This page is dedicated to Linux terminology that may be unfamiliar to new users. It is envisaged, that as new questions are asked of us, the page will grow with ever more explanations. Although it aims to be accurate, simplicity is as important and so perhaps we can be forgiven for technically simplified explanations.
- APPLICATION - common to both Windows® and Linux, it is another word for a program.
- BOTNET - common to both Windows® and Linux, it refers to a collection of computers, often many hundreds in number, that are centrally controlled by a single command station. They can be used for good, but are more often associated with malicious use, without the owners knowledge or consent.
- CASE SENSITIVE - common to both Windows® and Linux, it refers to using CAPITAL letters (known as upper case), or normal letters (known as lower case).
- COMMAND - normally used in a shell, more commonly known as a console if you're a Windows® user, it can also be used to launch an application via the Run command. Almost all commands in Linux are case sensitive.
- CONFIGURE - the act of setting parameters within an application, to adjust it for use on your particular computer, or to adjust the way the application runs for your particular usage.
- DEPENDENCES - when additional applications are installed, they will often use other library files in order to work properly. The additional files required are called dependencies. That is, the original application depends on these files to work correctly.
- DESKTOP - the GUI you first see when a fully booted system comes on line. Most commonly, Gnome or KDE, but other desktops are available.
- DISTRO - a collection of software, that has been carefully put together to achieve a complete operating system in it's own right. A distro will normally include all the common applications (programs) required to make it a productive system from first use.
- DUAL BOOT - not strictly a Linux term, but as many people want to be able to use both Windows® and Linux at first, it is included here. It means you have the choice at boot-up to start a particular operating system. Dual boot normally means two, (typically Windows® and Linux), but can mean multi, where three or more operating system reside on a single computer, each within its own partition.
- EXT2 (ext2) - a file system used extensively in Linux distros. There is also a later ext3 - (a journalled file system) and Reiser (also journalled) file system that some people prefer. Other file systems are also supported.
- GRUB (GRand Unified Bootloader) - a popular boot manager often used by major distros. It is used to launch your distro at boot-up. It will also be where you will find the appropriate command line for Windows® if you are dual-booting a computer.
- GUI (Graphical User Interface) - is the graphical presentation you directly interact with for any particular application.
- JOURNALLED - a file system that keeps track of changes by writing those changes about to occur to a journal. Thus, if a system crashes (by power failure for example) only the last entries in the journal have to be reconciled for system recovery, making the recovery process far faster.
- LILO (LInux LOader) - a popular boot manager often used by major distros. It is used to launch your distro at boot-up. It will also be where you will find the appropriate command line for Windows® if you are '''dual-booting''' a computer.
- PACKAGE MANAGER - included with all major distros, its job is to manage additional application installations, to ensure all the dependences are in place, so the application works correctly.
- PARTITION - common to both Windows® and Linux, it is simply a hard drive that has been divided into sections.
- REPOSITORY - a server normally (but not always) operated by the distro provider. It is used to download any extra applications you may wish to use, via your preferred package manager.
- ROOT (root) - can have more than one meaning. Primarily, it is the basis of the Linux file system and is indicated thus: / It can also refer to the root user which would be the Administrator in Windows®. The root user has total (and potentially devastating) control over the system. There is also a /root file, which in fact is the home folder for the root user.
- TERMINAL - can be a shell or mini-application such as Konsole provided in Kubuntu. It is used to query aspects of the system, or to run commands within, including editing system files if required. An editor such as vim would be used within the shell for editing purposes.
- USER - the user can be anyone granted access to the computer by the root user. "Users" will have limited access to the system, depending on which permissions the root user has granted.