30 Jul 2012

openmamba Milestone2 KDE: are you ready to use it?

Some of my reviews are inspired by new arrivals in the families of popular Linux distributions. Others - because I am interested in one or another aspect of the distribution. There are also cases, when authors of the distribution ask me to review it.

To be honest, there were no special intentions to write about the distribution I am going to review today. It was an almost random choice from the Distrowatch list.

Anyway, this is a distribution, which adheres to the GNU/Linux in its name, not just "Linux". They released a new version recently. Let's talk today about openmamba GNU/Linux, namely their operating system Milestone2.

Openmamba project started in 2007 with roots in QiLinux, a now defunct operating system.

The system slogan of openmamba is "Ready to use GNU/Linux". What does it mean? That was a hook for me.

I downloaded the LiveDVD KDE-based version of the distro, which is about 2.6 Gb in size. As you can guess, I burnt the ISO image onto the DVD-RW. Apart from KDE LiveDVD, there are options to download GNOME or Light DVDs, LiveCD and BootUSB.

You may ask why I have not started from the BootUSB option? Because this is not a fully operational standalone LiveUSB image. Instead, you can use it to boot from a USB stick, where booting from the optical drive is not an option. Then, you need a full DVD or CD image on your hard drive to continue.

So, my DVD-RW is ready and placed into the optical drive of my Fujitsu-Siemens Amilo Pi 1505 laptop. Reboot. Choose to boot from DVD. Let's go.

26 Jul 2012

The Greatest Contribution To Technology In 2012: Open Source Technologies

Open-source technology has become a common phenomenon nowadays. Despite the big number of open source technologies sprouting up around the world, there are those which are superior to the rest. Below is a list of 5 such technologies and how they have changed the world.

24 Jul 2012

Did Zorin OS Ultimate save me money? You bet it did.

First of all I am thanking all the Zorin OS team for their dedication, vision and hard work in developing Zorin OS.

We have been using Zorin OS since version 3.0 in our business and on our personal computers. I purchased several copies of Ultimate to support Zorin and because of the value added software on the Ultimate DVD. The look changer and splash screen themer are what I call value added. Also, the fact that we can configure our wireless without a wired connection has changed the way we use Linux.

If the Zorin Team can think of "value added" programs to add to the Zorin DVD, I am convinced they will sell more DVD's and that would help fund Zorin OS.

It was obvious from the first time I booted Zorin that this distro was putting back what the Ubuntu developers had been taking away over the other releases. The "look changer", the GRUB theme engine, DVD codecs and on and on. All these and more are restoring Ubuntu to what it once was.

I installed Zorin on my personal work computer and then installed Virtualbox on the computer and then my personal copy of Windows XP and then all my windows business software that I use. After using that configuration for about 30 days I found that I was more productive, did not have to purchase any more software for use on Windows 7, had no more viruses and had 3d graphics to boot!

Did Zorin OS save me money? You bet it did. Not only that but I can backup my Windows Virtualbox partition in about thirty seconds. And I can restore it in about one minute!!

My oldest daughter needed to use a computer when at my home because hers was not working for some reason, and so I let her use my laptop to check her email and do some banking. After about five minutes of using the computer she said "Dad, what kind of computer is this?"

I told her what it was and showed her the Virtualbox thing.

Needless to say she was blown away by the whole "two operating system" thing and wanted to know all about it. To make a long story short, her computer was not working because of a virus and trojan which had taken over her computer.

Zorin to the rescue!! We nuked it and installed Zorin OS and then virtualbox and Windows XP and the rest is as they say, history!! She is now one of the biggest Zorin OS advocates in our area.

All I can say is Thank You Zorin. Thank you for your efforts, thank you for Zorin, which is restoring all the best things back to Ubuntu, thank you for saving me money, thank you for the value added parts of Zorin OS. I am looking forward to Zorin OS 6.0 and based on the past versions of Zorin and the forward thinking of your development team it should be just as promising as the rest of the Zorin releases.

This is a guest post by P. Nelson, which took part in the joint Zorin OS contest.

22 Jul 2012

Is Fedora 17 GNOME Really a Miracle?

I had a dilemma last week: whether to start my approach to Fedora 17 Beefy Miracle from the KDE or GNOME spin of this operating system. The decision was to take on the KDE release first. I was not disappointed by it, but I was not overly impressed.

This time around I had no dilemma: Fedora 17 GNOME was still waiting for me.

The image size of Fedora 17 GNOME is about 645 Mb, and is available either from torrent or one of many mirrors. However, to look ahead slightly, I should tell you that the image size depends on where you’re looking at it.

I created a Live USB using the Unetbootin tool. So, the USB stick is in the port of my laptop Fujitsu-Siemens Amilo Pi 1505. Reboot. Choose to boot from Live USB. Let’s go!

19 Jul 2012

A Beginner´s Guide To Linux - The Basics You Should Know

Linux is an operating system that basically acts as a platform for your computer to run on. Despite Linux having advanced capabilities than other operating systems, Linux is not as widely used as its peers Windows, Mac OS X and Android. However, IT geeks and technicians are becoming increasingly frustrated with the shortcomings of the industry leader and are turning to Linux to improve the personal computer systems.

A variation of Linux is used by many companies in the technology industry and most super computers are run on a variation of Linux. One of the key selling points for Linux is that is it designed with security in mind and has encrypted codes as standard, therefore reducing the threat of virus attacks.

Share Linux software with friends

Larger software companies like Apple and Windows are turning to downloads for users to upgrade their machines. Long gone are the days of chipping in with your mates to buy the latest version of Windows or some other software and each of you loading it on to your PCs.

Linux on the other hand is programmed by a worldwide community of software developers and is not owned by an individual or company, therefore they don´t charge ridiculous prices and allow you to share it between friends. In actual fact, Linux software is low-cost, if not free as it is designed to offer powerful computing solutions to school and charities in developing countries.

If you know how, it also gives you the freedom to modify it and use it for a specific purpose of your choosing.

How does Linux work?

Linux is a risk-free way of adapting your computer without having to modifying the current contents of your computer. If you want to give it a try to see if it works for you there is no harm in doing so as a trial run before reverting back to your existing operating system. However, you should still backup your data just in case things go wrong.

Linux works pretty much the same way as any other operating system, but as with anything new takes a little practice and perseverance to become familiar with the layout and the mechanics. Have a play around and use the tutorials to become more familiar with the software.

The first thing you want to do is launch the System Settings from the user menu, so you can give Linux a look and a feel that you like. You will find options that you are familiar with such as background wallpaper and keyboard layout.

Installing Linux

Once you have had a play around with Linux and decided that you would like to use it instead of your existing operating system install it on to your hard drive. If you didn´t back your files up for the trial run do so before you install Linux as you are making changes to your computer´s hard drive.
There are three ways to install Linux:
  1. A live CD available from shops or postal order. Ubuntu is the preferred option
  2. A free download known as Virtual PC 2007 which you can access through Windows
  3. Install Ubuntu using the Wubi installer which is also available for download
 All three versions are unbelievably straight forward and all you have to do is follow the online instructions then reboot your PC and select the Linux operating system from the boot menu.

Accessing your old files

Once Linux is installed you can access your old files from your previous operating system by launching Activities and selecting the filing cabinet on the dashboard. This will launch the file manager Nautilus in which you will find an entry title xxx GB Filesystem. Double click and your files will appear in the open window. You can then put your file in the corresponding Linux partition and you are good to go.

So that completes our beginners guide. Linux implementation is really more straightforward than you think and if you don't like it, the effects can be reversed (provided you keep a back-up).
Image Source: Wikipedia and transitmapsetc.

17 Jul 2012

Everything works out of the box in Zorin!

Zorin OS is an operating system designed to make the "Gateway to Linux". This is because it has a familiar Windows interface, complete with panel customizations, start menu, and even a Look Changer to change the Windows style.

Everything works out of the box in Zorin! All the applications you will ever need is available.

Zorin OS is much faster than Windows and supports more devices without you even having to install drivers!

If Zorin will not run great on your vintage PC, the Lite edition may bring that box back to life.

Zorin is safe and secure, being naturally immune to Windows viruses, spyware, malware and etc.

Many of the software is free unlike Win and Mac, those being available in the Software Center.

Zorin is customizable, you can change the background, the theme, desktop effects and even the boot splash!

Zorin also have available premium version, as a gift of donating to the project. Overall, Zorin is the Ultimate operating system, for anyone. Newbies, Average users and Experts. You can get it today at http://zorin-os.com.

Why do I use Linux?

I love it's speed and flexibility. I can use the distros on any PC, and change effects, themes, anything I want to my will. I really like the time and quality built into making these distros for us (the general public).

I also love the communities of many distros, they are so nice and helpful! The overall thing I'm trying to state is, Why wouldn't I? I don't have to spend hundreds on an operating system when I can get many of those tasks with Linux.

How did I come to the Linux world?

You can thank PCWizKid on YouTube. In 2009, I really was a Windows/Mac guy, but when I saw his review of Ubuntu 9.10, it made me wonder. A different OS that's free! I later began to saw reviews comparing Windows 7 with Snow Leopard and Ubuntu. All the facts got me interesting and I wanted to try it out.

Although I've seen the installation of Ubuntu, the partitioning freaked me out the most. So to keep it safe, I used Wubi.

It went moderately well, and when I finally booted into Linux for the first time, I was so happy. The animations was smooth, the speed was incredible, Software Center was very nice and everything I loved about it.

Because I was using it on a fairly new PC though, it did have problems. The important being it would Kernel panic after an amount of time, but of course I didn't know that this was the equivalent of a BSOD, so I just remained by it, LOL. After all, it only had a cursor bliking at the top, none of the usual blah. I would usually remove Ubuntu and read it with Wubi, until Ubuntu 10.04.

I started using 9.10 a month before Lucid came out, and when the LTS arrived, I set one of the very important challenges I did then, I wanted to partition. So I downloaded the ISO and when the burned disc booted, I was amazed I made it that far. Now of course I used a guide for dualbooting, but eventually it worked and I was hooked.

I loved the new purple theme and improvements of the version. Although the Panic issue was gone now, an issue arose when my WiFi would drop out randomly. But I still stood by it's side.

I then looked up info about Ubuntu and found out about Linux and distros, and I tried my first distro other than Ubuntu with openSUSE 11.2 (11.3 was coming out in a few days).

Since then, I began to use Linux fulltime. I now use Arch with KDE and GNOME and like to use Ubuntu as my second distro. 

But I knew about all this when was little.

You see, I liked computers when I was 4, and when I was 6 I would look on the Wikipedia and remember seeing screenshots of GNOME and Linux. Then I thought just about the foot because I like it, but I though the GNOME 2 desktop with the grass background and thought it looked sorta weird, yet fresh. 

It's hard to describe it. I also liked the penguin of course! So I knew about Linux all along, I just didn't realize it. Sorry this was so long, It's really a long back story. :)

What do I like here?

Out of anything, it's the communities. Those people dedicate their time and skills to help people out and pitch in development. Sending ideas, Responding to issues, I just love them. They are usually great people to chat with too, so their not just tech savvy. A distro wouldn't be anything without people.

What am I doing to promote Linux?

I would just randomly ask people if they wanted to use my computers if they was broken or something. Then they would get awed in it's amazement!
  • My Mom asked how did I get the Unity launcher, and I'd say with Ubuntu.
  • My aunt asked what OS I was using, and I would reply Fuduntu at that time.
  • My friends would love how fast and elegant it is, and of course the Cube that always gets em'! 
So far I put Ubuntu on my grandpa's and Zorin on my Mom's computers. 

I also like to make artwork for Linux, mainly KDE. I am currently working on becoming a developer, hopefully people will like and contribute to my apps and technology. :)

This is a guest post by Ryan Johnson, which took part in the joint Zorin OS contest.

15 Jul 2012

Fedora 17 KDE Beefy Miracle: is Fedora in decline?

There are two Linux distributions which get the attention of a wide Linux-related community with enviable periodicity. Financially stable companies support both these distributions, and they are always on the peak of innovation. These are Ubuntu and Fedora.

The latest release of Ubuntu 12.04 happened in April 2012, and I wrote about the whole "product line" of Ubuntu, Kubuntu and Xubuntu.

Today, let’s talk about the other operating system: Fedora. The latest version, Fedora 17 Beefy Miracle, was released in May 2012. It has separate "spins", where KDE and GNOME traditionally satisfy the majority of fans. It was a difficult task for me to choose which one to start from, KDE or GNOME. Finally, I decided to have a look at Fedora 17 KDE first.

The ISO image size of this Linux distribution is 695 Mb, which is just below the size of a full CD. As usual, I decided to try the system with Live USB.

My laptop's BIOS again refused to accept Live USB created with dd command. That’s why I created a Live USB using the Unetbootin. It worked well.

So, USB stick is in the port of my laptop. Reboot. Choose to boot from USB. Let’s go!

12 Jul 2012

Why Linux Has Been an Attention Getter Lately

Always a popular operating system, Linux has been getting a lot more buzz lately. All of this new news has helped to propel Linux operating systems to the public eye, and awareness of this system’s existence is now starting to spread beyond technology enthusiasts and computer coders.

10 Jul 2012

Mageia 2 GNOME: not that good

Mageia is a distribution forked from Mandriva some time ago. That's not a secret. Also, it's not a secret that Mandriva's preferred desktop environment was KDE. Even the fact that the latest version Mandriva 2011 has only a KDE option proves that position.
At the same time, Mageia continued the old Mandriva strategy, and released their distribution with two options: KDE and GNOME.
I have only tried Mageia KDE so far, and had no chance to try GNOME.
But there was an order from BuyLinuxCDs.co.uk site which let me do something new. The customer ordered a CD with Mageia 2 GNOME. I always check my CDs before dispatch, so I finally got a chance to try Mageia 2 GNOME myself.
The ISO image of Europe1-Americas version of Mageia 2 GNOME is 670 Mb in size.
I burnt it onto the CD-R which I intended to send to the customer and inserted that disk into the optical drive of my Fujitsu-Siemens Amilo Pi 1505 laptop. Reboot. Choose to boot from the optical drive. Let's go!

8 Jul 2012

Zorin OS 6 Ultimate: Whom Is It For?

I have written already several times about Zorin OS.

These were reviews of Zorin OS 5 Core, Zorin OS 6 Lite and Zorin OS 6 Core. Also, there were guest posts from different authors who took part in the Zorin OS contest.

In addition to the Lite and Core versions, the Zorin team releases an Ultimate edition.

While the Core and Lite versions of Zorin OS are free as beer, Ultimate is not a free Operating System.

If you want to get it, you need to donate some money to the project. In response, you'll get either a link to the downloadable file, or the disk itself. Together with the link, you'll get a comprehensive guide for getting the image ready for use, including technical support and updates.

Once you have made all the steps, your image size for this operating system will be 3.9 Gb.

I created a Live USB with Zorin OS 6 Ultimate using the Unetbootin tool.

So, the USB stick is plugged into the port of my laptop Fujitsu-Siemens Amilo Pi 1505. Reboot. Choose to boot from USB. Let's go!

5 Jul 2012

ROSA Marathon 2012: first-ever usable LXDE distribution

I was disappointed after my first acquaintance with ROSA Marathon 2012 KDE.

Some time ago I made a decision not to look at LXDE-based distributions. One of the reasons for me was a lack of usability, because of keyboard layout configuration. I need to type in Russian and English both, which means I need to switch between different layouts quickly and often. None of the LXDE distributions I've tried had this option: Debian, Fedora, Knoppix, PCLOS, Porteus, SliTaz, Zorin OS 6 Lite.

That's why I initially did not give much attention to the announcement of a new version of the ROSA distribution, this time with an LXDE environment.

Things changed when I accidentally saw some screenshots of ROSA 2012 LXDE. The screenshots showed something which I did not expect to see in an LXDE distribution: the keyboard layout indicator in the notification area. Something clicked, and I decided to give ROSA Marathon 2012 LXDE a go.

The image size of the distribution is just below 800 Mb, which means you can't use a CD to boot ROSA Linux, unless you use a high-capacity CD-R. Your normal options are either DVD or USB. My choice was Live USB, and Unetbootin helped me with this.

So, Live USB is ready and plugged into the port of my Fujitsu-Siemens Amilo Pi 1505 laptop. Reboot. Choose to boot from USB. Let's go!

4 Jul 2012

Russia Dumps Linux for Windows

There are many speculations in the Internet about the implementation of Linux-based operating systems and free open source software in general on national level. Which countries and projects are usually named? RedHat in Pentagon? Mandriva school project in Brazil? Government projects in Russia and China? They are at the top of the list, aren’t they?

I, as Russian by passport and by nature, laugh at these declarations from the people who have never been in Russia.

Yes, there are some movements in Russia about implementation of FOSS. To be precise, they were. RIP! Let me explain.

3 Jul 2012

I always come back to Zorin OS

I have been a Windows user for many many years, going back to Windows 3.1. I always shunned Apple because of the ridiculous cost, and frankly the elitist arrogance of its users. I always felt that Windows (ironically, because of its monopoly) left less chance of compatibility issues with other users, and more choices in terms of software. Over the years, I grew to dislike Microsoft as a company. Yet when it came down to it, Windows was my security blanket - a familiar place that I felt safe.

About seven years ago was my first experience with Linux, specifically Ubuntu. Through virtualization (VirtualBox always worked best for me) I was able to explore this operating system. My first impression was one of much confusion. Of course, it was a completely new element that was quite intimidating. The fact that so much was done through the command line really scared me. It didn't take long for me to just forget about it and move on with Windows.

Through some life circumstances, I had to make a drastic career change, which ultimately lead me into the IT field. For almost two years, I was out of work. During this time, I went to school and acquired some certs.

But I also became obsessed with Linux. It actually started with Ubuntu Studio 10.10. Being a musician and amateur recording engineer, I found it amazing that this capability was available for free. Again, it was somewhat intimidating, but at the same time, exciting. I learned so much about Linux from this experience. And I couldn't get over the fact that it could do what I had spent so much money in software to do - FOR FREE!

This snowballed into an unhealthy obsession of trying out every Linux distro that I could. I tried Ubuntu (and the official variants Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Lubuntu), Zorin OS, Mint, Debian, Fedora, OpenSuse, Mandriva, etc. And no matter which ones I try, I always come back to Zorin OS. It's not because it is the most Windows-like (which is nice), but it's the fastest and most stable, and in my opinion, the best out of the box with its combination of features and apps.

Now that I have become free tech support for all of family and friends, I have replaced many infected/bloated/corrupted Windows systems with Zorin OS 5 Ultimate, and every one of them is so happy now. If I leave the default Windows 7 interface, the transition is so stupid simple for them.

One such friend recently called because he could not get NetFlix to work. I told him that he would have to go back to Windows. He flat out refused, and was willing to cancel his NetFlix instead.

For a family member that has a bunch of snotty Mac-user friends/clients, I gave her Zorin OS 5 Ultimate with the Mac OS look, and even added the Mac OS X Lion theme/icons. Her friends/clients cannot believe it. It looks like a Mac, but says Toshiba on the outside. There are so many of these stories from all of my family and friends that I have converted to Linux.

I am now using Zorin OS 5 Ultimate as the OS on my personal laptop, as well as on my personal home file/print server. Although I still work in a Microsoft environment, I use a Dell laptop loaded with Zorin OS 5 Ultimate to do everything.

I cannot wait for Zorin OS 6 Ultimate. I will happily pay for the work that is put into such a fabulous distro.

This is a guest post by Joe Chang, which won the 5th prize in the joint Zorin OS contest.

1 Jul 2012

Zorin OS 6 Core: fresh blood

Changing the operating system on your computer is not like flipping a switch. It is a cultural change, too.

Different operating systems give you different degrees of freedom, different degrees of access to knowledge of “what is inside”. And, what is more important for a non-technical user, they give you different user interfaces.

Windows users are used to having a panel at the bottom of the screen, window control elements at the right side of the window, the Windows Start button and so on. If you see something like the modern design of the Unity interface, nothing is the same as Windows. It’s a steep learning curve, isn’t it?

To ease the transition from Windows to Linux, there are different interfaces available “on the market”. KDE is usually considered as the most “ex-Windows-user-friendly”. But there is a team which decided to give users another choice. This is the Zorin Team.

Their most recent product, Zorin OS 6, was released in the middle of June 2012, just a few days ago. I have already given you a quick screenshot tour. It is now the time to look at the system in more details. Let’s see what it has to offer.

Zorin OS 6 comes with different variants: Lite, Core and Ultimate. I have already written about Zorin OS 6 Lite, which uses LXDE desktop environment. This is a system for low-spec computers.

I will tell you about Zorin OS 6 Core today. This operating system is based on Ubuntu 12.04. But, as I said, with a different user interface.

The ISO image of Zorin OS 6 Core is about 1.3 Gb. You can download it for free from one of several mirrors.

As usual, I wanted to try Zorin OS 6 from the Live USB. First, I tried to dd the image to a USB stick. Not much success, unfortunately. This was predictable since I know the issue with the BIOS of my laptop Fujitsu-Siemens Amilo Pi 1505. The second attempt was made with Unetbootin tool. This time I was more lucky.

So, Live USB is in the port of my laptop. Reboot. Choose to boot from USB. Let’s go!