Puppy Linux

There has been a bit of talk lately about Puppy Linux in the media, well, when I say media, I mean the media I read! So I thought I write my bit. I came across Puppy Linux quite a while back, I think it was in 2003, but it might of been 2004. Anyway, I found it interesting because it could do so much but packed into such a small package, a bit like DML, but more user friendly and more intuitive for those dragged up on windows. I also found that it didn’t quite work well enough on my hardware of the time, a Toshiba laptop. I also liked the idea of making your own custom version, a bit like "Pimp my Puppy", but never got round to doing it as I didn’t have the time. Another curious character of Puppy Linux was that it is developed in Australia. When I found this out, I understood some of its quirks! I have been to Australia and found they do things slightly different there, which is good. So Puppy Linux is different. Now with version 4.1 I have found it to be really useful. With mounting of drives and partitions and a partitioning tools along with anti-virus tools makes this distro a must have in my "help" box of cd’s. I’ve already helped out a couple of colleagues at work with it and I’m sure a few more will be helped out in the near future. Running Puppy Linux is a breeze from boot up through to desktop going through a keyboard config (which is straight forward) and a display config ( which I wish did an auto test before moving on) which isn’t as straight forward for someone without any knowledge of computers. Then comes setting up the internet connection. Again, for me quite straight forward, but for someone with limited knowledge of computers, they could become stuck… for a while. The wizard is good though and does explain everything well. (If only I’d read before trying!). Once up to desktop, everything is to hand and Puppy Linux zipps along at a good pace. I have a P3 700 Mhz machine with 192 Meg ram and this with Puppy will give a Core duo 1.6GHz with 1 Gig ram a rum for it money with debian Linux, and blows it out of the water with windoze. Personally, if you have an old PC or laptop that you’d like to get going and use or give away, Puppy is a way of doing this with a touch of style.

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The Friday Letter – XP, Vista or Linux or Mac

My father-in-law is staying with us for a while. He decided to buy a laptop. After looking around he went for a Toshiba P300. A good big 17 inch laptop. It came with Vista, but he wanted XP on it. Why? Two reasons, firstly because he was going to run some heavy software and didn’t want Vista getting in the way, and secondly, familiarity. He knows XP and is happy with it.

One day, he might see the light and move over to Linux! The Mac didn’t have a look-in for several reasons. Its expensive for what it is. The Mac ties you into its brand, more so than Microsoft. And its unfamiliar. And the same with Linux for him is that it is unknown territory.

One thing that amazed me was when starting the machine (the P300) and booting into Vista, it had to reboot 8 times before we reached the usable desktop. Overall it took four and a half hours to back up Vista and then install XP and the extra standard applications like Firefox, Thunderbird, Openoffice3, AVG antivirus and Zonealarm firewall.

For me it is a different story. I came across Linux a few years back with a tripple cd pack on a magazine of Red Hat 7.3 and haven’t looked back. I can even run Linux in a window on XP from a USB stick. I now have a Lenovo R61 laptop. I do have XP on it but only because I am doing some studying and some of the software provided only runs on MS XP. I also have Linux on it. It is running Debian Lenny, which was so easy to install and get going. I had a full system up and running with the hour. Try that with XP or even Vista. I also have SimplyMepis8, which again was a dream to set up, and soon I’m going to try Puppy Linux. This is one I tried a while ago and just couldn’t get to grips with but now I feel it would be the best to get to know before I move on to LFS sometime next year. Why Linux? And why Debian Linux? I have tried a multitude of different distros (versions or flavours of Linux), Mandrake (now Mandriva), Fedora, Suse, Gentoo, Ubuntu (based on Debian) Slackware to name a few. There are a number that are based on one of the above like zenwalk and stax based on slackware and ubuntu and mepis based on debian which I have tried. I have come to enjoy using debian and mepis because they are stable as a rock and easy to install and straight forward to understand, and Mepis you can try without even installing. I haven’t had one crash. But obviously, where I have been tinkering with the system, normally on a test install, it has crashed a few times, but it is difficult to get it to crash. It is also secure. It runs smoother than windows, it runs quicker, it is more responsive, it is more configurable, and I can do everything that I want and need to do using it. One other thing I like about Linux is that it is free, and so is the software that you can use on it. And contrary to the MS advertising bandwagon, linux is easy to install and use. I think what holds people back is the unfamilularity with it, but if people would just give it a go, they would be so surprised as it is far more intuitive than MS. I am happy with my laptop running Deian Linux and confident in its ability to do what I want it to do, and that is to just work to allow me to do my work

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