[Imc-uk-features] re: no m$ please
charlie at peopleandplanet.org
Fri Sep 17 04:41:38 PDT 2004
Picture the scene, it's 12:02 on 16 Sep 2004, and imc-uk-features-request at lists says:
| Date: Thu, 16 Sep 2004 14:12:26 +0100
| From: radged01 at fastmail.fm
| Subject: [Imc-uk-features] re: no m$ please
| To: imc-uk-features at lists.indymedia.org
| Message-ID: <1095340346.19798.204504900 at webmail.messagingengine.com>
| Content-Type: text/plain; charset="ISO-8859-1"
| > What sort of information where you imagining having in the
| > step by step guide?
| how would someone running a home pc with windows os and m$ (or other
| proprietary) software replace that with a setup that would be given a 10
| by imc tech? can it be done gradually or does it have to be done in one
| go? as i understand it you either risk losing your existing setup by
| installing free software alongside m$ or you buy another machine. i'd
| suggest some kind of detailed explanation of possibilities.
First a bit of background. Programs like word, netscape,
internet explorer and so on are called applications. They are
the things you use to send email, browse the web and so on.
Windows is an operating system, as is linux. This means that it
sits in the background, letting all your applications 'do
stuff' like reading files from the disk, opening windows and
So you could start off by just using free software applications
on your existing windows operating system, or you could switch
over to linux (this doesn't necessarily mean giving up windows
To start using free software applications on windows is dead
simple, and there is very little danger of "losing your
existing setup". Part of the reason why free software is such a
good thing is that everybody can see what it's doing and make
sure it doesn't break anything! So there's /much/ less chance
of a free software application breaking stuff than, for
example, photoshop, or real player. You can keep your existing
programs, but also have free software things that 'do the same
A great place to start if you want to install some free
software programs is the open cd:
Changing your operating system
The most popular free software operating systems are freeBSD
and linux (aka gnu/linux).
The most common way that you would get hold of linux is
packaged up with a whole bunch of applications (web browser,
wordprocessor, etc.) as a 'distribution', or 'distro'. Popular
distros include RedHat, Debian, Mandrake, Suse and about a
You have several options if you want to switch over to linux.
I've tried to include links to helpful tutorials where I can
find them, google will generally fill in any blanks.
+ Make your system 'dual boot' (i.e. windows and linux will run
from the same harddrive, you choose when you start up) from
your existing hard drive. Many of the more modern linux distros
allow you to do this in a faily intuitive way, but, because
you're using the same hard drive, you are risking losing your
existing setup. Make backups! Tutorial here:
+ Get hold of a second harddrive, and dual boot between that
and the original windows drive. This would be more complex
technically, but, because you're not touching your windows
harddrive, you'll minimize the chances of loosing any data.
+ Use a "Live CD", possibly in combination with a USB key to
run linux. Your whole linux system is on a cd, your harddrive
isn't touched at all, so you can't lose any data. You can get a
little usb key if you want to store any settings or documents.
You'll find that it's a lot slower than running from your
harddrive, but it's a good way to get a flavour of linux before
making the switch. It also means that you can use other
people's computers as long as you have your cd.
Live distros to try may be:
BLAG http://www.blagblagblag.org/ (activist distro, based on
knoppix http://www.knoppix.net/ (based on Debian)
bsdeviant http://bsdeviant.unixpunx.org/ (punk version of
mandrake move http://www.mandrakesoft.com/products/mandrakemove
(very 'user friendly')
Hope that helps
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