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Linux to the rescue

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  • Linux to the rescue

    Geek time Ladies and Gentlemen...

    As tragic as it sounds I am a bit of a geek (well I never).

    And we all have to be a bit of one these days , what with windows being as bug, error and virus prone as it is.

    Firstly a bit about Linux...and then my experience of it the other evening.

    Linux is a free operating system that runs programs and applications, just like windows does. There is a bit more to it than that though, but for the case of narrative flow lets leave it at that for the moment.

    It would be churlish of me not to spread some good news for all those who may suffer hard drive failure, corrupt files preventing their windows booting prperly or find their windows systems locked up and inaccessible with a virus. I experimented last night with a Linux distribution (or system, if you prefer) called Linux Knoppix 5.1

    It is a live CD, that is you pop it into your CD drive, reboot your machine making sure that the boot order is set to CD drive first...basically that the machine looks for boot up code off the CD before it checks the Hard Drive. Then knoppix loads up from your CD into the Ram. And what do we get when we do this? We get a fully operational Linux operating system.

    Now that sounds novel and interesting (or possibly as dull as dishwater). But here is the exciting bit...This program that loaded into my ram detected my net connection, the local network my machine runs with and managed to mount my windows ridden hard drive. Without running off the hard drive. So I surfed the net, copied files over the local network, opened up some files (that were cross platform compatible such as microsoft office files) with open office, worked on them and saved them back onto my own hard drive as well as sending them over the local network...and to be honest, apart from saving stuff to my hard drive, I didn't use my hard drive at all to do any of this.

    Then I popped over to a friend in need and loaded it onto her laptop that is currently without a hard drive. Loaded knoppix and popped a usb pen drive in. So she was able to use her machine and save files to a two gig usb pen drive in a usb slot. She accessed the internet, ran microsoft office compatible software and used multimedia progs all from her ram. She saved docs onto the usb pen drive. We sat there with our jaws hitting the ground. It was amazing. This is a rescue CD without compare...I mean running a machine, surfing, downloading, saving, without a hard drive?!!!!

    Plus it has all the virus resistant / malware resistant qualities that a Linux distribution has when it is run on a hard drive.

    And the cost of all this? Nothing. Free. Totally free.

    And the file manager it uses....

    Its called conqueror and it is a file manager that can do a split pane window allowing you to view two portions of your hard drive at once. Very useful to drag and drop between panes. It is also a web browser and a FTP client as well, meaning you can have your hard drive in one pane, the internet on the other and simply drag files and folders from one pane to another, it simply transfers them from the web and if you so choose, back to the web again. It can also rip MP3's on the fly...just drag CD tracks or folders from a pane showing the CD contents into an adjacent pane showing your music folders and it converts 'em on the fly.

    It is also rock solid...and if you are lazy and just switch the 'puter off with applications running with freshly saved work in ' time you boot up the entire lot will be there ready and waiting for you to resume work exactly as you left them.

    I use a PC while in Exeter that is a little old...duron processor, not that much ram, onboard graphics chip...When XP was on it it would take several mins to load. Now it takes two mins if that now I have installed Linux, from pressing the button to start to using the machine. Mind you I am using a stripped down but still very functional distribution called xubuntu linux designed to rescue older machines from the scrap heap and make them not just usable again but very, very usable. Firefox takes three seconds to load up onto an old low spec machine like mine.

    After using windows for so damn long this is a breath of fresh air.

    I am now going to try and install photoshop using a windows emulator so I can use me fave graphics prog. If that fails there is a commercial prog called crossover office that enables one to install lots and lots of windows based software into Linux which costs around thirty quid.

    drawbacks? As Linux still puts operability on an equal footing with usability you might have to configure it slightly to run with certain bits of hardware, but not that many. There is a fantastic community around the ubuntu distribution which helped a friend lots, he was most impressed. Also codecs that enable one to play propriety formats like realplayer and quicktime are not initially included in an install. One has to download and install them. But ubuntu download manager locates them, downloads them and installs them with a single mouse click.

    So it may (and that is a may) be a bit fiddly, but by no means impossible to set everything up once it is installed but by god. It knocks windows out of the window ha ha. But is light years ahead of microsoft. And its free...If you have a fairly decent machine you can try it out as a live CD before you decide to install it...just google ubuntu and follow instructions.

    No more freezes, long waits, malware detection and anti virus downloads or checks to make...a system that flies on an old machine...I am seriously seriously impressed. So I thought I would just like to share that with you.

    You can also get open office for windows. Please don't be put off by the fact that it is free. It is robust, fully featured and professional.

    And thats me happy rant over. I love you all.

    Nope still going. I just installed my windows copy of photoshop 7 onto linux using the windows emulator in Linux. This is seriously coool.
    Many a mickle muches a markle...

  • #2
    Welcome to the geeky world...

    I like KDE for the front end

    Good luck...

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    • #3
      Mr Swirl used Linux for something on his laptop - the one with the penguin maybe? I don't pay attention!
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      • #4
        I'm with you Swirly! I leave the geeky stuff to Ian,I'm the creative one of our partnership!!
        Anice xx
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        • #5
          Me too - technical geeky stuff is left for hubby as he loves it

          However I know enough to know that Vista is a pile of pants and my constant whinging has finally resulted in hubby agreeing to uninstall it and install XP on my laptop instead
          Visit Natty Netty for a huge selection of Iris Folding supplies


          • #6
            Cor! An official welcome to geekland from a KDE I is hoping that the elive project takes that's a window manager which is a work of art. Yes, I prefer KDE as well, if only for that split pane facility with FTP thrown in...puts the windows 'my computer' to shame.

            And all of this does seem geeky, but those little boxes we type into are amazing tools and resources. And windows XP or Vista are substandard. Viruses, malware, system crashes? We have been taught to expect them as part of computing. But they don't have to be.

            Any one setting out in business would be well advised to check out Linux before hand. It can save a fortune not just in software, but in time updating anti-virus clients, malware detectors and general down time should anything nasty get through. In short, it saves time, money and stress. There is a learning curve, but it seems to get shallower by the day, and there is plenty of support available. And you don't get sucked into the land of expensive upgrades...XP to Vista anyone? And Dell are shipping computers with Linux pre-installed these days.

            Just because its free doesn't mean its cheap! This is seriously good, robust, reliable software. And it really is free. And it really is more secure, more stable more feature - rich than windows. And it looks a sight nicer too.

            Google Ubuntu and whilst there check out the Ubuntu community. There is so much help there!

            So perhaps this path can save you hundreds of pounds and hours of stress. It can be a bit of a trial to set up exactly how you want it...but as I said support is there and once you have it the way you want just goes and stays that way. And if a newer better version comes out, just click on one button and your entire system is updated over the net.

            As crafts people we often work in areas that have market saturation of what we have to offer. Margins get squeezed. Anything that can help should at least be given consideration...I hope this foray into geek and craft may give some of us an edge. LF
            Many a mickle muches a markle...


            • #7
              ....... woosh .......

              ...... My Head .....

              And to think I was chuffed when I managed to work out how to do my own website!
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              • #8
                Originally posted by swirlyarts View Post
                Mr Swirl used Linux for something on his laptop - the one with the penguin maybe? I don't pay attention!
                "The one with the penguin" - I ask you!

                I was using SUSE 10, but next rebuild will be to use Oracle Unbreakable Linux, which is a version of Red Hat that's made by Oracle (where I used to work).
                I could never get SUSE 10 to run the applications I needed it to, so moved back to Windows.

                New hard drive to be ordered soon, then I'll set it up to dual boot Linux / XP. Part of me says to use VMWare or something like that so I can have the two OS running together, but that's something else for me to look into...
                It's never too late to gyrate!


                • #9
                  Originally posted by JBJB View Post
                  ....... woosh .......

                  ...... My Head .....

                  And to think I was chuffed when I managed to work out how to do my own website!

                  Join you on that one JBJB My mind was wandering after the first sentence!!!!!!!!!!
                  Jo x

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