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Introducing Linux 10/25/04 Rodney Peters Outline of Presentation What is Linux ? Advantages of Using Linux User Interface to Linux Migration Strategies Obtaining Linux What does it comprise ? Linux Distribution Channels and Pricing Models Applications Available for Linux

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Introducing Linux

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Introducing linux l.jpg

Introducing Linux


Rodney Peters

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Outline of Presentation

  • What is Linux ?

  • Advantages of Using Linux

  • User Interface to Linux

  • Migration Strategies

  • Obtaining Linux

    • What does it comprise ?

    • Linux Distribution Channels and Pricing Models

  • Applications Available for Linux

    • Covered at Previous Two Monthly Main Meetings

  • Hardware Compatibility

  • Configuring Linux using Control Centre

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What is Linux ?

  • Consider a PC from Computer Shop or Department Store

    • Typically has Windows XP installed

    • Often has other commercial Windows applications

      • anti-virus, firewall, Office, photo-editing, CD/DVD burner, Video Editor etc

  • Similarly for Macintosh Computers

  • Linux is a complete Software Environment which can be used instead of commercial software by running:

    • Linux Operating System in lieu of Windows (any version) or Mac OSX

    • Linux versions of (primarily) Open Source Applications in lieu of commercial Windows/Macintosh Applications

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Why Choose Linux

  • For Home Users, << lower cost is a major motivation

    • RRP of bundled commercial Windows/Mac software > $1000

      • about 3 year replacement cycle

    • Maintaining up-to-date Linux over the same period about $180

  • “Try before buy”

    • full versions available for download or on magazine cover CD

    • not “de-featured” or “time-limited”

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Why Choose Linux (cont)

  • Concensus that Linux is more secure than Windows is sufficient motivation for some users

    • current viruses rely on Internet Explorer or Outlook to function

    • viruses written for Windows unlikely to affect Linux anyway

  • Windows/Mac Commercial Software have become “one size fits all”

    • specialised computers require full licences

      • Internet only PC, media PC, servers, firewalls

    • higher hardware configuration required for simple services

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Demonstration of User Interface

  • This works in Linux only

  • CTRL Tab from Linux to move to empty desktop

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Drive Letters

  • Windows (& OS/2) use different identification for drives

  • Linux Drive Designations & Folder paths will be foreign to Windows users

    • Less so to Mac users

  • Need not be a major impediment to migration from Windows

    • Elementary use requires little knowledge of the folder paths & hard disk nomenclature

      • “home” folder

    • Even for data backup

  • Linux/Mac designations more explanatory

Windows l.jpg









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floppy cdrom dvdrecorder

images programs

Documents .mozilla


backup share

Rest of the World






/mnt /windows

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  • Linux is designed to be a secure Operating System

  • A user has permission to their home folder

    • Generally given permission to removable media also

  • Novice User can do all tasks with default permissions

  • Default permissions are fairly lax

    • other users can see your home folder

  • Advanced Users will need to learn Permissions administration

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Strategies for Migration to Linux

  • Appreciate issues & constraints

    • Major Commercial Applications are not Available for Linux

      • eg Microsoft, Corel, Photoshop, Acrobat Pro

      • Probably never will be

    • 6 month upgrade cycle and associated costs

    • Some hardware peripherals & PC components not supported

  • Confirm Intention to Migrate

    • Use Knoppix to explore User Interface, Applications, hardware compatibility

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Live CD eg Knoppix

  • Does NOT

    • alter partition table, in any way

    • install any software to Hard Disk

    • alter MBR, in any way

  • Does (PC only, not available for Macs)

    • boot from CD/DVDROM – recommend 12 speed minimum

    • runs entirely in RAM – minimum 96MB required

  • Optionally

    • uses free space on FAT/FAT32 as swap-file

    • configure to write data to FAT/FAT32 partition

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Cross Platform Applications

  • Changing Applications may be the Largest impediment to Migration

  • Learn Alternate Applications from Windows/Mac prior to Migrating to Linux

    • One at a time to stagger the learning process

      • operating on real data

    • The OpenCD 350 MB

      • Advantage of cross-platform & Open Source Applications available for Windows (on CD) & Mac (via web-links)

      • Also reduces exposure to Internet Malware, which targets primarily Microsoft applications

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Data Migration

  • File Migration is straight-forward

    • Repository (partition) shared between Windows & Linux

    • Simple Option - Store all data files in FAT32 partition

      • NTFS not recommended (unreliable from Linux)

    • Advanced Users - Create Linux Ext3 partition

      • Install Windows IFS drivers for Ext3

  • Data Conversion

    • unnecessary for HTML, PDF, most graphics formats

    • Linux applications will open .doc, .xls. .ppt etc

    • migration tools available for e-mail, particularly Outlook

    • may be complex for specialised applications eg geneology

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Installing & Configuring Linux

  • Some Hardware Vendors do not provide Linux drivers

    • Select laptops, modems, printers, scanners and TV cards, in particular, for Linux compatibility

    • Some motherboard chip-sets have poor Linux support

  • Check compatibility of existing hardware

    • Use Knoppix on any PC

    • download hardware compatibility test-suites (Linux PC only)

  • Research prior to purchasing new hardware

    • refer to hardware compatibility databases

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Configuration (Control Centre)

  • During Installation a graphical interface is used

    • Internet connection, printers, scanners, TV, etc are configured

  • Later Configuration changes done via same graphical interface to:

    • Display settings for each user

    • system components such as network cards, modems etc

      • note that GUI configuration of system components is relatively slow

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Linux Distributions

  • A Distribution is a Collation of Linux software by a Single Vendor, comprising:

    • the Linux Operating System, drivers & System utilities

    • Graphical Configuration tools

    • X Windows (in the case of Desktop systems)

  • And optionally:

    • KDE (or other) extensions to X Windows

    • Up to a thousand Applications both large & small

  • Excepting graphical configuration tools and a few small Applications, all are Open Source & freely down-loadable from the Web.

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Price Trends - Commercial Software

  • 1984 “Office”

    • eg Word-star + Lotus 123 + DBII = $1500

      • (say) $3000 in 2004 dollars

    • Same for corporate & retail buyers

  • 2004 Retail “Office”

    • > Scope of tools & >> Depth of function for << $

    • Long term trend is downwards (may be levelling out)

  • Both Purely “product” models

    • Licence & materials (floppies/CD, templates and manuals)

    • no installation or support services included

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2004 Retail Price Models

  • Linux

    • Consumer's choice of:

      • ~$110 for ”boxed set” of media, manuals & installation support for release having 6 month release cycle

      • ~$30 for CD-R/DVD-R media only

      • “Free” download

    • Primarily a “service” model

  • Windows or Mac Software from Major Vendors

    • > $1000 for licence & media only for product having 36 month release cycle

    • 1984 “product” model

      • at reduced real cost

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Linux Price Too Good to be True ?

  • Excluded Costs

    • Lawyers

    • Shop-front

      • Shop-fitting

      • Prime location rental

      • Sales staff

    • Marketing & Advertising

  • Opt out of:

    • Printing

    • CD/DVD Media production

    • Logistics

    • Direct Sales

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Initial Linux Resources

  • Software-free New Computers in Canberra

    • Cougar Computers (on-line)

    • AC/DC Computers (located in Macquarie)

    • Computer Fairs

  • Software Download



  • Hardware Compatibility Databases



  • Your Local Linux User Group

  • Login