Installing and updating software
It is assumed that you have run startx to run the GUI. When you install Raspbian, you have a choice to
either start from the command line, or to run the GUI. It doesn't matter which you choose.
If you choose to start from the command line (I do), then
after logging in, type "startx" to start X - ie., run the GUI.
A lot of what you will be doing is typing commands into the command line. This is the basis of shell programming. The
command line in linux is incredibly powerful; much more powerful than the Windows command prompt. If you want to learn
about computers, you have to know that typing commands in is much more flexible - and powerful - and faster -
than any GUI could ever be.
root = administrator
If you are familiar with the term "administrator", then simply substitute the word
"root". In linux, root is the user with administrator privileges; able to run any command and destroy or reinstall
The first thing is to run the terminal emulator. The command line prompt. The shell. Same thing.
It's the button on the menu bar that looks like a switched-off TV. Run it twice
, and you will get two
windows up, both of these are shell command line terminals.
The next thing to learn is that Linux is a proper multi user OS. Any shell can be given administrator privileges; not every
shell has to be. You can give one shell admin privileges, while leaving other shells as a normal user.
So, with 2 terminals open, type into one of them :
This will give you a shell with root privileges. (ie. administrator). Note how the prompt changes - for your normal user,
the prompt is the dollar sign $, and for the root user the prompt is the hash sign #.
If you have a terminal running bash as root, it saves you running 'sudo' in front of every command.
|# apt-get update
|( note, your computer should spend about 2 mins downloading the list of latest available packages )|
|# apt-get upgrade
|( note: the first time you update, your computer should spend about 10 mins updating your
existing packages with the latest version available )|
|# apt-get install synaptic
|( note, your computer should spend about 1 min installing the Graphical Package Manager, called synaptic )|
You now have 4 ways to install software.
- - run synaptic in the GUI from Menu -> Preferences -> Synaptic Package Manager
- - run synaptic from the terminal while logged in as pi (it will ask you for the root password)
- - run synaptic from the terminal while logged is as root (run sudo bash in the terminal)
- - run apt-get install <package-name> from the terminal command line
I'm not going to explain how to use synaptic - it should be self explanatory as you explore.
How often do I need to update and upgrade ?
Not very often. During the first few weeks of installing packages and exploring, you are likely to update quite
often - perhaps every couple of days ?, to ensure you are installing the latest version.
However, linux does not suffer from the continual security worries that plague microsoft. You will not need to
upgrade your pi due to serious flaws or security compromises.
The next page
lists the packages that I suggest installing.