GETTING STARTED WITH DEBIAN LINUX
by David Hart and Miles Standish
Welcome to the Linux Evaluation Project. This project is designed to allow members of the Verde Valley Computer Club - and others, as resources allow - to evaluate the open source Debian Linux Operating System (freeware – Code name “Squeeze”) at no financial cost to themselves.
This is an informal site, sometimes written in the first person by David or by Miles.
It is meant to be updated frequently, as we all gain more experience.
The object of using a website for this is to save paper and prevent the publishing of out-of-date documents.
Linux is an Operating System similar to Microsoft Windows or AppleOS. An Operating System is what I call the traffic cop of the computer because it allows programs to run and directs movements of data around the computer like documents, pictures, files, and etc. It also has human user interfaces designed to allow one to use a mouse, keyboard, and other input/output devices (flash drives, monitors, printers, etc). Therefore, you can interact with the computer in a way that makes sense to you and to the computer or network (usually.....).
This project re-utilizes donated computers that are capable of running Linux without any modifications. These computers are offered to club members at no charge, and will be setup and maintained by the project managers so that the evaluators will not have to use their evaluation time to fix or repair their computers, no matter what problem arises.
If members already have an older computer they are not using, we can set it up with Debian Linux and will support it just like the other computers.
Training and handouts will be provided and available on this website to the participants/evaluators. Handouts will include:
3. Applications & Utilities
5. Directory Structure
6. Managing Files
7. Links (Shortcuts)
9. Internet: Browsing & etc.
10. Email: Setup and Use
11. CDs & DVDs: Burn & etc.
12. Encrypt & Decrypt: Messages
13. Krusader File Manager: Use like Windows Explorer; plus upload/download files to a remote server
14. Open Office: Writer, Calc, Base and more.
15. Webcam with Skype
16. Virtual Box: Run Windows Inside the Box
17. snap2 Backup Program
Evaluation forms will also be provided so that the evaluators can answer questions and provide feedback to the project managers.
The computers and the Debian Linux Operation System will all be set up the same exact way, therefore standardizing the way they look and operate. A handout will describe what the main desktop should look like and what programs and utilities will be available to the participants. Training handouts will also be included. Participants are asked to at least evaluate the programs/utilities provided, but they can also add others to suit their needs.
Why use Linux? Why use Debian? Follow this link to learn why. After the project is over, and after the participants have learned basically how to use Linux, they can experiment/use any version they choose.
All Linux Operating Systems share a common core, but what is different about the numerous versions is the Desktop Graphical User Interface (GUI) or environment, and the Command Line Interpreter (CLI) shell. This GUI gives the particular Linux distribution its look and feel, then some applications and utilities are added to make it usable to the person working on the computer. For our project the CLI will not be a requested evaluation item, but the participants can learn and use it if they so choose. The CLI is run in the Terminal mode (described later).
The project computers will boot up into Debian Linux using “Gnome” as the GUI. They will automatically login to the “owner” user account and the desktop background will appear, along with status bars, menu items, and certain desktop Icons. It will look somewhat different from Windows or AppleOS, but with a little tinkering, you will find that much of what you have learned on other Operating Systems, will be applicable and available in Linux.
Some applications/utilities will be the same or similar. For instance, numerous Internet Browsers can be run on Linux, and Windows too. But some of your old favorites may not be available for Linux, so other similar applications can be installed and used. Almost all Linux applications are freeware, and just about anything you can do in Windows, you can do in Linux.