Spring Into Linux

Spring Into Linux

by Janet Valade

Paperback(Fedora, Mandrake, SuSE, KDE and GNOME)

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The fastest route to true Linux mastery!

You know your way around Windows (or maybe a Mac, or even UNIX). Now, you're ready for Linux.

And you don't have a minute to waste.

Welcome. This book's for you.

Janet Valade has spent thirteen years helping new users master Linux and related technologies. She knows the "magic words" that'll help you get the job done, fast. (And she knows exactly how to keep you out of trouble, too!)

You'll learn Linux through dozens of focused, bite-size examples, each one carefully designed to build on what you've learned before.

Need specific solutions? This book's carefully crafted, high-efficiency format delivers them... instantly. Working on Fedora? Mandrake? SuSE? No matter. This book is for you.

No other introduction to Linux covers this much, this well, this quickly. Dig in, get started, get results!

  • All you need to succeed with Linux—without the hassles!

  • Choose the best Linux distribution for your personal or business needs

  • Get Linux installed quickly and running reliably

  • Handle your day-to-day tasks and efficiently manage your files

  • Master KDE, GNOME, and the Linux command line

  • Write documents and build spreadsheets with OpenOffice.org

  • Set up Web access, email, and instant messaging

  • Work with powerful Linux multimedia and graphics software

  • Find, install, and run new Linux software

  • Set up your printer to work with Linux

  • Supercharge Linux with shell scripts and customized configuration files

Includes concise Linux command reference and quick guide to building powerful Regular Expressions

Spring Into... is a new series of fast-paced tutorials from Addison-Wesley Professional Publishers. Each book in the series is designed to bring you up-to-speed quickly. Complex technologies are reduced to their core components, and each component is treated with remarkable efficiency in one- or two-page spreads. Just the information you need to begin working...now! And because the books are example-rich and easy to navigate, you'll find that they make great on-the-job references after you've mastered the basics.

© Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780131853546
Publisher: Pearson Education
Publication date: 05/09/2005
Series: Spring Into... Series
Edition description: Fedora, Mandrake, SuSE, KDE and GNOME
Pages: 360
Product dimensions: 7.00(w) x 9.30(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Janet Valade has 20 years experience in the computing field. Her background includes experience as a technical writer for several companies, as a Web designer/programmer for an engineering firm, and as a systems analyst in a university environment where, for over 10 years, she supervised the installation and operation of computing resources, designed and developed a state-wide data archive, provided technical support to faculty and staff, wrote numerous technical papers and documentation, and designed and presented seminars and workshops on a variety of technology topics.

Janet currently has two published books—PHP & MySQL for Dummies, Second Edition, and PHP 5 for Dummies. In addition, she has authored chapters for several Linux and Web development books.

© Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

Table of Contents


About the Author.

About the Series Editor.

1. Understanding Open Source Software.

Open Source Software

Open Source License

Linux Is Open Source Software

What Is GNU?


2. Choosing a Linux Distribution.

Distribution Contents

Red Hat/Fedora



Other Distributions

Live CDs


3. Getting Ready to Install Linux.

Hardware Requirements

Hardware Compatibility

Purchasing Linux

Downloading Linux

Planning Your Computer System

Running Linux with Windows

Examining Your Hard Drive

Making Room for Linux During Installation

Making Room for Linux Before Installation

Booting from the CD or from a Floppy


4. Installation.

Installation Overview

Starting the Fedora Installation Procedure

Collecting Hardware Information for Fedora

Selecting the Installation Type for Fedora

Selecting Where to Install Fedora

Collecting Network Information for Fedora

Languages and Time Zone for Fedora

Creating the Root Account for Fedora

Selecting Packages to Install on Fedora

Installing the Fedora System

Starting the Mandrake Installation Procedure

Collecting Information for Mandrake

Selecting Packages to Install on Mandrake

Installing the Mandrake System

Creating Accounts for Mandrake

Configuration Summary for Mandrake

Finishing Mandrake Installation

Starting the SuSE Installation Procedure

Configuration Settings for SuSE

Selecting Packages to Install on SuSE

Installing the SuSE System

Configuring the Installed SuSE System

Finishing SuSE Installation


5. Interacting with Linux.

The Graphical User Interface on Linux



The Command-Line Interface on Linux

Choosing the Interface


6. Using Your Desktop.

Logging In

Your First Login

Anatomy of a Desktop

KDE and GNOME Desktops

The Panel

Working on the Desktop

Configuring the Desktop

Changing the KDE Background

Changing the GNOME Background

Setting Fonts

Setting the Screen Saver

Organizing the Desktop

Changing the Panel Location and Size

Configuring Multiple Virtual Desktops

Logging Out


7. Using the Command Line.

Entering Commands

Entering a Single Command

Command-Line Syntax

Redirecting Input and Output

Running Commands in the Background

Editing the Command Line

Command-Line Help

Some Useful Commands

The sort Command

The grep Command

Configuring the Terminal Window


8. Linux Accounts.

Account Types


Account Information

Adding Accounts


Group Information

Adding Groups

Forgotten Root Password


9. File Management.

File Organization

File Information

Examining Files from the Desktop

Examining Files from the Command Line

File Permissions

Changing Permissions

Managing Owners and Groups

File Types

Finding Files

Creating Directories, Files, and Links

Copying, Renaming, and Moving Files

Viewing and Editing Text Files

Deleting Files and Directories


10. Applications and Programs.


Linux Commands


Managing Application Software

Installing from the Distribution CDs

Installing from the Distribution Web Site

Finding Packages on the Internet

Installing Packages Using RPM

Installing Packages from Source Code


11. Word Processing.

Creating a Document

Menus and Toolbars



Using Templates

Creating Templates

Editing Document Contents


Spell Checking

Tables and Columns


Graphics in Documents

The Gallery

Document File Formats

Tracking Changes


12. Spreadsheets.

Creating a Spreadsheet

Menus and Toolbars

Formatting Cells

Formatting Pages

Editing the Spreadsheet Content

Formulas and Functions

Saving and Printing


13. Graphics.

Graphics File Formats

Viewing Graphics Files

Scanning Documents

Presentation Graphics

Digital Cameras

Screen Shots

Diagramming with Dia

Drawing with OpenOffice Draw

Creating and Opening Images in the GIMP

The GIMP Toolbox

Changing Image Size in GIMP

Removing Elements from an Image in GIMP

Adding Elements to an Image in the GIMP

Working with Layers in the GIMP


14. Printing.

Installing Your Printer on Fedora

Installing Your Printer on Other Distributions


Managing Print Jobs


15. The Internet.

Accessing the Internet

Hardware for Accessing the Internet

Checking Your Network Connections

Adding a Dial-Up Network Connection

Adding a Broadband Network Connection

Web Browsers

Browsing with Mozilla

Mozilla Menus and Toolbars

The Mozilla Sidebar

Tabbed Browsing in Mozilla

Controlling Pop-Ups with Mozilla

Downloads, Forms, Passwords, and Cookies



16. Multimedia.

Configuring Your Sound Card

Playing Audio CDs

Downloading Music



Video Players



Listening to Radio

Copying Music Files from CD to Hard Disk


17. Email, Messaging, and News.

Email Accounts

Email Software

Setting Up an Email Account

Configuring Mozilla Email

Reading Email in Mozilla

Sending Email in Mozilla

Mozilla Message Filters

Creating a Message Filter in Mozilla


Mozilla Address Book

Adding and Editing Address Cards

Instant Messaging

Signing Up for AIM

Signing Up for MSN Messenger

Signing On with Gaim

IM Conversations



18. Editing Text Files.

Opening a File in Kate

Editing in Kate

Kate Features for Programmers

Opening a File in vi

Editing and Saving Files with vi

Moving Around a File in vi

vi Editing Commands

Sample vi Editing Session


19. Shell Scripts.

A Simple Shell Script

The Basics of Variables and Arrays

Reading Data into Variables

Special Characters and Quotes

Flow Control

Testing Conditions

If Statements

Case Statements

For Loops

While Loops and Until Loops

Infinite Loops

Scheduling Scripts to Run Automatically

A Sample Script


Appendix A: Regular Expressions.

Appendix B: Command Reference.



Preface Preface

I am not only a writer of technical books, I am also a consumer of technical books. I like learning from books. All the information is pulled together for me, arranged in a logical learning sequence by someone who understands the subject. I learn much faster when a good book on the subject is available. This applies to all areas of my life, not just computing. I have a library that includes how-to books for everything I have ever tried to do—from meditating to playing the guitar to fixing my dryer to growing herbs.

This book is the book I needed when I was learning Linux. The essential information is inside, organized into compact chunks—a lot of information in a small space. This book is too small to be a good doorstop or stepping stool to the top shelf, but just right for getting up and productive with Linux in no time at all.

Who Should Read This Book?

The book is meant for computer users who are new to Linux. Your understanding of computer concepts and experience with another operating system allows you to grasp the Linux information quickly. You do not need to be told how to press the power switch. You are way beyond this. You can get your work done on Windows (or Mac or UNIX); you just need a quick start guide for working on Linux.

It is not impossible to learn Linux from this book without a background in computers—just difficult. The book assumes an understanding of concepts and computer use that you may not possess. However, if you appreciate a book that assumes you can understand quickly and delivers information in a compact form, without distractions and repetitive explanations, give this one a try. It might work for you.

How Is This Book Organized?

This book is organized in 19 chapters. Each chapter focuses on a topic, providing an overview and how-to information. The chapters are as follows:

  • Chapter 1, Understanding Open Source Software: Describes open source beliefs and practices. See how they differ from the beliefs and practices prevalent with proprietary software.

  • Chapter 2, Choosing a Linux Distribution: Provides the information needed to choose among the many Linux flavors.

  • Chapter 3, Getting Ready to Install Linux: Instructions for preparing your computer for a Linux install.

  • Chapter 4, Installation: Installation steps.

  • Chapter 5, Interacting with Linux: How to get work done using Linux.

  • Chapter 6, Using Your Desktop: How to use the two major Linux desktops—KDE and GNOME.

  • Chapter 7, Using the Command Line: How to enter commands directly into Linux, without using the desktop.

  • Chapter 8, Linux Accounts: No work can be done on a Linux system without using a Linux account. This chapter describes how to create accounts and associated information, such as passwords, owners, groups, and so forth.

  • Chapter 9, File Management: How to create, copy, rename, delete, and otherwise manage Linux files.

  • Chapter 10, Applications and Programs: How to download, install, and run Linux applications and programs.

  • Chapter 11, Word Processing: How to use the OpenOffice word processing application.

  • Chapter 12, Spreadsheets: How to use the OpenOffice spreadsheet application.

  • Chapter 13, Graphics: How to create, edit, and manipulate different types of graphics files.

  • Chapter 14, Printing: How to set up and use a printer on Linux.

  • Chapter 15, The Internet: How to access and browse the Internet.

  • Chapter 16, Multimedia: How to play sound and video files on Linux.

  • Chapter 17, Email, Messaging, and News: How to communicate with other people over the Internet.

  • Chapter 18, Editing Text Files: How to create and edit text files, such as HTML files, program source code, and Linux configuration files.

  • Chapter 19, Shell Scripts: How to write and use shell scripts.

Two appendixes are also included:

  • Appendix A, Regular Expressions: How to build regular expressions, patterns used by many different Linux applications.

  • Appendix B, Command Reference: Description and information about the commands available for use with the CLI.

What's Unusual About This Book?

This book—like the other books in the Spring Into ... Series—provides the following eccentricities:

  • Each topic is explained in a discrete one- or two-page unit called a "chunk."

  • Each chunk builds on the previous chunks in that chapter.

  • Most chunks contain one or more examples. I learn best from examples. I don't think my learning style is unique. I believe I have company in my appreciation for examples.

  • The heading for each chunk appears in the table of contents. The small chunk size means the chunk heading pinpoints small amounts of information. Finding information is so easy.

Information is packed densely in each chunk. I have toiled to make each word contribute to your understanding of Linux. The result is focussed information—information you can find when you need it.

Who Helped Me Write This Book?

Linux is the motivation for this book. I am a huge Linux fan. So, I would have to say that all the Linux developers in the world helped me write this book. What would I have to say if Linux were not the great operating system that it is?

Of course, having something to say is not sufficient. You must say it clearly and accurately. Editors have the difficult job of keeping an author on track toward clear and accurate. My editors are extraordinarily good at this part of their job. Without my editors, this book would veer much further toward what-in-the-world-does-that-mean and that-can't-be-right.

© Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

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