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threegee

Puppy Love

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I knew about it but I'd never actualy tried it until earlier this week.  I'm talking about Puppy Linux.

 

It's a Linux that you don't need to install. One that is very small (but perfectly formed), and which boots very quickly.  Actually there are numerous Puppies because there is a tool called Woof that makes it very easy for the computer savvy to generate yet another one.

 

I've now got a USB stick in my "man-bag" that can fire it up on just about any machine, and optionally install it permanently.  Why would you want to do this?  Well.. when you turn on that old lappy or desktop and it tells you that M$ got sick of waiting for you to buy the same old Windoze code yet again (a pop-up on the XP screen I'm told by a third party), then think Puppy Linux.  You can have the old clunker working better than it ever did under Microsoft in no time at all, and you needn't pay a penny to M$ - ever!

 

Also great if a machine refuses to boot as you can likely get at all your files, and test that it's not a hardware problem, both at the same time.

 

This post is being written on an old Asus EeePC that was gathering dust for years.  All it turned out to need was a new keyboard; £14 from Amazon.  The battery is seems pretty good, so's I removed XP completely and installed Puppy.  It's now better than new! :)  Just about all the hardware was immediately recognised - no Windows driver hell!!!

 

I will write full instructions to put Puppy on a USB stick, and make it bootable, if anyone asks here. The information is out there is you search, but there are a bewildering number of ways to do it.  It only took me a few minutes and a £3 8GB stick is more than adequate. In fact a 4GB would do almost as well.  Puppy saves your work back to the stick by default, so you can resume your session on other hardware.  Even with slow USB 2 this is still faster than the usual Windows XP boot sequence, and it tells you what is going on at every stage.  Magic!

 

That's the new keyboard tested then!  Posting beats the quick brown fox, any day! ;)

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Yeah, there are lots of live CDs that are just as good or better at diagnostics, but the Puppy distros seem to be USB stick (UFD) centric and super-small. Don't know about you, but the last of my machines to have a CD drive hit the cupboard several years back, and I positively hate getting an external CD/DVD drive out.

 

The disro I'm using is only a few hundred megs, but you wouldn't know that it when it pops up.  On the downside the file system is a bit wierd; it loads a pseudo-disk file into RAM, and a quick attempt to install GCC has thrown up all sorts of probs. Searching on the error messages I'm surely not alone here. Just going to install the latest Java SDK and see if it is a viable development platform.  But for an average end-user there's more than enough functionality and it's delightfully free of set-up nonsense. Some of this may be due to an obvious attempt to kill all "localization" but our mother tongue! :D  Even the package manager offers to remove any language bloat from its downloads. That sure gets my vote!

 

You're root all the time, except for an option to run the internet stuff as user: spot (spot the dog - gerrit?).  This undoubtedly raises eyebrows, but simplifies many things.

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