When you learn about a new operating system, you should also
learn new terminology. This section defines a few basic terms you
should learn. You will see these terms often throughout all Red Hat
Enterprise Linux documentation including the Red Hat Enterprise
Linux Step By Step Guide:
Command: An instruction given to the
computer, most often with the keyboard or mouse.
Command line: The space at the shell
prompt where commands are typed.
Graphical Desktop: The most visible
area of a GUI. The desktop is where your user Home and Computer icons are
located. You can customize your desktop to have special
backgrounds, colors, and pictures to add a personal touch.
Graphical User Interface (GUI): A
general term for interactive windows, icons, menus, and panels
which allow a user to initiate actions such as starting
applications and opening files using a mouse and keyboard.
Icons are small images representing an
application, folder, shortcut or system
resource (such as a diskette drive). Launcher icons usually refer to application
Man page and Info
page: Man (short for manual) and Info pages give detailed
information about a command or file (man pages tend to be brief and
provide less explanation than Info pages). For example, to read the
man page for the su command, type
man su at a shell prompt (or type
info su for the info page). To close man
or Info pages, press [q] .
Panel: A desktop toolbar, located
across the top and bottom of your desktop (such as Figure 1-12).
The panel contains the menu and
shortcut icons to start commonly used programs. Panels can also be customized to suit your
Figure 1-12. The Desktop Panel
Root: Root is an administrative user
account created during installation that has complete access to the
system.(Root is also known as the superuser.) You must be logged in
as root to accomplish certain system administration tasks, such as
changing administrative passwords and running system configuration
tools. User accounts are created so that typical user tasks can be
done without using the root account, which can reduce the chance of
damaging your Red Hat Enterprise Linux installation or applications
RPM: RPM stands for RPM Package Manager and is how Red Hat builds and
delivers its software files. An RPM is a software package file you
can install on your Red Hat Enterprise Linux computer.
Shell prompt: A command line interface
between the user and the operating system (Figure 1-13).
The shell interprets commands entered by the user and passes them
on to the operating system.
Figure 1-13. A Shell Prompt
su and su -:
The command su (switch user) gives you
access to the root account or other accounts on your system. When
you type su to switch to your root account
while still inside your user account shell, you have access to
important system files that you can change (or damage if you are
not careful). Logging in with the su -
command makes you root within the root account shell. Use caution when you are logged in as root.
X or X Window
System: These terms refer to the graphical user interface
environments. If you are "in X" or "running X", you are working in
a GUI rather than a console environment.
Although the emphasis throughout this book is on navigation and
productivity using the graphical desktop environment, both the
graphical and shell prompt methods of logging in and using your Red
Hat Enterprise Linux system are discussed for your reference.