Introduction to Linux
Login | Windows |
Icons | Panel | K Menu |
File Manager |
Shells | Editors
This document is written to help ordinary people get started using Linux. It
assumes that you have used a computer before.
- In August 2003 most computers at Uganda Martyrs University were
migrated from Windows to Linux.
- Linux is a UNIX-based operating system created in the early 1990s
that runs on PCs and other computers.
- The inventor Linus Torvalds pronounces it Lee-nukes, but if you pronounce
it Line-ucks or Lin-nicks, I won't mind.
- A Linux distribution is the Linux operating system plus a
collection of free software that can be used with Linux.
- A Linux distribution is usually stored on CD or DVD and sold by a company
or organization at a relatively low cost.
- Popular Linux distributions include Red Hat, Mandrake, Debian, and SuSE.
- At Uganda Martyrs University some computers use Knoppix which is derived
from the Debian distribution.
|can download free from Internet?
|distributed with other free software?
|can access and modify source code?
||yes (open source)
|easy to install and use?
|fast, efficient and powerful?
|stable and secure?
|network server features?
|installed on how many computers?
||hundreds of millions
||tens of millions
|graphical interface (desktop)
||KDE or Gnome (and X Windows)
|command line interface
||DOS command prompt
||terminals (Konsole), shells (sh, csh, bash, etc.)
|| Konqueror, Mozilla, Netscape, etc.
||OpenOffice Writer, KWord, WordPerfect, etc.
||OpenOffice Calc, KSpread, etc.
||man pages, info pages, howtos, Gnome and KDE help
- When the computer is switched on, it boots (starts) and eventually comes
to a login prompt.
- Type your username, press the Tab key, enter your password, and press the
- Usernames and passwords are case sensitive. If login fails, press Caps Lock to make sure it is not on,
and try again.
- To logout, click the K menu, click Logout, and click the Logout button.
(If you do not want to log out, click Cancel.)
- Like with Windows, you should not switch off the computer until after the
computer is shut down.
- To start a program, click the K menu, move to a menu
or item, and click the
- For example, to read the KDE user's manual, click the K menu
and click Help.
- To move a program window, click and drag the title bar of the window.
- To resize a window, click and drag one of its corners.
- Double-clicking the title bar of a window hides it except for its title
bar. Double-click again to redisplay.
- The buttons in the upper right corner of a window work like those in
- Question: click this button and then click any button or menu to get a
- Minimize: hide the window on the panel at the bottom of the screen.
- Maximize/Restore: make the window fill the entire screen or return to its
- Close: close the program window.
- You can also minimize and restore by clicking the program's button on the
along the bottom of the screen.
panel is a bar at the bottom of the screen like the
- The pictures on the desktop are called icons. To open an
icon on the desktop, double-click it.
- To see the contents of a floppy disk, put the floppy disk in the floppy
double-click the floppy disk icon on the desktop.
- To delete a file, drag it to the trash icon.
The panel contains
several controls, which may be somewhat different on your system. Shown here, from left to right:
- The K Menu: start a program by selecting it from
a menu, like the
Windows Start menu.
- Panel Options: rearrange how menus and panels are shown.
- Show Desktop: minimize all windows so you can see icons on the
- Home: open the Konqueror file browser and looks in your home
- Control Center: change how your desktop looks and the computer
(for advanced users and administrators)
- Shell: a terminal window where you type Linux commands
- Konqueror: a web browser for viewing web sites
- Mozilla: another web browser
- Evolution: an e-mail program
- OpenOffice: an office suite with
spreadsheet, presentation graphics, etc.
- 1234: four "virtual desktops" used to display different sets of running programs
- one button for each program you are currently running
- various settings, e.g. language and battery power
- time and date
The K Menu appears when you click the button on the left
of the panel.
Some of the K menu items, from bottom to top:
A directory is a file that can contain directories and other files. Directories are
hierarchical and form a
- Logout: finish using the computer and leave it for someone else.
- Lock Screen: when you want to leave the computer unattended a few
- Run Command: type a single Linux command or program to run.
- Bookmarks: quickly access a file or web page you have bookmarked.
- Help: read the KDE user's manual and other documentation.
- Find Files: search for files on a disk.
- other folders: programs are grouped into categories such as Editors,
Games, Internet, Multimedia, Office, Settings, System, Utilities, etc.
- The top of the menu lists the most recently used programs.
- Directory names end in /.
- The root directory (folder) is named / and contains all other directories.
- Like in DOS, the current directory is named . and the parent
directory is named ..
- The root directory of a mounted (opened) floppy drive is /mnt/floppy.
- A user's home directory is named /home/username
e.g. a file named letter.txt in the user joe's directory would have the
- Files do not need extensions though many programs use them,
for C source code, .java for Java source code.
- Filenames can be up to 255 characters.
- Konqueror helps you browse files, folders and disks and is also a Web
browser, like Internet Explorer or Netscape.
- Double-click a disk to view its files (shown as icons).
- Double-click a file to open or view it.
- The left and right arrow buttons go back and forth between
previously visited folders.
- The up-arrow button takes you to the parent directory.
- The home button takes you to the home page, which may be your home
- Other toolbar buttons: refresh, stop, cut, copy, paste, print,
increase/decrease icon size.
- The last two toolbar buttons show files either as icons or a detailed
name, size, file type, modified, permissions, owner, group, link.
- In a shell, you type
commands to navigate
files and run programs.
- To start a shell, open a terminal window such as Konsole.
- A shell works very much like the MS-DOS command prompt in Windows.
- Popular shells include bash (Bourne again shell), pdksh (public domain
Korn shell), and tcsh.
- After typing a command, press the Enter key.
- To see previously typed commands and run one of them again, press the up-arrow key.
- To edit a command, use the left and right arrow keys, backspace and
- To exit from the shell and close the terminal window, type exit and
- KEdit is a program to write simple text files.
- To start KEdit, click the K menu, move to Editors and click KEdit.
- Buttons on the toolbar are:
New, Open, Save, Print, E-Mail, Undo, Redo, Cut, Copy, Paste, Find
- KWrite is like KEdit but has a few more options.
- Kate is a text editor for programmers, with shell and file browser
OpenOffice.org Writer is a full-featured
word processor with formatted text, graphics and page layout features.