You may not need to go through any of these hoops to preserve your old operating system. As you go through this book, you may find that all of your needs are met just running Linux. There are plenty of applications as slick and as capable as anything in the Windows world.
Why go back and forth when you can just go forward? In Appendix B of this book, I cover the installation process of some of the more popular distributions. When you are ready to install Linux for good, take a look there. In the meantime, and until you feel comfortable, you can always try out Linux without installing by using the WFTL Edition Knoppix CD-ROM included with this book.
Chapter 4. Getting Your Hands Dirty
Welcome to the multiuser, multitasking, multieverything world. Linux is designed to run multiple users and processes concurrently. What that means is that your system is capable of doing many things, even while it appears to be idle. This is the reason so many businesses and organizations use Linux as a Web server, e-mail server, file server, print server . . . well, you get the idea.
From the perspective of the individual
I'll have you logging in very shortly, but for the moment I want to say a few words about your new desktop.
Getting to Know You . . . KDE
Linux is extremely flexible. Linux makes it possible to run in a number of different desktop environments. The plus side of this is that
decide how you want to work. Your system works the way you want it to and not the other way around. The downside is exactly the same. Let's face it, being told what to do is often easier, even if it means getting used to working in a way that you may not particularly like at first—not
On that note, at some time when you've gotten comfortable with your Linux system running the KDE desktop, I'm going to ask you to be brave and experiment with some of these other environments, whether it be GNOME, WindowMaker, IceWM, or one of the many other desktop environments available to the Linux
KDE is the most popular desktop environment in the Linux world, and deservedly so. It is beautiful, slick, mature, powerful, and easy to use. It is also loaded with great applications for e-mail, surfing the Web, playing movies, burning CDs, writing documents, working with spreadsheets, and so on. KDE also features a great collection of
A Few Words about X
In a few seconds, when I start showing you around your desktop, what I am telling you now will fade into the background of your memory, but I still think you should know. KDE, that great-looking desktop system, is the friendly face that rides above your Linux system's real graphical engine. That engine is called the
X window system,
X.Org, or simply
. What KDE, your desktop environment, does is provide control of
When you installed your system, you went through a graphical desktop configuration step of some kind. What you were setting up at that time wasn't KDE or GNOME, but X. X is what the desktop—and every graphical program you run— really runs on.