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Come, Tour My Candy Store!

See all those lines filling up and rushing down the black screen? That's the Linux's way of showing us exactly what it is doing as it boots up. That green OK at the end of each line means everything is good.

There! Now the KDE splash screen comes up-- just look at those lovely shades of blue! And... now we're inside my Mandrake 9.1 operating suite on my 40 GB hard drive. Let me show you around.

You'll notice that just like Windows, it has a toolbar at the bottom and a wallpaper that at this point is a generic pearl gray with two jewel-clean gears in the center. (I'll spice it up yet). Up on the left side is a row of icons marked Welcome, Home, Trash, Floppy Drive, CD Drive and something called Flash. (I haven't explored that yet).

Just mousing over the icons on the toolbar, we find the Start applications button, desktop, terminal, home, Konquerer web browser, KMail, and a red and white life saver ring that says "documentation." Yes, when I want to learn about something I zero in on that. I've learned that much already.

At the center of the toolbar are five numbered squares. They represent the four different desktops I can have going at the same time. And I've already discovered I can have more than one program open on each desktop. Several in fact. A wee space with a tiny 'up' arrow - when I click on it, shows me exactly what windows I have open on each desktop.

Whoa. (giggle) I just zoomed past the system tray and the digital clock on the right, clicked on a tiny arrow to see what would happen, and the whole toolbar went skating away! A tiny arrow stayed, so I clicked on it, and it came sliding in again.

Let's see what kind of programs we have here. I click on the Start Applications icon on the far right, and up pops a tall menu. Above logout, lock screen and run command (just like my START button in Windows 98) it has quick browser, and bookmarks. Above that - oh my! Do you see now why I think this is a Candy Store?

I still have to open some of them to see what they are, but this is like staring at counters and shelves full of sweets and treats. Candy!

There's five terminals. Under Office there are two calculators, one address book, three graph, and five PDA programs; two for creating slide presentations, three for spreadsheets, a Mr. Right for task management, plus four more time management programs. There are no less than five word processing programs! One is Karbon14 that makes scalable fonts (I guess), and two by KDE (any program that starts with a K seems to be from KDE), plus the big Open Office suite.

Have you heard? Open Office is every bit as good as Microsoft Word - even better! It comes with Draw, Impress (for presentations), Calc, Math, and Write. You can also use it to design web sites, without knowing a lick of HTML. Though of course, you can click a button and peek at the coding to see what it looks like underneath.

Let's go on. here's Networking. Off this we find three FTP programs, six Instant Messaging, one IRC, eight email programs, four news, and four ways of getting access online, and no less than seven web browsers!

Under Multimedia, I have eighteen graphics programs, thirteen for sound, and one for video!

For documentation there's that Help Life saver and a complete encyclopedia under HowTo in English. If I have the patience to read up on it, I can learn anything I want!

Look. Only now am I'm finally getting to Applications. I'll skip some as you're getting wiped out with awe, but here's two faxing programs, six text editors (I've tried them all, and think I like KWrite and GEdit best). There's four tools for finding files, and how did this happen? Only one bookkeeping program. GnuCash. (I probably didn't tick off much in that way when I installed - but I can still add more). Ten monitoring programs to know exactly what my computer is doing, and four to create/view PDF files, plus seven text tool programs.

Whew! I thought I'd downloaded a lot of programs in my seven-plus years in Windows 98, but I think I've just met my match.

Many games have been created for the Linux world, but when I was installing this 3 CD suite, I said "no" to games, and programmer groups.

Still, there's something called Amusements. Off it are six Toys I'm not sure what to make of the Tea Cooker. It seems to be a timer which tells you at random when your imaginary tea is ready. K Aphorisms pops up German quotations that don't make sense.

There's a moon phase indicator, and a smiley face, Amor, which appears out of the blue when I'm keying here, and makes faces at me, or turns into a flame, and another time, into a splash of water.

A mouse pedometer tracts how much space my mouse covers.

Now the World Time Clock is interesting. A spread out globe shows where it is night and where it is daytime right now. Most of the major cities in the world are marked with black dots, and when I put my mouse over one of them, it tells me the place, and the exact time of day they have there.

In May, I had two honeymoon weeks of exploring and trying things before I had a big crash. With all these email programs, I still don't know which is best, and need more time to experiment. I'll go back to Windows to do email until I have that figured out.

I do love the clean, tidy look, and how steady the programs seem. The text editor programs and the Open Office take hardly any adjusting at all. Within minutes I was at home in them.

Konquerer works like Windows Explorer AND a browser at the same time. The Mozilla explorer reminds me of Netscape, and I had a bad experience with that in the beginning when I was a newbie, so I'll need to give it a bit of time.

It's also hard to decide which web designing program to use. The ones I've tried so far tend to make my web pages look darker and the font smaller. Obviously I need more time to get used to new ways, and to determine which features of which programs I prefer over others. It's all these choices that make it hard. Like a kid in a candy store, right?

I know I'm going to enjoy the desktop publishing options like creating PDF files for e-Books!

Although when in Windows I cannot see any hint of Linux on the computer, from any program in Mandrake here I can reach down into the other drive and pull up files, and have them open easily. I can even put them back into the Windows operating system and get at them afterwards again from in Windows.

Weird but true. The day will come when I may not really need Windows any more. In fact, I bet it's not all that far off. I've been reading that large corporations and government departments are switching to Linux too, and some predict that it will be more popular than Microsoft in just another couple of years!

Watch http://BouquetofEnterprises.biz/N/index.shtml for links to successive articles in my educational saga.

One should be on how to teach yourself things and find help from very human, and helpful Linux aficionados. Yet another perhaps on problem areas (See? I admit I am likely to find some things imperfect). and just how important is it to know the commands, and the use of the terminal?

How about; what keeps Linux so virus-free?



Index of New-to-Net

What Led me to Want Linux? How to choose a Distro

Come, Tour My Candy Store! Exploring Mandrake 9.1, my first Linux System (this page)

My Computer Tsunami how one mistake led to another!



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