ps. i've been using the wesite listed below to help familiarize myself with the linux filesystem. do any of you know of any other good documentation of the linux filesystem? perhaps with comparisons to the windows file system?
(i.e. C:\Program Files == /usr/local)
A few words from a newbie:
Don't worry too much about the file system apart from the basics which you may well know now if you've looked into the webpages you mention. Experience will teach you most, ie installing, or searching for programs on your disks -- it is rather puzzling at first, sure enough
There's not much correspondence between windoz and Linux, so it's best to forget about program files = /usr/local.
By the way, even windoz isn't as stupid as that: C:\windows\program files isn't the only dir where you can install programs. There are only a few programs that are stupid enough to require to be installed into C: programfiles only -- or windoz stupidly requires certain programs to install there? -- anyway I installed all my programs on a different *partition* called Progrz, it's often a question of choosing "custom install" -- all my programs are freeware and nearly all are GNU/Gpl, and of course zip files without installers don't even get registered into the registry.
If you install through apt-get or rpmi on linux you'll see your programs are installed in bits and pieces over several dirs (/usr/bin, /usr/share, /etc ...).
Finally what's grand about program installation in Linux is you can do other tasks, or leave other apps open while you install, and there's no need to reboot -- you can restart your window manager if a config file needs it.