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Working With Files in Linux

What makes Linux so much more robust than Microsoft Windows is the fact that it has a solid command line multitasking operating system at its base. DOS was a command line operating system, but Microsoft never developed it into a multitasking, or even a solid, operating system.

Linux comes with a "graphics server" program called the X Window System that runs on top of Linux and communicates with the video card, keyboard, and mouse on the computer. Gnome is a graphical user interface (GUI) that runs on top of the X Window System and makes Linux look and function very similar to Microsoft Windows.

If a Gnome application crashes, Linux comes down to its base command line operating system, which is, after all the real Linux. Gnome being just a windows manager application that runs on Linux. When a Microsoft Windows GUI goes down, it takes the entire system down.

Gnome is the default (GUI) for Red Hat Linux. You can also use KDE, or a number of other Linux windows managers. Gnome uses a window manager called "Sawfish" that receives commands from the mouse and keyboard and calls a set of graphics libraries, which communicate with the X Window System to manipulate windows on the computer's screen.

If you have used a GUI operating system like Microsoft Windows, you will feel very comfortable using Gnome. Gnome performs all of the basic window management functions like moving, resizing, minimizing, and maximizing windows exactly the same as it's done with Microsoft Windows. There is very little new to learn.

Note: If Gnome does not automatically start when you boot your computer, then type "startx" at a command prompt.

Gnome features a desktop with a control panel at the bottom similar to the taskbar in Windows. When you click the "Home directory" or floppy disk icons on the desktop, the Gnome File Manager opens and displays the contents of those directories.

By default, Red Hat Linux places icons on the panel for accessing the Gnome Help Browser, the Configuration tool, the Gnome terminal emulation program, and Netscape Communicator. You can start any of these applications by clicking on their icon. On the left end of the panel is a button with a penguin's foot print. This is the Main Menu button. Click on the Main Menu button to open the menu and get access to all the standard Gnome applications and configuration tools.

You can create an icon on your desktop for any application in the Main Menu. Just find the name of the application in the menu, then left-click on the name. While holding the mouse button down, drag the mouse pointer to an open area on the desktop. Release the mouse button and the icon will be placed on the desktop. You can then start the application by double-clicking the icon.

You can add an icon to the panel by selecting Main Menu | Panel | Add to panel | Launcher. The "Create launcher" dialog box appears. Enter a Name, a Command (the path to the application), and select an icon for the application. Then click on the "OK" button. A button for the application will be added to the panel. You can then start the application by clicking the button.

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