Linux Mint Beginner’s Guide

OK, I confess. I thought I’d stop searching the net for hints and tips, and bought the ‘Linux Mint Beginner’s Guide‘ by Jonathan Moeller, Azure Flame Media, 2012. It’s pretty cool and I sailed through the first ha;lf with no problems. All clear and only restating what I already knew.

Checking disk status

First I loaded System Monitor from the main menu. This is a GUI tool that shows me the status of my hard drive as well as the processes and resources that I have running. A bit like the old Windows Task Manager. I have used 33% of the HDD space, so I have plenty left. Now, ho to find the process in a terminal.

The top command used in a terminal shows me some really useful information that is updated in real-time. Looking through the processes I can see that there are no Samba (smb*) processes running, so that may explain why I have no sharing on my computer. ‘t‘ sorts the processes by CPU time, ‘l‘ by load average and ‘m‘ by memory used. If I wanted to I could kill a process by taking note of its number (the PID) and typing ‘k <PID>’. To test this, I launched the Image Viewer from the main menu and spotted the brand new process eog pop up in the top list in the terminal window. Cool. It has the PID of 3501. So, typing

k 3501

and then confirming the termination signal, does indeed kill the process. OK, I am armed for bear! ‘q‘ to quit and on with exploration.

df -h

Shows me a list of my attached devices, but I am mainly interested the hard drive which tells me I have 45Gb free and I’ve used 34% of the available space. Hmmm… I may have to use gparted later on to shrink the windows partition further and expand myLinuxx ext4 partition to get more space!

New, Improved Vim – for all those difficult stains!

Now I can learn to use the vi text editor from the terminal for quick and dirty configuration file editing! mwah-ha-ha! Just typing


into the terminal launches a blank vim window; vim being the Improved version of vi. Using vi to call vim has already been established for me by the installation process – cool!

OK, the first problem is that the welcome screen tells me to press ‘q‘ and ENTER to exit vi, but it doesn’t work. OK, my fault – I didn’t read it properly, type


and press enter. No problems. So, let’s try creating a text file by trypeing

vi test.txt

Apparently vi starts in normal mode with PAGE UP/DOWN, HOME & END moving about the file. I type in a dummy sentence to test and find that dw/de (no space) delete the word following the cursor, and d$ deletes to the end of line. OK, that works but I’ve deleted my test line so type some more in. I notice the backspace key doesn’t delete backwards but merely moves the cursor backwards. The cursor keys also do interesting things!!

dd deletes the entire line and p inserts the text from the last deletion at the cursor. Ah ha! So, I haz a copy/paste function! Pressing CTRL-G shows a status line and I can see that the file hasn’t been saved so it doesn’t exist yet. Pressing / for search is a handy way of moving around the document. Now to find out how to save the file.

Command me now!

Apparently I need to move from normal mode to command mode if I want to save the file. More later.


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