Shows the file a screen at a time.
more
Shows the file a screen at a time.
tail
Shows the last ten lines of a file.
File system commands
These commands, listed in Table A-8, provide information or perform actions
on the entire file system, from creation and tuning to repair and recovery.
Some of these commands return data only, whereas others also provide you
with surgical instruments for serious file-system hacking:
Table A-8
File System Commands
Command
Purpose
badblocks
Searches a partition for bad blocks.
e2fsck
Checks and repairs an ext2 or ext3 filesystem.
e2label
Applies a filesystem label to an ext2 or ext3 partition.
eject
Ejects a CD or DVD.
fsck
Can check and repair many types of filesystems.
mkfs
Creates a filesystem (format a partition).
mount
Loads a partition into your filesystem.
sync
Saves all information out of buffers onto disks.
tune2fs
Adjusts ext2 and ext3 filesystem parameters.
umount
Removes a partition from the filesystem.
mtools
The mtools suite of utilities provides a nice way to transfer information to
your Microsoft friends. Although Linux has native support for Microsoft
Windows and DOS file systems, your Microsoft cohorts don’t have access
Appendix A: Common Linux Commands
to Linux (ext2 and ext3) file systems. To keep everyone happy, you can buy
preformatted MS-DOS disks and use them with the mtools commands (see
Table A-9) so that you can swap them back and forth with your friends who
are using Windows:
Table A-9
mTools Commands
Command
Purpose
mcd
Changes directory in DOS format on a DOS disk.
mcopy
Copies DOS files to and from Linux.
mdel
Deletes a DOS file.
mdeltree
Deletes a DOS directory and its contents.
mdir
Lists a DOS directory’s contents.
mdu
Shows how much space is taken and available for a
DOS partition.
mformat
Formats a partition for DOS.
mlabel
Applies a DOS volume label.
mmd
Creates a DOS directory.
mmount
Mounts a DOS disk or partition.
mmove
Moves or renames a DOS file or directory.
System control
These commands provide system-wide information and control. Normal
users can run many commands to obtain system information; however, commands that actively change the configuration of the system need to run while
you’re logged in as root — or have utilized the su command to temporarily
become the superuser.
Administration
Some administration commands, shown in Table A-10, don’t fall neatly into a
category.
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Part VI: Appendixes
Table A-10
Administration Commands
Command
Purpose
passwd
Change a particular user’s password. Any user can run this command to change their own password. Only root can use it to
change someone else’s.
su
Switch to another user account without logging out of this one.
Kernel module handling
You may sometimes need to add kernel support for an additional device (software or hardware). If this need arises, you have a limited number of choices:
You can either rebuild the kernel or install a loadable kernel module. Although
rebuilding a kernel doesn’t exactly require a Ph.D. in nuclear science, consider
it a time-consuming nuisance that’s best to avoid. The commands in Table
A-11 enable you to include the kernel support you need while the system is
running, without having to rebuild the entire thing from scratch:
Table A-11
Kernel Support Commands
Command
Purpose
depmod
Regenerates your module dependencies.
insmod
Loads a module by hand.
lsmod
Lists the modules your kernel has loaded.
modprobe
Loads a module by hand along with its dependencies and settings.
rmmod
Unloads a module by hand.
Processes
Most of your system activity requires processes. Even when your system
appears idle, a dozen or so processes are running in the background. These
commands, shown in Table A-12, enable you to check under the hood to
make sure that everything that needs to be running is running and that
you’re not overheating or overtaxing resources:
Appendix A: Common Linux Commands
Table A-12
Process Commands
Command
Purpose
at
Has a command run at a particular time.
atq
Works with the at queue.
crontab
Sets up commands to run at regular intervals.
kill
Stops a process by its number. Often used as kill -9 for a
harsh stop for something that won’t die.
killall
Stops a process by name rather than number.
nice
Assigns a CPU use priority to a process.
pidof
Gets a program’s ID number.
ps
Gets a lot of programs’ ID numbers, usually used as ps aux.
pstree
Shows the relationships between programs.
renice
Changes a program’s CPU use priority.
top
Shows resource use over time.
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Part VI: Appendixes
Appendix B
About the DVD-ROM
T
he DVD-ROM included with this book contains everything you need to
install and run Fedora Core 3, Knoppix 3.6, Linspire 4.5, Mandrake 10.1,
SuSE 9.2, and Xandros 2.5. Collectively, this content is the equivalent of 11
CD-ROMs that you would have to download for yourself. Because it can be
too confusing to try to focus on everything, the primary focus within this
book is on Fedora Core 3. This distribution includes the following:
Fedora Core 3: A complete copy of the software for the latest and greatest version of the consumer-level Red Hat Linux, for your computing
pleasure. If you are interested in the source code, you can download it
directly from Red Hat’s Fedora Project site at http://fedora.redhat.
com. We thought that you might not mind us using the space that would
have gone to multiple CD’s worth of source code to include lots and lots
of other software instead!
RPM (Red Hat Package Manager): The Red Hat software distribution
and installation management environment, wherein Linux updates and
new facilities are packaged for easy installation on your Linux machine.
KDE (the K Desktop Environment) and GNOME (GNU Network Object
Model Environment): The two leading graphical user interfaces for
Linux. You can pick the one you like best!
Mozilla Firefox: The best-of-breed Web browser for your Linux machine,
just waiting for your surfing pleasure.
Samba: The best way to integrate Linux servers with Windows users.
Samba lets your Linux machine masquerade as a Windows server so
that Windows users can grab files and print documents hassle-free.
Apache Web Server: The world’s most popular (or at least, most frequently used) Web server software.
Games!: Tons of games; enough to help you procrastinate for weeks!
OpenOffice.org: A full-featured and popular office suite.
Or, you can download Fedora yourself by going to http://fedora.
redhat.com.
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Part VI: Appendixes
But that’s not all. This DVD also contains the ISO images (the files you can
use to make your own CDs) for:
The full version of Linspire 4.5, which you would normally have to buy!
A LiveCD (see Chapter 4 for an explanation of a LiveCD) version of the
popular SuSE Linux 9.2 distribution, with its default KDE desktop.
The “open circulation” (free) version of Xandros 2.5!
The full version of Mandrake 10.1, another popular distribution.
(See Chapters 1 and 4 for more information on these distributions.)
You can use both Fedora and Knoppix directly off the DVD-ROM. The others
you can use your own CD burning software and (legally) use it to write the
ISO images to CDs. The files are contained with the DVD-ROM’s distros
directory. If, for some reason, you can’t use the DVD, you can get the distributions discussed in this book by going to:
Fedora: http://fedora.redhat.com
Knoppix: www.knoppix.net
Linspire: www.linspire.com
Mandrake: www.mandrake-linux.com
SuSE: www.suse.com
Xandros: www.xandros.com
Getting all of these (except Fedora) is covered in more detail in Chapter 4.
When it comes time to burn your CD-ROMs or DVD-ROM, make sure that you
tell your CD burner that you’re working with ISO images (usually the option
has something to do with the word “image”). If you burn the CD and find that
it contains just one big file (the ISO file), it will not work. The ISO image actually contains all the files that would be on the CD, so if you put the CD in and
find that it contains many files, the CD was created properly.
In addition, if you want the source code for those distributions that are just
ISO images (Xandros, Linspire, SuSE, and Mandrake) sent to you, please complete the online coupon at www.dummies.com/go/linux3sourcecoupon.
System Requirements
Make sure that your computer meets the following minimum system requirements. If your computer doesn’t match up to most of these requirements, you
may have problems using the contents of the DVD-ROMs:
Appendix B: About the DVD-ROM
A PC with an Intel-compatible Pentium-class processor: I recommend
a 400MHz Pentium II or better for using Graphical mode, though for a
heavy use desktop system, “more is better.”
At least 256MB of RAM: You need at least 192MB of RAM for Graphical
mode. (Linux can handle as much RAM as you can fit into a typical PC,
and more is almost always better than less.)
At least 650MB (the barest minimum) of hard drive space: I recommend 2.5GB and as much as 5GB if you want to install all the software
from the DVD-ROM. You need less space if you don’t install every program, but you should go ahead and make 5GB of space available, to
give yourself more options.
A DVD-ROM drive — double-speed (2x) or faster: The faster the DVDROM drive, the faster your installation experience. A coupon is offered
in this book if you need to order CDs to replace the DVD.
Just about any VGA monitor: Just about any monitor does the trick, but
you want one that’s capable of displaying at least 256 colors or grayscale.
A keyboard and a mouse: You need both items so that you have a way
to communicate with your Linux system and tell it what to do!
A 31⁄2-inch floppy drive is handy, although not absolutely necessary:
You might need to start the installer with a floppy, though most people
won’t have to.
Some kind of network connection: Again, the faster your Internet connection, the less time it takes to update your installation to the most
recent versions. I use a cable modem for my Internet connection, and I
like the increased speed when it comes to dealing with the many and
varied sources of Linux software and updates online. See Chapter 8 on
the various ways to connect to the Internet.
If you need more information on PC basics, check out PCs For Dummies by
Dan Gookin (published by Wiley Publishing, Inc.).
Using the DVD-ROM
You can take either of two basic approaches to using the Fedora Core installation DVD-ROM. I cover each one in separate step-by-step lists. I tell you in
this section how to pick which set of instructions to follow. The two ways to
use this DVD-ROM are shown in this list:
If you can boot from your DVD-ROM drive (which probably means that
you have a newer PC), follow the instructions in the following section.
If you can’t boot from your DVD-ROM drive, for whatever reason, follow
the instructions in the upcoming section “Booting from a Linux floppy
disk.” Choosing this option means that you boot from a Linux boot
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Part VI: Appendixes
floppy disk, with the DVD that came with this book already inserted into
your DVD-ROM drive. (To create a Linux boot floppy disk to enable this
approach, please check out the instructions in Chapter 2.) The floppy
disk handles the beginning of the process and then turns the rest of the
installation over to the DVD-ROM.
Booting from the DVD-ROM
To install items from the DVD-ROM to your hard drive, follow these steps:
1. Insert the DVD-ROM into your computer’s DVD-ROM drive.
2. Reboot your PC.
As long as your PC is configured to boot from the DVD-ROM, this step
starts the Linux installation process for you automatically.
3. If you want to install Fedora, type linux at the boot prompt. If you
want to boot into Knoppix without having to install anything, just
press Enter.
Congratulations! The Linux installation process is now under way, or you’re
just about to use Linux without having to install a thing. For the rest of the
gory details on the fascinating task of installing Fedora, please consult
Chapter 3. If you had to order the CD-ROMs, then boot with the first CD for
the same effect as booting with the DVD.
Booting from a Linux floppy disk
To install the items from the DVD-ROM to your hard drive with a boot disk
(I show you how to make one in Chapter 2), follow these steps:
In case you have a problem
installing from the DVD
On some PCs, after booting from the companion DVD, Knoppix and Fedora Core installation may not work. If you have such problems
with the DVD, you can download Knoppix from
www.knoppix.net and burn your own CDROM from there. For Fedora Core, please visit
www.dummies.com/go/linux3source
coupon to obtain the CD set. Note that this
problem doesn’t affect the other distributions’
ISO images that are in the DVD’s distros
directory.
Appendix B: About the DVD-ROM
1. Insert the DVD-ROM into your computer’s DVD-ROM drive and insert
a bootable Linux floppy disk into your computer’s floppy drive.
See the instructions in Chapter 2 for creating a bootable Linux floppy disk.
2. Reboot your PC.
This step starts the Linux installation process for you automatically.
Congratulations! The Linux installation process is now under way. For the
rest of the gory details on this fascinating task, please consult Chapter 3.
And some people say that installing Linux is hard! What could be easier than
this? On the other hand, if all you want to do is investigate the contents of
the Linux installation DVD-ROM, simply insert it into your machine’s CD-ROM
drive. After that, you can browse through the DVD-ROM’s contents right
there in Windows. The contents are described in the following section.
What You Find on the DVD-ROM
Here’s a summary of the software on the DVD-ROM, arranged by directory
organization. If you use Windows, the DVD-ROM interface helps you navigate
the DVD-ROM easily; you can use most of its contents only if you already
have Linux installed.
The contents of the DVD consist of all four installation CD-ROMs’ worth of
material for Fedora Core 3, plus the ISO files discussed earlier in this chapter.
Not all the software is installed automatically. You find out in Chapters 3 and
12 how to customize what’s added. Aside from that, the DVD has useful
install utilities and a handy-dandy README file that explains precisely what
you find. The directory structure may look similar to the following (except
for lacking my handy annotations, of course):
E:
|----> distros
distributions
|----> Fedora
|
|----> RPMS
|
|
|
|----> base
|
|
|
|
|---->
|---->
|---->
|---->
|---->
|---->
-- ISO images for the included
-- binary packages, incl:
OS, GUIs, Apache, etc.
-- info on release
used by install process
-- source code for the packages
in RPMS
images
-- boot & ramdisk images
KNOPPIX
-- the files used to boot you into
KNOPPIX instead of Fedora’s installer
isolinux
-- boot files
README
-- general read me file
RELEASE-NOTES
-- current info about this release
RPM-GPG-KEY
-- GPG sigs for Red Hat pkgs
409
410
Part VI: Appendixes
Both CDs include GPG signatures, allowing the installer to check the contents
of the files against the stored security data to make sure that the files haven’t
been changed. (The assumption is that all changes would be for the worse,
such as Trojan horses or viruses.) Thus, signatures provide a way to make
sure that everything is safe and wholesome for your computer!
If You’ve Got Problems (Of the
DVD-ROM Kind)
I tried my best to locate programs that work on most computers with the
minimum system requirements, as Red Hat did for its operating system. Alas,
your computer may differ, and some programs may not work properly for
some reason.
The two likeliest problems are that you don’t have enough memory (RAM)
for the programs you want to use or that you have other programs running
that are affecting the installation or running of a program. If you see error
messages like Not enough memory or Setup cannot continue, try one or
more of the following methods and then try using the software again:
Close all running programs. The more programs you’re running, the
less memory is available to other programs. Installers also typically
update files and programs; if you keep other programs running, the
installation may not work properly.
In Linux, close your GUI environment and run demos or installations
directly from a command line. The interface itself can tie up system
memory or even conflict with certain kinds of interactive demos. Use
the command prompt to browse files on the DVD-ROM and launch
installers or demos.
Have your local computer store add more RAM to your computer. This
step is, admittedly, a drastic and potentially expensive one, depending
on the price of RAM at the time. If you have a modern PC with less than
64MB of RAM, however, adding more memory can really help the speed
of your computer and enable more programs to run at the same time.
If you still have trouble with the DVD-ROM, please call the Wiley Product
Technical Support phone number at 1-800-762-2974. Outside the United
States, call 1-317-572-3994. You can also contact Wiley Product Technical
Support through the Internet at www.wiley.com/techsupport. Wiley
Publishing provides technical support only for installation and other general
quality control items; for technical support on the applications themselves,
consult the program’s vendor or author.
To place additional orders or to request information about other Wiley products, please call 1-800-225-5945.
Index
• Symbols •
* (asterisk), 282
. (dot), 280
= (equals sign), 286
! (exclamation point)
blue circle with, 243
red circle with, 236
? (question mark), 282
‘ (single quote), 287–288
~ (tilde), 280
•A•
accessories, GNOME, 109
account. See root account; user account
addresses. See IP addresses
administration tool, SuSE, 259–260
administrator account. See root account
Amarok audio software, 350
Anaconda Red Hat installer program, 371
analog signal, dial-up modem, 151
Apache Web Server, 405
appearance, Mozilla browser, 168–169
applets
GNOME, 116, 294–296
icon, adding to panel, 294–295, 298
KDE, 298–299
removing, 296, 299
appliance, firewall, 55
applications. See programs
archiving files, 396
asterisk (*), 282
audio CD
autostart, 219–220
playing, 224, 225, 348–349
problems, solving, 347–348
ripping music tracks from, 352–354
authentication, e-mail, 178, 181
autocompletion
commands, 107
format, spreadsheet, 325
function, spreadsheet, 327
text, OpenOffice.Org Writer, 320
AutoPilot Presentation wizard, 328–330
autostart
programs in Linspire, 143
video or audio disks, 219–220
•B•
backgrounds, 301
base directories, 216–219
bash (Bourne again shell)
activating, 278–279
command history, 283–284
commands and filenames, automatic
completion of, 282–283
described, 277–278
GUI desktop, returning to, 279–280
Linux commands, 396–397
programs, starting, 281–282
redirecting and piping, 288–291
screen, clearing, 291
syntax and structure, 280–281
variables, 284–288
wildcard expansion, 282
Basic Input/Output System. See BIOS
beep
bash command, 283
unusual series of long and short, 96
Bell Telephone Laboratories, 12
/bin directory, 216
binary code, 14
BIOS (Basic Input/Output System)
to boot loader, 97–98
changes, saving, 37
floppy drive, checking order, 43
information, accessing, 36
partitions, viewing, 68
black screen
Linspire installation, 68
POST, 96
blue circle with white exclamation point
(!), 243
Bluetooth wireless networking, 151
/boot directory
backup, 370
described, 216
boot environment, 375–376
412
Linux For Dummies, 6th Edition
boot floppy, creating, 41–43
boot hangs, 377–378
boot loader
BIOS to, 97–98
Fedora Core password, configuring, 50–52
SuSE, choosing, 82
bootable distribution, 28–29
booting
from back-of-the-book DVD-ROM, 407–408
BIOS to boot loader, 97–98
custom boot disks, 98
described, 95–96
Fedora Core, 39–40, 43, 60–64
freezing computer, intentionally, 35
GRUB or LILO loads system kernel into
memory, 98–99
init, control passes to, 99–101
Knoppix machine, 390–391
from Linux floppy disk, 408
POST to BIOS, 96–97
Bourne again shell. See bash
bridge, wireless, 153
broadband Internet connection
firewalls and, 55
Linux compatibility, 149
browser. See Web browser
buddy, IM, 189
bulletin boards
Mozilla, configuring to read, 174–175
reading news, 177
subscribing to, 176–177
burning electrical components, 96
button
extensible, 319, 324, 335
menu, adding, 296
•C•
cable modem
described, 150
setting up, 152–153
cached data, swapping, 102
Calc (OpenOffice.Org)
document area, 327
formula bar, 326–327
function bar, 326
main toolbar, 324–325
menu bar, 325–326
object bar, 326
starting, 114, 323–324
case-sensitivity, command-line
interface, 107
cat command, 309–310
CD
burning, 354, 406
damaged, handling, 48
directory, 216, 218, 227
files, saving to, 194
ISOs, 66
listening to, 348–349
ripping music tracks from, 352–354
viewing, 222, 223
cell, inserting into spreadsheet, 325
checking e-mail, 184–186
clear command, 291
Click and Run Warehouse. See CNR
Warehouse
closing
and saving text files (nano), 311–312
saving text files without, 311
CNR (Click and Run) Warehouse
adding new software, 253–255
advantages of, 70
DVD player, buying, 356
opening, 122
programs, finding, 275
updating system with, 240–242
Win4Lin emulator software, 361
CodeWeavers Microsoft Office bridge
software, 360–361
colors, browser, 169
columns, viewing icons in, 202
command-line interface
case-sensitivity, 107
described, 105, 106
within GUI, opening, 107
history of recently used commands,
107–108, 283–284
readability, 106
shutting down, 102
troubleshooting, 373–374
commands
automatic completion, bash shell,
282–283
essential, 216
history, 107–108, 283–284
output redirection, 289–290
Composer Web page builder
described, 168
preferences, setting, 171
Index
compressing files
described, 233
preparing, 235–236
to share with others, 396
computer manufacturers,
Linux-promoting, 11
configuration tools
Internet connections, 155–156
Knoppix, 141–142
Linspire, 142–143
Mandrake, 144
Red Hat and Fedora, 145
SuSE, 145–146
Xandros, 146
connecting, Internet
configuration, 160
SSH, 271–272
connections, physical, 369
content
directory, listing, 280–281
floppy disk, viewing, 121, 124
text files, viewing, 309–310
content, Trash
deleting, 200, 207
viewing, 117, 121, 124
Control Panel, Linspire, 143
Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), 55
copying files
Konqueror file manager, 205–206
Nautilus file manager, 198–199
copyright
GNU GPL, 14–15
multimedia, 345
core dump files, 284
creating files and folders
Konqueror file manager, 206
Nautilus file manager, 199
CrossOver Office (CodeWeavers) software,
360–361
custom boot disks, 98
•D•
data sources
documents, 320
spreadsheet, 325
date and time
file changes, viewing, 210
time server, enabling, 60–61
viewing, 114, 119
Debian GNU/Linux, 16. See also Knoppix
distribution; Linspire distribution
deleting
applets, 296, 299
files and folders, 199–200, 207
Linux, 103
programs, 274, 297
secondary panels, 115
Trash content, 200, 207
demo days, 93
desktop. See GNOME; KDE
DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration
Protocol), 52, 159
dial-up modem
described, 151
setting up, 153, 157–160
Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)
described, 150
modem, setting up, 152–153
directory
command, finding, 285
contents, listing, 280–281
copying and moving, 198–199, 206
navigating through, 202
opening in Nautilus, 195
printing, 287
search path, 283
disconnecting from Internet, 160
Disk Druid partitioning tool, 51
disks. See CD; DVD; floppy disk; hard drive
distribution. See individual distributions
listed by name
document area
drawing program, 327, 337
math function program, 340–342
presentations program, 333
word-processing program, 323
documentation
distribution, 37
SuSE, advantage of, 78
Wine, 365
documents
drawing, 320, 325
fields, inserting, 320
Linspire, 121, 123
Mandrake, 125
recent, list in GNOME, 110
templates, 194
Xandros, 130
dot (.), 280
downloaded programs, opening, 233–234
413
414
Linux For Dummies, 6th Edition
downloading
Mandrake distribution, 71–72
Mozilla helper, 171
drawer, adding for menu, 296
drawing
in documents, 320, 325
in presentations, 331, 332
drawing program
document area, 337
function bar, 336
layout, 334
main toolbar, 335
menu bar, 335–336
object bar, 336
ruler, 336
starting, 333–334
drivers
directory, 216
printer, 140
sound card, 347
DSL (Digital Subscriber Line)
described, 150
modem, setting up, 152–153
du command, 280–281
dual-boot, Linux and Windows
broadband connection, 149–150
free resizing tool (qtparted), 28–32
hard drive, sharing, 20
hardware, checking, 32–36
partitioning from scratch, 21–22
partitioning tool, 28
resizing partitions, 26–27
viewing partitions, 22–26
DVD
autostart, 219–220
burning, 354
damaged, handling, 48
viewing, 222, 223, 224, 226
DVD-ROM, back-of-the-book
booting from, 407–408
Fedora Core 3, 45, 408–409
ISO images, 406
software, 405
system requirements, 406–407
troubleshooting, 409–410
Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol
(DHCP), 52, 159
dynamic IP address, 155
•E•
editing text files
command-line editor (nano), 310–312
GUI editor (gedit), 312–314
efficiency, 12
electronic manual, 290–291
e-mail
checking, bash command, 285
default programs included with
distributions, 178
Evolution, setting up, 178–184
Internet connections, 177–186
Linspire suite, opening, 121
Mozilla, 168, 171
as root account, 134
sending and checking, 184–186
environment variables, 284–286
equals sign (=), 286
/etc subdirectories
backup, 370
described, 216
Ethernet hardware
cable, 152–153
card, 268
etiquette, newsgroup, 177
Evolution e-mail
opening, 114
setting up, 178–184
exclamation point (!)
blue circle with, 243
red circle with, 236
executable permissions set, 214
execute permission, 212
exiting GUI to command line, 293
extended partition, 21, 25
extensible buttons, 319, 324, 335
external modem, 153
•F•
FAQ (Frequently Asked Question) page,
newsgroup, 177
f86config graphics configuration
tool, 373
FDISK hard drive partition indicator, 24–25
Fedora Core distribution
bash session, activating, 278
boot loader, default, 97
booting, first, 60–64
Index
described, 17
documentation, 37
DVD-ROM, back-of-the-book, 405
filesystem, navigating, 219–221
firewall, controlling and adjusting, 267
formatting disks, 229
GNOME and KDE, switching, 131
graphics configuration tool, 373
GUI, default, 106
hardware compatibility, 32–33
installing in, 247–253
Internet connections, configuring,
156–160
KDE Control Center, opening, 304
Mozilla, configuring, 166–172
rescue tool, 100
screen resolution, changing, 377
SELinux, 274
single user mode, booting into, 378
sound card, checking, 346
System Logs viewer, 275, 276
troubleshooting, 371–372
user accounts, creating, 134–137
Web browser, default, 166
Fedora Core distribution, installing
boot floppy, creating, 41–43
boot loader password, configuring, 50–52
booting, 39–40, 43
DVD-ROM, back-of-the-book, 408–409
firewall configuration, 52–55, 57
function keys, 44–45
graphical interface, 43–46
keyboard configuration, 46–47
language, selecting, 46, 55
network configuration, 52–53
options, listed, 48
partitioning, 49–50, 51
Personal Desktop, 48–49
root password, 57
software packages, 57–59
text interface, 44
time zone, 55–56
updating, 236–240
Fedora Core distribution, using
programs in
archive, creating, 235
CD music tracks, ripping, 352
CDs and DVDs, burning, 354
CDs, listening to, 348, 349
deleting unnecessary programs, 274
downloaded music, listening to, 351
DVDs, playing, 356
e-mail tool, default, 178
graphics editor, 355
instant messenger, 186, 187
Internet connection tools, 155
mixer, 346
network services manager, opening, 265
OpenOffice.Org Calc, opening, 323
OpenOffice.Org Draw, opening, 334
OpenOffice.Org Impress, opening, 327
OpenOffice.Org Math, opening, 337
OpenOffice.Org Writer, opening, 318
printing, 137, 138–140, 342
text editors, 310, 312
Wine, 365
fields, inserting into documents, 320
file
attributes, help commands, 398–399
GNOME, searching for, 110
rescuing from nonbooting machine,
379–380
viewers, 399–400
file browser, 110
file formats, supported in
OpenOffice.Org, 323
file manager
described, 193–194
Konqueror, 201–208
Nautilus, 194–201
Xandros, 209
file sharing program, 190
File Transfer Protocol (FTP) programs,
190, 269
filenames, automatic completion of,
282–283
filesystem
disk space shortage, 232
/etc subdirectories, 216
Fedora, 219–221
formatting disks, 229
help commands, 400
Knoppix, 221–223
long format file listings, 210
Mandrake, 223–225
/mnt and /media subdirectories, 217–218
partitions versus directories, 226–228
permissions, 211–213
reboot, failure to, 229–231
root directory, 216–217
searching, 123, 128
types, 215–216
/usr subdirectories, 218–219
Xandros, 226
415
416
Linux For Dummies, 6th Edition
find and replace
in spreadsheets, 325
in word processing documents, 320
finding
CNR Warehouse programs, 275
directory command, 285
documentation, 37
hung programs Linspire, 123
Mandrake repositories, 255
Nautilus file manager, 110
OpenOffice.Org suite, 110
root partition, 381
security resources, 276
software, 261–262
sound card drivers in kernel, 347
Firefox Web browser
adding, 255, 258, 260
opening, 114
RSS, 190
software on back-of-the-book
DVD-ROM, 405
firewall
controlling and adjusting, 267–269
Fedora Core, configuring, 52–55, 57
ping and traceroute commands,
blocked, 161
service, 266
SSH, enabling, 269
Flash plug-in, 248, 254, 258, 260
flexibility, 12
floppy disk
boot, creating, 41–43
contents, viewing, 121, 124
custom boot, 98
directory, 216, 217
drive designations, 227
installation, 37, 40
Knoppix, viewing, 222
SuSE, viewing, 225
folder, viewing
Konqueror file manager, 202–204
Nautilus file manager, 196–197
previously accessed, 195–196
formatting disks, 229
forms, building, 320, 325
formula bar, spreadsheet, 326–327
free software, 9–10, 12
Free Software Foundation (FSF), 14
freeform drawing, 335
freezing computer
boot hangs, 377–378
to view boot process, 35
Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) page,
newsgroup, 177
frozen computer
GUI, 377
programs, finding in Linspire, 123
FSF (Free Software Foundation), 14
FTP (File Transfer Protocol) programs,
190, 269
function bar
drawing program, 336
math formula program, 339
presentations program, 332
spreadsheet program, 326
word-processing program, 321–322
function keys
Fedora Core, installing, 44–45
frozen computer, checking, 371
function, spreadsheet, 327
•G•
Gaim Instant Messenger, 187–189
games
Cedega, 362–363
GNOME, 109
Mahjongg, 282
software on back-of-the-book
DVD-ROM, 405
SuSE, 128
General Public License (GPL), 10, 14–15
The GIMP graphics editing program, 110,
355–356
GLUE (Groups of Linux Users
Everywhere), 93
GNOME (GNU Network Object Model
Environment)
adding to panel, 116
applets, 294–296
configuration tools, 145
described, 108–109
desktop icons, 116–117
KDE, switching, 130–131
Lock Screen tool, 112–113
Log Out tool, 113
menus, 109–111
panel menu, 115–116
panels, 113–115
programs, 296–297
Run Application tool, 111–112
software on back-of-the-book
DVD-ROM, 405
themes, adding, 301–303
Index
GNU (GNU’s Not Unix)
GPL, 10, 14–15
Linux and, 11, 13–14
GPL (General Public License), 10, 14–15
GRand Unified Boot loader (GRUB), 97–99
graphical user interface. See GUI
graphics. See also drawing; drawing
program
creating and modifying, 110, 355–356
embedded, showing in
OpenOffice.Org, 320
resizing to fit browser window, 169
SuSE, 128
testing, installer’s, 372–373
group file permissions, 211–213
Groups of Linux Users Everywhere
(GLUE), 93
GRUB (GRand Unified Boot loader), 97–99
GUI (graphical user interface). See also
GNOME; KDE
bash shell, returning from, 279–280
described, 105
directory location, 217
exiting to command line, 293
Fedora Core, installing, 43–46
not starting, 373
readability, 106
shutting down, 102
SuSE, installing, 81–82
system speed and, 106
text editors (gedit), 312–315
versions, choosing, 106–107
GYUM Fedora software installation
described, 247
Java support, adding, 251–252
RealPlayer support, adding, 252–253
repositories, adding, 247–249
software, obtaining, 249–251
gzip utility, 233
•H•
Hackers (Levy), 13
handout view, presentation, 332
hard drive
accessing, 220–221
boot hangs, 377
designations, common, 227
removable, 21
sharing with Windows and Linux, 20
space shortage, 232
hard drive, partitioning
Fedora Core, 49–50, 51
Knoppix, 118
Linspire, 68
Mandrake, 74
resizing, 26–27
SuSE, 80–81
Windows dual-boot, 21–22, 28
Xandros, 88
hard drive partitions
accessing other, 226
directories versus, 226–228
listing, 230–231
root, finding, 381
hard link, 210
hardware
boot hangs, 377
checking in Windows dual-boot, 32–36
compatibility, 32–36
detection, disabling during Fedora
installation, 44–45
failure, correcting in BIOS, 97
Internet connections, 152–153
laptop issues, 36
Mandrake, 144
messages, shutting off, 266
platforms, Linux running on, 11
removing during troubleshooting, 369
settings, GNOME, 110
harvesting e-mail addresses, 175
HelixPlayer audio software, 351
help
bash, 281
GNOME, 110, 115
Linspire, 123
Mozilla, 171
Xandros, 130
hidden files, 280, 366
history
browser visits, 171
commands, recent, 108, 283–284
home directory
displaying, 117
Konqueror, 202
Mandrake, opening, 125
Nautilus, 194
path, 285
root, 216
Xandros file manager, 209
home page, Web browser, 170
HP JetDirect printer, 139
417
418
Linux For Dummies, 6th Edition
hung computer
boot hangs, 377–378
to view boot process, 35
•I•
icon
applets, adding to panel, 294–295, 298
buddy, 189
CD/DVD, 219
files, viewing as, 202
KDE, adding to desktop, 300
space for adding, 114
Web site, viewing, 169
IDE hard drive, 227, 228
IM (instant messaging)
default programs included with
distributions, 186–187
Gaim Instant Messenger, 187–189
troubleshooting connections, 189–190
images. See graphics
Impress (OpenOffice.Org)
AutoPilot Presentation wizard, 328–330
document area, 333
function bar, 332
main toolbar, 330–331
menu bar, 331–332
object bar, 332
ruler, 333
starting, 114, 327–328
views, 332–333
information flow, aiding with redirection
and pipes, 288–291
init program, 99–101
installation
disks, 37
distribution, programs with each, 17
documentation, finding, 37
Knoppix, 384–386
Linspire, 67–70
Linux and Windows dual-boot, 20–27
Linux-only computers, 19–20
Mandrake, 72–77, 257–258
SuSE, 78–85
Xandros, 86–91
install-fests, 93
instant messaging (IM)
default programs included with
distributions, 186–187
Gaim Instant Messenger, 187–189
troubleshooting connections, 189–190
Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN),
150, 266
internal modem, 153
Internet connections
browsers, 165–173
configuration tools, 155–156
connecting and disconnecting, 160
described, 149–151
e-mail, 177–186
Fedora, 156–160
file sharing, 190
FTP programs, 190
GNOME tools, 110
hardware, 152–153
instant messaging, 186–190
IRC programs, 190
ISP, 153–155
Linux sites, helpful, 164
Mandrake tools, 125
newsgroups, 174–177
ping to certain addresses, 161–162
RSS readers, 190
software distributions, security and,
262–265
software modems, 152
traceroute, 162–164
Internet radio, listening to, 349–351
Internet Service Provider (ISP)
e-mail configuration, 178
information, obtaining, 154–155
selecting, 153–154
setting up connection, 159
interpolated string, 287–288
IP addresses
checking with ping, 161–162
obtaining, 154–155
setting up modem, 159
iptables service, 266
IRC programs, 190
ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network),
150, 266
ISO files
burning, 66
DVD-ROM, back-of-the-book, 406
ISP (Internet Service Provider)
e-mail configuration, 178
information, obtaining, 154–155
selecting, 153–154
setting up connection, 159
iTunes, 360, 361
Index
•J•
Java, adding support for
CNR Warehouse, 254
GYUM Fedora software installation,
251–252
Mozilla Web browser settings, 172
SuSE, 260
•K•
K Desktop Environment. See KDE
Kaffeine audio/video media player, 351
Kate text editor, 315
KDE (K Desktop Environment)
applets, configuring, 298–299
control center, 128, 145, 146
Fedora Core, selecting, 58
GNOME and, switching, 130–131
icons, adding to desktop, 300
Knoppix, 118–120
launching, 119
Linspire, 121–123
Mandrake, 124–126, 144
panel, adding elements, 299
programs, adding, 300
Red Hat Package Manager, sample of, 405
SuSE, 126–128
themes, adding, 303–305
Web site, 117
wizard, opening, 141
Xandros, 128–130
kernel
benevolent dictator of, 15
libraries, 216
Linux stability, 12
loading into memory, 98–99
module, handling, 402
parameters, setting during Fedora Core
installation, 45
sound card drivers, finding, 347
keyboard configuration
Fedora Core, 46–47
SuSE, 79–80
KLaptop applet, 114, 119
Kmail, 254
Knoppix distribution
archive, creating, 235
configuration tools, 141–142
default GUI, 106
described, 66
files, rescuing off non-booting machine,
379–380
filesystem, navigating, 221–223
formatting disks, 229
graphics configuration tool, 373
installing, 384–386, 388–389, 406
KDE, 118–120
machine, booting, 390–391
partitioning with, 28–32
as portable desktop, 383–384
screen resolution, changing, 377
sound card, checking, 346
SSH, enabling, 169
system rescues, 100
tools, 391
updating, 386–387
Knoppix distribution, using programs with
CD music tracks, ripping, 352
CDs and DVDs, burning, 354
CDs, listening to, 348, 349
downloaded music, listening to, 351
DVDs, playing, 356
e-mail tool, default, 178
graphics editing program, 355
instant messenger program, 186, 187
mixer, finding, 346
network services manager, opening, 265
OpenOffice.Org Calc, opening, 323
OpenOffice.Org Draw, opening, 334
OpenOffice.Org Impress, opening, 328
OpenOffice.Org Math, opening, 337
OpenOffice.Org Writer, opening, 318
printing, 137, 342
repositories, adding, 389–390
root password, recovering, 378, 381–382
text editors, 312
Web browser, default, 166
Wine, 365
Konqueror file manager
copying and moving files, 205–206
creating files and folders, 206
deleting files and folders, 207
deleting Trash contents, 207
navigating, 202
opening files and running programs, 205
opening in different distributions, 118,
121, 125, 127, 201–202
permissions, viewing and changing,
207–208
viewing folders, 202–204
kudzu service, 266
419
420
Linux For Dummies, 6th Edition
•L•
language
browser, setting, 169
Fedora Core, selecting, 46, 55
Knoppix, viewing, 119
Mandrake, selecting, 73
laptops
battery monitoring service, 266
hardware issues, 36
resolution, changing, 377
latency, 162
layers, presentation, 332
laying pipes, 290
legal issues, multimedia, 345
less command, 310
Levy, Steven (Hackers), 13
libraries, 216
licensing issues
Fedora Core agreement, 61
GPL, 10
LILO (LInux LOader), 97–99
Lindows. See Linspire distribution
link, fake file listings, 210
Linspire distribution
advantages of, 66–67
archive, creating, 235–236
bash session, activating, 278
boot environment, changing, 375
configuration tools, 142–143
default boot loader, 97
default GUI, 106
documentation, 37
filesystem, navigating, 223
firewall, controlling and adjusting, 267
formatting disks, 229
graphics configuration tool, 373
hardware compatibility, 33
installing, 67–70
Internet connection tools, 155
KDE, 121–123, 304
rescue tool, 100
root password, forgotten, 378
screen resolution, changing, 377
SELinux, 275
software, adding, 253–255
software on back-of-the-book
DVD-ROM, 406
sound card, checking, 346
special features, 70
System Logs viewer, 275
updating, 240–242
user accounts, creating, 135
versions, 71
Web browser, default, 166
Linspire distribution, using programs with.
See also CNR Warehouse
CD music tracks, ripping, 352
CDs and DVDs, burning, 354
CDs, listening to, 348
deleting unnecessary programs, 274
downloaded music, listening to, 352
DVDs, playing, 356
e-mail tool, default, 178
graphics editing program, 355
instant messenger program, 186, 187
Konqueror programs, accessing, 201
mixer, finding, 346
network services manager, opening, 265
OpenOffice.Org Calc, opening, 323
OpenOffice.Org Draw, opening, 334
OpenOffice.Org Impress, opening, 328
OpenOffice.Org Math, opening, 337
OpenOffice.Org Writer, opening, 318
printing, 137, 342
text editors, 312
Wine, 365
Win4Lin emulator software, 361–362
Linux. See also individual distributions listed
by name
advantages of, 11–13
benevolent dictator, 15
boxes, connecting with SSH, 273
distributions, compared, 16–18
floppy disk, booting from, 408
GNU, 13–15
history of, 12
installer, frozen, 370–371
mascot, 10
open source communities, 15–16
standalone installation, 19–20
Web sites, 164
Linux commands
archiving and compressing files, 396
bash shell, 396–397
help, 397–400
kernel module handling, 402
manual pages, referencing (man), 395
Microsoft boxes, communicating with
(mtools suite), 400–401
processes, 402–403
system administration, 401–402
LInux LOader (LILO), 97–99
Index
Linux Users Group (LUG), 93
lisa service, 266
listing
directory content, 280–281
documents, recent, 110
drives, 117
fake file link, 210
known applications, 111
Linspire programs, 123
long format file, 210
partitions, 230–231
literal text string, 287
LiveCDs (bootable distributions)
described, 28
Knoppix software, installing, 388
pros and cons of using, 92
local printer, 137, 139
Lock Screen tool
GNOME, 112–113
Linspire, 123
Mandrake, 126
Lock Session tool, Mandrake, 128
log files
troubleshooting, 369
viewing with System Log Viewer, 275–276
Log Out tool
GNOME, 111, 113
Linspire, 123
Mandrake, 126, 128
Xandros, 130
logical partition, 21, 25
login
autostart programs, 143
GNOME, locking, 111
graphical, 108
secondary, Mandrake, 126
long format file listings, 210
LUG (Linux Users Group), 93
•M•
Macintosh computer, connecting to Linux
box, 273
Macromedia Flash plug-in, 248, 254,
258, 260
Mahjongg game, 282
mail. See e-mail
Mail and Newsgroups, Mozilla
described, 168
preferences, setting, 171
reading newsgroups, 174–175, 177
main toolbar
drawing program, 335
math formula program, 338–339
presentations program, 330–331
spreadsheet program, 324–325
word-processing program, 319–320
Mandrake distribution
advantages of, 71
archive, creating, 235
bash session, activating, 278, 279
configuration tools, 144
default boot loader, 97
default GUI, 106
described, 16–17
documentation, 37
downloading, 71–72
filesystem, navigating, 223–225
firewall, controlling and adjusting, 268
formatting disks, 229
GNOME and KDE, switching, 131
graphics configuration tool, 373
hardware compatibility, 33
installing, 72–77
KDE, 124–126, 304
Konqueror programs, accessing, 201
network services manager, opening, 265
partitioning, 26
printing, 137, 342
root account, 134
root password, forgotten, 378
screen resolution, changing, 377
SELinux, 275
software, adding with, 255–258
software on back-of-the-book
DVD-ROM, 406
sound card, checking, 346
SSH, enabling, 269
System Log viewer, 275
updating, 242–243
user accounts, creating, 135
versions, 77–78
Mandrake distribution, using
programs with
CD music tracks, ripping, 352
CDs and DVDs, burning, 354
CDs, listening to, 348, 349
deleting unnecessary programs, 274
downloaded music, listening to, 352
DVDs, playing, 356
e-mail tool, default, 178
graphics editing program, 355
installing, 257–258
421
422
Linux For Dummies, 6th Edition
Mandrake distribution (continued)
instant messenger program, default, 186
Internet connection tools, 155
mixer, finding, 347
OpenOffice.Org Calc, opening, 323
OpenOffice.Org Draw, opening, 334
OpenOffice.Org Impress, opening, 328
OpenOffice.Org Math, opening, 337
OpenOffice.Org Writer, opening, 318
repositories, adding, 255–257
repositories, finding, 255
rescue tool, 100
text editors, 312
Web browser, default, 166
Wine, 365
manual pages, referencing (man)
bash commands, 281
Linux commands, 395
mascot, Linux, 10
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
(MIT), 14
Math (OpenOffice.Org)
document section, 340–342
function bar, 339
main toolbar, 338–339
menu bar, 339
starting, 337–338
mathematical functions, preparing. See
OpenOffice.Org Math
MBR (Master Boot Record), 97
mdmonitor service, 266
mDNSresponder service, 266
media formats, Windows, 359
/media subdirectory, 217–218
menu
button, adding, 296
GNOME, 109–111
Knoppix tools, 141
Nautilus file manager, 194–195
menu bar
drawing program, 335–336
math formula program, 339
presentations program, 331–332
spreadsheet program, 325–326
word-processing program, 321
Microsoft boxes, communicating with
(mtools suite), 400–401
Microsoft Exchange server, 180
Microsoft Windows
Fedora boot copy, creating, 41–43
hardware, getting information about,
33–35
media formats and programs,
described, 359
printers, connecting, 139
tarballs, opening, 234
Microsoft Windows 98, 24–26, 364–366
Microsoft Windows 2000, 22–24
Microsoft Windows dual-boot
broadband connection, 149–150
free resizing tool (qtparted), 28–32
hard drive, sharing, 20
hardware, checking, 32–36
partitioning from scratch, 21–22
partitioning tool, 28
resizing partitions, 26–27
viewing partitions, 22–26
Microsoft Windows software
CodeWeavers, using Microsoft Office
with, 360–361
gaming with Cedega, 362–363
installing with SSH, 270–271
media formats and programs,
described, 359
screenshots, grabbing (VMware), 363–364
Wine for Windows 98 functions, 364–366
Win4Lin emulator, 361–362
Microsoft Windows XP, 22–24
MIT (Massachusetts Institute of
Technology), 14
mixer, multimedia, 346–347
/mnt subdirectory, 217–218
modified buffer, 312
monitor
Fedora settings, 61–62
Linspire installation, 68
Mandrake settings, 76
POST, 96
mount point, partition, 227
mouse, SuSE installation, 80
movies, watching, 356–357
moving files
Konqueror file manager, 205–206
Nautilus file manager, 198–199
Mozilla Web browser
configuring, 166–172
newsgroups, participating in, 174–175
Web surfing, 173
MP3 support, 252–253
MPlayer-Plug audio software, 351
multimedia
CDs and DVDs, burning, 354
CDs, listening to, 348–349
graphics, creating and modifying, 355–356
Index
Internet radio, listening to, 349–351
legal issues, 345
Mandrake tools, 125
mixer, 346–347
movies, watching, 356–357
music, downloading, 351–352
music, ripping tracks from CDs, 352–354
RealPlayer support, 252–253
sound card and, 346
sound problems, solving, 347–348
SuSE, 128
multiuser environment, 11
music
CDs, listening to, 348–349
downloading, 351–352
ripping tracks from CDs, 352–354
•N•
National Security Agency (NSA), 57
Nautilus file manager
copying and moving files, 198–199
creating files and folders, 199
deleting files and folders, 199–200
finding, 110
folder views, 196–197
listing drives, 117
menu, 194–195
navigating, 195–196
opening files and running programs,
197–198
permissions, viewing and changing,
200–201
Trash contents, deleting, 200
navigating
Konqueror file manager, 202
Nautilus file manager, 195–196
Navigator Web browser
described, 168
preferences, setting, 169–171
NeTraverse Win4Lin emulator, 361–362
Netscape. See Mozilla Web browser
network configuration
Fedora Core, installing, 52–53
Linux interoperability, 11
SuSE, installing, 83
Xandros, 88
network drive, accessing
in Fedora, 220
in Knoppix, 222
in Mandrake, 224–225
in Xandros, 226
network printer, 137, 139
network services
failure to load, 100
firewall, controlling and adjusting,
267–269
managing, 265–267
Network Time Protocol (NTP), 61
newsgroups
Mozilla, configuring to read, 174–175
reading news, 177
subscribing to, 176–177
nonprinting characters, displaying, 320
notes, slide presentation, 333
Novell Netware printer, connecting, 139
NSA (National Security Agency), 57
NTFS partition, accessing, 221
NTP (Network Time Protocol), 61
•O•
object bar
drawing program, 336
presentations program, 332
spreadsheet program, 326
word-processing program, 322–323
office suite. See OpenOffice.Org
office utilities
Mandrake, 125
SuSE, 128
Ogg Vorbis sound format, 354
open source communities, 15–16
opening files
editing text, 310–311
Konqueror file manager, 205
Nautilus file manager, 197–198
OpenOffice.Org
finding, 110
printing, 342–343
software on back-of-the-book
DVD-ROM, 405
OpenOffice.Org Calc
document area, 327
formula bar, 326–327
function bar, 326
main toolbar, 324–325
menu bar, 325–326
object bar, 326
starting, 114, 323–324
OpenOffice.Org Impress
AutoPilot Presentation wizard, 328–330
document area, 333
function bar, 332
423
424
Linux For Dummies, 6th Edition
OpenOffice.Org Impress (continued)
main toolbar, 330–331
menu bar, 331–332
object bar, 332
ruler, 333
starting, 114, 327–328
views, 332–333
OpenOffice.Org Math
document section, 340–342
function bar, 339
main toolbar, 338–339
menu bar, 339
starting, 337–338
OpenOffice.Org Writer
document area, 323
function bar, 321–322
layout, 318–319
main toolbar, 319–320
menu bar, 321
object bar, 322–323
ruler, 323
starting, 114, 318
word processing, 318–323
operating system
described, 10
initialization phase, 98
Linux’ advantages over other, 11
Linux commands, 401–402
Mandrake tools, 125
“not found” error message, 98
Xandros controls, 130
/opt directory, 217
OS, upgrading, 262
other file permission, 212
outline view, presentation, 333
output redirection, 289
owner, file, 210
ownership, file, 212–213
•P•
package managers, 17–18
packages, software
described, 233
Mandrake, 74–76, 144
preparing, 235–236
panel
adding programs, 296–297
applet icons, adding, 298
GNOME, 113–116
removing programs, 297
Partition Magic tool, 27, 28
partitioning
Fedora Core, 49–50, 51
Knoppix, 118
Linspire, 68
Mandrake, 74
resizing, 26–27
SuSE, 80–81
Windows dual-boot, 21–22, 28
Xandros, 88
partitions
accessing other, 226
directories versus, 226–228
listing, 230–231
root, finding, 381
passwords
choosing, 263–264
CNR, 241
e-mail, 181
good, creating, 136
IM, 188, 189
Knoppix, 141
Linspire, 143
personal account, 62–63
PC hardware detect tool, 35
PC Hardware in a Nutshell (Thompson and
Thompson), 21
PCMCIA card support, 267
PenguiNet telnet and SSH client for
Windows, 270–271
permissions, file
groups, 213
owners, 212–213
triads, 211–212
viewing and changing, 200–201, 207–208
personal account. See user account
Personal Desktop, Fedora Core
benefits of using, 40
installing, 48–49
ping to certain addresses, 161–162, 163
pipes
described, 288–289
electronic manual, 290–291
laying, 290
plug-ins
audio software, 350
browsers, 172–173
portability, 12
portable desktop, Knoppix, 383–384
POST (Power-Up Self Test), 96–97
power outages, 102–103
Index
pre-emptive multitasking, 11
preferences, GNOME, 110
presentation software. See OpenOffice.Org
Impress
primary partition, 21
printing
commands, 286–287
described, 137–140
Knoppix, 141–142
Linspire, 121
Mandrake, 144
from OpenOffice.Org suite, 342–343
process commands, 402–403
programs
active, reducing number, 370
adding to desktop, 297
adding to panel, 296–297
autostart, 143
bash shell, starting, 281–282
compressing and packaging files, 235–236
deleting unnecessary, 274
distribution versions, 17
downloaded files, opening, 233–234
DVD-ROM, back-of-the-book, 405
Fedora Core, installing, 57–59, 236–240,
247–253
files, handling, 198
finding, 261–262
free, 9–10
GNOME, 296–297
GYUM Fedora, obtaining, 249–251
hiding/restoring, 114
KDE, adding, 299, 300
Knoppix, 388–389
Linspire, adding with, 123, 253–255
Mandrake, adding with, 74, 242–243,
255–258
minimizing or maximizing all open, 119
removing from desktop, 297, 300
removing from panel, 297
security holes, 273–274
SuSE, adding, 81–82, 243–245, 260
Xandros, installing, 87, 245–246, 260–261
•Q•
qtparted resizing tool, 28–32
question mark (?), 282
•R•
Radio-Locator Web site, 350
RAM disk, 100
read permission, 212
readability, interface, 106
reading newsgroup news, 177
RealPlayer
described, 350
GYUM Fedora software installation,
252–253
reboot
failure, 229–231
GNOME tool, 111
receiving e-mail, 184–186
red circle with white exclamation
point (!), 236
Red Hat
configuration tools, 145
described, 17, 18
Disk Druid partitioning tool, 51
Red Hat Network (RHN) Alert Notification
Tool, 236–240
Red Hat Package Manager (RPM)
downloading, 262
software on back-of-the-book
DVD-ROM, 405
redirection
command output, 289–290
described, 288–289
electronic manual, 290–291
Remote Login, enabling in Fedora, 54
remote printer, 137
removable rack hard drive, 21
removing
applets, 296, 299
files and folders, 199–200, 207
Linux, 103
programs, 274, 297
secondary panels, 115
Trash content, 200, 207
repositories
GYUM Fedora, 247–249
Knoppix, 389–390
Mandrake, 255–257
rescue mode, booting Fedora Core into, 45
reset command, 291
resizing
images to fit browser window, 169
Windows partitions, 26–32
425
426
Linux For Dummies, 6th Edition
RHN (Red Hat Network) Alert Notification
Tool, 236–240
Rhythmbox audio software, 350
root account
avoiding, 134
caution against using, 134
file ownership, changing, 212–213
Mandrake Control Center, 144
password, setting, 57
root directory, 216–217, 232, 381
root password
Fedora Core, installing, 57
forgotten, 378
GNOME logout/reboot, 111
recovering, 381–382
Xandros, installing, 89
router, wireless, 153
RPM (Red Hat Package Manager)
downloading, 262
software on back-of-the-book
DVD-ROM, 405
RSS readers, 190
ruler
drawing program, 336
presentations program, 333
word-processing program, 323
Run Application tool, GNOME, 110, 111–112
Run Command tool, Mandrake, 126, 128
running programs
Konqueror file manager, 205
Nautilus file manager, 197–198
•S•
Samba software, 405
satellite modem, 151
saving
GUI text editors (gedit), 314–315
text files, closing and, 311–312
text files without closing, 311
SaX distribution, 17
/sbin directory, 217
scalability, 11
screen
bash shell, clearing, 291
file, viewing one at a time, 310
locking, 112
resolution, troubleshooting, 376–377
screenshots
Fedora Actions, 110
VMware, grabbing, 363–364
SCSI hard drive, 227, 228
search path, 283
Secure Shell. See SSH
Secure Socket Layer (SSL) e-mail
configuration, 180
security
Internet software distributions, 262–265
level, installing Mandrake, 73
log files, viewing with System Log Viewer,
275–276
Mozilla Web browser settings, 172
network services, 265–269
passwords, choosing, 263–264
resources, finding, 276
SELinux, 274–275
software holes, 273–274
SSH, 269–273
selecting multiple items, 117
SELinux (Security-Enhanced Linux)
Fedora installation, 57
security, 274–275
sending e-mail, 184–186
sendmail service, 267
server
Fedora Core, 48
Microsoft Exchange, 180
services
failure to load, 100
firewall, controlling and adjusting,
267–269
managing, 265–267
shapes, drawing specific, 335
shell scripts, 309
SHOUTeast Web site, 350
shutting down Linux, 102–103
Sidebar feature, Mozilla, 173
single quote (‘), 287–288
size, viewing files by, 2/3
Slackware, 17
smartd service, 267
smoke, puff of, 96
soft link, 210
software. See programs
Software and Systementwicklung
distribution. See SuSE
software modem, 152
sound
multimedia, troubleshooting, 347–348
settings, GNOME, 110
sound card
Fedora Core, testing, 63
multimedia, 346
Index
Sound Juicer software, 353–354
source code, 14
spamassassin service, 267
spammers, 175
spellcheck
spreadsheets, 325
word processing documents, 320
spreadsheet program. See OpenOffice.Org
Calc
/srv directory, 217
SSH (Secure Shell)
connecting in Windows, 271–272
enabling, 269–270
Linux boxes, connecting, 273
Macintosh, connecting to Linux box, 273
Remote Login, enabling in Fedora, 54
security, 269–273
Windows programs, installing, 270–271
SSL (Secure Socket Layer) e-mail
configuration, 180
stability, 12
Stallman, Richard (freedom software
pioneer and advocate), 13–14
startup
from back-of-the-book DVD-ROM, 407–408
BIOS to boot loader, 97–98
custom boot disks, 98
described, 95–96
Fedora Core, 39–40, 43, 60–64
freezing computer, intentionally, 35
GRUB or LILO loads system kernel into
memory, 98–99
init, control passes to, 99–101
Knoppix machine, 390–391
from Linux floppy disk, 408
POST to BIOS, 96–97
static IP address, 154–155
subscribing to newsgroups, 176–177
superuser. See root account; root
password
SuSE (Software and Systementwicklung)
distribution
administration tool, opening, 259–260
advantages of, 78
archive, creating, 236
bash session, activating, 278, 279
configuration tools, 145–146
default boot loader, 97
default GUI, 106
described, 17, 258–259
documentation, 37
filesystem, navigating, 225–226
firewall, controlling and adjusting, 268
formatting disks, 229
GNOME and KDE, switching, 131
graphics configuration tool, 373
hardware compatibility, 33
installing, 78–85
KDE, 126–128, 304
Konqueror programs, accessing, 201
network services manager, opening, 265
partitioning, 26
printing, 137, 342
rescue tool, 101
root account, background indicating, 134
root password, forgotten, 378
screen resolution, changing, 377
SELinux, 275
software on back-of-the-book
DVD-ROM, 406
sound card, checking, 346
System Log viewer, 275
updating, 243–245
user accounts, creating, 135
versions, 85
SuSE (Software and Systementwicklung)
distribution, using programs with
CD music tracks, ripping, 352
CDs and DVDs, burning, 354
CDs, listening to, 348, 349
deleting unnecessary programs, 274
downloaded music, listening to, 352
DVDs, playing, 356
e-mail tool, default, 178
graphics editing program, 355
instant messenger program, default, 186
Internet connection tools, 155
mixer, finding, 347
OpenOffice.Org Calc, opening, 323
OpenOffice.Org Draw, opening, 334
OpenOffice.Org Impress, opening, 328
OpenOffice.Org Math, opening, 337–338
OpenOffice.Org Writer, opening, 318
packages, adding, 260
text editors, 310, 312
Web browser, default, 166
Wine, 365
syntax and structure, bash shell, 280–281
system
described, 10
initialization phase, 98
Linux’ advantages over other, 11
427
428
Linux For Dummies, 6th Edition
system (continued)
Linux commands, 401–402
Mandrake tools, 125
“not found” error message, 98
Xandros controls, 130
system administrator account
avoiding, 134
caution against using, 134
file ownership, changing, 212–213
Mandrake Control Center, 144
password, setting, 57
system administrator password
Fedora Core, installing, 57
forgotten, 378
GNOME logout/reboot, 111
recovering, 381–382
Xandros, installing, 89
system requirements, back-of-the-book
DVD-ROM, 406–407
system speed
desktops, selecting, 59
GUI, 106
system tools, 110
•T•
tarball, 233–234, 262
taskbar, 114, 119
templates
document, 194
presentation, 329
terminal window
described, 107
virtual, 279–280
text files
contents, viewing, 309–310
editing (nano), 310–312
GUI editors (gedit), 312–315
text interface
bash session, 279
Fedora Core, installing, 44
text menus, 44
themes
browser, setting, 169
described, 300–301
GNOME, 301–303
KDE, 303–305
Thompson, Barbara Fritchman (PC
Hardware in a Nutshell), 21
Thompson, Robert Bruce (PC Hardware
in a Nutshell), 21
Thunderbird, 255, 258
tilde (~), 280
time and date
file changes, viewing, 210
time server, enabling, 60–61
viewing, 114, 119
time server, 60–61
time zone
Fedora Core, installing, 55–56
SuSE, installing, 83
toolbars
Mozilla, viewing, 168
Navigator Web browser, setting, 170
tooltips, 169
Torvalds, Linus (Linux creator), 10, 12, 15
traceroute Internet connection tool,
162–164
transition, slide, 329
Trash contents
deleting, 200, 207
viewing, 117, 121, 124
traveling, changing time zone while, 55–56
tree view, file, 203
triads, file permission, 211–212
troubleshooting
basic tips for overall, 369–370
boot environment, changing, 375–376
boot hangs, 377–378
command-line view, 373–374
DVD-ROM, back-of-the-book, 409–410
Fedora Core, 371–372
graphics testing, installer’s, 372–373
GUI won’t start, 373
hung GUI, 377
instant messaging connections, 189–190
Linux installer, frozen, 370–371
root password, forgotten, 378
screen resolution, 376–377
SuSE automatic update mode, 245
tutorials, Linspire
advantages of, 70
bailing out of, 142
tutorials, The GIMP, 356
Tux mascot penguin, 10
•U•
Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS), 103
Universal Serial Bus. See USB storage
device
Universal Time, Coordinated (UTC), 55
Index
Unix
history, 12
printers, connecting, 139
updating
existing Linux version, 43
Knoppix, 386–387
UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply), 103
USB (Universal Serial Bus) storage device
files, rescuing off non-booting machine,
379–380
formatting, 229
portable desktop, 383–384
recognizing, 219
user account
creating, 76, 89–90, 134–137
file permissions, 212
passwords, 62–63
switching, 130
/usr
directory, 217
subdirectories, 218–219
UTC (Universal Time, Coordinated), 55
•V•
/var directory, 217
variables
bash shell, 284–288
environment variables versus, 284–286
values, storing and retrieving, 286–288
versions
GUI, 106–107
Linspire distribution, 71
Mandrake distribution, 77–78
SuSE distribution, 85
Xandros distribution, 91
video
autostart, 219–220
burning DVDs, 354
damaged, handling, 48
DVD, recognizing, 225
options, setting during Fedora
installation, 45
resolution, installing Fedora, 61–62
settings, GNOME, 110
volume control
modem, 158
panel, viewing, 114, 125
•W•
Web browser
capability extensions, 172
default included with distributions, 166
Linspire, opening, 122
Mozilla, configuring, 166–172
opening, 114
plug-ins, 172–173
window, resizing images to fit, 169
Web site
icons, viewing, 169
KDE, 117
Web surfing, 173
WiFi wireless networking, 151, 153
wildcard expansion, bash shell, 282
Windows 98 (Microsoft), 24–26, 364–366
Windows 2000 (Microsoft), 22–24
Windows (Microsoft)
Fedora boot copy, creating, 41–43
hardware, getting information about,
33–35
media formats and programs,
described, 359
printers, connecting, 139
tarballs, opening, 234
Windows (Microsoft) dual-boot
broadband connection, 149–150
free resizing tool (qtparted), 28–32
hard drive, sharing, 20
hardware, checking, 32–36
partitioning from scratch, 21–22
partitioning tool, 28
resizing partitions, 26–27
viewing partitions, 22–26
Windows (Microsoft) software
CodeWeavers, using Microsoft Office
with, 360–361
gaming with Cedega, 362–363
installing with SSH, 270–271
media formats and programs,
described, 359
screenshots, grabbing (VMware), 363–364
Wine for Windows 98 functions, 364–366
Win4Lin emulator, 361–362
Windows XP (Microsoft), 22–24
Wine for Windows 98 functions, 362,
364–366
Win4Lin emulator (NeTraverse), 361–362
WinModem, 36, 152
429
430
Linux For Dummies, 6th Edition
Winzip, 234
wireless networking
cards, setting up, 153
described, 151
word-processing program. See
OpenOffice.Org Writer
Workspace Switcher, 114, 119, 125
Workstation, Fedora Core, 48
write permission, 212
Writer (OpenOffice.Org)
document area, 323
function bar, 321–322
layout, 318–319
main toolbar, 319–320
menu bar, 321
object bar, 322–323
ruler, 323
starting, 114, 318
word processing, 318–323
•X•
X Window System
described, 305
directory location, 217
Fedora Core, selecting, 58
Xandros distribution
advantages, 85
archive, creating, 236
bash session, activating, 279
boot environment, changing, 375
buying, 86
configuration tools, 146
default boot loader, 97
default GUI, 106
documentation, 37
file manager, 209
filesystem, navigating, 226
firewall, controlling and adjusting, 268
formatting disks, 229
graphics configuration tool, 373
hardware compatibility, 33
installing, 86–91
Internet connection tools, 155
KDE, 128–130
KDE Control Center, opening, 304
Linux distribution, 16
rescue tool, 101
root password, forgotten, 378
screen resolution, changing, 377
software, adding with, 260–261
software on back-of-the-book
DVD-ROM, 406
sound card, checking, 346
SSH, enabling, 269–270
updating, 245–246
user accounts, creating, 135
versions, 91
Xandros distribution, using programs with
CD music tracks, ripping, 352
CDs, listening to, 349
CrossOver Office, 361
deleting unnecessary programs, 274
downloaded music, listening to, 352
DVDs, playing, 356
e-mail tool, default, 178
graphics editing program, 355
instant messenger program, default, 186
mixer, finding, 347
network services manager, opening, 265
OpenOffice.Org Calc, opening, 323
OpenOffice.Org Draw, opening, 334
OpenOffice.Org Impress, opening, 328
OpenOffice.Org Math, opening, 338
OpenOffice.Org Writer, opening, 318
printing, 138, 342
text editors, 310, 312
Web browser, default, 166
XFCE desktop, 59
XFree86, 17, 305
Ximian Evolution, 254
Xine audio/video media player, 351
XMMS audio software, 351
XSLT Web pages, enabling, 172
•Y•
YaST (Yet Another Setup Tool) modules,
145, 260
Young, Robert (Red Hat cofounder and
chairman), 16
yum service, 267
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59 Temple Place - Suite 330, Boston, MA 02111-1307, USA
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