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Old 08-02-2004, 12:21 PM   #1
Kedaeus
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Registered: Aug 2004
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From Windows to Linux (MD 9.2)...


I picked up a copy of Mandrake 9.2, from a co-worker, last Friday.. went home and installed it to check it out..

So far I like it.. Although i'm having trouble grasping the concept of life without executable files...

This is a question geared toward the installation/patching/and executing of applications...

This is what I have come to believe in the two days I've been fighting to like linux..

[Windows:]

When you download/install a program in Windows - it comes with a nice little executable installer..
The program installs - puts a shortcut in your start menu, desktop, adds keys to your registry.. and the program is IN THERE. It's not moving unless you uninstall it...

This is how i've grown to believe computers should work - it's easy... What can I say i'm conditioned - but I want to learn how to use linux..

[Linux:]

I tried to download and install Mozilla/Firefox this weekend.. (I use it on my windows box).

Upon downloading it - and unziping it (or do you guys call it something else?) - I had the contents in a new folder in my /usr/documents/MozFF/ directory..

I opened a terminal, logged in as root, and read the README.txt and proceeded to "install" the browser ./firefox-installer (or something like that..)

Anyhoo.. it ran through the script in the make file and looked to be installed...

But nothing really ever changed... The browser worked - but I had to run a command in a terminal to use it... No shortcuts.. Just a directory under /usr/documents/MozFF with a bunch of files.

Is there a registry?
Do programs add to the "Start(TM)" menu?
Do programs have any dependencies outside of their folders besides the operating system/kernel?
Am I doing this right?





I wanna know - educate me!

-Kedaeus-
 
Old 08-02-2004, 12:56 PM   #2
Linux24
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I have the same frustration with linux. When you download programs for a Windows system, usually they are in a zip file which contains an executable installer, or they simply install to a directory and "just work." You don't have to do anything.

For some reason, Linux developers, for the most part, seem to ignore this feature of software distribution. You can get an rpm file, which is a "Red Hat Package", and you can launch it to install whatever application. However, you then have to go searching for any documentation it drops on your system, and you sometimes have no idea where it is (as a newbie) or how to find it. Or even that you should find it.

And if you do find it, the documentation is often written for other programmers to use, not non-power-user consumers.

For example, I downloaded Adobe Acrobat. It came in a .tgz file, which is a zipped tarball. I expanded it into a directory in my /home using tar, and I then had a directory full of files, some of which had no extensions at all.

There was file called README. It contained developer's notes on how to install it. It said become super user, type in the root password and run ./install and you're good.

I did that. It installed. And of course, it didn't work.

The script that launches Acrobat was not in my path. The install routine didn't ask if I wanted it in my path, or if I wanted to associate the program with PDF files. It just did a dump into my /usr directory.

It didn't give any instructions for making it work or anything, and this is ADOBE! A company famous for making user-friendly Apple software. And here they are trying to distribute their end-all-be-all portable document viewer, and they don't even tell you that you should add the directory to your path or make a link in your path to the launcher script.

You'd think that during end user testing, a lot of this would become apparent.

To me, Linux has two monstrous weaknesses as a competitor for WinXP's market share:

1. Downloading new software and installing it is an inconsistent process that is often overly transparent and opaque in the wrong ways.

2. Much software is not fully functional.

For example, look at Totem/Xine which come with Mandrake 10.0 Official. Xine provides back side libraries, Totem is the front end application. Play an MP3 or mpg video - works fine. Play a windows WMV video file - you get video but lots of noise. Why? The Xine libs that come with mandrake 10 don't work right. Download a package with new libs to install - you can't install them because other programs need those libs and they need to be uninstalled before you can do that.

And Linux has another weakness - if you uninstall a package, you have no user-friendly way to go find it and put it back. Compare to Windows add/remove software tool and the way Windows keeps up with OS components you remove and add. If you remove Outlook Express, you can always go there to put it back. If you remove Gnome, it's just gone. Buh-bye! And so is everything tied to it.

There are ways for an experienced expert to easily use Linux every bit if not more effectively than I can use my Windows box, but unfortunately, for the newbie, this kind of thing seems daunting, and my experience is that any retail product which is daunting to its target audience generally fails to appeal and ends up a niche product.

Linux has "I'll take care of that for you" stuff in it now, but it isn't very smooth, it's easy to break, and there is no easy ramp up from that point to the next level. instead, you find yourself working with a compiler and configuration files.

One thing that also confuses me is that I thought and advantage of Unix was that every program could stand alone. However, many front end programs apparently are using each other's libraries for various things. This is very efficient for development, but for users, it results in an operating system that seems so tied up to itself that it may as well be a single, unified, hard-coded module.

Again, a linux expert can easily get around this, but from the newbie perspective, this makes linux seem like it isn't a very professional product.

It sure is fun, but not to the mainstream.
 
Old 08-02-2004, 01:08 PM   #3
penguin4
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kedaeus; ok 1st change w mode and gear into linux without thinking w,s.
advice read, gather information on howto in linux, slowly,patiently ease into
linux mode. my expierence similar is similar to ur,s -w to linux jumped in not careful where the deep was. whow almost drowned. learning is steep but
its safe with all this support within linux community. that is the support w
doesnot have. no registry (the kernel) unless ur knowledgeable do not touch till u R. most of all the config,s are provided via os n u . so be careful.
that is why recommend reading everything about linux prior to implementing. you are in total command of how what where why linux will do when YOU execute.
 
Old 08-02-2004, 01:39 PM   #4
Error1312
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I agree with all of you.

At one hand, it would be very convenient if you would have some sort of executables for installing stuff, on the other hand, you wouldn't have total control. In Windows, if an exe file fails installing, you get a strange error message and you know nothing about it. In Linux, you will see the exact problem and with some help on the internet and your own dedication towards it, there is a nice chance that you can fix the problem.

About the libraries, windows applications also needs lots of libraries of other programs. They are called DLL files and they are so common in a windows environment that we don't pay attention to them, but it's almost exactly the same as in Linux. If you want to make sure you have the latest libraries to install stuff, than check for updates every day.
 
Old 08-02-2004, 05:39 PM   #5
Kedaeus
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Registered: Aug 2004
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Wow..

Lots of feed back, I'm glad i'm not the only one..

I can understand the MakeFile(s)/Install Scripts..
The Command Line doesn't bother me..

But not knowing where to run these files does..

In windows, you download your installer, unzip it to a temp directory, install the software, and delete the "temp" directory.

In linux the directory you unzip the file into is the programs working directory after the install files are run, correct?

Is there a folder somewhere in the background [I'm thinking /usr/local] that acts as a "Program Files" folder for all the software I have on my machine - so that I KNOW what is in there? Or do I have to create this myself..

All the documentation I have read on files/directories/et.al don't explain the directory structure of my distribution of linux.. I.e. (Your programs like 'MoZilla, Kdevelop, kWrite, et.al can be found in /this/this/this/<program name>)

I figured out how to link the command/script for the web browser I downloaded.. so it runs off an Icon - which is sweet... but the files are still sitting in my Documents folder - and I want to keep that as organized as possible without having a bunch of application files/dir's in there cluttering up the place..

Is this how things work? Or am I on another planet?
Once I get home from work i'm going to reinstall (I reinstalled W2k:Server and it blew out Lilo) Mandrake and play around some more.. heh.

-Kedaeus-
 
Old 08-02-2004, 06:30 PM   #6
penguin4
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kedaeus; i,ll repeat do not think in terms of w,s . it will confuse. linux does
everything as if C:drv is (w terms) folders. then sub-sub folders. one enormous file cabinet with individual folders then file-folders.
win quite different than linux. take a look at some books or readme,s for better expanations.
 
Old 08-02-2004, 06:36 PM   #7
OEP
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Upon downloading it - and unziping it (or do you guys call it something else?)

It depends. In linux, you might be introduced to new forms of compression like gzip, bzip, and tar. Most files are usually tarred and then bzipped or gzipped. From my deduction, tar doesn't seem to do a whole lot of compression, but is more like an uncompressed cluster of files (someone can probably correct that). bzip and gzip are similar to zip and rar, just a different type of compression. But you can still unzip files... they just have to be in the .zip format of course!

Is there a registry?
In a sense, yes, but not like windows' registry. Most applications get there info from your home directory. You can see this by directing a terminal to your home directory and typing 'ls -a'.

Do programs add to the "Start(TM)" menu?
Some will, some won't. A lot of the more obscure programs will not add their shortcut to the menu. You can manually add icons to the menu via a program called kmenuedit in KDE. It is found in 'Preferences' in your start menu.

Do programs have any dependencies outside of their folders besides the operating system/kernel?
Yes. Someone mentioned beforehand comparing windows DLL files to the Linux lib files. When you are compiling a program, there is also the directory called /usr/include that contains some programming headers. Your lib directories are /lib and /usr/lib

Am I doing this right?
Sounds like it! =D

Is there a folder somewhere in the background [I'm thinking /usr/local] that acts as a "Program Files" folder for all the software I have on my machine - so that I KNOW what is in there? Or do I have to create this myself..
Not really. most programs will install themselves somewhere in the /usr structure. /usr/share and /usr/local are pretty popular. When it comes to the command line, however, the non-root users' commands are in /usr/bin most of the time. So when you install something, you can just go to the terminal and type in the program name and then you can set up your menu or desktop accrodingly.

Last edited by OEP; 08-02-2004 at 06:42 PM.
 
Old 08-02-2004, 06:44 PM   #8
penguin4
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kedaeus; recommend Linux Complete by sybex it is a book but easy to read and follow. might be just what u may find very helpfull. am a newbie
and use it all the time. would be lost without it. along with the howtos and
readmes.
 
Old 08-02-2004, 08:17 PM   #9
Kedaeus
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Registered: Aug 2004
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Thanks guys - y'all [Texas] are great.

I came home after work this evening and craked open the Documentation to MDK 9.2.

I'm up to chapter 7 now.. "Tips & Tricks for your daily work"..

And it's all coming together finally.. I'm still confused about the whole directory thing - other than the fact that it's not windows - I'll do some experimenting tonight and see what I can figure out.

Peace

-Kedaeus-
 
Old 08-03-2004, 04:23 AM   #10
Error1312
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May Linux be with you!
 
Old 08-10-2004, 03:27 PM   #11
Chuck23
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Have you tried Synaptic? It makes most installs and updates a breeze.
 
Old 08-10-2004, 04:18 PM   #12
penguin4
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kedaeus; I strongly recommend reading some basic books on those subjects u r not familiar with to have that knowledge so that it may be come easy and understand readily. n do not try to compare windows & linux it will confuse. but reading about linux will begin to make sence &
connections of how to. Promise I`m just at that point , it is crystal clear.
 
Old 08-10-2004, 04:29 PM   #13
Komakino
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Something people forget when they moan about linux not having simple installation programs, is that on windows you are STUCK with the exact version of everything (library wise) that came with your particular windows release - save a few exceptions like DirectX.

With linux you can update any part of your system at any time. You don't have to wait for the next rushed, botch job, semi-competant and unreliable (and overpriced) windows release to update your system.
 
Old 08-10-2004, 04:44 PM   #14
futhark
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There is a variety of ways to install software on Linux.

MS-DOS like installs : copy the stuff where you want it to be and just run the executable. First versions of FireFox needed to be installed like this. When programs are not assigned a default installation directory, or when they are assigned the home dir as the default install dir, I put them in /opt (I don't install large programs in my home, I don't like it). When I download self executable binaries I put them in /usr/local/bin (which is in my PATH).

You have RPMS. They are easy to install and remove. They are the closest thing of Windows installs. In the best scenario, you download an RPM and install it with "rpm -Uvh filename.rpm". You remove with "rpm -e package-name". I believe KDE/Gnome support installation of rpms through the graphical interface.
- You can peek into an rpm before installing it with "rpm -qpl filename.rpm"
- You can find which files have been installed by an rpm and where they've been installed with "rpm -ql package-name"
- You can find all rpms installed on your system with "rpm -qa"
- You can obtain a summary of a particular package with "rpm -qi package-name"
- You can find from what RPM a file originates with "rpm -qf path-to-file"

RPMs sometimes depend on other RPMs. This can quickly become a nightmare. Tools like yum & apt-get help a great deal : they download install everything you need. BUT this still isn't the holy grail. Not everyone cares to supply RPMs for their project, they care even less to provide an apt-compliant repository.

Finally you have the source. The only reason I don't like to compile is because it takes time. Otherwise very little software will resist you if you know how to handle their compilation. It is much less complicated than it sounds. Let's take an "ideal" scenario:

- you download the source and uncompress it
- you run "./configure"
- you run "make"
- you run "make install"

And there. You compiled your program.

It gets more complicated when the source depends on libraries you don't have. In this case, you need to compile libraries just the same way you would compile a program, plus a few easy linker config steps.

So yeah, installing software on Linux is different than installing software on Windows. It is not as nicely wrapped, but you have very interesting possibilities.
 
Old 08-10-2004, 04:45 PM   #15
penguin4
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komakino; right o chap hit it on the nail. well said, montion to second that.
do i hear a yea!
 
  


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