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The missing five-minute Linux manual for morons

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Editors

By decree of the state of California, there must be at least 17 text editors installed into each copy of Linux. Some are GUI based, but most run in consoles. Some support UTF-8, some include spell checkers or LISP implementations. All have mutually incompatible keystrokes.

Legendary line-oriented relic ed is by no means the most difficult to use. If you think you are hard, try joe, which emulates the dreaded Wordstar, the Wordprocessor that Time Joined the Foreign Legion to Forget.

Ubuntu installs a gnomic thing called gedit, and sets it, Notepad-style, as the default opener of all text files. In this case, the gnomes have taken Notepadness rather too far for my liking. Try opening a 4MB database dump - surely not such a huge thing these days - and watch gedit die on its backside.

Magic LAMP

To be briefly serious, one of the best things to do with a Linux box is run a few LAMP applications for your intranet. There is something exquisitely satisfactory about this. It's like buying one of those plants that look like a tangle of dead roots, and adding water to see it spring to life in a blur of green shoots.

One excellent LAMP application to try is MediaWiki, the Wikipedia software. It will take you an hour or so to set up, but once it is done it will not only serve as an excellent way of creating an ad hoc documentation system across the department, it will also give the children something to do on rainy afternoons in the school holidays, as evidenced by Enid Blyton's masterpiece Five set up a database of erotic classics.

With MediaWiki, the only limit is your imagination. For example, I am using it to organise my collection of notable corporate letterheads. There is a little overkill here, as it is a collection currently comprising just one item, but you must admit it is a good one:

Logo for Heathrow Terminal 5 development with slogan 'The world's most successful airport development'

Or, there again...

Or, there again, you could just forget all the work, and drop 1200 sods you can't really afford on a MacBook Air, and ponce around being the envy of your workplace.

Hmmm... ®

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