Using Linux in JB 202 Postscript and pdf versions are available.

Terry Sergeant

Fall 2009 / Spring 2010



This document provides instructions for how to accomplish various tasks on the Linux machines in JB 202. To use one of the computers you must have an account created for you. If you need an account, but don't have one, contact Terry Sergeant (670-1292).

For help with logging in and a list of tasks to perform during your first session, read the Linux Quickstart document. NOTE: This document focuses primarily on graphical tools. To find out how to perform similar tasks using text-based tools, see the Remote Access to csci document.

Running Programs

This section explains how to launch/use several programs. Many programs can be launched by selecting it from a menu. Others do have not pre-existing menu options but can be launched by typing the name of the program in a terminal window. For information about how to launch a terminal window or how to change your password or how to set up thunderbird (email) see the Linux Quickstart document.

Common Tasks

The following table gives the name of programs that accomplish various tasks. It also explains other ways to launch the program.
Task Name of Program Where to Find It
Terminal Window gnome-terminal select Applications->System Tools->Terminal (it also has a greyish icon on the panel)
Email Client thunderbird click letter icon in menu panel
Java Programming bluej type bluej from terminal window
Java Programming jgrasp type jgrasp from terminal window
Web Browswer firefox click world icon in menu panel
Editing Text gedit select Applications->Accessories->Text Editor (or type gedit& from terminal window)

Printing Documents

The JB 202 lab does not have a printer. The computers are configured to print to the printers in JB 104 and JB 105 with JB 104 being the default. Any GUI program will provide a menu option for printing.

Fun Tasks

The lab machines contain software for a variety of games, media, graphics, etc. Feel free to explore and test. If there is a particular task you'd like to be able to perform and you don't see it listed, let me know. There is a full-featured “office suite” called that is installed. It can read and store documents in Microsoft Office format if desired. It's various components (word processor, spreadsheet, etc.) can be launched by choosing Applications->Office and then selecting the desired program.

For instant messaging you can use pidgin. It knows several protocols so you can be connected to several services with only one client.

File Systems and External Media

Managing Files

Your home folder (where you will store your work) can be viewed by double-clicking on it's icon on the desktop.

It is important for you to realize that in Linux, file names are case-sensitive (along with everything else). In addition, file names can be quite long. Most characters are valid filename characters although I would recommend avoiding the use of spaces in filenames. In Linux the period (“.”) character is “just another character” (unlike DOS). Linux organizes files using a hierarchical directory structure and separates directories in a path name using a forward slash (“/”). Here are some commands you will likely want to use.

External Media

You can use standard USB drives, CDs, DVDs, and Windows network drives from your account.

USB Drives

To use a USB drive, insert it into an available port (there are two ports on the side of the monitor and two on the front of the computer). The drive should mount automatically and display your files in a file manager. If you need to load a file from a menu in a program you will find your files in a folder in /media/.

IMPORTANT: If you have written any files to the USB drive then you must “unmount” it prior to unplugging it from the computer. Failure to do so can result in lost work. To unmount the USB drive, right click on the USB icon on the desktop and select the “unmount” option.


To use a CD/DVD, insert the CD into the drive and it should open a file manager showing your documents. When finished using the disk simply eject it. If the CD drive will not open then right click the CD drive icon and choose “Eject” or simply type eject in a terminal window.

If you need to load a file from a menu in a program you will find your files at /media/cdrecorder/.

Network Drives

To connect to your HSU network drive click on the “Computer” icon on the desktop. From the “File” menu choose “Connect to Server”. Enter the following information:
service type : windows share
server : hsufile2
share : stuhome$
folder : your HSU (Windows) user name
username : your HSU (Windows) user name
domain : hsunetwork

The click “Connect”. Your network drive should appear in the list in the “Computer” window.

A Next Step

There are many on-line and in-print resources that provide information on how to use Linux. LINUX: Rute User's Tutorial and Exposition is a book that is available in print (see and (for free) online (see It is quite comprehensive and, among other things, provides its own list of helpful resources.

Terry Sergeant