Mandrakelinux Starter Guide

Peter Kitson

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2. About this User Guide

Welcome and thank you for choosing Mandrakelinux! This manual was written in order to give you a better understanding of the Mandrakelinux system. In it we will focus on graphical applications which will allow you to perform your daily tasks, such as writing documents and e-mails, surfing the web and listening to music. We will also show you how to configure your desktop to your liking, install software, and finally, we’ll give you some tips and tricks to help you fix common and not so common problems.

This book is divided into 5 parts. We start off with Installing Mandrakelinux, where you will learn what you need to know before you actually install Mandrakelinux onto your system (see "Installation Warning", page 7, and "Before Installation", page 9); and how to correctly install and configure your Mandrakelinux distribution ("Installation with DrakX", page 13) by describing the preparation, installation and post-installation procedures.

The next part (Discover) is an introduction to Linux basics. We discuss the Linux paradigm by comparing it to other OSes in "Migrating to Linux from Windows® and Mac OS® X", page 33. In order to help new users, we wrote "Linux for Beginners", page 37. In it we describe the first steps a new user must master and we explain concepts such as "logging in and out", security tips, and more. The following chapter ("Where to Get Documentation", page 43) will guide you through a fairly exhaustive list of documentation sources which you can consult in order to attain a better understanding of Linux. A Mandrakelinux-specific section points to numerous in-house resources which you can find on the Net.We close this part by speaking about the popular KDE graphical environment (see "Using KDE", page 45).

In the next part (Using the Internet) we show you how to browse the web ("Surfing with Mozilla", page 53) and send e-mails ("Sending E-mail with Mozilla", page 59) using the Mozilla suite.

The next part of this manual (Use) deals with everyday applications. We discuss the suite (see Word Processor, page 73, and Spreadsheet, page 75), file managers (see Managing your Files, page 79) and printers (see Printing and Faxing from Applications, page 82). We then tackle the world of multimedia by reviewing audio and movie applications (see Audio Applications, page 89, and Movie Applications, page 92), as well as CD burning (see CD Burning, page 94).

Finally we go through more technical aspects of the Mandrakelinux system (Advanced Uses):

• Mandrakelinux Control Center. This is your main graphical configuration tool (see MCC’s Components, page 103). With it you can configure your boot options ("Boot Device Configuration", page 107), your hardware ("Hardware Setup", page 111), your mount points ("Parameterizing your Mount Points", page 127), and your network ("Setting up your Network and Accessing theWeb", page 137). It can also help you secure your system ("Securing your Linux Box", page 143) and set up your general system settings ("Personalizing your System", page 149) such as customizing your menus (see Customizing your Menus with MenuDrake, page 149) and your start-up services (see Configuring Start-Up Services through DrakXServices, page 152).

Package Management. Mandrakelinux offers you two ways to update your system with normal software updates and security fixes. This can be done through the Rpmdrake Software Manager ("Package Management through Rpmdrake", page 167) which allows you to install and remove software packages, set up Mandrakeupdate sources as well as other media such as Cooker. The urpmi program (combined to its counterpart urpme) allows the same functionalities but through the command line.

Troubleshooting. For most users, switching to GNU/Linux is a challenging experience. And this manual wouldn’t have been complete without a chapter ("Troubleshooting", page 181) dedicated to helping you solve what might go wrong during your GNU/Linux experience. It will give you tips and tricks if "all hell breaks loose": needless to say, this chapter cannot be exhaustive.