I would first plug it in and look at the output of "dmesg". You should see recent activity indicating Linux found the USB device and has created a device such as /dev/ttyUSB0 or some such entry. If you don't see this - this is your first hit at a problem. If you do see it, you might try a common program like kermit and add a loop back to the far end of the cable. Then, simply type something. You should see it echo back as if you were typing into an editor. If all that works and the Arduino SDK still doesn't - I would next suspect that the Arduino SDK is trying to create lock files to prevent other programs from using the /dev/ttyUSB0 device (or what ever it was called) but failed. At this point, I (briefly) ran the Arduino SDK as root as a test.
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