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Old 01-08-2015, 03:04 AM   #1
malkorion
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How to grasp the concept of Linux


I've been a DOS / Windows user ever since I got my first computer. I've been on Linux for almost two weeks now, and it's still hard for me to get really into it. Mainly because it is a totally different concept.

If Windows has exe, bat, and com files, what does Linux have?

Can you even run an application/program in Linux?

Why is it so damn hard to get up-to-date stuff like flash plugins and java? or up-to-date browsers for that matter.

I love how stable Linux is now that I don't have to worry about viruses, but I am reluctant when it comes to installing and trying things because this one concept is so alien to me.
 
Old 01-08-2015, 03:21 AM   #2
TenTenths
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Quote:
Originally Posted by malkorion View Post
If Windows has exe, bat, and com files, what does Linux have?
Executable files and shell scripts. Windows uses those extensions to mark an executable file, Linux has a permission bit that marks a file as executable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by malkorion View Post
Can you even run an application/program in Linux?
Yes, that's what X and whatever GUI you installed are, they are applications, your browser is an application, etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by malkorion View Post
Why is it so damn hard to get up-to-date stuff like flash plugins and java? or up-to-date browsers for that matter.
Because the "joys" of open-source is that it's open and people branch it and develop it in different directions, that's why there are so many different distros available, they are all different groups of users "take" on how Linux should be. This is why for first time users it's important to pick a popular / well supported distro. Regarding "up-to-date browsers", how up to date do you want? If you set your mind to it you can compile the latest beta versions of pretty much any Linux application and have a version ahead of the official release.

Quote:
Originally Posted by malkorion View Post
I don't have to worry about viruses,
Yes you do! Linux viruses are rarer but they do exist, as do things like RootKits and other exploits. Also you'll need to ensure you have good firewall rules and be very sure of what server style processes you allow to run.


Quote:
Originally Posted by malkorion View Post
but I am reluctant when it comes to installing and trying things because this one concept is so alien to me.
Take regular backups of your main system and data and then try stuff!


If you only have one main system and aren't ready to take the plunge into virtualisation, dual-boot, etc. then consider buying something like a RaspberryPi and experimenting with that
 
Old 01-08-2015, 04:07 AM   #3
brianL
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I've just bought a refurbished laptop with Windows 7 Professional installed. What's "Professional" about Notepad, Internet Explorer, and a few other third-rate bits and pieces of software? What can you do with that?
 
Old 01-08-2015, 04:37 AM   #4
jdkaye
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This site is often quoted on LQ for people transitioning from the ways of evil to the gardens of enlightenment. Have a look at it and start playing around with linux. In a couple of weeks Windows will be but a vague, unpleasant memory. There is a nice community here to provide support who you can turn to with any questions you may have.
Have fun.
jdk
 
Old 01-08-2015, 05:24 AM   #5
malkorion
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Don't you think that telling a newbie to compile something is way ahead of the learning curve?
 
Old 01-08-2015, 05:45 AM   #6
brianL
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With most distros you don't need to compile anything, usually find what you want ready-made in their repositories. And most compiling is a simple: configure, make, make install routine.
 
Old 01-08-2015, 06:00 AM   #7
TenTenths
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Quote:
Originally Posted by malkorion View Post
Don't you think that telling a newbie to compile something is way ahead of the learning curve?
No, I said that he COULD if he so desired, download brand new untested, ahead of release source code and compile it. In response to the question "why is stuff out-of-date" etc.


My very first Linux experience was downloading and compiling new releases of stuff (irc eggdrop 'bot' and later ircd servers) when pre-packaged RPMs weren't available.
 
Old 01-08-2015, 06:01 AM   #8
TenTenths
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Originally Posted by brianL View Post
I've just bought a refurbished laptop with Windows 7 Professional installed. What's "Professional" about Notepad, Internet Explorer, and a few other third-rate bits and pieces of software? What can you do with that?
Use Microsoft Virtual PC to run a headless Linux server?
 
Old 01-08-2015, 06:05 AM   #9
brianL
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Yeah, I suppose I could think of a few uses for it, but I don't believe it will be around for long.
P.S.
I've written about the laptop in my LQ blog.
http://www.linuxquestions.org/questi...ay-with-36363/

Last edited by brianL; 01-08-2015 at 06:08 AM.
 
Old 01-08-2015, 07:01 AM   #10
malkorion
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@TenTenths:
Then my conception of executible files is limited to .exe files. Linux can't run .exe files like Windows can. So could you please elaborate?

I guess I meant applications in the Windows sense. I don't understand why Linux can't run .exe files like Windows can.

In Windows, it was a lot more convenient. You just pluck the latest version of anything, download, and install. But here, I have to go into the terminal, which I wouldn't mind, except so far every time I tried to install anything, it said that it downloaded it, but then couldn't find it. Fail.

Then I don't know who's propogating this myth. But for the past 2 weeks I haven't had a problem in Linux Mint, and I could sleep easy. I don't go to shady websites anyways, but I usually got malware just because I needed some free software in Windows, and I felt punished because I didn't shell out $$$.

When I installed Mint, I was pleasently surprised that I didn't have to install a bunch of software I normally have to when doing a clean install of Windows 7.
 
Old 01-08-2015, 07:12 AM   #11
TenTenths
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Quote:
Originally Posted by malkorion View Post
@TenTenths:
Then my conception of executible files is limited to .exe files. Linux can't run .exe files like Windows can. So could you please elaborate?

I guess I meant applications in the Windows sense. I don't understand why Linux can't run .exe files like Windows can.
An executable file contains a compiled program. In Windows these have the .exe extension. Linux doesn't use extensions to work out what a file is, if you set a Linux file to be an executable (chmod +x) then if you type its name then Linux will try and run it.


Windows .exe files won't run on Linux because they are windows executables, they are compiled to work with windows not Linux. There are emulators around (WINE) that can sort of run some windows executables.


Think of your computer as a car and the OS is the engine. You can have the same car with a petrol engine or a diesel engine. Think of executables at the fuel. Can't use petrol with a diesel engine, same way you can't use Windows executables with Linux.

Quote:
Originally Posted by malkorion View Post
In Windows, it was a lot more convenient. You just pluck the latest version of anything, download, and install.
That's one of the advantages of a commercial OS like Windows, it's "fixed" so application developers know that if they write code that conforms to MS's specifications on how to interact with the OS then they'll just work.


Quote:
Originally Posted by malkorion View Post
But here, I have to go into the terminal, which I wouldn't mind, except so far every time I tried to install anything, it said that it downloaded it, but then couldn't find it. Fail.
Not sure how you're "downloading it" but look for specific Mint tutorials, I'm sure there's plenty out there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by malkorion View Post
Then I don't know who's propogating this myth.
Which myth would that be?

Quote:
Originally Posted by malkorion View Post
When I installed Mint, I was pleasently surprised that I didn't have to install a bunch of software I normally have to when doing a clean install of Windows 7.
I bet that's because it downloaded and installed relevant drivers etc. while it was installing and didn't make a big show about it like Windows does!
 
Old 01-08-2015, 07:23 AM   #12
yancek
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The concept of having an '.exe' extension on a file to mark it as executable is a windows convention. Linux executable files don't need an '.exe' or any other extension to be executable. Running a windows executable can be done in a program called wine but that's a atotally different thing. So can windows run a Linux executable? No, because they are different operating systems and function in different ways.

Quote:
In Windows, it was a lot more convenient.
Convenient for hackers. People go to web sites and download a specific program and find out it is not what they thought it was, virus/spam or whatever. The major Linux distributions have their own server repositories which are regularly checked and are a much more secure way of downloading software. You don't have to go to a terminal to install software if you don't want to. There should be a Software Center from which you can download. If you download an application, you can usually start it by typing its name in a terminal or in many cases, going to the main menu where there are major headings and various applications listed under these headings. If you listed some specific applications, someone who uses Mint regularly could probably tell you how to access it.

It's going to be different, no doubt. I would suggest you do an online search for 'How to use Linux Mint'. Doing that should get you to links for the various Mint releases with their Manual. Depends on which Desktop environment your use, Mate, Cinnamon, etc.

Good luck with it.
 
Old 01-08-2015, 07:29 AM   #13
Soadyheid
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Quote:
I don't understand why Linux can't run .exe files like Windows can
Linux doesn't have .exe files, it has binary files which can be executed provided the eXecute permission bit is set. (If you download a binary file it will be not-set by default so you won't get downloaded programs running "on their own" (e.g. viruses, as in Windows.)
Quote:
In Windows, it was a lot more convenient. You just pluck the latest version of anything, download, and install
I run Mint 17, I don't have to pluck the latest version on anything as the update manager just tells me I've updates for both the operating system and the applications I use. Far more convenient than in WindowsWorld, I don't have to look for anything - it's there in front of me!
Quote:
When I installed Mint, I was pleasently surprised that I didn't have to install a bunch of software I normally have to when doing a clean install of Windows 7.
Yup! Great, isn't it!

Play Bonny!


Last edited by Soadyheid; 01-08-2015 at 07:32 AM.
 
Old 01-08-2015, 08:37 AM   #14
malkorion
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I've read online that any virus in Linux is incapable of doing damage because 'it doesn't have root access', so it can't do anything. (don't ask for source, I don't know anymore).

Last edited by malkorion; 01-08-2015 at 08:45 AM.
 
Old 01-08-2015, 08:49 AM   #15
TenTenths
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Quote:
Originally Posted by malkorion View Post
I've read online that any virus in Linux is incapable doing damage because 'it doesn't have root access', so it can't do anything. (don't ask for source, I don't know anymore).
Many people include trojans, malware, rootkits, etc. within the definition of virus and there are many of these around in Linux.


The attack vector / footprint of a Linux while certainly smaller is not totally foolproof.


If you're running any machine that has anything "public facing" then ensure you have a firewall along with tools like clamav and rkhunter.
 
  


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