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Old 02-19-2009, 02:07 PM   #1
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I am very new to Linux and do not understand the file system. Please help.

I just got Linux a few days ago and I have no idea how to use it. I'll admit, I am a total n00b. I do not understand what files I am looking for when I want to install. I know in Windows, you look for setup.exe or a .zip file. In Mac, you look for .dmg, .sit or .zip, then look for .app. But I don't know what I'm looking for in Linux. And yes, once again, I am a total n00b to Linux.
Old 02-19-2009, 02:12 PM   #2
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well you won't normally look for anything, you just install whatever you want by name, and it'll download it automatically for you. on fedora / redhat / suse you'll want rpm's, on debian / ubuntu you'll want deb's but for a newbie you don't even need to know that. get familiar with your graphical package manager and just use that to start with. soon, finding a thousand setup.exe's will seem ridiculous.
Old 02-19-2009, 02:13 PM   #3
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Try the Introduction to Linux from the Linux Documentation Project. It's a good rundown of the basics.

For a good starter on using the command line and scripting, I recommend
Old 02-19-2009, 02:41 PM   #4
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on fedora / redhat / suse you'll want rpm's, on debian / ubuntu you'll want deb's
Personnaly I'd further elaborate this : even though some distribution use the same binary distribution format, there might arise some subtle differences causing unpredictable problems. Because of this I'd strongly discourage using packages for a different distro than the one you have. In other words : do use the package manager and don't go hunting around the net for binaries to download manually (except those that you don't find in the package manager)

Have fun... Serafean
Old 02-19-2009, 03:12 PM   #5
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Perhaps there's a fundamental problem here. Beanz239, could you explain where you are thinking of looking for applications to install on your distribution? (And we would be able to help better if you toold us which distribution you're using.)

Most applications on Linux systems are available over the Internet at no charge to the person wamting to use them for non-commercial purposes. (And that "non-commercial" limitation almost never imposed.) In fact, for the vast majority of applications, the source code is freely available for you to examine and, if you wish, modify.

Most distributions provide "repositories" where applications for use with their distribution are stored, and, when you install a distribution, almost all of them will automatically install the tools and files needed for you to access the repositories. For example, the Ubuntu distribution, after it is installed, will typically have an item in the menu with a label like "Add/Remove Software." (Your distribution, whatever it is unless it lacks a GUI, will probably have a similar item somewhere in its menus.)

Just select the item and, typically, you see a list of, literally, several thousand different applications you can install. Again, typically, the application installation GUI will organize the applications in groups, and provide descriptions of what the program does. Select what you want, click "install," and you've got that program installed and available. (And, again, typically for most distributions, the program has been added to your menu.)

Last edited by PTrenholme; 02-19-2009 at 09:30 PM.
Old 02-19-2009, 03:15 PM   #6
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Your linux distribution should have a software repository that has nearly all the software you could ever want for free. You can access this repository In Debian based distros including Debian, Ubuntu, Linux Mint, and others, via aptitude install package-name at the command line. You can also install software from a GUI interface called Synaptic or Adept. In Synaptic, you simply check a box next to software you want to install.

In RPM-based distros including Fedora, CentOS, Suse, and others, there is a very similar setup that works through the command line via yum or through a similar package management GUI.

Now then, You shouldn't need to worry too much about the filesystem layout since Your package manager will install your software for you, but here are the basics. /home/user Is the user's home directory for all your personal files, music, videos, documents, etc. /usr/bin Is "Unix System Resources" and "binaries". This is where you will find all of your executable commands and software. /usr/share/applications Should contain a list of shortcuts to any installed applications. These shortcuts point to the previously mentioned binaries. /media/cdrom Is where a CD rom will appear after it is mounted. Most modern distributions will automatically mount removable media upon insertion.
Old 02-19-2009, 03:49 PM   #7
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