GETTING STARTED WITH DEBIAN LINUX
by Miles Standish and David Hart
FIRST - A little more about the directory (folder) structure of Debian. The very top level is called "root" and is identified only by a forward slash (/). Within (or below) that, we have a great number of system directories and two others of immediate interest: "home" and "media." "Media" is where you will find your CD and DVD drives, and where USB flash memory drives will show up when you plug them into the computer. The home directory belongs to the users, of which there may be one or many. In the computers furnished for this evaluation project, there is only one user, called "Owner." Often a user directory is named by the first name of the person using it. Each user will have a Desktop directory and several other directories created by the system. One can create more directories and sub-directories. Everything in the directory naming is case sensitive. The directory "Desktop" is created by Debian and is capitalized by default.
In the Debian repositories, Krusader is described as a twin panel "commander-style" file manager. That is, it is similar to the Windows utility called Total Commander. Very versatile and powerful, this or some equivalent is useful for easy file management in Debian. With it you can easily copy, move, make shortcuts, rename, and delete folders and files. You can also transfer files to and from a web server (publish and manage your website), and pack or unpack files (equivalent to zip or unzip). As you might have done with Total Commander, you can synchronize directories for backup to a removable storage medium, but you can do it much easier with snap2 (see the page labeled "Snap2 Backup." With Krusader you can also open the Debian Linux terminal where you can issue command-line instructions to your computer. Many of these functions are initiated with function keys (F4, F5, etc.).
When you first open Krusader and look at /home/Owner/, you will see a multitude of directories with a dot (.) in front of them.
This means they are hidden directories, and you normally will not need to see them.
To remove them from view, click on "View"
and uncheck "Show Hidden Files."
MORE ON "LINKS" -- A very useful feature of Krusader is to make shortcuts (called links in Linux) . Why make links? The main reason is to be able to store your user files or folders in a convenient or logical location where they will get backed up, but then be able to access them easily from another location, such as your desktop.
Your computer files are probably very important to you. You should always remember to back them up to your target backup folder/drive where they will be safely stored (remember, your hard drive will fail some day). We will cover the subject of making and updating backups using snap2 later. Just as with Windows, you can delete desktop shortcuts whenever you don't want them any more.
Why not just back up the Desktop and not bother with these links? The reason is that you will almost certainly have a lot of temporary stuff on your Desktop that you don't need to back up. Also, if you back up the Desktop there will be no organization to it, so you would have a hard time finding anything.
This aspect of file management - making links - has two parts:
(1) First you must have a file or folder - often called a target - to which you want to create a link. These may already exist, or, to make a new document file, first open a program (Writer, Calc, KeePassx, etc.) and type something if you wish (but you can save it empty), give the new document a name and save it in the desired location. If you create different types of documents or documents for different activities, you can make folders (directories) for each category.
There are already some very broad categories, called Documents, Downloads, Music, Videos, and more.
(2) Then to make a link on the Desktop, navigate to the new document in one panel of Krusader. Using the mouse in the same fashion as with Windows Explorer, navigate the other panel to the desktop. Then use the mouse to drag the new document file to the desktop panel and release the mouse button. A window will open, giving you the option to "link here." Choose that, and your shortcut is made.
Note that for creating the link you can drag this file to almost any portion of the desktop panel - don't worry about putting it on top of something else. But one place you cannot drag it is to the vacant space at the top of the panel where the UP arrow is. If you later move or delete your file, the shortcut will be broken, and you can either recreate or delete the link. The link is actually a symbolic link, which could be created by a Command-Line terminal command, but it's much easier as described above.
It is not necessary to write much about Krusader, because it is almost completely self-explanatory. However, Krusader is a program for the Kde desktop, and we are using the Gnome desktop. Once installed, it was necessary to make changes to the Settings/Configuration entries so it will work properly with the Debian Gnome Desktop. All this was done prior to distributing the computers.