Re: Newbe for sure

From: Jeffrey Silverman (
Date: 08/25/04

Date: Wed, 25 Aug 2004 11:26:03 -0400

On Tue, 24 Aug 2004 20:03:27 -0400, William Kinmond wrote:

> Hi there everyone. I am very new to Redhat Linux and well I am trying to
> figure it out. It has been a very long time since I have used a command
> line anything and even with the gui that came with the Redhat I got it
> still is a mystory to me right now. Like one thing I would like to do is
> to get linux to use my modem a smartlink modem and I have the drivers for
> it but I don't know how to install programs in linux.

Allright, here goes. Some newbie pointers, in no particular order.

1) DO NOT RUN AS ROOT!!!!! I'm not accusing you of doing so, I'm just
guessing that you might be -- many newbies do. Instead, create a regular
user, log in to your desktop as them, and swith to the root user when you
need to do an administrative task.

2) Google is your friend. Especially Google Groups! Have a question?
Distill the question to three or four key words and put them into google
groups. Example, taken from your OP:
"I have Redhat installed on a drive on its own and windows xp on my other
drives. Neither one can see the others drives and the only way I seem to
be able to move files from one to the other is to burn them on a cd and
Google Groups: "Linux Windows partition copy files"

You can see a lot of relevant listings. A LOT of people have had the same
question! (This applies to all computer questions). A LOT of people have
already answered it. Go find the answers. Admittedly, figuring out which
keywords to use is often the hardest part!!

3) Do not use Red Hat Linux anymore. RHL9 was the last one, and it has
long since been discontinued (well, discontinued in April, 2004). Fedora
Core is the latest "Red Hat" distro. Try Fedora Core 2.

4) Using Fedora Core is also good because it comes preinstalled with a
very nice software updating tool -- Yum. To install or update new
software, you can use Yum on the command line. an example:

yum install mplayer

This will install the fablous movie player mplayer on your system.

Some caveats: You may need to add new "repositories" to your Yum
configuration file. There are a number of places on the internet to
download software for Linux, and specifically for Fedora. But you need to
know where they are. Once again, Google:
"yum.conf fedora"

Copy one of the resulting yum.conf files in place of your current one. If
you really are a newbie, you may have trouble doing this. But I'll leave
it as an exercise to the reader. (Oh, and make sure you make a backup copy
of yum.conf before you muck with it!)

5) You need not *ever* use a command-line if you don't want. Don't worry
about it. There are other ways of doing things. HOWEVER, you *will* need
to use the command line if you want to do anything fancy.

6) Linux is NOT Windows!! Linux is *definitely* not DOS!! Linux is Linux!!
My point here is merely that many linux newbies come from a Windows
environment and expect things to just be the same. They are not! Things
are different! There are many, many, many things that are similar. But
even the similar things are typically different in often subtle ways.
Discard your Windows or DOS mentality and you will do much better. To
quote Yoda, "You must unlearn what you have learned." Personally, I think
Linux is much better than windows in many ways. It is also not as good as
Windows in other ways.

7) There is a Linux equivalent for almost any task you want to do. Video
editing? There are Linux apps that do this. Photo editing? Word
processing? Programming? Email? Web browsing? Linux has an app for each --
typically more than one. But do NOT expect your Windows apps to run on

8) Your Windows apps can run on Linux. (Contradictory to my last
statement, I realize, but experineced Linux users will understnad the
point I was trying to make with number 7). You can use WINE to run many
Windows apps, most notably, Microsoft Office. There is a commercial
version of WINE that is inexpensive and runs MS Office *very* well --
Codeweaver's Crossover Office. (

Okay, that's all for now. I gotta get some PHP doohickeys manipulated.
Good luck!

    Jeffrey D. Silverman | **
                 Website |
(** Drop "pants" to reply by email)