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Installing And Updating Software Is Easy In Mandriva Linux (aka Mandrake Linux)
Mike Angelo -- 17 October 2005 (C) -- Page 1
Mandriva Linux 2006 already has been released to Mandriva Club members. It likely will be released to the public and retail trade shortly. The legwork for this article was done running Mandriva LE 2005 on our Pogo Linux test machine. However, this article should be quite applicable to Mandriva Linux 2006 too.
The difficulties often encountered with trying to install new software or updating already installed software in GNU-based Linux systems are not nice for new-to-Linux users -- or for experienced Linux users for that matter. And such problems often can discourage MS Windows users from migrating to Linux. Thus, an easy-to-use software installation, removal, and maintenance module is an important component of a good desktop Linux system.
Mandriva Software Management Tab
Mandriva Linux (Mandrake Linux) has a great and easy to use set of graphical user interface (GUI) tools for installing new applications on your Mandriva Linux system, for removing software from your system, and for updating already installed software. They are part of the Mandriva Control Center (MCC) and are located in the Software Management tab of the MCC. These MCC software tools are RPM-based tools.
The Software Management tab in the Mandriva Control Center is one reason we rate Mandriva Linux as a good desktop Linux. For more about our rating Mandriva as a good desktop Linux, please see the articles in our In Pursuit of Good Desktop Linux series, Network Neighbor-hood and MS Windows Partitions and Ease of Use and Ease of Migration Overview -- KDE, GNOME, and MS Windows Desktops.
You can get to the Mandriva Control Center by clicking on the MCC icon on the K-Panel at the bottom of your screen. It's the one that shows Configure Your Computer - System configuration tool when you place the mouse cursor over it. Please see Figure 1, below.
You also can get to the MCC through the menuing system. To do that, simply click on the K-Menu star icon on the K-Panel. Then the menu path is K-Menu > System > Configuration > Configure your computer. Please see Figure 2. For you Microsoft Windows users, the K-Menu is similar to the Start button menu on the MS Windows Taskbar and the K-Panel is similar to the Windows Taskbar.
The top tab in the MCC is the Software Management tab. Click on it to show the contents of the Software Management tab. There are five selections there.
Installing and Removing Software
The two main workhorses of the Software Management tab are the Install Software and Remove Software module screens. Actually screen 2, Remove Software, ought to be named List and Remove Installed Software to better encapsulate the functions of this screen.
These first two screens look and feel very much alike. The main look-difference is that the bottom left button in screen 1 says Install and in screen 2 it says Remove. Also, screen 1 is labeled Software Packages Installation and screen 2 is labeled Software Packages Removal. Please see Figures 3 (screen 2), below, and 4 (screen 1), on page 2.
Don't let the term packages confuse you. Pretty much, you can think of package and program as meaning the same thing when it comes to installing or removing software. Actually the term package is a more precise term than is the term program or application when it comes to installing and removing software to and from a GNU-based Linux distribution.
For more about our rating Mandriva as a good desktop Linux, please see the articles in our In Pursuit of Good Desktop Linux series, Network Neighbor-hood and MS Windows Partitions and Ease of Use and Ease of Migration Overview -- KDE, GNOME, and MS Windows Desktops.
Figure 3, above, shows the Software Packages Removal screen. Actually, it is a listing of all the software installed on your Mandriva Linux system. In Figure 3, we have selected the option to list all the installed software by groups such as office software, graphics software, sound software, and so forth.
In Figure 3, the Office group tree is expanded. AbiWord, a great MS Word clone, is the top listed installed office application. To the right of the packages listings is the description panel. In Figure 3 it shows that AbiWord is a Lean and fast full-featured word processor, which takes up about 10-MB of hard drive space. The installed version number, 2.2.7-1mdk, is shown in the description panel.
To remove an installed software package simply check the check-box to the left of its name in the installed packages list by clicking on it. Then click the Remove button. That's very simple indeed.
Figure 4 (on page 2) shows the Software Packages Installation screen. Please notice how similar it is to the Software Packages Removal screen. However, the Software Packages Installation screen does not show the software packages installed on your Mandriva Linux system. Rather, it shows the packages that are not already installed but are available to you for installation.
Another difference is that the button in the lower left of the Software Packages Installation screen says Install rather than Remove. Also, please notice that in the package description panel for abiword-plugin-freetranslation the entry Medium: AleContribs. That means that the software installer will grab the freetranslation plug-in from the Ale FTP Mandriva mirror -- more about that further on. There is no Medium entry in the Software Packages Removal screen.
The description panel in the Software Packages Installation screen also indicates there is no version of the selected package installed on your system -- Currently installed version: (none).
You can select one or more software packages for installation. To do that, simply check the check-box to the left of a package name in the available packages list by clicking on it.
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