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Spring Into Linux

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Spring Into Linux


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The power and flexibility of the Linux desktop - for working professionals needing to get up to speed fast on Linux.

° From Janet Valade, best-selling PHP author and longtime Linux expert.

° Covers the three most popular versions of Linux: Fedora, SuSE, and Mandrake PLUS both the GNOME and KDE desktop suites

° Fast-paced: introductory tutorials give way to advanced topics such as the Linux command line and Linux shell scripts - all in the unique Spring Into one-page and two-page tutorial format.


  • Copyright 2005
  • Dimensions: 7x9-1/4
  • Pages: 360
  • Edition: 1st
  • Book
  • ISBN-10: 0-13-185354-6
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-13-185354-6

The fastest route to true Linux mastery!

You know your way around Windows (or maybe a Mac, or even UNIX). Now, you're ready for Linux.

And you don't have a minute to waste.

Welcome. This book's for you.

Janet Valade has spent thirteen years helping new users master Linux and related technologies. She knows the "magic words" that'll help you get the job done, fast. (And she knows exactly how to keep you out of trouble, too!)

You'll learn Linux through dozens of focused, bite-size examples, each one carefully designed to build on what you've learned before.

Need specific solutions? This book's carefully crafted, high-efficiency format delivers them... instantly. Working on Fedora? Mandrake? SuSE? No matter. This book is for you.

No other introduction to Linux covers this much, this well, this quickly. Dig in, get started, get results!

  • All you need to succeed with Linux—without the hassles!

  • Choose the best Linux distribution for your personal or business needs

  • Get Linux installed quickly and running reliably

  • Handle your day-to-day tasks and efficiently manage your files

  • Master KDE, GNOME, and the Linux command line

  • Write documents and build spreadsheets with OpenOffice.org

  • Set up Web access, email, and instant messaging

  • Work with powerful Linux multimedia and graphics software

  • Find, install, and run new Linux software

  • Set up your printer to work with Linux

  • Supercharge Linux with shell scripts and customized configuration files

Includes concise Linux command reference and quick guide to building powerful Regular Expressions

Spring Into... is a new series of fast-paced tutorials from Addison-Wesley Professional Publishers. Each book in the series is designed to bring you up-to-speed quickly. Complex technologies are reduced to their core components, and each component is treated with remarkable efficiency in one- or two-page spreads. Just the information you need to begin working...now! And because the books are example-rich and easy to navigate, you'll find that they make great on-the-job references after you've mastered the basics.

© Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

Sample Content

Online Sample Chapter

Using Your Linux Desktop

Downloadable Sample Chapter

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Table of Contents


About the Author.

About the Series Editor.

1. Understanding Open Source Software.

    Open Source Software

    Open Source License

    Linux Is Open Source Software

    What Is GNU?


2. Choosing a Linux Distribution.

    Distribution Contents

    Red Hat/Fedora



    Other Distributions

    Live CDs


3. Getting Ready to Install Linux.

    Hardware Requirements

    Hardware Compatibility

    Purchasing Linux

    Downloading Linux

    Planning Your Computer System

    Running Linux with Windows

    Examining Your Hard Drive

    Making Room for Linux During Installation

    Making Room for Linux Before Installation

    Booting from the CD or from a Floppy


4. Installation.

    Installation Overview

    Starting the Fedora Installation Procedure

    Collecting Hardware Information for Fedora

    Selecting the Installation Type for Fedora

    Selecting Where to Install Fedora

    Collecting Network Information for Fedora

    Languages and Time Zone for Fedora

    Creating the Root Account for Fedora

    Selecting Packages to Install on Fedora

    Installing the Fedora System

    Starting the Mandrake Installation Procedure

    Collecting Information for Mandrake

    Selecting Packages to Install on Mandrake

    Installing the Mandrake System

    Creating Accounts for Mandrake

    Configuration Summary for Mandrake

    Finishing Mandrake Installation

    Starting the SuSE Installation Procedure

    Configuration Settings for SuSE

    Selecting Packages to Install on SuSE

    Installing the SuSE System

    Configuring the Installed SuSE System

    Finishing SuSE Installation


5. Interacting with Linux.

    The Graphical User Interface on Linux



    The Command-Line Interface on Linux

    Choosing the Interface


6. Using Your Desktop.

    Logging In

    Your First Login

    Anatomy of a Desktop

    KDE and GNOME Desktops

    The Panel

    Working on the Desktop

    Configuring the Desktop

    Changing the KDE Background

    Changing the GNOME Background

    Setting Fonts

    Setting the Screen Saver

    Organizing the Desktop

    Changing the Panel Location and Size

    Configuring Multiple Virtual Desktops

    Logging Out


7. Using the Command Line.

    Entering Commands

    Entering a Single Command

    Command-Line Syntax

    Redirecting Input and Output

    Running Commands in the Background

    Editing the Command Line

    Command-Line Help

    Some Useful Commands

    The sort Command

    The grep Command

    Configuring the Terminal Window


8. Linux Accounts.

    Account Types


    Account Information

    Adding Accounts


    Group Information

    Adding Groups

    Forgotten Root Password


9. File Management.

    File Organization

    File Information

    Examining Files from the Desktop

    Examining Files from the Command Line

    File Permissions

    Changing Permissions

    Managing Owners and Groups

    File Types

    Finding Files

    Creating Directories, Files, and Links

    Copying, Renaming, and Moving Files

    Viewing and Editing Text Files

    Deleting Files and Directories


10. Applications and Programs.


    Linux Commands


    Managing Application Software

    Installing from the Distribution CDs

    Installing from the Distribution Web Site

    Finding Packages on the Internet

    Installing Packages Using RPM

    Installing Packages from Source Code


11. Word Processing.

    Creating a Document

    Menus and Toolbars



    Using Templates

    Creating Templates

    Editing Document Contents


    Spell Checking

    Tables and Columns


    Graphics in Documents

    The Gallery

    Document File Formats

    Tracking Changes


12. Spreadsheets.

    Creating a Spreadsheet

    Menus and Toolbars

    Formatting Cells

    Formatting Pages

    Editing the Spreadsheet Content

    Formulas and Functions

    Saving and Printing


13. Graphics.

    Graphics File Formats

    Viewing Graphics Files

    Scanning Documents

    Presentation Graphics

    Digital Cameras

    Screen Shots

    Diagramming with Dia

    Drawing with OpenOffice Draw

    Creating and Opening Images in the GIMP

    The GIMP Toolbox

    Changing Image Size in GIMP

    Removing Elements from an Image in GIMP

    Adding Elements to an Image in the GIMP

    Working with Layers in the GIMP


14. Printing.

    Installing Your Printer on Fedora

    Installing Your Printer on Other Distributions


    Managing Print Jobs


15. The Internet.

    Accessing the Internet

    Hardware for Accessing the Internet

    Checking Your Network Connections

    Adding a Dial-Up Network Connection

    Adding a Broadband Network Connection

    Web Browsers

    Browsing with Mozilla

    Mozilla Menus and Toolbars

    The Mozilla Sidebar

    Tabbed Browsing in Mozilla

    Controlling Pop-Ups with Mozilla

    Downloads, Forms, Passwords, and Cookies



16. Multimedia.

    Configuring Your Sound Card

    Playing Audio CDs

    Downloading Music



    Video Players



    Listening to Radio

    Copying Music Files from CD to Hard Disk


17. Email, Messaging, and News.

    Email Accounts

    Email Software

    Setting Up an Email Account

    Configuring Mozilla Email

    Reading Email in Mozilla

    Sending Email in Mozilla

    Mozilla Message Filters

    Creating a Message Filter in Mozilla


    Mozilla Address Book

    Adding and Editing Address Cards

    Instant Messaging

    Signing Up for AIM

    Signing Up for MSN Messenger

    Signing On with Gaim

    IM Conversations



18. Editing Text Files.

    Opening a File in Kate

    Editing in Kate

    Kate Features for Programmers

    Opening a File in vi

    Editing and Saving Files with vi

    Moving Around a File in vi

    vi Editing Commands

    Sample vi Editing Session


19. Shell Scripts.

    A Simple Shell Script

    The Basics of Variables and Arrays

    Reading Data into Variables

    Special Characters and Quotes

    Flow Control

    Testing Conditions

    If Statements

    Case Statements

    For Loops

    While Loops and Until Loops

    Infinite Loops

    Scheduling Scripts to Run Automatically

    A Sample Script


Appendix A: Regular Expressions.

Appendix B: Command Reference.



Untitled Document I am not only a writer of technical books, I am also a consumer of technical books. I like learning from books. All the information is pulled together for me, arranged in a logical learning sequence by someone who understands the subject. I learn much faster when a good book on the subject is available. This applies to all areas of my life, not just computing. I have a library that includes how-to books for everything I have ever tried to do—from meditating to playing the guitar to fixing my dryer to growing herbs.

This book is the book I needed when I was learning Linux. The essential information is inside, organized into compact chunks—a lot of information in a small space. This book is too small to be a good doorstop or stepping stool to the top shelf, but just right for getting up and productive with Linux in no time at all.

Who Should Read This Book?
The book is meant for computer users who are new to Linux. Your understanding of computer concepts and experience with another operating system allows you to grasp the Linux information quickly. You do not need to be told how to press the power switch. You are way beyond this. You can get your work done on Windows (or Mac or UNIX); you just need a quick start guide for working on Linux.

It is not impossible to learn Linux from this book without a background in computers—just difficult. The book assumes an understanding of concepts and computer use that you may not possess. However, if you appreciate a book that assumes you can understand quickly and delivers information in a compact form, without distractions and repetitive explanations, give this one a try. It might work for you.

How Is This Book Organized?
This book is organized in 19 chapters. Each chapter focuses on a topic, providing an overview and how-to information. The chapters are as follows:

Chapter 1, Understanding Open Source Software: Describes open source beliefs and practices. See how they differ from the beliefs and practices prevalent with proprietary software.

Chapter 2, Choosing a Linux Distribution: Provides the information needed to choose among the many Linux flavors.

Chapter 3, Getting Ready to Install Linux: Instructions for preparing your computer for a Linux install.

Chapter 4, Installation: Installation steps.

Chapter 5, Interacting with Linux: How to get work done using Linux.

Chapter 6, Using Your Desktop: How to use the two major Linux desktops—KDE and GNOME.

Chapter 7, Using the Command Line: How to enter commands directly into Linux, without using the desktop.

Chapter 8, Linux Accounts: No work can be done on a Linux system without using a Linux account. This chapter describes how to create accounts and associated information, such as passwords, owners, groups, and so forth.

Chapter 9, File Management: How to create, copy, rename, delete, and otherwise manage Linux files.

Chapter 10, Applications and Programs: How to download, install, and run Linux applications and programs.

Chapter 11, Word Processing: How to use the OpenOffice word processing application.

Chapter 12, Spreadsheets: How to use the OpenOffice spreadsheet application.

Chapter 13, Graphics: How to create, edit, and manipulate different types of graphics files.

Chapter 14, Printing: How to set up and use a printer on Linux.

Chapter 15, The Internet: How to access and browse the Internet.

Chapter 16, Multimedia: How to play sound and video files on Linux.

Chapter 17, Email, Messaging, and News: How to communicate with other people over the Internet.

Chapter 18, Editing Text Files: How to create and edit text files, such as HTML files, program source code, and Linux configuration files.

Chapter 19, Shell Scripts: How to write and use shell scripts.
Two appendixes are also included:

Appendix A, Regular Expressions: How to build regular expressions, patterns used by many different Linux applications.

Appendix B, Command Reference: Description and information about the commands available for use with the CLI.

What's Unusual About This Book?
This book—like the other books in the Spring Into ... Series—provides the following eccentricities:

•Each topic is explained in a discrete one- or two-page unit called a "chunk."

•Each chunk builds on the previous chunks in that chapter.

•Most chunks contain one or more examples. I learn best from examples. I don't think my learning style is unique. I believe I have company in my appreciation for examples.

The heading for each chunk appears in the table of contents. The small chunk size means the chunk heading pinpoints small amounts of information. Finding information is so easy.

Information is packed densely in each chunk. I have toiled to make each word contribute to your understanding of Linux. The result is focussed information—information you can find when you need it.

Who Helped Me Write This Book?
Linux is the motivation for this book. I am a huge Linux fan. So, I would have to say that all the Linux developers in the world helped me write this book. What would I have to say if Linux were not the great operating system that it is?

Of course, having something to say is not sufficient. You must say it clearly and accurately. Editors have the difficult job of keeping an author on track toward clear and accurate. My editors are extraordinarily good at this part of their job. Without my editors, this book would veer much further toward what-in-the-world-does-that-mean and that-can't-be-right.


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