The average Linux distribution CD comes with several gigabytes of software. SuSE, for one, delivers several CDs in a boxed set with enough software to keep you busy for weeks, maybe months. I'll tell you how to install that software, easily and without fuss. Despite all that your distribution has to offer, sooner or later you will find yourself visiting various Internet sites, looking for new and updated software. Where will you find this stuff, and will installing be the same as getting it from your CDs?
Before we get into finding, building, and installing software, I'd like to address a little myth. You have no doubt heard that installing software on Linux is difficult and that it is inferior to what you are used to in the Windows world. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, software installation under Linux is actually quite superior to what you are leaving behind in your old OS.
When you install software and software packages, you must often do so as the root, or administrative user. As root, you are all powerful. Linux tends to be more secure and much safer than your old OS, but that doesn't mean disasters can't strike. Know where your software comes from and take the time to understand what it does. When you compile software (which I will cover later in this chapter), it might even be a good idea to get into the habit of building as a non-root user, then switching to root for the installation portion. Don't worry?I'll explain.