Kubuntu 9.10 – A look around the place


I just spent the better part of a month playing around with Karmic Koala, along with coursework and my “job” (tutoring for my local college), so I haven’t had a chance to post anything new here.  Today, I’m going to give you a brief look around the desktop, and how to get certain things done in Karmic Koala.  You’re going to find that it’s eerily similar to Windows—yet different.

First things first:  The Desktop itself.  Kubuntu is designed with the KDE desktop shell, which is patterned after the familiar Windows desktop.  In fact, with a few tweaks, you can make KDE start up in a way that looks almost exactly like Windows XP.  I may touch on this in a later post.

KubuntuDesktopo

Things to note:

  • The “K” in the corner is the KDE version of the “Start Menu” from Windows.
  • Your “Desktop” (the icons that you’re used to seeing in Windows) open up inside of a folder, aptly named “Desktop”.  It’s located in /home/username/Desktop.  This location would be the equivalent of “C:\Documents and Settings\username\Desktop in Windows).
  • Linux provides you with a default of 2 “virtual desktops” which can be configured to more and named.  You can move items to the alternate desktop and they run independent of your main desktop.

Now, we’ll take a look at the Start Menu.  It opens up and acts similar to the Vista/Windows 7 Start Menu, in that when you click on an item, it opens over top of the other items in the list.  In XP, things like your Programs menu would open up to the side.

KubuntuMainStartMenu

This is the main start menu.  These are the predefined “Favorites” items.  As you can see, the main menu items are along the bottom (as opposed to top down in Windows).

When you click on one of the favorite, it will open that file.  If you click on Applications on the bottom, it will replace those favorites with the Applications menu like this:

KubuntuApplicationsMenu

This is the functional equivalent of the Programs Menu in Windows.  Where the Programs Menu is divided up by folders or by the name of the publisher (or the name of the program), KDE uses the category that the program falls into (Internet, Multimedia, System, etc).  Clicking on a category (I chose the Internet category) brings up the submenu similar to this:

KubuntuApplicationsSubMenu

In the upper right hand corner, it tells you which submenu you are in (“Internet” in my case).  From here, you click the actual program and run it.

Now, we’ll look at the Computer menu:

KubuntuComputerMenu

As you can see, this is divided up into Applications, which are the programs that will take direct effect on the computer or system, and places, which are the main locations that you will probably go.  The places will open up in Dolphin or Nautilus, which is the KDE version of Windows Explorer/My Computer.

The most important things to remember about Linux are these:

  • The “root” as listed in the computer section is denoted by a “/” and is the equivalent of the “C:\” in WIndows.
  • Also, where Windows uses the \ to denote the separator between folders, Linux uses the / for that. 
  • Also Linux doesn’t have  a specific folder like “C:\Windows\” to hold it’s system files.  It may use /sbin or /bin for those (sbin == system binaries and bin == binaries. Binaries are the executable versions of the files).

To a Windows user, this may seem disorganized.  But, Linux follows the “Unix”-style of folder organization, and Unix has been around a lot longer than Windows.  In fact your Macintosh probably uses this same (or similar) style.  The main difference between Windows and Linux here, is that Microsoft took the Unix style, and patterned it into an order that would make more sense to the average user.  Or simply renamed some of the folders to a more meaningful name (C:\Windows and C:\Windows\System32 instead of /sbin.  C:\Program Files instead of /bin.  C:\Documents and Settings or C:\Users instead of /home.) But the functionality is still the same in both.

In my next post, I will take a look at how to update Linux.

Have a great day:) And if you’re in the United States, Happy Thanksgiving.

Patrick.

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