Chapter 1. Getting Started

The first step to using your Red Hat Linux system is to log in. When you log in, you are basically introducing yourself to the system.


Like UNIX, Linux is case sensitive. That means that typing root refers to a different account than Root. As far as Linux is concerned, the lowercase root refers to the root user (also known as the superuser), or system administrator.

When you installed Red Hat Linux, you had the opportunity to install the X Window System (also simply called X), which provides the display of graphical information. You were also asked whether you wanted to use a graphical screen, rather than a console (or shell prompt) to log in. A graphical screen has icons, lots of menus, and is generally more approachable for a new user. A console, or shell prompt, resembles an MS-DOS screen and requires the use of specific phrases or commands, which the user types at the command line. Although the emphasis throughout this book will be on navigation and productivity using X, it will cover both the graphical and console methods of logging in and starting the X Window System.

Introductory Terms

When you learn about a new operating system, you also need to learn new terminology. Here are a few basic terms you should learn. You will see these terms often: