LINUX: Easy Linux For Beginners, Your Step-By-Step Guide to Learning The Linux Operating System and Command Line (2015)
Chapter Five: Post-Installation Activities
In this chapter, we will talk about the things that you can do after having your Linux OS installed – from managing hardware to installing additional software.
Managing Hardware and Peripherals
The operating system keeps programs and hardware working together smoothly. The capabilities of Linux are affected by the limitations of your system’s hardware (for example, disk space and memory) so it is important to know more details about your computer’s hardware.
Let’s start with the CPU. The CPU performs all the computing and its speed (in MHz) signifies how fast your computer can handle transactions. Your CPU specs will tell also tell you about the CPU family (most common are x86 and x86-64) and the number of cores that it has. To know more about your CPU, use the Linux commands below:
What it does
This command displays information about the machine, the processor architecture, and the operating system details. Using the -poption will show you the machine processor name. An example isi386 or x86_64 AMD Phenom (tm) II X3 700e Processor
This command returns more information about the system such as the number of CPUs and the CPU speed.
This is a file that contains more information than the one displayed using the lscpu command.
Snippet from a /proc/cpuinfo file:
cpu family: 11
model : 2
model name: Intel(R) Pentium(R) 4 CPU 2.86GHz
Table 7: Commands to get CPU information
Next, let’s discuss your computer’s hard disk. In the installation chapter, I spoke about the importance of making sure that your computer has enough disk space for Linux and the possible need for partitioning your hard disk if you want to run two operating systems at the same time.
If you plan on adding a new disk in the future, learning how to partition will come in handy. Linux supports the following partitioning tools:
Fdisk Tools – This is composed of the text-based tools: fdisk, cfdisk, and sfdisk. These tools are great for use in partitioning, however, it could be a bit overwhelming for beginners who are not yet familiar with partitioning.
libparted Tools – The libparted library presents both GUI and text-based partitioning tools. One particular example is GParted as shown in the screenshot below. The interface makes it easier to use for beginners.
GPT fdisk Tools – These are tools created for GPT (Globally Unique Identifier Partition Table) disks using the fdisk tools.
Figure 12: GParted - GUI-based partitioning tool
Here are some commands that you can use to check the existing disk space in your computer:
What it does
This command displays the disk space usage in all of the mounted devices. The -h option presents the results in a human-readable output, using G for gigabytes or M for megabytes sizes.
This command displays all the files inside the specified directory and their corresponding file sizes. You can also specify a filename.
du -s /home/edulaney/files/
The –s option provides the total file size of the specified directory
Table 8: Commands for Checking Disk Space
Using storage such as USB flash drives and external hard disks in Linux works similarly when using Windows or Mac OS. Plug the device in and Linux will detect the device. Aside from accessing the drive via the desktop GUI, you can also navigate to the /media directory and find the mounted subdirectory.
After you use the removable media, unmount the disk before removing it to avoid any disk issues. You can generally right-click on the Device Name and click on any of the options such as Unmount, Eject Volume, or Safely Remove.
Figure 13: Eject Media
You can connect other devices such as human-interface devices (keyboard, mouse), cameras, mobile phones, scanners and printers to your Linux computer and expect that these work in a plug-and-play manner.
For printers, you will also need to set up the printer configuration after Linux detects the device. Follow the steps below to set-up a new printer. Note that the screenshots are taken from an Ubuntu distribution but this is similar to majority of the distros.
1. Click on System Settings then Printers in the desktop. Provide the root password.
Figure 14: Printer Set-Up Menu
2. Click on the Add button. If the system has detected your printer, the device will show in the list. Otherwise, you will need to continue with the configuration and provide the printer drivers. Click Forward.
Figure 15: New Printer
3. Choose the correct driver. A list of available drivers will be shown – choose the one that is applicable for your printer make. If you do not find the driver on the list, you can also provide the printer driver or download the file online.
Figure 16: Selecting the Driver
4. Fill-up the printer name and description.
Figure 17: Printer Description
5. Lastly, print a test page to make sure it’s working.
Figure 18: Printing a Test Page
Installing Additional Software
Linux-compatible softwares come in .rpm for RPM (Fedore, SUSE) or .deb for Debian (Debian, Ubuntu, Xandros) packages. Even if the type of packages varies, both RPM and Debian packages can be installed in any type of Linux distribution. Popularly used distributions provide a GUI for installing additional applications. In this section, I will discuss on the ways of installing software in Ubuntu and Fedora.
Installing Applications in Ubuntu
Debian-based distros use APT or the Advanced Packaging Tool.
You can use the command below to install packages to your computer.
apt-get install package-name
This command will download the specific package name that you want to install. In case you do not know the package name, you can search for a keyword.
apt-cache search keyword
For example, I am looking for an application that I can use to take screenshots in my GNOME desktop. I can further refine my search functionality with the following command:
apt-cache search screenshot | grep GNOME
The command will display the applicable lines that fit the search string:
shutter - feature-rich screenshot program
Shutteris the package name. Use the package name and run theapt-get install command again.
Aside from installing packages via the command line, you can also use the Software & Updates Tool. The GUI provides a simple and easy way to update your Ubuntu software and download packages.
Figure 19: Software & Update Tool
Similar to Windows and Mac OS application stores, Ubuntu also has its Software Center where you can get new software and download the latest updates.
Figure 20: Ubuntu Software Centre
Installing Applications in Fedora
Fedora uses RPM packages. If you are using a GNOME desktop, you can simply use the Add or Remove Software tool (similar to Windows) to install new software.
Click on System➪ Administration then on Add/Remove Software to access the menu. The utility will then display the Package Manager box showing the list of all packages. Select the corresponding check box and click on Apply or Update (if you are updating the packages). Clicking on the Apply button will install (or uninstall) the specific packages.
Figure 21: Fedora Add/Remove Packages
In this chapter, we reviewed the hardware setup and software installation steps that you can do post-Linux installation. For more detailed procedures, refer to the steps for the particular distribution that you are using. In the next chapter, we will briefly discuss the default Linux applications.