[HowTo] become a Manjaro power user when you're a wizard at Windows but a N00b at Manjaro

Difficulty: ★☆☆☆☆

Remember when you installed your very first Windows, added bells and whistles and then couldn’t see the trees for the wood any more and had to re-install?
Well, you’re in the same situation now: You’re a N00b again! Embrace it! :innocent:
Right now you’re thinking:

  • Why is this so much more difficult than Windows? :frowning:

Whereas in 6 months time you’ll be like:

  • Why can’t I make Windows jump through :fire: hoops like I do with Linux??? :angry:

OK, so here are the main differences: (click the ► to expand a section)

Windows has drives, Linux has a hierarchical file system
  • So Windows:
    • has drives
    • the C:-drive generally contains Windows and sometimes data
    • the D:-Drive (if present) contains data and hardly ever contains Windows itself.
    • The maximum number of drives is 26 (A-Z)
  • Linux has one huge file system:
    • with an unlimited number of drives¹
    • you can mount any partition of a drive anywhere!
      (You cannot mount a drive, only a partition under Linux)
    • Here is the official documentation on the FHS in HTML / PDF / Text format.
      Homework assignment #1: read tha!. :grin: No, really: read it!
    OK, you didn't read it; here's a summary
    • /etc contains system configuration files.
    • /home contains user data and user config files (E.G. if you have one user who sets their resolution to HD whereas you have a UHD screen that’s where this is set)
    • /root contains the home directory for the root user.
    • /lib contains shared libraries that the essential binaries in /bin and /sbin need to be able to run and where kernel modules are stored.
    • /usr contains the Unix System Resources and is intended to be a read-only directory that stores files that aren’t required to boot the system. In general, when you install additional software from your distribution, its binaries, libraries and supporting files go here in their corresponding /usr/bin, /usr/sbin or /usr/lib directories.
    • /opt: contains “optional” software. In general, this is where games install themselves..
Linux has multiple GUIs
  • Windows has one GUI whereas
  • Linux has different Desktop Environments (DE):
    • XFCE: Lightweight, simple, best for beginning users
    • KDE: lots of bells and whistles, good for recent and powerful hardware
    • Gnome: Simple, the default for lots of distributions
    • Cinnamon: Gnome like it should be Beefed-up Gnome with more bells and whistles.
    • LXDE: comparatively low resource requirements. This makes it especially suitable for use on older resource-constrained computers.
    • I3: Great for power users. Stay away from it: you’re a N00b again!
      Even I’m not running I3 (yet) and am still on KDE… :innocent:
    • And all of the above come with their own:
      • File Manager
      • Partition Manager (except XFCE: they need one of the others to be installed)
      • System Settings (The Linux equivalent of “Control Panel”)
    • The above is less important on modern computers and has become a matter of taste
Linux is a self-help OS

There are manuals for everything, including the manual program, so:

  • Go to a terminal by pressing Ctrl+Alt+T or if that doesn’t work look for something called console or Konsole or terminal in your menu.

  • In the black box type:

    man man
    

    and now you’re reading the manual for the manual program. :smiling_imp:

  • Hit Q to Quit the manual program.

  • Some things are so easy or so complex that they don’t have a manual. E.G.:

    man woman
    

    :grin: :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

There is no registry!
  • OK, Gnome has something that is called “the dconf database” which is similar to the registry, just different.
  • All other DEs (Desktop Environments, see above) have config files all over the place depending on which kind of config files:
    • system config files are in /etc
    • user config files are in ~/.config:
      • ~ is an abbreviation for “your home directory”
      • .config is a hidden directory: any directory starting with a . is hidden and you probably have to press Ctrl+H in your DE’s File Manager to see these.
    • Application config files can reside somewhere else(though that happens rarely)
Linux has multiple file systems
  • Windows has one file system: NTFS (and if you include the DOS file system it has two: FAT²)
  • Linux has:
    • EXT2, Ext3, EXT4: If you’re unsure, take EXT4 as that is the newest member of that family and the most used FS on desktops.
    • BtrFS: “Better FS” Good for servers or if you have a beefy computer and want FS resilience
    • ReiserFS
    • ZFS
    • And even more than you’ll ever need
    • And guess what? Linux can also read and write to NTFS :+1: although it cannot do CHKDSKs, defrag such volumes nor can it change its permissions :-1: , so when you finally wipe that damn Windows from your machine,please, please please also convert any NTFS volumes to EXT4!
Linux has multiple kernels
  • Windows has different versions (I distinctly remember saying about windows Version 1.0: “Huh, what a piece of crap, that’ll go nowhere! Let me buy SideKick instead!” and history proved me wrong…) :innocent:
  • Linux can have multiple kernels and:
    • It’s always a good idea to have at least one Long Term Support (LTS) kernel and one of the latest kernels.

    • to install different kernels, use the kernel GUI program or the mhwd-kernel CLI program.

    • E.G. to install the latest kernel at the time of this writing execute:

      mhwd-kernel --install linux58
      
    • Go read Linus Torvald’s page about the End Of Life (EOL) of the kernels you install here

This is how you install software
  • In Windows, you download crap from the Internet and install it and if you can’t find it on the net, you install it from the Microsoft store.
  • In Linux, that’s doing things completely arse-backwards!
  1. Go to Add/Remove software or Software depending on your DE.

  2. Go to Categories, and choose your category:

  3. Just click Install, Install, Install on any of the software you want and then click Apply and it installs all the software you want in one go! :innocent:

  4. Use the search function:


    just click the :mag:, type the name of the crap you want and Install or Build and click Apply :poop: :grin:

  5. The more proficient you get, the more you’ll know what to install exactly and then you go to a terminal to install what you want:

    pamac install opencl-nvidia
    Preparing...
    ==== AUTHENTICATING FOR org.manjaro.pamac.commit ====
    Authentication is required to install, update, or remove packages
    Authenticating as: Fabby (fab-root)
    Password: 
    ==== AUTHENTICATION COMPLETE ====
    Synchronizing package databases...
    Choose a provider for opencl-nvidia:
    1:  opencl-nvidia-340xx  340.108-1  extra
    2:  opencl-nvidia-390xx  390.132-1  extra
    3:  opencl-nvidia-418xx  418.113-1  extra
    4:  opencl-nvidia-430xx  430.64-1   extra
    5:  opencl-nvidia-435xx  435.21-1   extra
    6:  opencl-nvidia-440xx  440.100-1  extra
    7:  opencl-nvidia-450xx  450.57-2   extra
    
    Enter a number (default=1): 6
    
    Resolving dependencies...
    Checking inter-conflicts...
    To install (1):
      opencl-nvidia-440xx  440.100-1    extra  10.6 MB
    
    Total download size: 10.6 MB
    Total installed size: 39.3 MB
    Apply transaction ? [y/N]
    
  6. If there is no other way of installing software except from source, only then do you download and install from the Internet.
    This does not include drivers! Drivers are built into the Linux kernel: install a newer kernel first for new hardware! (see above). Older kernel for older hardware, do not mix very old and very new hardware: that’s a recipe for disaster!

Note 1: Yes, there is a limit, but it’s so large no one has ever hit it yet and Linux powers supercomputers too! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: :crazy_face:
Note 2: Yes, I’m aware of ReFS, most people aren’t though… :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

30 Likes

Damn, this is good…I want more :slight_smile: I enjoyed reading this

2 Likes

Well, some things you have to experience so google for “Linux system administration”, download the PDFs / eBooks / … and start reading and trying out all the examples!

:wink:

1 Like

Pssst: some applications have some parts their config in ~/.local/share

Even fishier: some applications (mostly Electron-based ones) have temporary data in their respective folder in ~/.config :tada:

The .config was already there:

the ./local/ can be deducted once they do press Ctrl+H as it’ll show up and they’ll recognize it’s the same as the Windows %APPDATA% folder…
And if they don’t recognize it as such, they should stay the hell out of there!
:rofl:

This is a meme that wont die.

While interesting and before-its-time … isnt it just kinda geeky for the sake of geek these days?
Are there (still) any good reasons for it in comparison to others?

1 Like

Yes i am. But after changing Win 10 to Manjaro i really have the feeling that I - not Microsoft - own my computer again. For that i’m willing to be noob for quite long time D;

3 Likes

That post is spot-on. Says it all, really, and makes a point or two about what happens when someone explores a “new” Operating System which they haven’t tried before and also probably haven’t needed to install their previous (usually Windows) OS themselves, either.

Odd how some people seem to forget that they’ve had maybe several decades’ experience with MS OSes and seem to expect Linux to work just the same or to quickly acquire the same depth of knowledge in short order. That’s just a recipe for frustration, usually.

Much appreciated and rather valuable input, thanks!

3 Likes