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Thursday, 26 July 2012

Before I start I'd like to say this is not supposed to be an in depth review of Puppy Arcade. It is a post which explains what Puppy Arcade is and how I think it can be improved.

Puppy Arcade is a version of Puppy Linux created by Scott Jarvis and can be downloaded from http://scottjarvis.com/page105.htm.



Well there are more versions of Puppy Linux out there and one I've used quite often is Puppy Arcade. Puppy Arcade turns your computer into a retro games console where you can play games on multiple emulators. 

The list of emulators is truly impressive including emulators for the Commodore 64, MAME, Sinclair Spectrum, Amiga, Amstrad, NES and Sega Genesis. There is also a DOOM emulator.

To be honest Puppy Arcade has everything you need for retrogaming EXCEPT.... it is  looking dated and for new users it might seem fairly clunky.

Issue number 1 that I ran into when running Puppy Arcade on this particular laptop (Samsung R20) is that the initial boot up seems to load in a funny display mode and so the colours are naff and the icons are chunky. I can solve this straight away by restarting X. This has the desired effect of making the system look good and the docking bar appears.

Issue number 2 is connecting to the internet. The internet connection is actually a lot easier in Puppy Arcade compared to both Wary and Slacko as there is a tool called PWireless which makes it a case of just choosing your wireless device and entering the key. The problem is that Puppy Arcade doesn't have a browser installed by default which means you have to use the browser install facility to install a browser. Now I know Puppy is designed to be small but having Seamonkey pre-installed might have been a better idea than nothing at all.

Issue number 3 and this is the big one is the lack of support for an XBOX controller. I happen to have another joypad available and I set this up quite easily but the XBOX controller is a device many people have and so rather than fork out on a new joypad it would be good if the XBOX controller worked straight away.  I have spent 2 nights trying to get the XBOX controller to work (The wired controller) and I have to admit failure.

In UBUNTU based distros the XBOX controller works straight away as it is built into the kernel. In Puppy this isn't the case. It should however be possible to get the XBOX controller working by installing XBOXDRV.

My first idea was to see if there is a PET package already available and whilst searching the best I found was that someone said they had produce an SFS file with XBOXDRV and LIBBOOST. This SFS file does not appear to be anywhere for download.

I therefore had a choice which was to compile the package myself or convert the debian package to a PET file.

Here comes issue number 4. Using Puppy Arcade it was very difficult to get the XBOXDRV Debian package and to convert it to a PET.

To resolve the XBOXDRV PET issue I loaded Lucid Puppy and downloaded all the Debian packages required. I then converted the packages to PETs and installed them on Lucid Puppy to test that the controller worked.

There are some command line commands required to get XBOXDRV working and when I ran XBOXDRV there were a few dependency errors. I resolved these one by one by searching for the missing dependencies online and trying again. Eventually I got to the point that I could run XBOXDRV and the XBOX 360 controller was recognised and it worked. It took a lot of effort to get this far.

Now that I had PET files I added them to a USB drive and rebooted into Puppy Arcade to install them. Puppy Arcade has more dependencies than Lucid Puppy and so despite having all the PET files required to get the controller to work in Lucid it still wouldn't work in Arcade.

At this point I searched for each .so one by one online and via various Puppy forums managed to get all the dependencies needed to run XBOXDRV. The result.... Nothing. There were no problems with the package and it seemed to be running ok but it doesn't. The controller just doesn't seem to be recognised.

Summary

I love the idea of Puppy Arcade. It is lightweight, it has loads of emulators and it has a number of really neat tools for installing ROMs.

The package management for Puppy Arcade is poor. I ended up having to trawl the net for PET packages as the repositories just didn't contain enough. This was a very hit and miss way of working. Even for Lucid Puppy the procedure was hard work.

I have tried the XBOX 360 controller using Bodhi and it works without having to install anything. Therefore I wonder is it time that Puppy Arcade got an upgrade. Maybe it can be reproduced using Lucid Puppy with the Xboxdrv preinstalled with all the dependencies.

I am tempted to try to create a distro using a lightweight Ubuntu version such as Lubuntu or Bodhi with all the emulators used in Puppy Arcade. This would give the package management and stability of UBUNTU with the similar speed of Puppy.

Any thoughts?



Puppy Arcade - Good idea but needs an update

Before I start I'd like to say this is not supposed to be an in depth review of Puppy Arcade. It is a post which explains what Puppy Arcade is and how I think it can be improved.

Puppy Arcade is a version of Puppy Linux created by Scott Jarvis and can be downloaded from http://scottjarvis.com/page105.htm.



Well there are more versions of Puppy Linux out there and one I've used quite often is Puppy Arcade. Puppy Arcade turns your computer into a retro games console where you can play games on multiple emulators. 

The list of emulators is truly impressive including emulators for the Commodore 64, MAME, Sinclair Spectrum, Amiga, Amstrad, NES and Sega Genesis. There is also a DOOM emulator.

To be honest Puppy Arcade has everything you need for retrogaming EXCEPT.... it is  looking dated and for new users it might seem fairly clunky.

Issue number 1 that I ran into when running Puppy Arcade on this particular laptop (Samsung R20) is that the initial boot up seems to load in a funny display mode and so the colours are naff and the icons are chunky. I can solve this straight away by restarting X. This has the desired effect of making the system look good and the docking bar appears.

Issue number 2 is connecting to the internet. The internet connection is actually a lot easier in Puppy Arcade compared to both Wary and Slacko as there is a tool called PWireless which makes it a case of just choosing your wireless device and entering the key. The problem is that Puppy Arcade doesn't have a browser installed by default which means you have to use the browser install facility to install a browser. Now I know Puppy is designed to be small but having Seamonkey pre-installed might have been a better idea than nothing at all.

Issue number 3 and this is the big one is the lack of support for an XBOX controller. I happen to have another joypad available and I set this up quite easily but the XBOX controller is a device many people have and so rather than fork out on a new joypad it would be good if the XBOX controller worked straight away.  I have spent 2 nights trying to get the XBOX controller to work (The wired controller) and I have to admit failure.

In UBUNTU based distros the XBOX controller works straight away as it is built into the kernel. In Puppy this isn't the case. It should however be possible to get the XBOX controller working by installing XBOXDRV.

My first idea was to see if there is a PET package already available and whilst searching the best I found was that someone said they had produce an SFS file with XBOXDRV and LIBBOOST. This SFS file does not appear to be anywhere for download.

I therefore had a choice which was to compile the package myself or convert the debian package to a PET file.

Here comes issue number 4. Using Puppy Arcade it was very difficult to get the XBOXDRV Debian package and to convert it to a PET.

To resolve the XBOXDRV PET issue I loaded Lucid Puppy and downloaded all the Debian packages required. I then converted the packages to PETs and installed them on Lucid Puppy to test that the controller worked.

There are some command line commands required to get XBOXDRV working and when I ran XBOXDRV there were a few dependency errors. I resolved these one by one by searching for the missing dependencies online and trying again. Eventually I got to the point that I could run XBOXDRV and the XBOX 360 controller was recognised and it worked. It took a lot of effort to get this far.

Now that I had PET files I added them to a USB drive and rebooted into Puppy Arcade to install them. Puppy Arcade has more dependencies than Lucid Puppy and so despite having all the PET files required to get the controller to work in Lucid it still wouldn't work in Arcade.

At this point I searched for each .so one by one online and via various Puppy forums managed to get all the dependencies needed to run XBOXDRV. The result.... Nothing. There were no problems with the package and it seemed to be running ok but it doesn't. The controller just doesn't seem to be recognised.

Summary

I love the idea of Puppy Arcade. It is lightweight, it has loads of emulators and it has a number of really neat tools for installing ROMs.

The package management for Puppy Arcade is poor. I ended up having to trawl the net for PET packages as the repositories just didn't contain enough. This was a very hit and miss way of working. Even for Lucid Puppy the procedure was hard work.

I have tried the XBOX 360 controller using Bodhi and it works without having to install anything. Therefore I wonder is it time that Puppy Arcade got an upgrade. Maybe it can be reproduced using Lucid Puppy with the Xboxdrv preinstalled with all the dependencies.

I am tempted to try to create a distro using a lightweight Ubuntu version such as Lubuntu or Bodhi with all the emulators used in Puppy Arcade. This would give the package management and stability of UBUNTU with the similar speed of Puppy.

Any thoughts?



Posted at 23:55 |  by Gary Newell

8 comments:

Feel free to comment on any of the blog posts. Please try to be constructive.

Offensive messages will be removed as will blatant adverts for misleading products and sites.

Thanks for visiting my blog

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Introduction

I have an Acer Aspire One netbook which came pre-installed with Windows 7 starter and an Android partition.

Within a few days of having the netbook I decided to get rid of both and via a bit of distro hopping which included Ubuntu and Fedora I ended up with the brilliant Bodhi Linux which for me is the perfect distribution for running on netbooks due to it being lightweight and flexible.

There are occasions when it would be handy to have Android running on the netbook however and so I found myself scouring forums working out how to get a version of Android back on the netbook.

There are two or three reasons why having Android available is useful.
  1. There are Android apps that are either useful or quite fun that are not available elsewhere. 
  2. Android is incredibly lightweight and loads very quickly making it possible to get online very quickly.
  3. Battery life lasts forever.
There are also reasons why Android is painful on a netbook such as the lack of scroll bars. This is because Android has been built for tablets and mobile phones with touch screens.

There is also an issue that some apps cause the screen to rotate and if you didn't realise this before turning off the auto rotate option then it is awkward finding the way to rotate the screen back to normal and to also turn off that option. The mouse ends up working the opposite way to how you would like it.

Another problem is that the web pages tend to want to load the mobile versions as opposed to the full versions of sites. Again this is because Android is developed for mobile computing.

All in all I have come to the conclusion that my original decision was the right one and that removing Android from the hard drive was worthwhile.

There are apps that I want to run however that are specific to Android so I have installed it to a pen drive which I can boot as and when I need it.


Initially I tried writing this article using Android but it was very problematic. The scrolling was a nightmare and then the browser kept typing all my commands into the search bar rather than the editor.

So Android for a netbook. Good idea? Not really, unless you have a touch screen one and a really good reason to do so.

There are numerous sites that show you how to install Android on a netbook or to a bootable pen drive. Just Google either of those terms. (http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/install-android-netbook/ or http://www.itechcode.com/2012/03/09/how-to-install-android-or-run-as-live-cd-on-pc-or-netbook/)

The following link will help turn off screen rotation however this can be done by clicking the clock and clicking the off switch next to auto rotate (Android 4.0)

http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/26715/how-to-make-your-android-phone-stop-rotating-the-screen-when-you%E2%80%99re-reading-sideways/


Android on a netbook

Introduction

I have an Acer Aspire One netbook which came pre-installed with Windows 7 starter and an Android partition.

Within a few days of having the netbook I decided to get rid of both and via a bit of distro hopping which included Ubuntu and Fedora I ended up with the brilliant Bodhi Linux which for me is the perfect distribution for running on netbooks due to it being lightweight and flexible.

There are occasions when it would be handy to have Android running on the netbook however and so I found myself scouring forums working out how to get a version of Android back on the netbook.

There are two or three reasons why having Android available is useful.
  1. There are Android apps that are either useful or quite fun that are not available elsewhere. 
  2. Android is incredibly lightweight and loads very quickly making it possible to get online very quickly.
  3. Battery life lasts forever.
There are also reasons why Android is painful on a netbook such as the lack of scroll bars. This is because Android has been built for tablets and mobile phones with touch screens.

There is also an issue that some apps cause the screen to rotate and if you didn't realise this before turning off the auto rotate option then it is awkward finding the way to rotate the screen back to normal and to also turn off that option. The mouse ends up working the opposite way to how you would like it.

Another problem is that the web pages tend to want to load the mobile versions as opposed to the full versions of sites. Again this is because Android is developed for mobile computing.

All in all I have come to the conclusion that my original decision was the right one and that removing Android from the hard drive was worthwhile.

There are apps that I want to run however that are specific to Android so I have installed it to a pen drive which I can boot as and when I need it.


Initially I tried writing this article using Android but it was very problematic. The scrolling was a nightmare and then the browser kept typing all my commands into the search bar rather than the editor.

So Android for a netbook. Good idea? Not really, unless you have a touch screen one and a really good reason to do so.

There are numerous sites that show you how to install Android on a netbook or to a bootable pen drive. Just Google either of those terms. (http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/install-android-netbook/ or http://www.itechcode.com/2012/03/09/how-to-install-android-or-run-as-live-cd-on-pc-or-netbook/)

The following link will help turn off screen rotation however this can be done by clicking the clock and clicking the off switch next to auto rotate (Android 4.0)

http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/26715/how-to-make-your-android-phone-stop-rotating-the-screen-when-you%E2%80%99re-reading-sideways/


Posted at 19:02 |  by Gary Newell

5 comments:

Feel free to comment on any of the blog posts. Please try to be constructive.

Offensive messages will be removed as will blatant adverts for misleading products and sites.

Thanks for visiting my blog

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

This is the first post like this but I intend to make it a regular thing. As I have adopted Zorin as my favourite OS I will be posting hints, tips and issues that I have found and resolved in my day to day life.

So today's problem

How can I get Thunderbird to show the dates in UK format dd/mm/yyyy?
Setting up my email to work with Zorin was easy. Simply click on the little envelope icon in the system tray and click mail. A wizard appeared asking me to type in my name, email address and password and Zorin did the rest. As I use gmail this process worked perfectly. Well almost perfectly.

When I opened Thunderbird for the first time all my messages were pulled in from GMAIL but the dates were in the US format mm/dd/yyyy. Now whilst this is hardly a show stopper it was a tad annoying.

I went through the preferences within Thunderbird initially but couldn't find a setting so searched online and found out that Thunderbird uses the date settings for the operating system.

Changing your language settings in Zorin 6

The next step therefore is to work out how to change the settings so that all my applications in Zorin use the UK date format.

By clicking on the Z icon and selecting system settings the following screen was displayed. (You can also get to this screen by selecting the off button in the system tray and choosing system settings).

On this screen you will see an icon for language support. If you click the language support icon a new screen appears with two tabs. The first tab provides a list of languages, the second tab enables you to set regional formats.

To get Thunderbird (and every other application to use UK date settings) I changed the language list of have English (UK) as the first language in the list by dragging it and on the regional formats tab I changed the first drop down to also be English (United Kingdom). Finally click apply system-wide.

To get the settings to change log out and log back in again.

Now restart Thunderbird and the dates will be in UK format.



Problem Solved!!!!

Be careful

When you are on the languages screen be careful which language you select as the first in the list. It is a little too easy to set your default language as Chinese and when you login it will ask whether you want to change your folder names into Chinese style names.





Zorin Tips #1 - Set Thunderbird date to UK Format

This is the first post like this but I intend to make it a regular thing. As I have adopted Zorin as my favourite OS I will be posting hints, tips and issues that I have found and resolved in my day to day life.

So today's problem

How can I get Thunderbird to show the dates in UK format dd/mm/yyyy?
Setting up my email to work with Zorin was easy. Simply click on the little envelope icon in the system tray and click mail. A wizard appeared asking me to type in my name, email address and password and Zorin did the rest. As I use gmail this process worked perfectly. Well almost perfectly.

When I opened Thunderbird for the first time all my messages were pulled in from GMAIL but the dates were in the US format mm/dd/yyyy. Now whilst this is hardly a show stopper it was a tad annoying.

I went through the preferences within Thunderbird initially but couldn't find a setting so searched online and found out that Thunderbird uses the date settings for the operating system.

Changing your language settings in Zorin 6

The next step therefore is to work out how to change the settings so that all my applications in Zorin use the UK date format.

By clicking on the Z icon and selecting system settings the following screen was displayed. (You can also get to this screen by selecting the off button in the system tray and choosing system settings).

On this screen you will see an icon for language support. If you click the language support icon a new screen appears with two tabs. The first tab provides a list of languages, the second tab enables you to set regional formats.

To get Thunderbird (and every other application to use UK date settings) I changed the language list of have English (UK) as the first language in the list by dragging it and on the regional formats tab I changed the first drop down to also be English (United Kingdom). Finally click apply system-wide.

To get the settings to change log out and log back in again.

Now restart Thunderbird and the dates will be in UK format.



Problem Solved!!!!

Be careful

When you are on the languages screen be careful which language you select as the first in the list. It is a little too easy to set your default language as Chinese and when you login it will ask whether you want to change your folder names into Chinese style names.





Posted at 00:01 |  by Gary Newell

0 comments:

Feel free to comment on any of the blog posts. Please try to be constructive.

Offensive messages will be removed as will blatant adverts for misleading products and sites.

Thanks for visiting my blog

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

In my previous post I stated that I thought Zorin was possibly the best and most attractive operating system I have ever used.

One of the comments I received was that the screenshots were too small. As I am short of time this week I thought today's post would be a collection of Zorin screenshots in their full glory.

Now in my original post (http://everydaylinuxuser.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/zorin-6-best-operating-system-i-have.html) about Zorin I might be accused of making Zorin look prettier because my background image is of a picturesque part of Aberdeenshire in Scotland.


As you can see from the image above the taskbar is really attractive with enough transparency to show the background image but the right amount of opaqueness to show the time and icons without losing clarity.

For those that are interested here is a picture of Zorin 6 with the default wallpaper.

Personally I think the wallpaper that comes with Zorin makes it look functional but it isn't particular attractive.

Nothing can beat an image that mother nature conjures up which is why I have the image above as one of my many desktop backgrounds.





Anyone who thinks LINUX cannot be as professional as Microsoft or Apple operating systems should check out Zorin 6.

Yes they have taken a copy of the look and feel of Windows and for Mac users there is a Mac style interface but the Zorin development team have emulated the Windows 7 Menu perfectly.

I've read other blogs that said the search facility is erratic but every time I search for an application or a type of application the correct items appear.

The menus are organised logically and the whole system is incredibly easy to use. Performance wise Zorin 6 runs perfectly.



If you are a Windows XP user and you haven't seen Windows 7 then the above menu might not mean all that much to you.
If you are a Windows XP user and you are looking for a new operating system but you aren't sure whether you want to use Windows Vista, Windows 7 or Windows 8 or you can't justify the expense then Zorin is perfect for you.

You don't even need to know LINUX to use this system. If you think LINUX is a load of geeks typing into a command line on black backgrounds with green writing Matrix-style then Zorin will show that you couldn't be further from the truth. There isn't a terminal window in sight unless of course you really need one.

As an XP user you don't even need to get used to a new menu system.


The taskbar is very reminiscent of that used by Microsoft Windows. It has everything you need already displayed. The Z icon is the start button. There are quick launch icons just next to the Z Icon. On the system tray there is an off button the name of the current user, email icon which enables you to show your availability as well as chat, a clock, audio settings, battery bar and wireless icon.

It is so easy to connect to the internet. Simply click the wireless icon and choose your wireless connection and if you haven't done so before enter your security key.


Zorin has a host of effects which are supplied using Compiz. Changing applications is as simple as pressing ALT and TAB and the transparency makes it look very stylish. 


The Zorin look changer makes it possible to choose from Windows 7, XP and Gnome 2. (In the core version). If you choose the ultimate edition (http://zorin-os.com/premium.html) you get an even bigger choice including a MAC look).

How to get Zorin 6

To get Zorin 6 go to http://zorin-os.com/index.html and click the get it link.

The core version is free to download and use but consider the ultimate edition for just 18 euros. (which is a donation, you can obviously donate as much as you think is applicable). For 18 euros you get a physical DVD. You can also choose to just download the ultimate edition which brings the minimum donation down to 10 euros.

I am excited by the idea of the Zorin Gaming edition which it says on the website is coming soon.

Thanks for reading. Hopefully this has fulfilled the screenshot request from my previous post and also provides the required links for getting Zorin.





Zorin 6 Screenshots

In my previous post I stated that I thought Zorin was possibly the best and most attractive operating system I have ever used.

One of the comments I received was that the screenshots were too small. As I am short of time this week I thought today's post would be a collection of Zorin screenshots in their full glory.

Now in my original post (http://everydaylinuxuser.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/zorin-6-best-operating-system-i-have.html) about Zorin I might be accused of making Zorin look prettier because my background image is of a picturesque part of Aberdeenshire in Scotland.


As you can see from the image above the taskbar is really attractive with enough transparency to show the background image but the right amount of opaqueness to show the time and icons without losing clarity.

For those that are interested here is a picture of Zorin 6 with the default wallpaper.

Personally I think the wallpaper that comes with Zorin makes it look functional but it isn't particular attractive.

Nothing can beat an image that mother nature conjures up which is why I have the image above as one of my many desktop backgrounds.





Anyone who thinks LINUX cannot be as professional as Microsoft or Apple operating systems should check out Zorin 6.

Yes they have taken a copy of the look and feel of Windows and for Mac users there is a Mac style interface but the Zorin development team have emulated the Windows 7 Menu perfectly.

I've read other blogs that said the search facility is erratic but every time I search for an application or a type of application the correct items appear.

The menus are organised logically and the whole system is incredibly easy to use. Performance wise Zorin 6 runs perfectly.



If you are a Windows XP user and you haven't seen Windows 7 then the above menu might not mean all that much to you.
If you are a Windows XP user and you are looking for a new operating system but you aren't sure whether you want to use Windows Vista, Windows 7 or Windows 8 or you can't justify the expense then Zorin is perfect for you.

You don't even need to know LINUX to use this system. If you think LINUX is a load of geeks typing into a command line on black backgrounds with green writing Matrix-style then Zorin will show that you couldn't be further from the truth. There isn't a terminal window in sight unless of course you really need one.

As an XP user you don't even need to get used to a new menu system.


The taskbar is very reminiscent of that used by Microsoft Windows. It has everything you need already displayed. The Z icon is the start button. There are quick launch icons just next to the Z Icon. On the system tray there is an off button the name of the current user, email icon which enables you to show your availability as well as chat, a clock, audio settings, battery bar and wireless icon.

It is so easy to connect to the internet. Simply click the wireless icon and choose your wireless connection and if you haven't done so before enter your security key.


Zorin has a host of effects which are supplied using Compiz. Changing applications is as simple as pressing ALT and TAB and the transparency makes it look very stylish. 


The Zorin look changer makes it possible to choose from Windows 7, XP and Gnome 2. (In the core version). If you choose the ultimate edition (http://zorin-os.com/premium.html) you get an even bigger choice including a MAC look).

How to get Zorin 6

To get Zorin 6 go to http://zorin-os.com/index.html and click the get it link.

The core version is free to download and use but consider the ultimate edition for just 18 euros. (which is a donation, you can obviously donate as much as you think is applicable). For 18 euros you get a physical DVD. You can also choose to just download the ultimate edition which brings the minimum donation down to 10 euros.

I am excited by the idea of the Zorin Gaming edition which it says on the website is coming soon.

Thanks for reading. Hopefully this has fulfilled the screenshot request from my previous post and also provides the required links for getting Zorin.





Posted at 22:52 |  by Gary Newell

4 comments:

Feel free to comment on any of the blog posts. Please try to be constructive.

Offensive messages will be removed as will blatant adverts for misleading products and sites.

Thanks for visiting my blog

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

I have read a number of very good reviews about Zorin 6 recently. (For example http://linuxblog.darkduck.com/2012/07/zorin-os-6-core-fresh-blood.htmlhttp://www.dedoimedo.com/computers/zorin-core-6.html).

Having been a user of Zorin 5 up until recently I decided last weekend to download a copy of Zorin 6  and tonight I decided to install it. (Well my wife is watching Geordie Shore, what else am I to do?).

Now this article is only based on first impressions and is not an in depth review but I have to say that Zorin 6 could be the best operating system I have ever used.

First of all we know that it is built on top of the latest version of Ubuntu so it has the latest software and it has all the stability that Ubuntu provides.

The key though for me is that Zorin 6 isn't just another Ubuntu clone. In the review by Dedoimedo he asks is there room for Zorin with Ubuntu being so strong and Linux MINT being so good. Dedoimedo thinks there is and so do I.

Zorin 6 is a good leap forward from Zorin 5. The whole experience is incredibly crisp. It feels 100% professional. The icons are crisp, the windows are crisp. The effects are brilliant and classy.

It isn't just the looks that are good. The software works too. 

I ran Rhythmbox and previously I have had problems getting Rhythmbox to recognise a Sony Walkman MP3 player but in Zorin 6 it is picked up straight away. Now I know that is more down to the developers of Rhythmbox and to the Ubuntu team but as a user it is just nice.

No technical set up is required. Anyone who previously thought LINUX was difficult to set up needs to see this because Zorin makes Windows look like CICS running on an AS400 mainframe.

My wireless networks appeared instantly in the list and I connected to both in seconds. Chrome was installed as the default browser and Flash was available instantly as was Java and all the truetype fonts.

The collection of software installed is what you would expect including LibreOffice, Rhythmbox, VLC Player, Brasero, Thunderbird and of course WINE.

Zorin is obviously targetting Windows users and if Windows users take a look they could easily be persuaded to use Zorin.

Ubuntu has gone down a route with Unity which has disgruntled a large number of users. Linux MINT has gained popularity from Canonical's decision making process but having used MINT 12 I can honestly say it isn't as good as this.

Now this is my first night running Zorin 6 and I may come up against issues but I have installed all the peripherals that I might need and all the software works. There have been no crashes (nor would I expect there to be).

Over the past few weeks I have reviewed Puppy Linux and repeatedly said that I don't think you would use Puppy as your main operating system on your all singing and dancing laptop. Zorin basically puts the case forward for the reason why.

Don't get me wrong I think Puppy Linux is great and I love the version that was made by Scott Jarvis called Puppy Arcade. As a huge fan of retro gaming (I own everything from an Atari 2600 to a Sega Dreamcast including Sinclair Spectrums, an Atari ST and a Commodore Amiga) Puppy Arcade saves a huge amount of cable swapping and trawling through tapes and cartridges.

What should an operating system be? I could ask all of you that question and undoubtedly get a huge array of answers. For me an operating system should:

  • load reasonably quickly
  • be unobtrusive (no enforced updates, no popping up of messages all the time)
  • be intuitive (icons should be laid out efficiently, menus should be clean and search should work)
  • be stable (The operating system should just work and really any pre-installed applications should just work as by pre-installing applications you are validating them)
  • be visibly attractive
  • be secure
  • not be a memory hog 
Now the definition of memory hog is relative to the resources you have available. If you only have 512mb ram in the first place then Zorin is resource hungry. If you have over 1gb then it is more than reasonable.

To download the core Zorin system is 1.3gb. Download it and put it on a USB drive or DVD and boot into the live system. I guarantee you will not be disappointed especially if you are at the end of the Linux spectrum that I am which is that I like the freedom but I also like the home comforts with graphical tools and wizards.

Update

I have created a new post to highlight the screenshots and brilliance of Zorin further. (http://everydaylinuxuser.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/zorin-6-screenshots.html)

If you are looking to download Zorin 6 go to http://zorin-os.com/premium.html.

Zorin 6 - The best operating system I have ever used

I have read a number of very good reviews about Zorin 6 recently. (For example http://linuxblog.darkduck.com/2012/07/zorin-os-6-core-fresh-blood.htmlhttp://www.dedoimedo.com/computers/zorin-core-6.html).

Having been a user of Zorin 5 up until recently I decided last weekend to download a copy of Zorin 6  and tonight I decided to install it. (Well my wife is watching Geordie Shore, what else am I to do?).

Now this article is only based on first impressions and is not an in depth review but I have to say that Zorin 6 could be the best operating system I have ever used.

First of all we know that it is built on top of the latest version of Ubuntu so it has the latest software and it has all the stability that Ubuntu provides.

The key though for me is that Zorin 6 isn't just another Ubuntu clone. In the review by Dedoimedo he asks is there room for Zorin with Ubuntu being so strong and Linux MINT being so good. Dedoimedo thinks there is and so do I.

Zorin 6 is a good leap forward from Zorin 5. The whole experience is incredibly crisp. It feels 100% professional. The icons are crisp, the windows are crisp. The effects are brilliant and classy.

It isn't just the looks that are good. The software works too. 

I ran Rhythmbox and previously I have had problems getting Rhythmbox to recognise a Sony Walkman MP3 player but in Zorin 6 it is picked up straight away. Now I know that is more down to the developers of Rhythmbox and to the Ubuntu team but as a user it is just nice.

No technical set up is required. Anyone who previously thought LINUX was difficult to set up needs to see this because Zorin makes Windows look like CICS running on an AS400 mainframe.

My wireless networks appeared instantly in the list and I connected to both in seconds. Chrome was installed as the default browser and Flash was available instantly as was Java and all the truetype fonts.

The collection of software installed is what you would expect including LibreOffice, Rhythmbox, VLC Player, Brasero, Thunderbird and of course WINE.

Zorin is obviously targetting Windows users and if Windows users take a look they could easily be persuaded to use Zorin.

Ubuntu has gone down a route with Unity which has disgruntled a large number of users. Linux MINT has gained popularity from Canonical's decision making process but having used MINT 12 I can honestly say it isn't as good as this.

Now this is my first night running Zorin 6 and I may come up against issues but I have installed all the peripherals that I might need and all the software works. There have been no crashes (nor would I expect there to be).

Over the past few weeks I have reviewed Puppy Linux and repeatedly said that I don't think you would use Puppy as your main operating system on your all singing and dancing laptop. Zorin basically puts the case forward for the reason why.

Don't get me wrong I think Puppy Linux is great and I love the version that was made by Scott Jarvis called Puppy Arcade. As a huge fan of retro gaming (I own everything from an Atari 2600 to a Sega Dreamcast including Sinclair Spectrums, an Atari ST and a Commodore Amiga) Puppy Arcade saves a huge amount of cable swapping and trawling through tapes and cartridges.

What should an operating system be? I could ask all of you that question and undoubtedly get a huge array of answers. For me an operating system should:

  • load reasonably quickly
  • be unobtrusive (no enforced updates, no popping up of messages all the time)
  • be intuitive (icons should be laid out efficiently, menus should be clean and search should work)
  • be stable (The operating system should just work and really any pre-installed applications should just work as by pre-installing applications you are validating them)
  • be visibly attractive
  • be secure
  • not be a memory hog 
Now the definition of memory hog is relative to the resources you have available. If you only have 512mb ram in the first place then Zorin is resource hungry. If you have over 1gb then it is more than reasonable.

To download the core Zorin system is 1.3gb. Download it and put it on a USB drive or DVD and boot into the live system. I guarantee you will not be disappointed especially if you are at the end of the Linux spectrum that I am which is that I like the freedom but I also like the home comforts with graphical tools and wizards.

Update

I have created a new post to highlight the screenshots and brilliance of Zorin further. (http://everydaylinuxuser.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/zorin-6-screenshots.html)

If you are looking to download Zorin 6 go to http://zorin-os.com/premium.html.

Posted at 23:42 |  by Gary Newell

20 comments:

Feel free to comment on any of the blog posts. Please try to be constructive.

Offensive messages will be removed as will blatant adverts for misleading products and sites.

Thanks for visiting my blog

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Introduction

Whilst writing my reviews of the various variations of Puppy LINUX I have repeatedly suggested that Puppy would not be the sort of distribution you would use on your main computer.
So what would you use puppy for?
I have come up with a number of different possible uses for Puppy Linux. In this post I have limited it to 5 but I could have gone much further so don't be surprised to see another post later on called "yet another 5 uses for Puppy Linux".

Without further ado lets begin.

Even if you are a Windows user who has stumbled on to this post you might consider getting yourself a copy of Puppy. It requires no installation and will not have any affect on your main operating system.


1. As a guest operating system

You have friends or family staying at your house for a night or two and inevitably the conversation leads to one of your guests asking you whether they can check their emails on your computer.
There are inherent issues with letting strangers on your computer even if they are friends and family. I don't know about you but on my own computer I tend not to log out of GMAIL every night and if you use something like Thunderbird or Evolutions you might have it automatically set to log in. Do you really want guests having the ability to read your emails?

In addition to this a guest may well after checking their email decide to visit their favourite sites. What if their favourite sites include installing plug ins or tools that contain malware or keyloggers?

If you set up Puppy with a save file which automatically connects to the internet (I recommend Lucid Puppy) you have the safety of knowing that the guest has a clean slate to work with. They cannot access your emails and they cannot download anything nasty that will have any long lasting effect.

Puppy can be set up to use any browser you decide to use including Chrome, Firefox and Opera.

2. Rescuing your files after operating system failure

Puppy was recently invaluable to me after I had an accident whilst repartitioning my hard drive.

Puppy Linux is the perfect tool for anyone to use whether you are a Windows or LINUX user if you have to get to your important files when your main operating system fails.

Imagine you are happily surfing away and you suddenly get Malware or you do something in LINUX which prevents it from booting. Simply insert a Puppy CD or USB drive and boot into a full operating system.

Now the reason I recommend Puppy over a live CD from another distribution is that you are getting the whole thing when you boot Puppy. 

So what tools might you need. Well the first thought has to go to all those important files you have such as photos of your family at Disneyland or your company's invoices and tax returns that you save on your hard drive.

Now really you should be backing up regularly but in practise a lot of people do not. Puppy instantly gives you access to all your partitions when you boot up and therefore you can copy all the files using the disk burner to DVDs. You could also copy the files to a USB or external hard drive, network drive and of course you can put them on something like Google Drive or Dropbox. 

Puppy also comes with a partition tool so you can attempt to fix your partition and if you have messed up Grub you can fix that as well.

When I messed up my partitions I had no idea how to fix the problem. This is one area I need to get more clued up on. My only solution was to reinstall LINUX but my media for installing LINUX is usually a USB drive. Due to trying out various versions of Puppy I didn't have what I would call a main distribution to install.

I do however keep all my distributions downloads in a distros folder on my computer. With Puppy I was able to locate this folder and using Unetbootin create myself an installation.

3. Retro Gaming (Puppy Arcade)


There is a version of Puppy that I haven't reviewed yet called Puppy Arcade. Out of all the Puppy versions I have tried this is actually my favourite.

Puppy Arcade turns your computer into a retro gaming machine as it has all the emulators you could possibly require for retro gaming including NES, SNES, Mega Drive, Genesys, Amiga and Commodore 64 emulators.

It is incredibly easy to set up a Microsoft XBOX 360 controller to work with LINUX and if you have a method of connecting your Laptop or Computer to a decent flat screen monitor or TV then you have the ultimate retro games console.

4. On the fly software development

I have recently been developing the website for my children's school. For this I have been using the LAMP stack on LINUX, Apache, MySQL and PHP.

To make things easy I have been using the codeigniter framework for developing the main site and content management system and I have used Blueprint CSS for styling.

Time for me is fairly short and I have but a few hours each day to myself therefore most of my development time for the site has been on the train on the way to work and on the way back from work.

To be able to develop the web pages on the train I need my PC to boot quickly and to run quickly and I need the operating system to be light weight.

For this purpose I have been using Bodhi Linux with the Geany IDE. I could easily however be using Puppy LINUX for the same purpose. 

5. With the Raspberry PI

The Raspberry PI is a small credit card sized fully functioning computer that costs around £30. Obviously for £30 you don't get much processing power but it is perfect for running Puppy.




Now the question is what can I do with a Raspberry PI running Puppy LINUX. First of all put it in a case because otherwise it looks incredibly geeky.



The Raspberry PI comes with HDMI ports for connecting to monitors and TVs. It comes with USB and micro USB ports for connecting keyboards and mice.

Remember use 3 which is a retro gaming console. Plug the Raspberry PI running Puppy Arcade into your TV and connect an XBOX 360 controller. You have a pocket sized games console.

Another option is as follows. My parents know nothing about computers and they never want to. However they live a long way from me (700 miles) and so only get to see their grand children once a year.

Attach a mobile broadband dongle to the Raspberry PI to provide internet connectivity and set up the internet connection to connect automatically. (There is a micro SD card for storing a save file or use a USB device). For those counting USB sockets you could always add a small USB Hub.

Now arrange the desktop to have just a few large icons. 1. Video Conferencing, 2. Browse Web, 3. Images 4. Social Media. 

Now video conferencing can be set to run Skype or a similar tool with default connection set up to connect my parents to me. The Browse web can be set up to use Chrome (they may or may not ever use this). The images link can be set to point directly at our family photo album on Picasa. The social media button can be for Facebook.

Now all I have to do is set up a wireless keyboard and mouse and/or a Microsoft XBOX Controller (Some people find the use of a joystick easier to use than a mouse). Set it up so that each of the 4 options are easy to use.

Finally I package up the Raspberry PI with HDMI cable and send it by post to my parents house with instructions on how to set it up. This should be a simple case of plugging it in to the back of their television.

My parents will be using a computer and will not even know it. They will think it is just another clever set top TV type device.

Smart TV total cost £400.
Raspberry PI doing the same thing running Puppy for about £50.

Summary

I hope you have enjoyed reading this article and maybe you have other uses for Puppy that haven't been mentioned here.

If you do use Puppy as your main distribution how do you find it? What do you think makes it better than using a more complete solution such as a Ubuntu, Debian or Red Hat based distro?

Thank you for reading.


Click here to buy Puppy on DVD or USB








5 ways to use Puppy Linux

Introduction

Whilst writing my reviews of the various variations of Puppy LINUX I have repeatedly suggested that Puppy would not be the sort of distribution you would use on your main computer.
So what would you use puppy for?
I have come up with a number of different possible uses for Puppy Linux. In this post I have limited it to 5 but I could have gone much further so don't be surprised to see another post later on called "yet another 5 uses for Puppy Linux".

Without further ado lets begin.

Even if you are a Windows user who has stumbled on to this post you might consider getting yourself a copy of Puppy. It requires no installation and will not have any affect on your main operating system.


1. As a guest operating system

You have friends or family staying at your house for a night or two and inevitably the conversation leads to one of your guests asking you whether they can check their emails on your computer.
There are inherent issues with letting strangers on your computer even if they are friends and family. I don't know about you but on my own computer I tend not to log out of GMAIL every night and if you use something like Thunderbird or Evolutions you might have it automatically set to log in. Do you really want guests having the ability to read your emails?

In addition to this a guest may well after checking their email decide to visit their favourite sites. What if their favourite sites include installing plug ins or tools that contain malware or keyloggers?

If you set up Puppy with a save file which automatically connects to the internet (I recommend Lucid Puppy) you have the safety of knowing that the guest has a clean slate to work with. They cannot access your emails and they cannot download anything nasty that will have any long lasting effect.

Puppy can be set up to use any browser you decide to use including Chrome, Firefox and Opera.

2. Rescuing your files after operating system failure

Puppy was recently invaluable to me after I had an accident whilst repartitioning my hard drive.

Puppy Linux is the perfect tool for anyone to use whether you are a Windows or LINUX user if you have to get to your important files when your main operating system fails.

Imagine you are happily surfing away and you suddenly get Malware or you do something in LINUX which prevents it from booting. Simply insert a Puppy CD or USB drive and boot into a full operating system.

Now the reason I recommend Puppy over a live CD from another distribution is that you are getting the whole thing when you boot Puppy. 

So what tools might you need. Well the first thought has to go to all those important files you have such as photos of your family at Disneyland or your company's invoices and tax returns that you save on your hard drive.

Now really you should be backing up regularly but in practise a lot of people do not. Puppy instantly gives you access to all your partitions when you boot up and therefore you can copy all the files using the disk burner to DVDs. You could also copy the files to a USB or external hard drive, network drive and of course you can put them on something like Google Drive or Dropbox. 

Puppy also comes with a partition tool so you can attempt to fix your partition and if you have messed up Grub you can fix that as well.

When I messed up my partitions I had no idea how to fix the problem. This is one area I need to get more clued up on. My only solution was to reinstall LINUX but my media for installing LINUX is usually a USB drive. Due to trying out various versions of Puppy I didn't have what I would call a main distribution to install.

I do however keep all my distributions downloads in a distros folder on my computer. With Puppy I was able to locate this folder and using Unetbootin create myself an installation.

3. Retro Gaming (Puppy Arcade)


There is a version of Puppy that I haven't reviewed yet called Puppy Arcade. Out of all the Puppy versions I have tried this is actually my favourite.

Puppy Arcade turns your computer into a retro gaming machine as it has all the emulators you could possibly require for retro gaming including NES, SNES, Mega Drive, Genesys, Amiga and Commodore 64 emulators.

It is incredibly easy to set up a Microsoft XBOX 360 controller to work with LINUX and if you have a method of connecting your Laptop or Computer to a decent flat screen monitor or TV then you have the ultimate retro games console.

4. On the fly software development

I have recently been developing the website for my children's school. For this I have been using the LAMP stack on LINUX, Apache, MySQL and PHP.

To make things easy I have been using the codeigniter framework for developing the main site and content management system and I have used Blueprint CSS for styling.

Time for me is fairly short and I have but a few hours each day to myself therefore most of my development time for the site has been on the train on the way to work and on the way back from work.

To be able to develop the web pages on the train I need my PC to boot quickly and to run quickly and I need the operating system to be light weight.

For this purpose I have been using Bodhi Linux with the Geany IDE. I could easily however be using Puppy LINUX for the same purpose. 

5. With the Raspberry PI

The Raspberry PI is a small credit card sized fully functioning computer that costs around £30. Obviously for £30 you don't get much processing power but it is perfect for running Puppy.




Now the question is what can I do with a Raspberry PI running Puppy LINUX. First of all put it in a case because otherwise it looks incredibly geeky.



The Raspberry PI comes with HDMI ports for connecting to monitors and TVs. It comes with USB and micro USB ports for connecting keyboards and mice.

Remember use 3 which is a retro gaming console. Plug the Raspberry PI running Puppy Arcade into your TV and connect an XBOX 360 controller. You have a pocket sized games console.

Another option is as follows. My parents know nothing about computers and they never want to. However they live a long way from me (700 miles) and so only get to see their grand children once a year.

Attach a mobile broadband dongle to the Raspberry PI to provide internet connectivity and set up the internet connection to connect automatically. (There is a micro SD card for storing a save file or use a USB device). For those counting USB sockets you could always add a small USB Hub.

Now arrange the desktop to have just a few large icons. 1. Video Conferencing, 2. Browse Web, 3. Images 4. Social Media. 

Now video conferencing can be set to run Skype or a similar tool with default connection set up to connect my parents to me. The Browse web can be set up to use Chrome (they may or may not ever use this). The images link can be set to point directly at our family photo album on Picasa. The social media button can be for Facebook.

Now all I have to do is set up a wireless keyboard and mouse and/or a Microsoft XBOX Controller (Some people find the use of a joystick easier to use than a mouse). Set it up so that each of the 4 options are easy to use.

Finally I package up the Raspberry PI with HDMI cable and send it by post to my parents house with instructions on how to set it up. This should be a simple case of plugging it in to the back of their television.

My parents will be using a computer and will not even know it. They will think it is just another clever set top TV type device.

Smart TV total cost £400.
Raspberry PI doing the same thing running Puppy for about £50.

Summary

I hope you have enjoyed reading this article and maybe you have other uses for Puppy that haven't been mentioned here.

If you do use Puppy as your main distribution how do you find it? What do you think makes it better than using a more complete solution such as a Ubuntu, Debian or Red Hat based distro?

Thank you for reading.


Click here to buy Puppy on DVD or USB








Posted at 12:21 |  by Gary Newell

18 comments:

Feel free to comment on any of the blog posts. Please try to be constructive.

Offensive messages will be removed as will blatant adverts for misleading products and sites.

Thanks for visiting my blog

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Introduction



For those who have been following you will know that I have recently embarked on a three part review of Puppy Linux. For those who haven't been following, I have recently embarked on a three part review of Puppy Linux.

In the previous reviews I looked at Wary and Slacko. In this third review I am looking at the best of the bunch which is Lucid Puppy.

The rest of this post will explain why I think Lucid outshines both Wary and Slacko and I have a confession to make that will make a lot of people shout "What? you have to be kidding". All will become clear as time goes by.



Startup - Attempt 1

Ok so I had a few issues when I first tried Lucid Puppy. I had downloaded the iso and tried to burn it as an image to a USB drive.

When I rebooted I was left with a flashing cursor on the screen. Clearly this was not going to work

 

Startup - Attempt 2

The second attempt I tried to use UNetbootin. Again upon reboot the system would not load.

 

Startup - Attempt 3

Time for the old school method. Burn the ISO to disk and reboot. I was presented with the following message:

Performing a 'switch_root' to the layered file system... Kernel Panic- not syncing

A lesser person may well have become frustrated at this point. I did the usual Googling for an answer to my problem and I was presented with various options including


  1. Try loading without a save file and
  2. Your machine obviously does not have enough memory to run Lucid Puppy
You can ignore these because.....

Startup - Attempt 4

I downloaded Lucid Puppy again from the Puppy Download page and when I burned to disk this time the system booted successfully. Therefore I put attempt 3 down to a dodgy download.

For those of you wondering why I haven't put attempts 1 and 2 down to a dodgy download as well then the answer is that really this should go down as attempt 6 because I tried attempts 1 and 2 again. In other words burning straight to USB and UNetbootin on this occasion let me down.

Boot Time


Now I've tried all three of the puppies I can honestly say there isn't much difference in the boot time.

Booting from CD with a save file takes approximately 2 minutes on my laptop. (Samsung R20 with 2 gb of ram). On a more modern machine it might boot faster and obviously with a hard drive install it would boot much faster.

I don't believe Puppy is a system for installing to your hard drive. It was built to run from memory and from removable media.




Connecting to the Internet

This is where Lucid Puppy beats both Slacko and Wary hands down. In all three reviews I have attempted to connect to the 3 mobile broadband network using the MIFI device.

For both Wary and Slacko although I got there in the end the process of connecting to the net was very cumbersome.

With Lucid a window popped up as soon as I booted the first time with my ethernet and wireless cards detected.

When I click the wlan button both my home broadband and three broadband were selected automatically. All I had to do was enter the WPA key and I was connected.

After connecting to the internet obviously the first thing you want to do is browse. Now there are icons on the desktop and there is a menu button. For some reason I chose the menu button and clicked the internet menu and could not find a browser. Stupid move. Had I clicked the browse icon on the desktop all would have come clear very quickly.

A menu appears asking which browser you would like to install. The options include SeaMonkey (which is the defauly Puppy browser), Firefox, Chromium and Opera.

So which of the browsers did I decide to install. Well Chromium is my favourite browser but out of the listed items it takes up the most space at 26 mb. The others were all around the 15 or 16 mb mark.

 

 

 

Shocking Confession Time

I'm going to say something now and it is not to make myself notorious or to cause offence to millions of people worldwide. Are you ready?

I have never liked Firefox
There it is. I have said it. Now of course I need to qualify why I have never liked Firefox.

For years there was a battle raging on the net about which was the best browser and a bit like LINUX in general there were those singing the praises of Internet Explorer and those that sang the praises of Firefox.

Now we all know Internet Explorer is bad. Why is it bad? It is bad because for years web developers have had to write workaround after workaround trying to get their web pages to work under both Internet Explorer, Netscape Navigator, Firefox, Chrome, Safari and Opera. What is worse is that even different versions of Internet Explorer would show the page in a different style.

That is just one reason for not liking Internet Explorer and has nothing to do with Firefox. The other reason for not liking internet explorer is toolbars. Within Windows no matter what piece of software you install you will be asked whether you want to install a toolbar. What is worse than that is that the checkboxes are checked by default so if you do not read the text properly you will acidentally install that toolbar and so eventually you could end up with 6 or 7 toolbars taking up half the screen.

Again you might ask what has this got to do with Firefox. Well..... undoubtedly Firefox fans will say that its strongest feature is the number of add-ons and plugins that you can get for Firefox. This has always bothered me and I was delighted when Chrome came out. Sure I could have just kept the base install and not installed any add-ons but the problem is still the same. Firefox has too many menus and takes up too much of the screen.

Chrome and Chromium were just what I was looking for. A minimalist browser that just let me search and browse.

Back on track then the browser I ended up installing was Opera. I've always quite liked it and it was built for loading into memory in the same way Puppy does. I am typing this article using Opera and it works just fine.

 

Installing Flash

With Wary and Slacko after connecting to the internet I was offered the opportunity to install flash. With Lucid this option did not appear.

To install Flash using Lucid I had to select the menu button and then from the internet menu there is an install flash icon.

 

Quick Pets

Another really useful feature in Lucid Puppy is the Quickpet application. This is simply a tabbed application which has links to install the most common and useful packages for Lucid Puppy.

There are 6 tabs split as follows:

  • Popular pets - Gimp, Pwidgets, Audacity, Songbird, WINE and Google Earth
  • Internet pets - Firefox, SeaMonkey, Chromium, Opera, Thunderbird, Pidgin
  • Useful pets - VLC, Kompozer, Cinelerra, JRE (java), Pdfedit, Inkscape
  • SFS get - a list of a number of packages
  • Drivers 
  • News
The list of applications highlighted are virtually all the applications I might use without having to go into the main package manager.

 

Save files

Puppy linux uses a save file to store data. When you reboot for the first time you are asked whether you want to create a save file and where you want to store it and how big is it going to be.

One thing I noticed in Lucid is that unlike the graphical tools used by Wary and Slacko this one seems to go back in time and show a blue screened background and almost a dos like set of menus.

 

Desktop

The desktop for Lucid Puppy is very similar to that of Wary and Slacko.

In the top left of the screen are five rows of icons.

  • Row 1 - file, help, install, mount, control, edit, console
  • Row 2 - write, calc, paint, draw
  • Row 3 - browse, email
  • Row 4 - Plan, Play
  • Row 5 -  Connect, Quickpet
At the bottom of the screen is a toolbar with a menu button, taskbar icons and in the bottom right a system tray.

Above the menu are icons for each of the drives connected to your machine.

Finally on the right hand side are icons for locking the screen. zipping files and a trash can.

There is nothing majorly different between Lucid, Wary and Slacko with regards to the desktop and by and large the default applications installed are the same.

The background for Lucid is a plain gray colour which isn't very inspiring but that can easily be changed.

 

Summary

Lucid is the best of the three versions of Puppy that I have reviewed. It is more polished than the other two and just small things make it so much better.

Connecting to the internet is a basic requirement and Lucid gets it perfectly. Only 2 screens and I'm connected. Wary and Slacko required much more effort.

Installing commonly used applications via the Quickpet menu is brilliant. I think all distros could consider implementing this.

A choice of browsers is available for installation as opposed to being stuck with the default SeaMonkey. (Ok to be fair Wary and Slacko enable you to download PETs for other browsers).

Ratings:

Wary: 3/5
Slacko: 4/5
Lucid: 5/5

Lucid has the ability to rival Bodhi as a lightweight distro although given the choice I would still say Bodhi edges it.


Click here to buy Puppy on DVD or USB

Scrappy doo. Lucid has puppy powers

Introduction



For those who have been following you will know that I have recently embarked on a three part review of Puppy Linux. For those who haven't been following, I have recently embarked on a three part review of Puppy Linux.

In the previous reviews I looked at Wary and Slacko. In this third review I am looking at the best of the bunch which is Lucid Puppy.

The rest of this post will explain why I think Lucid outshines both Wary and Slacko and I have a confession to make that will make a lot of people shout "What? you have to be kidding". All will become clear as time goes by.



Startup - Attempt 1

Ok so I had a few issues when I first tried Lucid Puppy. I had downloaded the iso and tried to burn it as an image to a USB drive.

When I rebooted I was left with a flashing cursor on the screen. Clearly this was not going to work

 

Startup - Attempt 2

The second attempt I tried to use UNetbootin. Again upon reboot the system would not load.

 

Startup - Attempt 3

Time for the old school method. Burn the ISO to disk and reboot. I was presented with the following message:

Performing a 'switch_root' to the layered file system... Kernel Panic- not syncing

A lesser person may well have become frustrated at this point. I did the usual Googling for an answer to my problem and I was presented with various options including


  1. Try loading without a save file and
  2. Your machine obviously does not have enough memory to run Lucid Puppy
You can ignore these because.....

Startup - Attempt 4

I downloaded Lucid Puppy again from the Puppy Download page and when I burned to disk this time the system booted successfully. Therefore I put attempt 3 down to a dodgy download.

For those of you wondering why I haven't put attempts 1 and 2 down to a dodgy download as well then the answer is that really this should go down as attempt 6 because I tried attempts 1 and 2 again. In other words burning straight to USB and UNetbootin on this occasion let me down.

Boot Time


Now I've tried all three of the puppies I can honestly say there isn't much difference in the boot time.

Booting from CD with a save file takes approximately 2 minutes on my laptop. (Samsung R20 with 2 gb of ram). On a more modern machine it might boot faster and obviously with a hard drive install it would boot much faster.

I don't believe Puppy is a system for installing to your hard drive. It was built to run from memory and from removable media.




Connecting to the Internet

This is where Lucid Puppy beats both Slacko and Wary hands down. In all three reviews I have attempted to connect to the 3 mobile broadband network using the MIFI device.

For both Wary and Slacko although I got there in the end the process of connecting to the net was very cumbersome.

With Lucid a window popped up as soon as I booted the first time with my ethernet and wireless cards detected.

When I click the wlan button both my home broadband and three broadband were selected automatically. All I had to do was enter the WPA key and I was connected.

After connecting to the internet obviously the first thing you want to do is browse. Now there are icons on the desktop and there is a menu button. For some reason I chose the menu button and clicked the internet menu and could not find a browser. Stupid move. Had I clicked the browse icon on the desktop all would have come clear very quickly.

A menu appears asking which browser you would like to install. The options include SeaMonkey (which is the defauly Puppy browser), Firefox, Chromium and Opera.

So which of the browsers did I decide to install. Well Chromium is my favourite browser but out of the listed items it takes up the most space at 26 mb. The others were all around the 15 or 16 mb mark.

 

 

 

Shocking Confession Time

I'm going to say something now and it is not to make myself notorious or to cause offence to millions of people worldwide. Are you ready?

I have never liked Firefox
There it is. I have said it. Now of course I need to qualify why I have never liked Firefox.

For years there was a battle raging on the net about which was the best browser and a bit like LINUX in general there were those singing the praises of Internet Explorer and those that sang the praises of Firefox.

Now we all know Internet Explorer is bad. Why is it bad? It is bad because for years web developers have had to write workaround after workaround trying to get their web pages to work under both Internet Explorer, Netscape Navigator, Firefox, Chrome, Safari and Opera. What is worse is that even different versions of Internet Explorer would show the page in a different style.

That is just one reason for not liking Internet Explorer and has nothing to do with Firefox. The other reason for not liking internet explorer is toolbars. Within Windows no matter what piece of software you install you will be asked whether you want to install a toolbar. What is worse than that is that the checkboxes are checked by default so if you do not read the text properly you will acidentally install that toolbar and so eventually you could end up with 6 or 7 toolbars taking up half the screen.

Again you might ask what has this got to do with Firefox. Well..... undoubtedly Firefox fans will say that its strongest feature is the number of add-ons and plugins that you can get for Firefox. This has always bothered me and I was delighted when Chrome came out. Sure I could have just kept the base install and not installed any add-ons but the problem is still the same. Firefox has too many menus and takes up too much of the screen.

Chrome and Chromium were just what I was looking for. A minimalist browser that just let me search and browse.

Back on track then the browser I ended up installing was Opera. I've always quite liked it and it was built for loading into memory in the same way Puppy does. I am typing this article using Opera and it works just fine.

 

Installing Flash

With Wary and Slacko after connecting to the internet I was offered the opportunity to install flash. With Lucid this option did not appear.

To install Flash using Lucid I had to select the menu button and then from the internet menu there is an install flash icon.

 

Quick Pets

Another really useful feature in Lucid Puppy is the Quickpet application. This is simply a tabbed application which has links to install the most common and useful packages for Lucid Puppy.

There are 6 tabs split as follows:

  • Popular pets - Gimp, Pwidgets, Audacity, Songbird, WINE and Google Earth
  • Internet pets - Firefox, SeaMonkey, Chromium, Opera, Thunderbird, Pidgin
  • Useful pets - VLC, Kompozer, Cinelerra, JRE (java), Pdfedit, Inkscape
  • SFS get - a list of a number of packages
  • Drivers 
  • News
The list of applications highlighted are virtually all the applications I might use without having to go into the main package manager.

 

Save files

Puppy linux uses a save file to store data. When you reboot for the first time you are asked whether you want to create a save file and where you want to store it and how big is it going to be.

One thing I noticed in Lucid is that unlike the graphical tools used by Wary and Slacko this one seems to go back in time and show a blue screened background and almost a dos like set of menus.

 

Desktop

The desktop for Lucid Puppy is very similar to that of Wary and Slacko.

In the top left of the screen are five rows of icons.

  • Row 1 - file, help, install, mount, control, edit, console
  • Row 2 - write, calc, paint, draw
  • Row 3 - browse, email
  • Row 4 - Plan, Play
  • Row 5 -  Connect, Quickpet
At the bottom of the screen is a toolbar with a menu button, taskbar icons and in the bottom right a system tray.

Above the menu are icons for each of the drives connected to your machine.

Finally on the right hand side are icons for locking the screen. zipping files and a trash can.

There is nothing majorly different between Lucid, Wary and Slacko with regards to the desktop and by and large the default applications installed are the same.

The background for Lucid is a plain gray colour which isn't very inspiring but that can easily be changed.

 

Summary

Lucid is the best of the three versions of Puppy that I have reviewed. It is more polished than the other two and just small things make it so much better.

Connecting to the internet is a basic requirement and Lucid gets it perfectly. Only 2 screens and I'm connected. Wary and Slacko required much more effort.

Installing commonly used applications via the Quickpet menu is brilliant. I think all distros could consider implementing this.

A choice of browsers is available for installation as opposed to being stuck with the default SeaMonkey. (Ok to be fair Wary and Slacko enable you to download PETs for other browsers).

Ratings:

Wary: 3/5
Slacko: 4/5
Lucid: 5/5

Lucid has the ability to rival Bodhi as a lightweight distro although given the choice I would still say Bodhi edges it.


Click here to buy Puppy on DVD or USB

Posted at 23:08 |  by Gary Newell

15 comments:

Feel free to comment on any of the blog posts. Please try to be constructive.

Offensive messages will be removed as will blatant adverts for misleading products and sites.

Thanks for visiting my blog

Last night I'm afraid to say I failed the LINUX community.

My wife's Aunty and Uncle came up from Glasgow to Aberdeenshire to visit my mother in law for a few nights and en route stayed at our house for a meal.

After the meal my wife's Uncle asked whether he could use our PC to check his emails etc. My wife asked my son to give the Uncle his laptop to use which is running Windows 7 but I saw the instant opportunity to demonstrate the power of LINUX by letting him loose on my laptop running Mageia 2.

Now the reason I am running Mageia 2 is that I had an unfortunate incident last weekend whilst playing with the partitions on my laptop whereby I accidentally destroyed the version of Zorin I was running previously. This however was not I thought an issue because I had set up Mageia meticulously with the KDE 4 plasma desktop and I think it looks really impressive. I have even installed Compiz to add some whizzy effects. Add to this the Chromium browser and you would think you have a really good setup to demonstrate to a non Linux user.

Why did it all go so wrong?

What I initially failed to appreciate is that in Central Glasgow they have pretty decent broadband all the time running at around 8mb. Here in Aberdeenshire they have only just discovered colour television so our home broadband speed with Orange is under 2mb. I normally counteract this by using the 3 mobile broadband which can at times give you around 7mb but occasionally in bad weather and peak times it drops to about 2mb.

For those of you unaware of this fact the weather in Scotland has been shockingly dull and dreary for the past month and there is a lot of fog in our area. I don't know if that affects mobile broadband signals but needless to say the 3 mobile broadband last night was running at around 2mb.

Instantly my wife's uncle's first response was "I don't know if the laptop is old or it is the software but the internet is very slow compared to my Macbook". When he said this a few things went through my head including "you stupid  [insert expletive here] Apple fanboy" and "blast you Three mobile broadband". The problem was not the laptop at all. The laptop was responding perfectly fine to every request but it can do nothing at all about the broadband signal.

The second reason why my demonstration failed was because of Chromium. The uncle is an Apple user. He is used to Safari. When there was an address in the toolbar he could not work out how to clear the address to type in a new one and so frequently placed the cursor at the end of the address bar and pressed the backspace key. I explained that you can just press CTRL and A to select the whole address and just press the delete key at which point he said "It is much easier in Safari". I fail to see what is so difficult in pressing CTRL and A and then the delete key.

My wife's uncle is a professional artist (Which goes someway to explaining his love of everything Apple) and he was demonstrating his work to me. Unfortunately the third thing went wrong at this point. One of the files he wanted to show me was a flash video and unfortunately due to the reinstall last weekend I had not got to the point of reinstalling Flash. Doh!!!

Compiz to the rescue

The one thing the Uncle did really like was the little effects Compiz gave when closing windows and navigating around web pages. Frequently he said things like "wow that is weird" and "that is really amazing". All this goes to prove is that it doesn't really matter to an Apple fanboy how good something is as long as it looks amazing. (I'll await the flames in the comment area for that statement).

Summary

I tried to demonstrate the power of LINUX to a non LINUX user and I failed. I failed because I failed to appreciate that normal users do not care what is to blame for the internet going slowly. As far as they are concerned it is the machine they are using that is to blame.

I failed to appreciate that even Chromium can be tricky to get used to even though I use it daily without any issues.

Finally I failed to set up my laptop properly in the first place to play Flash videos.

I failed the Linux Community

Last night I'm afraid to say I failed the LINUX community.

My wife's Aunty and Uncle came up from Glasgow to Aberdeenshire to visit my mother in law for a few nights and en route stayed at our house for a meal.

After the meal my wife's Uncle asked whether he could use our PC to check his emails etc. My wife asked my son to give the Uncle his laptop to use which is running Windows 7 but I saw the instant opportunity to demonstrate the power of LINUX by letting him loose on my laptop running Mageia 2.

Now the reason I am running Mageia 2 is that I had an unfortunate incident last weekend whilst playing with the partitions on my laptop whereby I accidentally destroyed the version of Zorin I was running previously. This however was not I thought an issue because I had set up Mageia meticulously with the KDE 4 plasma desktop and I think it looks really impressive. I have even installed Compiz to add some whizzy effects. Add to this the Chromium browser and you would think you have a really good setup to demonstrate to a non Linux user.

Why did it all go so wrong?

What I initially failed to appreciate is that in Central Glasgow they have pretty decent broadband all the time running at around 8mb. Here in Aberdeenshire they have only just discovered colour television so our home broadband speed with Orange is under 2mb. I normally counteract this by using the 3 mobile broadband which can at times give you around 7mb but occasionally in bad weather and peak times it drops to about 2mb.

For those of you unaware of this fact the weather in Scotland has been shockingly dull and dreary for the past month and there is a lot of fog in our area. I don't know if that affects mobile broadband signals but needless to say the 3 mobile broadband last night was running at around 2mb.

Instantly my wife's uncle's first response was "I don't know if the laptop is old or it is the software but the internet is very slow compared to my Macbook". When he said this a few things went through my head including "you stupid  [insert expletive here] Apple fanboy" and "blast you Three mobile broadband". The problem was not the laptop at all. The laptop was responding perfectly fine to every request but it can do nothing at all about the broadband signal.

The second reason why my demonstration failed was because of Chromium. The uncle is an Apple user. He is used to Safari. When there was an address in the toolbar he could not work out how to clear the address to type in a new one and so frequently placed the cursor at the end of the address bar and pressed the backspace key. I explained that you can just press CTRL and A to select the whole address and just press the delete key at which point he said "It is much easier in Safari". I fail to see what is so difficult in pressing CTRL and A and then the delete key.

My wife's uncle is a professional artist (Which goes someway to explaining his love of everything Apple) and he was demonstrating his work to me. Unfortunately the third thing went wrong at this point. One of the files he wanted to show me was a flash video and unfortunately due to the reinstall last weekend I had not got to the point of reinstalling Flash. Doh!!!

Compiz to the rescue

The one thing the Uncle did really like was the little effects Compiz gave when closing windows and navigating around web pages. Frequently he said things like "wow that is weird" and "that is really amazing". All this goes to prove is that it doesn't really matter to an Apple fanboy how good something is as long as it looks amazing. (I'll await the flames in the comment area for that statement).

Summary

I tried to demonstrate the power of LINUX to a non LINUX user and I failed. I failed because I failed to appreciate that normal users do not care what is to blame for the internet going slowly. As far as they are concerned it is the machine they are using that is to blame.

I failed to appreciate that even Chromium can be tricky to get used to even though I use it daily without any issues.

Finally I failed to set up my laptop properly in the first place to play Flash videos.

Posted at 10:41 |  by Gary Newell

33 comments:

Feel free to comment on any of the blog posts. Please try to be constructive.

Offensive messages will be removed as will blatant adverts for misleading products and sites.

Thanks for visiting my blog

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