by Matthew Kelley, via Google+
Reprinted with permission
Here's a Linux tip for the newer users. It’s something that might make a few
things clearer, while making your system a bit easier to use.
Some distributions give you a /home/USERNAME/bin folder. The idea behind this
folder is that it gives you a place to put executable scripts. If the folder is
pre-existing on your distro, it will almost assuredly be placed in your PATH.
Your PATH, for our purposes, is defined as the listing of directories that your
shell searches for executable files. In simple terms, it's the difference
between pulling up the terminal and being able to execute a program by typing in
"fu", versus typing /home/USERNAME/applications/fu_folder/fu.
If you don't already have a "bin" folder (and you don’t, by default, in
PCLinuxOS), you can create one, and then manually add it to your path by editing
your /home/USERNAME/.bashrc file and adding export PATH=$PATH:$HOME/bin.
Now, there are many different ways to use this folder and your PATH to your
advantage, but I'll give you a simple usage scenario using the “Run Program”
dialog box that is called with the Alt + F2 command on most desktop
Lets say you have downloaded a game that isn't in your distribution's
repositories. (Reminder: PCLinuxOS users are discouraged from installing
applications from outside the official PCLinuxOS repository). We'll go with the
roguelike game "Infra Arcana," in this instance. Let's assume we unzip the game
to /home/USERNAME/applications/InfraArcana, and that the game's executable is
The first thing we'll do is create a script called ia.sh, inside the InfraArcana
folder. The contents of this script will be as follows. Of course, you'll have
to change the USERNAME, as necessary:
The script above does two things. It changes the working directory to the one
the game will need, and it issues the command to start the game.
Next, we'll set the script as executable. You can do this by right clicking on
the script in most file managers and selecting "Properties" and then
"Permissions" and toggling it to executable. Alternatively you can bring up the
terminal, change to the game’s directory and issue the command chmod +x ia.sh.
Now, we can change to the /home/USERNAME/bin folder in our terminal and create a
symbolic link to this script. You can do this from the command line with
ln -s /home/USERNAME/applications/InfraArcana/ia.sh infra
What this does is create a symbolic link named "infra" in the /home/USERNAME/bin
folder (similar to a shortcut on Windows) that points to our script in the game
At this point, you will find that you can launch the game by bringing up the
terminal and typing in "infra" and hitting enter. You can also launch other
programs installed by your package manager. Alt-F2, which brings up a "run"
dialog on most desktop environments, will also launch the game with "infra."