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Learning Linux – Lesson 5

Linux has very big repository of application software equivalent to windows. Application softwares in Linux are also called packages. Almost all the application softwares of Linux can be installed on any Linux distribution no matter in which Linux galaxy you are like Debian or Arch, etc. Many application softwares of Linux are universally accepted and works on other operating systems also like Windows and Mac.

So, today we will learn about Application Menu. If you see on the extreme left of your panel you will find a Linux Mint Icon along side of “MENU” (this is equivalent to “Start Menu’” in Windows), all the application softwares which are installed in the system are listed there. As we have discussed earlier you can change the look of “Menu” like windows by installing applets in the panel. Linux has a very organized way of categorizing application softwares, (which is not available in Windows, as windows shows all its softwares in a mixed manner) just left click on Menu you will be able to see it yourself. An image of the “Menu” is shown below.

If you hover your mouse over the icons, you will come to know what is the icon meant for on the bottom right corner of Menu (displayed on the image below). You have also got a search bar on the top of Menu, where in if you type the type of software or particular name of software, it will display all softwares related to your search criteria.

If you right click on any of the application software, you will be able to add a shortcut on panel, desktop or favourites. You can also uninstall any application software from here.

Image of MENU

For installing any application software in Linux Mint, there are four major ways of doing it.

a. Through Software Manager– If you select the option of software manager, it will display all the application softwares (which is also called packages in Linux) available for Linux Mint. For other Linux distributions also it is the same way. It is not only the safest way of installing software but also in a very organized manner. You just have to select the software you want to install and click on install to install it. In Linux you have a facility to view every details of the software before installing it, (which is not available in Windows).

If you see on the top right corner of the software manager, there are three small horizontal lines, if you click on this place you will be able to see all the installed application softwares (just like program manager in windows). If you see the list of softwares you will find that most of the softwares has a “tick” on it, that means that particular software is installed. If there is no “tick” on the software that means that particular software was installed some time in past but now it is not installed. If you left click on any of the listed software you will come to know about the details of the software and you can also install or uninstall the particular software from there.

Image of Software Manager

b. Through Terminal– Terminal is equivalent to Command Prompt (CMD, or DOS prompt) in windows. Installing any application software through terminal is the most fastest and convenient way of installing application softwares. For windows users it may seem to be difficult, like from where they will get the code, do they have to learn Linux etc. But to let you know, codes are easily available on internet, you do not have to take training for using codes. You just have to copy the codes and paste it on the terminal and press enter to execute it. Since you are coming from windows environment (galaxy), you may find it inconvenient at the initial stage, but after few months when you become a Pro-user in Linux you will prefer to use terminal instead of using any other means, as per my experience.

Image of Terminal

For uninstalling any package using terminal, use

$$ sudo apt purge (package name)    or   $$ sudo apt remove (package name)

We will learn to use terminal effectively in our later lessons.

c. Synaptic Package Manager– This is one of the old ways of installing application softwares. For using synaptic package manager you have to type “Synaptic Package Manager” on the search bar on “Menu” and click on it from the below listed softwares. After the synaptic package manager is loaded, just type your desired package on the search bar. It will display all the packages and supporting packages, you have to click and select them and click on apply to install it. Any package which has a “tick” or “colour” on it means it is pre-installed and the packages without “tick” are not installed. You can select or un-select packages accordingly for installing or uninstalling it.

Image of Synaptic Package Manager

d. Downloading directly from websites– There are lots of packages available on internet which you have to search and find out. This option is much like installing softwares in windows. There are few types of installation file types which installs in Linux, like .deb, .tar.gz, .tar.bz etc. These files are package files just like windows .exe or .msi files. Out of many installation file types, .deb is the convenient way for installing packages for new Linux users as the packages installs just like installation of windows softwares by double clicking on it. The only risk factor for installing packages by downloading from internet is that if the package is not meant for your operating system it may crash and may create issues in operation of your computer.

There are two more important ways of installing packages on Linux is from Flatpack and Snapd. We will discuss about this in future.

 I think for today it is more than enough, until next session.


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