Linux: A Quick Guide
This guide is meant for experienced unix users, but are new to linux, or
find a linux box and need to get going quickly. Very practical, with
some buzzwords so you know what to do. I will not discuss installation,
I assume somebody has already done that for you.
Linux is a very complete installation of unix. It probably 'feels' more
like SunOS then Solaris, but has a BSD features as well as SYSV features.
POSIX compliant, they say. You will probably find the GNU utilities
(ls, mv, cp, find, grep, awk, make, ...) for all the commands you would
use on a daily basis.
If you still have to boot your PC, there are several possibilities, of which
I list the following common ones:
- with a boot floppy. It is probably labeled and you simply boot all the
way to a "login:" prompt.
- LILO (LInux LOader). This is a bootstrap method (technically it
has a little bootstrap loader on the master boot record of you
boot drive) which allows you to choose your boot. Most often it's
configured such that it waits for a few seconds at the "boot:"
prompt, which you may have to activate with the CTRL or SHIFT key.
At the prompt you can then enter the boot mode. Hit the TAB key to see
which the valid options are.
- LOADLIN from DOS, which assumes you are already in DOS. There should
be a batch file called LINUX.BAT, just execute it. It might live in
C:\LODLIN, or in one of the elements of %PATH.
The bare login you will find on your linux box is often referred to as the
console (tty1). In fact, most linux kernels are configured with a number
(default: 6) virtual consoles (VCs, tty1 through tty6). Each provides you
with a login shell, and you can switch between VSs using the infamous
function keys: ALT-Fn (n=1..6). You can cut and paste with the mouse,
program is running. Selection is done with the left
mouse button (and drag it over the section you want to cut), and paste it
with the right mouse (the middle mouse button is not used in this context).
Common shells are sh (actually: bash) and csh (actually: tcsh).
You can start X-windows with startx, which is actually
a script that
calls xinit with optional arguments (such as the ones
where you select 8bit or 16bit colors).
The most popular window
manager is probably fvwm, controlled by a .fvwmrc file,
but both twm and openwindows are available.
You will find most, if not all, of your favorite X-windows features
in what will appear on your screen with the following unique features:
- you can shut down X-windows quickly with CTRL_ALT_BACKSP
(don't confuse it with CTRL_ALT_DEL; this will shut down
linux and reboot the machine)
- you can cycle through different window configurations with
CTRL_ALT_+ (forwards) and CTRL_ALT_- (backwards)
- when the physical screensize is smaller than the virtual screensize,
moving your mouse to the edge will cause the display to scroll
- If you have a mouse with two buttons, the middle mouse is emulated
by hitting both the left and right mouse button at the same time.
caldera is a commercial version of linux. It's most visible aspect
is the window manager, which has drop-and-drag and has a lot of the
Windows96 look and feel.
Here are some common deviced (see also /dev/MAKEDEV),
with their DOS counterpart, and for some an often used nickname (symlink).
/dev/fd0 A: floppy /a
/dev/fd1 B: floppy /b
/dev/hda1 C: first partition on the first IDE drive
/dev/hdb2 second partition on the second IDE drive
/dev/sda1 first partition on the first SCSI drive
/dev/scd0 first SCSI cdrom /dev/cdrom
/dev/rmt0 first SCSI tape /dev/tape
/dev/ttyS0 COM1: /dev/mouse
/dev/ttyS1 COM2: /dev/mouse
/dev/cua0 COM1: /dev/modem
/dev/cua1 COM2: /dev/modem
/dev/lp0 LPT1: /dev/printer
There exists a rather well functioning DOS emulator (DOSEMU),
that can be activated with
dos in a console , and xdos.
You may have to umount your DOS partition if you need write access.
Use exitemu to exit.
Popular modem communication programs are minicom (a procom
lookalike) and seyon (an X-windows program). Setting up a
PPP or SLIP link is mostly done via a simple script (e.g. pppstart
and pppkill). Alternative networking is done with the term
or slirp package that emulate a TCP/IP connection.
Often printers are configured for DOS, and if you try and use lpr
you will get the whole file on one line, or get the infamous staircase
effect. You can try filtering your unix textfile through todos:
todos < file | lpr
Printing postscript files is done via a script that uses ghostscript to
converts postscript to your printers native format.
You cannot simply turn the power off. You can either run
shutdown or reboot, and then turn off the power
when told it's safe.
Peter Teuben; 7-feb-96