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Installing Software

Installing software on Linux is actually quite different to how you usually install software on a Windows system.


Most Linux distributions use what is known as a 'package management system' (such as RPM or Deb). The package management system is responsible for keeping a list of all the software installed on your Linux computer, knowing which bits of software need other bits of software to run and for preventing different pieces of software interfering with each other.


That means that rather than downloading some software as an .exe installer file and running that, as in Windows, the best way to install software on Linux is to go through your package management system so that it can keep everything neat and tidy.


To make it easy to find the .rpm and .deb packages you need, most distributions also have a program for automatically finding the right files, downloading them and installing them for you. This is, for example, aptitude (apt-get, apt-remove) on Ubuntu, Debian and many similar distributions and yum on Fedora/RedHat/CentOS-based systems.


For example, if you wanted to install the program recordmydesktop (a great program for making screen recordings of what's happening on your computer screen), you could use these commands at a terminal:


For Ubuntu/Debian/etc.:


sudo apt-get install recordmydesktop


For RedHat/Fedora/CentOS/etc.:


su -
yum install recordmydesktop


However! You can avoid using the terminal in most of these distributions; just look for an Add/Remove Software application or a Software Manager or similar. Most of these are pretty easy to use; you can search for the program you are looking for and download and install it in a few clicks.


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