Linux Vocabulary for the New Linux User

If you’re just starting out with using Linux then chances are you’ve probably seen or heard a few Linux terms that you don’t recognize. It’s typical that when you ask, or search, for help on the Internet for Linux, you’ll see some of the following terms. I’ve put them in one place for you so that the next time you see a Linux vocabulary word you don’t know, you can check back here.

APT – Advanced Packaging Tool. APT simplifies the process of managing packages on Linux by automating the retrieval, configuration and installation. Generally, you’ll find APT on a Debian or Ubuntu distro.

BashBourne Again Shell is generally the default shell in most Linux distributions. When someone refers to a shell or the command line the Bash shell is usually what they are referring to.

CLI – The CLI is known as the Command Line Interface.  When you open a terminal, or if you do not use a Window Manager, or X11, you are operating on the CLI.

Dependency – A application, library, or development set that a package depends upon to work.

Distro – Short for Distribution, a distro is a set of programs combined with the Linux kernel to create an Operating System.

GNOME - Can be called a “complete” desktop environment for Linux. Gnome is the default desktop on the popular Ubuntu distribution.

GRUB – Another boot loader for Linux. Allows users to have several different Operating Systems on their system at once, and choose which one to run when the computer starts.

KDE- KDE or the K Desktop Environment, is desktop environment for Linux workstations.

Kernel – The core, or “brain” of Linux. The kernel is what controls the hardware and is what every Linux distro is built upon.

LILOLinux LOader. Similar to Grub, LILO is a boot loader for Linux. LILO usually writes to the Master Boot Record (MBR) on your device.

Linus Torvalds – The man who wrote the Linux kernel in 1991.

Man – Short for manual. If someone says “read the man page” or “rtfm” when you ask a question about a command, they want you to type “man command”.

Root – The superuser account on all Linux systems.

RPM – A package manager, which can be used to build, install, query, verify, update, and erase individual software packages. RPM is used by default on the Red Hat and Fedora distributions.

Sudo – Stands for Super User DO, allows a user to have root access without logging in as root.

Tux – The Linux Penguin

YAST – Stands for Yet Another Setup Tool.  Typically used on the SuSE distro.  Yast is a setup and configuration tool.

YUM - An automated update program which can be used for maintaining systems using rpmYum is also used on Red Hat and Fedora by default.

X / X11- Also known as the X Window System, X is a windowing system that provides the standard toolkit and protocol with which to build graphical user interfaces (GUIs).  KDE and GNOME are built upon X11.

Can you think of any other vocabulary words for Linux newbies that should be on this list?  Please, share your ideas in the comments below.

2 thoughts on “Linux Vocabulary for the New Linux User

  1. chmod – pronounced “chuh – MODE”, this is the process (er, command) for changing the permissions on a file. Unless you are originally the owner of the file, you usually you have to…

    “su into root” – otherwise, you can “sudo” with the root password, but this second option is only good for one go round.

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