New user basic questions; install & DSL setup - Debian

This is a discussion on New user basic questions; install & DSL setup - Debian ; I'm hoping someone can help with some fundamental questions to help get me over the learning curve. In DOS, in order to run an executable, you had to type the filename.exe while in the directory wherein the .exe was located, ...

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Thread: New user basic questions; install & DSL setup

  1. New user basic questions; install & DSL setup

    I'm hoping someone can help with some fundamental questions to help
    get me over the learning curve.

    In DOS, in order to run an executable, you had to type the
    filename.exe while in the directory wherein the .exe was located, or
    the directory had to be included in the Path statement; otherwise the
    program couldn't run.

    Does this work the same way in linux?

    It seems like there's no convention in linux that applications end
    with a particular extention (like .exe). Is this so? Is the general
    rule that linux executables all begin with a dot or period?

    "Compiling" means taking one or more scripts and turning them into
    executable programs or applets; is this correct?

    A Windows application has to be run from within Windows (generally,
    afaik); in other words you can't type "outlookexpress.exe" from the
    DOS command prompt to run the program. Is this the same in linux? If
    I type "thunderbird" at the command line (or whatever the command is
    to run the Mozilla Thuderbird mail client), will the application
    start, or must the GUI application be run from "inside" KDE or Gnome?

    If I type a command or program name while logged in as use, but the
    command or program can only be run as root, does linux inform me of
    this? Or do you have to know based on experience?

    One of the Sarge installation screens asked for a hostname and domain.
    I typed "portege" and the hostname, and for the domain the OS
    automatically recognized myhome.westell.modem.com (or very close to
    that), which I left as is. I'm certain these aren't correct, but I'm
    not sure what goes here. I have Verizon DSL in Manhattan; on my
    Windows XP machine I have to double-click the "connect to broadband"
    icon which sends my username and password, and then I'm "connected at
    100mpbs", etc. So if my username is Steve1234 (@verizon.net), and my
    password 456789, what am I supposed to type in those 'hostname' and
    'domain' fields to get connected to the internet? And/or what else
    need to do to get a connection? AFAICT the OS is properly recognizing
    the eth0 adapter and that it's receiving a signal from the dsl modem;
    otherwise I can't seem to do anything. It's stopping me from moving
    on, because a lot times the system tries to "lookup security file from
    Debian.org", or something like that, and/or tries to go to
    ftp.debian.org, and just hangs up and is not very happy. So what else
    do I need to do?

    Anyhelp would be appreciated; I'm really trying.


  2. Re: New user basic questions; install & DSL setup

    On Fri, 26 May 2006 19:42:54 -0500, Stan Lowe
    wrote in alt.os.linux.debian:

    > I'm hoping someone can help with some fundamental questions to help
    > get me over the learning curve.
    >
    > In DOS, in order to run an executable, you had to type the
    > filename.exe while in the directory wherein the .exe was located, or
    > the directory had to be included in the Path statement; otherwise the
    > program couldn't run.
    >
    > Does this work the same way in linux?


    Approximately. You don't have to be in the program's directory if you
    type the full path. If you are in the program's directory, and that
    directory isn't in the path, you'll have to type ./program_name, where
    "." means the current directory.

    > It seems like there's no convention in linux that applications end
    > with a particular extention (like .exe). Is this so?


    Correct. Filename extensions aren't particularly meaningful in Linux.

    > Is the general
    > rule that linux executables all begin with a dot or period?


    No. Files whose names begin with a dot are hidden files.

    > "Compiling" means taking one or more scripts and turning them into
    > executable programs or applets; is this correct?


    More precisely, compiling means taking one or more scripts and using
    them to turn source code into executable programs.

    > A Windows application has to be run from within Windows (generally,
    > afaik); in other words you can't type "outlookexpress.exe" from the
    > DOS command prompt to run the program. Is this the same in linux? If
    > I type "thunderbird" at the command line (or whatever the command is
    > to run the Mozilla Thuderbird mail client), will the application
    > start, or must the GUI application be run from "inside" KDE or Gnome?


    You need to have X running to run X applications, though you can start
    both X and the program you want to run with a single command string
    from the shell.

    > If I type a command or program name while logged in as use, but the
    > command or program can only be run as root, does linux inform me of
    > this? Or do you have to know based on experience?


    Sometimes you'll see a meaningful error message. E.g.,

    pjr@sid:~$ apt-get install foo
    E: Could not open lock file /var/lib/dpkg/lock - open (13 Permission
    denied)
    E: Unable to lock the administration directory (/var/lib/dpkg/), are
    you root?

    Sometimes, if you're not root, you'll merely be told that the program
    doesn't exist. E.g.,

    pjr@sid:~$ tune2fs
    bash: tune2fs: command not found

    If you want more detailed answers to these questions, Google will
    help, but they're not things you need to know much about in order to
    start using Linux successfully.

    > One of the Sarge installation screens asked for a hostname and domain.
    > I typed "portege" and the hostname, and for the domain the OS
    > automatically recognized myhome.westell.modem.com (or very close to
    > that), which I left as is. I'm certain these aren't correct, but I'm
    > not sure what goes here.


    The hostname is the name of the machine, the domain is the name of the
    network it's on. Your choices ought to work, but I suggest changing
    the domain to something that identifies your home network, or to
    localhost.localdomain, instead of using your provider's details.

    > I have Verizon DSL in Manhattan; on my
    > Windows XP machine I have to double-click the "connect to broadband"
    > icon which sends my username and password, and then I'm "connected at
    > 100mpbs", etc. So if my username is Steve1234 (@verizon.net), and my
    > password 456789, what am I supposed to type in those 'hostname' and
    > 'domain' fields to get connected to the internet?


    Hostname and domain ought to be irrelevant to this.

    > And/or what else
    > need to do to get a connection? AFAICT the OS is properly recognizing
    > the eth0 adapter and that it's receiving a signal from the dsl modem;
    > otherwise I can't seem to do anything.


    The fact that you need a username and password suggests that your
    provider uses PPPOE (PPP over Ethernet), so you'll need to install
    pppoe from the Debian CD and configure it. The manual ought to provide
    the necessary help.

    $ man pppoe

    Also try Google.

    You may also have graphical tools to do the configuration, depending
    on how many of the Debian CDs you have.

    > It's stopping me from moving
    > on, because a lot times the system tries to "lookup security file from
    > Debian.org", or something like that, and/or tries to go to
    > ftp.debian.org, and just hangs up and is not very happy. So what else
    > do I need to do?


    Try the above suggestions and report back. Details of your modem would
    be helpful.

    PJR :-)
    --
    _ _(o)_(o)_ _ FSM: http://www.venganza.org/
    .._\`:_ F S M _:' \_, PJR: http://www.insurgent.org/~pjr/
    / (`---'\ `-. AUK: http://www.netcabal.com/auk/
    ,-` _) (_, F_P God's Own Newsreader: http://www.slrn.org/


  3. Re: New user basic questions; install & DSL setup

    Stan Lowe wrote:

    [snipped a bunch of questions not at all specific to Debian]

    > One of the Sarge installation screens asked for a hostname and domain.
    > I typed "portege" and the hostname, and for the domain the OS
    > automatically recognized myhome.westell.modem.com (or very close to
    > that), which I left as is. I'm certain these aren't correct, but I'm
    > not sure what goes here. I have Verizon DSL in Manhattan; on my


    hostname would be the host name for the system, or that it has
    assigned from DNS. If you don't have a DNS name for you system -
    typically along with a fixed IP - then the hostname may effectively
    be relatively arbitrary - other than being of proper construction and
    not picking certain reserved names.

    The myhome.westell.modem.com or whatever it was that it picked up, it
    likely got from DHCP, and/or PPPoE, if that's in use. I'm not
    especially familiar with Verizon's DLS offering or their offering
    in/around Manhattan, so someone else may shed a bit more light on
    precisely what they're providing you and how (may also depend upon
    which "package" of service(s) you've subscribed to).

    > Windows XP machine I have to double-click the "connect to broadband"
    > icon which sends my username and password, and then I'm "connected at
    > 100mpbs", etc. So if my username is Steve1234 (@verizon.net), and my
    > password 456789, what am I supposed to type in those 'hostname' and


    Those (username and password) don't have anything to do with hostname
    and domain name. If your XP system is asking you for username and
    password to connect, I'd guestimate that's using PPPoE or something
    like that - at least if that's needed to connect (as opposed to
    accessing e-mail and/or other services after one's already connected
    and has general Internet access). Again, this may also depend on
    your ISP's offerings and such, and the service you have, and dear
    knows whatever they may have had you specifically install and/or
    configure on XP.

    Once we learn a bit more about how your DSL is being provided (e.g.
    is it PPPoE?) it may be a bit easier to figure out how to get this
    configured on Debian (I've not done a PPPoE configuration on Debian
    yet, so someone else may be able to provide more information on
    that). You might also check out some relevant search results, e.g.:
    http://www.google.com/linux?hl=en&lr...sl&btnG=Search
    Perhaps you'll find answers there that match to the particular
    Verizon DSL type of setup you have. Local user groups can also be
    quite helpful - it's highly likely such exist in/around Manhattan,
    e.g.:
    http://www.google.com/linux?hl=en&lr...an&btnG=Search

    > 'domain' fields to get connected to the internet? And/or what else
    > need to do to get a connection? AFAICT the OS is properly recognizing


    What's your Debian system connected to? Does it go directly to your
    DSL modem, or does it go to something else? Are the LEDs or other
    indicators showing you have hardware link connectivity between the
    devices? On the Debian system, is it showing you that it achieves
    link with the interface? (dmesg, ifconfig, ethtool, and/or mii-tool,
    etc. may be useful for determining such).

    Once the interface is properly up and configured (e.g. also including
    routing, which it may get via DHCP or PPPoE), then you should have
    Internet IP connectivity, and be able to get security updates from
    security.debian.org., get additional packages from Debian mirrors,
    etc. - but it sounds like you're probably hitting some snags a bit
    short of that. Once you're more than a bit into the installation,
    you can switch to another virtual terminal, get a root shell there,
    and use that to investigate what may be going on and determining any
    particular problems you may have encountered ... I think the Debian
    install documentation probably covers that relatively well (perhaps
    under some mention of "troubleshooting"). The Debian installer also
    lets you run a shell from the menu too ... again, once you're at
    least a fair bit into the installation (I think picking keyboard type
    and some other things probably have to come before that to be ensured
    reasonably sane behavior if one shells out ... but the defaults for
    shelling out as early as possible may still be reasonable for US
    ASCII keyboards and nothing too odd or unusual between keyboard and
    system).

    > the eth0 adapter and that it's receiving a signal from the dsl modem;
    > otherwise I can't seem to do anything. It's stopping me from moving
    > on, because a lot times the system tries to "lookup security file from
    > Debian.org", or something like that, and/or tries to go to
    > ftp.debian.org, and just hangs up and is not very happy. So what else
    > do I need to do?


    > Anyhelp would be appreciated; I'm really trying.


    .... and all those questions that aren't specific to Debian - probably
    more appropriate to ask them (and have them answered) in a more
    general LINUX (or even UNIX) forum - I don't think any of your
    questions that weren't specific to Debian were even specific to
    LINUX. E.g. perhaps try: news:comp.unix.questions
    There are also excellent UNIX (and LINUX) FAQs out there, and may
    good LINUX and UNIX books (and even several Debian specific books,
    some of which also have on-line versions available for free:
    http://www.debian.org/doc/books
    )


  4. Re: New user basic questions; install & DSL setup

    In message <356f72d85tcehb87cblnt5vsgrstugldil@4ax.com>, Stan Lowe
    writes
    >I'm hoping someone can help with some fundamental questions to help
    >get me over the learning curve.

    ....

    I suggest you try more than one distro until you find one you like. I
    would try one of the "live" distributions, like knoppix - which is an
    entire OS on a CD.

    Keep Windows for a little while (for downloading distros).

    --
    Jeremy Boden

  5. Re: New user basic questions; install & DSL setup

    On Fri, 26 May 2006 19:42:54 -0500, Stan Lowe wrote:

    > I'm hoping someone can help with some fundamental questions to help
    > get me over the learning curve.
    >
    > In DOS, in order to run an executable, you had to type the
    > filename.exe while in the directory wherein the .exe was located, or
    > the directory had to be included in the Path statement; otherwise the
    > program couldn't run.
    >
    > Does this work the same way in linux?


    yes

    >
    > It seems like there's no convention in linux that applications end
    > with a particular extention (like .exe). Is this so?


    That is so. And an executable need not be a binary. It can be a script.
    Linux has no 'conventions' for file endings - they mean nothing.

    >Is the general
    > rule that linux executables all begin with a dot or period?


    no.

    >
    > "Compiling" means taking one or more scripts and turning them into
    > executable programs or applets; is this correct?


    No. Compiling means sending source code through a compiler to be compiled
    and linked into an executable. Scripts run via an 'interpreter'.


    >
    > A Windows application has to be run from within Windows (generally,
    > afaik); in other words you can't type "outlookexpress.exe" from the
    > DOS command prompt to run the program. Is this the same in linux? If
    > I type "thunderbird" at the command line (or whatever the command is
    > to run the Mozilla Thuderbird mail client), will the application
    > start, or must the GUI application be run from "inside" KDE or Gnome?


    Depends on how it was written. If it utilizes a GUI, then a GUI must be
    running. If not, then, no.

    >
    > If I type a command or program name while logged in as use, but the
    > command or program can only be run as root, does linux inform me of
    > this? Or do you have to know based on experience?


    It will tell you that you don't have permission to execute it, if you
    can't execute it.

    >
    > One of the Sarge installation screens asked for a hostname and domain.
    > I typed "portege" and the hostname, and for the domain the OS
    > automatically recognized myhome.westell.modem.com (or very close to
    > that), which I left as is. I'm certain these aren't correct, but I'm
    > not sure what goes here. I have Verizon DSL in Manhattan; on my
    > Windows XP machine I have to double-click the "connect to broadband"
    > icon which sends my username and password, and then I'm "connected at
    > 100mpbs", etc. So if my username is Steve1234 (@verizon.net), and my
    > password 456789, what am I supposed to type in those 'hostname' and
    > 'domain' fields to get connected to the internet? And/or what else
    > need to do to get a connection? AFAICT the OS is properly recognizing
    > the eth0 adapter and that it's receiving a signal from the dsl modem;
    > otherwise I can't seem to do anything. It's stopping me from moving
    > on, because a lot times the system tries to "lookup security file from
    > Debian.org", or something like that, and/or tries to go to
    > ftp.debian.org, and just hangs up and is not very happy. So what else
    > do I need to do?
    >
    > Anyhelp would be appreciated; I'm really trying.



  6. Re: New user basic questions; install & DSL setup


    >
    >Hostname and domain ought to be irrelevant to this.


    Thank you. With your clues, after stumbling about for a couple of
    hours, I came across the pppoeconf program and got connected!



    I was able to make more headway last night with linux than I had over
    several years of starting and stopping. Feels good.

    I'm wondering if such a program as this exists:

    When working in Gnome, I can start a terminal window and (sort of)
    follow along between the two interfaces to see how tasks which I'm
    used to in GUI form are accomplished via commands.

    For example, when working with the GUI file explorer, I can
    double-click around and go up and down and through directories listing
    the files and subdirectories. And then in the terminal window I can
    "CD .." and then "ls -al", etc., and practice other commands.

    So I'm thinking when I use the GUI to change the desktop preferences
    and other things, what's actually being done is rewriting of various
    configuration files (I think; I don't actually know what I'm talking
    about). Which gets me thinking if I could see which configuration
    file (or otherwise) was being changed, and how, it would go a long way
    towards helping to learn linux.

    So, is there a program (or otherwise) which runs alongside the desktop
    which might "on the fly" show what linux file or utility is being
    altered or accessed as I carryout task in Gnome?

    Thanks again.

  7. Re: New user basic questions; install & DSL setup


    >No. Compiling means sending source code through a compiler to be compiled
    >and linked into an executable. Scripts run via an 'interpreter'.
    >


    I see. So bash is my interpreter, like DOS' command.com. And the
    files which begin with a dot are scripts. Scripts being like DOS'
    batch (.bat) files, which contain commands.

    So if and when I ever compile anything, am I actually creating an
    executable, or a file which is "linked into an executable" as you've
    written above?




  8. Re: New user basic questions; install & DSL setup

    On Sat, 27 May 2006 21:27:58 -0500, Stan Lowe
    wrote in alt.os.linux.debian:

    > Thank you. With your clues, after stumbling about for a couple of
    > hours, I came across the pppoeconf program and got connected!


    Excellent news!

    <...>

    > So, is there a program (or otherwise) which runs alongside the desktop
    > which might "on the fly" show what linux file or utility is being
    > altered or accessed as I carryout task in Gnome?


    strace

    If, for instance, you want to see what's happening when you run
    Firefox, try running "strace mozilla-firefox" in your Gnome Terminal.

    (As far as I know, strace is a more secure version of the old Unix
    trace program. The s stands for "secure".)

    There are many other programs for tracking exactly what's happening on
    your system, but strace is the only one I've had much occasion to use.
    Other reguars in AOLD might have better suggestions.

    Once again, this isn't something you really need to worry about in
    order to use Debian.

    PJR :-)
    --
    _ _(o)_(o)_ _ FSM: http://www.venganza.org/
    .._\`:_ F S M _:' \_, PJR: http://www.insurgent.org/~pjr/
    / (`---'\ `-. AUK: http://www.netcabal.com/auk/
    ,-` _) (_, F_P God's Own Newsreader: http://www.slrn.org/


  9. Re: New user basic questions; install & DSL setup

    On Sat, 27 May 2006 22:07:15 -0500, Stan Lowe
    wrote in alt.os.linux.debian:

    >
    >>No. Compiling means sending source code through a compiler to be compiled
    >>and linked into an executable. Scripts run via an 'interpreter'.
    >>

    >
    > I see. So bash is my interpreter, like DOS' command.com. And the
    > files which begin with a dot are scripts. Scripts being like DOS'
    > batch (.bat) files, which contain commands.


    No, files that begin with "." are unlikely to be scripts.

    try these comnmands:

    $ ls ~

    $ ls -a ~

    The second one ought to show you a load of "hidden" files. They're
    hidden because deleting them might be a bad idea.

    > So if and when I ever compile anything, am I actually creating an
    > executable, or a file which is "linked into an executable" as you've
    > written above?


    You'll be compiling an executable file.

    PJR :-)
    --
    _ _(o)_(o)_ _ FSM: http://www.venganza.org/
    .._\`:_ F S M _:' \_, PJR: http://www.insurgent.org/~pjr/
    / (`---'\ `-. AUK: http://www.netcabal.com/auk/
    ,-` _) (_, F_P God's Own Newsreader: http://www.slrn.org/


  10. Re: New user basic questions; install & DSL setup


    >
    >strace
    >
    >If, for instance, you want to see what's happening when you run
    >Firefox, try running "strace mozilla-firefox" in your Gnome Terminal.


    Wow! strace really gives a lot of information!

    I've seen when I pull down a GUI command or task, I can right-click
    and view Properties and see what's being run at the command line. For
    example, when I pull down Applications, Desktop Preferences, I can
    right-click on Desktop Background and see the command that's being run
    is gnome-background-properties.

    It does seem like all of these commands, when run in the terminal,
    bring up GUI interfaces. network-admin, for example, brings up the
    network configuration GUI window. I'm sure (well, not really) there's
    a configuration file wherein all these network settings are saved. I'd
    like to be able to see that in the terminal. I'm surprised the strace
    command isn't listing when that file is being opened.

    Question: I've gotten to using ls -alh as my "standard" file listing,
    with a --color=always option (pretty cool, huh?). I'll figure out
    eventually how to make this permanent; but my question is that as the
    files and directories are listed, a few are listed oddly, like this:

    cdrom -> media/cdrom
    initrd.img -> boot/initrd.img-2.4.27-2-386
    vmlinuz -> boot/vmlinuz-2.4.27-2-386

    obviously these files differ in some fundamental way from the others,
    but I'm not certain what I'm looking at.


    >
    >(As far as I know, strace is a more secure version of the old Unix
    >trace program. The s stands for "secure".)
    >
    >There are many other programs for tracking exactly what's happening on
    >your system, but strace is the only one I've had much occasion to use.
    >Other reguars in AOLD might have better suggestions.
    >
    >Once again, this isn't something you really need to worry about in
    >order to use Debian.
    >
    >PJR :-)


  11. Re: New user basic questions; install & DSL setup

    Thanks. I was able to get connected last night, tried to plug in a
    PCMCIA ethernet card, and since I quite well don't really know what
    I'm doing, ruined the good work I accomplished. pppoeconf fails now
    (gave up on the PCMCIA card; going back to the dongle/adapter).

    Now, on running PPPoeconf, I'm getting the ". . . access concentrator
    did not respond" error message. I'm googling the solution to this,
    and will no doubt come across the answer sooner or later. Otherwise,
    I'll just reformat my harddrive and reinstall the OS for the fifth
    time in two weeks.

    Thanks again for taking the time to help.

    On 26 May 2006 22:43:50 -0700, "Michael Paoli"
    wrote:


  12. Re: New user basic questions; install & DSL setup


    >
    >I suggest you try more than one distro until you find one you like. I
    >would try one of the "live" distributions, like knoppix - which is an
    >entire OS on a CD.


    Yeah; I hear you. Except I already spent $40 on 14 CD's and some
    video tutorials starring Debian. And, I'm installing on an old
    Toshiba Portege laptop; not worth hardly anything, 6GB harddrive and
    not much ram, some bad sectors on the disk, but the darn thing comes
    in at under 2lbs and it's less than an inch high! But a few people
    have written about how this laptop makes an excellent linux learning
    center; and those that got it to work nicely under Linux used Debian,
    and found the weird Toshiba Portege 3110CT sound and other drivers on
    the net. So I'm figuring I'm better off following in their footsteps
    for the time being.

    Knoppix is a "Live" distribution as opposed to Debian, which is a
    "static" distribution, because it isn't updated except every few
    years? Is that what "live" distribution means?

  13. Re: New user basic questions; install & DSL setup

    On Sun, 28 May 2006 00:55:47 -0500, Stan Lowe wrote:

    > Knoppix is a "Live" distribution as opposed to Debian, which is a
    > "static" distribution, because it isn't updated except every few
    > years? Is that what "live" distribution means?


    No, "live" means that it runs off of the CD without touching your
    hard drive. Good for rescue activities and similar, good for getting
    to know linux or checking out some stuff, not usable for actual
    working ;-)
    (Knoppix also has a possibility to install it on the hard drive but I
    suggest a "pure" debian.)

    gregor
    --
    .''`. http://info.comodo.priv.at/ | gpg key ID: 0x00F3CFE4
    : :' : debian: the universal operating system - http://www.debian.org/
    `. `' member of https://www.vibe.at/ | how to reply: http://got.to/quote/
    `- NP: Dave Brubeck: Bossa Nova U.S.A.

  14. Re: New user basic questions; install & DSL setup

    On Sat, 27 May 2006 22:07:15 -0500, Stan Lowe wrote:

    >
    >>No. Compiling means sending source code through a compiler to be compiled
    >>and linked into an executable. Scripts run via an 'interpreter'.
    >>

    >
    > I see. So bash is my interpreter, like DOS' command.com. And the
    > files which begin with a dot are scripts. Scripts being like DOS'
    > batch (.bat) files, which contain commands.


    scripts don't necessarily start with a . 'hidden' files start with a . try
    (from a command prompt) 'ls' - now do 'ls -a' - the '-a' says 'show all
    files'.

    >
    > So if and when I ever compile anything, am I actually creating an
    > executable, or a file which is "linked into an executable" as you've
    > written above?


    Actually, the compiler usually makes a 'relocatable object' file first,
    and then links in necessary libraries to make an executable. You can
    separate the steps, but it is often not necessary, so you do the whole
    schmeer all at once.


  15. Re: New user basic questions; install & DSL setup

    In message <356f72d85tcehb87cblnt5vsgrstugldil@4ax.com>, Stan Lowe
    writes
    >I'm hoping someone can help with some fundamental questions to help
    >get me over the learning curve.


    [snip]

    Actually, you might find it quite useful to sign-up to:
    http://h30187.www3.hp.com/all_courses.jsp (not quite sure if that url is
    quite correct...).

    They have several Linux courses (Linux 101, 201, 301) which are
    available periodically (free), they are redhat based but this doesn't
    matter much, provided you skip the bits about the rpm package.

    --
    Jeremy Boden

  16. Re: New user basic questions; install & DSL setup

    On Sat, 27 May 2006 23:17:37 -0500, Stan Lowe
    wrote in alt.os.linux.debian:

    > Question: I've gotten to using ls -alh as my "standard" file listing,
    > with a --color=always option (pretty cool, huh?). I'll figure out
    > eventually how to make this permanent; but my question is that as the
    > files and directories are listed, a few are listed oddly, like this:
    >
    > cdrom -> media/cdrom
    > initrd.img -> boot/initrd.img-2.4.27-2-386
    > vmlinuz -> boot/vmlinuz-2.4.27-2-386
    >
    > obviously these files differ in some fundamental way from the others,
    > but I'm not certain what I'm looking at.


    They're links. On the left of the arrow is the link, and to the right
    is the name of the file it points to.

    Links may also point to links; for instance, /media/cdrom is likely to
    be a link to /media/cdrom0 or something similar.

    To create or modify links, you'd use the ln command.

    PJR :-)
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