Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Linux in business - Part 2


This is the most important part of your switch to Linux. Rushing through this part is a very bad idea, so please don't do it.

Identify your needs

What software do you need to run on a day to day basis?
What does each machine in your company need to be able to do?

Explore cross platform software

Before switching, check out cross platform software that has a Windows and a Linux version. Firefox, Google Chrome, LibreOffice, etc. all has versions for both platforms. If you are familiar with the software you will end up using the transition will be a lot easier.

Start checking if your hardware & peripherals are Linux compatible

Most computers and laptops are Linux compatible, but it is still a good idea to find out before you start.

Also a lot of peripherals are simply not Linux compatible. I have a Canon Lide 90 scanner which works on Windows XP, VISTA and 7; but refuses to work on Linux or even Windows 8. What am I saying? Updating your operating system will not guarantee that all your devices will play nicely.

If your printers, plotters, scanners, etc. are not Linux compatible - can you afford to replace everything?

What is the easiest and most reliable way to know if my peripherals are compatible?

Burn yourself a Live CD and boot up Linux, without installing it you are still able to test it. This way you know for sure that your hardware is or is not compatible. It is not difficult to do.

1. Go to http://unetbootin.sourceforge.net/ and download Unetbootin for your software platform
2. Go to the Peppermint OS web site and download the 32 bit / 64 bit version (if you are a Windows user, right click on My Computer, then left click on Properties. The version of Windows you are running should mention 32 or 64 bit)
3. Run Unetbootin that you downloaded, Click the button with the 3 dots (bottom right) then locate the Peppermint ISO you downloaded in step 2, double click it
4. Plug in a flash drive (warning, it will format the flash drive so use one that does not contain important files)
5. Click on Drive (bottom center) and select the flash drive
6. Reboot
7. Press F2 or Del (depending on your computer) and select Boot from Flash drive, in the boot settings menu.
8. Save and reboot
9. Select Try Peppermint OS when your computer starts up, if you select Install it will install Peppermint (either alongside Windows or erase your hard drive, depending on your choices)

When you shut down, unplug the flash drive and when you boot up again you will be in Windows again,

This is only a very basic tutorial, This will let you try Linux before installing, you can connect your peripherals and try to install them (if you have problems with that, please ask the friendly folks in the Peppermint forum, as they are much smarter than me).

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Linux in business - intro

(please note that I am writing this from a South African perspective)

People in business have specific needs. What will work for home users will not always be a good fit for business. Businesses need software that is secure, easy to use -  but does not always need to be easy to set up.

Most people are linked to Microsoft and feel they do not have a choice. With outdated computers, running outdated software. But there is.

There are a lot of companies that still run Windows XP, which today is not a safe move. Why are so many businesses sticking with outdated software that leaves them vulnerable?

1. Keeping up with new software licences is expensive
2. Hardware is expensive, and a lot will need to be replaced when upgrading the OS
3. Support for Linux is lacking / hard to find

After going a little more in depth with these points, we will look at how to set up a small businesses with Linux as the OS, set up a small office network, find a point of sale solution, find a few printers that they can consider, a backup solution and a few other things that will probably come up.

It is going to take a while to compile this and I don't want to reinvent the wheel here so where someone has a great guide I will link to it, instead of redoing it.

If you have any experience in this field, a question or a comment then please post it in the comments.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Ubuntu Phone review - by Electronic Shenanigans

At this point the Ubuntu phone has been launched, although it is not available in my region. Here is a review by Full Circle Magazine. They are my favourite magazine for Ubuntu and Linux news. 

The only thing that is a deal breaker for me, is that there is no WhatsApp for it yet. I am sure though that as the platform grows that it will come.

Would you like to run Ubuntu on your phone? Hopefully Canonical have steered clear from the spyware they used to build into the desktop version of Ubuntu in this version.

The mobile phone world needs at least 3-5 strong players so that everyone stays on their toes.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Research: dual booting Windows 8.1 SL & Peppermint 5

At this point I have bought a Lenovo laptop, one with Superfish. The picture is from here.

So I have decided it would be better to reinstall Windows 8.1 SL with media downloaded from Microsoft and not Lenovo. While scanning with Avast anti virus, I found multiple "infections", addware or spyware or crapware. Whatever it is, I don't want that on my laptop. I do trust that Avast removed everything, but I might as well go all the way here.

The important thing to do now (before formatting or anything else) is to do my homework.

I am currently downloading an ISO from Microsoft, from here.

I created a Live USB, here is how I did it:

  • Downloaded the 64 bit ISO from www.peppemintos.com 
  • Checked the md5sum 2eb905b8ff3005ef2fa52e32517d0e5f using Winmd5 free from here
  • Next  used Unetbootin to create the Live USB

At this page, I learned how to boot from a flash drive. Which I did to test and see that Peppermint does in fact run on my laptop. Good news so far.

More homework underway. Updates to follow as soon as I have progress and time to report.