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.