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Re: [News] Dell's GNU/Linux Sales Almost 33% in Some Areas

Roy Schestowitz wrote:

> Hash: SHA1
> Dell Vouches for Quality of Linux Netbooks
> ,----[ Quote ]
> | A PC World story, apparently covering the same event, reports that Finch
> | revealed that in a few weeks Dell will offer Linux OS upgrades to Ubuntu
> | 9.04. PC World also reports that Finch said Dell is looking into
> | manufacturing ARM-based netbooks and "smartbooks". Finally, Finch was
> | said to have revealed that "in certain quarters" close to a third of all
> | Dell netbook shipments are pre-loaded with Linux.
> `----
> http://www.channelinsider.com/c/a/Linux-and-Unix

Del and other manufacturers with their Linux marketing
departments and Linux business development
managers are not trying hard enough to develop Linux sales
and throw away oppportunities.

They can get swamped with orders if they start shoving
out the 3D compiz translucent desktops.

It costs nothing to put translucent 3D desktops and make
netbooks as functional as netbooks as can be seen below:

Using extlinux to convert a liveCD iso to bootable SD card

Converting an ISO file to a bootable USB stick or a bootable
SD Card for EEE is easy.

Without being able to convert a distro into a bootable USB flash /SD Card,
that distro can't be easily loaded into netbook like EEE
and stand to miss out on users installing it into netbooks.

So I would recommend all distro mainters look at their netbook
boot strategy and offer something to boot their distros
from USB flash and SD cards or miss out on users installing it into

Having done a few conversions, a pattern emerges that works well for 
most syslinux / isolinux / extlinux based distros.

1. Put your SD card or USB flash drive into your desktop Linux PC and
   then open a console and type dmesg
   You should see some line indicating your flash drive as
   being picked up and allocated with a comment like sdc / sdc1 etc..
   Remember both names - the first is /dev/sdc which is your
   device name, and the second is /dev/sdc1 which is your partition name.
   (Don't get confused between drive /dev/sdc and partition /dev/sdc1
   or your drive could become scrambled eggs later on. Also remember
   it may be called sdg or sdh etc depending what you see when you
   plug in device and type dmesg)

2. Install gparted on your machine using synaptic.
   To run it you can type
     sudo gparted
   in a console window and select on the right side the drive name allocated
   in step 1. Right click on the bar that represents the partition
   and click on manage flags.
   Enable the boot flag and click OK. This makes the SD Card / USB
   stick bootable.

3. Format the partition /dev/sdc1 to ext2 linux format.
   This format is not directly readable under WINDUMMY Osen, but there
   are free drivers for it - try for example www.fs-driver.org
   The ext2 format is many times faster than windummy FAT so
   ditching WINDUMMY file formats is advised.

4. Identify that you have syslinux or isolinux in your liveCD by
   opening the .ISO file in archive manager and checking that it has
   isolinux or syslinux directory somewhere in the liveCD.
   In ubuntu, the root directory of /dev/sdc1 will not be writeable
   unless you are in super user mode.
   You can run
        sudo file-roller
   to open iso files like xubuntu-9.04-desktop-i386.iso in super user
   mode and extract all the files in the iso file
   to the /dev/sdc1 partition.

5. Go to the flash drive and locate the syslinux (or isolinux) directory.
   rename it to extlinux. Inside the now renamed extlinux directory will
   a file such as syslinux.cfg or isolinux.cfg. Rename that to
6. Get syslinux - this is a boot loader and menu system for FAT based
   file systems. Download the latest version from here...
   Unzip it and go to the extlinux directory.
   On my machine path is something like this....../syslinux/extlinux
   Run the program there by typing this - (note this command is updating
   the partition /dev/sdc1)

   ./extlinux --install /dev/sdc1/extlinux 

   This puts a new file into your SD card / USB flash disk

7. from the extlinux directory change to the mbr directory
   cd ../mbr
   and then run this - again note this time its updating the device by
   writing data to the first sector as opposed to the first partition.

   sudo cat mbr.bin > /dev/sdc

   (Note at this stage you may need to do some of the sudo commands after
   entering super user mode to make it work properly.
   So the above command would have been done as follows in Ubuntu.

   sudo -s
   cat mbr.bin > /dev/sdc

   This makes the card bootable and useable in an Asus EEE and many other
   PCs with SD card or USB flash disk boot facility.

   After booting, you can install Linux on to local disk or an external
   pocket drive. The pocket drive can be 7200 RPM giving you near desktop

This method tested and works for

1. Ubuntu
2. Slax
3. Knoppix
4. Puppy
5. DSL
6. GParted
7. gOS
8. Dynabolic
9. MoonOS Kachana
10. Xubuntu
11. TinyOS (incredible distro!)

(Note the method does not work for .ISO files built with grub bootloader - 
 need a different install method with grub boot loader instead of syslinux.)

Try installing something powerful like Ubuntu on to a netbook
and see it take netbooks to new heights.

3D Translucent Cube Desktop

The latest EEE1000 has fast enough graphics for translucent
3D desktops. An easy way to do all this with Ubuntu is:

Install Ubuntu on EEE (compiz itself
appears to be installed by default in the default install),
then install compiz settings manager using Synaptic
which allows compiz to be fully 'exercised'.
And then do the following to get the 3D cube desktop

 Go to General > Display Settings > Lighting and turned it off
 Enable Desktop Cube and then Desktop Cube > Transparent Cube and set the
 two opacity  settings to 30%
 then Desktop Cube > Skydome and check the skydome check mark
 Enable Rotate Cube
 Enable Enhanced Zoom Desktop
 Right click the virtual workspaces panel and increase the number
 of colums to 16.

And hey presto - 100% 3D translucent desktop with 16 screens!!!!!!!!!!

 [Some shortcuts for the 3D screen
  ctrl + alt + left or right arrow to spin cube
  ctrl + alt + down arrow and then left or right arrow for a ring switcher
  super + E for yet another switcher
  super + mouse wheel scroll to zoom in and out of the 3D desktop.

You can run many applications simultaneously on netbook like a
real Linux desktop. You can open many browser tabs, run Open Office, video,
and developer stuff like MySQL server, Apache, PHP, Gambas, sqlite3
ALL SIMULTANEOUSLY while on a train for example, and rotate the
cube to switch between tasks instantly. Gone are the days when netbooks
were mis-represented as toys. They are fully functional Linux
Desktops on the move. Try it! It works!

Reducing Font Sizes And Turning ON Sub Pixel Rendering

The EEE can be astonishingly good to look at once the
font size is reduced to about 8 and sub pixel rendering
is turned ON. It is still absolutely
readable and everything appeared like a 'full screen' miniature
desktop equivalent of a big desktop PC.
System > Appearance > Fonts get to the font settings
in Ubuntu. On software like firefox and some other applications,
need to also to set local use of fonts ( Edit > Preferences > Content 
will have font settings for firefox that also need to be changed). 

Yes! VirtualBox can run on Ubutu set up with 3D translucent desktop.

Install virtual box and then install programs like windopws XP and run
it pretty much at it would run on a normal netbook. Its hard to tell
if the netbook is running Linux or the WINDUMMY OSen when the software
is run full screen becaue the speed and responsiveness is about
the same between a real windummy OSen install and a virtual box
virtual machine running it all in Linux.

Speeding up netbook to near Desktop speed
With the EEE, you can speed up the netbook into a desktop PC able to handle
giant applications. Just fit USB 7200 RPM external pocket drive. Install
and boot Linux from the external drive. Data transfer rate is about 28
Megabytes per second so video and other stuff work at near desktop speeds.
Obviously it uses up a lot more energy and 2 USB sockets and so
drains battery very fast. Need to be plugged into a charger to
get best performance. You don't want to fit the 7200RPM drive
inside the netbook - it will heat up a lot. If you want 7 to 8 hours of
battery life from your netbooks you need to limit yourself to slowish SSDs
for now. As the pocket drives cost only 40 pounds, another advantage
is that you can have several to switch between tasks.

If netbooks start shipping with e-Sata, then that would be even better
option to get as the e-Sata and 7200 RPM pocket drives
desktop drive are common and cheap.


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