Linux for Die-hard Mac Users - Linux GUI
Linux GUI is the most loud complain from the Mac users. To be honest, I am a hater of command line and character based interface, too, and probably remain so forever. However, with some effort you can configure usable and nice-looking Linux desktop.
Unlike Mac and Windows which have unified desktop system, Linux provides two desktop system managers - KDE and GNOME. Its up to you which one to choose. Both have their own advantages and drawbacks, fans and haters.
Well, if you are going to use Linux seriously, you will not be able to avoid manual editing of configuration files, period. This is not so difficult as it may sounds, however. And believe me, manual configuration programming of complex software is almost impossible to be done with GUI utility.
Linux is mostly a server OS, and the objective of server OS is to provide fast, reliable, crash proof access to the shared resources. In fact, even if server OS does not have a GUI at all, no users except system administrator even will notice that.
Most first time Linux users trying to find control panels in order to configure and customize Linux box. Forget about it (however, some Linux distributions supply control-panels-like tool(s) for user convenience)!
There are no standard configuration tool called "control panels" under Linux! In fact, there are no standardized Linux configuration tools whatsoever. Most of Linux administration done through direct editing of configuration files (usually located inside etc directory), WEB-based tools, command line shell, open source or proprietary configuration tool(s) supplied by particular Linux distribution publisher.
Please take into account that most good Linux distributions come with some kind of GUI based configuration panel (DrakeConf in Mandrake Linux, YaST in SuSE Linux, check documentation if you have other distribution). Then, find in configuration panel startup process manager and turn on httpd daemon (you will not find double click-able application icon called Apache, Apache runs as faceless background process - daemon). If you have Linux, you must have Apache. I highly recommend you to install WEBMIN then. To use WEBMIN, launch Netscape or Mozilla browser (other browsers like Microsoft Internet Explorer may have problems with SSL) and connect to the URL https://localhost:10000 or http://localhost:10000. First URL will be valid if secure encrypted transactions are turned on (almost always done by default). If you are connecting from another computer, change "localhost" to IP address of Linux box.
The WEBMIN is where I am started to love Linux. Even pre-beta version 0.85 I had at the moment I am wrote this is very powerful and capable. As mentioned before, SAMBA (Windows File and Print Sharing Service), also can be configured with WEB utility called SWAT.
Continued - Linux versus FreeBSD...