SLAX. Linux on a USB flash drive.

As things have turned out this happens to be the first post for this year. Though I wanted to blog a lot, ma work doesn’t seem to be giving me any room to do so. Anyway, Since of late I really wanted to try out a Linux Distro either in an emulated mode or to have it on a USB drive.

First I tried to run it in an emulated mode by following some of the tutorials given on PenDrive Linux. But after a series of failure I decided to change to ma second option. When it comes to Portable distributions two famous one’s that came to ma mind were Puppy Linux and SLAX. And they both have KDE.

After considering some of the capabilities/features of both Puppy Linux and SLAX, I decided to stick with SLAX because it could offer me most of the software that I was looking for and moreover, you don’t need to install any extra plug-ins to get your MP3’s and other commonly used video formats (specially avi) working. This is something I would really like to have on other distros like Ubuntu and which I unfortunately, don’t find on them due to certain restrictions (I think it’s better for me to stay out of this coz then I will be getting into patent and copyright laws and put ma self in a spot of bother).

You can find more about SLAX on, slax.org. And since, I’m using a hp pavilion dv2000 which has Windows Vista installed on it, this post should ideally suite vista users because it’s bit different than setting up your boot stick from being on other (older) versions of windows. But actually, creating it on older versions of windows seems to be lot easier than on Vista.

But to start with I should admit that there are some pre-requisites to ensure you can boot into SLAX using a pen drive. Because not all the PCs and Laptops supports booting from a USB drive. below I list few pre-requisites.

  • The PC or Laptop that you are using should support booting from a USB drive.
  • A pen drive with a minimum of 256 MB free space.

Moving on with the configurations,

  1. download SLAX usb edition (you will be downloading tar ball)
  2. download 7-Zip. (to extract the contents of the tar ball)
  3. extract the contents of the tar archive to the root of the pen drive.(boot and slax)
  4. download syslinux-3.xx.zip and extract it to your local file system
  5. copy the contents of syslinux-3.7.2/win32 folder to boot/syslinux on the pen drive.
  6. Now click on your windows start menu, type ‘command’ on the search box of the start menu.
  7. Once you are shown command prompt in the start menu right click and select run as administrator.
  8. Move the prompt to your USB drive by typing “driveLetter:” and enter.
  9. Type cd boot and press enter (in order to go to the boot dirctory in the usb drive).
  10. Type bootinst.bat to overwrite the MBR on your usb drive.

That’s it, we are done with the configurations. Now you can reboot your machine enter bios settings and then make USB drive as your first boot device in the boot sequence list. Now you should be logging into SLAX.!! below I attach a screenshot of slax while I was listening to some great tunes of A.R. Rahman.

a screenshot of slax

One of the coolest things about SLAX is that it not only shows other file systems but it also allows you to write to those which really makes life lot easier. Since SLAX is module based and modules get installed on-the-fly you never need to login and install anything. All what you need to do is just download your preferred module and copy to slax and next time you boot into slax, you should be able to use your new app, easy as that.

I really enjoy ma time on slax and I hope you will consider SLAX next time when you wanna go portable as well. Cheers!.

Discover it-openSUSE

openSUSE, another Linux Distribution which is a project carried out by the Free And Opensource Software community with the aid of Novell to ensure availability of a usable Linux Distribution for everyone residing on this planet.

The doors are wide opened for everyone to be part of this exiting program where users & developers come together to achieve a common goal at the end of the day, which is to make sure a most usable linux distro to the rest of world and generations to come.

The latest version being openSUSE 10.3 which you can download from,
software.opensuse.org

Download this piece of linux distro when you think it’s time for you to go for a change, install it on your local machine try it for yourself if you happen to come across any bugs file your own bug report & help improve openSUSE.

I would like to wrap up with an old saying of mine, “Say no to Pirated Software” And never be a victim of Software Confeiting. Be honest, Be opensource.

An Open Suse Proud User

Linux Magazine out of the Blocks

The first ever linux magazine in the crazy island of Sri Lanka makes it’s way. The magazine only offers an electronic edition of it. We will be very happy to see a hard copy in the near future as well. Because I don’t enjoy reading PDFs at all for that matter.

 Boom !!! Big mistake I forgot to enterprise the name of it, it’s Babytux Digest. Babytux Team comprises of many Geeks in the known world of Linux in Sri Lanka. To mension few of them,

Arunan Skanthan arunan@babytux.org
Buddhika Siddhisena bud@babytux.org
Tyrell Perera tyrell@babytux.org
Suchetha Wijenayake
Hasmin Abdul Cader
Karthiga Ratnam

And the Magazine was launched at a charming ceremony held at Commens Coffee shop on Wednesday the 5th July. You can download the magazine at it’s official site digest.babytux.org

The first issue itself introduces a brand new browser software called Flock, an intreging article on Kaffeine, a nice tutorial on InkScape and in tech news: the launch of Ubuntu 6.06 LTS (dapper drake) in Sri Lanka

 I downloaded the first Issue and got the permission from one of our senior lectures at IIT to make it available at the IIT Library. So guys at IIT can look forward to it at the library.

If you are really intersted with babytux and wanna hear more about it you can always subscribe to it’s group mail at,
groups.google.com/group/babytuxdigest