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Old December 22nd, 2004, 02:47 AM
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Default The linux philosophy - starter problems

I was a hard-core windows supporter and have fairly good knowledge about windows development environment and functionalities. But now, I have become dubious about the future of windows and want to switch to linux.

I have installed suse linux on my machine. But, I am finding it extremely difficult to get a start. The KDE, Gnome, perl, Python, TCL, Apache, .profile ... all these things makes me mad. (But I do want to study them). Besides, I am not able to install something on linux. (I am very much used to the windows philosophy of start -> next -> next -> next -> finish). The problems of open source are also causing troubles to me.

Could anybody tell how can I start ? Is there any good reference materials available which can be read when I am in linux? If yes, how can I get them ?

I am looking for something like

"This is done in windows using this. It can be done in Linux in this way."


Old December 22nd, 2004, 05:55 AM
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Like you, I am also a Linux beginner. I am depending on Linux pros here to correct me if Im wrong.

I assume that you are used to running the setup.exe files in WIN platform. In linus, esp. RED HAT, we have rpm files(Im not sure, but I believe SuSE also supports them.)
read a basic tutorial on how to install from RPM Files. (try google and you 'll find countless resources.)

For certain softwares, we also can download the source code and compile and install the soltware.
"Generally", it is done in 3 steps:
1.) go to the dir where you have downloaded the software source.
2.) type ./configure
3.) type ./make
4.) type Make install to install the software.


I hope this information helps you.

[email protected]
Old December 22nd, 2004, 01:48 PM
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Several years ago, I started dabbling in Linux. I was extremely familiar with the Windows way of doing things.

One of the biggest issues for me to overcome was an understanding of the directory structure. Much like Windows, there are "Accepted" places for certain kinds of files. i.e. the /etc directory is typically for Configuration files. The /home is for the individual user files. /usr /tmp /boot /bin are for User files, Temporary Files, Boot Files, and Binary Files (executable) respectively......

That is just brushing the surface, but you can see how it goes. The more I use it the more I feel more comfortable with it. Today, I maintain a server Running Red Hat 7.3 (It's been VERY stable for me. ) with Apache, PHP, MySQL, eXtremail, samba, etc.... And there are a host of other programs that you can get (for free and for a fee) from the Web or stores (even book stores).

Another overwhelming point is that you have to chose how to install your software. As Vikas points out you can either use "Pre-Compiled" binarys (Red Hat distributes many in forms of RPM's) or you can Compile them your self. Again, as Vikas points out, many of the packages are as simple as ./configure, ./make, and ./make install but not all. Generally, there is a file (when you unpack and tar your package) called INSTALL or README or something VERY obvious (do an ls listing) as to what to do for an install. Open it in a veiwer (I chose VI) and read it. It generally will tell you EXACTLY what you need to do.

Finally, for learning, there are several books out there. I typically get the Red Hat (or now Fedora Core) Bibles (for the latest version) and find them to be quite helpful. They are not only a reference material, but the go from the basic to the complex.... I am sure you can find a similar book for SUSE. If not there are also books that are generic to LINUX and not manufacturer specific, although they will point out differences in the distributions.

News groups, forums and LUGS (Linux User GroupS) are also a good recourse. Just ask your questions and people will respond.

I hope I have helped you on your path to using Linux. I know it's overwhelming at first, but I think if you are serious about computers, it's a Valuable skill to add to the resume.

Paul Gardner
Via Web @ http://www.mnetweb.co.uk/irc
Via IRC Client pgardner.net:6667
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Old December 24th, 2004, 06:03 PM
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I've never used Suse, but I think it has Yast. It is RPM based and installs software with just a few clicks and automatically takes care of dependencies from what I've read. As far as development, kde.org and gnome.org both have development sites that have alot of good information in them. I'd suggest starting there and also reading the docs on gcc.

Old December 28th, 2004, 08:04 AM
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Fedora has a nifty Yum utility for RPM packages, they can also be installed via the rpm command. Some packages also have a GUI installer (like you're familar with on Windows), in my experience this file usually has a ".su" or ".sh" (don't recall which right now) extension. For instance the Mozilla browser and the Zend IDE for PHP both have GUI installers for their Linux versions just as they do for their Windows versions.

Compiling and configuring is generally pretty easy. Anything I've wanted to do in Linux I Google for, most times finding exactly the tutorial I need.

If you want to know more about a shell command, you can generally do something like this:
yum man
rpm man

...to get the manual for that utility.



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Old January 5th, 2005, 06:05 AM
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Quick edit to Richard.Yorks last post:

Manual entries are retrieved with "man <command>" instead of "<command> man".

Also you can get a small help and command usage entry on most commands and/or programs by running either: "<command> --help" or "<command> -h".


Please contact me at:
Colin (dot) Horne (at) gmail (dot) com
Old January 5th, 2005, 07:04 AM
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Thanks for all the replies (Sorry, I was away for sometime).

I also found a series of pages at


which I found very useful. So, I thought of posting it here.

Thanks again,


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