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1. Introduction

1.1 Is Linux Right for You?

You want to switch from DOS/Windows to Linux? Good idea, but beware: it might not be useful for you. IMHO, there is no such thing as ``the best computer'' or ``the best operating system'': it depends on what one has to do. That's why I don't believe that Linux is the best solution for everyone, even if it's technically superior to many commercial OS's. You're going to benefit immensely from Linux if what you need is sw for programming, the Internet, TeX... technical sw in general, but if you mostly need commercial sw, or if you don't feel like learning and typing commands, look elsewhere.

Linux is not (for now) as easy to use and configure as Windows or the Mac, so be prepared to hack quite a bit. In spite of these warnings, let me tell you that I'm 100% confident that if you belong to the right user type you'll find in Linux your computer Nirvana. It's up to you. And remember that Linux + DOS/Windows can coexist on the same machine, anyway.

Prerequisites for this howto: I'll assume that

This howto replaces the old ``From DOS to Linux --- Quick!'' mini-howto. Also note that, unless specified, all information in this work is aimed at bad ol' DOS. There's a section about Windows, but bear in mind that Windows and Linux are totally different, unlike DOS which is sort of a UNIX poor relation.

1.2 It Is. Tell Me More

You installed Linux and the programs you needed on the PC. You gave yourself an account (if not, type adduser now!) and Linux is running. You've just entered your name and password, and now you are looking at the screen thinking: ``Well, now what?''

Now, don't despair. You're almost ready to do the same things you used to do with DOS, and many more. If you were running DOS instead of Linux, you would be doing some of the following tasks:

You'll be glad to know that these tasks can be accomplished under Linux in a fashion similar to DOS. Under DOS, the average user uses very few of the 100+ commands available: the same, up to a point, holds for Linux.

A few things to point out before going on:

1.3 For the Impatient

Want to strike out? Have a look at this:

DOS                     Linux                   Notes

BACKUP                  tar -Mcvf device dir/   completely different
CD dirname\             cd dirname/             almost the same syntax
COPY file1 file2        cp file1 file2          ditto
DEL file                rm file                 beware - no undelete
DELTREE dirname         rm -R dirname/          ditto
DIR                     ls                      not exactly the same syntax
DIR file /S             find . -name file       completely different
EDIT file               vi file                 I think you won't like it
                        emacs file              this is better
                        jstar file              feels like dos' edit
FORMAT                  fdformat,
                        mount, umount           quite different syntax
HELP command            man command             same philosophy
MD dirname              mkdir dirname/          almost the same syntax
MOVE file1 file2        mv file1 file2          ditto
NUL                     /dev/null               ditto
PRINT file              lpr file                ditto
PRN                     /dev/lp0,
                        /dev/lp1                ditto
RD dirname              rmdir dirname/          almost the same syntax
REN file1 file2         mv file1 file2          not for multiple files
RESTORE                 tar -Mxpvf device       different syntax
TYPE file               less file               much better
WIN                     startx                  poles apart!

If you need more than a table of commands, please refer to the following sections.

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