This is the third in our six or seven part series on how to use Linux if you are a regular smart person who needs a functioning computer but is not a geek. Today, a few items to know about files.
All computer systems keep your data and stuff in file, and you probably know that “programs” (applications) can be files (or sets of files) and that there are configuration files, etc. There are a few things about the Linux system, regarding files, that you should probably know, or at least, have a place to look up in case you need to. This is more of a list than a coherent story, so here’s the list:
1) File names in Linux do not use “extensions” but many applications in Linux understand and will make use of them.
2) Although there are no limits that you need to know about regarding how long file names can be, there are limits (in all computer systems) as to what characters they can include. However, what you may not realize is that the limits that apply to Linux actually apply to all systems, because the Linux limits are the default Unix/Linux/BSD limits, and these are the systems that run the internet. So you would be foolish to ignore certain guidelines. Which are:
- Don’t use spaces in file names. There are no systems that can tolerate spaces. There are only systems that pretend to tolerate spaces. But they are faking it. They usually do a good job at faking it, but spaces in file names can cause unexpected problems. Use underscores (“_”) for spaces.
- Only use letters, numbers, the underscore, the dash, and the period. There are other characters you can use, technically. But don’t.
- Do not use a dash (-) as the beginning of a file name.
- Don’t listen to any of those people down in the comments about how it’s OK to use spaces.
- In Linux, file names are case sensitive.
3) A Linux file is connected to a set of “permissions” and “ownerships.” This can get complicated. A file can be tagged as “executable” or not, and it can be tagged as viewable or usable by a certain owner or not. This is complicated and hard (and also true for Windows and the Mac, by the way, but it is mostly hidden from you). Just know that “permissions” and “ownership” are issues and you may at some point need to work out a problem with these issues. But learning in advance what to do just in case is not a good idea.
4) You, as a specific user on your Linux sytem, own and have access to a subdirectory (folder) called home. It is abbreviated a s “~”. Allmost all of the files you generate that are what you would think of as your stuff are in the home directory. In fact, all of it except some configuration stuff. Any software that puts your private data and stuff anywhere else is bad.
Organize your files within the home directory. Desktop is one of the subdirectories already there, and that represents the files and folders visible on your Gnome desktop.
5) Within the home directory are files that are “hidden.” For the most part, files that begin with a dot (called “dot-files”) are hidden. You can see them by telling the system you want to see them. They are not really “hidden” as in secret. They are just the sorts of things you don’t normally want to see.
6) If you copy every single thing, including hidden files, from your home directory onto an external hard drive, you are doing a good enough job of backing up your stuff.
7) You can see your files by looking in folders that are on your desktop or using the Nautilus file manager or some other file manager.
Have I missed anything?
For a list of all the posts in this series, CLICK HERE.