View Full Version : Learning Fedora (and Linux in general for new user)

19th April 2006, 12:10 AM
Dear General Forum,
I just installed Fedora Core 5. It is my first time using Linux. The only thing I've used before is Windows XP. I don't know *that* much about computers. But I have some small problems with Linux so far. The biggest one is installing programs. I don't understand installing. For example I'm trying to install the Query Browser for MySQL. No dice. I can't get it working. I don't understand the little brown box on the desktop. I don't understand the "extract" thingy. What is going on?
Better yet is there a "good" book about this sort of thing? I'm at a loss as to where to look for a good beginning book for learning Linux. I have two crappy ones right now. Are there any on line coures available that have a cirruculum but with a teacher to ask questions to. Sometimes I get errors at the command prompt that I don't understand at all.
What I really want is Linux: The Missing Manual! But O'Reilly doen't have this title. Why O'Reilly, why?

New Linux User :confused:

19th April 2006, 12:19 AM
Boy, you sure did bite off more than you can chew. :)

I would first get on line and learn something about linux. I googled "linux for newbies" and got tons of hits. Here is the very first one:

Go from there ..

19th April 2006, 12:37 AM
You have certainly bit off a big chunk. I am quite computer literate, having started off on mainframes in the 1970's, and I am finding Linux in general to have a steep learning curve. And Fedora Core is one of the more friendly distros. The command language is terse and "clever" and there are numerous inconsistencies that will make you nutz if you take them seriously.

I'd recommend that you check with your local library for one of the "bible" books (there's a Red Hat and Fedora bible that's not bad at all), and maybe a Linux for Dummies (no offense meant - the dummy books are really quite good as a place to start). Read what's in the library first and then buy when you know what you want to keep around.

As to the specifics of your post (and I hope I don't go too far afield from the truth, here), that "brown box" is an archive file, probably a Redhat Package Manager (RPM) file or a tar.gz multi-file archive. Extracting these and installing by hand is one of the more difficult problems you'll run into as a new Linux user. Really, life is better if you can find an RPM that contains the query browser, or the name of a package that you can install using yum (Youngstown Update Manager? something like that). That reduces installation to one command.

Hope this helps a little.

19th April 2006, 02:34 AM
Thanks! (That site's articles are from 1999 and 2000. It felt a bit dated.)

19th April 2006, 02:51 AM
Actually that helps a lot. And it's nice to know that I'm not retarded for failing at installing a program. LOL! Thanks. I have the book "How Linux Works". It's actually a bit over my head although it sounded really enticing. I think I'll try that "Bible" book for Red Hat/Fedora.

As for the .tar.gz - when it gets extracted - where does it go? This is always sort of obvious in Windows because you get some choices. But I'm a bit confused as to where exactly this extraction is sending files. I just don't understand the install process yet. Which is probably because I don't understand the file system... Yeah, I should go get that book...

19th April 2006, 11:02 AM
A good reading is


19th April 2006, 05:02 PM
When you extract a tar archive, it generally goes into the current working directory, that is, the same one that holds the archive itself. But that's a generally. When a tar archive is put together, it can include files in subdirectories, and on extraction those subdirectories are extracted as well. They will genenerally become subdirectories of the directory you have the archive in.


Give it a try with the one you are playing with. At a command prompt, type:

tar xzf <name of the xxx.tar.gz file>

You may see a new subdirectory of your current working directory, and you should see the files in there.

19th April 2006, 05:07 PM
As to the overall install process.... again, that depends. If you are installing an already-compiled package, the install process consists of moving files into their home directories and perhaps adding menu items to your GUI. If you are installing a package that's distributed as source, it will involve compiling the source and linking the final executable before the files are put away.

Sometimes this is a very automatic process, as when you use rpm or yum to install the package. Other times you'll have to run tar to unpack an archive, then type "make" to make the binaries, then type "make install" to have the files shuffled into their final directories.

As I mentioned earlier, you'll be happier in general if you can find an RPM file with the packages that you want to install. If the RPM was constructed properly, it's a one-command install and you don't have to sweat the details.