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A Note About Conventions

1.1 A Note About Conventions

At the time you installed your Red Hat Linux system, you were given the option of working entirely in a graphical environment, such as GNOME, or logging in from console mode, which is non-graphical.

If you're like many new Linux users, you're familiar with graphical environments such as Microsoft Windows, Apple Macintosh or IBM's OS/2.

So it's a fairly safe bet that you chose to work in a graphical environment when you installed Red Hat Linux 6.0.

You'll find plenty of opportunities to ``point and click'' on applications -- either on your desktop or from the menu at the bottom of your desktop. But we're going to spend much of our time working from the ``shell prompt.''

Why? Because at the same time you accomplish tasks, you can learn a little more about how your Red Hat Linux system works.

  • Tip: Unlike a graphical presentation, a ``shell prompt'' is the way you can type commands directly to the ``shell.'' You need a shell to use Linux, because it's the tool you use to interact with your operating system. You'll find more information about your shell in Chapter 3.

  • Figure 1: The GNOME footprint on the panel

    There are plenty of ways to get a shell prompt, depending on the kind of graphical environment you're using, such as GNOME. Depending on the environment chosen, just by right- or left-clicking in a blank space on your desktop, you'll see a reference to xterm.

    By ``dragging'' your cursor over that item you will open a shell prompt window. Other times, you'll find you can get a shell prompt window through the menu on your desktop.

    In addition to xterm, other references which will give you the shell prompt include:

    We'll use GNOME as our example.

    To begin, take your cursor to the GNOME footprint on the panel at the bottom of the desktop.

    Now, left-click once on the footprint (see Figure 1), and a menu of ``folders'' will pop up. These folders represent categories of various software groups on our system. There are utilities, graphics programs, Internet applications and much more.

    Once the menu pops up, ``drag'' the cursor to the Utilities section of the menu by holding down the mouse button while raising the mouse to the Utilities folder.

    Once the cursor is over the folder, a new menu pops up to the right of the Utilities folder.

    Here, in the first entries of this new submenu, there is a choice of terminal windows: Regular xterm, Color xterm and GNOME terminal (as shown in Figure 2). To get a shell prompt, position the cursor over the terminal window of your choice, and release the mouse button.

    Figure 2: Shell prompt menus in Utilities

  • Tip: Of the choices in the Panel -> Utilities menu, the GNOME terminal offers the ability to set background color and other preferences most easily.

  • Now, it's time to take your first steps.

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