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Hi all,

I know there are about a million threads started by newbies looking for basic advice on Linux, but I think the help I need is so incredibly basic the word itself needs redfining! For example (and I know this sounds completely ridiculous) I don't even know for sure what Operating System I am using... Essentially I am a pretty seasoned XP user who has inherited a Linux-based C++ project and I don't have a clue where to start. It's not a case of me being too lazy to search for help, but everywhere I look everything seems to require a knowledge of Linux and its jargon far beyond anything I know so far! I think if I can overcome some of these almost trivial stumbling blocks, then I could at least have a second crack at finding out more for myself without wasting your time, so I've tried to compile a set of fundamental questions and I would appreciate any help whatsoever.

1) Where can I find out what my Operating System is? As far as I can tell, unlike 'standard' MS-type products, because Linux is open source, there are countless 'versions' available. Presumably there is something somewhere on my computer that can tell me what version I am running? But I can't seem to find an 'About' box (or equivalent).

2) What is the 'K Desktop Environment'? I have found several references to 'K', be it KDE, KMail, KNotes or whatever, which I think has something to do with a 'K Desktop Environment' or possibly the 'Konquorer browser (?). But is this 'K' relating to the version of Linux I am using? Or is it just the name of some software installed on the OS? Or am I barking completely up the wrong tree? On the Help>About box on this browser it says: "K Desktop Environment. Release 3.2 BRANCH >= 20040204". Help>Konquorer Introduction says it is v3.2.0 - is this related to the rest of KDE or just something that happens to be used by it?

3) What is 'Mandrake'? My browser has:
set as its 'start page', with "Congratulations for choosing Mandrakelinux!" written cheerily across the top. There are various hyperlinks to places such as:
and so on, but they all take me to sites that are 'Under Construction' and contain no information. I get the impression from things I've found on the web that Mandrake is the version of Linux I am using, but I may be wrong. If I am using 'Mandrake' then a) How do I find out what version of Mandrake it is? and b) How does this relate to the 'K Desktop Environment'?

4) Are all the nightmarish tales about downloading and software installation true? From what I've read and experienced, getting software updates a very unforgiving task for newbies like me - For example, I couldn't even get Skype installed. It told me:
skype- (due to unsatisfied qt[>= 3.2])
What does that mean in plain English? Is there a file missing? Is the file corrupt? Is there something incompatible with my Operating System? Have I even tried to install the correct file? Which brings me onto:

5)Is there a reliable glossary of Linux terms that anyone can specifically recommned? Preferably one that doesn't expect any Linux knowledge at all and/or somewhere to help me diagnose errors like the one above regarding Skype.

6) Does anyone know anything about 'KDevelop'? I understand I will be using something called KDevelop to edit the c++ project, but despite being assured this was 'very similar to MS-Visual Studio' I found myself unable to follow the simple 'Hello World' tutorials on the net (not because of a lack of competence or because the tutorials are incomplete, but because of errors that I cannot understand). KDevelop was already on this computer but when I try to use it I can't get it to even build or compile. Either it complains about an out-of-date Autoconf (apparently I have v2.2 and need v2.54) - what is Autoconf? Is this what makes the 'Makefiles'?

I downloaded 'Autoconf 2.54' but the associated ReadMe contains words and phrases I could not hope to comprehend like 'M4 macros' and 'shell scripts'. So when I just open the 'Install' file it gives:
Please use the KDE control module and configure the Vim component.
which, as an error message, is completely wasted on me. What is a 'control module' or the 'Vim component'? Is it really important or is there another way to get Autoconf updated to the correct version? Do I need to reinstall KDevelop to automatically update it? Should I be considering a different programming project manager? Any other thoughts or recommendations?

I appreciate how completely inept this all sounds of me, but if anyone would care to help, then I would be very appreciattive. Thanks.
Welcome to linux. Mandrake is a linux distribution. There are many different distributions of linux. In a nutshell a distribution is where someone compiles the linux kernel and all the necessary tools and applications and makes it an operating system. Take a look at this website It appears that you have a version of Mandrake linux installed. Mandrake was bought out and is now known as mandriva (

1. You have a version of Mandrake. If you can figure out how to start a console window (look for an icon that looks like a monitor) then type in the command:
uname -a
This will tell you what version and kernel you are running.

2) Unlike windows there are many different GUIs that are available with linux. There are basically two different GUIs, desktops and windows managers. KDE and Gnome are desktop environments i.e. all of the applications Kwrite, Konqueoror are integrated and work together. The other type is windows managers.

3. See intro and 1. Mandrake uses KDE as its default Desktop.

4. Installing software is not as easy as windows. You have a software dependency issue where either the qt library is missing or it is the wrong version.

5. I have not stayed current with Mandrake but they used to have a tool to update and install packages online.

6. I do not use Kdevelop.

Some linux guides:
Oh I see now - I did not realise there were many GUIs for Linux - thanks very much. I'll read those links you suggested and see if I can get any further. Thanks again.
To make pakcage isntallation easier, you can add some "repsotiroies" to your package manager. A repo. is basically an FTP server wiith loads of packages that your computer can download and isntall when it needs them. This normally allows it to find any "dependencies" it comes across. A really excellent tool to do this is "EayUrpmi" (named because "Urpmi" is the underlying Mandrake program that makes the package manager work). You can find it at (its all web-based, and the you copy and paste the code it gives you into a command-shell like the KDE "konsole" program). All the packages from the repositories should then show up in the Package Manager in the Mandrake Config Centre.

To find out which version ytou're using, press ctrl-alt-F1, it should say "Welcome to Mandrake Linux <version>", to get back to GUI press ctrl-alt-F7

I've managed to find an rpm installer now. Hopefully this will help with updating some of the files I need. Thanks again!
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