1. Switching to Ubuntu from Traditional Unix-like Operating Systems
  2. Performing Administrative Tasks
    1. Using Sudo
  3. Packaging
    1. For Debian Users
  4. Command Line configuration (aliases and inputrc)
    1. Useful Shell aliases
    2. Tab Completion Enhancements
  5. Music, Movies, DVD Playback and Java
  6. Environment Variables
  7. Documentation

Switching to Ubuntu from Traditional Unix-like Operating Systems

Many people who use Unix-like Operating Systems make the switch to Ubuntu everyday and even more are considering it. This page shows the Ubuntu equivalents of many traditional Unix applications,and tasks.

There are also specialized guides for particular distros: Switching to Ubuntu From Red Hat Enterprise Linux And Fedora

Mac OS X users should read Switching to Ubuntu From Mac OS X

Performing Administrative Tasks

Ubuntu handles the root user a little differently to most other Linux distributions in that it has the root account disabled by default. Instead Ubuntu uses the "sudo" program to allow users in the 'admin' group to run particular commands as root. Graphical config tools also prompt for your password using a similar system. This has many advantages:

At first only the user you create during installation will have access to sudo. To allow additional users to use sudo, add them to the admin group.

Using Sudo

Using sudo is easy, to run a command with root privileges just open a terminal and do:

sudo <command>

Replace <command> with whatever command you wish to use. Sudo will then ask for your normal user password, enter it and press enter to run the command.

Sudo also has a graphical mode, if you try to run a program from the menu system (such as Synaptic) that requires root privileges a dialog box will appear asking you to enter your normal user password. Enter your user password and click Continue or press the enter button on your keyboard.

To run a proper root shell you can do the following:

sudo -i

This will ask for your normal user password, enter it and you will be at the root prompt.


For Debian Users

Packages in Ubuntu can be handled the same way as in Debian using apt-get/synaptic/aptitude from the command line, or using the Synaptic or Gnome-app-install graphical installers.

Most of the Debian pool is available to Ubuntu users through the extra Universe and Multiverse repositories, which are not enabled on a default install (see AddingRepositoriesHowto to enable them). Optionally you can open /etc/apt/sources.list with your favorite editor and uncomment the relevant lines to enable the extra repositories.

Every six months a snapshot of Debian Unstable is made and Ubuntu is created from that. That said, installing packages made for Debian on your Ubuntu system can often cause problems due to the minor differences and tweaking the Ubuntu developers need to do to make Ubuntu stable - use Ubuntu's Universe and Multiverse repositories instead for you extra software needs.

See Installing Software for information on installing packages.

Command Line configuration (aliases and inputrc)

This section is written for Mandrake/Mandriva users, but probably applies generally.

Useful Shell aliases

Mandriva defines the following aliases (in /etc/profile.d/alias.sh), which make the shell faster to use. They could also go in your .bashrc

alias ls='ls -F --color=auto'

make ls coloured, and append characters to denote filetype ( eg trailing / on directory names)

alias l='ls'

short for ls

alias l.='ls -d .*'

show only hidden files

alias la='ls -a'

list all files

alias ll='ls -l'

long format listing

alias lsd='ls -d */'

list only directories

alias lx='ls -X'

list, order by extension

alias p='cd -'

previous directory

alias s='cd ..'

short for cd ..

alias cd..='cd ..'

allow omission of space in cd ..

alias rd='rmdir'

alias md='mkdir'

The following make cp,rm, and mv interactive by default, so you don't overwrite a file by mistake. Most people think this is useful, but some think it makes one careless, as one might come to rely upon the implicit -i, on some other system which doesn't have it.

alias mv='mv -i'

alias rm='rm -i'

alias cp='cp -i'

Tab Completion Enhancements

Mandriva defines the following in /etc/inputrc (it could also go in ~/.inputrc), which makes tab-completion much more pleasant. In Ubuntu/Debian/RedHat, when tab-completion has several possible alternatives, it simply beeps. In Mandriva, it prints the list of options and then repeats the prompt where you were. Furthermore, the system beep is now rarer, and when it does beep, it's meaningful, rather than annoying.

set show-all-if-ambiguous on

Music, Movies, DVD Playback and Java

Getting file formats restricted by patents or copyright such as movies and music to play on your Ubuntu system is simple (although not as simple as it could be). See RestrictedFormats. Java is simple too.

Environment Variables

See [WWW] https://wiki.ubuntu.com/environment_variables


There are a few good resources you can turn to if you need further help with Ubuntu, these include:


last edited 2007-02-23 19:21:11 by Ardchoille2