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Re: WHAT the Eff is this???

trevor hamel wrote:

> i recently installed linux. when i finished the installer i as hoped
> to be gretted with an OS with a display like windows.... what i gto
> was more like a display of dos. can someone tell me how to get it to
> not be in command prompt... because i didnt think that was what linux
> was.... thank you for te help

You have a (common) misunderstanding of what "Linux" is.

Linux is the core, the "kernel", of the Debian GNU/Linux operating
system. Although it is quite complex, it is relatively small and
minimalist compared to the whole OS. It's basic function is to provide
an interface between the "bare iron" (disk drives, serial port, video
adapters, etc) and the higher level software.

In the case of Debian, on top of the kernel sits all sorts of utilities
and programs, such as web servers and GUI interfaces (similar to
MS-Windows) and programming environments.

Since Debian is geared more for those who want to control their computer
rather than be controlled by their computer, the installation is pretty
minimalistic unless you tell it be otherwise. It tends to install more
than the bare minimum, but less than would be expected by the average
Windows user (unless, as mentioned, you tell it during the install to go
ahead and install more than that). In your case, this resulted in a
"command prompt" environment (although it's more powerful than any
command prompt you've ever known in the DOS/Windows world).

You'll want to install a Graphical User Interface (GUI). Although there
are dozens (hundreds?) of different GUIs available (unlike the Windows
world, in which you basically have the one GUI provided by Microsoft),
you'll probably be most comfortable with KDE.  To install KDE, as root,
(and don't run as root except when necessary; a better solution would be
to use "sudo"), enter the following commands:

apt-get update
apt-get install aptitude
aptitude update
aptitude install kde kdm x-window-system

The first command updates apt-get's knowledge of what packages are
available for installation.

The second command installs "aptitude", which by some accounts is the
Future's "replacement" for "apt-get", so you might as well get it now
and start getting comfortable with it. It works very similarly to "apt-get".

The third command updates aptitude's knowledge of what packages are
available for installation (and may be unnecessary, since I believe it
shares the same database with apt-get, but it can't hurt).

The fourth command actually installs the X11 Windowing System (the basic
GUI), along with KDE (the bells-and-whistles that make X "pretty"), and
KDM which is a graphical login manager.

Then to start the X system, you can:
 * run "startx" (as a normal user, not root)
 * run "/etc/init.d/kdm restart" (as root) (although this method will
leave root logged in on the first Virtual Terminal (VT) - you can switch
back to VT1 with Ctrl-Alt-F1 (or to VT2 with Ctrl-Alt-F2, VT3 with
Ctrl-Alt-F3, etc), log out of root, then Alt-F7 to get back to where you
were in the GUI)
 * reboot

Prepare for an adventure; the fun has just begun!


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