Ejecting Media from Drives
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Ubuntu isn t quite like Windows when it comes to ejecting or unplugging removable storage devices. In some cases, devices must be unmounted, which is to say that you need to tell Ubuntu that you re finished with the device in question and that you re about to unplug it. In the case of CD or DVD discs, you can simply hit the Eject button on the drive itself. Ubuntu is clever enough to realize that the disc is being ejected, so it will automatically unmount the drive.
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CHAPTER 12 MANAGING YOUR FILES
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In the case of floppy disks, memory cards, and other USB storage devices, you ll need to right-click the icon and select Unmount Volume. Then you can then unplug and/or remove the device. This also applies when you re removing a memory card from a card reader before pulling out the card from the reader, it needs to be unmounted.
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Note It s necessary to close any files that were open on the device before unmounting, and even close any
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file browser windows that were accessing the device.
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If you fail to unmount the device, Ubuntu will still believe the device is attached. This shouldn t cause too many problems, but it could crash any programs that were accessing the device.
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Formatting floppy disks isn t done in Nautilus. Instead, you must use a special program called Floppy Formatter. To start this program, click Applications System Tools Floppy Formatter. You ll see the program window shown in Figure 12-10.
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Figure 12-10. Formatting floppy disks is done using the Floppy Formatter tool. Floppy Formatter is similar to the disk-formatting tool in Windows, and most of the options are self-explanatory. If you intend to share the disk with Windows users, make sure DOS (FAT) is selected in the File System Type box (it s possible to format a floppy using Ubuntu s own ext2 file system format, but there s little to be gained by doing so).
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CHAPTER 12 MANAGING YOUR FILES
This chapter has led you on your first steps in exploring the Linux file system. The file system is vitally important to how Linux works, and we ll go into it in much depth in upcoming chapters. Here, you were introduced to elementary concepts, such as where personal files are stored and the basic rules that govern what you can and cannot do with files. We also looked at the principle method of accessing files via the GUI: the Nautilus file manager. Additionally, you learned how to run programs manually, as well as how to access any Windows partition or files that may exist on your hard disk or across a network. In Part 4 of this book, starting in the next chapter, we will look at some of the underlying technology that makes Ubuntu work and how you can gain more control over your computer. 13 introduces the BASH shell perhaps the most powerful piece of software offered by Ubuntu to control your system.
The Shell and Beyond
Introducing the BASH Shell
s you learned in 1, strictly speaking, the word Linux refers to just the kernel, which is the fundamental, invisible program that runs your PC and lets everything happen. However, on its own, the kernel is completely useless. It needs programs to let users interact with the PC and do cool stuff, and it needs a lot of system files (also referred to as libraries) to provide vital functions. The GNU Project provides many of these low-level pieces of code and programs. This is why many people refer to the Linux operating system as GNU/Linux, giving credit to the fact that, without the GNU components, Linux wouldn t have gotten off the starting blocks. The GNU Project provides various shell programs, too. Some of these offer graphical functionality, but most are text only. These text shell programs are also known as terminal programs, and they re often colloquially referred to as command-line prompts, in reference to the most important component they provide. This kind of shell lets you take control of your system in a quick and efficient way. Like a GUI, it s another way of interfacing with your computer, except that you type commands, rather than use a mouse. By learning how to use the shell, you ll become the true master of your own system. In this part of the book, you ll learn all you need to know about using the shell. This chapter introduces the BASH shell, which is the default one in Ubuntu.