Overcoming the Fear of Linux Terminal

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Fear is a painful emotion by the expectation of evil, or the apprehension of impending danger; anxiety; solicitude; alarm; dread; like our fear of ghosts and zombies as a child, and our fear of failure and death as an adult. I’m here to help Linux newbies defeat their fear, but not the kind of fear that I was talking about. Instead, I’m here to assist those who are suffering from CLI-phobia, or the “fear of Command Line Interface”. I will list some indispensable commands and keyboard shortcuts with their corresponding functions to guide the fearful in their journey to conquer the horror of using the Linux terminal.

Here are some of the most essential Linux terminal commands and keyboard shortcuts:

*Essential Commands

Commands - Functions

Directory navigation

Pwd - "Print working directory" - show what dir you're in.

ls - List the contents of a dir.

ls –l - List the contents of a dir and show additional info of the files.

ls –a - List all files, including hidden files.

cd - Change directory.

cd - Go to the parent directory.

Examining files

file - Determine the type of a file.

cat - Concatenate a file.

less - View text files and paginate them if needed.

Manipulating files and directories

p - Copy a file.

cp –i - Copy a file and ask before overwriting.

cp –r - Copy a directory with its contents.

mv - Move or rename a file.

mv –i - Move or rename a file and ask before overwriting.

rm - Remove a file.

rm –r - Remove a directory with its contents.

rm –i - Ask before removing a file. Good to use with the -r option.

mkdir - Make a directory.

rmdir - Remove an empty directory.

*Essential Keyboard Shortcuts

Ctrl + Alt + F1
Switch to the first virtual terminal. In Linux, you can have several virtual terminals at the same time. The default is 6.

Ctrl + Alt + Fn
Switch to the nth virtual terminal. Because the number of virtual terminals is 6 by default, n = 1...6.

Typing the tty command tells you what virtual terminal you're currently working in.

Ctrl + Alt + F7
Switch to the GUI. If you have X Window System running, it runs in the seventh virtual terminal by default. If X isn't running, this terminal is empty.

Ctrl + Alt + +
Switch to the next resolution in the X Window System. This works if you've configured more than one resolution for your X server. Note that you must use the + in your numpad.

Ctrl + Alt + -
Switch to the previous X resolution. Use the - in your numpad.

Paste the highlighted text. You can highlight the text with your left mouse button (or with some other highlighting method, depending on the application you're using), and then press the middle mouse button to paste. This is the traditional way of copying and pasting in the X Window System, but it may not work in some X applications.

If you have a two-button mouse, pressing both of the buttons at the same time has the same effect as pressing the middle one. If it doesn't, you must enable 3-mouse-button emulation.

This works also in text terminals if you enable the gpm service.

Ctrl + Alt + Backspace
Kill the X server. Use this if X crashes and you can't exit it normally. If you've configured your X Window System to start automatically at bootup, this restarts the server and throws you back to the graphical login screen.

Home or Ctrl + a
Move the cursor to the beginning of the current line.

End or Ctrl + e
Move the cursor to the end of the current line.

Alt + b
Move the cursor to the beginning of the current or previous word. Note that while this works in virtual terminals, it may not work in all graphical terminal emulators, because many graphical applications already use this as a menu shortcut by default.

Alt + f
Move the cursor to the end of the next word. Again, like with all shortcuts that use Alt as the modifier, this may not work in all graphical terminal emulators.

Autocomplete commands and file names. Type the first letter(s) of a command, directory or file name, press Tab and the rest is completed automatically! If there are more commands starting with the same letters, the shell completes as much as it can and beeps. If you then press Tab again, it shows you all the alternatives.

This shortcut is really helpful and saves a lot of typing! It even works at the lilo prompt and in some X applications.

Ctrl + u
Erase the current line.

Ctrl + k
Delete the line from the position of the cursor to the end of the line.

Ctrl + w
Delete the word before the cursor.

Shift + PageUp
Scroll terminal output up.

Shift + PageDown
Scroll terminal output down.

The clear command clears all previously executed commands and their output from the current terminal.

Ctrl + l
Does exactly the same as typing the clear command.

If you mess up your terminal, use the reset command. For example, if you try to cat a binary file, the terminal starts showing weird characters. Note that you may not be able to see the command when you're typing it.

When you type the history command, you'll see a list of the commands you executed previously.

ArrowUp or Ctrl + p
Scroll up in the history and edit the previously executed commands. To execute them, press Enter like you normally do.

ArrowDown or Ctrl + n
Scroll down in the history and edit the next commands.

Ctrl + r
Find the last command that contained the letters you're typing. For example, if you want to find out the last action you did to a file called "file42.txt", you'll press Ctrl + r and start typing the file name. Or, if you want to find out the last parameters you gave to the "cp" command, you'll press Ctrl + r and type in "cp".

Ctrl + c
Kill the current process.

Ctrl + z
Send the current process to background. This is useful if you have a program running, and you need the terminal for awhile but don't want to exit the program completely. Then just send it to background with Ctrl+z, do whatever you want, and type the command fg to get the process back.

Ctrl + d
Log out from the current terminal. If you use this in a terminal emulator under X, this usually shuts down the terminal emulator after logging you out.

Ctrl + Alt + Del
Reboot the system. You can change this behavior by editing /etc/inittab if you want the system to shut down instead of rebooting.

Other Essential CLI Related Help Sites:

"Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom."

Bertrand Russell (1872 - 1970), Unpopular Essays (1950), "Outline of Intellectual Rubbish"

Happy Halloween!

You may also want to check out our list of Linux terminal emulators.

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GeeXboX, Windows Media Center Killer

GeeXboX, Windows Media Center Killer: Can you imagine that there is a full operating system the size of 8.87MB? In fact, it has a graphical user interface and specializes in playing multimedia files utilizing MPlayer. Also, did I mention that it has a Linux kernel inside? Indeed it is considered as one of the many Linux distributions, and its name is GeeXboX with the capital X's.

GeeXboX, as described from its website, is a free embedded Linux distribution which aims at turning your computer into a so called HTPC (Home Theater PC) or Media Center. Being a standalone LiveCD-based distribution, it's a ready to boot operating system than works on any Pentium-class x86 computer or PowerPC Macintosh, implying no software requirement. You can even use it on a diskless computer, the whole system being loaded in RAM.

Despite his tiny ISO image size, the distribution comes with a complete and automatic hardware detection, not requiring any driver to be added. It supports playback of nearly any kind of audio/video and image files and all known codecs and containers are shipped in, allowing playing them through various physical supports, either being CD, DVD, HDD, LAN or Internet.

GeeXboX also comes with a complete toolchain that allows developers adding easily extra packages and features but that might also be used to give birth to many dedicated embedded Linux systems.

I downloaded GeeXboX 1.1 out of curiosity, and mainly because it is ranked among the top 50 in Distrowatch. You can download its latest version directly from here, and I promise that it won’t take long to completely finish the download. Anyway, so I got GeeXboX and then I tried and tested it using a Linux virtualization software. Once the ISO was loaded, a boot menu appeared, and I pressed F1 to try other options. I opted to boot using the “install” parameter, but it failed because it didn’t found my SCSI VM disk. Although the installation fell short, I’m still quite amazed by just knowing that it is possible to install it on a hard drive or to an external USB storage device. There is even a clear installation tutorial that can be found here.

In a blink of an eye, I was taken to the GeeXboX’s plain and simple-looking desktop environment. The default desktop is very responsive as the system runs entirely on RAM. I also find it easy to use with its uncomplicated keyboard shortcuts for navigation. There’s a “help” option if you want some assistance or take a look at the useful commands, but I doubt if you will ever need it. Plus, if you have a supported infrared remote control, you can control the desktop at the comfort of your own couch, thanks to GeeXboX's LIRC (Linux Infrared Remote Control) package.

GeeXboX can successfully play variety of media files like DVD, DivX, MP3, MP4, AVI, MPEG, 3GP and a lot more (A screenshot of GeeXboX playing DivX video file shown below taken from GeeXboX website). There is also a TV-out option if you want to watch videos on the bigger television screen provided that you have an appropriate graphics card. It is said that GeeXboX also supports several TV tuner cards, Wi-fi cards, and it can even stream content through the internet.

GeeXBoX is really worth a try, and I will recommend it to anyone who wants a quick, lightweight and easy-to-use Linux multimedia distribution. Bottom line, if you are a multimedia enthusiast but has a really old computer hardware, forget about the obscure and resource-hungry Windows Media Center operating system. Use this 8MB “wonder” Linux instead.

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Battle of the Minis: DSL vs. Puppy Linux

Battle of the Minis: DSL vs. Puppy Linux - Damn Small Linux and Puppy Linux are two of the most popular ultra-lightweight Linux distributions today, that is why a lot of people are curious to find out which is better between these proud mini distros. So I’m here to put these two distributions on war path.

As some of you may know, I have recently tried and tested each one of them, and have found out some of their strengths as well as their weaknesses.

Though Puppy and DSL performed fairly well on my previous tests, I used different computers for each of the test I made at that time. That's why I tried them once again, and this time I’m using the same test machines.

Distrowar Arena
(Test Machine Specs):
Board: Intel Corporation D102GGC2
Processor: 3.40 GHz Intel Pentium D
Hard Drive: Samsung 80GB ATA
Memory: 2GB DDR2 RAM
Display: ATI RADEON X1050

Tale of the Tape:
Distro Name:Damn Small Linux (DSL)/ Weight:49.5MB/ Country Origin:USA/ Distro Origin:Knoppix/ Package Mgt.:DEB/ Default Desktop:FWM/ Distrowatch Rank:#10

Distro Name:Puppy Linux/ Weight:98.7MB/ Country Origin:Australia/ Distro Origin:Slackware/ Package Mgt.:PET/ Default Desktop:JWM / Distrowatch Rank:#15

Now, here are the results of the Battle of the Minis:

Speed Test
Download Time- Winner, DSL!
Boot/Startup Time - Winner, DSL!
Responsiveness- Draw!

It takes a shorter time to download DSL than Puppy because of its smaller-sized ISO. It is also faster to boot and approximately took 30 seconds to reach its Fluxbox desktop from start, while Puppy booted slower taking about 50 seconds to reach its JWM’s desktop. I call it a tie for “Responsiveness” due to the fact that both distros are light and quick, and I can't see a substantial difference between the two in terms of their receptiveness.

Default Theme- Winner, Puppy!
Extras- Winner, Puppy!
Artwork- Winner, Puppy!

Decoding: Puppy Linux is my winner in every Aesthetics sub-category because first of all, I love its JWM desktop which is a little bit sleek-looking compared to DSL’s Fluxbox. Puppy also has simple but good looking default wallpaper, and quite a few polished extras to choose from, in case you wanted to change its look.

Pre-installed Applications- Winner, Puppy!
Available Packages from Repo- Draw!
Ease of Use- Winner, Puppy!

Decoding: The pre-installed applications of Puppy Linux are plenty compared to the smaller-sized DSL. Both have plenty of available and updated packages from their respective repository that is why I’m calling it a draw.

Hardware Detection- Draw!
Software Maintenance- Draw!
Error Handling- Draw!

Decoding: I can only give a draw verdict in all of the "Stability" sub-categories because both have shown stability in the short period of my tests. But I know that stability can be better judged with extensive usage. So, I just hope that the readers who have used them both long enough can fill in the gap.

Final Score:
Puppy = 5
DSL = 2
*Winner Puppy!

Puppy Linux has won the battle but only in my own opinion and based only from the tests I made. I still love DSL for its smaller foot print and fast start-up time which is key in rescuing a broken system. Meanwhile, Puppy’s abundance of useful out-of-the-box applications despite of its minute size is its strongest point.

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Is Puppy Linux More Than Just a Distro with a Cute Name?

Puppy Linux is probably the cutest named Linux distribution at the moment. It is also one of the many Slackware-based mini distros. Puppy Linux is intended for rescuing a broken system, but it can also be used as a general purpose OS for really old computers because its minimum RAM requirement is only 64MB, and it runs entirely from there. It can also boot from a USB storage device, CD-ROM, floppy disk, and hard drive.

I have already tested various mini distributions like NimbleX and DSL, but I have never tried the famous mini-distro named Puppy Linux. So I downloaded the latest version of Puppy this morning and found myself playing with it for several hours. This 3.01 version I got fixed some minor but most urgent bugs from the still freshly released 3.0 edition. To learn more about this little doggy and the tricks that it can do, here is a review I wrote:

Test Machine Specs:
Board: Intel Corporation D102GGC2
Processor: 3.40 GHz Intel Pentium D
Hard Drive: Samsung 80GB ATA
Memory: 2GB DDR2 RAM
Display: ATI RADEON X1050

Puppy Linux was born in Australia, and was created by Barry Kauler. It is one of the few mini-distros that has earned respect from Linux users and developers around the world. As a testimony to its popularity, it is presently ranked number 15 in Distrowatch.

You can download Puppy Linux 3.01 directly from here. After I burned the 98MB live CD, I loaded it immediately and booted the normal way. I was then asked for my keyboard layout and the type of X server that I will be using, of which I just selected the default or the highlighted configuration. I also had an option to set my screen resolution, and to be safe I just used 1280x1024 for my 19 inch monitor. The boot/start-up was smooth sailing and my hardware were well-detected including my USB, audio, video, floppy, and Ethernet.

Look and Feel:
The very light-weight JWM is the default window manager for Puppy Linux and ROX for handling files. I find the desktop very responsive as most applications were quick to open. The icons were well- arranged for easy access to important programs. Even a Linux newbie can easily navigate the very simple desktop. There were also few available wallpapers if you want to change the look a bit.

Package Management:
Puppy Linux has plenty of valuable pre-installed software applications like Abiword, Inkscape, Python, Perl, Inkscape, Gxine, Seamonkey, and a lot more. It also has several network administration tools and a few games. An easy-to-use graphical software manager called PET takes care of installing and uninstalling packages. It can also fetch packages from its own repo and from unofficial packages (DotPups) that were made by its community members. Packages from the Slackware repository is also available for download, but you have to convert the packages first in CLI using a utility called “tgz2pet” for it to be used.

Though I can’t really judge Puppy’s stability based only from the short period that I have used it, there’s no doubt that it is a tough and tested distro. As a Slackware-based system, I can consider it generally stable with expected minor bugs here and there.

A dog has been known as man’s best friend, and I would say that Puppy Linux can be a computer user’s best friend with its life-saving ability to rescue a broken system or serve as a backup software. I also find it very easy to use, thus, I can recommend it to beginners and Windows users who wanted to try Linux the trouble-free way.

So, I ask myself this question, is Puppy Linux more than just a distro with a cute name? My answer is “Woof! Woof!” which means, “yes indeed” in plain English :-)

Note: Screenshots are taken from of Puppy Linux 2.17 which basically looks the same as Puppy Linux 3.01.

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Getting Jaded with Compiz Fusion

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Getting Jaded with Compiz Fusion: I just came from a short vacation together with my son and wife. I’m feeling a little tired today, so I decided to just play around with the spanking Compiz Fusion. I found out that Compiz has really matured a lot since its earlier adaptation in OpenSuse 10.0.

I can still remember spending countless hours editing Xorg.conf, installing the proper driver in CLI, and even reinstalling the distro just to get it working. I must admit that the desktop effects of Compiz Fusion are more stunning and easier to activate now than ever before, but I still enjoyed the old and difficult version of Compiz because of the fulfillment it gave after a successful installation and configuration. Now don't get me wrong, maybe I’m just jaded right now with all the desktop eye-candies.

To those who can still appreciate the cool desktop effects, have a capable hardware and get a Linux distro with Compiz Fusion installed.

I took some screenshots of Compiz Fusion in action on my new Ubuntu 7.10 desktop...

How about you? Are you bored with all the fancy desktop eyecandy already?

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Goodbye openSUSE, Hello Ubuntu

Goodbye openSUSE, Hello Ubuntu: I used to think that openSUSE is the most complete, most good-looking, and most secure Linux distro that I prefer to employ it on my main workstation. Then version 10.3 came, and my love for openSUSE quickly evaporated. Here's the story.

I was very excited when openSUSE 10.3 was released few weeks ago. I then downloaded the 4GB DVD installer and patiently waited for it to finish in two days, only to find out later that the ISO image I got was somewhat broken. I tried downloading again, but this time I selected the Gnome only CD version because I didn't want to wait for another two days to try out and use the latest edition of my most favorite distro. Luckily, the download turned out successful and took only about 6 hours to complete. I burned the ISO then started the clean installation. I find the graphical installer quick and responsive than ever before, but the set-up was completed in 5 hours. Yes, my patience was again tested as I waited for another FIVE long hours because I added the OSS and NON-OSS repositories to avoid the hassles of adding it later on. Then, as it was time for my first login, the system just froze to death at the login menu. I rebooted but the same thing happened, and I can only log on in safe mode. I have never experienced something like this when I installed openSUSE 10.1 and 10.2 before, using the same machine. I didn’t want to waste more precious time in finding the cause of the problem and ultimately fixing it. I just gave up and found comfort by downloading Ubuntu 7.10.

The day after my misfortune with openSUSE, I tried and tested Ubuntu. I was immediately impressed with the Gutsy Gibbon’s quick installation, great hardware support, and fancy looks, that I decided to stick with it for good. Other excellent features I noticed early on included:

* Vast software repository
* Fast start-up and shutdown
* Less resource hungry than openSUSE
* Very responsive desktop
* Stable Compiz Fusion

These were just my initial reactions while using Ubuntu 7.10, and indeed they were all good. But I know I still have to try it a lot longer to find out one important thing that I really value most in an OS, and that is stability. For now, I have to bid farewell to openSUSE and hope that my first impressions with Ubuntu lasts.

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The Perfect Linux OS

The Perfect Linux OS: If all Linux distributions and projects were to merge with the ultimate goal of making a perfect computer operating system, sort of like creating a "Super OS", there is a huge possibility that Microsoft's Windows will be defeated. But we all know that at the moment, a union among Linux distributions is far from reality. So I created my own "Dream Team", a combination of the best Linux distros, highlighting their utmost strengths and pointing out the features that I consider as the key elements of a perfect operating system.

Here is my starting line-up:

A perfect OS must be easy to install and manage. There’s no doubt that Ubuntu has the best installer of all the Linux distros today. I installed ‘Gutsy Gibbon ‘ yesterday and was so amazed at how easy and fast Ubuntu’s installation has become. By now, I can safely say that it is more effortless and a lot quicker to install than Windows. Its ‘package management’ system is also very admirable. Synaptic painlessly download, install, remove and update software packages than ever before. In addition, Ubuntu’s online repo is very accessible and has plenty of updated and useful packages.

A perfect Linux OS should be easy-to use and should also look good. If there’s one distro that really values aesthetics and user-friendliness, it is openSUSE. They always have excellent artworks, themes and wallpapers in almost all of their releases. The menus and icons are well-arranged and are easily accessible for beginners. Plus, I find Compiz to work perfectly on openSUSE than any other distro that I have tried.

Hardware support should be a key element of a perfect OS, and I think PCLinuxOS is now doing it better than the rest of the Linux distributions. To support my claim, you can read a good article here. A lot of people can also testify that their hardware devices just work in PCLinuxOS. It could be the main reason why it is considered as today’s top distribution.

A perfect Linux OS must run extremely stable. If you want stability, Slackware will deliver as it is designed to be steady and smooth running. It is also considered as the oldest surviving Linux distribution, a proof of its long standing stability and value. In fact, most experienced Linux users still prefer Slackware for their day-to-day hacking. :)

A perfect Linux OS should be highly secure. For server use, Fedora is on top of my list. Many web servers are still running Fedora or its Red Hat sponsor for its reliable security features. It even has a "Security-Enhanced Linux" feature that executes a range of security policies, including U.S. Department of Defense style mandatory access controls, through the use of Linux Security Modules (LSM) in the Linux kernel.

So there you have it. To sum it all up, a perfect Linux OS must have an Ubuntu installer and package management system, the OpenSUSE look and user-friendliness, a PCLinuxOS hardware support, Slackware’s stability, and Fedora’s security features.

I’m just curious, what is your "Perfect Linux OS"?

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How to Rescue Windows Files Using Linux and Python

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How to Rescue Windows Files Using Linux and Python - The Problem: Windows Operating System is broken, must be a virus or something; need to rescue important files immediately.

The Solution: A Linux Live CD with Python pre-installed; an external storage device; this Python script:

# Filename:
import os, time

today = target_dir + time.strftime('%Y%m%d')
now = time.strftime('%H%M%S')
comment = raw_input('Enter a comment --> ')
if len(comment) == 0:
target = today + os.sep + now + '.zip'
target = today + os.sep + now + '_' + \
comment.replace(' ', '_') + '.zip'
if not os.path.exists(today):
os.mkdir(today) # make directory
print 'Successfully created directory', today
zip_command = "zip -qr '%s' %s" % (target, ' '.join(source))

if os.system(zip_command) == 0:
print 'Successful backup to', target
print 'Backup FAILED'

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A Christian's View on Ubuntu Muslim Edition (Sabily)

A Christian's View on Ubuntu Muslim Edition (Sabily): While the world of Linux is going crazy over the new Ubuntu 7.10, I’m going to step backward to review a distro which is based on Ubuntu 7.04. --The name is Ubuntu ME. It is a free/open source operating system dedicated to Muslims, with customized features such as a Quran study tool and a web content filtering utility. Now why am I doing a review on a Muslim-based distribution while in fact I am a devout Christian?

I believe that religion should not serve as boundary for treating each and everyone with respect, and by writing a review on Ubuntu ME, I can somehow in my own little way show some love and reverence to the Muslim community. The other reason for doing this is that I found out that no review has been made for this distro yet, so I’m hoping to be the first one to do so. The fact that this is also the first stable release version of Ubuntu Muslim Edition (now known as Sabily) made me become even more willing to try it out. So here goes my own view of this new distro, after I have installed and tested it in VMWare.

Test Machine Specs:

Board: Intel Corporation D102GGC2
Processor: 3.40 GHz Intel Pentium D
Hard Drive: Samsung 80GB ATA with 8GB allocated to VM disk
Memory: 2GB DDR2 RAM with 1024MB allocated to VM memory
Display: ATI RADEON X1050 [Display adapter]


The download site for UbuntuME live CD installer can be found here. The installation was effortless and trouble-free, just pointing and clicking and waiting for about 20 minutes to get it done. In my own opinion, Ubuntu along with Simply Mepis, have the best live CD installer in Linux today. My VM hardware were properly detected including the USB controllers, Ethernet, CD-ROM, and audio.

Look and Feel:

A thing that impressed me most with UbuntuME (Sabily) is its highly customized and great looking artwork that even a non-Muslim can surely appreciate. The bootsplash screen image, the login screen, and the start-up splash image were so polished and so pleasing to the eyes that I remembered my date with Cassandra. The Gnome desktop is also a thing of beauty; the wallpaper and a theme called HumanME is praiseworthy. I set my screen resolution to 1280x800 without a problem. For those who have a capable graphics card and want some more desktop eye-candy, Compiz will take care of it.

Package Management:

Managing and maintaining software is one of Ubuntu’s strongest points; and the Muslim Edition of course acquire that strength also. The ever reliable Synaptic Package Manager will take care of removing, updating, and installing software packages. By the way, some valuable and highly-functional software applications are already installed by default. To name some, there’s Firefox, Evolution, Perl, Python, Samba, Gimp, and OpenOffice. As this distro is geared towards Muslims, there’s a Quran study tool called Zekr, prayer time reminder program that plays hymns, and a Muslim calendar.


The Ubuntu 7.04 “Feisty Fawn” is known for its stability, and having used it before, I can attest to that. Therefore, I can easily assume that Ubuntu ME will run steady as well. I tested most of its included applications and they all ran smoothly. I also find the desktop to be very responsive even in a VM environment, and I think a machine with a 256MB memory and an early P4 processor can also run it just as fine.


I would highly recommend UbuntuME to every Muslim for its included religious tools, and to beginners for its ease-of-use. I have tried almost all of the flavors of Ubuntu, and I can say that the Muslim Edition has one of the sleekest and finest desktop. It also achieved its own look and character because of its highly customized appearance. The UbuntuME team has done an excellent job in creating this distro, and I would like to congratulate them for a distro well done.

UPDATE: Ubuntu Muslim Edition is now known as Sabily.

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The Gutsy Gibbon is Unleashed

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The Gutsy Gibbon is Unleashed: Right on cue, Ubuntu 7.10, one of the most popular, if not the most popular Linux distro today is released to the public. The taming of the Gutsy Gibbon took six months to accomplish, and the development team have released it right on the target date. Here are some of the contents announced in their press release:

Canonical Ltd. announced today the upcoming availability of version 7.10 of the Ubuntu Server, Desktop, Kubuntu and Edubuntu Editions. All will be available for free download on Thursday 18 October. Canonical is the commercial sponsor of Ubuntu.

Ubuntu makes no distinction between community and enterprise editions, Ubuntu 7.10 is our best work and is available freely to all. Ubuntu has consistently ranked #1 in reviews of security update responsiveness and effectiveness. The Ubuntu platform is fully certified and supported, making it a secure choice for users looking to explore, deploy and enjoy Linux. Ubuntu 7.10 brings together the best open source and free software available in a stable, robust environment that 'just works'.

More on the press release here. Release note can be found here.

You can download Ubuntu 7.10 codenamed “Gutsy Gibbon” here.

So if you ask me, if I am downloading Gutsy right now? My answer is not yet. I’m going to have to wait for their servers to loosen up a bit. :-)

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Educational Site: Toddler's First Real Online School

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Educational Site: Toddler's First Real Online School - While scanning the web, with the hope of finding an educational site that is suitable for my 2 year old son, I bumped into

I was immediately impressed with its easy-to-navigate, simple site design and the fast loading flash animation that they are using. But the site is more than that.

Kindersay is a web-based program designed to help preschoolers (Ages 1 to 4) learn English words. Over 500 words, images and English-speaking videos are featured in their interactive "Word Shows". also appropriately focuses on teaching toddlers in learning new objects, reading numbers and letters, and the right pronunciation of words. The site’s main learning function is free of charge with the option to upgrade. When you choose to upgrade, you can:

* add images of your family such as mom, dad, brother, sister
* add words your child likes or needs to learn to favourites
* your own word show using only your favorites words

My son loves that he even calls the girl on the website his teacher. I would highly recommend this site to parents who want their children to start learning at an early age.

“An excellent job by Webmosis, the creator of

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Zen-walking with Zenwalk 4.8

Zen-walking with Zenwalk 4.8: Zenwalk, formerly known as Minislack, is a Linux Distribution based on the solid foundation of Slackware. The dolphin (known as fast and intelligent) that is used as its logo, epitomizes its aim to create a lightweight Linux operating system through the integration of the most up-to-date software packages available for a stable release, optimization for specific processor architecture to increase execution speed, and introduces a comprehensive package management system with dependency resolution.

I have been Zen-walking before on my backup computer, until I decided to replace it with Absolute Linux. I’m still happily testing Absolute right now, but I’m already eager to try out the latest Zenwalk release version which is 4.8. So I downloaded the 420MB ‘full version’, and then tested it on VMWare as I don’t want to touch the Absolute partition for the moment. My other reasons for testing an OS using virtualization software can be found in one of my articles HERE.

Test Machine Specs:
Board: Intel Corporation D102GGC2
Processor: 3.40 GHz Intel Pentium D
Hard Drive: Samsung 80GB ATA with 8GB allocated to VM disk
Memory: 2GB DDR2 RAM with 512MB allocated to VM memory
Display: ATI RADEON X1050[Display adapter]

Zenwalk Linux was founded in France by Jean-Philippe Guillemin. It was first released on May 21, 2004 as Minislack 0.1. Zenwalk can now be considered as the most popular 'complete' lightweight desktop because of its high ranking in Distrowatch; as of the time being, it is listed at number 13.

The ISO image for Zenwalk 4.8 ‘full version’ can be directly downloaded from here. I loaded the ISO as guest OS on the Workstation. Then, when the familiar Zenwalk prompt for adding boot options parameter appeared, I typed ‘scsi’ as the virtual disk is SCSI by default. Next, I was taken to the text-based Zenwalk setup screen. I then opted for ‘Autoinstall’ option, and from there it was smooth sailing. All of the packages were completely installed in less than 15 minutes and the Virtual hardware were properly detected.

Look and Feel:
One of the things I like most about Zenwalk is the fast boot/startup and shutdown speed. My screen resolution was set to 1024x768. Its default XFce desktop is so responsive and very simple-looking, not too sleek but not too rough. I find the desktop very user-friendly because the icons and panels are well-arranged for quick and easy access to essential applications. Plus, some good-looking themes and Zen wallpapers are available if you want to customize the look.

Package Management:
The package management tool used by Zenwalk is called ‘netpkg’. A little overview, netpkg is developed in-house, and it provides the main functionalities of the apt-get variety of package managers. It uses Slackware's .tgz package format, but adds dependency resolution capabilities. A GUI can be used to easily maintain packages in Zenwalk and there plenty of pre-installed free and open-source applications to choose from. This includes IceWeasel web browser, IceDove, Gnumeric spreadsheet, AbiWord, Mplayer, Python, Perl, Samba and a lot more.

Zenwalk’s stability can’t be denied since I have used and tested the version 3.0 long enough, and it never failed to deliver the goods. I can say that this new version is also very stable indeed based on the initial tests I made. I opened several applications and tested several programs simultaneously without a single hitch, a proof that it can be efficiently used for a much longer period of time.

Zenwalk has done it again. I am honestly pretty pleased with this new version. The fast installation and the very responsive desktop is what I love most about it. Its server side capability is also a plus. I would not recommend Zenwalk to Linux first-timers because of its text-based installer, but to those who are persistent enough, using it and setting it up is fairly straightforward. Zenwalk, as the name implies, gives an enlightening experience to its users because it is a joy to use and its reliability is outstanding.

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