Friday, June 29, 2012

How to add Puppy Linux "Frugal" installation to the Grub2?

Having a light-weight Linux distro like Puppy Linux is always handy to have on hard disk. Of course, you can keep it as a CD or USB and boot it as and when required. But, I prefer the traditional way - have it in HDD when there is no scarcity of space.

First install Puppy after booting it from CD or USB. Installations are very easy to follow and self-explanatory. Choose the "Frugal" option if you want it to co-exist with your existing OSs.

Once installation is done a text file with the grub2 update instructions will pop up. It is, however, not easy to follow. Copy and save it to a location which your primary linux distro can access. Then, reboot to your primary linux distro and type in the terminal

$gedit /etc/grub.d/40_custom

For Ubuntu, add sudo.

The initial lines would look like this:

exec tail -n +3 $0
# This file provides an easy way to add custom menu entries.  Simply type the
# menu entries you want to add after this comment.  Be careful not to change
# the 'exec tail' line above.

Add the following lines below it:

menuentry "Puppy Linux 5.3.3 (frugal on sda5)" {
set root='(hd0,4)'
search --no-floppy --fs-uuid --set 2C20-6100
linux /slacko5.3.3frugal/vmlinuz pmedia=atahd psubdir=slacko5.3.3frugal
initrd /slacko5.3.3frugal/initrd.gz

Change the menuentry to your Puppy Linux version, anyway it is for your reference and doesn't matter what you write till you are aware what you are booting up.

Set root option you'll get from the text file pop up you had saved earlier after frugal installation of Puppy.

In search option, edit the uuid of the hard disk where you saved Puppy. You can get your all HDD uuid's by typing the following in the terminal:

$ls -l /dev/disk/by-uuid/

Next line would come from the text file again. Edit the folder name (here /slacko5.3.3frugal).

For example, I installed  Puppy Precise in sdb1 (with uuid 5ddaba1b-a977-4409-a78d-09f6993275a8) in root (hd1,0) folder /precise5.2.60frugal then my menuentry will be:

menuentry "Puppy Linux 5.2.60 (frugal on sdb1)" {

set root='(hd1,0)'
search --no-floppy --fs-uuid --set 5ddaba1b-a977-4409-a78d-09f6993275a8
linux /precise5.2.60frugal/vmlinuz pmedia=atahd psubdir=precise5.2.60frugal initrd /precise5.2.60frugal/initrd.gz

Finally, update grub! That's it. On rebooting, you'll get the Puppy boot option in the grub.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Future scope of Linux based on today's operating system usage pattern

If I see the current usage of different operating systems, there is scope of Linux OS in next 2-3 years to expand from its present user base of 5%. Simply put, significant volume of users are still using Windows XP even after the support for it has ended. Currently the app providers are supporting XP but within 2 years or so that support would be minimal. Further, a significant chunk of that XP user base have desktops on which the latest Windows7 or Windows8 would not load.

2012 Win7 Vista Win2003 WinXP Linux Mac Mobile
May 52.3% 3.9% 0.6% 26.8% 4.9% 9.0% 1.6%
April 51.3% 4.2% 0.6% 27.3% 4.9% 9.3% 1.5%
March 49.9% 4.3% 0.6% 28.9% 4.9% 8.9% 1.4%
February 48.7% 4.5% 0.7% 30.0% 5.0% 9.1% 1.3%
January 47.1% 4.7% 0.7% 31.4% 4.9% 9.0% 1.3%

That gives an opportunity for a linux OS to fulfill the gap which would run smoothly on the antiquated hardware and provide full functionality to the users. The OSs with similar kind of potential I see are Lubuntu and Xubuntu. Clearly Ubuntu is directly competing with Windows and Mac in terms of looks and functionality and I don't think future Ubuntu releases will load smoothly on these machines running XP. Lubuntu and Xubuntu can fill the gap. From functional point of view, both of these distributions are competent to challenge any modern OS in the linux world. They have all the apps you would require normally and of course, there is WINE to support the Windows apps one would like to use.

Another significant OS which looks and feels like Windows 7 and can bridge the gap, is Zorin OS. I was unable to boot it from an USB but really interested to try it for sometime. It has definitely great potential but unlike regular linux distros, the full version is not free. Unfortunate.

Some of my next few articles would concentrate on the operating systems which look and feel like Windows XP and potentially can cater the segment who can't or don't want to migrate to Windows 7.

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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Another Mate 1.2 desktop alternative to Linux Mint: Salix 13.37

Linux users who are fond of Gnome 2 desktop can't get enough of Mate 1.2. The project to advance Gnome 2 started by an Arch Linux user, seems to be gaining popularity with another Linux OS pursuing Mate apart from Linux Mint.

On 19th June, George Vlahavas announced the release of Salix OS 13.37 "Live MATE" edition, a Slackware-based live CD featuring the MATE desktop. It has both 32-bit and 64-bit versions. I downloaded the 630 mb 32-bit edition from

In virtual box of my P4/2.4 GHz/1.5 GB RAM, I allotted 512 mb RAM to test the OS. It booted within 2 minutes and I was greeted with a login screen asking me username-password. A little bit of searching and I had the username! Username one and no password works for it.

The desktop looks cool with a bluish abstract wallpaper.

The developers have preloaded almost all the useful applications you would want in a linux OS. 

For internet Firefox 13 with Adobe Flash support, claws mail, pidgin, bit-torrent client, etc. are provided. Complete LibreOffice suite is provided for your office needs.

In the multimedia section, gstreamer codecs are not included by default. But a link is provided to the user to install the multimedia codecs. Asunder CD ripper, Brasero writer, Exaile player, Ptivi video editor, and Whaaw! Media player are provided. VLC is notable absence and users have to download it separately.

I found CPU usage to be slightly higher at the idle state, 37%, possibly because I was running it from Virtual Box. From USB drive CPU usage might be lower. Got to check this running Puppy from VB. RAM usage is around 173 MB which is decent.

Salix has a good online community and a good documentation. So, users won't be scratching their heads if any problem arises. But, seriously a question I asked myself - with Linux Mint Maya too providing a very similar OS, would you really prefer Salix over Mint Maya?

26th June 2012: I checked using Puppy Slacko 5.3.3 for CPU usage in Virtual Box. When booted from USB, it reports about 4% CPU usage at idle state whereas in VB, it gives a CPU usage of 35%. So, Salix CPU usage is kind of lower and comparable to Puppy Slacko, which is really great!

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