Lounge

 
 
Picture of Glenys Hanson
Getting into Linux
 

Hi Matt and the clever coders here,

I've been ideologically convinced by Linux for years - just technologically challenged. I tried once (about 5 years ago) and in spite of a "course" gave up after 30/50 hours of struggling.

Is there a way for a "computer semi-literate" like me to get into Linux these days? I need step-by-step instructions - no assumptions made. I don't fall off my chair when I see a line of code, but I have umpteen gaps in my knowledge.

Cheers,

Glenys

(Edited by Mary Cooch - original submission Wednesday, 28 December 2011, 09:27 PM)

 
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Picture of Richard Oelmann
Re: Adobe Edge and Moodle
Group Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers

Hi Glenys,

I would say that Linux has probably changed immensely since you last tried it. There is no real need to use code and command line for most things anymore (although it is still there for those who want it - and can be a very powerful tool).

There are many distributions you can try and most of them will run from a 'Live CD/DVD' meaning you do not need to install anything until you've tried it out and are happy with it.

For starting out I would highly recommend Linux Mint - so far every PC/laptop I've tried it on, everything just works (that may not be everyone's experiences, but it is mine!) including things like flash and music codecs which have to be loaded afterwards in some other distributions. No doubt others will have their own favourites and recommendations - Linux has many flavours and all have a variety of strengths, so long as you can get hold of a live dvd you can try them and decide for yourself which you prefer.

To try it out, you either need to download the .iso image from the mint website and burn that to a DVD (step by step instructions are on the website) - or look for a Linux/PC magazine which has it already on a front cover dvd - Then, so long as your PC is set to allow it to start from a dvd, then you should be able to boot your computer from the live dvd to try it out. You can even dual boot and keep your Windows alongside a Linux installation to run both on the same PC, or run one inside a virtual machine on the other once you have decided you like using it.

Although you can then go on and become a power user, learning all about bash and command line, etc. that is not really necessary to get loads out of Linux these days - last year i did a Linux administrator's course as a home/self study, but not being a Linux administrator professionally, I doubt I have used 10% of what I learned.

Software Centres make installing additional software very easy, while the various communities provide huge amounts of support - just like the moodle community.

And, as a final comment - my daughter's so called 'Grampy' test - if my dad can do it (computer technical illiterate! - no offence to him, he'd make the same assessment himself!) then a "computer semi-literate" like youself should find it straightforward :D

If you want any help in anyway feel free to PM me on here and I'll do my best to provide support for you.

Richard

 
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Mary Cooch
Re: Adobe Edge and Moodle
Group Documentation writersGroup Moodle Course Creator Certificate holdersGroup Moodle HQGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup TestersGroup Translators

Just to say that you can count me in as the same as Glenys in terms of Linux desiressmile

 
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Picture of Glenys Hanson
Re: Adobe Edge and Moodle
 

HI Richard,

That sounds very encouraging! Thanks for taking the time to write such a long email.

I gave away my last 2 PCs a couple of months ago and only have 2 Macs now (running virtual Windows 7 but very slowly). But I imagine I can do the same on a Mac. thoughtful

Thanks for the offer of further help too - I could very well take you up on it. You dad may be smarter than me.

Cheers,

Glenys

 
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Picture of Richard Oelmann
Re: Adobe Edge and Moodle
Group Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers

Hi Glenys,

I'm not too hot with Mac's, but my understanding is that older macs had problems with the chip architecture and linux had to be compiled especially for them, but with more recnt macs that now use the Intel chips, there is no reason why Linux won't run fine on them - and it can certainly be installed to a virtual machine, presumably in the same way as you have Win7 running.

As for my dad - my daughter first coined that line about a DVD player so that should give you some idea :D

 

Rich

 
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Picture of Visvanath Ratnaweera
Getting into Linux
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers
Hi Glenys, Mary, Richard and all

Rather a technical topic for the "Lounge", on the New Year's Eve!
wink

Anyway here's my two cents' worth on one of the pet topics.

- Ideology: Moodle and Linux have a big peace of ideology in common, the GNU GPL, Version 2. By doing Moodle you are in the same camp as Linux. Because of its strong message, sometimes Linux stands out as the epitome of Free Software, which is not the case. "Free" licences are the bigger issue, and open standards have become equally important. (Here is the connection to the original topic, Adobe has turned its back to open standards, after PostScript!)

- Coding and command line: As Richard mentioned in his post, to use Linux you don't have to code. But I disagree on the second part: In my openion the command line is the part which gives you the freedom - in a technical sense. It frees you from the dictatorship of the GUI and, ironically, it stands even the GUI fails!

- Where to start Linux: In the old days, dual boot was the only way out short of throwing Windows overboard. Dual boot installation was a scary experience, if you botched the partition table you lose all the data in the disk. (I know, that is not correct, but that is the impression one gets. And reinstalling the MS operating system wiped out the boot loader anyway.)

As hardware became abundant, one could "sacrifice" an old machine for Linux - and compare its performane with the turbo gaming machine one really sacrificed for M$.

Today, where even laptops have 2 GB upwards RAM, there is a cleaner solution: virtualization. VMware and VirtualBox are the leading contendors for desktops. In terms of handling they are almost identcal, VirtualBox is Open Source.

- Which Linux Distribution: A moot topic! If we stay with your motivation of _learning_ Linux, then forget all the so called "desktop" distributions. By blindly following a "tutoral" (in the worst case, a long list of screen shots) you can get a Linux up and running. What have you learned from that exercise?

At least in the context of Moodle, we are in clear client-server setup. Keep your present client (Desktop) and start working on a Linux server. They have to be lean. Smaller the system becomes easier to maintain, easier to defend. Keep the functionality to a minimum, you have a high chance of understanding that functionaliy. In the case of LAMP it comes down to manual installation, configuration and no GUI!

Well, after writing all this, I yet again wonder, why these message get longer! Are they radical, or simply old fashioned?

Whatever. Not to compete against Richards offer, I'm tempted to try an introduction to "Linux for Servers" remotely. I have a history of such courses, but as workshops, in the computer lab, on identically setup computers. If enough (5 - 8) "Moodle activists" are interested, I could translate/adapt my course material. Say,
- about 8 units, each unit is about 2 h of home work, to be finished within two weeks.

- Prerequisites: Desktop OS: Windows XP, Windows 7, any Linux dekstop distribution, Mac OS X, VirtualBox or VMware (Server) installed, 512 MB RAM to spare for the Virtual Machine.

- Open to discuss within the group. Ready to install the Thunderbird mail client and participate in a particular Newsgroup.

Send me a direkt message if you would participate.
 
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Picture of Alan Hess
Re: Getting into Linux
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers

Hi

Having setup several Linux Debian servers in the past myself, I've now taken the 'easy' option and use open source 'Skole-Linux' - http://www.slx.no/en

It's based on standard Debian, and installs pre-configured with everything a typical school will need. Webserver, File-Server, LDAP User-Admin, Internal Mail, Internet Proxy, Auto Incremental Backups etc.... Even Moodle! If you need Flash and Java as well, they can be added.

It does unfortunately force the use of a predescriped IP Address scheme but may be worth a look for beginners and admins strapped of time alike.

Happy New Year!

Alan

 
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Picture of Richard Oelmann
Re: Getting into Linux
Group Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers

Hi Alan,

I've tried out a few of the 'ready-to-go' server solutions such as amahi and zentyal, but not skole-linux as yet, but will certainly give it a look. They all look really good and suited to a variety of purposes - just that for my particular purpose (a home webserver as a development system) I always seem to go back to an Ubuntu server (no, Visvanath I don't have a gui on it I do use the command line for that one lol!) and Mint on my desktop.

Those are just my personal preferences at the minute having tried CentOS and a few other server flavours and everything (OK many things - there's too much out there to claim 'everything'!) from Puppy and DSL, through Fedora, Suse and Ubuntu, with Gnome2, Gnome3, Unity, LDXE, KDE etc. as desktop GUIs. I even still have a Win7 partition to dual boot into on one of my laptops - a necessity for testing IE natively, unfortunately smile

Happy New Year all

Richard

PS. To the forum moderator - perhaps it might be an idea to split this discussion about Linux off from the original thread which was to be about Adobe Edge and Moodle, so that we don't continue to hijack the purpose of the original poster ? Thanks, Rich

 
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Picture of Visvanath Ratnaweera
Skolelinux (Debian EDU)
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers
Hi Alan and others

"First Squeeze-based Debian Edu version released"
March 11th, 2012
http://www.debian.org/News/2012/20120311

Debian Squeeze is a gem. I hope it'lll "power" Skole.
 
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Picture of Alan Hess
Re: Skolelinux (Debian EDU)
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers

Thanks Visvanath

This is indeed good news as the old Skole-Linux needed a backport PHP upgrade to allow Moodle2 to run. Will try it out soon.

Alan

 
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Picture of Visvanath Ratnaweera
Re: Skolelinux (Debian EDU)
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers
The DVD in the current Linux-Magazin (5/12, German) comes with Skole-Linux: http://www.linux-magazin.de/Heft-Abo/Ausgaben/2012/05/Einfuehrung. It also contains two screen-casts, one on the built-in LDAP administration tool.

On a side note: A 40 min presentation of Knoppix 7.0 by its inventor is also in the DVD - it's awesome! Here is the anouncement: http://www.linux-magazin.de/Heft-Abo/Ausgaben/2012/04/Knoppix-7.0.
 
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Picture of Richard Oelmann
Re: Getting into Linux
Group Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers

Hi Visvanath,

I guess a friendly disagreement on GUI v CLI is nothing new in the land of Linux smile

For a server system running Linux to support Moodle i would completely agree, there is no need for any desktop and everything can be done from the command line.

But in terms of someone trying out Linux as a potential Windows replacement (my starting situation a few years ago) then my experience from getting my dad and others set up is that 'I want to learn Linux' simply means they want to be able to use it the same way as they use Windows - hence a very simple to install and 'works out of the box' recommendation such as Mint smile

The great thing with Linux is that you can use whatever suits your needs - if you want the power of the command line, its yours, if you want the ease of use of the GUI, that's yours too. The choice depends on the user and their needs smile

Live DVDs or virtual machines all have the capacity to let people try and see what they like (I have about 5 different distros on my desktop all in VMs - but not running at the same time!!!) and what fits their needs best.

Happy new year to all,

Rich

 
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Picture of Visvanath Ratnaweera
Re: Getting into Linux
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers
Hi Rich and Alan

Yes, even those "friendly disagreements" disappear once we put the purpose before the decision. For a school network, Skolelinux is made for that. Commercial server landscape, RHEL and SLES target that. Learning Linux, LFS is the ideal. Failing that a System V "distribution" (*BSD, Slackware) are suitable. For the desktop, well, that is where things get complicated wink

I too have made a journey through various distributions, currently most used distributions are Debian for servers, CrunchBang for the desktop. Slackware and Arch Linux too were highlights.

@Mod, I second the idea of splitting this discussion to a full thread. The best place is Glenys post http://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=190671#p840336. It may be worth changing the subject to "Getting into Linux".
 
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Picture of Glenys Hanson
Re: Getting into Linux
 

Hi everyone,

Sorry about not being disciplined about discussion threads. I'm sure when Mary C. gets back from her one day off a year she'll sort it out.

My first objective is just to learn how to handle Linux for myself - not to run a server off it.

Your offer of a course is great! Count me in and tell me how to give a donation.

Cheers,

Glenys

 
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Picture of Richard Oelmann
Re: Getting into Linux
Group Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers

Hi Glenys,

In that case I would stick with my original recommendation of using some of the LiveDVD/CDs available (download or just try some off the front covers off some of the Linux magazines) to find one you like.

The first thing to get your head around is the multitude of options available - the different distributions and the different desktops that you could have.

From a desktop point of view KDE and Gnome are the biggest, with various alternatives around. Gnome at the moment is going through a transition from v2-v3, while one of the biggest distributions around (Ubuntu) have gone their own way with Unity. There are frequent 'discussions' about which is best and my personal feeling is a preference for Gnome - based purely on familiarity as this was the desktop environment on Ubuntu when I started using it a few years agor. I've tried others, particularly when trying to find an alternative to Ubuntu's Unity which I don't like, but keep coming back to Gnome in the end.

On that basis, my recommended distro used to be Ubuntu (Suse is probably one of the best if you choose KDE, with Fedora providing cutting edge development - with its RedHat links - and Debian the opposite end of the cutting edge scale, with its definite emphasis on stability) More recently I've moved over to Mint, though. This started off as a spin off from Ubuntu, but for me currently has the best implementation of Gnome3 I've seen yet.

It may not have the flexibility of Suse with KDE, but for someone starting out with Linux, my experience is that it works out of the box, and that's important in your position (I would think). It has the strength that, at its heart, it is based on Debian (via Ubuntu), but also has an incredibly strong community voice in its development. It's not the be-all and end-all of Linux distributions - as other posters have said, Arch and others have massive power and flexibility - but for me, when I was learning Linux, I didn't want to start at the deep end, I wanted a system that worked well immediately, but that I could then dig deeper gradually as I felt I was ready for the next step.

But I would go back to my initial advice again, try some distros for yourself and see what you like - a friend of mine recently commented that if you ask 10 Linux users for their favourite distribution, you'll get at least 12 different answers! The big advantage is that they're free, you can download them, burn them to a dvd to try live or install on a Virtual Machine with no cost other than the time you are prepared to put in to a new environment (oh, and maybe a disc!)

Richard

PS. www.distrowatch.com is a good place to start looking at the range of options - take a look on the right hand side (scroll down a bit) for the top distros by page hit ranking.

PPS. You're right about Mary C (and Mary E) I'm not sure either of them have heard of holidays the amount of time, effort and support they put into these forums on behalf of the community!

Rich

 
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Mary Cooch
Re: Getting into Linux
Group Documentation writersGroup Moodle Course Creator Certificate holdersGroup Moodle HQGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup TestersGroup Translators

I am here! Just lurking though. I am also very daunted as you say by all the possibilities of Linux (and the fear - unfounded as has already been said) that if I install it on my laptop (home or school) it will then mess up my Windows. I just really want someone to say "get THIS CD and install THIS"

And my other issue is... what is the point of using Linux at home when I only have to go to school and use Windows? I went to a Ubuntu mini conference ("barcamp") a while back and they showed me this great movie editing program - free  of course -very powerful -we are into movie making with our pupils Big Time - but I thought - it only works on Linux so what's the point of me exploring it any further?

Don't get me wrong - I am not negative about this at all ! Just that I feel the same about this as I do those teachers who have Macs. They love them to bits -but have to set them  up so they also work on Windows in order to do the school work stuff in school - why bother? Why not just stick to Windows? (No - I am NOT a Windows evangelist! Just trying to get an answer to convince mesmile)

 
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Picture of Alan Hess
Re: Getting into Linux
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers

Hi Mary

If you've plenty disk-space, why not try VMWare player. It's free and will setup a virtual machine on your hard disk. You can then install Linux from a downloaded image such as Ubuntu or Debian-Edu without any danger of messing up your boot sector and windows. There's plenty of ready-made VMWare images to download and try.

The Linux will run either full-screen or within a window on the windows desktop.

You can even cut and paste between systems. I use the full version of VMware on my MAC and have Windows XP, Debian, Ubuntu and OS-X all running in parallel!!!!

Hope that helps - VMware Link

 
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Picture of Richard Oelmann
Re: Getting into Linux
Group Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers

That's always a difficult one Mary. Why use something different personally when you have a set system for work. I used to have the same situation in school.

For me, the deciding factor was when I built my own PC and couldn't afford a Windows licence so used Linux to power it, discovered the power and ease of use and never looked back. I could/can use OpenOffice (now LibreOffice) to do all the work that I needed to do for school and still save it in .doc files (etc) for use in school on Word.

I could never persuade the powers that be to put more Linux PCs in school, but it became a regular occurance for staff and children to come to me to sort issue out like Windows PCs not logging onto the internet/network while my Linux laptop could, work saved in Office 2010 on newer laptops that could not be opened in the Office 2003 versions on the desktops - but could in my OpenOffice, and to do photo-editing, music arranging and as you said above, video editing, that I could download free software for, but the technician would spend 6 months wondering about putting on our system, or the school just didn't have the budget for.

One way around the issue for you, if your school technicians are up for it - and your hardware can cope - Mary, would be to install Linux into a virtual machine within your Windows PCs. Your Linux VM can then have the video editing software - or any other software you feel like adding or trying out - installed on it. (Edit: Spent so long writing this essay, that Alan has already posted this idea and the link to VMWare :D)

There are other alternatives as well, dual booting is one possibility - although that might be a step too far for your IT team at first; a 'roll your own' distribution is not as hard as it seems as Ubuntu and others come with software that allows you to add and remove packages and then create a new LiveDVD to boot from; and the LTSP project could be used to set up a Linux application server, with the desktops being given the option on boot as to booting into Windows as normal, or as a terminal server pulling their software from there.

The option the college I now work at have allowed me - their IT team only officially support Windows on the college desktops - is to install my Linux onto an external hard drive and boot from there. This means I can still boot into Windows(XP) if I need to (I don't because I have a WindowsVista laptop for IE testing in work) but have the full Linux distro and admin rights to my own setup on my external hard drive. This has the advantage over a dvd that I can add software, change settings, save my files and so on that just isn't easily done on a livedvd.

If you would like me to, I'd be happy to do a 'roll-your-own' dvd for you - just get in touch and let me know what software you want added to a distribution (or just what areas you might think about using the Linux for - even if its just to try out - and I'll find the software for you) and I'll add them to a live-dvd for you to download and try out. I'm back in college on Tuesday, so it may take a week or so, if I'm doing it in my own time (We could arrange to buy my time from the college and get it done fairly quickly, but I know school budgets won't cover that sort of thing for trying out! lol!!!)

 

But, to go back to your original question - 'Why not just stick to Windows?' I would say, firstly, if Windows does everything you want it to do and its working fine, then yes, stick with it - but I would still advocate trying out Linux, so that next time you have purchasing decisions to make, they can be made with ALL the options available, including Linux. Secondly, because, as I have said above, you can run both environments succesfully on the same hardware, why 'just' Windows would be my question? If you can have both available and pick the strongest for any particular task, then why not give it a try.

Although I am a Linux user, I am not a Windows/M$ hater and can see many benefits of having both available in an IT environment - but with the discussions around in terms of the teaching of IT in schools and increasing the focus on teaching IT development, having a development environment such as Linux available which can include an individual localhost webserver for every station for IT students (and others) learning about webdesign along many other development features - and knowing it can be wiped and reinstalled, complete with its entire software setup in about 30minutes, and that the same system can be made available to students to use at home (in the same ways as I have suggested above - live/external hard drive/dual boot/virtual machines), Linux has to be worth considering, even in a primarily Windows ecosystem.

Richard

PS. To fit in with your 'get THIS CD and install THIS' request I would suggest the following:

1. Download Linux Mint12, burn to a dvd, boot your laptop from the dvd and try it live OR

2. Download Linux Mint12, install to a virtual machine and try

for a KDE solution istead of the Gnome3 variation used by Mint, you could also try SUSE and for an even greater choice, try www.distrowatch.com for a list of variations smile but now I'm in danger of getting away from the 'get this do this' again, so I'll stop there!!!

Rich

 
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Mary Cooch
Re: Getting into Linux
Group Documentation writersGroup Moodle Course Creator Certificate holdersGroup Moodle HQGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup TestersGroup Translators

Thanks Alan and Richard for your very comprehensive replies which I am about to digest - but just to let everyone know - I have split the Linux discussion away from the Adobe Edge so the relevant parties know which bits they are talking aboutsmile

 
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Picture of Richard Oelmann
Re: Getting into Linux
Group Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers

Thanks Mary, That's very helpful smile

 
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me at a FIRST robotics competition
Re: Getting into Linux
Group Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers

Hi Mary,

I just recently (4 month ago) became a Linux desktop user (had been using Windows XP at work and Mac OSX at home). I decided to try Linux because Moodle has showed me the power of Open Source to provide flexible, affordable software that works and is philosophically aligned with the goals of education.

I have found it really easy to pick up Ubuntu 11.10 coming from being a Mac fan, but I can see windows users would probably be more comfortable with Mint (Open Source advantage: Ubuntu and Mint run the same software and have the same underlying system but just allow for users to choose which interface they prefer) .

As to why make the change, I am excited about a version of Ubuntu created for schools called Ubermix (Open Source advantage: people can create different versions for specific settings). It is made to be super lightweight for running on netbooks, and it doesn't require a lot of tech support to keep it running in the classroom. I have been going around installing Ubermix for teachers and students to try and they are loving it because it solves some problems we have been having with our school computers. You can read my blog post about Ubermix and check out Ubermix in the links below.

http://cytochromec.net/blog/2011/11/why-ubermix/

http://www.ubermix.org

 
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Picture of Richard Oelmann
Re: Getting into Linux
Group Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers

Hi Colin,

As an Eee901 user the idea of a distro especially created for that kind of netbook appeals to me immediately! And the list of start-up preinstalled software looks pretty good too, and still with the flexibiility to add my other software to it as normal. I especially like the freedom of giving users full control, while knowing it can be reset very quickly and easily!

I'm going to download it and give it a spin - if my daughter approves, I might even leave it on there for her and hand over the netbook when I (hopefully) get my Asus Prime in a couple of weeks! lol!

So that's ubermix for netbooks and skolelinux as a server version for me to check out too - finding new things and having my eyes opened to different possibilities is just one of the reasons I love being part of this community! smile

Richard

 
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Mary Cooch
Re: Getting into Linux
Group Documentation writersGroup Moodle Course Creator Certificate holdersGroup Moodle HQGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup TestersGroup Translators

Ok ...so...if  I want to try ubermix on my Windows laptop - do I have to go to this page http://ubermix.org/download.html

and download the Virtual Box 4

and then do I have to download ubermix.ova (which is also on that page)

And then I double click the icon to install it - and then what happens?

How will my laptop know the difference between ubermix and Windows 7? Sorry for such ignorant questions but I just want to ensure I know what I am doing before I do itbig grin - in the next hour or so when you've repliedbig grin

 
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Ben talking on the phone beside a monitor
Re: Getting into Linux
Group Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers

Following Mary to root for her. Yea! Yea! Go! Go!

 
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Picture of Richard Oelmann
Re: Getting into Linux
Group Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers

Hi Mary,

I'm going to have to defer to Colin for a definitive answer on installing - I've not used prebuilt .ova files for VirtualBox, I've always done it through setting up the Virtual Machine and installing from an iso file the same as if I were installing on 'bare metal' and haven't yet had chance to try out ubermix. I hope to today though, so I'll do it first of all on my Win7 laptop like this so I can confirm for you later smile

However, the principle is that Win7 will know the difference in terms of installing the same way as it knows the difference between a .doc and a .exe file and should install the ubermix.ova file into the virtualbox software. Once its done that when you open the virtualbox udermix, it'll be like turning on another PC which has its own virtual hardware, including hard drive etc, so it won't mix up between the Win7 host and the ubermix (or any other) virtual machine.

Rich

 
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Mary Cooch
Re: Getting into Linux
Group Documentation writersGroup Moodle Course Creator Certificate holdersGroup Moodle HQGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup TestersGroup Translators

Ok Richard -well -when you've done it, let me know and I will then do it on minebig grin

 
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Picture of Richard Oelmann
Re: Getting into Linux
Group Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers

OK Mary, here goes - apologies for the delay by the way, I've been out this morning, but that just meant leaving the downloads to run while i wasn't there. On my connection, total download time for both files was about 2-2.5 hours, but that is a measure of my slow internet connection rather than anything else!

1. Download and save the virtual box software and ubermix.ova file (I actually went for the ubermix-902.ova cutting edge version for trying out)

2. Install VirtualBox - I just accepted all the default settings as I wanted as plain, vanilla install as possible

3. Open VirtualBox

4. Goto File: Import Appliance and click Choose -> Browse to where you have saved ubermix and select it, click Next and Import (again I left all the defaults as they were)

5. In the VirtualBox VM Manager select the Ubermix VM (It'll be the only one there at this point smile) and click Start. Click OK to any popups that appear about mouse capture etc.

You should now have Ubermix working in a window on your screen. It will have its own virtual hard drive and will act as if it is in its own little computer separate from your actual one -

Once you have it all setup and working you can later move on with virtualbox settings to create shared folders that allow you to pass files back and for between the main PC and the virtual one if you want to, but for your initial purpose of testing out Linux and particularly Ubermix, I wouldn't bother too much with that - but if you went down the road of using VMs for using Linux for specific software, like the video editing example you gave in another post, then that facility might become important for you.

Looking at it I would have to say it's an excellent initial software selection - you may want to remove some Primary age software if using in a Secondary school, and may want to add specific titles for specific uses if needed, but as a starting point I think its pretty comprehensive.

To check out the wide range of software that can be added, visit the Ubuntu Software Centre that's on the Favourites screen of the ubermix you've just installed.

Now, I'm off to download the .iso and install it on my netbook too and trial it properly there :D

HTH Mary

Richard

 
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me at a FIRST robotics competition
Re: Getting into Linux
Group Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers

Hi Mary and Richard,

As Richard said you can import the Ubermix .ova file into virtual box. I recommend using the latest version of Ubermix .9x instead of the stable release .7x? Both releases are very stable, but .9x is based on a more recent version of Ubuntu.

Hopefully we will have an entire class of 4th graders accessing Moodle through their own Ubermix netbooks next year. It is amazing how Moodle use in K-12 explodes when kids have access to computers in the class every day and frankly I can't see any way to achieve that with Windows 7 or Mac OSX due to cost concerns to have higher end hardware and the need for increased tech support. 

Richard-Great idea to put Home on a separate partition and dual boot to the same Home (also nice for recovery). I was playing with the Graphics onmy laptop yesterday and whoops booted into a blank screen. The problem is that I was playing with a fairly important computer so it wasn't as fun to solve because I was worried about losing my work, so I would add another law of Linux/computers 

Feel free to play, but have a backup

(I have been meaning to try out Puppy as well!)

 
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Mary Cooch
Re: Getting into Linux
Group Documentation writersGroup Moodle Course Creator Certificate holdersGroup Moodle HQGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup TestersGroup Translators

OK I have just started the download now -but I am doing it on my school laptop not my home laptop   -that way, if it all goes wrong I will just take it into school and look like a dumb blonde and they will have to fix it for mebig grin - whereas if I did it on my home laptop I would have to fix it for myself!

 
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Picture of Visvanath Ratnaweera
Re: Getting into Linux
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Talking of Ubermix, if a question does not have at least two answers, then it wan't a Unix question.
smile

See openSUSE Edu Li-f-e 12.1 out now!
http://news.opensuse.org/2012/01/01/opensuse-edu-li-f-e-12-1-out-now/

Haven't checked myself. 15 GB disk space, must be a huge collection.
 
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Picture of Visvanath Ratnaweera
Re: Getting into Linux
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers
The proposed Linux course will not be conducted - there are simply not enough candidates.
 
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Frankie's the name, Moodle's my game!
Re: Getting into Linux
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers

Hi Glenys

We use Puppy Linux for the old college PCs (Year 2001, Celeron 966 Mhz, 128Meg RAM dinosaurs) since Windoze kept slowing them down. 

You can setup your own BlueButton server easy-peasy if you have a server running on Ubuntu. It's that easy compared to other Linux distros like Centos.

One of the best decisions for myself I ever made was to choose a Linux-based Web hosting for my first Moodle site. That gave me VPS system with root access. Ah, root access and that wonderful command prompt! So many powerful root commands to use at my disposal, muah-hah-hahah!  Like grep to recursively search for string values in php files. That came in handy when modifying PHP code. 

I must admit that 98% of Linux commands that I used were first Googled up to understand how they worked. This leads me to Frankie's 3 Laws of Linux Moodle administration:

Law#1:
Google search + Linux + blind optimistic faith in command line command actions = disaster, ashen face, depressed mood, clean-up on aisle number 10, Moodle site down and server restore needed. Speaking from first-hand experience.

Law#2:
Google search + Linux + courage + calculated risk when hitting that return key after typing a complex Linux command = results, happy face and more power to the people. 

Law#3:
If you don't know if what you're about to do on Linux is right or wrong, better don't do it!

Whatever you do, don't rm -r your root directory.

Frankie Kam

 
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Matt Bury
Re: Getting into Linux
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers

Hi guys!

This is an interesting and enlightening discussion for me. I've tried Linux (Ubuntu) in various ways; USB, CD, dual boot and I really liked it. Just make sure all your files are backed up first! What can I add here? My observations:

I'm with Richard et al on the GUI front. Non-power users want a replacement desktop, not a PhD on the command line. The command line is very powerful and only for the brave few. Windows 7 has re-introduced the command line but I don't see a lot of people using it.

Most users want to be able to replicate what they do on Windows/OSX. The best option is to find open source replacements that can read your old files and source files, e.g. OpenOffice instead of MS Office, but they aren't always available. In that case WINE can make a lot of Windows software run on Linux (it replicates Windows DLL functions rather than running as a virtual machine). Unfortunately, not all Windows software will run on WINE which is the major thing holding up my transition to a pure Linux environment. (The majority of developers seem to put making their favourite video games run before looking at getting boring old "work stuff" running).

From an organisation's LAN point of view, Linux really makes sense. Linux already provides an intuitive GUI and free software that replicates everything education needs, with maybe only a few very specialist exceptions. The cost savings in licensing and support alone are worth the effort especially when your organisation is considering an upgrade, i.e. if you're going to upgrade, why not upgrade to something cheaper and more stable? And how about reducing budget restrictions to trying out new software? It's one step less that could make you decide not to adopt something that could be exactly what your organisation has been looking for. To further the argument, it's also useful for learners to have experience with other operating systems and it looks great on their CVs.

If you're in the EU, there may even be help and support available from the European Commission. They've made a commitment to putting open source options first after doing some extensive cost-benefit analyses (I wish I could find that link!). I'm not sure how you'd go about finding out about that though.

Looking into the future, I think a lot of users are going to get very comfortable with Gnome and Unity type GUIs. OSX and iOS are locked down versions of OpenBSD so switching over to Linux is painless. Android is based on Linux so smartphone and tablet users will feel very comfortable with it too. Then there's set-top boxes and media centres that mostly run on Linux... it's everywhere already. Windows 8 promises to be more Linux-like than ever. It looks like Richard Stallman and Linus Torvalds had it right from the start!

BTW, thanks for the link to VirtualBox, Visvanath, I'll check it out. smile

 
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Picture of Visvanath Ratnaweera
To GUI or not to GUI
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers
Somewhere in this thread I read "Linux provides an intuitive graphical interface", which is strictly speaking not true. Linux in the sense of Linus' playground has no GUI, all the GUIs are addons from other projects.

Anyway there are some bad news on the GUI front: The desktop metaphor has been overstretched a long time ago. Microsoft made the same blunder twice, first when they moved away from Wndows as an add-on to a non-graphical "kernel", the DOS. When they realized that they have reached the end of the road, they reintroduced a command interface 'cmd' as an add-on to the GUI. That was OK for limited tasks, but for professional use thay had to bring a better one, the much hyped Power Shell. Obviously it didn't work. It looks like they have come to their senses:

Windows Admins Need To Prepare For GUI-Less Server
"...the Windows Server team said that working without the GUI will be the 'recommended' method, and is telling developers not to assume a GUI will be present..."
http://tech.slashdot.org/story/12/01/13/1455242/windows-admins-need-to-prepare-for-gui-less-server

Those Windows administrators might migrate to Linux, because of the GUI!
wink
 
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Picture of Richard Oelmann
Re: Getting into Linux
Group Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers

Hi Frankie,

I love Puppy - although I don't use it day-to-day - it's my goto mini distro for helping me recover broken Windows machines smile I know there are loads of alternatives, but that's my starting point. And as you said, for older machines especially, it can be so fast in comparison to Win - or to some of the other bigger Linux distributions

As for Frankie's laws of Linux, I'd definitely go along with the first 2 - having been in both situations many times - the third one I'd also strongly agree on for any kind of production system. But at the same time, one of the things I love about Linux is the fact that i can install it on a VM or on a spare old laptop and 'play' try things out and fail, knowing that 20-30min later I can have a clean install again smile and the way I like to play around with things, that happens fairly often - and the VMs keep me from tinkering with the real system! lol! And yes, in my early use of Linux, I did once rm -r my root - sometimes you learn the hard way! clown

I also make sure in my setup that I put home on a separate partition, that way I can reinstall to my heart's content without losing anything important, or have several distros on dual/multiple boot which can all access the same files and folders from my home partition.

Richard

 
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Female Ephemerella Infrequens
Re: Getting into Linux
 
I glanced through most of this thread. Linux is primarily a server technology, as many have mentioned. Linux would be a fine desktop environment now too. But it isn't yet because Photoshop, AutoCad, Rhino and Adobe this and that have not been ported to lInux. If windows emulation ever gets stable enough to run those programs reliably, Windows will be toast, because Linux is free--and stable, reliable, dependable, etc. Finally, under the hood, at the lowest operating system levels, it's worth pointing out that linux and Mac are much the same. It is only the higher-level windowing systems that vary between Linux and Mac.
 
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Picture of Richard Oelmann
Re: Getting into Linux
Group Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers

I have to disgaree Sandy.

While Linux is supremely strong in the server role, I also feel it is (not would be) a fine desktop environment too. While it is the case that certain specific titles (and games) have not been ported to Linux, these are not necessarily applications that everyone needs/uses and if we are to wait until all applications are running on all systems before declaring them 'ready' then perhaps we should say Windows is not ready to be a desktop as RoseGarden (my favourite midi sequencer) doesn't run on it, or say that we should throw iPads in the bin because they don't run Flash, Photoshop or many other Windows products.

Now, as I posted earlier, if Windows does the job for you better than Linux, or Mac, then use Windows as your tool of choice - but that does not mean that Linux is not ready for people who do not use those applications. I have never used photoshop, autocad or the paid adobe software (I do use Kuler online) even on my Windows computers, If my school couldn't afford to put it on I wasn't buying it for myself (I have to admit I don't even know what Rhino is, so I certainly don't miss not having it on Linux). Linux on the desktop is much more than not having Photoshop, just as Windows is much more than not having Rosegarden.

And yes, Linux and Mac are much the same at lower operating systems, because both have their roots in Unix systems, but I think you'll find its a bit more than the windowing systems that vary between the two - otherwise I could just drop a KDE/Gnome desktop environment etc onto an Apple system and have it work. Apple are quite keen on patent infringements and I think Linux would not exist by now if they even thought they might have a chance at that!

At the end of the day, all computer systems are tools to do a job - Linux is the perfect desktop environment for me and my uses. My line manager in college feels more comfortable using Mac and you, like many others, obviously feel more comfortable with Windows. All are perfectly good desktop environments for their users - otherwise we wouldn't use them. I have Windows available in work, but choose to use Linux as my line manager chooses Mac and others choose Windows. I feel I have the expertise and experience to select the appropriate tools for the job I am doing at the time and that does not include Photoshop/AutoCAD/etc. If your requirements (or someone elses) include software that does not run well on Linux, then select the appropriate tool you need, which may well be Windows - but don't tell me that my choice is wrong and isn't good enough because it doesn;t run tools I don't use anyway.

Richard

 
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Picture of Richard Oelmann
Re: Getting into Linux
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Just had my last post through on email - apologies to anyone if my last sentence came across a lot stronger than intended smile So many of the discussions turn into a Windows v Linux one is right the other is wrong arguments, and my intention was purely to point out that the choices (in the desktop environment) are not as clear cut as one is ready and one is not, and that all users have their needs and requirements which can be met by one or other of the many options available and that if one choice suits your needs it does not mean another choice is wrong for someone else.

Rich

 
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Picture of Alan Hess
Re: Getting into Linux
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Hi all

This discussion is becoming quite interesting, not only from the perspective of computer OS, but also learning in general. Of course, we're all involved in the latter.

It seems to me, that 'windows' is just one dialect of a large group of systems and we could just as easily argue about whether the Linux desktops KDE or Gnome are easier to use. I suppose that most Linux fans generally have a bit more understanding of the 'mechanics' under the bonnet and as such have less difficulties with various implementations. Many 'non-tech' users may have learnt windows by experience and not trust themselves to branch out. e.g. I know someone you can only drive a car with automatic gear shift even after years of driving.

This kind of thing might apply to all areas of learning and affect all kinds of people including myself if I'm honest. My own pet interest is in literacy and reading and I often think that poor readers get trapped in single methods (such as phonetics) when a multitude of methods are necessary for accomplished literacy.  Just because I'm personally from an IT background doesn't mean that similar problems might not exist in my learning in other contexts. I think it's part of human learning in general and also quite interesting for educators all all persuaions to think about.

As Richard points out, a choice for one person may not be suitable for another if he has no need for the change. I think this lies at the root of all learning, in that a successful learner needs to see (and understand) the need to learn something new. However, if the jump to a new context is too large, learning might not be able to proceed. Russian psychologist Vygotsky proposed this in his proximal learning theory, in which successful learning best takes place amongst peers or teachers who can 'scaffold' the progress. In this case we 'techies' may often overload newcomers with jargon and enthusiasm.

We've heard here that the 'open-source' character of Moodle has been an inspiration to learn Linux. The constructivist nature of Moodle is also not too far removed from the ideas of Vygotsky. What's my point? Maybe the best way to learn a new system is find others in the same boat and learn from each other?

Any other thoughts?

Regards

 

Alan

 
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Mary Cooch
Re: Getting into Linux
Group Documentation writersGroup Moodle Course Creator Certificate holdersGroup Moodle HQGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup TestersGroup Translators

Well.... as someone unable to expound at length on the philosophy of it all but as someone who just downloaded ubermix (took me about an hour and a half Richard) I can share my experiences. It was odd at first - a big black box and nothing seemed to happen but then I must have clicked on the right thing and some lovely trees in a field appeared with icons at the bottom of the screen to take me to eg, graphics, games, educational stuff, sound and video, office etc. (I bet it is similar to all your Macs but I have never had one of those apart from playing on them in PC World!) Openshot was the video editing program recommended to me but I realised pretty soon I couldn't get to my files on my-er Windows laptop bit- so I need to find out how to do that (Was that what you meant about sharing, Richard?) So I decided to record myself with the sound recorder - but it wasn't intuitive and then when I did manage to save it -there was no sound - has it not recognised my sound card? I tried to film myself with the webcam "app" but again, no joy. I am sure it is something simple though -after that, I began to wonder what I could use it for, other than novelty value - but I am happy to keep exploringsmile It was certainly worth the trial.

 
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me at a FIRST robotics competition
Re: Getting into Linux
Group Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers

Hi Mary,

You might have had a bad initial Ubermix experience due to the fact that it is a virtual machine and so may not be talking correctly to all of your computer's input and output devices correctly. I can say that if you actually install Ubermix on a computer it will work very well. Sadly, unlike other flavors of Linux you can't easily dual boot Ubermix, so you would need to wipe a computer clean to truly install Ubermix, so I don't recommend that unless you have access to an older netbook or desktop that nobody wants to use.

You are right that the point of having a Virtual Machine is for easy and safe testing of different operating systems, and very rarely for doing actual work on a different operating (except for certain power users who truly need different operating systems).

However, the point of testing out Ubermix (or any flavor of Linux) is that it lets you see if another option besides Windows (or Mac) would help meet you or your student's technology needs and save your school money. I think a good parallel is a school that uses a non-Moodle LMS. When they try out Moodle they might say, "I already have something that does most of that." and then you say, "But you are paying $30,000 a year for your system and we are paying $2,000 a year for ours, plus we can customize ours with hundreds of free plugins." Individuals pay $100-$200 for Windows and another $100-$200 for MS Office, when they would probably be perfectly happy with Linux and LibreOffice/OpenOffice.

I can say that running Windows 7 on a netbook with 1 GB of RAM is painfully slow, while running Ubermix is sprightly. The button-y interface of Ubermix tends to get folks to try various apps instead of the menu system of Windows which in my experience with students doesn't encourage exploration (our students have never tried to use their Windows netbooks to record using the web cam, but it is one of the first things they try when given an Ubermix netbook).

I really respect your willingness to explore and hope you keep tinkering with Linux (and of course Moodle).

 
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Picture of Richard Oelmann
Re: Getting into Linux
Group Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers

Hi Mary,

I think, as Colin says, this is down to VirtualBox rather than Ubermix/Linux - Virtual machines often have issues with accessing the real hardware like sound cards and so on, as well as being generally slower to run than when the software is native, including when running Windows in a VM, either on Win or Linux! And yes, the folder sharing with Virtual Box is what I was on about and would let you get at your files on the Windows bit smile

Perhaps it will help a little bit if I tell you that my experience last night when i actually got to test ubermix was similar to yours through the virtualbox - but having had the same thing with other VMs in the past I was still happy to put it on my netbook, and on there, everything runs as expected - the webcam, openshot (I was able to link to a shared netowrk drive on my home network easily to access files). I didn't try the sound recorder itself as I always use Audacity anyway - whether I'm on Windows/Linux so I went straight for that and it worked exactly as I expected. I was impressed with the software and the setup provided by Ubermix.

Would it be helpful to you if I created a live dvd based on Mint or Ubuntu with the same software selection as Ubermix? You would then be able to boot from the DVD without installing anything and run it from there (you can test saving files by plugging in a usb memory stick and saving to there instead of your hard drive and that way never touch the HD at all). This would have a standard desktop screen/menus rather than ubermix's interface, but may give you the chance to try out some of the software properly?

Richard

 
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Picture of Glenys Hanson
Re: Getting into Linux
 

Hi everybody,

This discussion has been very useful to me - especially the fact that Mary tried Linux out on a Virtual Box. That doesn't seem the way to go. Saved me a lot of time.

I regret now giving away my PCs - I'll try and get another one cheap just to try out Linux.

I seem to have made a mistake trying to run Winows 7 in a Virtual Box on Mac Lion - all the problems Richard's just pointed out but particularly too slow to do any real work on.

Thanks everybody,

Glenys

 
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Picture of Alan Hess
Re: Getting into Linux
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers

Hi Glenys

I think you have a good point with the 'old PCs' and particularly as older hardware is almost certainly well supported in most Linux distros. All our computer suite PCs are old 2003 models which still work OK with Debian-Edu and modern applications such as Open-Office, Moodle, Java and Flash. Lots of super free software too.

I'm a great believer in learning by making mistakes, even in my EFL and literacy teaching. If you install various Linuxes a few times on an old scrap PC, you're going to be well equipped with the technicalities of using a virtualisation solution later. That was the point I was trying to make in an earlier post which might have seemed a little negative.

One thing is sure, you need lots of RAM and disk space with virtual solutions. I've used 'virtual box', but prefer VMWare as the support and performance seems better. A 'full version' license does cost however, but allows you to make 'images' which can be 'played' on the free player version.

Regards

Alan

 
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Picture of Richard Oelmann
Re: Getting into Linux
Group Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers

Hi Glenys,

Virtual PCs can work and can be very useful - if your host hardware is powerful enough - but configuring them for sound and shared folders can be a pain and very much depends on the hardware they are on. You are obviously finding exactly the same with your Win7 on Mac, so you can see it is useful to point out that this is a virtualisation issue and not a Linux problem. It's also, as has been mentioned before in this thread probably getting way too far into the techie side of the discussion to try to go into all the possibilities of getting it set up 100% with guest additions etc. smile

Old PCs are definitely very useful for trying things out on - I've been lucky enough to persuade family and friends to pass on old laptops/desktops over the last few years. I've rebuilt and upgraded on as my main desktop, another (8-10 year old) laptop runs my home webserver, while I have donated several on to other friends when they have been needed - all running Linux.

But the way I would recommend trying Linux out in the first place, is to use a live dvd. You can boot your pc from the dvd, it will make direct use of the hardware without the virtualisation layer, and you can access files from a memory stick and (if you want to - but take care) from your hard drive itself - I normally keep to aa memory stick for files when i'm experimenting, but I also use a live cd (Puppy) as  a rescue disc for Windows because it gives me access to the hard drive too. Its still not as fast as running it properly, having installed it, because a hard drive is obviously much faster than a cd/dvd, but once the system is running its fast enough to play with and try out.

Also, its worth noting that ubermix that I and Mary have been trying out has a very different install mechanism to most Linux distributions. This, I presume, is down to way their recovery system works and the nature of the design for netbooks.

Richard

 
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Mary Cooch
Re: Getting into Linux
Group Documentation writersGroup Moodle Course Creator Certificate holdersGroup Moodle HQGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup TestersGroup Translators

Hi Richard et al and sorry for not spotting your kind offer sooner-yes I would love to try from a DVD if you think it will give me a better experience! This is an interesting learning curve/experiment for me. I still can't see myself moving wholesale over, since my school seems to function fine on Microsoft - but I see it a bit like being able to speak other languages (which I do) Just because the whole world speaks English doesn't mean we shouldn't bother trying to speak other languages and we can only benefit if we make the effort.

 
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Picture of Richard Oelmann
Re: Getting into Linux
Group Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers

Hi Mary,

I'll work on it over the next couple of days for you and should have something available by the beginning of next week - between work and pantomime rehearsals it may take me a few days :D

I'll post it on the web complete with instructions for you (and Glenys/anyone else who wants it) for you to try out and post the link here. Is there any other software (or software types you'd like me to look at) that you may want to try out? and I'll include those too.

I'm with you on the learning different ways of doing things - and whether your school moves over wholesale or not is kind of beside the point when you look at it that way. I've been using Linux for a few years, but my schools (and now college) were all primarily Windows - but the benefits of having my Linux laptop around (and someone to use it) were available and extremely useful in both situations, while personally I've enjoyed the learning experience in much the same way as I've enjoyed learning about Moodle too.

Richard

 
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Picture of Richard Oelmann
Re: Getting into Linux
Group Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers

Hi Mary, Glenys, et al,

As promised I've taken a look at this over the weekend (between pantomime rehearsals :D - I hope that's not a reflection on what I've done!!!)

I've created a 'roll-your-own' version of Mint - essentially all I've done is add the extra software that was included in the ubermix distribution discussed previously which was available from the standard Mint repositories (which is most of it) and then remade a live dvd file using a program called Remastersys. In the first place I wanted to keep this as close to standard/default as possible, although having done it I may customise this some more in the near future - as much for my own learning experiences as for any other reason smile

You can download the custom-dist.iso from here

I've also attached a quick pdf here with some very basic instructions about burning the dvd and running it as a live setup or installling it.

Don't forget though that Mint is only one possible option (but a good starting one as all the multimedia codecs and flash and a few other things are already included) and many others exist.

Also, Mint12 is included in this month's Linux Format magazine's front cover disc, so if you don't want to download it and burn your own dvd, then you could try it from there. That has the advantage of not needing a download, and having quite a few pages of the magazine devoted to Mint, but although that comes with a host of software which would cover most basic requirements, it doesn't have the all the extras I've added in from the ubermix list (which again is only a small portion of what's actually available!)

I hope it's useful for those just dipping their toes into the possibilities of Linux smile

Richard

 
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Picture of Glenys Hanson
Re: Getting into Linux
 

Hi Richard,

Thank you so much for spending time on this. I'm doing the download now - will probably take a while on my not-so-fast broadband connection.

I'll let you know how I get on running the DVD on my Mac Lion.

Cheers,

Glenys

 
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Mary Cooch
Re: Getting into Linux
Group Documentation writersGroup Moodle Course Creator Certificate holdersGroup Moodle HQGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup TestersGroup Translators

Hi Richard. Thanks from me too for this - I am sorry not to have replied earlier but I have been very much absent from Moodle forums this week at BETT (giving others a chance to answer questionsbig grinbig grin) I am going to download this myself and give it a go and also let you know how I get on.

 
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Picture of Richard Oelmann
Re: Getting into Linux
Group Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers

Hi Mary,

I'm using it myself as I had to reinstall my work computer after the external harddrive I was using gave up on me last week, and this was still on my laptop, rather than a download smile I didn't have any dvds handy either, so I booted it from a usb stick I keep for trying distros (my netbook doesn't have an optical drive!), which worked fine.

1 things I found - remastersys gave the desktop a plain background rather than an image, I must have missed a step somewhere - you can change the background image though by right clicking the backdrop, selecting Change Desktop Background and choosing a new image from the box that appears. But as far as I can tell, everything works on the work laptop I have it installed on now, as well as on my virtualbox I used to set it up.

Hope you enjoyed BETT - I was reading some of the tweets and posts about it and it seems to have been a great event again. I had been planning to go with a busload from Cardiff LEA on the Friday, but at the last minute (Wednesday!) I was sent a hospital appointment I'd been waiting for and couldn't change - Really disappointed not to have been there, but maybe next year smile

Richard

 
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Picture of Visvanath Ratnaweera
Re: Getting into Linux
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers
Hi Frankie, Matt el al

Along the lines of Linux on the desktop or non-power users wanting a replacement desktop, I've come across a few caveats. The biggest one is that the non-power user taking the word 'replacement' too literally! Nevertheless the Linux desktop enjoyed a 40% growth last year - from 0.96 to 1.41%! See http://www.netmarketshare.com/report.aspx?qprid=9&qpaf=&qpcustom=Linux&qpcustomb=0.

Interestingly, some sites observe completely different numbers: Linux 29%, Mac 18% for example! http://www.osnews.com/story/25485/OSNews_Browser_OS_Stats_2012. How does one explain that? Is this the (new) power user vs. non-power user divide?
 
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Matt Bury
Re: Getting into Linux
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers

Hi Visvanath,

The discrepencies in browser and OS usage statistics can be explained by how they collect their data. I don't think general data like this is particularly helpful to anyone. What we should be more interested in is what users are doing with their OS'.

For example, there's a disproportionately high use of Firefox among active participants in elearning. IE is what comes with Windows, so that's what most consumers use "out of the box".For an educational organisation, I think the best data they can get is from their own server logs and any analytics software that they're using. I'm pretty sure they'll see a very different profile of users' OS' and browsers compared to say, a shopping or news site. My site gets more visitors than usual using Linux and Macs. Almost all users on iOS and Android, i.e. on small screened mobile devices, navigate away almost immediately. There's also a disproportionate number of users on XP + IE6 which I interpret to meaning they're on old company/school networks.

 
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me at a FIRST robotics competition
Re: Getting into Linux
Group Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers

Hi Richard,

I agree that Linux is a viable option for many desktop/laptop users and they don't even know it exists (same thing with LibreOffice/OpenOffice as a viable option to MS Office). I agree that we shouldn't say one desktop environment is THE BEST, however I personally tend to be slightly anti-Windows, not because I dislike the OS, so much as I dislike a monopoly. The fact that most people don't have a choice to buy a computer without Windows and most IT staff won't touch Linux on the desktop, tends to make Linux users a bit strident at times. However, you are so right that it is very important for the discussion about Linux not to be about defeating Windows/Mac, but about awareness that they are all viable options for different use cases and that we shouldn't strive towards a homogenous tech solution. I myself use Windows, Mac, and Linux on a daily basis and enjoy them all.

I also agree that the lack of a particular piece of software doesn't mean a system isn't viable. Also I do quite a lot of graphics editing and web design using GIMP (free and Open Source photoshop equivalent) and have found it to be every bit as powerfull and easy to use as photoshop.

 
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Female Ephemerella Infrequens
Re: Getting into Linux
 
We're starting to quibble about details here. I'm a server programmer and have been for 15 years now. So I tend to live in front of linux boxes. I have all the others too. I don't like Windows and boot it only for testing purposes. I only use my Mac for certain media players and software packages that won't run on Linux. Perhaps I should have worded my earlier post in a different way. Linux is rock solid and I personally love it. But many (if not most) users will be disappointed in the lack of critical software. That lack of desktop software support is a major problem for Linux. My "proof" lies in the following, which I firmly believe: if Linux did run all the major software packages, windows would be dead in the water. Right now.
 
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Picture of Visvanath Ratnaweera
Re: Getting into Linux
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers

My apologies for expanding the front in the direction of Apple Mac OS X. May be if you compare OS X with Linux distributions, both have in common that, they have a (non-graphical) kernel at the lowest level. In the case of Linux the graphical interface is optional. (I have never seen OS X without the GUI?) Well, then Windows too has a "kernel", in this respect all three OSes are similar!

I'm the wrong person to discuss OS X, but here is an entertaining talk on all sorts of OS X myths:
Inside the Mac OS X Kernel, Debunking Mac OS Myths
24th Chaos Communication Congress
by "Lucy" <whoislucy(at)gmail.com>
2007-12-28, Berlin

(Transcript and torrents to the video available on the page above, video also on 42 min.)

 
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Picture of L Cramer
Re: Preferred Linux Distribution
 

Is there any general consensus amongst Moodlers what Linux distro is preferred for running Moodle?

 
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Picture of Visvanath Ratnaweera
Re: Preferred Linux Distribution
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers
That was the last question missing in this discussion to go fully off topic!
sad

This (moot) topic has been discussed in the "Hardware and Performance" forum repeatedly. Please make use of the ''Using Moodle' advanced search facility" to search in the introduction to that forum with keywords like Linux, flavour, etc.. It should come up results like these http://moodle.org/mod/forum/search.php?id=5&words=linux+flavour&forumid=94.

Here are some typical ones:
http://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=32192
http://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=119575
http://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=132847
 
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Picture of Richard Oelmann
Re: Preferred Linux Distribution
Group Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers

Simple answer - No smile

Slightly longer answer - do you mean as a server to install your moodle on, or as most of this discussion is focussing towards, a desktop distribution for viewing the moodle site. They are different!!! - except for very small scale testing, you would not install Moodle on a desktop Linux setup. I have a localhost LAMP setup on my laptop so I can use it when I am away from my home network, but that's about all I would use it for! Generally, I use an older PC setup as a dedicated webserver on my home network with a server version of Linux.

Personally I use Ubuntu server and Mint desktop - but any number of options/solutions are available.

Full answer - see Visvanath's post smile

Richard

 
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Capt. Moodle
Re: Preferred Linux Distribution
Group DevelopersGroup Moodle HQGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers

I too have tended toward Ubuntu or Ubuntu server. One of the things I have liked about using Ubuntu is the ease of installing packages. I've installed the GUI or desktop version especially when setting up for folks who are more familiar with Windows as it gives them that support without necessarily feeling overwhelmed by the command line with some hit to performance. I've also installed and maintained Moodle on RedHat without too much effort as well. Ultimately I think it just comes down to providing the environment that those maintaining it are most comfortable with in terms of finding support and dealing with issues as they may arise. I use Ubuntu for my desktop so it is has become my default on the server end. Peace - Anthony

 
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Picture of Visvanath Ratnaweera
Re: Preferred Linux Distribution
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers
To enliven our old topic, cli vs. cli+ck, I've put up a documentation, the http://docs.moodle.org/en/Installing_Moodle_on_Debian_based_distributions.

Feedback is welcome, preferably in the "Installation problems" forum: http://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=196148 or in the "Talk" page to the document.
 
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Picture of Visvanath Ratnaweera
Re: Preferred Linux Distribution
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers
The progressive documentation wiki broke the above link. It should have stayed http://docs.moodle.org/22/en/Installing_Moodle_on_Debian_based_distributions.
 
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Picture of Visvanath Ratnaweera
Rise of Linux
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers
Interview in the BBC today,

Linus Torvalds: Linux succeeded thanks to selfishness and trust
http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-18419231

The topic RaspberryPi in the other thread http://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=193617#p860163 and also Microsoft's recent bout with cancer http://linux.slashdot.org/story/12/06/06/2150202/microsoft-to-run-linux-on-azure were touched.
 
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