moRe: [Scottish] time spent on Linux stuff...

Ben Thorp THORPB at
Wed Feb 28 11:11:50 GMT 2007

OK - lets step through some of this.

scottish-bounces at wrote on 28/02/2007 09:53:23:

>  Dear All,  Well, I am now to the point where I realise that Linux 
> is really only ever going to be a hobby, as it just seems to require
> so much time to simply make up its mind to *function*.......(or for 
> me to read its mind and discover how to make it do stuff..!)I have 
> Ubuntu (as I'm sure you know by now...5.10) -

You are a good deal behind on releases, although I'm guessing you know 

> What I've been trying to do, just as a simple exercise really, to 
> see if I can do *anything* - (well, I *have* managed to get online 
> with the linux box! Whew!) - is to download and install even one pkg. - 
> I've tried "apt-get"  I've tried "apt-get install" - I've tried the 
> Synaptic Package manager - (I was looking for Ubuntu 
> updates/upgrades and trying to apply them just to see if I *could* !) 
>  The problem I keep running into is that although software gets 
> downloaded okay, I don't know where it *is* and neither does Ubuntu,

OK - if you're installing with apt-get or Synaptic, most things install 
into the menus. If they're not (which usually means they're a console app, 
although not always) then try typing the first couple of letters of the 
application into a console and hitting <Tab>. If it doesn't complete, hit 
<Tab> again to get a list of possible executables that match those 

> and archive manager - the default installer (or so it tells me) can 
> never open/install *any*thing....

I believe that 5.10 only comes with the older archive manager, which only 
deals with extratcing .tar.gz and .zip files, IIRC. New versions of Ubuntu 
come with GDdebi, which will handle the installation of .deb files that 
have been downloaded manually. 

> I've looked thru the "apt-get -help" instructions and tried them , 
> but they don't work either...
> I'd LIKE  to install Opera on the computer (Mozilla in Ubuntu is 
> pretty disappointing) 

Again - you should try upgrading to one of the more recent versions of 
Ubuntu to get a newer version of Firefox. 5.10 is now 18 months old. 6.04 
is the current "LTS" version of Ubuntu (== Long Term Support), and the 
most recent release is 6.10 ("Edgy Eft") with 7.04 ("Feisty Fawn") due out 
in about a month.

> but although the download of Opera for Linux 
> goes all right, the same dead end occurs with the archive manager 
> and I can't figure out which *other* pkg might open it . When I *do*
> look through other packages, they're usually empty when I finally 
> work on down the directory or file tree...

Install instructions for Opera are online at including instructions for 

The Ubuntu is very complete - a quick search for "ubuntu opera" on Google 
led me to this page within seconds. 

> It really *is* most annoying - and very time-consuming......

A few further pointers:

1. Installing proprietary software is always going to be a little 
esoteric, and will often require some manual intervention - either adding 
repositories, or downloading and installing a .deb file. Gdebi (as 
mentioned above) handles this much more smoothly than previously. One 
thing that will not always occur is the adding of menu entries, although 
this is getting a lot better, but depends on the vendor creating the .deb 
file properly. I would imagine that Opera would have this done, although 
don't quote me.

2. When installing from repositories (ie using Synaptic or apt-get) there 
is (99% of the time) nothing else to be done. Once installed, there should 
be a menu item available for the software. If not, as mentioned above, it 
will be available from the console, although (assuming you are using the 
official repositories) this is the exception rather than the norm, unless 
it is a console app you are installing. 

3. Again - as mentioned above - there is a huge amount of easily 
searchable documentation available for Ubuntu. The majority of queries 
from new users have been properly documented. If you're having problems 
with something, don't struggle with it for hours - a couple of minutes 
searching will usually find you the answer and save you the time. 


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