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Old 10-14-2003, 09:27 PM   #1
Registered: Oct 2003
Location: Texas
Distribution: Mandrake 9.2, Slackware 10.0
Posts: 51

Rep: Reputation: 15
Just some really basic questions...

About a week ago, I was sitting in my geology class, watching this guy in front of me. He had a notebook computer and was busily typing his notes as the prof. lectured. He wasn't using MS Word, though, and I was curious to see what he was up to. I asked, and he told me about Lnux. Then, having some free time, i decided...what the hell, there's not anything on my hard drive worth saving, might as well try it out. So i got mandrake and got to it.

Now, I just have some pretty simple questions, that are entirely non-technical in nature, about the workings of Linux itself that i had some trouble finding with Google.

1) Hey, where are my .exes? I wanted to install GAIM, but all i can get is the source code? Do i have to compile this myself?

2) What are modules? Are they different than drivers? And this whole kernel i have to manually program in the information about my hardware? I am probably confused, but ive read alot of posts about people having to "recompile the kernel" just to get their sound cards to work.

3) What are libraries? I see that i have to get this stuff called GTK2 and whatnot to get some applications to run. What does that mean?


4) I am obviously in the dark about most of this stuff...but i am really curious. This whole free OS business has got me hooked. I want to figure alot of this stuff out on my own, but i need a little help with some of the most basic aspects of the OS here. So my last question is...

what is going to be the hardest thing to learn?

Now that i've embarrased myself, i think ill just hope for a reply.

Last edited by drxsmurf; 10-14-2003 at 09:30 PM.
Old 10-14-2003, 09:56 PM   #2
Senior Member
Registered: Nov 2002
Location: Silly Con Valley
Distribution: Red Hat 7.3, Red Hat 9.0
Posts: 2,054

Rep: Reputation: 46
1. what distro are you running? some distros while providing source code also provide binary installers (like rpm). some applications are like that too. when looking for an application, google is your friend. in the cases where no binary install is available, you will have to compile/build the application yourself.

2. for kernel modules, try reading this:

3. libraries are archives of functions that a program or programs call upon when they need a certain function provided by a library.

4. doing things in linux can be very different than doing things in windows. worst thing you can do here is to get really frustrated when stuck and then say "in windows, blah blah blah". chances are what you want to do can be done in linux, but is done differently. and posting like that will not give you very friendly responses either. but that seemed like a subjective question... so um.... oh well

edit: forget my question in 1. brain freeze.

Last edited by megaspaz; 10-14-2003 at 10:29 PM.
Old 10-14-2003, 10:26 PM   #3
Registered: Oct 2002
Distribution: MDK 9.2, Debian
Posts: 74

Rep: Reputation: 16
As you are running Mandrake the easiest way to install things will be by using the rpms that are compiled specifically for Mandrake, GAIM, GTK2, wine, open office, pretty much everything you could need has been made available for Mandrake. The best way to install these rpms is by setting up your urpmi configuration. Urpmi is a program that automatically downloads and takes care of any dependencies and conflicts that you may run into when trying to install something. Sometimes when trying to do something like install GAIM you can run into all kinds of problems, urpmi takes care of those problems and simplifies things for you. Check out this site and follow the instructions to add the plf, contrib, update, and texstar sources. Once you have all of that done you can start up the program "rpmdrake" from your program menu under "configuration > packaging > rpmdrake" and install everything that you want. GAIM is one of the apps that is included with the Mandrake CDs so you won't even have to download anything.

You could indeed compile everything that you want to install, but it can be somewhat intimidating for newbies to LInux to have to learn all about dependencies and compiling right away. I'm sure you'll find urpmi a pretty simple way to install things. Any questions just ask.
Old 10-14-2003, 10:30 PM   #4
Registered: Oct 2002
Distribution: MDK 9.2, Debian
Posts: 74

Rep: Reputation: 16
Oops, forgot the link - - open up a console window and enter the commands that this site generates for you. You will have to do this as root. In other words you will have to open a console window, enter the command "su", you will then be prompted for the root password, after that you can enter the urpmi.addmedia commands from the site. Also as an alternative to using rpmdrake you can just enter the command "urpmi gaim" while you are root at the console and urpmi will automatically install gaim.
Old 10-15-2003, 04:43 AM   #5
Registered: Jul 2003
Location: dhaka
Distribution: Slackware 11 (fixed), MEPIS
Posts: 241

Rep: Reputation: 30
*.exe's are binary files , and extension doesnot matter in linux, so any file can be an exe if its executable (chmod +x) property is enabled.

modules are like drivers sure, but they have other roles also.
Old 10-15-2003, 06:33 AM   #6
LQ Newbie
Registered: Sep 2003
Location: Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Distribution: Mandrake 9.1
Posts: 12

Rep: Reputation: 0
I am a Mandrake-fan myself, and I liked it very much from the moment I started with it (which was about 3 months ago). Here are some tips that might help you out.

1) The Mandrake Control Center is a very powerful and useful tool. It is very easy to configure your hardware/software with that and you avoid that you have to edit the conf files. Also, you can easily install/remove software with that, by searching for the program you want, select the rpm you wish to install or delete and that's it. It automaticly adds dependencies when they are required. Saves you alot of time and effort.

2) Once you are a bit further you should have a look at Webmin. I believe Webmin is automatically installed when you install Mandrake. To access it, go to your browser and type this: https://localhost:10000. Make sure that Shorewall isn't running or is configured properly, but I myself have found some difficulties with configuring shorwall, especially in the beginning.

3) If you really want to continue with Linux, it is very important that you get comfortable in the shell. The same goes for Mandrake. You can do some things easier in the shell then with KDE of GNOME, if you know the proper commands with the right parameters of course .

4) It's a VERY good idea NOT to recompile the kernel. Mandrake doesn't really like that, and kernel panics can occur more often then. (A kernel panic is an event where the kernel can't continue loading because of an error.)

5) Mandrake is a bit different then the standard Linux when looking at paths. For example, the /usr/local/bin is located in /usr/bin. The apache root is located in /var/www/ and the config files are located in /etc/httpd rather then /usr/local/apache/

6) Also, I have noticed myself that X (The GUI) sometimes fails to start automatically. You have to start it manually then. When you see the login screen log in as root and type this: cd /; ./etc/init.d/dm start -- X will then load properly then.

All right, enough rantings for now. I hope it will help you out a bit, and that you become a Mandrake-fan as well
Old 10-15-2003, 03:40 PM   #7
Registered: Oct 2003
Location: Texas
Distribution: Mandrake 9.2, Slackware 10.0
Posts: 51

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 15
Wow thanks alot.

I didnt expect to get any replies. Good news, though...i have a working install of Mandrake 9.1 with everything working, including sound on the very first try. Now I'm just trying to figure out how to install some things, like the Nicotine Client. Thanks for your help guys.


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