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The Linux Open-Source Operating System: Linux Distributions and Free Linux Software - Page 2


Linux backup programs

There is an excellent program called BootIt Bare Metal, a partition manager from terabyteunlimited.com that can be used on any operation system, including Linux. It can create, delete, copy, move, and resize partitions and create restorable master images of a system. It is also a boot manager. BootIt supports non-destructive resizing of FAT/FAT32, NTFS, and Linux Ext2/3/4 partitions. Costing only $39.95 (July 2012), it is very good value.

There are plenty of free backup tools for Linux. The following webpage lists backup, imaging and disk-cloning tools, some of which can be used for a Linux system.

Free Hard Disk Backup / Restore and Image / Cloning Utilities -

http://www.thefreecountry.com/utilities/backupandimage.shtml

To find your own links to backup programs, use linux backup and imaging tools as the search query in a search engine.


A Linux boot CD that can be used for partitioning a hard drive and resizing partitions

SystemRescueCd - http://www.sysresccd.org/ - Free - A Linux system on a bootable CD for repairing your system and your data after a crash. It also provides an easy way to carry out administration tasks on your computer, such as creating and editing the partitions on hard drives. You burn the bootable CD from an ISO image.


Linux USB and FireWire

The latest Linux distributions support USB 1.1/2.0/3.0 and FireWire devices. See these sites for more information -

Linux USB - http://www.linux-usb.org/

Linux FireWire - http://www.linux1394.org/

Linux support for USB 3.0 began with the September 2009 release of the 2.6.31 Linux kernel, at which date not even Windows or OS X supported it.

Note that even though the system (operating system, motherboard's chipset, and BIOS) supports USB/FireWire it does not necessarily mean that a Linux device driver is available for a particular device.

If you require more information on the subject, use a search engine to conduct a search for, say, linux usb support or linux firewire support. You could use the same method to search for Linux USB/FireWire support for a particular device.

Click here! to go directly to many useful links to Linux websites on this page. Use your browser's Back button to return to this point on the page.


Run a live distribution of Linux from a CD

Many distributions of Linux supply ISO downloads that when burned to a recordable CD/DVD can be used as a boot disc to run them instead of installing them to the hard disk drive. Ubuntu, Tails, Puppy Linux, etc., supply the boot disc in the form of a file with an .iso extension.

This website provides free disc-burning software and instructions on how to burn an ISO file to a disc - cdburnerxp.se. The BIOS section of this website tells you how to set the device boot order. The disc can be used to boot a computer that has a version of Windows installed as the safest way of accessing banking websites. Whenever you want to bank using the web, you just boot from the CD/DVD disc you burned and log on with complete safety because no malware (viruses, spyware, key-logging software, etc.) can interfere.

Knoppix is a popular version of Linux that is used as a boot disc.

On The Fly: Boot Knoppix Linux; Keep your Windows Installation Unaffected

"Given Linux' growing use and acceptance, many users want to try Linux out, but want to keep Windows installed and unblemished on their PCs as a backup. So is there a way to play with Linux and still keep Windows intact without damaging your existing OS configuration?" The Knoppix Linux distribution was created a few years ago to solve that problem. Linux newbies can use Knoppix to play with Linux, without touching their precious hard drives. Hackers will find Knoppix extremely useful, because it contains awesome security auditing and system imaging/recovery tools. Knoppix is a great Linux tool for all skill levels, and can benefit all users.

"Knoppix can be downloaded for free from KNOPPIX, and is available in either English or German language versions. After you download the ISO image, just burn it with your favourite CD Burning program (such as Ahead [or] Nero). If you have a slow Internet connection, then you can order the CD from vendors (same link as above) for about $3 to $5 USD..." - Tom's Hardware Guide.

Knoppix is available from http://knoppix.net/.


Install Linux on a laptop/notebook computer

Unless you're installing Linux on an elderly laptop the hardware of which is fully supported, it is usually far more difficult to install on a laptop than on a desktop computer for two main reasons.

The first reason is the highly integrated nature of a laptop computer, and its non-standard hardware. As you should know, desktop PCs are modular and are usually built of standardised components. But this is not the case with laptop computers, which have to have tightly integrated components. The manufacturers therefore have to use purpose-built chipsets that are optimised for low power consumption in order to avoid overheating problems and draining the battery power too quickly.

The manufacturers of the chipsets used in laptop computers usually don't publish details of their products openly. The technical details are provided to Microsoft and other developers associated with Microsoft, because almost all laptop computers run a version of Windows. Device drivers for the versions of Windows still supported by Microsoft are developed in advance of their release, but the developers writing drivers for Linux either have to wait for the necessary chipset information to become published, or have to determine how to write the drivers by analysing the drivers created for Windows.

For instance, if the technical details of the video chipset used in a particular laptop computer haven't been disclosed to Linux developers and you install Linux on it, you'll have to run the computer in the slow, low-resolution VGA framebuffer mode until Linux video drivers are developed for it and are then made available for download or in a new or updated distribution of Linux.

A delay of about a year should currently be anticipated between the release of a new laptop chipset and support for it becoming available in the major distributions of Linux (Ubuntu, SuSE, Mandriva, Debian, etc.)

The second reason that Linux is more difficult to install on a laptop is making the power management and the PCMCIA and CardBus adapter-card support work as it should. The following website privides information on PC cards support in the various distributions of Linux.

Linux PCMCIA/CF/CardBus Card Survey -

http://tuxmobil.org/pcmcia_linux_types.html

If you intend to use the laptop on battery power, power management is crucial for the longest battery life. The two power management systems currently in use are APM (Advanced Power Management) and the newer (1999) and more advanced ACPI (Advanced Configuration and Power Interface).

Visit http://www.tldp.org/HOWTO/Battery-Powered to read a good guide on how to save battery power.

APM and ACPI support is already compiled into the kernels of the major distributions of Linux, such as SuSE, Mandriva, Debian, etc. But note well that there are still some settings that you'll have to configure manually in order to maximise the use of battery power if you want to use the laptop that way for long periods.

If you want to install Linux on a laptop PC, you should first visit a site such as the Linux on Laptops network at: http://www.linux-laptop.net/.

The site contains a knowledge-base of information written by people who impart information on their experiences of installing Linux on laptop computers.

Note that a range laptops computers made by a manufacturer are often given different names to reflect the different hardware they contain, such as the size of the hard drive installed, not because they are vastly different machines, so, if you can't find information on the precise model of laptop that you want to install Linux on, read the information for its closest relative.


In praise of Linux and the free OpenOffice office suite

OpenOffice or LibreOffice (based on OpenOffice) are the free office suites that come with most Linux distributions, including Ubuntu. OpenOffice, not only rivals Microsoft Office, but can be easier to use and provides allof the features of an office suite that most users need. It can open those blasted .doc and .docx documents that people insist on sending, as well as [MS] Excel and [MS] PowerPoint files.

With OpenOffice or LibreOffice installed, you can produce PDFs [Portable Document Files that the free Adobe Acrobat reader and Foxit reader can read]. Using it, you don't have to worry about which operating system the person yu are emailing runs. OpenOffice/LibreOffice is available for Linux, Windows and Mac [Apple Macintosh].

MS Office cots between around £80 and £400, depending on which version you buy; OpenOffice costs nothing.


Alternatives to Windows and multi-boot options

If you want to try out an alternative operating system to Windows, the most user-friendly distributions are the latest versions of Ubuntu Linux, Mandriva Linux and SuSE Linux Professional. They cost less significantly less than upgrade or full version of Windows 7 while providing similar functionality, because the source code is free and the user only has to pay for the customisation of the code and the support. There is no need to uninstall Windows XP/Vista/Windows 7. You can run a dual-boot system that allows you to choose which operating system to run at start-up.

Several Linux distributions are now viable alternatives to Windows. Moreover, there is no Product Activation, as is the case with Windows and other Microsoft products. Unlike Windows that usually requires a separate licence for each computer it is run on, you can use Ubuntu, Mandriva and OpenSuse Linux on as many computers as you like.

You don't need to use a Linux driver for a hardware modem (a modem that has its own signal processor), because Linux is already programmed to run any hardware modem, but finding a driver for a winmodem (a software-driven modem designed for use with Windows) used to be a problem. However, the situation is much improved now. SuSE Linux 9.0 and higher versions can recognise and install the drivers for many winmodems automatically. But if you still need to find a driver for a winmodem, visit this site - http://www.linmodems.org/.

Visit this Build a PC page on this site for more information on modems.

You can get even more in-depth tutorials on dual-booting Windows and Linux using the search query linux dual boot [+ the version of Windows] in a search engine.


Linux websites

The top 10 distributions (distros) of Linux

Several of these distributions have a version that can be run directly from a CD that it is never copied to a hard disk drive.

Currently, the most popular distribution of Linux is Ubuntu, the latest version of which in July 2012 was Ubuntu 12.04. This Wikipedia page lists the most popular of the 600 distributions currently available. Note that Google's Android operating system sued on tablet PCs and smartphones is an adaption of Linux.

Linux distribution -

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linux_distribution#Popular_distributions

Fedora, Mint, openSUSE, Ubuntu: Which Linux desktop is for you? [Jan. 2012] -

Those are currently the top four distributions of Linux. -

http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9222979/...

A comprehensive Linux forum

Linuxforums.org has forums for most of the most popular distributions of Linux, plus forums on a comprehensive number of subjects related to Linux. - http://www.linuxforums.org/forum/

A good Linux site to start off with - http://www.linux.com/

Linux Distributions - latest reviews - Anandtech:

http://www.anandtech.com/linux/

Linux Reviews - http://linuxreviews.org/

Canonical Ubuntu 12.04 review [November 27, 2012] -

http://www.expertreviews.co.uk/software/1291966/ubuntu-12-04

International vendors that sell computers pre-loaded with Linux -

Go to http://linuxpreloaded.com/ for an international list of vendors that sell Linux computers.

Linmodems.org - You don't need to use a Linux driver for a hardware dial-up modem (a modem that has its own signal processor), because Linux is already programmed to run any hardware modem, but finding a driver for a winmodem (a software-driven modem designed for use with Windows) used to be a problem. However, the situation is much improved now. To find a driver for a winmodem, visit this site. - http://www.linmodems.org/

Knoppix Linux - Installs itself from a compressed CD -

http://www.knoppix.net/

Read this article on this site: Windows fails: Knoppix Linux on a bootable CD to the rescue.

Learn the Linux versions of common MS DOS and Windows commands -

http://channels.lockergnome.com/news/archives/008537.phtml

USB/FireWire - The latest Linux distributions support USB 1.1/2.0 and FireWire devices - See these sites:

Linux USB - http://www.linux-usb.org/

Linux FireWire - http://www.linux1394.org/

Installing Linux on a particular laptop can be idiosyncratically problematic, therefore before you try doing so, find out if it has been successfully installed on that laptop by consulting the information on a site such as this one:

The Linux on Laptops network - http://www.linux-laptop.net/

Conserving battery power is another problematic issue when using Linux on a laptop computer.

Visit http://www.tldp.org/HOWTO/Battery-Powered to read a guide on how to use the APM and ACPI systems to save battery power.

User manuals and technical support are provided with the retail distribution, but not with the free download, or with an unsupported, cheap CD set.

Linux firewall - Smoothwall - http://www.smoothwall.org/

Visit the Newsgroups page on this site for some Linux newsgroup addresses.

This free command-line utility for Windows XP/Vista/Windows 7 can be used to burn a Linux ISO file to CD/DVD discs:

http://isorecorder.alexfeinman.com/isorecorder.htm

Linux Central - http://www.linuxcentral.com/

Linux Printing - http://www.linuxprinting.org/

The http://www.linux.org/ site is good for Linux installation information.

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