Installing Linux INSIDE of Microsoft

Are you leery of installing Linux onto your Windows PC? Would you like to try out this Linux thing but are you reluctant to make room for it on your current hard drive for fear of messing something up?…Good News! You can now install Debian (and Ubuntu) safely from your Windows desktop WITHOUT MESSING UP YOUR HARD DRIVE! How? Simple. Visit either of these websites:

Debian:

Install Debian in Windows

Ubuntu:

Install Ubuntu in Windows

Follow the instructions and enjoy Linux safely and securely without nuking Windows. It’s like a crutch for those of you reluctant to put the full weight on that one foot. If you are confused about what this Linux thing might be…visit this flash presentation to get an idea and welcome to the world of Linux! We’re glad you came aboard! Hopefully, you’ll make the choice many have already made to run Linux exclusively on our PCs :D

Activism and Promotion


Something that is really counterproductive in many Open Source communities are people who are so rabidly fanatical about one line of thinking that they try to pressure everyone into their line of thinking. One long standing example of this is the whole FLOSS vs. FOSS concept. Some outspoken individuals try to lash out at all people who don’t take their view on Free and Libre Open Source Software…that is, software that is Open Source, Free, and Libre (aka without proprietary parts included). It’s really sad because this shouldn’t be an issue in Open Source and Linux communities but it often is.

There are two labels that can be applied to these stances…promotion or activism. A majority of the people who love and support Open Source software are promoters. They’re the ones that always put in a plug for their distro during tech conversations or tell their co-workers excitedly why they don’t have viruses. The others are activists who lobby congress (like lobby4linux.com), sue for GPL violations, and take an active role in the proliferation of Open Source. Both of these stances and labels are needed in Open Source and to proliferate Open Source. But just like the old saying, “too much of a good thing can kill you” so can too much activism or promotion inside Open Source.

It’s my experience that there are more of the promotionists than the activists. Of course, activists are needed with Open Source as well. They’re the informed individuals that debate the GPLv2 and v3 until they’re blue in the face…they’re the ones that force GPL compliance on those not observing that license. They ARE needed. It’s the extreme fringes of both promotionists and activists that we don’t need. When someone goes over the top and over-promotes something…their promotion becomes counterproductive because of over saturation. The same is true for activism…no one wants to hear about how wrong they are for using X or not installing X.

So which group would be worse? It’s really up in the air. Over saturation means that (when people hear about Linux after a promotionist has filled their ears to the brim with how great it is) a person will more than likely ignore something with Linux or not consider it when it would be worthwhile to them. On the contrary, activists may distract new advocates and new users by focusing them not on promotion of using Open Source but rather, debating on Libre vs. Non-Libre or whatever their argument might be (as Libre vs. Non-Libre is not the only area that has activists vs. promotionists). Remember, we’re speaking of the rabidly fanatical end aka fringes of the spectrum…not generalizing here. People can be rabid on the promotion side of things too…it’s important to note that when you’re on the extreme side of either, you’re counterproductive to the proliferation of open source software.

Read more

Will Kanotix jump the Bandwagon?


Over the last week, one of the most respected and well thought Debian based distributions “imploded” (See Tuxmachines Article). What makes this even more sad is the fantastic impact Kanotix has on new Linux desktop users. Through use of its scripts for easy setup and installation/configuration on the desktop, Kanotix won the hearts and minds of many Linux users…and the fact that it is Debian based and can install from Debian repositories without worry made Kanotix a popular desktop distro.

I’m not extremely concerned with Kanotix dying…I think the community loves it too much to drop it on its head. That’s the beauty of Open Source…one person moves on and another slides in to take his/her place. What really concerns me is the fact that Kanotix is considering switching to Ubuntu for a base. Why would this concern me? Do I have it out for Ubuntu? Allow me to explain…

Read more

Why I Choose PCLinuxOS

There’s been quite a few postings and articles on new users and Linux flourishing during the past year. The reason I believe this to be is that desktop Linux is approaching or has arrived at the tipping point where it can gain mainstream adoption. People are seeing Linux as a viable alternative to Microsoft. My wife recently had me nuke the dual boot computer and go with Linux due to Windows Media Player 11 restrictions set to come out when it is released. Her main concern is being told by companies how she should be able to listen to her music after she’s bought it…kinda like buying a car and the dealer tells you where you can drive it and how you can. She’s in the process of converting all her mp3’s to ogg’s to 1) save space and 2) because they sound better and are in a free format. Thus far, she’s not missing Windows.

Many blogs also have taken up this topic and, when determining the best Linux desktop, gushed about Xandros, Freespire, Ubuntu, and MEPIS. The thing I find odd is that they forget the little guy that’s outpacing all the others…and that little guy is PCLinuxOS. Let’s take a look at a few reasons why PCLinuxOS is, IMHO, the best Linux flavor for new users.

Read more

PCLinuxOS .93 xorg.conf problem quick fix

If you’re like me, you change things constantly in your linux desktop. I’m always entering in and tweaking .conf files to see what I can do and where the limits of things might be. In my attempt yesterday to get my EXACT monitor supported in PCLinuxOS, I hosed my xorg.conf file which is where all the Xsession settings (or Xwindows session) are stored (like mouse, keyboard, monitor, and graphics driver settings). Since I hosed this up, my graphical user interface and window manager would not start. So I was dropped to login via the shell. This might be daunting for some new users in Linux so I figured I’d write up this little how-to that would get them back on their feet.

First, don’t be intimidated by the shell. It’s more powerful than a cmd line in windows and you’ll have complete control of your computer from the confines of this awesome tool. Plus, you’re about 15-20 seconds away from having your desktop back up and running by executing only a few commands.

In order to fix your xorg.conf file, it’s important that we become root…so login as root and let’s fix your xorg.conf file in 4 commands.

Read more

Cipherfunk.org, the GPL, and Ubuntu Contributors


Why oh why do people jump to conclusions without properly investigating things? I haven’t ranted in a while because, well, there’s really nothing to rant about as of late. However, this morning, I read this news article on violation of the GPL by a site called Cipherfunk.org. If you take a look at the article, it goes on to explain that Cipherfunk was offering patches to various bug reports in Ubuntu because Ubuntu hadn’t fixed the bugs (bugs listed: #36596, #38802…possible fixes for: #16873, #38181, #47775) quick enough for the likes of Cipherfunk. Interestingly enough, this is the beauty of Open Source right? If you don’t like how something works, you have the right to get the source code and fix it yourself! In this case, that is just what Cipherfunk.org did. So what’s the big stink about? Source Code and $$$.

The problem is that two Ubuntu contributors asked for Cipherfunk.org to comply with the GPL by removing cost associated with distribution of source code. This is harmless in itself and applauded by many in the community. However, it’s not the why they did it that is wrong…it’s the HOW they did it. How they did it is by first informing the Cipherfunk.org that it was wrong to charge $$ for the source, and second by touting various sections of the GPL where they believed Cipherfunk was in violation. Why is this wrong? Let’s examine things a bit.

The big stink everyone brought up is not that Cipherfunk WASN’T distributing the source code…but that Cipherfunk WAS CHARGING for the source code which they believed was in violation. However, having seen this same case (where Warren Woodford and MEPIS distribute their sourced code for a cost) I know for a fact that the GPL allows one to do this. But let’s take a look at the GPL shall we?


Does the GPL allow me to charge a fee for downloading the program from my site?
Yes. You can charge any fee you wish for distributing a copy of the program. If you distribute binaries by download, you must provide equivalent access to download the source–therefore, the fee to download source may not be greater than the fee to download the binary.

Read more