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How to Get Started With Linux (Page 1/4)

Posted: July 11, 2000
Written By: Keith "Farrel" McClellan


Ok, you've spent all this time getting Linux installed in whatever configuration you please, and now you're sitting there at the login screen thinking, "What in the high holy blazes [ed. note: profanity removed] should I do now!?!" And you are looking at my guide and wondering why I didn't include a bunch of stuff on getting started with Linux along with it - well this guide is why. Rather than briefly explaining a few minor things, I'm going to go into depth about a few less minor things while still covering the minor things as well.

Basically, I'm going to cover a few very important topics in this guide, plus whatever else I feel like throwing in while I write the thing. I will be covering initial system setup, which will include logging in and making sure your video card is set up properly and you can connect to the Internet. I will hopefully be able to tell you which programs you are going to be using to substitute for your favorite Windows programs. Maybe I'll even throw in some stuff about recompiling your kernel.

Logging In

Assuming that you installed Mandrake 7.0 the same way I did, you are probably faced with the standard KDE login prompt for X Window. Here you have a field for your login name, password, and a drop-down menu listing a bunch of different shell/logins you can use to start X Window. To do some of the stuff we are going to be discussing in this how to guide, you are going to need to be logged in as the root - however, during normal operation, you really aught to be logged in on your 'other' account. If you didn't set up your 'other account' you can do it from within Drakconf using the Add Users applet. When you log in, make sure you choose Gnome from the dropdown menu. Yes, I know there is an ongoing debate between what is better, Gnome or KDE, but Gnome is much easier to use coming out of Windows.

Note: Drakconf is a distribution specific program. If you aren't using Mandrake 7.0 or later, you may not have the program - however, it is likely that a similar program comes with your distribution.

Setting up your Video Card Driver

Drakconf is the place where you will be going for all of your basic system changing needs, including basic video card information. There is a little video card button in Drakconf - if you click it, you will get the change resolution screen - which is just fine if you want to change the resolution but kind of stinky if you need to set up a driver - however, if you click cancel it will open up what you need - select the change video card listing. You will then get a very long list of video cards - find the one you have and select it. And there you go. If you are using an Nvidia card and would like to use 3D acceleration, you will also need to go and download Xfree86 4.0 off the Internet for 3D support - but that's a bit more complicated than I want to go into here. If you don't want to have to do that manually, install Mandrake Linux 7.1 (brand new - very large download too and it isn't available in stores yet…) - it will install it and configure it for you.

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