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SniperCharlie 08-08-2003 11:40 AM

Help installing basic programs

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.

Thanks alot! Sorry for the long length.


ereeno 08-08-2003 12:50 PM

a compiler converts code written in a "high level language" like C to machine language that the computer can read directly.

linux comes with a C compiler called gcc. you shouldn't have to install it.

i don't think all programs have to be installed from command line, but usually they do unless they are rpms.

ereeno 08-08-2003 12:52 PM

Re: Help installing basic programs

Originally posted by SniperCharlie

Which GUI is the best to use with mandrake linux while I'm learning?

i'm not sure it really matters, as long as it's a popular one, so that when you ask questions lots of people know the GUI you are using and are more likely to be able to help. :)

klios 08-08-2003 04:14 PM

There are two types of packages you can install. You can install from source or a precompiled package. In Mandrake (and a lot of other distros) precompiled packages end with *.rpm. I strongly suggest you stick to rpm's at the beginning.

How do you install a rpm file?

Mandrake has a very good tool called urpmi. It searches the web (not all of it - just where you tell it to search) for a program you want to install, downloads it and installs it. But first you have to set up where you would like urpmi to look for packages. Mandrake packages are stored in several repositories. You can find them if you visit
There you will get the exact instructions on how to set up your system.

So once your system is set up, suppose you'd like an irc client. Say you'd like to install kvirc. All you have to do is type

urpmi kvirc

in a console as root and enjoy :)
It may turn out you need some other packages installed in order to install the desired package (kvirc in this example). These are called dependencies. In this case urpmi will inform you of all that has to be installed and ask you if it's ok. Answer yes and urpmi will proceed.

There is a GUI for urpmi. Find it under Software managment in Mandrake Control Center or as Install Software under Configuration -> Packaging in the startup menu.

SniperCharlie 08-08-2003 05:11 PM

Wow, thanks alot guys for the help
This has been great...thanks alot. Looks like i have alot to play around with now. Its amazing how much the interface commands differ from DOS, its almost a little intimidating, but I'll give it a go. Thanks a lot!

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