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Atari Bay Area Computer Users Society

San Francisco, California
(415) 469-7924 (Voice)

Meeting Links
October 2007

Web Sites for items discussed at the October 2007 ABACUS Meeting

This month's episode: Warren finally got around to showing the Windows PC he salvaged from the trash. The desktop computer is the one he's been writing about in the newsletter for quite a while. He demonstrated that the computer could boot into Windows 98 SE and tried to connect to the wireless network in Roger's house by changing the Windows networking settings. He eventually succeded, but Roger pointed out a that there was software he could use to store the network settings for several locations, called NetSwitcher. This provides similar features to the location switching built into recent versions of Mac OS.

Roger also brought up the subject of Google Calendar, Google's free on-line, sharable appointment calendar and scheduler. Warren pointed that Google Calendar is similar to what Apple does by combining its iCal calendar software with its .Mac on-line service. Warren pointed out, however, that Apple's version was only available to Macintosh users, while Google Calendar was available to everybody.

The theme for the rest of the meeting, as announced by Warren, was "Kill Bill." The subject was Linux, Linux and more Linux. Mind you, Warren was not actually advocating the murder of William Henry Gates, Jr. Rather, he was suggesting that we could kill the sales of Microsoft software (and possibly Microsoft itself) by using free software in its place. To that end, he pointed out that his Windows computer was also loaded with three different desktop Linuxes (Linuxii?), which he then attempted to demonstrate.

Unfortunately, the curse of ABACUS demos struck again! The third Linux Warren had installed fouled up the first desktop Linux, which was called Lindows (since renamed Linspire, probably due to the efforts of Microsoft's lawyers). Lindows would no longer boot as a result. However, Warren claimed that Lindows was so slow to boot and run on his old computer that it was hardly worth the effort.

He then moved on to what he said was the best of the desktop Linuxes he had tried, Xandros. He showed the Xandros desktop and parts of the OpenOffice office suite and the Firefox web browser. He said, however, that he thought Xandros was still too slow on that computer for everyday use.

About this time. Tony had some questions about how Warren was able to boot into several different operating systems on the same computer. Warren indicated that each of the Linuxes installed its own version of a boot loader, which determines which operating system will boot. Warren pointed out that even Windows installes its own boot loader, which unfortunately, only loads Windows. Tony said that he had been running Freespire and Xandros Linux in a different way, using a Microsoft product called Virtual PC. Both Roger and Warren pointed out that running Linux under virtualization would probably be slower than running it native-mode using a boot loader.

Warren then attempted to show the third distribution of Linux, the very popular Ubuntu, but the installation had not gone well (Ubuntu apparently does not play well with others) and it, too, was very slow on the old computer (500 MHz AMD K6-2 - Roger pointed out that most of these Linuxes really require a much faster Pentium-class processor).

With that, the meeting drew slowly to a close. Next meeting: "Kill Bill, Vol. 2"

Desktop Linux Distributions:

Other topics:

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