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Old 03-29-2006, 09:35 PM   #1
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file structure and file portability

i'm obviously a noob at linux, just installed it today. my question is, what is the file structure of linux? i mean, is it structured the same way the old DOS system was, with directories, etc? and how do you unzip a .tar.gz file? i just downloaded open office but don't know the commands to navigate the shell and unzip the file. and lastly, before installing linux, i backed up my mp3, jpg, and ms office files. do i just hook up my external HD and copy them over as is, or do i have to convert the files to make them compatible with linux's file system? i'm especially concerned with the MS office files cuz i need them for work. thanks.
Old 03-29-2006, 10:19 PM   #2
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what is the file structure of linux?
forget about drive letters, as you won't need them anymore.

how do you unzip a .tar.gz file?
tar -xf packed_files.tar.gz
for more info see:

i just downloaded open office but don't know the commands...
Where to start on this one. So you got this file?:
Thus your previous question, huh? I would STRONGLY suggest trying to find one
specific to your distro. Otherwise, see here:
or here:

i backed up my mp3, jpg, and ms office files. do i just hook up my external HD and copy them over as is
Yes- but your main concern is what file system (fat32, ntfs) is the external hard drive
using, and if your linux is configred to read those file systems. Linux has the
ability to read both, but if your kernel is not configured for the task, it can not.
Without knowing your distro, I can't even begin to tell you what it can and can't do
'out of the box'. (and I'm only real familiar with Slackware, but others can help
if its anather distro on the details).

convert the files to make them compatible with linux's file system?
Files are files - the most important thing is what type of file system the files
are located on (ext3, reiserfs, fat32, ntfs, etc). A properly configured linux
system can read mp3's,jpg's and pdf's, etc. - they are just opened with different
programs. As far as the .doc's (word documents), Open office can open, read, edit,
and save the changes. I've never tried using one of my own documents in a formal
windows system, but from what I understand it works.

Hope this helps some.
good luck

Last edited by tw001_tw; 03-29-2006 at 10:22 PM.
Old 03-30-2006, 12:55 AM   #3
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i'm using the latest ubuntu distro. the file system of the external is NTFS. the distro came with openoffice but i don't think it's the latest version so i was thinking of replacing it. do you just delete it from the drive or is there some kind of uninstall process like in windows?
Old 03-30-2006, 08:54 AM   #4
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Yes, Linux has directories---as do ALL operating systems

Don't confuse "file system" with individual "file format". As already pointed out, file formats are universal.

To easily share files with Windows, the easiest way is to have a data partition (ideally on a separate drive) formatted FAT32.

You do not need to remove OpenOffice to install the newer one. If you download and install, it will go into /opt by default. You will need to create links in one of your panels. To put them in your main menus, you need a menu editor--eg SMEG.

To remove a package installed by Ubuntu, go to the package manager (Administration-->Synaptic Package Manager)
Old 03-30-2006, 09:00 AM   #5
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and... man is your friend, if you're not sure how to use a command, generally using : man command
like for example : man tar
will give you a lot of information about it and it can prove to be very practical. I've gone back and forth from windows to linux with both documents and spreadsheets and never had a problem. For documents I tend to keep two copies, just in case, both odt and doc formats.
Old 03-30-2006, 09:02 AM   #6
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Don't try to go too fast here. You may be an expert in Windows, but you're going to have to walk here a while before you're ready to run. I assume that Ununtu uses apt-get for file installation. Maybe start with that.


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