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I figured the Wiki would be better for getting a useful response to these for "DrWho?" I've attempted to reformulate the questions to get at what I thought was actually being asked.

NOTE: I'm far too lazy to be actually answer them, and I don't use a "normal" setup, so my answers would be less than useful :) (plus, I'm on FreeBSD ;)

Q: Ok so how do I find com1 on Linux?

Reformulation: What do I need to know about serial ports in Linux? Is there an equivalent to "com1" from DOS/Windows?

A: Serial ports are called /dev/ttyS0, /dev/ttyS1 etc under Linux. The reason for this is that anything that can be used like a terminal is called a "tty", and therefore serial tty's are called "/dev/ttySx". Linux also numbers from 0 not from 1, so COM1: under Windows is usually /dev/ttyS0 under Linux.

Many distros will automatically detect a modem and make a symlink from the appropriate serial device to /dev/modem. If you have a serial mouse, /dev/mouse will point to the serial device the mouse is using.

The program setserial(8) can be used to configure serial port properties under Linux. (like mode under windows; but do you know anyone who uses that?!! Stuff like that is normally handled by the application) There may be a GUI tool, YMMV.

Q: Where is the control panel to find what com port my modem is connected too?

Reformulation: How do I find out what serial port my modem is connected to?

A: Some distros provide GUI tools to do system configuration, eg Mandriva Control Center. Many distros (eg RedHat's KudZu) will auto detect a modem on bootup and create a /dev/modem symlink for you.

Q: Where is the dial-up networking icon?

Reformulation: How do I configure and use some sort of dial up network?

A: This varies from distro to distro. Probably the biggest problem in this area is that there are SO MANY GUI tools to choose from. RedHat has an "Internet Configuration Wizard", and will also let you set up a dialout connection under "Network configuration". This is very similar to how XP handles things.

Ubuntu lets you configure dialup connections under "Networking", and for easy control of the connection you can add the "Modem Monitor" applet to your panel.

kppp is the only other GUI tool I've used and it's also very easy. I've also heard ModemLights? mentioned favorably.

Worst possible case, you might need to get help setting up pppd(8) 'the hard way', but if you get it set up for DialOnDemand you'll never need to worry about it again because your computer will just dial out by itself when any application tries to use the internet.

Q: I click on an MP3 file and it does not play?

Reformulation: How do I play mp3's? Can I make them play from some sort of file manager?

A: Ensure that a mp3 player is installed, such as mplayer, xmms, etc.

Due to patent issues most Linux distro's won't play or encode mp3's by default, but the capability is easily added, usually just by downloading a package or two. Example; will tell you how to get mp3's, wma's, and most other formats working in Ubuntu.

Q: Where is explorer?

Reformulation: How do I manage my files (using a GUI)?

A: See FileManager - your DesktopEnvironment will probably give you a "Start Here" or "user's Home" option, which is a good place to start.

Q: Where is MicrosoftOutlook?

Reformulation: What programs are there offering similar functionality to MS Outlook? -- Which may mean, 'How do I read mail', which is actually a different question to the reformulated one above.

A: Evolution offers most, if not all of Outlooks functionality.

Q: Where is ScanDisk and Defrag?

Reformulation: Do I need to defragment my filesystems? How about checking for and correcting errors?

A: The Linux filesystems (such as Ext2, Ext3, ReiserFS) don't normally require defragmentation the same way windows FileSystems do.

A: fsck(8) (File System Check) is the program which repairs damaged filesystems. most (all?) distro's will do this on boot if a filesystem is damaged. With the recent advent of journalling file systems even this isn't required, Linux file systems shouldn't encounter corruption except for extreme hardware failure

Q: Where is the antivirus software?

A: Where are the viruses? In general Linux machines don't have antivirus software because viruses are a reasonably unknown threat to Linux users. You can buy Virus scanners for Linux if you really want (usually because you want to scan emails that are being sent to Windows clients).

Q: Where is the Network Neighborhood?

Reformulation: How do I interact with an MS Windows network?

A: type smb:// into Nautilus, or Go -> My Computer -> Windows Network

Q: Where is the file / print sharing?

Reformulation: How do I make my files and printers available over a network?

A: Samba - RedHatLinux comes with a nice applet to set up sharing anymore

Q: Where is My Documents?

Reformulation: Where would my documents normally be stored?

A: In your home directory, which is /home/username - can be referred to as "$HOME" or "~" in the command line.

Q: Where is Program Files?

Reformulation: Where do my applications get installed to?

A: /bin:/usr/sbin:/usr/bin:/usr/games:/usr/local/bin:/usr/X11R6/bin

If you stick with a packaged distro such as RedHat, Mandriva or Debian, applications will be put somewhere sensible that you never need to worry about and an appropriate menu item will get added so you can run them.

If you really must know; "which programname" will tell you where programname is getting run from, and "locate programname" will find directories, configuration files, etc. that are probably related to it.

Q: I plug my scanner / printer into the USB port, but the new hardware window does not pop up.

Reformulation: How do I setup new hardware (in particular USB)? Is it possibly to do this automatically when the device is plugged in?

A lot of supported hardware just 'appears' when you plug it in, eg cameras, scanners, cd writers. Run the appropriate application and you might find the device is already configured.

In Ubuntu, "System > Preferences > Removeable Drives and Media" has an option to run programs automatically when various devices are connected, although this is more than most users need. Printers are configured under "System > Administration > Printing" and the correct port and printer type is usually autodetected for you. Most scanners are detected on the fly by xsane, although some types (like parallel port scanners) need a slight configuration change first.

If you use RedHat, try running the printer config (System settings / Printing). It might be automatically detected, and a lot of printers are already supported.

Q: I go too the scanner / printer / modem / whatever web site and there are no drivers for linux, so where do I find them?

Reformulation: How do I work with various types of hardware? Do I need special software from the manufacturer?

A: Linux drivers tend to be written based on the chipset rather than for individual devices, so if you find some cheap tiwanese card based on a de4x5 chip Linux will use it right away, while Windows is likely to expect specific drivers that can only be found on some obscure .tw website.

Many common chipsets are well supported under Linux, and with any mainstream distro the hardware will start working as soon as you plug it in.

Q: Where is my scanners TWAIN driver?

Reformulation: How do I get drivers for my scanner?

Plug it in. Run SANE. It's very likely already working. If not, bring it along to a meeting.

Q: I put the install disk into my PC with 256Mb of RAM, but it wont run the installer as it says I only have 64MB of RAM?

Reformulation: Why won't it detect more than 64Mb of RAM?

It probably also says what you can try to resolve this problem; if you KNOW you have more ram, reboot and type 'linux mem=256M' at the boot prompt. I'll bet this hint is RIGHT THERE on the same screen because it's a well known issue with some BIOSes.

Q: The setup program asks me what monitor I have and its not listed so what do I do? I have drivers for windows can I use some info from them?

Reformulation: How do I get my screen going with XFree86?

Under windows properties, find out what resolution and refresh rate you were using. The monitor can do at least that. Alternatively, try fairly high numbers and use the 'test' button until you find a resolution and refresh the monitor likes.

Q: I start my computer in Linux, where is my windows partiton?

Reformulation: How do I access Windows filesystems from Linux?

A: During the install, it identified your windows partition. If you're using FAT32 and thought ahead, you might have assigned that a mount point such as /mnt/windows so you'd be able to access it from Linux.

If you forgot to do that, or if you're running a 'marginally supported' filesystem like NTFS it's still not too late but it's a bit harder to set up. Bring the box along to a meeting and ask for help.

You can also access your Linux partitions from the windows side with a number of third-party tools. Google ext3+linux or reiserfs+linux.

Q: Where is my print queue?

Reformulation: How do I manage printing?

RedHat has a very windows-like print manager. So does Ubuntu. You should be able to figure it out.

Q: Where is the add / remove programs?

Reformulation: How do I install and remove software?

A: This depends on your distribution, for debian you usually use apt(8) For redhat, you run 'System settings / Packages' and get a package manager remarkably like windows' add/remove programs.

In Ubuntu there's an "Add/Remove programs" option at the bottom of the main menu.

Q: I have jetstream with an internal modem, where is the PPPoA in Linux? How do I configure Linux for PPPoA?

A: LinuxPPPoA

Q: I have Win2K / XP installed and the setup program warns me it does not support NTFS?

Reformulation: Are there any problems with reading NTFS file systems? And how do I do it?

A: Since NTFS is a closed standard, it's hard to write support for it. Linux can read NTFS fairly well, but writing it is still very risky. If you really need to share files between Windows and Linux set up a fat32 partition they can both read. Or transfer all your files to a genuinely open and properly documented filesystem which both OS's can share.

Q: What the hell is a partition? how do I make it?

A: Instead of treating your hard disk is one large chunk of data, you usually segment it up into smaller sections (called Partitions). Usually an OperatingSystem will require at least one Partition. Linux usually uses at least one extra for swap as well. See PartitioningSuggestions.

Partitions are managed using fdisk.exe under windows, fdisk(8) or cfdisk(8) under Linux.

You can set up Windows to use different partitions for the system and user data if you want, most experienced users do. You can also run Linux on a single root partition with a swapfile, the way Windows is typically set up by default.

Q: What the hell is /usr/var/....?

A: er, directories. what the hell is C:\windows\system32..?

Q: Where is notepad! and edit!

Reformulation: Are there simple graphical and console mode text editors?

A: gedit, and kate are simple text editors for Gnome? and KDE respectively. nano is a simple console text editor.

Q: Where is the CD writing software?

Reformulation: How do I burn CDs?

Try k3b, xcdroast, GnomeToaster?, koncd, or any of the several other GUI tools.

In Ubuntu, insert a blank disk and it will ask if you want to write a data CD or an audio CD. It couldn't be easier!

Q: What is all the crap that scrolls as Linux is starting, is it error messages?

A: Nope, it's Linux telling you what hardware it's detected and how it's configured it. Useful for when your computer crashes on startup to see what hardware or driver is causing the fault.

Q: What the hell is a bad super block?

A: The first block of a partition is the "super block". this contains information about what kind of filesystem it is amongst other things. Without this a filesystem is pretty useless. Never fear, there are backup superblocks. Talk to an advanced user about repairing your (very) broken filesystem.

And if your NTFS partition was this badly corrupted, you would likely see a windows "stop screen" on boot which is even less informative.

Q: How do I back-up my files?

A: Kinda need more information on this one, back them up where? to CD? to tape? somewhere else on the network?

Q: How much disk space do I have free, what the hell is a block?

A: df -h will show you how much space you have (df, disk free). -h will display it in "human readable format". a block is the smallest unit of allocating data on the disk.

Q: What on earth is a dependency? where do I find it as lots of things complain about it when I try too install something.

A: It's a requirement, something that is needed before this program will work. For instance, to get a GUI mail reader working, you'll need a GUI first. If a distribution says that "a depends on b" when you're trying to install "a", then it means you need to install "b" first. If a distribution says "a depends on b" when you're trying to remove "b" then you need to remove "a" first. Some distributions handle this automatically for you (see urpmi or APT.

Q: The biggy :- I ring my ISP as I am having problems connecting too the internet and when I tell them I am using Linux they tell me they do not support Linux, have you thought about using Windows? as we do support that.

Reformulation: I can't get things working, where do I go for help?

A: Hey, thats why we have the LUG right? Try reading around the wiki, we may have already answered your question somewhere here. Try emailing the wlug mailing list ( asking for help, or try asking us on IRC irc://

Most of the options are the same (IP address, DNS, gateway, and so on.) and in very similar places, particularly with Ubuntu, so often times the best option is to just not tell them you use Linux. Or if you dual-boot, copy the working settings from Windows to the corresponding places in Linux.