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I'm a newbie to Linux, and don't really know a whole lot. I'm not sure I understand the basics of the system, and how it operates.
I had mandrake linux 9.1 installed on my system with a dual boot with windows XP. This worked fine, mainly because I didn't do much in Linux. I couldn't find any software! Also, everytime in KCG (i think thats what it was) I would go to the "start" bar persay, and would go to the mounted drives, and attempt to view them, the system would freeze. I also never understood how to install programs. On top of that, I was having some CD problems, and my burner either 1. burned my iso's incorrectly, and the software was not recognizing my 2nd and 3rd cd's to install 3rd party software, or 2. my cd-rom would not read these cd's. In any case, I ended up with a pretty window interface, no knowledge of how to do anything, and needing some help installing programs. I uninstalled the entire system, have since replaced the CD-burner, and am currently downloading the most recent mandrake 9.1 iso's.
Once I get linux back into my system, I have the following questions that will eventually need to be answered:
What exactly is a compiler? I realize that since almost all the software for linux is "free source" they release the software as code, and it is up to me to compile this on the linux-box. But, I could never find out where the compiler software was on my system, or how to install it. Is there ever such a thing as an "executable" installation? (not necessarily *.exe)
Second, once I get my compiler installed, do all programs have to be installed from a text interface as compared to the GUI?
Which GUI is the best to use with mandrake linux while I'm learning?
Any help is much appreciated! My ultimate goal is to get some basic chat, webbrowsing, word processing capabilities out of my linux box, and how to install basic programs.
If I become proficient enough, I'll build a second PC to be used as a multimedia Linux-Box, and install Myth-TV on it, with a large hard drive and tv-tuner card on it.
I may also convert my currrent computer to be a webserver. Its an AMD 2700+ with 1 gig of PC2700 DDR Ram, 400mhz.
SniperCharlie, below are some short answers to your questions.
1). The compiler in linux is gcc. It is installed by default. Most programs that you download source for will require the simple process of typing:
2). You don't need to compile everything. Most distros have what is called a package manager. This is used to install and uninstall binary software packages. RedHat and Mandrake use RPM. Since you are using mandrake, you can use the mandrake control center (drakconf) and install software from there. You can also download RPM files of software you find and install them via the command line interface (rpm) or through mandrake's control center. One of the easiest ways to install in mandrake is by using "urpmi". if you want to install grip for ripping cd's you would type the following in a terminal window:
3). As far as which gui is best. It just depends on what you like. It sounds like your system is fast enough to run any of them without thought. I use XFce4 and really like it. Gnome and KDE are a little more windowish. I would suggest trying several and sticking with the one you like best. None of them will limit what you can do and what you can't do in linux.
Well, you goals are high but should be doable. I hope you have an enjoyable venture into linux this time. Feel free to come back here with questions.