Oracle Linux 6 newbie: tutorial/general advice please!

Ah hello.

I am totally new to Linux, coming from a heavy Windows programming background.  But now I have write C++ on Linux, for which I need the OS :)

Bearing in mind that my Linux install is to be a VirtualBox VM, I first installed Ubuntu, and found it unusual to say the least.  I tried to install Solaris Studio 12.3 on it, but later found out it wasn't supported (officially).

So, seeing that Oracle Linux 6 *was* a supported OS (probably because they are both Oracle products ;)) , I downloaded "Oracle Linux Release 6 Update 4 for x86 (32 Bit)" from Oracle's eDelivery site, and installed that, quite painlessly.

Upon installing being complete, and after having a bit of a play, my desktop looked like that attached below.

1) Did I download Oracle *Enterprise* Linux, or is that something different?

2) The desktop shown above is completely different to that of Ubuntu; it has much more of a Windows feel.  Is this KDE desktop?  If so, where can I find some (recommended) tutorials about how to use it?

3) As part of the installation process, a dialog was displayed asking me to register to ULN, the dialog displayed being very similar to that shown on the desktop attachment.  I tried to log in with my Oracle login details I used to download the disc image I installed, but I didn't have a CSI which it insisted on me entering.  So I had to cancel it at installation time.  What is this, and how do I register?  I couldn't find anything on the internet about it.

4) What is the difference between this version of Linux, Ubuntu, Linux Mint and all the other variations?  I find this so confusing since the differences between the versions of Windows are so clear, but this seems to be a mental mindfield!
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No, it isn't the KDE desktop, but rather Gnome. The normal version of Ubuntu uses "Unity", which is more modern and touch centric, so it should work on multitouch devices like tablets, but also normal PC's (maybe a bit similar to what Windows 8 is trying to do, but Unity does it better). I don't really know why you would need a tutorial for the desktop. It is relatively straight forward. It differs from Windows in that the menubar and start button is at the top of the display, not the bottom. KDE would be more like windows, in the standard config the menubar is at the bottom, although you can change that.

I don't know what you downloaded, but Oracle Linux is practically the same as Red-Hat Linux (a clone). Red-hat isn't free. I don't know whether Oracle Linux is free or not, but there is also CentOS which is also a Red-Hat Clone and free.

You probably had to register with Oracle to download your image, and it looks as if that's what it is asking for. If not you could still register now, or use CentOS instead of Oracle Linux...

The difference in the distributions and flavors vary. There are some big distro's like Debian, Red-Hat, Slackware, SUSE, and then there are a lot of other distro's which are usually based on one of those. Like Ubuntu is based on debian, Mint on Ubuntu, Fedora, Korora etc are based on Red-Hat, and so on. Differences are the packagemangers used, or the desktop, or the applications included in the default setups. Other differences often are the inclusion of so called "Non-Free" software (which means the software isn't opensource), like drivers from nvidia, or adobe flash player, multimedia codecs etc. Usually those aren't included in the parent distribution, although they normally can be easily added.

It really amounts to trying out some different distro, and then keeping those you like best.
mrwad99Author Commented:
OK, that's useful.  Thanks.

Compare the results of a Google search for "Ubuntu tutorial" with "Oracle Linux 6 tutorial" and you will see that there appears to be a whole community built around Ubuntu, but hardly anything for the version I have installed (now I know it is Gnome desktop I have found some resources for that): am I looking for the wrong thing - what should I be looking for to find resources on using this, e.g. how to install new software, customize my experience etc.  I know it sounds petty but I don't want to be getting heavily involved with something for which I can find no resources!

Can you also confirm that all these different "flavours" of Linux as they are called are just a different UI with more or less the same underlying "core" OS?
mrwad99Author Commented:
Also, something else I can't find resources on is installing different software: in Ubuntu there was the "Software Center" with allowed searching for and installing of almost anything: I had "Konsole" and "CodeBlocks" from that, but when I use "Add/Remove software" now it finds no results for either of those?!
For help on Oracle Linux you should probably look more for Red-Hat Linux Where most of the tutorials are kept. Also Fedora can be of help, as that is the community based version of Red-Hat Linux, which is more state of the art and modern, but because of that less stable.

The core OS of the different distro's can be different too. Debian, Redhat, Slackware can be quite different, and they use different package managers. To the user though that will normally not really make much difference.

Ubuntu is generally more a distro for the general desktop user, and so it includes software repositories with more software than the enterprise distro's like Redhat etc would include. The Ubuntu Software Center just shows you what those repositories include. Apart from that Debian, on which Ubuntu is based, has probably the largest repositories available.

Usually when something isn't included in the repo's of your distro, you just need to add further repo's into the list. You can normally find the instructions for those online. Again just look under CentOS or Fedora. The repos are managed using textfiles in the /etc/yum.repos.d folder. Those which are enabled will then be shown in the Add/Remove Software.
mrwad99Author Commented:
Thanks very much :)
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