Wednesday, 22 April 2009

A short introduction of Linux/Ubuntu

Definitely you can find loads of information from the Internet on Linux/Ubuntu and how to install them. Not like Microsoft Windows, most Linux distributions are free to get and install. It implies you can save money and meanwhile you could also get rid of the annoying license stuff. The only thing you have to pay, you have to spare some time to change your idea on an operating system in order to get used to this "quite different" one. Of course, if Linux is already your habit, this sentence is not said to you.

Nearly all modern distributions of Linux adopt Graphic User Interface (GUI) as their operating environment for desktop versions, and Ubuntu is no exception. The default desktop environment used in Ubuntu is GNOME. Since programs are also encapsulated into windows which are constructed with similar components as on Windows, such as menus, tool buttons and scrollbar etc, I don't think it is quite different. Actually it is Ubuntu/GNOME that I am writing this post within. Therefore, the aspect we have to change is not the style of operating but lies on the applications we are going to use, because not every program was ported onto Linux, especially those commercial software and games like Microsoft Office and Warcraft etc. Whenever you encounter problems, remember using search engines like Google is a good methodology to crack out solutions and there is a big community there to help you.

Another point which makes Linux different from Windows is the frequently employed text commands executed on terminals. At most times, we use command lines because they are more consistent and fluent than any existing alternative GUI ways to complete the same task. For example, most works can be implemented without leaving the terminal window. Secondly, programs running at a terminal have very clear input and output parameters, which could be helpful whenever diagnosis is necessary. Besides, commands are possible to be linked and composed together to build automatic scripts. These scripts can save lots of time when executing fixed work flows.

Therefore, in the posts here, operations will be expressed in commands as much as possible. It is more accurate and convenient to follow than by saying "move your mouse to somewhere" and "click some items" etc. Taking it further, it is also easy to run commands by copy, paste and hit Enter. I guess it is the most efficient way to see their effect.

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