Department of Engineering

Introduction for New Users, part 2

This document describes some more advanced facilities available on the Terminals in the DPO. It should only be read having reading the First time user guide

More Programs

If you click on the greenarrow button at the top-left of the screen, you'll be able to access more programs.

  • Image Editing - Try Gimp (GNU Image Manipulation Program) in the Graphics sub-menu
  • Photo Management - Try Shotwell in the Graphics sub-menu
  • Creating diagrams and charts - The Office sub-menu has many programs. Also Inkscape is popular.
  • Taking Screen dumps - Try Screenshot in the Accessories sub-menu
  • Text editing - Emacs and gedit in the Accessories sub-menu are both designed for editing source code.
  • Slides - Impress reads PowerPoint files.

More about Terminal Windows

For some experiments you will need to use the Terminal Window. Some useful commands are

  • pwd - To Print the Working Directory; i.e. the folder you're "in".
  • cd directory-name - Change Directory. Note that cd by itself goes to your home directory, and cd .. goes up the directory tree.
  • ls - LiSt the files in the current directory. Use ls -l to get more information about the files
  • cp old-file new-file - CoPy a file.
  • more textfilename - shows you the contents of the text file.
  • wc textfilename - shows you a WordCount of the text file as well as how many characters and lines it has.
  • man command - shows you the command's MANual page. For example, typing man ls tells you all about the ls command.

Note that you can drop icons into the Terminal Window - the name of the file or folder you drop is pasted on the command line.


The Utilities/Tweak Tool and System Tools/Settings facilities let you configure many aspects of the system. In particular, there's Assistance Techologies that offers programs and settings that may help if your eyes and fingers aren't very fast.

Some hints and tips

Don't expect every program to be in the menus. You may need to search for them. The search box that appears on the Applications/Activities Overview screen looks for program descriptions, file-names and more.

Some less useful options

  • The Connect to Server option available from various places probably won't be useful to you. See our Linux Servers page instead.
  • Though some menus invite you to upgrade or install software, you're unlikely to be able to.
  • For more surprises, see our bugs/features page