Wikipedia defines Linux as “Linux is a Unix-like computer operating system assembled under the model of free and open source software development and distribution.” Linux was developed by Linus Torvalds as a hobby project during the 90’s.
Who Uses Linux?
Google Does. IBM Does. Samsung Does. Lexus Does. NASA Does. Lady GaGa Does. I suspect Elon Musk does too. And a whole lot more companies/people we have heard and never heard of. And YOU can too.
Why should I care? I Don’t Use Linux!
Well maybe directly or indirectly you do use Linux in someway or the other. Every time you make a search on Google, some Linux based computer churns out your result in milliseconds. Majority of the internet runs on Linux Servers. Weather Broadcasts you see on the news are obtained by some Linux based Supercomputer performing number crunching calculations. Chuck all them. All that block buster Hollywood films with the insane amount of graphics!?! Mostly rendered using Linux systems. The PlayStation game console – Linux again! Your Android Smartphone – oh my Linux!
Whats so Special about Linux?
- The best part about Linux aside from Security is the ability to customize. You can customize the tiny little icon on the panel of the desktop or increase the Gigahertz of your processor chip. It’s does what YOU want and keeps only what YOU need. In simple words you can do anything.
- The Security of Linux based systems is considered the Holy Grail in today’s world. Its not that it cannot be broken. But its hard. Very Hard.
- The third and final point i would like to add amid all the myth’s and controversies that surround Linux – It IS simple to use.
Believe me I’ve been using Linux since I was in 6th grade and even now as I type this article.
There’s a lot of versions/distro’s/flavor’s of Linux!?! What do I Choose?
Linux to me is like an ice-cream shop. Enter the shop, you get to choose from flavors like vanilla, strawberry, chocolate, butter-scotch etc. In a similar way you can choose your flavor of Linux. The most popular variety of Linux are GNU/Linux, Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora, Linux Mint, Korora, Slackware, Knoppix, Backtrack etc. The list is never ending. I personally use Fedora. I’ve been using it since the old Red Hat Linux and Fedora Core days before the version numbering approach was favored.
Is there a difference between Ubuntu and Fedora?
Yes there is. Ubuntu, being a Debian based OS, relies on the .deb package format where as Fedora relies on the .rpm format. Most major software’s come in these two package formats that allow us to install them on these OS’s. Using certain tools you can get .deb packages to work in Fedora or .rpm packages in Ubuntu.
What is this Tutorial about?
This tutorial is going to help you understand the very basics of using a Linux Based OS(Operating System) for daily tasks such as movies, music, internet browsing, text editing, word processing etc. I will base my tutorial on the Fedora Linux Operating System because it is intuitive, learn-able, very true to the Linux spirit of Free and Libre and one of the most popular distro’s in the Linux world!
Why choose Fedora when there are distro’s that work out of the box?
True – there are distro’s that work out of the box like Linux Mint and Korora, but what’s the point if you don’t want to know how or what makes them work. Computer’s shouldn’t make us dumb users which most of us already are. It should help us evolve and understand knowledge and information.
Okay! Where do I get Fedora?
Fedora is free for download at https://fedoraproject.org/ . Choose the specific computer architecture such 32bit or 64bit according to your PC. Choose a suitable desktop environment such as GNOME, KDE, XFCE among other. I was a former KDE user and fan before I switched to GNOME. This tutorial will be based on the GNOME desktop environment. Other desktop environments are quite similar in nature. Note: You can install Fedora alongside Windows. I won’t discuss how to install Fedora on your PC as there are hundreds of installation tutorials all over the web and on YouTube.
Still…Any installation tips?
Have a good knowledge of disk partitioning and re-sizing. If its your first time watch a couple of videos and read about Linux installation. I always prefer to keep a certain amount of disk space say 50GB-80GB unallocated/empty and use this to install Fedora. Its less troublesome. Remember to Review Your Partitions! Ensure if your system is UEFI based or not(BIOS) as if affects certain installs and determine your graphic card whether its Nvidia, ATI or Intel. You can try Fedora without installing by booting it via a USB Drive or by Virtualization. A Fedora 19 Dual Boot Tutorial – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OdwQKD29GdI Do Read http://docs.fedoraproject.org/en-US/Fedora/19/html/Installation_Quick_Start_Guide/index.html
Note: Be knowledgeable. Be careful! Make backup’s to prevent a Data Loss.
A Simple Walk through of the Fedora Linux Desktop(GNOME):
The desktop is clean and devoid of any icons but can be modified to suit our needs.
The black bar on top of the screen.
* Top Right – Username and other hardware related info like sound, battery, Bluetooth etc.
* Top Center – Calender, Time and other extensions like weather.
* Top Left – Activities part of the panel. Move mouse pointer to the top left corner to gain access to the Dash, Desktop contents, application and other items.
* Clicking on anytime on the panel pop’s up a panel displaying the info of the click item or a menu.
* The panel also contains the Menu of any open application.
*Launch it by moving the mouse pointer to the top left of the screen near “Activities” or by using the Super Key(Windows Icon Key) on your keyboard.
* On the top a search panel is provided to quick search of applications and files.
* In the Center all the active applications are displayed.
* To the left you have the Dash which contains Favorite applications such as Firefox Web browser, Music Player, Files, etc.
* To the right shows you your current working desktop. You can generate multiple desktops my click & drag of on application in the Activities Overview to the empty desktop area on the right.
View the Message tray by moving the mouse pointer to the bottom of the screen.
It contains notification like battery time left, new messages/chats, Bluetooth File transfer requests, background running application icon(like the Bluetooth icon above) etc.
* It’s represented by the above icon. Its equivalent to the Windows File Explorer on Linux.
* With this application you can browse through folder, create, delete and move files the same way you do on Microsoft Windows.
* The Left Pane consist of Bookmarked Folder’s and Locations such as Hard disk partitions, USB Pen Drives, CD/DVD ROM’s etc. * Clicking on any entry takes you into its contents.
* Display Hidden files by hitting Ctrl+H on the keyboard. Hide in the same manner.
* Hidden Files/Folders in Linux are of the following format – “.filename” or “.foldername”
* Microsoft Windows and other partitions can be accessed through Linux but Windows cannot access Linux Partition.
* Typing an alphabet on the keyboard automatically starts searching for the file/folder in which you are located. * Open any image, movie, song by clicking on the file as you usually do on Windows.
* The gear icon top right pops up a small menu with common tasks and options.
* For accessing the actual menu of the Files browser click on “Files” on the GNOME Panel.
Alt+Left Arrow – Back Alt+Down Arrow – Enter/Open Selected Folder/File.
Alt+Up Arrow – Move Up a Folder level
Ctrl+Alt+Up Arrow – Move to the top/higher desktop
Ctrl+Alt+Down Arrow – Move to the bottom/lower
Desktop Alt+Tab – Switch Between Windows
* The Settings Window can be accessed by clicking on your username on the GNOME Panel.
* The Settings Window is very similar to the Control Panel in Microsoft Windows.
* Here you can change the desktop background, Date/Time, Privacy setting among other software & hardware settings.
Auto Comparison of Different Application Windows:
The Windows align up automatically(just by dragging) to each other to allow comparison between 2 different applications. The Pale blue region shows the alignment of the dragged window.
How do I create CD’s, DVD’s in Linux?
You can create your own CD or DVD in Linux by using the default application that comes in Fedora known as Brasero. The interface is quite simple with the common tasks as you would find in programs such as Nero, Roxio etc.
What about Documents, Spreadsheets, PowerPoint or Microsoft Office Application?
As of today and maybe in for sometime into the future Microsoft will not release its Office Software package to Linux User. But there is a very good alternative software provided by the Document Foundation known as LibreOffice. It was a fork of the Open Office package which went into jeopardy after Oracle bought Sun Microsystems. There are four applications as follows:
* LibreOffice Writer – Microsoft Office Word alternative.
* LibreOffice Calc – Microsoft Office Excel/Spreadsheet alternative.
* LibreOffice Impress – Microsoft Office PowerPoint alternative.
* LibreOffice Draw – An application for creating Pictures/Graphics etc. All these application work in very similar ways to Microsoft Office and other Office Suites. For More Information on LibreOffice visit – http://www.libreoffice.org/ Note: LibreOffice can open and save files in the Microsoft Office file formats such as .docx, .doc, .xls, .ppt etc. After saving in the Microsoft Office format do remember to check the formatting of the file in Microsoft Office itself to perform any necessary correction. The best file formats are the default & standard – ODT(Open Document Text) ODS(open Document Spreadsheet) etc.
Structure Of the Linux File System:
/ – the very beginning of the system. Just like C: in Microsoft Windows.
/home – the location of various user folders.
/home/user1 – Your User Storage directory where you can store files, folders, Music, movies, applications etc.
Cut/Copy/Paste in Linux?
Remains the same like in Microsoft Windows.
Ctrl+X – Cut
Ctrl+C – Copy
Ctrl+V – Paste
What are Repo’s or Repository?
A repo is a location where you can download a certain software and its dependent package. Its like a Supermarket for Software’s. You install a repo and you can choose to install the various software’s that the repo contains. Repo’s Update themselves with the latest version of the software package in time.
You can Install one of the most popular repo’s RPM Fusion by following this link – http://rpmfusion.org/Configuration
More info on RPM Fusion can be found here – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RPM_Fusion
What is the Terminal?
The Terminal is the Command Prompt(cmd) equivalent in Linux. From this application you can perform a variety of function using commands like downloading, renaming, copying, CD/DVD writing etc.
Some simple commands are listed below:
ls- lists all the files/folders in the current location.
mv – its used to move or rename files.
–> eg.(For move) mv /home/user/file1.txt /home/user/Documents/file1.txt – Moves file from user directory to Documents.
— > eg.(For rename) mv /home/user/oldname.txt /home/user/newname.txt
pwd – Present working directory – show’s your current location on the system.
cd – command used to navigate to different directories.
–> eg. “cd /home/user/Documents” – Open the Documents directory
cd .. – This command returns you to the previous location
–> eg. Say your in the Documents folder. Using this command you will be located at /home/user
cp – Used to copy files
–> eg. “cp /home/user/Documents/file.txt /home/user/Downloads” – Copies the text file to Download directory.
whoami – Prints the username on the screen
mkdir – used to create folder/directories
su – Superuser account. Type in the root/super user password to access the root terminal.
REMEMBER to be careful while using the Superuser account as any changes/damages could lead to irreversible loss of data etc. Exit the root account after performing your required actions.
man – These are manual pages and contain information about command and all their options.
–> eg. “man ls” – you shall see the manual of the ls command and the options and operations possible with it.
What is su or root or superuser?
The Superuser or root account provides administrator level access to the Linux system. Its like the ‘Admin’ account in Microsoft Windows but is in many aspect more powerful. It allows you to make changes to the entire system, provides full file read/write/execute access. You have to provide a root/su password during installation. This password is also used to gain access to root user in terminal, to install software and to make any system changes.
Note: REMEMBER to use the root account with great care. Exit immediately after performing a required task/operation.
How do I Install software’s?
You can use “Software” application for a GUI(Graphical User Interface) installation or you could use the terminal using the following command. NOTE: When installing software via terminal you should be logged in as root. REMEMBER to exit after doing the required task. Syntax – yum install application-name
eg. yum install gnome-tweak-tool
How do I Customize the GNOME Desktop?
Customize the GNOME desktop after installing the gnome-tweak-tool. It offer’s you many options to change such as the ability to place Icons on the desktop, change GNOME Shell Themes, GTK Themes, Icons, install extensions on GNOME panel etc among a whole lot of other options.
You can get amazing themes, icons at http://gnome-look.org/
You can get GNOME Shell extensions at https://extensions.gnome.org/
The Fedora Desktop after a complete mod!
How do I install Adobe Flash?
Adobe Flash player can be installed by visiting this link http://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/ and choosing the “YUM for Linux” version to download.
I can’t play mp3 and other music files or video formats, what do I do?
You can play any and almost all kinds of media formats on your Linux System. You just need the right codecs. The reason it does not work out of the box is that the playback codecs for MP3 and other media files are protected by Patents. In order to ship these codecs OS developers must license and pay the creators with royalties($). Corporate companies such as Microsoft and Apple are able to do this because they have a big stash of cash. Every time you or anybody pirates their OS they lose that money.
You can play all these patented and proprietary formats by using players such as VLC by following the steps here – http://www.videolan.org/vlc/download-fedora.html
Note: The commands used on the site should be entered in the Terminal. You can also install via the Software application after you have the RPM Fusion repository installed.
Incase you don’t want to install additional players and want to play only using the default player such as Rhythmbox and Videos(Totem). Follow the steps below: *Open the required media file with Rhythmbox.
*Install the required codec and enjoy your song. Simple! Note: Better to do this after installing RPM Fusion repo.
How do I chat on Gmail, Facebook, AOL, Hotmail/Live, Jabber etc?
Open Empathy. From the menu choose Accounts. Click the ‘+’ Symbol and add the respective account and fill out the details in the box. Save and start Chatting!
You can also use another chat software known as Pidgin if you do not like Empathy. Install from the Software application or from the terminal by typing “yum install pidgin”.
How do I use Torrents/Magnets under Linux?
Fedora comes with a default light weight simple to use Torrent Client Known as Transmission. Open torrent/magnet links from the Browser using ‘Open With – Transmission’. You can add torrent files saved on your computer using the menu provided in Transmission.
You can also use the Vuze torrent Client on Linux by downloading and extracting the file.
Download from – https://www.vuze.com/
Run it by navigating to the location of extracted files in the Terminal and typing “./azureus”
Help! My battery life is reduced/affected? Though there COULD be other reasons, your Battery Life can be affected or reduced by a large extent if you do not install the required Graphic Card drivers for your Nvidia or ATI cards. Installing the right drivers can solve most battery life issue’s.
In case your Nvidia or ATI card is of a hybrid switching nature such as the Optimus Technology(Nvidia), I recommend that you install Bumblebee(Nvidia only).
How can I update my system?
The System can be updated via the “Software Update” application or by typing the command “yum update” in the terminal
What are these Tarball packages?
There are certain software’s that are not packaged for a specific distro into a .deb or .rpm format. They tend to be compressed files as .tar, .tar.gz, .tar.bz2 packages. Extracting these files will give us the executable to run the particular software.
Example: We shall try out an iTunes alternative known as Nightingale(my favorite player)
* Download Nightingale(Linux Tarball) from http://getnightingale.com/all-versions.php * Extract the file in your user directory.
* Open the terminal and navigate to the extracted folder.
* Run the app by passing the command “./nightingale” in the terminal.
How do I create a Launcher or Shortcut to an application?
In Linux, launchers are defined by a .desktop file.
You can read about it here – https://developer.gnome.org/integration-guide/stable/desktop-files.html.en
Eg. My nightingale.desktop file Located in /home/username/.local/share/applications
[Desktop Entry] Version=1.0
Now you shall see the Nightingale application in the Show Applications menu.
And you can run it by simply clicking on it!
Simple Text Editor?
Gedit is the perfect Notepad replacement!
Can I upgrade to a new OS version?
As of Fedora 17 and above the entire OS can be upgraded via the internet by using the “FedUp” command in the terminal.
You can Also upgrade the OS via the DVD version of the latest version. More info here – http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Upgrading
Do .exe files run of the box?
No. EXE files are limited to Microsoft Windows OS. Fedora relies on the .rpm format.
Can I run Microsoft Windows software and applications?
Yes you can! But only a certain and limited number of application work. This can be done by using a software known as WINE(Wine IS Not an Emulator).
A Paid version of WINE known as CrossOver supports a larger application running capability. More details here – http://www.codeweavers.com/products/
You can install WINE via the “Software” app or by the terminal using the command “yum install wine” Check the WINEHQ page for more information – http://www.winehq.org/
What about Skype?
Yes! It works just fine on Linux! Head over to the official site and start downloading http://www.skype.com/en/
I WANT Chrome for Linux! Simple! Head over to http://www.google.com/chrome. Click Download and choose the RPM version.
I’m a digital/Graphic artist. How can Linux cater to my needs?
There are lots of applications to cater to the designers need. A few of the most popular ones are listed below:
GIMP – GNU Image Manipulation Program. This Software is a complete Adobe Photoshop alternative and has a lot of plug-in support. You can do Photo Manipulation or Digital Paintings etc. with this software. More Info – http://www.gimp.org/ Can be installed by typing “yum install gimp” in the terminal
Inkscape – This is a Vector Graphics program that makes use of the popular SVG format. It is similar to Illustrator, CorelDraw, Xara X and can serve tons of needs from posters to web site design. More Info – http://inkscape.org/ Can be installed by typing “yum install inkscape” in the terminal
Blender 3D – This is one of the most advanced 3D modelling, animation and rendering program in the world. It also include a Game Engine to create games. Its been used during the production of Spider-Man 2 and also for open movies like Big Buck Bunny! Never underestimate this program. See the gallery and be left in awe http://www.blender.org/features-gallery/ Can be installed by typing “yum install blender” in the terminal
Note: Do check out the gallery in their specific websites. I’ve used them personally for various art project and found them really useful. There are so many other software’s that can be found in the Software Application or via Google Wikipedia’s List of Raster Graphic Software’s – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_raster_graphics_editors
Pixel Prospector – http://www.pixelprospector.com/the-big-list-of-graphics-programs-linux-edition/
I’m a sound and music enthusiast or producer. How can Linux cater to my needs?
Mixxx – Its a DJ’ing software with support for MIDI and HID DJ Controllers. More Info – http://mixxx.org/
Ardour – It is a digital audio workstation application with Recording, Mixing, Editing and Mastering Capability. More Info – http://ardour.org/ Audacity – A great software for recording and editing sound. More Info – http://audacity.sourceforge.net/
MuseScore – It is a Score Writing application. More Info – http://musescore.org/en
Note: There are so many other software’s that can be found in the Software Application or via Google Wikipedia’s list of Linux Audio Software – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Linux_audio_software
I do video editing and production. How can Linux cater to my needs?
Cinelerra – Advanced audio and video capturing, compositing, and editing More Info – http://cvs.cinelerra.org/ Can be installed by typing “yum install cinelerra” in the terminal
Lightworks – Used in many Hollywood block buster films. An Industry Standard Software. Its is the fastest, most accessible and focused NLE in the industry, because it is based on the simple idea that the editor, not the computer industry, knows what’s best. http://www.lwks.com/index.php?option=com_kunena&func=view&catid=19&id=44717&Itemid=81
OpenShot Video Editor – It is a free, open-source video editor for Linux. OpenShot can take your videos, photos, and music files and help you create the film you have always dreamed of. Easily add sub-titles, transitions, and effects, and then export your film to DVD, YouTube, Vimeo, Xbox 360, and many other common formats http://www.openshot.org/
PiTiVi – It is a Free video editor with a beautiful and intuitive user interface, a clean codebase and a fantastic community. http://www.pitivi.org/ “yum install pitivi”
Flowblade Movie Editor is a multitrack non-linear video editor for Linux released under GPL 3 license.Flowblade is designed to provide a fast, precise and as-simple-as-possible editing experience. Flowblade employs film style editing paradigm in which clips are usually automatically placed tightly after the previous clip – or between two existing clips – when they are inserted on the timeline. Flowblade provides powerful tools to mix and filter video and audio. https://code.google.com/p/flowblade
Shotcut is a free, open source, cross-platform video editor. http://www.shotcut.org/
LiVES – the video editing system.LiVES mixes realtime video performance and non-linear editing in one professional quality application. You can even record your performance in real time, and then edit it further or render it straight away. http://lives.sourceforge.net/
Note: There are so many other software’s that can be found in the Software Application or via Google Wikipedia’s List of Video Editing Software – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_video_editing_software
Is There a 100% PURE Linux Version?
Yes! Its known as GNU/Linux OS. Its available for download here – http://www.gnu.org/
Can I get the Mac OS X dock for Linux?
You can get one by installing Glx-Dock/Cairo Dock.
More Info – http://glx-dock.org/ Installation instructions can be found on the same page.
Linux for Gaming?
Currently Gaming on Linux is a bit scarce to be honest. But its breaking barriers very fast!
Valve the creators of Left 4 Dead, Counter Strike, Half Life, DOTA have ported their Steam Game Platform software to Linux and are continuously porting old and very popular titles to the LInux OS.
Valve CEO (Gabe Newell) also believes Linux is the future of Gaming – http://www.zdnet.com/valve-ceo-why-linux-is-the-future-of-gaming-7000020735/
The fact that Gaming Consoles are moving to PC based architecture with the recent release of the PlayStation 4(PS4) means that major titles will come with PC ports and Linux support will probably be included Humble Bundles are available for Linux at https://www.humblebundle.com/
The following links are sites which keep themselves updated with news in the Linux Gaming world
A BIGGER Game list http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Linux_games
What is that Tesseract icon called Boxes?
The Boxes application allows you to run an OS within an OS. Sounds familiar? “Dream within a Dream? – Just like Inception” 🙂 You can run Microsoft Windows within Linux, after installing it using the Boxes application, as long as your have a good amount of RAM and processor available. This software is an alternative to other commercial Virtualization software’s such as Parallels, VMWare etc. I wont go into the details in this Guide. It’ll just make it bigger. Google is your friend.
And that’s all folks!
Hey I liked this Guide!
Glad you did! Give it a share/like over your favorite social network and spread the word of Linux! 🙂
I did not like this guide nor Linux!
Well, then there’s nothing much I can help you with. Be happy with your Windows/Apples. Thanks for the read! 🙂
How do I keep updated with the happenings in the Linux World?
Read Magazines or online news sites! http://www.linuxjournal.com/ http://www.linux-magazine.com/ http://lxer.com/ http://worldofgnome.org/ http://www.linuxfoundation.org/
Why do you use Linux and why do you recommend it?
Well, I liked Linux only after few years of usage. But this was long back when the the desktop environment was not as powerful as today. After that I’ve never looked back. The only reason I go back to Microsoft Windows is because my favorite games & certain software’s only work on it. In the coming years as thing’s get ported over, I shall completely move to a Linux based system.
Since many software such as Adobe Photoshop are moving to cloud based subscription model, it would be possible to work on them from any OS.
I recommend it to people so that they don’t have to be plagued by viruses, Trojans etc and to prevent them from spreading them via USB drives etc.
The NSA/Snowden Scandal – http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130919/07485524578/linus-torvalds-admits-he-was-approached-us-government-to-insert-backdoor-into-linux-did-he.shtml
I also recommend it because I feel people should not be under corporate control. Everybody should have freedom to do whatever they want with their software/hardware. The only reason I refrain from a Mac or Apple product is because it is a controlled, well defined, lock-in environment.
I hate being put in a cage!
The worst part of virtual lock-down is that you just don’t feel it. When you do, its too late. Fight for the User! Always!
Message to the world?
Freedom for Life! Don’t let anybody stop YOU!
P.S.: I don’t know if you have noticed or realized but most of the things I mentioned above are FREE! Most are Open Source based software projects too. Be kind and donate to your favorite project if you can spare some money. It keeps the developers motivated and helps them pay their bandwidth, hosting costs among others.
If there are any errors or typo’s do let me know and do forgive my knowledge if I’m wrong. Follow me on Twitter @bull500
I certainly hope you do enjoy reading this guide and wish your Linux life works out for you. But in case things do not work out for you, if your system crashes, if you lose all your data and personal files etc. or if your computer becomes the cause of a Nuclear War or even World War 3 – DO NOT SUE ME or Take me to court for that matter. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED. What you do or what happens is because of your own actions and entirely your own responsibility. The Links and Content in them provided here are copyright of their respective owners. I have no link with the links.
“I see in ##### #### the strongest and smartest men who’ve ever lived. I see all this potential, and I see squandering. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need. We’re the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War’s a spiritual war… our Great Depression is our lives. We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won’t. And we’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off.” – Tyler Durden “I say never be complete, I say stop being perfect, I say let… lets evolve, let the chips fall where they may.” – Tyler Durden
Linux – A Newbie Desktop Users Guide by bull500 is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.