GK on Linux Operating Systems

In fact, I’m writing this on antiX Linux right now…

MY LINUX OBSESSION

A free computer operating system that you can use on most any old (I mean Old) pc or laptop, virus-free which contains all the apps needed for daily work and play is simply all I want. Or need. And I found it long ago. Or shall I say “them”? SystemS.

The short form?

I only use Windows or Mac when I must, which is rare except for Windows 7 which my wife prefers on her home pc.

On my laptop, netbook, old boat-anchor pc and phone I use (in order) antiX Linux, Puppy Linux, Quirky (Puppy) Linux and Android (which is a tweaked Linux).

MY ANTIX LINUX DESKTOP
GKantiXLinuxDesktopScreenshot

Web, social media sites, You Tube, playing music, photos and all the rest work fine on all these various Linux systems and machines.

All but the Android (which came with my Samsung Galaxy II phone) were downloaded by myself, transferred onto a flash (or thumb) drive/stick and either then booted into “live” which is how I use it on my old pc… or fully installed onto my hard drives (as in my laptop and netbook).

Each of these Linux “distros” (distributions) are at core (meaning, the Linux kernel off of which apps are run) nearly the same but the desktops each look and “feel” different. Which I like. I could set them up in fairly identical fashion but I like diversity.

MY PUPPY LINUX DESKTOP (SLACKO VERSION)
Screenshot_2016-02-16_145110

Some apps are the very same, others different but do the same tasks. A small learning curve, but in the end I have the fastest, virus-free system I can find on each of these old and underpowered machines.

I began back learning computers and computing via CP/M systems (pre-MS Dos), then Ms Dos, next early-days Windows (up through Win2000) and finally landing and loving Linux and eventually Android. In the beginning we used huge, then smaller floppy drives. Seems like eons ago now!

For me, the challenge of learning and recognizing there were few risks if one regularly backed one’s information up gave me freedom to play a bit and I still enjoy trying out fresh ‘nix installs. For years this could be done by burning .iso files (on bootable cds or dvds) then re-booting machines that were able to load and access the system from the optical drive. I learned that if one had enough random access memory (ram) that a very small system could be entirely loaded into the ram. Eventually various programmers created systems that booted off of a usb stick, sd, or cd and dvd as well as the hard drive (once installed there).

So when Puppy Linux and a few others were made so EXTREMELY small they could be booted via any of these media, then the entire shebang loaded into the memory… well it them meant a machine didn’t even need a working hard drive in it! All that was required as a boot device was the bootable Linux OS on say, a cd or flash stick popped into a computer that was set to boot from either such drive and yahoo… you now had a really fast machine.

MY QUIRKY (PUPPY) LINUX DESKTOP
QuirkyLinuxScreenshot

Where things were, sometimes on occasion are difficult, is in the arena of wireless network cards. Whereas the lion’s share of manufacturers only ported their network cards to Windows or Apple/Mac systems, Linux users had to wait until ‘nix geeks created drivers to access them.

Quite a few programmers are themselves Linux peeps so typically remedied this with drivers rather quickly, which were then made public and added to each new release (often quarterly if not [yes] nightly). Most active Linux systems (several hundred as I write this post) release updates which sometimes include many fresh fixes, new apps and what in their group’s views are quality and value increasing changes, often every few months. New and shiny. Free to try, modify keep, deploy on however many computers you may have.

Every so often I still boot a distro into a machine where that particular version of Linux cannot recognize the particular network card. It is extremely rare to have the same issue with a wired network card but of course most users go wifi these days. So it took/takes a little learning to understand Linux network programs in a given Linux distribution as to how to get them to find, then load and use the onboard network card. But for the most part, modern distros ship (free) with most drivers for most network cards these days. As one gains experience and uses the massive online tutorials, You Tube clips and forums all but the rare distro has available, one can learn how to do just about anything to tweak a system to one’s liking.

Funny how growing up in the sixties people talked about alternative lifestyles, alternative living and so forth… and ended up in a same-same “pop bottle” world where most all the penguins looked alike.

Funny too that Tux, the longtime Linux mascot is… a penguin! The variety of ‘nix systems from everyday home and/or office desktops, network storage, home audio/video systems, embeded web kiosks, audio and video creation and etc., is really quite amazing.

I just cannot simply talk about alternative, because sometimes, just sometimes, alternative is better and perhaps even the best way to do things -if one is willing to listen, learn and give it a go.

I sometimes default on a few of these machines to other Linux distros such as Austrumi (which is easily toggled to the English language desktop)austrumiLinuxScreenshot

or TinyCoretinycoreLinuxScreenshot

both extremely small and fast, quick to boot and very quick to shut down.

Certainly Linux is not for everyone. As in anything, your mileage may vary. I am admittedly a full-on fanboy… but I think for plenty of very good reasons.

Finally, you can websearch all of these and plenty more, but my daily go-to site for keeping up with Linux and like systems is http://www.distrowatch.com.

Thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

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