kelsoo's beginners guide

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Desktop Environments

Postby kelsoo » July 9th, 2011, 1:52 am

6) Desktop environments, available repackaged on CD:

Under Windows and Mac OS you have a very limited choice as to your desktop environment (the actual interface displayed on the screen), DE for short. You get what you're given. It's a monoculture based on their file manager - Windows explorer in Micosoft Windows, and the Finder in Mac OSX.
Under Debian you get choices of several desktop environments, each with their own idea of what a good DE should be. Your choice may be influenced by which one you've used before, what your friends are familiar with, which is most similar to your current OS, or what you want to do and your PC's capabilities. You can forgo a DE altogether, if for example you want to create a server, or have an old PC so use a window manager, instead.
The look, feel and control of a Debian system can depend on many things. It can be extremely complex due to the flexibility of the system, and the users needs. Desktop environment or Window manager, and how they fit together with the huge range of applications and tool-kits, all have a bearing. Even if you choose to have no GUI, the CLI offers an amazing variety of looks and feel. The best place to start for changing the look and feel of your Debian system is the Debian repository's. Always be careful installing anything from other 3rd party external sites. If you have any doubts don't install. See: http://forums.debian.net/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=47866&

Search the repositories first with synaptic, apt or aptitude.

apt-cache search themes
apt-cache search icons
apt-cache search wallpaper

Desktop environments: (DE)
If you downloaded the first Debian CD. You will get the default Gnome Desktop which uses the GTK graphics libraries. The other most popular DE is KDE, which uses the QT libraries. There is also the XFCE (using GTK) desktop that is slightly lighter than Gnome and KDE. LXDE (GTK) is a very light DE. XFCE and LXDE are present on the same CD. Check their prospective sites before you decide which one you think is for you. You only need the first CD to get up and running. Just choose the Desktop you want. Don't download all 20 odd disks unless you need them. If your computer is powerful enough and has enough space you can install more then one DE. Then you get to choose which one you want to run at login.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison ... vironments


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Gnome

Postby kelsoo » July 9th, 2011, 1:52 am

6.1) GNOME:

From the Gnome site.
"GNOME is easy to use and easy to learn: the usability project team makes sure of it. GNOME has all the software you need every day: games, browser, email, office suite, and more. In addition, excellent Windows file compatibility means you can work with files that Windows users send you, and extensive manuals and help systems mean you're never without resources. "

http://www.gnome.org/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GNOME
3rd party Themes, Wallpapers, and icon can be found here.
http://gnome-look.org/


table of content
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"It's warm in the crowd, but it stinks" -- Miroslav Krleža
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KDE

Postby kelsoo » July 9th, 2011, 1:53 am

6.2) KDE:

From the KDE site.
"KDE or the K Desktop Environment, is a network transparent contemporary desktop environment for UNIX workstations. KDE seeks to fulfill the need for an easy to use desktop for UNIX workstations, similar to desktop environments found on Macintosh and Microsoft Windows operating systems."

http://www.kde.org/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KDE
http://wiki.kde.org
3rd party Themes, Wallpapers, and icon can be found here.
http://kde-look.org/


table of content
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Posts: 65
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XFCE

Postby kelsoo » July 9th, 2011, 1:53 am

6.3) XFCE:

From the XFCE site.
"About Xfce
"Xfce is a lightweight desktop environment for various *NIX systems. Designed for productivity, it loads and executes applications fast, while conserving system resources." - Olivier Fourdan, creator of Xfce
Xfce 4.6 embodies the traditional UNIX philosophy of modularity and re-usability. It consists of a number of components that together provide the full functionality of the desktop environment. They are packaged separately and you can pick and choose from the available packages to create the best personal working environment. "

http://www.xfce.org/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xfce
http://wiki.xfce.org/

3rd party Themes, Wallpapers, and icon can be found here.
http://xfce-look.org/


table of content
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"It's warm in the crowd, but it stinks" -- Miroslav Krleža
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Posts: 65
Joined: February 13th, 2011, 1:21 pm
Location: Scotland

LXDE

Postby kelsoo » July 9th, 2011, 1:54 am

6.4) LXDE:

From the LXDE site.
"The "Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment" is an extremely fast-performing and energy-saving desktop environment. Maintained by an international community of developers, it comes with a beautiful interface, multi-language support, standard keyboard short cuts and additional features like tabbed file browsing. LXDE uses less CPU and less RAM than other environments. It is especially designed for cloud computers with low hardware specifications, such as, netbooks, mobile devices (e.g. MIDs) or older computers. "

http://lxde.org/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LXDE
http://wiki.lxde.org/en/Main_Page
Other 3rd party Themes, Wallpapers, and icon can be found here.
http://box-look.org/
http://debian-art.org/


table of content
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"It's warm in the crowd, but it stinks" -- Miroslav Krleža
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net-install

Postby kelsoo » July 9th, 2011, 1:54 am

6.5) Building your own system with a net install:

With Debian you have the choice of doing a net install a from a minimalistic CD.
http://www.debian.org/CD/netinst/
You may want to do a net install if you have a poor internet connection or old hardware that would struggle with a full DE. You could then build your own lighter system using a window manager and a file manager of your choice.

table of content
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Location: Scotland

Window Managers

Postby kelsoo » July 9th, 2011, 1:55 am

7) Window Managers:overview.

see more in the additional information section.
http://forums.debian.net/viewtopic.php? ... 91#p338591

A window manager controls the window your GUI applications run in. How you Move ,expand, hide, shrink, them, and how they inter-react with each other. There are three basic types. Composting, Stacking, and Tiling. Composting tend to be part of a Desktop environment. Some common window-managers you may use are: The "Boxes" blackbox,flux, openbox. Others include icewm, fvwm, Pekfm. All of these are quite popular with new users, so one of those might be a good start for a window manager.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Window_managers
http://xwinman.org/

File managers:
Quote ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File_manager

"A file manager or file browser is a computer program that provides a user interface to work with file systems. The most common operations used are create, open, edit, view, print, play, rename, move, copy, delete, attributes, properties, search/find, and permissions. Files are typically displayed in a hierarchy. Some file managers contain features inspired by web browsers, including forward and back navigational buttons."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison ... e_managers
http://www.linuxlinks.com/article/20081 ... agers.html


table of content
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"It's warm in the crowd, but it stinks" -- Miroslav Krleža
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Location: Scotland

Additional Information, common tasks

Postby kelsoo » July 9th, 2011, 1:55 am

B) Additional information:

B1) Learning more: common tasks:

I may add to the sections below as and when. If anyone wants to contribute any of the below or suggest new section's in the same or similar "bite sized chunks" feel free to PM me on the debian.forums. If I can add it with out destroying the flow for new users I shall. If you find your addition is growing to big please post in into the "tips from our members" section or try and break it down. If it becomes overly technical please post to the how to section instead. I see this as an over view of facts, with each section linking to tips and solutions for the "stable" release in as few words a possible. Not a huge list of detailed tips and solutions, they should be in suitable sections of the forum in their own right.


table of content
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su and sudo

Postby kelsoo » July 9th, 2011, 1:56 am

B1.1) SU and SUDO:

The su and sudo commands are used in a terminal to give you root access to the system. You can of course log on as root but this is not generally a good idea; once logged on in a particular identity, you tend to continue in that identity until you log off again, and it is bad practice to work as root for long periods.

Instead you should use su to become root "for the duration". You will need to give the root password which you set when you installed Debian. Your prompt will change to show that you are now root. When you have done what you need to do as root, type exit to get back to your own identity.

The sudo command is a more selective alternative to su, particularly useful if there are several users of your system. By editing, as root, the file /etc/sudoers, you can give root access to a specific individual for specific commands only. This is much safer than letting them know the root password. The man page for sudoers gives details of the syntax for this file.

To use sudo, simply preface the command you wish to execute as root with the word sudo. You will be asked to enter your own password to prove your identity. The system will then check whether you have been given permission to execute this particular command as root; if so, it will be executed. Sudo "remembers" you for a short time so that you can give a group of sudo commands without entering your password each time.

Both the Gnome and the KDE desktops include graphical front-ends for su. The Gnome version is called gksu and the KDE version kdesu. Gnome also has a front-end for sudo, gksudo.


table of content
Last edited by nadir on July 9th, 2011, 2:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
"It's warm in the crowd, but it stinks" -- Miroslav Krleža
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Posts: 65
Joined: February 13th, 2011, 1:21 pm
Location: Scotland

File Permissions

Postby kelsoo » July 9th, 2011, 1:56 am

B1.2) File Permissions:

In Linux, every file and folder belongs to some user who can, in principle, control other users' access to it. Access rights are known as "permissions" and there are three types: read, write and execute. Read allows you access to the file on a read-only basis; applied to a directory (folder), it allows you access to the files within. Write allows you to modify a file or to create, remove or rename files within a directory. Execute allows you to run a program or script contained in a file or to explore the contents of a directory.

Separate permissions are granted to the file's owner, to other members of the owner's group, and to the rest of the world. The full permissions can be seen if you use the command ls -l to list the contents of a directory in "long" form, i.e. full details.The file permissions then appear on the left-hand side of the output as a string of nine characters. The first three are the read, write and execute rights for the owner, the next three are for the group, and the final three for the world. A hyphen indicates that the corresponding right has not been granted.

So rw-r----- means that the owner has read and write access, the group read access only and the rest of the world no access at all. These would be suitable permissions for a data file. rwxr-xr-x means that the owner has read,write and execute access, and everyone else (group and world) has read and execute access only. These are typical permissions for a data directory or a Linux command.

All files that you create belong to you but you do not have to set the file permissions explicitly. New files are given sensible default permissions controlled by your user mask or "umask". You can use the chmod command to change the permissions on particular files from their default values; you can also use the umask command to change the defaults permanently if you do not like them.

Note that, as a security precaution, new files do not have execute access set, although directories may. Execute access to a directory is harmless; it merely allows you to browse the contents. Execute access to a file allows any program or script contained in the file to be run, which is potentially dangerous. So if you download something from the Internet, it will not be executable unless you explicitly make it so by using chmod.
Last edited by nadir on July 9th, 2011, 2:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
"It's warm in the crowd, but it stinks" -- Miroslav Krleža
kelsoo
 
Posts: 65
Joined: February 13th, 2011, 1:21 pm
Location: Scotland

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