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Simple Linux questions need answering by beginner

Posted on 2003-03-11
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Hi All
I work in the IT department for a company who solely run Windows based software over a Windows based network.  I am however starting to get interested in Linux, although I have no experience using Unix I decided to take a jump.  During my installation and first hours of use on the Linux OS (Mandrake Distribution) I came up with a number of questions which I present here.  Sorry to all but some of the questions do contain some reference to the Evil Microsoft and Windows OS’s in general, however I would be grateful if somebody would help me convert so that I can get away from MS for once and for all.

INSTALLATION QUESTIONS?
I noticed when installing Mandrake that I was asked to select which types of programs that I was going to be running.  This screen was divided into 3 sections.
Workstation
Server
Graphical Environment

I understand the Workstation and Graphical Env. bit but I was interested in the Server section.  Am I to understand that with a distribution of Linux that you can install a server operating system and workstation operation system from the same CD?

For example, under the MS Windows you would install a standard Windows OS (95, 98, 2000, 2000), which would connect to a server such as Windows NT4 or Windows 2000 Server.  However the standard workstation OS came on a different CD to the Server CD.

In addition to this am I correct to say that if I want to connect to a network I should install the “Network Computer Server” feature also?  And if I don’t and wish to install this later I can install it from the software manager?

WORKING WITH LINUX
A) I have noticed that there are a number of different GUI’s available under Linux namely Gnome and KDE (to name but a few I am sure).  Which is the most commonly used, I need to know this so that I can use this one as standard?

C) Windows allows me to auto detect my hardware, in particular sound cards and graphics cards, does Linux provide this type of feature or do I need to keep a close eye on what hardware I am installing?  Also under the Windows platform I can easily choose to use any standard driver, is this the case with Linux?

D) I have noticed that I have a directory called home where I also have my user directory.  Can I hide this directory (or its contents) or prevent access by other peoples?

E) There are a number of different shell’s available, how do I know which one is default, how do I change the current default shell and what is the most commonly used shell?

G) Other than Emacs (which I don’t like) what is the best text editor available for use with Linux.  Would you advise that I just get to know the VI Editor?

H) I would like to create a dial up connection using my modem to connect to the internet?  However I can not determine what port my PCI Modem is plugged into and I don’t know if my modem is a win modem or not, any idea how to determine this?

I) In the removable media folder (or the /mnt directory) there is a reference to a CD Rom, even if I un-mount the CD Rom there is still this reference?  Should this reference not be removed once I have unmounted the drive?

J) I try to carry out some tasks and I get told that I must be logged in as root to carry out this task, is there a way that I can give a user the same rights as the root user?

Actually, I once read that I could have a (gui) number of sessions running at any one time and I could flick through these sessions.  How do I achieve this or is it possible at all.  If not is it possible to have a user with the same rights as root?

L) I would like to see what hardware I have set-up on my linux system.  Can I view this somewhere?

M) I have heard a lot about a product called Samba for networking?  What is this exactly.  Do I need it to connect to a windows network.  What if my network is a simple pier to pier

N) How do I mount network drives?

O) what is a .rpm file.  

P) How do I de-compress tar and zip files in linux?
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Question by:CiaranG
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Accepted Solution

by:
evilcat earned 140 total points
ID: 8115175
Hi, the server part is self-explanatory, if you want to host a server look under the server section, if you want to connect to one install workstation. Also, if you make a mistake you can correct this from anywhere even the console.

Answers to numbered questions:
A) KDE is what I use; it depends on what you are looking for. Some people like gnome, however, I find it annoying. Visit the web sites of these graphical desktops to see what has the features you need

C) it depends what driver your talking about. There is no annoying wizard for the internal cards(sound, video, networking). There is one for such external things as printers, however, unlike windows it also auto-detects with good precision.

D) yes! As root, in the properties menu select permeations, then uncheck read-write-execute for others and group, this can also be done with chmod

E) For a beginner bash or sh is fine, you wont need the extra features of the more advanced shells

G) For a beginner, I suggest Pico, it is easy to learn, vary user friendly

H) brute-force, try all the ports, how many can there be (I don’t use modem’s)? also, I don’t think there is such thing as a modem which only works on windows.(again, I have never used a modem before)

I) I think mandrake mounts drive automatically, try turning off the computer and removing it, if there’s still a reference then try un-mounting it. (this is also a topic I have no experience in, making this a guess, sorry)

J) the problem isn’t that you are logged in as root, it is that you have root privileges, you could give a user root privileges, however, this would cause the same message. Try logging in as a normal user and using the command ‘SU’ when you need it

L) yes! If you have the right software installed,(I’m not in linux so I cant check the program name) try looking in your configure program, in the hardware section, or in the start menu/applications/monitors and check there.

M) samba, from what I hear, networks windows and Linux(this sound prefect for you). I have never needed to create networks so I cant help, try the search engine.

N) see above

O) like wise-installer, but for Linux, it is a setup program, vary flexible with many options.

P) with a program called archiver, check your start menu, if cant find it then try program manager and search for a program with that name.
(note: sorry I couldn’t help with all your questions)
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Assisted Solution

by:Ivan Rivera, MTI, SCPM, ITIL, Cobit, PMP
Ivan Rivera, MTI, SCPM, ITIL, Cobit, PMP earned 140 total points
ID: 8115277
INSTALLATION ANSWERS

...
Am I to understand that with a distribution of Linux that you can install a server operating system and workstation operation system from the same CD?

Yes. Actually, major linux distributions came in 2, 3 or more CD's.

...In addition to this am I correct to say that if I want to connect to a network I should install the Network Computer Server feature also?

No. Only if your PC is going to serve to other computers.

...And if I dont and wish to install this later I can install it from the software manager?

Yes. You can use gnoRPM, rpmDrake,or other tools.

WORKING WITH LINUX
A) I have noticed that there are a number of different GUIs available under Linux namely Gnome and KDE (to name but a few I am sure).  Which is the most commonly used, I need to know this so that I can use this one as standard?

Depends. This could be a "religious" answer. Test them and use the one you feel more comfortable.

C) Windows allows me to auto detect my hardware, in particular sound cards and graphics cards, does Linux provide this type of feature or do I need to keep a close eye on what hardware I am installing?  

Depends. On Mandrake instalation process you have seen some of your hardware autodetected, but not all of them. Its good idea to see the Hardware-compatibility-howto

Also under the Windows platform I can easily choose to use any standard driver, is this the case with Linux?

Nop. People (companies) develops drivers for linux when need them. There are few of them that are "generic", but most of them are quite specific for some hardware.

D) I have noticed that I have a directory called home where I also have my user directory.  Can I hide this directory (or its contents) or prevent access by other peoples?

It is already. Only the user (and root) can see this directory contents, unless the user (or root) give access to  other users.

E) There are a number of different shells available, how do I know which one is default, how do I change the current default shell and what is the most commonly used shell?

When the user is created, the shell is asigned. Root can change it. The user can change it.

Under your home directory you can find some hiden files, like .bashrc. This is the shell asigned by default in Mandrake.

G) Other than Emacs (which I dont like) what is the best text editor available for use with Linux.  Would you advise that I just get to know the VI Editor?

Depends, again a religious question. There are editors similar to the old Borland's Turbo X (or like WordStar) for the nongraphics screen: xwpe, joe, jed.

There are graphical editors lile Kate or GEdit. There are word processesors like Abiword.

H) I would like to create a dial up connection using my modem to connect to the internet?  However I can not determine what port my PCI Modem is plugged into and I dont know if my modem is a win modem or not, any idea how to determine this?

There is a program called wvdial that try to detect your modem whatever it is.
There is another utility called lshw that list all your detected hardware. Both of them can be found in freshmeat.net

I) In the removable media folder (or the /mnt directory) there is a reference to a CD Rom, even if I un-mount the CD Rom there is still this reference?  Should this reference not be removed once I have unmounted the drive?

Yes. It's a good idea do not touch anithing outside your home directory. DO NOT delete anithing as root, unless you are absolutly sure what are you doing.

J) I try to carry out some tasks and I get told that I must be logged in as root to carry out this task, is there a way that I can give a user the same rights as the root user?

It's not recomended. Root is the second (3th?) most powerfull user in your system, but is the one that can damage it most. Becarefull.

...Actually, I once read that I could have a (gui) number of sessions running at any one time and I could flick through these sessions.  How do I achieve this or is it possible at all.  If not is it possible to have a user with the same rights as root?

In a XWindos session you can open as many shell window as you can.
Depending on your hardware you are going to find a list of "sub-windows" where you can work. If you have this option, you can find it somewhere in your taskbar.

L) I would like to see what hardware I have set-up on my linux system.  Can I view this somewhere?

Yes. Use lhsw.

M) I have heard a lot about a product called Samba for networking?  What is this exactly.  Do I need it to connect to a windows network.  What if my network is a simple pier to pier

Long answer. Try a search in www.google.com

N) How do I mount network drives?

At intalation time. Or with an administration tool like LinuxConf.

O) what is a .rpm file.  

It's a file that contains software for RedHat and Mandrake distros (thus could be used in oters). It's much like the windows install/uninstall tool.

Again, use GnoRPM or RPMDrake to handle this kind of files.

P) How do I de-compress tar and zip files in linux?

You have the standard tools: gunzip, untar, zip... Depends on what you install. Again, if you do not have they, can found them on freshmeat.net.

For more specific answers, I suggest you to search for "linux tutorial" in www.google.com

Ivan Rivera
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Expert Comment

by:arn0ld
ID: 8121969
the web and forums are of great assistance. However, you should be familiar with the tools built into your linux:
  man
  info
  apropos
  whatis
  docs - see under /usr/share/doc
  HOWTO's -  open yout browser to file:/usr/share/doc/HOWTO/HTML/en/index.html

e.g.
  apropos rpm  - includes:  rpm  (8)  - RPM Package Manager
  man rpm
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by:CleanupPing
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CiaranG:
This old question needs to be finalized -- accept an answer, split points, or get a refund.  For information on your options, please click here-> http:/help/closing.jsp#1 
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by:TheWeakestLink
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No comment has been added lately, so it's time to clean up this TA.
I will leave a recommendation in the Cleanup topic area that this question is:
Split points between evilcat and irevera2
Please leave any comments here within the next seven days.

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