Linux

Video: Common mistakes to avoid when you're installing Linux software

The release of Ubuntu and other user-friendly distributions has bolstered Linux's popularity. Yet Linux neophytes can still stumble over common tasks, like installing new software. In this IT Dojo video, Bill Detwiler discusses ways to avoid common mistakes people make when they're trying to add new Linux software.

The release of Ubuntu and other user-friendly distributions has bolstered Linux's popularity among IT pros and end-users alike. Yet Linux neophytes can still stumble over common tasks, like installing new software. In this IT Dojo video, I discuss common mistakes people make when they're trying to add new Linux software. I also give you tips to make the installation process a bit easier.

For more advice on overcoming common mistakes people make when installing Linux software, check out Jack Wallen's article, "10 common mistakes to avoid when you're installing Linux software"--the basis for this video.

About

Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop supp...

26 comments
awoodcock
awoodcock

I always wondered how he filmed from a server room without the drone of the fans drowning out his voice. Nice outtakes!

Photogenic Memory
Photogenic Memory

Yep! dis how I doos it. I have no sound but I saw images of GUI-package managers. If you have problems; the above can help you install programs on your box. Just make sure you have the dependencies installed and and an updated GCC compiler. All done. P.S. Always, Always, ALWAYS read the README file that comes with the prog before you install it for directions.

Benny7440
Benny7440

This is the third ITDojo video that I try to watch or download/save and, in this computer at least, It has been imposible. I would like to know if there are special requirements to be met by the equipment downloading the video to see if this one meet them or not and what can I do to remedy the situation...

charvak.karpe
charvak.karpe

In the video, Bill mentions how you can install software directly from the web by having Firefox open the package with your package manager. Rather, I recommend always saving all packages to a single directory for future use if you want to install them on another machine or reinstall Linux. Secondly, it would be fairly easy to write a Python script that undoes the accidental decompression of a TAR file into a folder. The script could create a new temporary folder, open the TAR file into that, traverse the tree of files and folders in the temporary folder, and delete the corresponding files and folders in the main folder. Should such an "undo" be a feature built into a good zip/unzip utility?

Cisco-SA
Cisco-SA

Boogers, I need another monitor, there is a gun shot hole in the one I have now. I was suckered into starting another video link from TechRepublic. Now I gotta go requisition another monitor and startup the text/PowerPoint version. Just because you can video doesn't mean you should video. Audio/Video presentation is good for babies, school children and marketing. It is good for synopsis and gestalt knowledge. But step by step, no, give the information in a step by step presentation, like PowerPoint; there is a reason it is so ubiquitous.

egandb
egandb

I didn't know the package manager wouldn't know that software existed if not installed from a .deb or .rpm file. Good to know!!

mail.gamal
mail.gamal

Thank you:) I used to install from source and my package manager never knew it was there ... But I really don't know how to convert it to .deb or to .rpm ? Thank you again :)

mail.gamal
mail.gamal

very helpful .. I always did the install from source without the package manager in both fedora and ubuntu .. and now I wanna ask . how to convert it my source files to .deb file

seanferd
seanferd

I'd have to say it's pretty cool. Fun to watch. :)

BALTHOR
BALTHOR

Got to go it's a telemarketing call!

brian
brian

Good combo, because it's one line that's easily shoved into a script for faster typing. But if you'd had sound, you would have heard him say why not to use 'make install'. It's because the system is then unaware that the package has been installed, which can cause these problems (which admittedly CAN be solved, but of course with more legwork): 1: Dependent packages will not know their dependencies have been installed if you install from source this way. 2: Software removal becomes somewhat more difficult. You have to know where it put everything and delete it manually. If you used the other methods (checkinstall or alien) then Apt would be able to uninstall later. 3: File system placement - I would have to test this, but I would think using Alien or checkinstall would make the source package files go into the appropriate locations for the distribution. Just a small system organization thing.

JCitizen
JCitizen

I have a 1.5 Mbps DSL connection and even I have to keep my cookies and temp files cleaned up or the videos won't work well. Of course pausing the video will let you load it on even a dial-up connection. Or you can read the text alternative given at the top of the story.

brian
brian

I agree that the videos are not executed very well, but maybe I can point out why I don't like them and then the videos might improve. First off, it takes him minutes to talk over what I could read in seconds. If he's only going to go over basic stuff that I already know, I won't find out until the end of the whole video. He has a laptop on his lap that he doesn't use for ANYTHING. (Can I have it?) He has absolutely nothing to do with his hands. That point gets driven home every time he raises both of them and gestures towards the floor just to get motion in the video. When that happens, it's a sign that there should be a video cut. Possibly there needs to be something else happening, like supporting graphics or pictures of what he's talking about. If not that, even a cut to a different angle of him talking would help. If there isn't enough opportunity for supporting graphics and there's still nothing for the guy in the video to do, video might not be the best format. For example, this article would have been served very well as a text article with still screenshots and audio of the speech.

brian
brian

You should have read the text above the video. It has a link to the original article, which is what the video is based upon. It's not a transcript, or a powerpoint presentation, but it is complete. And if you need pretty pictures, then you could watch the video as well.

tlccomputers
tlccomputers

Powerpoint is for sissies and wusses. Keep the videos coming, Bill. If this guy wants to keep blowing holes in his monitors, its no sweat off my nose. Some of us actually enjoy the videos...especially the outtakes.

SysAdminII
SysAdminII

If you download the source and compile it yourself use checkinstall instead of make install. checkinstall will make a .deb file so Synaptic can handle it (for easy removal later etc. etc.). sudo apt-get install checkinstall so when you compile from source, use checkinstall... ./configure make sudo checkinstall This link talks more about checkinstall. https://help.ubuntu.com/community/CheckInstall

seanferd
seanferd

It'll cramp your planetary-invasion style. If you are into avoidance though, it would be better than a telemarketing call. "Can't invade, server's down!"

boxfiddler
boxfiddler

That's a get out of jail free card if ever I saw one. :^0 :^0 :^0

rob.blomquist
rob.blomquist

Be careful about adding repositories of untested software. Because I felt the need to have the latest greatest version of a desktop manager, I have taken down my graphical system and worse. Logically think about your needs, and be careful to not just install 'Linux' with everything. You will get a million programs, each with its own pros and cons. Some of which will take an expert to tell you why it is important. When given a choice about installing one of two different packages as dependancies, make an informed decision. Research the difference, it may make later problems go away.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

Pass it up the line.     Worth posting twice. That one is absolutely priceless.

seanferd
seanferd

Are you telling me that Balthor of the Invasion Fleet is installing Linux on TR's servers?! :0