[Durham] Newbie looking for help

mark mark at aktivix.org
Sun Mar 2 22:14:22 UTC 2014

Hash: SHA256

Hi David

On 02/03/14 13:26, David Walland wrote:
> I'm just transferring my XP machines to Xubuntu (*steep* learning
> curve) and would be glad of help.

Good choice! I'll give you some pointers to get you started.

> a) I'm a lover of RPN calculators and usually have Free42 on
> everything. I'm still trying to work out how to put this onto my
> Xubuntu machines. Please spell it out, as I'm really new to Linux
> and haven't even learnt where things go when they're downloaded
> yet!!!

Where things go when they're downloaded depends on how what software
you're using to download them; for example, if you're using the wget
command at the terminal, they'll land in your current working
directory; if you're using a browser like firefox with default
settings, you'll probably be downloading to /home/your_username/Downloads/

For the purpose of downloading & installing software however, you need
to get your head around the concept of package management. Different
linux distributions do this differently, but xubuntu inherits it's
package management system from Debian, another distro from which
ubuntu is derived. A package is a bunch of files together with their
destination paths, information about software dependencies and
conflicts (which should be painlessly resolved by your package
management software - you hope...), checksums and some pre- and
post-install scripts.

In your situation, you could open a terminal emulator and type "sudo
apt-get update" which refreshes the list of packages your system knows
about, which are all signed by ubuntu (i.e. highly unlikely to contain
malware). You may have to confirm your password. Then when it's
finished working, type "apt-cache search rpn" which will tell you what
packages contain the phrase "rpn". To get more info on any of them,
you type "apt-cache show [packagename] | less". These packages are
fairly sure to work with your system; when you've mastered this you
can try finding packages from other sources. They end with ".deb" but
before you try to install any, find out how to verify them.

Say you decide to install "grpn", you'll need to type "sudo apt-get
install grpn" which will locate, download, cryptographically verify
and install the "grpn" package. You can then launch grpn from the
command line or XFCE menu (XFCE is the desktop environment that comes
with xubuntu) probably under 'applications - accessories'.

> b) We have a Canon Pixma MG3100 3 in one scanner/printer/etc linked
> via our WiFi which I cannot find out how to address from the
> Xubuntu machines.  I imagine I need exactly the right drivers but
> can't find them.  I understand there is something called CUPS which
> may help but diudn't even understand the explanation of this let
> alone how to use it/set it up.  **HELP!!!**

I'd recommend configuring your printer to have a static IP on your
LAN, configure your router not to allocate that IP when giving out
DHCP leases, then use the xubuntu GUI tool to add your printer -
knowing the IP address and model number is usually enough, although
I've never used that model myself so YMMV. If you get stuck, try a
search engine of your choice to find if other people have specific
experience to share. I tried and found

Good luck,
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