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I have to get into Linux ASAP and realy mean ASAP. I have installed Cygwin but as allways - things dont go as easy as one would like. First problem i enconter was - i choose KDE package, but there is no sign of KDE files anywhere in cygwin folder. How do i run KDE windows. Currently startx fires, but all looks ugly! My desire is to download and run Qt Creator. Seems that there is no cygwin package, but downloading source and compiling is good to go. Only that i have forgoten every linux command i ever knew! :D Please - what are default commands u use on linux? What does exec do? what ./ stands for? What is directory strucutre and why there is such mess in bin folder? Thanks god - i have windows over cygwin, so downloading files is not a problem, but again -how do i unpack them in linux style and how to i build? simply issue "make" command from folder, where i extracted files? Please help!

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I recommend getting VMWare, and using a gOS VM to reacquaint yourself with linux. –  Alan Jun 15 '10 at 16:57
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Maybe you should split this issue in many small sub questions? –  Johan Jun 15 '10 at 17:35
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6 Answers

up vote 12 down vote accepted

If you are trying to learn Linux, don't use Cygwin. Cygwin is primitive compared to modern Linux distributions. The Cygwin package manager (setup.exe) is horrible, and has needed a new UI for ages. Cygwin is different enough that you will spend a lot of time troubleshooting silly issues. Installing Xwindow and QT apps on Cygwin can be difficult and a waste of time.

Instead, try some virtualization. Sounds like you are running Windows. I recommend that you install Virtualbox, and install Ubuntu Desktop Edition (Or Kubuntu, which uses KDE). This way, you can run Linux inside of a 'sandbox' environment on your Windows machine.

If you don't like VirtualBox, then try something like VMware. However, VirtualBox doesn't cost anything, and you get some great features (Snapshots will create a backup of the operating system, so that you can rollback to a previous snapshot if you munge the OS-- this is great for learning. Take a snapshot, then go ahead and 'sudo rm -rf /'-- what happens?) which are only available on the licensed versions of VMware. There are some free versions of VMware, but they are pretty limited (Although I haven't used a VMware desktop product in over a year). That said, VMware might be better quality then VirtualBox.

I also recommend Ubuntu Desktop to people who are trying to learn Linux. It's one of the easiest Linux distributions to learn, and has an active and helpful user community. Fedora is another good choice.

QT Creator is available for Ubuntu. Instead of mucking with packages, you could be up and running in 10-30 minutes (Depending on your broadband speed, and the number of dependencies required by QT Creator).

$ sudo apt-cache search qtcreator
qtcreator - lightweight integrated development environment (IDE) for Qt
qtcreator-doc - documentation for Qt Creator IDE
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It looks like Ubuntu is not working well on Virtual PC. But seems, that it will work with VirtualBox. Can you please give me quick intro on folder structure? –  0xDEAD BEEF Jun 15 '10 at 18:55
    
For an overview of directories (Things like /etc, /var, /usr) look here: help.ubuntu.com/community/LinuxFilesystemTreeOverview –  Stefan Lasiewski Jun 15 '10 at 19:10
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You can have both Windows and Linux on the same disk, by using Linux as an application within Windows. This way, you don't disturb Windows at all.

I suggest the Wubi linux distribution, since it's a variant of the very popular and easy to use Ubuntu Linux. Wubi allows you to install and uninstall Ubuntu as any other Windows application, in an extremely simple and safe way.

This way, you can concentrate on studying Linux utilities, rather than getting into the nitty-gritty details of Linux installation.

Wubi -- an officially supported Ubuntu installer for Windows

image

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How does Wubi works? Where it keeps data then, if there is no other partition? Is it ran under VM? –  0xDEAD BEEF Jun 17 '10 at 12:37
    
@0xDEAD BEEF: Haven't tried it, but it apparently installs Ubuntu as a directory in Windows that acts as a dual partition. See either the links in the Wubi home page or this : howtogeek.com/howto/17486/… –  harrymc Jun 17 '10 at 13:20
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@0xDEAD BEEF @harrymc : Wubi will create a dual-boot system, where you can boot into either Windows or Linux. Personally, I find Virtualization much more convenient. coLinux is another interesting possibility (It's a "Cooperative Virtual Machine"). I tried this once, and then got turned on to VMware and VirtualBox. According to Wikipedia, Wubi creates and mounts a disk image (See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wubi_%28Ubuntu_installer%29 ) –  Stefan Lasiewski Jun 17 '10 at 17:27
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Getting a Linux system

You could get an Linux live CD for Ubuntu or Knoppix and play around with it. That way you can start Linux from the CD without touching your current Windows system.

The problem with that would be that your changes are not saved when you shut down. If you want that, perhaps install a Linux system to a USB drive and boot from there. Again, your current Windows system won't be touched. But in this case, your changes are stored and when you reboot, everything will be back to how left it.

Learning the commands

If you want a comprehensive start, you might want to buy a book.

If you want to get a quick start, perhaps search the Internet for "linux cheat sheet" and you will get nice compilations of commands.

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All linux style programs that you download are going to come with either README.txt or INSTALL.TXT or both. You may have to do ./configure or ./config first, but if you do, it'll be in those instruction files.

The ./ is just a way of saying current directory. ".." is previous directory, "." is current directory, so "./" is just the current directory with a trailing slash like "C:\Program Files\" has a trailing slash (Unix slashes are slashes instead of backslashes). This is important when you need to specify a folder and just using the current one, or when trying to execute a command like "./test.bash" because just running "test.bash" will look for a program called test.bash in directories listed in your PATH variable (directories like /usr/bin/).

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To unpack and pack files in linux you tar and untar them. You can find out how to do this at : http://www.freebsddiary.org/untar.php

I haven't used Cygwin but I've been using Ubuntu and it is easy to install and use.

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I think it would made your life much more easier if you install Ubuntu and use the repository explorer to install Qt and all the dependencies. After that you can download Qt creator from the Qt web page and done, you can start developing. (However I would recommend you to go through some basic Linux tutorials for basic commands and so on).

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