Lab Summary:

This lab will guide you through the basic elements, operations, and programs in the GNOME desktop environment and get you started on the Linux command line environment.


For Lab 1B, please follow the steps below.  Where it is noted, please provide a complete screenshot of your virtual machine screen as well as provide a written response where listed.

Do not crop or remove contents from your screenshot. All lab submissions should be submitted as a Word Document (.doc or .docx) or a PDF to the Assignment Dropbox will all screenshots and responses clearly labeled. Any screenshots that are not clear and/or do not include the appropriate information will not be accepted.

  1. Explore the main desktop environment and basic GUI interactions similar to those in the Microsoft Windows environment.
  • Explore the Ubuntu Gnome GUI interface
  • Explore and understand how applications/places/settings are organized in the main menu.
  • Find out where these programs are: file manager, text editor, terminal, and browser (Firefox).
  • See what information and action are available on the panels/taskbars.
  1. Explore the file manager and your personal (home) folder
  • Get familiar with the file manager/browser interface.
  • Navigate to different places and view files (personal folder, file system, etc.). Have a first feel of the folder structure. Determine a place to store your future working files.
  • Practice basic file operations: sorting, opening files, copying and pasting, moving, renaming, etc.
  • Take a screenshot with the file manager/browser open showing the “Documents” directory (screenshot 1b-1).
  1. Experience basic GUI customizations:
  • Find out how to change desktop background and theme (hint: right click on the desktop).
  • Add “Terminal” and “Text Editor” application and another application of your choice to the top panel (in the Applications Accessories menu; drag icons to the top panel).
  • Take a screenshot showing the changed background/theme and the top panel with your shortcuts (screenshot
  • 1b-2).
  1. Experience the following GUI utilities and applications
  • Take a screenshot of your desktop, save it a folder or copy to clipboard. Import or paste the image to LibreOffice Writer or Impress. Export the file as PDF in your “Documents” folder.
  • Open a browser (Firefox) window and see if you can visit a website. If not, check this out:
  • Take a screenshot with the browser open and displaying a web site of your choice (screenshot 1b-3).
  • Use Text Editor to write something and save the file to your “Documents” directory.

Open a terminal window and complete the following task in the terminal window.

  1. Use “cd” and “ls” command to visit following directories and list files in each one. Answer the following questions
    • How many files in your home directory
    • How many subdirectory in your home directory
    • How many files in the root directory
    • How many subdirectory in the root directory
    • How many files in /etc/ssh
    • How many subdirectories in /etc/ssh
    • Take a screenshot after you list (“ls”) the files and directories in the last directory /etc/ssh/ (screenshot 1b-4).

For assistance with Labs, Astute scholars are ready to help

  1. Enter these commands at the prompt, and try to interpret the output. Ask questions and don’t be afraid to experiment (as a normal user you cannot do much harm- GNOME desktop environment):
  • echo hello world
  • date
  • hostname
  • man ls (you may need to press q to quit)
  • who am i
  • last
  • cal 2023
  • history
  • clear
  1. View and edit files
  • Navigate to /etc/ssh and find the “ssh_config” file. Use “cat”, “more”, and “less” command to view this file. Feel the difference. Refer to lecture notes slide #30.
  • Use pico or nano to create a new text file. Type your name, major, university name, with each on a new line.

Save the file and exit.

  • View the file you just created in a terminal window. Take a screenshot which clearly shows the command you used to view the file and the file content (screenshot 1b-5).
  1. Other operations when working with GNOME desktop environment.
  • Command editing: use left and right arrow to move along the command line.
  • History: use up and down arrow to see previously entered command. Use this effectively with command editing to improve your productivity.
  • Use “script” command to create a log of your operations – see lecture notes slide #29.
  • Enable the “root” account – see lecture notes slide #30. Re-login as “root”.


  • Make sure you have practice the following commands or tools. Use the man command to check reference
    • cd, pwd, ls
    • cat, more, less
    • script, clear, date, cal
    • pico, nano, vim