Change the Appearance of your BOSS GNU/Linux Desktop

April 30, 2011

The video below is by a BOSS User who goes by the name CDACBOSS on Youtube. It shows how to change the look of BOSS GNU/Linux Desktop.

Click here to view more videos by CDACBOSS.

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How to install software in BOSS Linux?

March 20, 2011

Software for Linux comes in two forms:

  1. Source archives (usually a file with a .tar.gz/tar.bz2 extension)
  2. Binaries

Installing software from Source is generally more demanding than installing binaries. Source archives have to extracted and then built. The build instructions are usually found in the Readme file. Read it, because it will have all the information needed to get that software installed on your machine. There was a time when building software from source was said to provide markedly superior performance than that achieved when installing from binaries. However, this has changed with time, the performance benefit is marginal these days. There are exceptions to this, but in most cases building from source is the last option for new users.

Installing software from binaries is like installing software on Windows using a Setup.exe/Install.exe file. Unlike windows Linux has a variety of package managers which display all the applications in the distributions repository. All you have to do is to pick the software and it should be installed in a matter of a couple of mouse clicks (and automatic downloads of course). Think of it like your smartphone’s app store, only that here all apps are free.

These package managers often handle dependency resolution automatically. Now dependencies are something most Linux users coming from the world of Windows are a little less familiar with. A Dependency is a software that the software you are installing requires pre-installed on the machine. Similar situations exist with Windows too, take for instance applications that require Java to be installed before they are run, or those that require the .NET framework installed as a pre-requisite. Its the same thing here in Linux.

BOSS GNU/Linux comes with Synaptic Package Manager (all versions upto BOSS 4.0 Savir), Synaptic is a GUI package manager for distributions that use the Debian Package Management System. The Synaptic package manager downloads and displays a list of packages from BOSS Linux software archive at http://packages.bosslinux.in/. Once you’ve downloaded the list of available software (bu clicking the Reload button), you can select and install any of the available software. The last time i checked, BOSS 4.0 had a software repository of 29,000 to choose from. Now that is a huge number, the tough part for most new users is finding what they want, Synaptic’s  Search button is use in such cases. However, if you are looking for the Linux equivalent of a Windows software try searching http://www.osalt.com/. They have a list of open source alternatives to popular windows software, once you know what you are looking for, you can easily install it using Synaptic.

Screenshot of Synaptic on BOSS Linux

Screenshot of Synaptic on BOSS Linux

With the release of BOSS 4.0, BOSS GNU/Linux now has Software Centre, it is an alternative to Synaptic. Software Centre categorizes software so that finding and installing software becomes easier for the new user. It also features detailed information about the various software available including links to the software’s official website.This makes it easier for some people to find the right software for the job.

BOSS 4 Software Centre Screenshot

BOSS 4 Software Centre Screenshot

Software centre helps the user narrow down to the desired software, for instance as in the above screen shot you could select Graphics Software and then further refine your search to include only 3D Graphics Software.

The choice between Synaptic and Software Centre depends entirely on the user’s needs, but as always having a choice is good.


Add Debian Multimedia Repositories to you BOSS 4.0 Installation

March 13, 2011

BOSS is derived from Debian, BOSS 4.0 Savir is derived from Debian 6.0(Squeeze). With the previous versions of BOSS installing packages from Debian repositories almost always led to a broken apt due various incompatibilities. However, BOSS 4.0 seems to have overcome this, I’ve been able to install Avidemux on BOSS 4.0 after having added the Debian Multimedia Repositories to BOSS 4.0. The Debian Multimedia Repositories contain multimedia packages that are not included in the Debian’s main/contrib/non-free repositories due to patents and other problems. Avidemux is a cross platform video editing tool, it currently is not present in the BOSS 4.0 Savir repositories. Heres how I installed Avidemux on BOSS 4.0 from the Debian Multimedia Repositories:

Open root terminal(Applications>Accessories>Root Terminal), then type

#gedit /etc/apt/sources.list

sources.list contains the software repositories you BOSS GNU Linux installation is set to look up for packages, we’ll add the Debian Multimedia repository here by typing in the following line at the end of the file:

deb http://www.debian-multimedia.org squeeze main non-free

Save the file and then close gedit.

Then back on the root terminal type the following command to download the Debian Multimedia keyring:
#wget http://debian-multimedia.org/pool/main/d/debian-multimedia-keyring/debian-multimedia-keyring_2010.12.26_all.deb

Then type the following command to install the keyring on your machine:

#dpkg -i debian-multimedia-keyring_2010.12.26_all.deb

You are now all set to update your apt-cache(this is a list of available software) so as to include the Debian Multimedia Packages, type the following command to update apt.
#apt-get update.

Thats it, you now have access to Debian’s Multimedia Repositories on you BOSS 4.0 installation. You can now open up Synaptic and install packages from the Debian Multimedia Repositories or use aptitude or apt-get to do so.

Avidemux on BOSS4 Screenshot

Avidemux on BOSS4 Screenshot

Heres a link on converting videos for playing them on Nokia phones using Avidemux: http://forum.dailymobile.se/index.php?topic=20227.0. The how to describes the conversion process using Avidemux on Windows, but the steps are valid for the the Linux too.

Note: This is still a little risky, as there may be applications on the Debian Multimedia repositories which maybe incompatible with BOSS 4.0, so use it at your own risk and only if you really need it. I would suggest trying out package installation on a Virtual Machine before doing it on your main machine.


BOSS GNU/Linux 4.0 Savir Released

March 2, 2011

BOSS 4.0 was released on the 26th of February, 2011. The release is coupled with a complete overhaul of the Boss Linux website www.bosslinux.in. BOSS 4.0 ISOs can be downloaded from ftp://mirror.bosslinux.in/ISO%20Images/Desktop/savir/rc1/boss-40-i386-DVD-1.iso. BOSS 4.0 release notes can be found here.

 


How to install firefox on BOSS Linux

February 20, 2011

BOSS GNU/Linux comes with Iceweasel installed by default. Iceweasel is a rebranded version of Mozilla’s Firefox web browser. It can be found in Applications>Internet.

If you still need to install FireFox, you should first download the latest version from Mozilla’s page here. You will be downloading an archive, once the download is complete extract it, you’ll find file(shell script) named firefox in it. Double click and run it to use Firefox on BOSS Linux.

Screenshot of Firefox 3.6.13 running on BOSS Linux 3.1 Tejas

Screenshot of Firefox 3.6.13 running on BOSS Linux 3.1 Tejas

The following command will extract the archive:

$tar -xvf archivename

To add Firefox to the applications menu just as iceweasel is click System>Preferences>Main Menu. From the list of Menus in the frame on the left select Internet, then click New Item. Fill in the fields, you’ll have the give the menu item a name(firefox), click browse and select the firefox script in command, you can even click the icon on the left of the dialog and select the firefox icon from the icons folder in the firefox directory.

New Menu item for firefox in Alacarte Menu Editor

New Menu item for Firefox in Alacarte Menu Editor

This will create a menu entry for Firefox in Applications>Internet.

Menu Entry for Firefox

Menu Entry for Firefox

There you have it! Firefox installed and ready to run on your BOSS Linux machine.

Screenshot of Firefox running on BOSS Linux

Firefox running on BOSS Linux

 

To install Opera Web Brower on BOSS GNU Linux click here.


IP Address Configuration on BOSS Linux

February 20, 2011

Q. How to configure IP Address on BOSS Linux?

A. Edit the following file:

/etc/network/interfaces

type:

$su

then enter root password, this file can only be edited by the root user.

#gedit /etc/network/interface

Here you’ll see the list of NICs that have been detected.

Now, to configure an IP Address on one of these NICs say, eth0, type the following

auto eth0

iface eth0 inet static

address ipaddresstobeassignedtomachine

netmask netmasktobeused

gateway gatewayipaddress

If you use DHCP instead of static IP addressing, replace static in the second line with dhcp and only type the first two lines, as the rest of the information will be obtained from the DHCP server. Remember to replace eth0 with the appropriate interface you are trying to configure in the first two lines.

Now restart networking using the following command

#/etc/init.d/networking restart

If you are using a DSL connection (most Broadband connections in India are DSL) and are having issues connecting to the Internet check if it is a DNS resolution related issue by ping-ing any website (say, http://www.wordpress.com) and checking if the URL is getting resolved to an IP Address, if it is not then you need to “force” the DNS IP Addresses. DNS IP Addresses are usually provided by ISPs, however, you could use OpenDNS

208.67.222.222
208.67.220.220

Type the following commands to edit the /etc/resolv.conf file so as to add the above IP Addresses, it is here that the DNS information is stored:

$su

#gedit /etc/resolv.conf

This should fix any DNS related issues.


BOSS GNU/Linux 4.0 Savir Beta released

January 26, 2011

The  new version of BOSS GNU/Linux – version 4.0 is set to be released soon. A beta version is already out. It promises better hardware & multimedia support with a newer kernel (2.6.32). This version has been named Savir. This release also comes with lots of newer packages  like OpenOffice 3.2, Gwibber 1.20, Cheese webcam booth 2.30.1 and GIMP 2.6.10 among others. The desktop has been upgraded GNOME 2.30.2. The beta also comes with a new theme: BossArt, for those who prefer the earlier theme(BossBlue) it is still available in themes gallery.

BOSS GNU/Linux v4.0 Savir comes with Firestarter firewall installed by default, the users can configure it by running the setup wizard found in System>Administration menu. Another new security feature is the named “BOSS Security Feature”, it allows you setup various security features like setting up a GRUB password, enabling SELinux, disabling removable devices like CD/DVD or USB devices. These would come in handy if you want to control access to your machine and keep it secure.

GRUB 2 is now used instead of the earlier version which has now come to be referred as grub-legacy. BOSS Savir also has a control centre which is a lot like the Control Panel from wind0ws, it lets the user perform most system configuration tasks. It also features ndisgtk, which a GUI front end to the ndiswrapper which allows you to use Wind0ws wireless drivers if the ones for Linux can’t be found.  Most people using DSL connections at some point of time try to setup pppoe connections at some point of time, the command to configure a pppoe connection on linux is pppoeconf, BOSS 4 Savir includes a shortcut to this command in the System>Administration menu. As always the option to include more packages from the Utility CD still exists, ever since BOSS has moved from being a CD based distribution to a DVD based distribution the BOSS Utility CD image has also been included in the install DVD.

The BOSS GNU/Linux – version 4.0 beta2 ISO is currently available at: http://downloads.bosslinux.in/ISO%20Images/BOSS4.0/boss-40-i386-DVD-beta2.iso or ftp://mirror.bosslinux.in/ISO%20Images/Desktop/savir/rc1/boss-40-i386-DVD-1.iso

An image showing the BOSS GNU/Linux 4 Savir Desktop

BOSS GNU/Linux 4 Savir Desktop

You could also test your skills at chess with GNU Chess on BOSS 4 Savir

Screenshot of GNUChess on BOSS GNU/Linux 4 Savir

GNUChess on BOSS GNU/Linux 4 Savir

Brasero Disc Burner is a part of the standard install, it should take care of all your CD burning needs.

A screenshot of Brasero Disc Burner on BOSS GNU/Linux 4 Savir

Brasero Disc Burner on BOSS GNU/Linux 4 Savir

F-Spot is also included

F-Spot Photo Manager

F-Spot Photo Manager on Savir