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Introduction to Linux - A Hands on Guide
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really dumb question i know, but when i look at linux screenshots they always look amazing. they all have system info on the side of their desktop with graphs displaying proccessor information and everything else
Your seeing gdesklets probably. Depending on your distro gdesklets can be easy or ruthless to install. If you are running a debain based distro then apt-get can obtain the packages that you need. Then you will need to attend the gdesklets site for updated packages to install.
The command I posted above installs Superkaramba either from your installation discs or from any online sources you make have setup. There is no need to configure and make anything. You can setup your urpmi sources and then install the packages from the software section in the Mandriva Control Center if you are not too keen on using the command line.