10 Mar 2010

Linux on a Stick

It has been such an un-eventful day radio-wise here today I decided to have another look at that "Super-Fast" Puppy Linux, it does actually fly - even on my ailing laptop which only has 256Mb of grey matter. The one thing I noticed long ago was the way in which windows seemed to "render" on-screen, I'm not sure if it's the architecture of this machine or windows itself, but "Puppy-Linux" 4.3.1 knocks it into a cocked hat both on speed AND looks. Ok I know all about the software scenario (Not much available for Linux), well there is if you know where to find it !!! this is an exercise in getting "Puppy" onto a USB-Stick and on just 2Mb. Following the rules set out in the Puppy instructions to the letter it IS actually a lot easier (This time round) - having downloaded the .ISO and burned it to disk - boot it from the CD, and go through a simple set-up procedure, then plug in your USB stick and it should be detected auto magically, then you need to use partition magic or Gparted to format to an ext3 or ext4 partition and flag it as bootable - then, using the Puppy universal installer copy the system files from the CD to your USB stick viola ! It should now boot, however you'll need to make sure your machine (will) boot from a USB drive (Check in your Bios), and alter the boot device sequence - mine boots first from the CDROM, then USB, then main HDD, obviously when the USB drive is missing it will boot normally. What I really like about this system is the ability to take the whole OS with you - plus your saved work - without having it installed on a computer - it is completely portable. I did actually try this a year or so back but it would not work and I trashed 2 usb drives - but the way in which it works now is much better - the thing to remember is that most usb drives come out of the box as Fat32 drives - you must change to one of the Linux filesystems, it really is simple to do. This system is so small it loads completely into "RAM", and it is super responsive, and comes packed with "Most" of the day to day software you might use in the office - Compatible with "word/excel/" etc... text editors and it's so fast and fun to use - I realise you need "Win" in whatever form because of the key software issues - I think this is where some people have gone wrong with the netbook scenario - they were NOT meant as a Laptop replacement, but theyr'e fine for surfing the web - e-mailing - taking notes and other day to day tasks, from some of the feedback I have received this week from a couple of retailers is that quite a few of the netbooks sold with Linux were returned - where customers tried to download and install software for "win", what probably wasn't made clear from the off was that the Linux OS was different to "Win" and you needed to download special "Packages", maybe this was just a ploy on the part of manufacturers. Anyway - Linux on a stick ! it works, and I also got my Canon (Once regarded in the Linux world as a doorstop) IP4500 working as well using the cups set-up procedure - that too works well, so as far as I'm concerned this evening has not been wasted . Give it a go you'll be amazed:

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