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1.5 The X-Window System

When using linux, we need some software to provide a graphically oriented working environment (like what you're using right now). X is almost universally used under linux to provide this capability. When you logged in at the start of this session, X was started automatically for you. The X-screen comprises a set of rectangular windows displayed within a background window (called the root window). Each window runs an application (generically called a client ). The way all the windows looks, how they're laid out, etc - in other words, the look and feel of the X-session is controlled by software called the window manager. Your window manager is kde .

A very important client is the x-term . The x-term is a terminal emulator. You can type commands at the prompt of an xterm to launch applications (including x-term). You can always pull up a new x-term under kde by just clicking on the terminal icon located on the bar that runs across the bottom of the screen.

Inside your xterm, your interaction with linux is controlled by a program called a shell . A shell is a command interpreter. To issue a command to the shell, you type the command at the prompt, and hit return. You've already done this with the host command. You can also issue commands to the shell using a shell script - more about those later. Common shells are bash and tcsh .

Putting it into Practice:

You can always find out what shell you have by typing
  prompt> echo $SHELL   
What is your shell?