Introduction to Linux

Introduction | Commands | Software | Links

Overview | Distributions | Features | Software | Login | Windows | Icons | Panel | K Menu | Files | 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.

Linux Overview

Linux Distributions

Comparing Features of Windows and Linux: Which is "Better"?

Feature/Operating System Microsoft Windows Linux
inexpensive? no (commercial) yes (distribution)
can download free from Internet? no yes
distributed with other free software? some lots
can access and modify source code? no (proprietary) yes (open source)
easy to install and use? somewhat somewhat
fast, efficient and powerful? newer versions yes
stable and secure? newer versions yes
network server features? some versions yes
installed on how many computers? hundreds of millions tens of millions

Comparing Software

Feature/Platform Microsoft Linux
graphical interface (desktop) Windows KDE or Gnome (and X Windows)
command line interface DOS command prompt terminals (Konsole), shells (sh, csh, bash, etc.)
Web browser Internet Explorer Konqueror, Mozilla, Netscape, etc.
word processor Word OpenOffice Writer, KWord, WordPerfect, etc.
spreadsheet Excel OpenOffice Calc, KSpread, etc.
help system Help man pages, info pages, howtos, Gnome and KDE help

Login and Logout

Starting Programs and Managing Windows


The KDE Panel

The panel is a bar at the bottom of the screen like the Windows taskbar.
The panel contains several controls, which may be somewhat different on your system. Shown here, from left to right:

The K Menu

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:

Linux File and Directory Structure

A directory is a file that can contain directories and other files. Directories are hierarchical and form a tree structure.

Konqueror: A File Manager and Web Browser

Linux Terminals and Shells

KEdit and Other Text Editors