Dumbest Linux Question Ever!

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coderitr

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I've had my P4 2.8 gHz PC set up with a dual boot of WinXP and SuSE 9.2 for a while now. Today, I removed Linux and installed it on an older machine that I got back from my ex-wife. It's a P3 800. My question is, how in the world do I install stuff under Linux that didn't come with the base install? Specifcally, I want to install Firefox and Apache. Last time I tried to install Firefox I ended up with a shell script buried under my home directory as the launch point. :confused: Where does stuff like this go and how do I get it there? I know my way around a command prompt (terminal window) and learning the ins and outs of command line operation in Linux is just a matter of time and reading but I can't for the life of me figure out how to do a basic software install. Where do the desktop icons come from? I'm used to a wizard style installer in the Windows world -- is there anything like that in Linux? Please forgive my ignorance; I'm not a newbie to PC's -- just to Linux.

Thanks
 
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These are more of comments than answers

(A) Unlike the MS which deliberately engineered to prevent its installed products migrating from one machine to another a Linux wouldn't mind at all. Therefore one can remove the hard disk from one computer and put it into another machine in Linux. Many of my distros have travelled through 3 different machines in the last 1.5 years. There may be a small bit of work to amend the Xsevrer setting or the boot loader if the new enviroment is significantly different. Linux can be moved from partition to partition, disk to disk and machine to machine.

(B) A user getting used to MS systems should not use Windows as a basis for judging the Linux installation. I am nutty in putting as many distros as I can into the box because the installation is fast and easy to me. I have quite a few foreign Linux that I haven't had a cluse about their languages but still I managed to install them into a working order. The little knowledge I gained in Linux has enable me to install 6 BSD and 2 Solaris in the box too.
 
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ok, real quick in WINDOW USER ENGLISH, something these guys have yet to learn about :rolleyes: Not everyone is a born linux user, we are not all that lucky :p

FireFox is an easy one. When you download firefox you get the equivalent of a Zip file in windows. This zip file contains the whole working folder of FireFox. Chose anywhere on your drive to extract it (I suggest /usr/local/sbin as it is empty and easy to remember) and then make a link to it on your desktop.

The easiest way to install other programs is to go to Star/start>system>config>packageing>install software. You will be asked to put in your root password. A program will pop up alowing you to chose what you want to install from a long list of programs. It is basicaly self explanitory from there.

Other programs you will have to eather compile the source (an insaine concept for extreme linuxphiles only!) or download and install RPMs. RPMS are good old point and click installs, exept you often run into dephell. See this post here for my best definition of Dephell and some very good solutions on getting out of dephell.

Most Linux installs I came across dont create Icons on your desktop. Some dont even put one in your star/start menu. Moronic, huh? Just keep an eye out for where it gets installed to (linux does not let you chose) and make an icon on the desktop.

Note to you linux gurus out there: PLEASE start dumbing down your posts for us trying to learn linux!! Your knowlage is vast, ours ISN'T. Someone new to linux would not know about apt or yast. Hell, I have no idea what they are!! Please remember to explaine your anwsers oh wise users of the unix! :eek:
 

coderitr

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Thank you Omega, for the explanation that I was seeking. I've come to learn that many of the things that Windows installations do (like writing registry values and keys and registering libraries) are simply unnecessary in Linux. Knowing that is a big first step. I'm know what YaST is, my trouble comes in finding packages that snap into it. I distinctly remember seeing Apache in a linux distribution that I've used before but I can seem to remember where. Maybe is was the RH9 that I threw away months ago. I found an apt4yast installer which I've run (several times) and still can't see that option in the YaST interface. Am I doing something wrong? I've added a new FTP based install source but I'm still not finding what I want.

Thanks to everyone else as well for doing your best to answer my question. I'm stumbling along with your help.
 

jiml8

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Thank you Omega, for the explanation that I was seeking. I've come to learn that many of the things that Windows installations do (like writing registry values and keys and registering libraries) are simply unnecessary in Linux.
Unix is very different than Windows. Unix is also older and more versatile than windows. Those of us that have been working with computers for a long time generally consider that windows teaches a lot of bad habits, does a lot of things wrong, and generally has bred a generation of users who aren't really computer-competent even though they may know their way around windows.

The registry, for instance, is IMO one of the worst innovations in the history of computing. The logic behind it is clear, but its existence makes it very difficult to troubleshoot a windows system. There is no analog of the registry in any version of Unix; those functions performed by the registry are performed (more or less) in Unix by the contents of the /etc directory, by the various hidden files and directories found in user home directories, and (in the case of Linux particularly) by the contents of the /proc and /dev directories.

Also, the way unix mounts files and devices is totally different than how windows does it - and the unix way is far more flexible and conceptually easier to grasp; everything (and that means EVERYTHING) is handled exactly like a directory.

The upshot is that diagnosing a problem with a unix or Linux system is trivial compared to diagnosing a problem with a Windows system, once you grasp the conceptual and philosophical differences between Windows and unix.

For many things involving the GUI, Windows certainly is easier than Unix (notably with respect to package installation) but this is a direct reflection of the relative homogeneity of Windows. In this regard, Linux takes some getting used to because there are many different ways to install packages and not all these ways are compatible with each other.

But it has been my experience that those trying to move to Linux from Windows usually are getting hung up trying to make their Windows philosophy fit into the Unix philosophy - and you just can't do that.

Once you abandon the mindset that "it has to be like Windows to be as good as windows" you will learn that the computing industry considers Windows to be the ******* stepchild and Unix to be the superior environment. And, more importantly, you will see why we think that way. And, inevitably, you will come to agree.

I do not have a recommendation for a beginning unix/linux book; I have been at this too long and I don't have anything like that on the shelf. But I strongly recommend that anyone who wants to effectively learn linux find a decent beginners book that takes you through the basic concepts. Once you have done that, and can shift your perspective to that of a unix user, you'll find the system falls into place logically and quickly.
 
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jiml8,

Let me hijack this to ask your opinion on a dumb question

The central computers, where the Unix systems used to be devloped and resided, have been killed off by the PCs because of the cost consideration. What have been left are the Unix software without a proper home to go to.

Linux is a major effort to fit a Unix-based into the PC architecture. With time and the effort by the people who used to work on it Linux has matured to a point to pose a real threat to the original operating systems of the PC. As you said quite rightly Unix system is a mainframe-computer class system and will outgun the little Windoze given a bit of time.

Do you think we are going to see the Linux/Unix system finally taking over the PC simply it is a superior system? Many countries are now switching to Linux because it is now a people's system developed jointly by a large number of nations.
 

jiml8

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saikee said:
jiml8,

Let me hijack this to ask your opinion on a dumb question

The central computers, where the Unix systems used to be devloped and resided, have been killed off by the PCs because of the cost consideration. What have been left are the Unix software without a proper home to go to.

Linux is a major effort to fit a Unix-based into the PC architecture. With time and the effort by the people who used to work on it Linux has matured to a point to pose a real threat to the original operating systems of the PC. As you said quite rightly Unix system is a mainframe-computer class system and will outgun the little Windoze given a bit of time.

Do you think we are going to see the Linux/Unix system finally taking over the PC simply it is a superior system? Many countries are now switching to Linux because it is now a people's system developed jointly by a large number of nations.
I will point out the following. First, mainframes are far from dead. Second, Unix has existed on small computers and workstations since at least the early '80s (Apollo Domain, Sun), and actually made it to the microcomputer environment on the Amiga around '88. Linux is just an independently developed, freely distributable variant that happens to have been developed on PC class computers, but PC class computers have become genuinely formidable in terms of their capabilities.

There is also BSD, which has been around for a long time.

No, I don't think Windows will succumb because Unix/Linux is superior. The heterogeneity of Unix as an environment is its strength technologically, but its weakness WRT the end user. Until a uniform, reliable, and non-quirky means of deploying packages and updates is available, its acceptance among the masses will be limited.

What is interesting is that Linux and Windows are headed in diametrically opposed directions philosophically, and I propose that one philosophy will wind up killing off the other philosophy.

Windows, driven by Microsoft, Intel, and most media conglomerates, is headed firmly in the direction of "handcuffware" - strong, hardware based digital rights management - which will cause the user to literally lose control of his own computer. It will also have the effect of ending completely the spyware/adware/virus problems that are presently plaguing microsoft, since those programs will simply be denied the right to run.

It could be called the "fascist" model of computing; computing by the corporation for the corporation. Safe, except for the privacy threats abetted by the corporation, but limiting in that the user is severely restricted in what he is allowed by the hardware and the operating system to do. If both Intel and AMD sign on to this, and if regulators succeed in driving the internet this way, then this philosophy will win.

Opposed to this philosophy is the entire open systems movement, which consists of users small and large, scattered all over the globe. Linux is the current poster child of the OS movement, and happens to be leading the charge in the direction of anarchy and independence in computing. This environment is presently much more secure than the Windows environment, partly by design and partly due to heterogeneity. Also, of course, Unix is superior technologically to Windows.

But this heterodoxy makes a problem for the ordinary user who just wants the thing to work reliably, without having to become a technical expert. Mostly I think that problem is being solved by the better distros, but it isn't completely solved yet and, until it is, acceptance of Linux will be limited.

The OS movement could be called the Libertarian movement of computing, and those of us who seriously use Linux or BSD, and who vigorously resist regulation of the internet, are striking blows for freedom.

Fifteen years from now, I submit that either the fascist environment or the libertarian environment will be the exclusive environment. I cannot say that I know which will win, but it seems to me that one must win and one must lose.

Windows is the poster child for the fascist environment; Linux is the poster child for the Libertarian environment. One will live and one will die, but technological superiority will have nothing to do with it.
 

coderitr

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jiml8 said:
Unix is very different than Windows. Unix is also older and more versatile than windows. Those of us that have been working with computers for a long time generally consider that windows teaches a lot of bad habits, does a lot of things wrong, and generally has bred a generation of users who aren't really computer-competent even though they may know their way around windows.
As true a statement as I've ever read. (y)

jiml8 said:
Once you abandon the mindset that "it has to be like Windows to be as good as windows" you will learn that the computing industry considers Windows to be the ******* stepchild and Unix to be the superior environment. And, more importantly, you will see why we think that way. And, inevitably, you will come to agree.
I did not assert nor do I believe that Windows is in any form better than Linux. The file system security alone negates that. I love the fact that nothing ever runs in Linux without my permission. Cleaning up stuff that runs without the user's permission gets me some extra income on the side from time to time but the fact is that Linux's way is better. As I get deeper into the Linux world, I'm sure I'll find more similar features that you guys have know about for years where Linux leaves Windows in its wake.

jiml8 said:
Windows, driven by Microsoft, Intel, and most media conglomerates, is headed firmly in the direction of "handcuffware" - strong, hardware based digital rights management - which will cause the user to literally lose control of his own computer. It will also have the effect of ending completely the spyware/adware/virus problems that are presently plaguing microsoft, since those programs will simply be denied the right to run.

It could be called the "fascist" model of computing; computing by the corporation for the corporation. Safe, except for the privacy threats abetted by the corporation, but limiting in that the user is severely restricted in what he is allowed by the hardware and the operating system to do. If both Intel and AMD sign on to this, and if regulators succeed in driving the internet this way, then this philosophy will win.
A good analogy to be sure but Windows seems to fit more an anarchist model than a fascist one. The system can be crippled, it seems, far more easily by a malicious or "knows just enough to be dangerous" user. That said, I've read about how to kill Linux with ten keystrokes but good security design and a "keep your hands out of root unless you REALLY know what you're doing" philosophy make that seem far less likely.

jiml8 said:
It will also have the effect of ending completely the spyware/adware/virus problems that are presently plaguing microsoft, since those programs will simply be denied the right to run
I can't think of a more compelling reason to switch.

A few years ago I signed up for a free trial of AOL. After a few hours, I callled and cancelled my account and have never looked back. The reason I gave when asked was that AOL seems to have been designed for novice users and I am not one of those. Windows seems to have had the same effect on the general population as far as technology is concerned. Most of us have spent the last twenty years in a PHD (push here dummy) world with little (or no) regard for what's going on behind the scenes. Microsoft wants to maintain that "ignorance is bliss" mentality and sell more bug laden, privacy stealing, system crashing operating systems while the open-source movement is working hard to change it. Microsoft caters to the least common demoninator of users (do you need more proof than the default XP Home desktop theme?) and Linux seeks to raise the bar. Education is a journey, not a destination. I wish to continue the journey.

Omega_Shadow said:
<claps>
You should be a speech writer
Indeed.
 

jiml8

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coderitr said:
A A good analogy to be sure but Windows seems to fit more an anarchist model than a fascist one. The system can be crippled, it seems, far more easily by a malicious or "knows just enough to be dangerous" user. That said, I've read about how to kill Linux with ten keystrokes but good security design and a "keep your hands out of root unless you REALLY know what you're doing" philosophy make that seem far less likely.
DRM will have the effect of eliminating malicious software . You can kill any system if you try; it just isn't hard. DRM actually could make it a lot harder. (Handcuffware, indeed).


[?UOTE]Microsoft caters to the least common demoninator of users (do you need more proof than the default XP Home desktop theme?) and Linux seeks to raise the bar. Education is a journey, not a destination. I wish to continue the journey.[/QUOTE]

I would contend that everyone needs to know how to change the oil in their car, even if they don't do it themselves. It is a very basic and very important maintenance function. I would never contend that everyone needs to become an expert on auto maintenance and should be able to understand/do any job that might need doing on a car; that is just too much to expect.

Similarly, everyone needs to know the basics of maintaining their computer, and how to keep it from becoming infested/crippled. But not everyone should need to be an expert in order to use one.

The advantage of Windows is that you don't have to be an expert to use it. In fact, speaking as an expert, I hate Windows because it hides so much from me, and makes me really work when I need to work on the system. Building a system to the lowest common denominator of users is a good thing, but the bloody OS should have access panels on it so you can get in and work on it when you have to.

Mac shows the right way to do it; a Unix kernel with a nice and well integrated UI on top of it.

Linux is headed that way, but you still have to open the access panels to do some things that should be available with a control on the dash. This is what is holding Linux back.
 
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jiml8 said:
Linux is headed that way, but you still have to open the access panels to do some things that should be available with a control on the dash. This is what is holding Linux back.
THANK YOU! You dont know how many boards I have visited and found people just giving up on linux for that resion! Some of us (myself included) dont want to pop the hood to turn on the headlights. I got no problems learning how to do it that way but it is damn annoying having to go though all those steps for something so simple.
 
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