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Old 07-23-2003, 10:18 PM   #1
LQ Newbie
Registered: Jul 2003
Distribution: RH9
Posts: 3

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Linux Newbie Questions

Hello, everyone. I am a long time Windows poweruser, newbie to Linux, and I have a few questions so I can kick start my foray into the world of Linux (before I get angry and give up).

First of all, I am dual booting XP Pro and RH9 on an 80 GB HDD. The computer is decent, but that isn't why I am writing this. I installed *I think* all 3 major GUIs, X, KDE, and Gnome, but I don't know which one RH chose to load. I think that it is in KDE, but I have not played around with it enough to check (I just installed it earlier today). So, how do I tell which GUI is loaded, and how do I change between each GUI, and what pros/cons come with each GUI?

Next, when I was playing around with things, I put one of my RH install disks in the CD-RW drive, and (as I have learned) I can't eject the disk without unmounting it, which I haven't been able to do in my current GUI. How could I unmount it with a command prompt or a GUI menu?

And, last but not least, I have been stumped with how to install programs. I have been a big fan of Mozilla Firebird, and so I wanted to install that first. I downloaded the tar.gz and extracted it to some directory, but I don't know what to do from there. It isn't an RPM (and I would not know exactly what to do if it was in RPM format), so how can I install it with a command prompt and with the GUI, and once I get it installed, how do I run it? Running programs in Linux is completely foreign to me. In Windows I am accustomed to always having a .exe to run, and I don't know where to begin on Linux.

So, there you have it. I know nothing. I have tried to locate information like this on google and such, but to no avail, I have only found commands, but I can't find how I can access the command prompt, and I assume there is a GUI option to accomplish the same tasks. Eventually I would not mind getting into writing shell scripts, but to begin with, I want to keep it simple so I can play around. If there are any good websites to start looking for information, please link me up!

Will Ediger
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Old 07-23-2003, 11:19 PM   #2
Registered: Oct 2001
Location: Overland Park, KS
Distribution: Kubuntu 22.04
Posts: 375

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Hello Will and welcome to linux....first off I'm relatively new to linux myself, compared with others on this board (3yrs)...but here's what I know about the interface issue...since you said you installed the entire CD then at login you should be able to choose your interface (from the drop-down menu) and then enter username and password and away you least thats the way my RH 7.3 was. should try to use the cli time you will feel better about the way your able to customize your my Konsole I would type >umount /mnt/cdrom(enter)
or perhaps it would be >umount /mnt/zip(enter) (for your Zip drv)...etc
Third...installing packages (not programs) is the bane of my existence...its not easy by any stretch but again you can customize your enviroment alot more than windows...after using the tar command, the tar command should have created a directory for the package...more than likely in your /home directory or the /root if your the su (super user)
....after you find the dir....change to that dir ( /whatever/somewhere).... normally with each program I've loaded, in that dir is a install file or should tell your something like the following....the first command is ./configure (thats with a period, forward slash)...the second command is "make" (no quotas) then when that is complete, and it can take awhile depending on several factors....thirdly run "make install" (again no quotas) .
RPM files are much easier to install (ie....>rpm -i {filename}...but they dont allow for any customization (that I know of)....or RH7.3 provides a KPackage Manager which allows you to just double click on the file and it installs the package for you. So you have two routes with RPM's.
Beware of dependencies....they have kept me awake at night Once again welcome and enjoy.
Old 07-24-2003, 12:58 AM   #3
LQ Guru
Registered: Jul 2003
Location: Los Angeles
Distribution: Ubuntu
Posts: 9,870

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welcome to linux!

here's my grain of salt...

x is the "standard" graphical engine for linux and unix boxes...

gnome and kde are the popular desktop environments... they need x tu run... they run ontop of x...

bluecurve is a desktop environment created by red hat, which uses stuff from both kde and gnome...

usually, graphical red hat boxes will be using bluecurve, but it all depends on how you setup the system...

ummm... it's not a very scientific method, but i *think* you could tell which one you are using by looking at the "start menu" icon... if you have a big foot, it's gnome... got a big k? that's kde... the red fedora hat is bluecurve... (i might be tripping)

the command to unmount a filesystem in linux is "umount" without the quotes... for example, to unmount your cd-rom drive which you mounted in /mnt/cdrom, you'd type:

umount /mnt/cdrom

red hat 9 will usually automatically mount the cds you put into the tray... it'll put an icon on your desktop representing the cd and it'll open the nautilus file manager or something...

you could unmount and eject the drive with one shot by right-clicking the cd icon on the desktop and hitting "eject"...

to eject the cd from the command line after unmounting it you would use something like (or use the drive's button):


and to close the tray (yes, you could push the tray or hit the button but what the heck) use:

eject -t

of course you are throwing these commands to the cli (command line interface) which you access by opening up a terminal window... in bluecurve, it's "start", system tools, terminal...

as far as compiling, i'm not an expert, but it mainly consists of the "configure", "make" and "make install" commands...

for example, you download the source for your favorite program... it's a compressed tar file (a tarball) called proggy.tar.gz

first, you cd into the directory you dowloaded it into... for example:

cd /home/willsta

then you untar and uncompress the file...

tar xvzf proggy.tar.gz

the x means extract, the v means verbose (show me what you are doing), the z means the file is gzipped, and the f means you're dealing with an archive file or something...

a new directory will (usually) be created with all the files that were in the tarball... cd into the new directory (usually has the same name as the tarball without the extensions)...

now usually it'll go something like this:



make install

configure sets the source up, make compiles it, and make install, well... ahem...

as far as rpms, well, basically, to install an rpm, you download it, cd into the directory it's in, and:

rpm -ivh proggy.rpm

you could get away with just:

rpm -i proggy.rpm

to uninstall use an "e":

rpm -e proggy.rpm

you can get more info on the versatile rpm thinggy by doing a:

man rpm

the "man" command allows you to open up an instruction manual for most if not all linux commands... want to know what the "top" command can do for you and how you can control it? what about netstat?

man top

man netstat

usually you would get your rpms from a mirror of your distro maker, in your case red hat 9, which would be one like this one:

but you could get the rpms directly from the application developer or some other site or make your own or whatever...

i hope this helps...

by the way, try to keep your posts's subject more specific... don't put several different questions on one post... you'll get better answers quicker and you'll make it easier for the post to help others...

okay, good luck! and once again, WELCOME.
Old 07-24-2003, 06:13 AM   #4
LQ Newbie
Registered: Jul 2003
Location: Grantham, PA, US
Distribution: Ubuntu 8.1 w/ KDE4
Posts: 20

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Well, in the logon screen of RH9, you can pick which desktop you want to load(from the sessions menu). And when you're logged in, you can go to preferences and go to desktop changer somewhere in there...
Old 07-25-2003, 12:24 PM   #5
LQ Newbie
Registered: Jul 2003
Distribution: RH9
Posts: 3

Original Poster
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Thank you all so much for your quick responses and informative replies. Through thinking it through and looking around, I was able to install MozillaFirebird 0.6, and I am now about to install WiNE so that I can pcANYWHERE. Yes, I know VNC is better, but it is not an option to install it on the server machine, so I'll have to use WiNE. Thanks again, everyone!

Will Ediger


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