Newbie to linux and a question

Linux for blind general discussion blinux-list at
Sat Dec 15 12:33:43 UTC 2018

Don't forget source distros like Gentoo or LFS. You can install your own package managers on those (and gentoo has one called portage), but your primary means of building packages is from source code.
And even if you're not interested in doing that, installing from source has become vastly simplified over the years; your average user need only run:
sudo make install
and this will install a program suitable for 99 percent of users' needs.
I won't touch on building things like apache, mysql and other database managers, or the linux kernel itself I wouldn't recommend a newby tackle those, anyway. But the above commands are good enough for just about any userland package.

----- Original Message -----
From: Linux for blind general discussion <blinux-list at>
To: blinux-list at
Date: Sat, 15 Dec 2018 12:25:46 +0000
Subject: Re: Newbie to linux and a question

> Okay, I'm not sure how to help a newbie get started, but one thing I
> think worth mentioning given the most recent message:
> Manually downloading, compiling, and installing application software
> on a Linux machine is something even experienced users typically have
> little reason to do on a daily basis. This is because most modern
> distributions come with a built-in package manager that will,
> instructed to install a given piece of software, automate the process
> of downloading a precompiled for that distro package of the
> application, packages for all its dependencies, and installing those
> precompiled packages.
> Sadly, package management is one of those things that differs from
> distro-to-distro, though distros that are closely related often share
> the same package manager(e.g. Debian, Ubuntu, Knoppix, and most other
> distros derived from Debian or one of its derivatives all use apt as
> their package management system and offer a few standard frontends).
> Plus, many "newbie friendly" distros err on  the side of including as
> many different packages in their default installation as can be
> compressed to fit on the install media.
> I'm really only familiar with debian derivatives and the apt package
> manager, but some of the most important commands are:
> sudo apt-get update
> To refresh the package lists.
> sudo apt-get upgrade
> To install all available upgrades for installed packages.
> and
> sudo apt-get install [packagename]
> To install the named package along with all its dependencies.
> Also,
> sudo aptitude
> will laucnh a console frontend for apt called aptitude which provides
> many useful features such as:
> A tiered list of all available packages divided first by install
> status(upgradeable, installed, not installed, obsolete or locally
> installed), section(Admin, editors, libs, net, utilities, among
> several dozen others), and license(differs on distro, but Debian
> itself uses main for free software, contrib for non-free software that
> meets some criteria I'm not entirely sure about, and non-free for all
> other non-free software), and then alphabetically by package name.
> pressing enter on a package name brings up lots of information on that
> package, such as description, maintainer, size, dependencies, and
> available versions.
> many keyboard shortcuts for quickly marking a highlighted package for
> upgrade/installation/removal/etc.
> Built-in serach(useful for finding a package when you don't know its exact name.
> Easy to read preview of pending actions prior to them being applied.
> powerful conflict resolution capabilities.
> And synaptic provides many of the same features in a gui application.
> Oh, and if you really need to download and install something manually
> because it isn't available through apt, Debian and its derivatives use
> .deb packages, which can be installed by running:
> sudo dpkg -i nameofpackage.deb
> And as Debian and its derivatives are among the most widely used
> distros, many devs will include .deb packages on their download pages.
> Note: you're also likely to see .rpm packages, which are packages for
> the Redhat Package Manager, used by Redhat Enterprise Linux, Fedora,
> and their derivatives, and .tar.gz or .tar.bz2, which are compressed
> tarballs, which usually contain a copy of a program's source code.
> .rpm packages can be installed on Debian-derived systems, but this
> requires the use of alien to handle the foreign package format and is
> generally not recommended, and compiling from source generally isn't
> needed unless you're part of active development.
> I hope you find this information useful.
> -- 
> Sincerely,
> Jeffery Wright
> Bachelor of Computer Science
> President Emeritus, Nu Nu Chapter, Phi Theta Kappa.
> _______________________________________________
> Blinux-list mailing list
> Blinux-list at

More information about the Blinux-list mailing list