viernes, 15 de noviembre de 2013

Taking Linux for Children to a Higher Level: PicarOS 2013 Diego

If you are into education or simply want to give to your kids the chance to have a computer with an OS designed with their learning and fun in mind, you must give PicarOS 2013 "Diego" a try.

I had already described PicarOS here.  I remember how impressed I was with this little project based on GalPon MiniNO.  I was so impressed that I ended up installing that system on my laptop and have used it regularly ever since.  Any time someone sees it, they ask me what that beautiful "program" is.  I have installed it on 3 different computers, too.

But some days ago, my brother let me know that PicarOS had undergone a major overhaul.  PicarOS 2013, codenamed "Diego", took the tradition of beauty and functionality of PicarOS to a whole new level.

Yes, visually speaking, PicarOS is a winner!  Just show it to a child and you'll see the favorable reaction this system causes in the little ones. 
If that is not enough, Diego comes with Compiz preinstalled.  Thus, if your video card is 3d-capable and you choose to activate desktop effects, you will have even more eye candy to dazzle your kids: wobbly windows, desktop grids, fire writing on the desktop--you name it!

Please, pay attention to the window buttons: a spider for closing windows, a worm to minimize, and a butterfly to maximize.  Yes, and they are animated!

Let's also remember that this OS does not patronize kids: it is a fully featured productivity system.  Diego may be cute, but more than that, it is complete with software that adults may also use daily.  As I said before, I carry out my work regularly with the help of this OS.

If you are still not convinced, please take a look at this video and see it for yourself:

What's next?  Downloading it and testing it, of course! Since MiniNO PicarOS 2013 works also as a live DVD, you can use it without installing it or changing anything to your regular OS!  You can find it here.  I already installed it and noticed several improvements in comparison to its previous version.

Can you imagine how much children could benefit if all schools had this incredible OS installed in their computer labs?

sábado, 9 de noviembre de 2013

Promising Newcomers: Three not-yet-finished Linux Distros that Are Aiming High!

If you are starting your Linux adventure, you may have already learned that there is not a single Linux.  Surely, some names are more well-known than others.  Mint, Ubuntu, OpenSuse, Fedora, PCLinuxOS, Debian, and Mageia (a newcomer that proved its value) are probably among the most visible distributions.  You might have also learned about Slackware, the oldest Linux distribution alive, and about Linux distros especially designed to breathe new life to computer dinosaurs that otherwise would be littering up our planet (Like Puppy, antiX, GalPon MiniNO, and SliTaz)

But Linux is constantly evolving.  Some distros sadly reach the end of their life while new ones see the light for the first time.

Among these new distros, three are trying to join the varied ecosystem of Tux and they look very promising.  They haven't released a finished version yet, but these newcomers are aiming high indeed, pretty much as Mageia did when it entered the scene.

Which are these three new distros?

(my customized Pisi install)
1.  Pisi Linux:  Pisi Linux?  What's that? Wasn't it Pardus Anka?  Wasn't it PiSi LinuX?  While the distro started as Pardus Anka and later changed its name to PiSi LinuX, its name has become Pisi Linux.  Although still young (is not officially born yet), its history has been quite complex.  If anything, it is a story of how community members loved their distribution so much that, instead of letting it die, decided to pursue a dream.  You can read about it here.  This distro may have a small team behind it, but I can tell you that Pisi is outstanding.  I've been running a beta release and it feels as a finished product.  It is stable, powerful, visually appealing, and its members are very helpful. 

2.  OpenMandriva:  This is another example of community power.  After Mandriva (the company responsible of the original Mandriva distribution) had several problems (some of them becoming the cause of Mageia's birth), the future of Mandriva (the distro) was pretty uncertain.  Then, OpenMandriva Association was created to work on a new distro that would take Mandriva's legacy to higher grounds.  The development process has reached the Release Candidate level.  Is it any good?  You can read about OpenMandriva RC1 here.

3.  Elive:  Although Elive is not precisely new (it was dormant for quite a long time, after its release 1.0 in 2007), its comeback in 2010 is worth following.  This distro is one of the few ones that use Enlightenment as their default desktop environment, by the way, and offers a lot of eye candy with little use of computer resources.  Visit Elive's house and see for yourself why I say it is promising!

viernes, 8 de noviembre de 2013 Changes Owner...

Susan Linton has finally sold her site

It has been a nice ride.  I thank her for picking some of my entries here.  I must confess I felt quite uneasy about Tuxmachines changing its owner.  What if Steve Ballmer offered a billion dollars for the site to later shut it down?  :P

Now, joking aside, I am pretty sure several frequent visitors of the site felt like I did.

Today, Susan Linton has anounced here that the new owner of Tuxmachines is Roy Schestowitz, the guy from  

What a relief! If you have visited his site, you'll see why I felt relieved.  He's an advocate of fair competition, and that makes a lot of sense to me.

Well, let's just thank Susan Linton for all her work and let's welcome Roy Schestowitz!

May Tuxmachines and Techrights continue helping all of us!

domingo, 3 de noviembre de 2013

Mounting VirtualBox VDI Images without VirtualBox

This is the latest trick I learned: How to mount a VDI image so that my system can use it without firing VirtualBox.


Basically, you use Qemu for the trick.  Try to get a Qemu version beyond 1.

Once you have Qemu, do this:

1. Check once more that VirtualBox is not running.
2. Open a terminal and go to the folder where you have your .vdi file.
3. su [your superuser password]
4. modprobe nbd max_part=16
5. qemu-nbd -c /dev/nbd0 [name of your vdi image].vdi
6. mkdir /mnt/[name of your vdi image]
7. mount /dev/nbd0p1 /mnt/[name of your vdi image]

(The blue parts correspond to the actual name of your .vdi file)

Right now, Dolphin should see the files in your virtual drive.  You can do whatever you want with them, but when you're done, make sure you unmount the virtual system before using VirtualBox again:

1. Close Dolphin
2. umount /mnt/[name of your vdi image]
3. qemu-nbd -d /dev/nbd0

Done!  Now everything should be as it was.  Thanks to timkb4cq on the MEPIS forums for the explanation and to Jeff Waugh from Be the Signal for the original walkthrough.