Chapter 2: Making Yourself At Home With Linux- Pouring the Foundation


In this installment of the “Leaving The Nest” series, I start making Linux look a bit more like the familiar Windows environment that I  (and most new converts) are accustomed to.
I am reminded of a story that my maternal grandfather used to tell me concerning one of my aunts. Since she was little, she hated how my grandmother had the house set up. She always wanted something moved here, or something moved there. She always felt the living room was a disorganized mess, and swore up and down that there would be order in her house. Fast forward 15 or 20 years, and my grandfather comes over to my Aunt’s house and chuckles as he walks through the door. My aunt demands to know what was so funny, and my grandfather pulls out a picture of my grandmother from his wallet, standing in front of her living room. The furniture itself may have been different, but the placement was near enough to identical to have us all howling (save my aunt, of course).

My point in telling you this story is that while some of us will enjoy Linux precisely because the furniture is different, a great many of us will subconsciously want it placed the same way, at least for a little bit. Until we’re more comfortable with Linux, we will want it to act like Windows in many respects. For some of us, that is as far as we will go. We’ll know in the back of our heads that there is much more we could do with Linux, but as long as we can get our work done, chat with our buddies, and watch movies, we won’t really care if we can hide the visual feedback in the password entry box by typing “sudo gdmsetup” into a Terminal and playing with the settings.

In the spirit of those sort of people (a group to which I belong, at least for now), I am going to attempt to make my new Ubuntu installation do everything it can with just the software it has installed initially, or software that is available through the Applications > Add / Remove Programs menu.
I enjoy speaking on a few IRC networks, so the first thing I am going to hunt is an IRC client. Here is a wonderful feature of Linux: Add/Remove Programs. I can hear you yelling now, [i]Wait! Windows has that, too![/i]. Yes, I’m sure it does. However, I pose the following to you, intrepid adventurers: Have you ever in your life been able to actually ADD a program from it? A widget? A gadget? A notepad document? Grab your inhalers ladies and gentlemen, as you go to the top of the screen, click Applications, and click Add / Remove.

The menu that appears after it scans your system might be a little daunting at first, but relax. You can safely ignore everything but the search box at this point. In the search box, type IRC. You have a couple of options here, but I chose Konversation, again for an arbitrary reason (Ever since Mortal Kombat, I’ve always appreciated the replacing of a C with a K. Those who know my English-Nazi ways would be shocked).

Expecting a lengthy download process, the likes of which inspire millions of people to go and get a cup of coffee every day, I stand up from my chair. As I turn around I catch movement in the corner of my eye, and I turn back to the screen to see that the installation is already complete, and that I can run the program straight from the now-completed installation window. When will I get my coffee now? My Splenda and creamer will gather cobwebs, unused. Damn you, linux! Damn you!

In any case, I sit back down, staring at my empty coffee cup mournfully. Clicking on the Konversation icon brings up the program, and the list of servers. I won’t go into further detail here, except to say that setting up the rest of it was easy. I digress because IRC is not a typical application for people who just want Linux to act like Windows. In my next installation, I will delve deeper into more common applications, such as internet browsers, office productivity software, and listening to music, among other things.

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5 Responses

  1. […] Read more:  Chapter 2: Making Yourself At Home With Linux- Pouring the … […]

  2. And you didn’t even need to restart your computer, like you have to do so often when you install something in Windows!

  3. I’ve been a GNU/Linux user for around 2 years now, and the only time I think I have ever had to restart my PC is for kernel updates, but there is a pretty obvious reason for that.

  4. And, “vladimirmarenus”, not only that, but virtually all Linux distributions have some method of obtaining additional software and adding it to your system. As for a restart boot……doesn’t happen unless it is as ArgentPyro says: a kernel update. Welcome to the ease of the Linux desktop. Looks like you are having fun…..even if the coffee gets cold.

    • I know. I worry about the coffee. I may have to keep the pot next to the computer. 🙂

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