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In GNU/Linux, there is a superuser named root. Root can do anything and everything, and thus doing daily work as root is dangerous. For security reasons, running as a user that has only the privileges needed for the task is best. In some cases, this may be root, but most of the time it is a regular user.
For convienience, a default gNewSense install is set up with root disabled - as a more secure replacement there is a command called sudo which provides administrative capabilities.
This means that in the terminal you can use sudo for commands that require root privileges. All programs in the menu will use a graphical sudo (called gksudo) to prompt for a password. When sudo is executed it asks for YOUR password, meaning you only have to remember one secure password for the system to be secure.
Updating gNewSense is necessary to fix potential bugs, patch security holes and increase reliability. For this purpose gNewSense includes an update manager to make updating of the system fairly easy.
To use the update manager access: System -> Administration -> Update Manager from the menu.
The update manager will then check for updates and inform you if there are any to install, if updates are found clicking 'Install Updates' will proceed to download and install all the selected updates. Under normal circumstances the update manager will have selected all the necessary updates for your system. Please note any warnings you may receive, most updates do not require a system restart but may request that you run special commands after the update has completed.
Once updating is finished click 'Close' to close the update manager.
All software that is in the gNewSense software repositories is free, not just free of charge but free of licensing restrictions on how you can use and alter the software. There are over 2000 software packages in the gNewSense repositories and all of it is accessible through a single easy to use interface.
To install/uninstall software access System -> Administration -> Synaptic Package Manager from the menu.
The simplest way to install/uninstall software through the Synaptic Package Management System is to find what you wish to install/uninstall and click it. You are then given the choice to mark the package for installation/uninstallation.
When you are done marking packages click 'Apply' - a confirmation screen will appear, to proceed click 'Apply'. Your software will then be installed/uninstalled, when it is finished click 'Close' then exit the package manager.