Saturday, October 02, 2010

Hey, where'd he go??

It's October and I haven't posted in over a month. Been doing some non-computer stuff, interrogating the Holy Bible and looking into Black history. I plan to keep the focus on Linux and on digital art, but the background world view has changed a lot in the past few weeks.

During all this time I have had neither glitch, hiccup, crash, or shut-down. I did build a platform with small wooden wedges to lift the back edge of my laptop off the table. Now I can run it all day without overheating and I run it each and every day.

On October 10th a new Ubuntu, version 10.10 will be out. You can't get it in stores, but if you go to the web site it will be there for download or you can buy a CD, I think for the cost of shipping. I usually just download it. There are versions for server, desktop/laptop and netbook, 32 bit, 64 bit, etc.

There are several ways to use Linux. The live-CD is very cool as it runs directly off the CD without installing. When you remove the live-CD your computer is unchanged. What ever applications are on the CD can be used by you and you can save your work to a jump drive. You can install while running the live-CD or not. You choose to make a hard drive partition or use the whole hard drive. If you want to run both MS Windows and Linux, a program called Grub gives you a menu to choose at boot.

If you have MS Windows running when you put in the Ubuntu Linux CD a program called Wabi will let you install Ubuntu in a MS Windows folder so that it runs sort of like a Windows application. I call this a pseudo virtual machine.

For me if you want both MS Windows and Linux on the same machine, dual booting is best. That way the two different operating systems are separate, not needing extra resources. Be sure you install MS Windows first to minimise booting problems. You can select the default OS in the Grub OS selector afterwards.

Another option is virtual machines. You can run Linux as a virtual machine on a MS Windows system and vice-versa. VirtualBox is my favorite application for this. There is a MS version and a Linux version. Virtual machines is about sharing resources, so running two OSs needs more memory and some hard disk space. 

The last option is called Wine. Wine is a MS Windows compatibility layer which runs in Linux. Wine lets you, within limits, run MS Windows software on a Linux system. I can't run Photoshop Professional, but my Photoshop Lite runs fine. Can't tell you if MS Office will run, I use Open Office. But a special configuration of Wine called Crossover Office seems to handle MS Office products. I don't have experience with this.

The most cool thing is that you can slide the Linux live-CD into any MS compatible system, reboot and try out Linux. I recommend Ubuntu. If you have it installed or install it yourself, you gain access to the online repository of free installable applications. Some versions of Linux have live-DVDs so that the large selection of installable software is on the DVD. With my DSL internet it takes 1 hour to download the CD and 3 hours for the DVD. Once you have it, you own it, you can install it on as many machines as you want. You can copy it and give it to friends.
Now I will warn you, Linux is not as flashy as some like. This is so that it appeals to a broader swath of users and works on a broader swath of hardware configurations. You can tweak it up or dumb it down, that is what makes it what it is. So that's boom out the box but not flash-boom. You can add flash later.

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