Newbie in need of pointers(oh, bloody hell, not another one)

If none of the more specific forums is the right place to ask

Newbie in need of pointers(oh, bloody hell, not another one)

Postby reddeus » 2006-02-21 17:45

I'm a green newbie - first time ever running Linux and I've chosen to do so on Debian.
You probably get thousands of people like this, so I'll keep this brief and to the point. (As much as I can anyway.)

What I've done so far: You can skip this part if you like.
I've downloaded and burned a minimal ISO image from I've tried an Ubuntu install before, and there seemed to be a problem with my HD, so I kept it simple with Debian - 180MB OS can't produce an error during install. (I was right :D) Link to exactly what I've downloaded.

During the install, I selected generic settings - desktop environment, only OS, English and it found my cable connection - in short, all went smooth.
During the first-time configuration, I was asked to download a hundred or so files, and that wasn't a bother as I've a cable connection.

After this, a large amount of seemingly random of text flashed by (newbie, I told you), and I was told to log in as a user, and I did. After Debian loaded, I was greeted with a GUI-less prompt whose exact spelling I can't remember, but it had my username and an $ symbol at the end. Basically that, and an empty line after it.
Of course, first thing that came to mind was help, and that sort of worked. I poked about a bit, and found a text editor (nano) and called it a day.

My question(S):
- Where can I find a tutorial to start from scratch? What did you use as a tutorial when you first started with Debian? I'm not afraid of reading, and the longer it is, the more pleased I'll be.

- How does one get a hold of a GUI? What about installing it? (I've already discovered Linux hates setup.exe with a passion. Some pointers here would be great.)
I've heard of KDE and GNOME. Are there any particular advantages to either? I've also read that I can compile the entire source code for either of them and take it from there? How does one do this? Any advantages to this?
- How are general applications installed and where can I find them? A pointer to some popular sites to get apps from would be much appreciated.
- GAMES. Oh, you knew it was coming.
Well, this computer is for experimenting, so I thought to see if any of you can recommend me good games. I'm in the mood for anything so long as it's fun. (Contrary to my GUI salivating above, I'm quite content with MUDs.)
- Biggest stumbling block for you when you first tried Debian? Something that just didn't rub you right and pissed you off and you felt immensely better after 'getting' it?

Computer Specs: 13GB HD, 128MB SDRAM, 400mhz processor.
I should mention though, I've another computer so downloading, burning ISOs and such could be done on it.

Postby domecq » 2006-02-21 22:03

You can find lots of texts in the "Documentation" section of


User avatar
Moderator Team Member
Posts: 560
Joined: 2005-10-18 00:53
Location: Montréal, Canada

Re: Newbie in need of pointers(oh, bloody hell, not another

Postby phil jones » 2006-02-21 22:44

best debian linux new users tutorials,article and howto's really good one

debian linux new users tutorials,article and howto's
phil jones

Postby Penguin Skinner » 2006-02-22 01:12

Sounds like you've done just fine so far.

In addition to the links others have provided above, here's one if you'd like to install KDE:

You'll notice it's really very simple ... but I'd be remiss if I didn't have you read a *little* something extra. :)

Also, welcome to the best support forum(s) on the web.
Penguin Skinner
Posts: 709
Joined: 2005-09-15 20:37
Location: North by Northwest

Postby Kaitlyn » 2006-02-22 07:28

There are advantages to compiling source code yourself, but at this point you're better off not trying it. Wait until you're comfortable with Linux.

The text that flew by before your login prompt was mostly about your hardware and networking. Use the command "dmesg | less" to review it.

What did I use? Well, I started using Solaris years before I saw Linux. Solaris is a form of Unix, just like Linux is. A lot of what I did carried over. I bought a printed book to help me get started back then. I won't recommend it because it's now over 10 years old and emphasized classic AT&T style Unix. You don't need anything to help you get more confused.

Until you get Gnome or KDE working, you can use "aptitude" to install applications, including Gnome itself. Once you're in Gnome, you can use Synaptic Package Manager. Aptitude and Synaptic can both ftp applications from the central Debian archive.

If you do MU* stuff, you'll want TinyFugue (tf). It's a non-GUI program, but it's mature and powerful. You can visit me at Fox MUCK too. :)

Stumbling blocks? A big one for me was playing .mid files through my speakers using a SB Live! card. It took me months to get that working. Setting up nut (a UPS manager) was a royal pain. Compiling mplayer from source was awful. It took me 2 days to get it exactly right. Some things (like smartd) aren't set up when you install them, and it's up to you to not only configure them but discover that they're not set up. And it took me a while to get my preferred resolution and refresh to "stick". Also some strange dosemu behavior that a kernel upgrade fixed.
User avatar
Posts: 129
Joined: 2005-12-13 14:35
Location: Big Orange

Postby reddeus » 2006-02-22 15:29

First of all - thank you all kindly for replying.

What I've done since last post:
I've installed KDE, and typed start KDE.
This flashes a bunch of text that alluded X Server wasn't installed, and a continuing message that kpersonalizer is bugged. (I can't remember the exact message :(

I rebooted, logged as root again, and tried "startx" - and that gave me a 'command not recognized" line. :(
So I went ahead and did some research on this X Server. Apparently it is the base architecture of an OS GUI.
So I thought it'd be intelligent to install it, but I didn't know how.
So, I searched around, and tried a random command that looked good: "apt-get install x-window-system-core".
"starx" sitll tells me the command isn't recognised, and I am at a loss.

My questions:
- How do I install X Server? I've installed KDE, but I need to "startx" for "startkde" to work.
- Pointers on what should be my priorities when I start KDE? Important apps/system configurations I should install?

Postby Guest » 2006-02-24 14:50

I'm somewhat of a newbie myself, so take what I say with a grain of salt, but perhaps it didn't install the x server (xfree86 or xorg)? If you're running Etch or Sid it will likely be xorg, or if you're running Sarge it will be xfree86. Just do apt-cache search xfree86 or apt-cache search xorg.

Installing x-window-system-core should have installed the xserver though. If you plan on using a display manager, you could go ahead and install kdm (or xdm or gdm. I use kdm). Then as root run /etc/init.d/kdm start.

To check if startx is installed at all just type "man startx". If there is no manual entry then it is most likely not installed. If there is a manual entry then your path may need fixed.

Did you ever get a configuration screen for xfree86 or xorg? Try typing dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xfree86, or dpkg-reconfigre xserver-xorg to make sure it is properly configured. If you need to know what your video card is just use "lspci -v" (as root) and find your vga hardware (you may need to know this for the xserver config).

You can tell I'm still a newbie cause all my fixes are very unprofessional/experimental. Heh. :)

Re: Newbie in need of pointers(oh, bloody hell, not another

Postby wbheinkel » 2006-02-26 16:16

I also am a very new Newbe. I have been able to get x-window and kde working fine. I think you should try "apt-get install x-window-syestem". It installls the whole x-window package including x-window-system-core and more.

I hope this helps!! :P
Posts: 25
Joined: 2006-02-23 22:06

Return to General Questions

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 11 guests