|Red Hat Linux 8.0: The Official Red Hat Linux Getting Started Guide|
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When you learn about a new operating system, you also need to learn new terminology. Here are a few basic terms you should learn. You will see these terms often throughout all Official Red Hat Linux documentation including the Official Red Hat Linux Getting Started Guide:
Shell prompt: A command line interface (similar to a DOS screen) between the user and the operating system (Figure 1-4). The shell interprets commands entered by the user and passes them on to the operating system.
Command line: The place in the shell prompt where commands are typed.
Command: An instruction given to the computer, most often with the keyboard or mouse.
Graphical User Interface (GUI): A screen with icons, menus, and panels for the user to click on to initiate actions such as starting applications and opening files.
Icons are small images representing an application, folder, shortcut or system resource (such as a floppy drive). Launcher icons usually refer to application shortcuts.
Graphical Desktop Environment: The most visible area of a GUI. The desktop is where your user Home and Start Here launcher icons are located. You can configure desktop to have special backgrounds colors and pictures to add a personal touch to your desktop.
Panel: A desktop toolbar, usually located across the bottom of the screen (such as Figure 1-5). The panel contains the Main Menu button and shortcut icons to start commonly used programs. It can be customized by the user.
Root: The root user account is created during installation and has complete access to the system. You must be logged in as root to accomplish certain system administration tasks. User accounts are created so typical user tasks can be done without using the root account, to reduce the chance of damaging your Red Hat Linux installation or its applications permanently.
su and su -: The command su gives you access to the root account or other accounts on your system. When you type su to switch to your root account while still inside your user account shell, you have access to important system files that you can change, or damage, permanently. Logging in with the su - command makes you root within the root account shell. Use caution when you are logged in as root.
Man page and info
page: Man (short for manual) and info pages give
detailed information about a command or file (man pages tend to be
brief and provide less explanation than info pages). To read the man
page for the su command, for example, type
man su at a shell prompt (or type info
su for the info page). To close one of these pages, press
X or X Window System: These terms refer to the graphical user interface environments. If you are "in X" or "running X" you are working in a GUI rather than a console environment.
RPM: RPM stands for RPM Package manager and is how Red Hat builds and delivers its software files. An RPM is a software package file you can install on your Red Hat Linux computer.
Although the emphasis throughout this book will be on navigation and productivity using the graphical desktop environment, it will cover both the graphical and shell prompt methods of logging in and using your Red Hat Linux system for your reference (or if you feel comfortable using the shell prompt).