Monday, September 26, 2011

Fedora LXDE

Questions come up once in a while if Fedora can run on older computers.  There are 2 spins on the Fedora Project web site. So, I'm going to try to install the LXDE version first, since it is the smaller of the two. The other is XFCE. Right now, I'm down loading both at the same time....and they are done in only 10 minutes. So, I'm almost done burning the ISO to disk, using K3b and it's done after about 3 minutes. I'm loading it in the old system and will finish this blog on the new LXDE system. Cross your fingers..... ...well shoot. Fedora requires 640 megs of ram to install properly. My old box only has 512. Oh well. I wonder what Linux runs well on older machines. I was able to get Debian 5 on there and then upgrade to Debian 6. But it is slow as most new OS's are on old machines. So, this blog is going to develop into a search for a Linux for older machines....update to come soon...

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Fedora v.s Debian: Support Please!

Fedora and Debian seem to be really popular these days.  Fedora is the "bleeding edge" of Linux while Debian is the "Stable Mabel" of them all.  As you know, I am biased towards Fedora and my published reason is because I like the color blue and I like fedoras in general.  But, there are other reasons so lets compare.  The biggest reason is the support I get with Fedora.  Debian also has support, but how do both camps pan out in the end?  Let's see.  (Now remember, I am biased towards Fedora, so take all this with a grain of salt and remember, this is just for fun.  I am not an official spokesperson for any distribution.)

Just doing a Google Search for Debian brings the number one hit  as

Debian -- The Universal Operating System

First off, this web site is hard to read.  The first thing I want to do when I come to this site is to zoom in a little with the ctrl-+ buttons so I can read the list of links.  But moving on from that, the big things I want is documentation, downloads, and forums.  I cannot find a forum on the main web site of Debian.

Forums are a really good way for the Linux community to interact and solve problems at the user level. Debian does have a forum and it is located at:

Going backwards up the list, I want downloads.  To get Debian, you have to get it from the main web site or get it from a friend ,like me. The hard thing about getting it from the web site is which one to choose?  I know that I like ia64 or i386, but what about the average Joe? And, my past experience has been that not all the downloads work every time, so I end up having to download about 3 times before I get a good one. But that is another story. Oh, and you might think you are getting a Live CD in your download, but that is not always the case. If it doesn't say Live CD then it just may not be.

That brings me to the next thing on the "download" subject.  Most end users, like me, want to use a Live CD.  This is an image you download and then burn to a disk to be used to sample the OS before installing it.  If you want to install it, then you just click the icon on the desktop that says something like "install to hard drive".  Locating this "Live CD" is a little hard on the Debian web site.  But here I'll give you that link. There you go.  Now have fun choosing which one to download.  What is bit-torrent any way and once I get the bit-torrent, how can I use that?  Hmmmmm

Next, would be documentation.  To answer all my questions, I need documentation.  So, I go to the main site to look for it. There it is. So I click on the link for more information and there it is.  Lots of information to show me what to do.  No fancy stuff here.  It's all business.  Hopefully, all that documentation will tell me what to download and how to get it to disc and then how to install it.  And, I know because I have been through this, it does tell you how it all works.

Debian is a very stable distribution once you get it installed, configured, and running.  I do like it and actually like the story and philosophy behind it.  I do like Toy Story , stability and the flexibility of Debian.  However, I still like the color blue and I like the ease of installation I get from Fedora.

Googling fedora, I get:

Fedora Project Homepage

So, real quick, Fedora has a nice web site to get downloads, documentation and link to its forum.  Notice, I only linked you to the web site.  From there you can go anywhere in the network of Fedora Project web sites.  The main page is clear, easy to ready and understand.  The documentation explains which download to get for your system.  And as you click through the site, you find everything you need.  Even the Fedora Forum is linked within the site.  Each page is colorful and retains your attention.

So, the bottom line is, getting the information I need to install and maintain Fedora is much simpler than Debian.  Fedora has a colorful, attention keeping, web site that points me to all the right places I might want to go.  Debian has all the same information, but it is harder to navigate and can be discouraging at times, finding what I want in a short period of time.  Both have user forums which are a great help.

Fedora is a Red Hat sponsored Linux Distribution that I enjoy using because of its simplicity, complexity, and color.  How's that for a little paradoxical blurb?  Hey!! At the very "kernel" of it all, they're both Linux.  Have a nice week.  

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Fedora: Ready to Install?

Fedora 16 is in Alpha stage right now.  If you click on the Fedora logo at the right, you will be taken to the download site of Fedora.  You will be able to download F15 in any flavor (desktop preference) you want.  You will also be able to give F16-Alpha a run.

So, the first thing you do is download the Live Image (iso) to your computer.  Then, take your favorite disk burning application (at the bottom are some links that will help you choose...I've used MagicISO in the past with great results) and create an ISO CD.  This will be a bootable disk that allows your computer, upon reboot, go right to Fedora.

Just stick the new ISO disk in the disk drive and reboot your computer.  Your computer will boot directly to the disk.  Now, on your monitor you will see what Fedora looks like.  Fedora will run off the RAM (memory) in your computer and will not harm Windows.  Depending on the amount of Memory you have will determine your test experience.  I was able to run the Live CD on an Acer Netbook surfing the web, loading Flash, Firefox and pretty much set up the computer for use on a college web site before the 1 gig of memory was used up.  If you have more than 1 gig, your trial experience will be more fun and all without harming Windows.

Now, if you are ready to switch to Fedora, just click on the " Install to Hard Disk" icon on the Live CD Desktop.  If this is your first time installing Fedora, just use all the default settings for installing.  You will be given the option to use either the available space on the drive for Fedora (thus dual booting to Windows) or using the whole drive.  For new users, if you are ready to get rid of Windows totally, choose the entire disk selection. ( By "ready" I mean that you have backed up all your precious stuff like pictures, music, documents Outlook files, address book-contacts and even web site bookmark files).  Then let Fedora do the work.

One little blurb about backing up your Windows machine is this.  Just back up your files.  Do not back up the software.  Fedora comes with its own software that can read all your files in the new format. 

And a little disclaimer.  I take no responsibility for your personal loss of data, the destroying of your computer, or any other negative thing that happens when converting from MS to Fedora.  That said, and I have to say it, do your research and make sure you back up your files to an external hard drive before starting the switch.  The Fedora site (click the logo at the right) is full of information on how to make the switch, what the requirements of your system are and some various installation scenarios like RAID and Network Installation. 

When you get it installed hop over to the Fedora Forum and check out the Fedora Set-up Guides to help your first experience go a well as possible.  And don't forget to check out the links at the bottom of this page. 

Oh, feel free to join this blog.  You can also get the RSS Feed from this blog.  This blog has reached over 1600 views so far.  Thanks for looking. 

Fedora Documentation
ISO Comparison Wiki

Friday, September 16, 2011

Fedora and Apps: Kontact

I've tried to write about the applications I use on a regular basis, but never really followed through with the them consistently.  So, I'm going to give it a shot again.  For the next few weeks, I'll show you what I use.  Today, it is KDE's Kontact.

Kontact is an organizer on steroids.

It is comparable to Microsoft's Outlook.  

Of course I can read e-mail,

I can set up a calendar, a to-do list,

view RSS feeds,

create project outlines using Notebooks, jot stuff down on the Calendar via Journal (not shown)
view my desktop Pop-up Notes (not shown), and
even track time on my projects (not shown).

Setting up Kontact is pretty simple.  It has a pretty nice set-up menu.   And it can handle several e-mail formats.  I currently am getting g-mail and Windows Live Mail through this.  It can also hand your corporate e-mail if you have all your permissions are in place.

While I have used every one of these applications within Kontac, I mostly use it for e-mail, calendar, RSS feeds, and Notebooks.

One really cool thing about Kontact is that an Internet browser is embedded within the product making viewing video links a matter of clicking a button.  Then, a new tab opens with your video playing (of course you need Adobe Flash for this to work properly).  It can also be set up to open an external browser of your choice, like Google Chrome and Firefox (to name a few popular ones, but not IE as that is, of course MS).

How does it compare with Outlook?  Well, I use Outlook at work on the Intranet.  Outlook is a pretty powerful piece of software as it will integrate with I/M software, Word, Excel, Access, and any other MS Office product and access the MS Exchange Server.  And Outlook is fancy looking, has a nice calendar, to-do list, and a few other things.  Oh, did I say it was fancy?  Yes, it is fancy.  However, I think Kontact, for the home user, is much more adaptable for home use than the MS contemporary. 

Kontact will access the office suite of your choice either from the K-Office selection or the OpenOffice-LibreOffice suites.  I have not used it at work on the Intranet so I don't know how it would hand the Exchange Server environment.  And Kontact seems to be pretty plain looking.  I haven't gotten into changing background know...let's do that right now.  I have time......

There we go.  In order to do this in Fedora, just go to System Settings-Application Appearance and change the colors to what ever you want.  You can also download new themes for a starting point and then tweak them to your own preferences.
 This has been fun.  Check-in next week for a new KDE application.   

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Fedora and Mac

So, we have PC, Mac and Linux.  Right?  Nope.  We have PC's and Mac, and Linux can be on both.  Yes, tis true.  Both can have the best OS in the world (IMHO).  With a PC, just slide the ISO disk in and reboot.  Installation is as easy as pushing the icon on the desktop.

For Mac, the following is an example of how to install Fedora on a later Mac.  Not sure if this works for PPC, but we'll address that later.  Anyways:

"The easiest way is to install "Refit" in your macbook leopard. "Refit" is like a bootloader and it shows a menu which allows any bootable CD or DVD to boot when you hit the option key after system power on. After you get past this menu its a normal Fedora [or Linux] installation, nothing new. There is a disk utility to shrink the volume of the hard disk for mac and thereafter you can use it format and install any OS you want. I am not sure whether you can format the entire hard disk and remove the macintosh OS ."

(This was quoted from the Fedora Forum.   It is an example of one of many threads on the forum suggesting the use of Refit)

So, basically, for all us newbees out here in the world of end users, Refit helps the Mac set up a boot manager so the Mac can dual boot the Mac OS and Linux as well as Window's 7 I believe.

That's all I know.  If you have used Refit on your own Mac,  I would be totally interested in your feedback.   Macintosh Computers are awesome machines.  Why not be able to load the OS of your choice on them as well.