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My new computer is sitting beside my desk and I use it daily; I check my e-mail, back up my chapters as I write them, and listen to music and browse the Internet for my next book idea. The final price? Two hundred dollars! Are you ready to do the same thing? Have you decided that a new computer would be nice? How about a new computer that has inside what you want at the price you decided on? If this sounds great to you, welcome to Ubuntu on a Dime. Keep reading. I dare you. I might as well go ahead and say that the software is also free to uninstall, free to love or hate, free to complain about, and, of course, free to rave about to your friends and family.

And now the bad news: unless a major breakthrough in direct-to-brain downloading has occurred as you read this, that percent free operating system and software will need a home. And that means a computer—a whirring, beeping, plugged-in personal computer PC that contains a few basic components that are absolutely required for you to download, store, and use the previously mentioned software.

Let me explain. In early , Microsoft introduced its latest operating system, Vista, to the world. It then promptly informed everyone that running the operating system properly would require some hefty computer hardware requirements: more hard drive space than any previous operating system, more memory, and a much faster processor. And those requirements were the minimum just to run Vista; other limits existed.

Have you had enough? Or you can spend the bare minimum on hardware, keeping your expenditures low without skimping on software and services.


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You can install the latest version of Ubuntu on cutting-edge hardware found in a computer from Back in , a good computer might typically come with a 60GB hard drive, MB or 1GB of RAM memory, and a Pentium 4 processor; as well as a built-in network card, video, and sound on the motherboard. Not convinced? Can you say that about your current computer and, say, Windows Home Edition? This list helps define the hardware I need to purchase to build my U-PC. What hardware? Case All computers require a case to hold the hardware; inside that case must be a power supply that plugs into the wall and provides power to all the hardware that will be added inside the case.

Tower cases are usually found sitting on the floor; they can be short or tall. There are also all sorts of odd shapes, colors, and materials available for cases. Think of it as Grand Central Station, in which all your hardware must come together—and work together—to run the operating system and applications that you install. One nice feature of most MBs is that they also can provide sound and video and network connectivity.

So you can see words and pictures on the screen, hear music and any beeps your computer might make, and get connected to the Internet. Sound, video, and network connectivity can also be provided by separate hardware called peripherals that plug into the MB, but they typically cost more money because they sometimes provide more features. Memory and Hard Drive All computers must have memory also called RAM memory and a hard drive added to store information and work with it. There are better books out there on how computer hardware components work, but just know that a computer hard drive retains all the information stored on it when the power is turned off; the RAM memory can hold information when the computer is powered and it provides that information to the processor and you faster than the hard drive can do.

Look for a drive labeled as RW. Not sure which to buy? With this combo you can create music CDs to play in your car, for example as well as back up your data to DVDs that can hold much more data than a CD. There are always exceptions, however. For example, processors come in different sizes and shapes, and you must make certain to buy a MB that will accept a certain type of processor; the place where the processor is inserted is called a socket.

My recommendation is to always decide on the processor you want to purchase first—it might very well be the most expensive part found in the case—and then purchase the MB that is compatible. Most reliable companies that sell hardware are glad to help you buy the proper components. Always ask about the return policy—30 days for substitutions and 15 days for returns are reasonable expectations.

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Okay, I made my list and paid a visit to a local computer store. I had a salesperson help me so I could be absolutely certain I was getting the right components. You can find discussions there on all the components used in the U-PC—plus many more. My U-PC components came in a variety of bags, plastic containers, and boxes. My overall goal, of course, was to keep my costs low while meeting the minimum hardware requirements needed by Ubuntu and listed earlier in the chapter. In many instances, it was impossible to purchase components near the recommended requirements; for example, Ubuntu requires 8GB of hard drive space, but the smallest capacity hard drive I could find was 80GB.

The power supply comes with all the power cables that connect to your hardware components. If I can do it, so can you. And here we go. Open all the components and sort them out, including any screws, cables, and so on. Open the computer case. Install the MB. Install the hard drive. Connect all cables from the power supply to individual hardware components. Close up the computer case. Step 1: Taking an Inventory of the Components This was actually a fun step—it felt like it was my birthday when I opened all the boxes and bags and pulled out the shiny new parts.

Figure shows all the major parts of my U-PC. I left the MB and the processor in their protective containers; static electricity is a serious threat to some computer components and keeping them in their bags protect them from static charge until needed. That little pop you sometimes get when touching a doorknob is enough to damage a MB or RAM chip, believe it or not. All my U-PC components are opened and ready for assembly. Even this small electrical charge is enough to damage some of these computer components.

To prevent this type of damage, I recommend that you always touch something to discharge this static electricity options include the metal external cover on the computer case or even a chair or table leg. Do this occasionally as you build your computer. I also touched my computer case to discharge any static electricity that might have built up. Cost is one factor; another is compatibility. All MBs come with a place to insert the processor.

Make certain that your processor and MB sockets match. For my AMD processor, a small gold triangle in one corner see Figure matched up with a small triangle printed on the MB. Figure shows the processor inserted and the lever locked. Figure Lift the lever and insert the processor into the socket. After inserting the processor, lock down the lever. Processors get extremely hot, so most processors are sold with cooling fans included. If your processor does not come with a cooling fan, be sure to purchase one; without it, your processor will most assuredly be damaged by heat and become useless.

This can happen in minutes, days, or hours, but it will happen, so be warned. Thermal paste can be purchased inexpensively from most computer stores. My cooling fan came with thermal paste already applied to the surface of the fan that touches the processor; check with a salesperson to see if yours does as well. I followed the instructions that came with my processor and clamped the cooling fan down on top of the processor, as shown in Figure A small locking arm not visible in the figure ensures that the fan is clamped down securely.

The cooling fan gets its power from the motherboard. Figure shows one of the memory slots with the clamps opened. I inserted the chip s in the lowest slot first DIMM1 in this instance. Open the clamps on a memory slot before inserting a chip. Memory chips typically have a notch along the bottom edge see Figure This notch helps determine the proper way to insert the RAM memory chip it fits in the slot only one way. The memory chip fits only one way in the slot. Figure shows the RAM memory inserted. I pressed down firmly but carefully on the chip; the clamps closed and locked in the chip automatically.

How did I know which side to remove? Although I could remove both, I opened the side that allowed me to install the MB. Once the MB is installed, the other side can be removed. I simply removed the screws holding it and slid the side panel off. Your case might use clips or some other method in place of screws; most cases are not complicated, so just look carefully and you should be able to determine how to remove the side.

Well, your MB should also be matched to your computer case; it is called a form factor. But just to be certain, make sure to verify that the form of your MB will fit inside your case. Locate the screws and remove one side of the computer case. After removing the lid, I took a look inside. The inside of the case should look somewhat similar to the one shown in Figure The computer case is open and ready for parts to be added. If your MB comes with a small faceplate such as the one shown in Figure , insert it by pressing it against the bay opening shown in Figure from the inside.

It should snap into place, as shown in Figure Some motherboards come with a faceplate like this one. The faceplate must be inserted in the case before connecting the motherboard. Step 5: Installing the Motherboard Figure shows the case with all the cabling moved out of the way.

Notice that there are a handful of mounting posts on the exposed side of the case. Mounting posts hold the motherboard securely to the case. In some instances, not all mounting posts will be used, and some might not match up exactly; use as many as you can. Screws and mounting posts hold the motherboard securely to the case. I then reached inside the case and gently pushed against the panel—it popped out easily. If you have multiple bay choices, pick the one you like best.

I chose the top one because my case will be placed on the floor when in use. To do this, I removed the other side of the case. Step 7: Installing the Hard Drive The hard drive is inserted in the case from the inside. For this reason, I chose to mount the hard drive in the highest drive spot in the case, as indicated in Figure After I inserted the hard drive, I connected it to the case using only two screws per side, not three. If you have the option to connect using three screws per side, I highly recommend it.

SATA drives and cables allow for faster data transfer, but cost more. Some MBs also include the proper cable. Use screws to securely connect the hard drive to the case. The miscellaneous lights are not required to be connected, but most motherboard documentation provides easy-to-follow instructions for this. Be patient; sometimes the connectors are small and can be tricky to connect. First, I connected power to the MB.

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The connector shown in Figure has a special shape that fits in only one place on the MB. Figure shows the plug where the MB connector attaches. The ATX motherboard power connector looks like this one. The ATX motherboard power connector plugs in here. I found the secondary power connector coming from the power supply that fits the location shown in Figure The secondary power connection I then located the special data cable shown in Figure There should be a red line along one edge ch One end of my data cable was blue; I located the blue plug on the MB and made the connection see Figure Figure shows my data cable connected to both drives.

I located the power connectors, called Molex connectors see Figure The case has a small cable like the one shown in Figure This cable connects the power button and lights on the front of the case to the MB. Figure shows the cable plugged in. If you have only one cable, it can plug into any of the USB connections with no problem. Figure shows where these two final connections were made. Connect the speaker cable to the motherboard.

Step 9: Testing the U-PC I connected a keyboard, mouse, and monitor; plugged in the computer; and then turned it on. Because there was no operating system installed, I saw a warning message see Figure This process will be handled in Chapter 2. The U-PC tells you it needs an operating system installed.

If you followed the steps along with me, did you get some other errors? First, look inside and make certain that both fans are spinning—the one on the processor and the one built into the power supply. You might not be getting power. Is there a light on the front of the case? Usually one of the lights blinks on and off to indicate the hard drive is working, but many errors cause the light to stay solid. Make certain that the motherboard and processor are both receiving power from the power supply refer to step 8 and that you used the proper power connectors in the proper locations.

Is the computer still not working? Computers are fairly rugged these days, and the most likely problem is a loose or improper connection, or a cable that has been plugged into the wrong location. Start by returning to step 8 and double-checking all your connections—you might even consider unplugging everything and starting over. If after you double- and triple-check the connections your computer is still not working, you have a few options.

If you purchased your computer parts locally, you might call the store and ask if you can bring it in for someone to quickly look over. My local computer store has some really helpful employees who enjoy helping customers solve problems. If you bought the parts online, however, you might have to resort to having your computer looked at by a professional. Another resource is a local Linux user group. These groups usually consist of Linux hobbyists and professionals, and members are usually very patient and helpful with new Ubuntu Linux users trying to get a computer working and ready for an Ubuntu installation.

Step Closing the Computer Case This step is easy; I just put the case sides back on and screwed them down securely. You can reconnect them using whatever method your case uses for keeping the sides from falling off. Well, almost. So much software free software! But before all this can happen, you have to obtain a copy of the Ubuntu operating system OS. There are three ways to do this, and they are covered in detail in Appendix B at the end of this book. After you obtain your CD or DVD containing the Ubuntu installation files, grab a chair near your computer and let me show you how amazingly easy it is to get Ubuntu installed and working.

Following is a short summary of what will happen in this chapter. Each of the following steps in this summary will then be covered in more detail later in the chapter: 1. Selecting the language 3. Trying Ubuntu first without making any changes to the computer 33 ch Testing various items: sound, video, and network connectivity 5.

Configuring the hard drive partition 6. Installing Ubuntu files on the hard drive 7. Logging in 8. Consult the motherboard documentation for instructions on setting the boot device order. This setting simply defines the order in which the computer will look for operating system files to load; typically you want your operating system to be started from a hard drive, but with a new computer there is usually no data on the hard drive. This is covered in more detail in the next section. Step 1. Begin by turning on the U-PC.

Next, turn off the U-PC and then turn it back on. Step 2. Use the up and down arrow keys to choose the language and then press the Enter key. Select the language you want to have Ubuntu use from the list provided. Step 3. For now, ignore everything but the first option in the list labeled Try Ubuntu without any change to your computer. It should be selected by default and displayed in white letters; all other options will be displayed in an orange-brown color.

Selecting the first option lets you test Ubuntu without risk to your computer. This could take a few minutes or more; because files are not stored on your hard drive, all the information that the U-PC needs to run Ubuntu must be obtained from the disc and stored in RAM memory. If there are any problems with Ubuntu running on your computer, you might see an occasional message on the screen. For now, just let the computer try and complete the Ubuntu desktop launch. If all goes as planned, the desktop opens, as shown in Figure and you should be able to use your mouse and keyboard. A clean Ubuntu desktop should appear on your screen.

Step 4. Before installing Ubuntu, you should perform three tests: video screen the monitor or LCD , sound the speakers , and Internet connectivity. Next, make sure that you can hear sounds and music from the speakers. To do this, double-click the Examples folder on the desktop see Figure Inside the Examples folder is a collection of sample files that test various applications. Although the music bars are a huge hint that this is a sound file, the. Double-click the file and—sound! So sound checks out.


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If you have a broadband modem that lets you connect to the Internet, connect the network cable from the modem to the back of the U-PC. To do this, click the small icon indicated in Figure This icon launches Firefox, a free web browser that comes packaged with the Ubuntu installation files.

Firefox verifies that the Internet connection is working. After a few seconds, the web site appears see Figure Opening a web site lets you know that Ubuntu is working. This is great! Ubuntu appears to recognize the video, sound, and network hardware components. And you can use the mouse and keyboard, too. And to do that, you need to perform one more action from within Ubuntu: partitioning the hard drive. Partitioning the Hard Drive You need to make certain that the hard drive is working properly. To do this, click the System menu, select the Administration option, and then click Partition Editor on the flyout menu, as shown in Figure The Partition Editor opens, as shown in Figure Use the Partition Editor to prepare the hard drive for Ubuntu.

Before that space can be used, however, a partition must be created in which the operating system will be installed. Partitions can be a confusing topic, but fortunately Ubuntu and the Partition Editor handle most of the decisions for you. Think of your hard drive as a pie; uncut, the pie represents all the storage space on your hard drive lumped together in one big container with the Ubuntu operating system installed and all your files.

But you can cut that pie up into sections, with each section set aside for a particular purpose—this is called partitioning. You can create a section for storing just your music files, for example, or even another section that can run an entirely different operating system! This is called dual booting, and a PC like this will boot up and allow you to select which operating system you want to use.

Linux also needs a swap partition, which is really just a relatively small part of the hard drive acting as extra memory. When in doubt, let the Partition Editor handle things for you! By default, the Partition Editor offers up the entire hard drive as one big container with no other sections. Click the Help menu and review the instructions for creating a new partition.

I set aside 5. To create a partition, click the line describing the partition to highlight it indicated by the mouse arrow; refer to Figure and then click the Partition menu and select New, as shown in Figure Select unallocated space and then choose New to create a partition. A warning message appears, as shown in Figure Click the Create button to proceed.

A warning message lets you know that any data on the hard drive will be erased. Select the Partition menu again and click New. This time, a different window appears see Figure Create the partition that will hold the Ubuntu operating system. The partition is created and ready for Ubuntu to be installed. Click the Apply button to finalize the creation of the partition. Creating the partition is not reversible. This returns you to the Ubuntu desktop. Step 6. To install Ubuntu, you can simply double-click that icon, and the process begins.

A Welcome screen appears, as shown in Figure Select the language again from the left side of the screen and click the Forward button to continue. Select the language as the first of seven steps to install Ubuntu. On the Where are you—screen shown in Figure , use the mouse to click the map and zoom in to your approximate location. The time zone will update based on your selection. Click the Forward button to continue.

Use the map to select your location and time zone. Now select the keyboard layout. Select the proper keyboard layout for your computer. Click the Continue button; the hard drive spins a little, and the light blinks on and off for a few seconds—something good must be happening! The hard drive spinning and the little light blinking tells you that files are being copied from the Ubuntu install disc to the hard drive, and things are proceeding as planned. Check that the partition is selected. On the Who are you? For names I use jim, jim, and jim-laptop. Ubuntu needs some information to create a user account.

Next, you see a summary of all the information provided or selected see Figure Click the Install button and let the installation proceed. Click the Install button to complete the installation of Ubuntu. Because only a Primary Partition was created back in Step 5, Step 6 was skipped. What is Step 6? If you choose to break your hard drive into multiple partitions, you will select in Step 6 on which partition to install the Ubuntu operating system boot files. After you finish, the window shown in Figure opens.

All in all, it took about 30 minutes for me to complete step 1 to step 6. The actual file copying took about 15 minutes on my U-PC. Restart the computer to get Ubuntu up and running. The computer will reboot and present you with a new login screen. Step 7. Logging In When Ubuntu first starts up, you see a username screen, as shown in Figure If you provide the correct information, Ubuntu opens up to the familiar desktop and is ready to use.

Provide a username and password to log in to Ubuntu. Step 8. You click the left mouse button to select and drag items, you double-click the left mouse button to open files, and you rightclick a file to see a flyout menu with additional options. A handful of menus and icons are available on the Ubuntu desktop In the upper-left corner are three menus and three small quick launch icons. From the left, the menus are Applications, Places, and System; followed by a small icon for the Firefox web browser covered in Chapter 9 , an e-mail icon to launch the Evolution e-mail application see Chapter 4 , and the Help icon to launch the built-in Ubuntu Help Center.

Moving your mouse over a category launches a flyout menu that provides a list of possible applications for you to launch. Menus can contain categories with applications and other tools. The Places menu shown in Figure has many uses. You can also access shared drives, folders, and files from this menu. The Places menu gives you quick access to folders and network locations. The System menu see Figure gives you access to the administrative tools needed to manage the Ubuntu computer.

If you have ever used the Control Panel found in Microsoft ch The Preferences category has many options: you can change your wallpaper, set a screensaver, enable Bluetooth devices, and more. The Administration category also seen in Figure controls more of the global options of Ubuntu that affect not only you but also any users on your computer. You can add new hardware, create new user accounts, change the system date and time, and more.

The System menu contains dozens of administrative tools. Also available are web sites that provide help to everyone from novice to guru also found in Chapter 12 and at the end of this chapter. This book provides only a summary of how to navigate the Ubuntu operating system and to launch and use some of the included applications. If you have questions about any aspect of Ubuntu, the answers are out there, including more detailed coverage of each and every tool available in the System menu.

Each of these applications is covered in its own chapter Evolution in Chapter 4 and Firefox in Chapter 9 , so please feel free to jump ahead if you want to begin using those applications now. The Ubuntu Help Center is a useful tool as you begin using Ubuntu. The Ubuntu Help Center is fully searchable using keywords: enter the keyword in the text box near the top and then press the Enter key. You might also click individual topics along the left edge that can be used to view articles describing how to perform specific actions within Ubuntu. Additional icons on the Ubuntu desktop provide information on running services.

Starting from the left, you might or might not see the downward-pointing arrow with the exclamation mark on your desktop, but if you do, click it once. This icon will appear when there are updates to the Ubuntu system available. Many of these updates are security related and are released to protect your operating system from malicious sources such as viruses or ch As you can see in Figure , after I clicked the Update icon, a new window opened, informing me that I have updates that should be installed. I have a lot of updates that need to be installed on my operating system.

The next icon from the left looks like two small computer screens overlapping. This Network icon gives you access to any of your network hardware, as well as the ability to configure it. If, for example, you install Ubuntu on a laptop that has both a wireless network card and a standard network card that uses a cable, you can use this icon to switch between the two by clicking it once and selecting the appropriate card. To the right of the Network icon is the Sound icon; you can increase or decrease the volume of your speakers or mute the sound by clicking this icon once.

Right-click the icon for additional options. Finally, the date and time are provided. The username of the person currently using Ubuntu is also available refer to Figure This is useful if multiple users will access a computer running Ubuntu; a quick glance can tell you if someone else has logged you out and logged in with a different user account. The last item to cover on the Ubuntu desktop is seen in Figure This is the status panel that is running along the bottom edge of the screen.

It shows any current windows that 61 ch The button on the far left of the status panel, when clicked, will minimize or hide any open windows on the screen. Click that window, and only that item will open on the desktop. The status panel runs along the bottom edge of the desktop. On the far right of the status panel are two small rectangles. One rectangle is shaded; it represents the desktop screen you are currently viewing. The only difference is that you must toggle back and forth between them instead of seeing them both at the same time.

The final icon on the far right of the status panel is the Trash icon. Click the icon once and it will open, allowing you to view any files that have been sent to the Trash. Click some menus, launch some tools, and become familiar with how the OS operates. Troubleshooting Ubuntu is a very stable operating system. Problems during installation are rare, and if you do encounter them, there are some useful options available to push past any roadblocks and continue forward with the installation. Ubuntu provides tools for troubleshooting an installation.

These are simple quick tests you can perform before beginning the install. What I call the troubleshooting power tools are found along the bottom edge of Figure The F4 key Modes is a frequent solution to many install problems because it deals with the video display. Display problems can cause many issues with an Ubuntu install, and an easy solution to push through is to select VGA as the video type. Again, display resolution is a common problem, so try this. Members of the Ubuntu user community are proud of this operating system, and they want it to grow and flourish and find new users.

That said, the community has experts who are friendly and knowledgeable and willing to help you if you give them the chance. Be polite, be descriptive in typing up the problem, and be patient, and 63 ch Your Ubuntu installation comes with a nice collection of preinstalled software—all of it free. Are there hidden costs? Who pays for this software? And what else is available? Have you taken a look at the prices of software these days? Or maybe not. Ever since someone slapped a price on a piece of software, someone else has offered a competing product for less—often for free.

In Chapter 1, I managed to build an ultra-low-cost computer the U-PC ; in Chapter 2, I showed you how to install a percent free operating system on it. Can you continue to keep the expenses down as you load up the U-PC with software? Of course! But for now, I need you to understand that when it comes to software, you have two options: you can pay for the software you use or you find free alternatives. Sometimes you have to wait for the company to actually send you the software on a disc—anxiously checking your mailbox daily for its arrival.

The company provides regular updates to the software because of the new viruses that are created each day. But most often, this is simply another money maker for the big software companies see Figure Most antivirus applications charge a yearly subscription fee. Miss a payment and that software might very well uninstall itself from your computer, requiring a completely new purchase with that large product initiation fee before starting up with the subscription fees again.

Yes to all three? Well, let me put your mind at ease and let you know that there are individuals, teams, and companies out there determined to fight subscription fees every step of the way. Open Source Software Open source software is the real deal: quality software that you can have at zero cost, with no advertisements or hidden subscription fees, no spyware that installs itself on your computer and monitors your activities, and no weekly e-mail asking you to upgrade to the latest version for a small fee.

There is shareware software that you can download and use for 30 days free , but often it has some features disabled that come alive only when you purchase the full version. There is also trialware software that does give you the full version of an application usually for 30 days or less , but locks up when the trial period ends.

Add to all this subterfuge the fact that free software often has viruses and other malicious software hidden inside. So beware! How do you find the real deal? Well, the two words I want you to keep in mind as you move forward in the book are open source. Open Source Initiative is a great resource for learning about the open source movement. Much of the software covered in this book and that comes bundled with the Ubuntu installation is open source: OpenOffice. Well, that falls into the third category of software.

Do you use your Internet connection to check your bank balance also called Internet banking? Probably not. Instead, that information is kept secured hopefully on a hard drive owned by your bank. That hard drive might be down the road, in a different state, or even possibly in a different country! But by providing a simple username and password, your web browser presents your personal financial information to you on the screen with possible options that include printing a statement, transferring funds from a checking account to savings, and even viewing scanned images of your checks see Figure Clicking the camera icons lets me view my checks.

This is an example of cloud computing, where the cloud is the Internet. Most cloud computing services that are free to you the customer are paid for by advertisers. Sometimes these advertisements are small and unobtrusive, maybe hidden in the lower-right corner of the screen where you will never notice them. Other times, the advertisements exist as banner ads that run across the top of the page and sometimes down both sides and in the middle, as shown in Figure Find all the advertisements and you win a prize. One of the biggest cloud computing service providers is one you already know: Google.

It has a word processor app, a spreadsheet app, a web design app, an e-mail app. Well, the rumors are also pointing to more and more cloud computing applications appearing. Freeware is most often created by a single individual who has an idea to create something, usually for personal use. After the little application is developed, the developer often puts it out on the Internet for anyone and everyone to use.

Freeware apps also come with large security risks; these applications are often infected with viruses that can damage your files, your operating system, and sometimes even your hardware. Other freeware apps are nothing but digital Trojan horses called spyware. If you download and install a freeware app that has spyware embedded inside, you open yourself up to all sorts of trouble.

The least damaging spyware tracks the web sites that you visit and reports back to the company that created the software; this information can be sold to other companies that buy lists of prospects who might like their products. The most damaging form of spyware can track things such as passwords and credit cards used for online purchases. Not all freeware is malicious, but you have to be careful out there when it comes to downloading and installing software on your computer. In these instances, I always recommend that you use some of the more trustworthy sites on the Internet that collect, scan, and review freeware.

It still makes sense to investigate any piece of freeware you download including scanning for viruses , but sites such as this one are often safer than doing a Google search and downloading the first app you find that meets your need. Are you looking for more freeware download sites for Ubuntu? I now return to the original question posted at the beginning of the chapter: how can you keep expenses down when it comes to software for your U-PC?

The answer to both questions really comes down to a personal choice. I like playing computer games, and many of the game titles I want to play cost money. But there is a lot of competition for other things I use my computer to do: word processing and photo editing, for example. The remaining chapters in this book introduce you to some alternative applications that are applying some competition to the BNAs.

With any software you download from these types of sites or anywhere, actually , always run a virus scan to make sure that the installation files are clean. Web sites such as SnapFiles collect free software for visitors to sift through. One reason why the Ubuntu installation is so nice is that because the software is already installed for you, you can immediately start using it and avoid the entire issue of installing and troubleshooting it e-mail, web browsing, word processing, photo editing, and more. Chapter 4 starts with coverage of the percent free, open source, e-mail application called Evolution.

And even though I use Google Email 90 percent of the time see Chapter 10 , I do maintain a couple of older e-mail addresses using Evolution. But the one application that I seem to use the most is for e-mail. Our reliance on e-mail has become as common as phone and television access. Short of a phone call or using a chat program for instant messaging , e-mail is the fastest way to communicate with someone next door or on the other side of the planet. Where documents and pictures and other types of files used to have to be mailed in an envelope at the mercy of the postal service , now these documents are simply included with an e-mail.

A large number of applications have also been installed on the computer, absolutely free. And tucked nicely into that collection is a superb little e-mail application called Evolution with a list of features that will surprise you. It uses a simple user interface that is intuitive to grasp, and technical help is just a mouse click away. Gmail supports POP, which allows applications such as Evolution to grab messages and download them to your computer instead of accessing them from a web browser.

Evolution also provides a nice calendar application for your U-PC. One is that you have an e-mail address that you already use, possibly provided by your Internet Service Provider ISP , employer, or other entity. The second assumption is that you understand basic e-mail terminology: send, receive, attachment, spam, and so on. Configuring Evolution The first time you open Evolution, the application detects that it has not yet been configured. A wizard will lead you through the simple process, so follow along with the steps and screenshots, and Evolution will be up and running in no time.

From the Ubuntu desktop, locate and click the Evolution icon, as shown in Figure The Evolution application can be launched quickly using this icon. Either method opens the application. Next, the Evolution Setup Assistant screen appears, as shown in Figure Press the Enter key to continue. This can cause some buttons to not appear on the screen for example, the Forward button mentioned in Figure In this instance, you can use the reverse jump to select the proper button that might not be visible—in most instances, it is a Next, Continue, or Finished button.

This is definitely one of the items that Ubuntu developers have to fix in future versions of the operating system. Simply press Enter to move to the next screen. Restoring a backup of your e-mail is an option, but not for this first configuration. The next screen is the Identity screen see Figure Evolution uses your identity information when you send e-mail. Figure shows the Receiving Email screen, in which you select the type of server that Evolution will use to download your e-mail from the Server Type drop-down menu.

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You must select a server type for receiving e-mail. Figure shows that I selected POP. I also provided a server pop. Some servers require only a username, not a full e-mail address as I supplied; check with the organization providing your e-mail address for the proper server type and configuration details. Click the Forward button.

Now press the Tab key three times and press Enter. If the box is already checked, uncheck it and recheck it, press Tab three times, and then press Enter. Configure settings for received e-mail on the Receiving Options screen You can increase or decrease the time interval for Evolution to check for new messages.

The default is 10 minutes and works fine. Now press the Tab key three times and then press Enter. Figure shows the Sending Email screen you will see next. Most e-mail providers use SMTP, but you should inquire about the proper settings for this window. Figure shows the Account Management screen. You can change the text in the Name field if you like—this screen is useful if you want to have Evolution check multiple e-mail accounts and want to be able to distinguish them easily. I changed my information to Ubuntu-Work as shown in Figure Click the Forward button or press the Tab key three times and press Enter.

Provide a description in the Account Management screen. On the next screen, use your mouse and click the map to indicate your location; your time zone is selected. Figure shows the conclusion to the Evolution Setup Assistant. Click the Apply button or press Enter. The Evolution Setup Assistant is complete. Evolution now opens, as shown in Figure The remainder of the chapter will show you how to use all the tools that Evolution provides.

Using Evolution E-mail This section shows you how to send and receive e-mail as well as how to send file attachments. Checking for E-mail By default, Evolution contacts your e-mail provider every 10 minutes refer to Figure to check for waiting mail to be downloaded. This window asks for the e-mail account password. Enter the password and click the OK button. Until you log off, this password needs to be provided only one time; Evolution remembers the password for subsequent e-mail checks.

Evolution requires a password to download e-mail messages. You see a screen similar to the one shown in Figure Evolution checks with your e-mail provider to see whether any messages are in the queue awaiting download. New messages will appear in the Inbox. Evolution displays a progress bar while downloading any e-mail messages. Unread e-mail appear in your Inbox in bold refer to Figure Sending E-mail There are four ways to send e-mail, described in the following sections. A blank e-mail opens, as shown in Figure Blank e-mail message Enter text in the lower portion of the screen.

Formatting can be applied to e-mail text. A The Insert Attachment screen appears see Figure If you have a folder open on your screen with the desired file visible, just drag it over to the body of your e-mail and drop it in—easy! Attachments can be easily added to any message. Use the left side of the screen labeled Places to browse to the location of the file s you want to attach. Select the file from the list on the right side of the screen and click the Attach button. Multiple files can be selected by holding down the Ctrl key.

After I click the Attach button, the attachments are shown added to my message at the bottom of the window see Figure Attachments are visible in your message. Finally, you need to specify who will receive the e-mail and add a subject line. Use commas to separate multiple e-mail addresses. Add some text in the subject line. Figure shows the message ready to be sent. An e-mail with attachments is ready to send.

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Click the Send button shown in Figure and your e-mail is sent. Replying to the Sender of an Existing Message To reply to an e-mail, open the message by clicking it. The message will open, as shown in Figure An open e-mail message can be replied to with a click of a button. Click the Reply button, and a new e-mail message appears with the text from the original e-mail included at the bottom. Type in your message, as shown in Figure , and click the Send button. You can change the subject line, add attachments, or delete the original message text.

You can also treat it just like a new message, including adding formatting as described in the previous section. Replying to All Recipients of a Particular Message Just like replying to a single recipient, clicking the Reply to All button shown in Figure will allow you to respond to an e-mail and send a response to all the addresses in the To and Cc fields of the original message.

Your response will not be sent to anyone included in the Bcc field of the original message. You can format text, add attachments, and even add new e-mail addresses to the Reply to All message. A reply to this message includes the original message text. Forwarding an Existing Message You can also choose to forward an open e-mail message to a new recipient; maybe you received an interesting web site link or an attachment that you want to share with someone else. Your message will be removed to the junk folder. Give your folder a name, specify where to store it possibly as a subfolder of the Inbox , and click Create.

Provide keywords that you want to search for and click the OK button; any messages that contain one or more keywords will be listed onscreen. For example, double-clicking an attachment labeled recipes. Using Evolution Calendar and Tasks Evolution provides an easy-to-use calendar and the ability to create a list of tasks a to-do list. To access the Calendar and Tasks features, click the Calendars button in the lower-left corner, as shown in Figure Accessing the Evolution calendar is a button click away. Figure shows the default Calendar and Tasks window open.

Tasks is located at the right edge of the screen, and Calendar takes up the middle and left sections. Note that you can switch back to Evolution Mail by clicking the Mail button in the lower-left corner. Feel free to type in as many tasks as you want; as the list builds up, you can scroll up and down the list. As your task list builds, you can place checks in boxes to indicate that certain tasks are complete.

To remove an item from the task list, right-click it and select Delete. Use the Tasks feature to give yourself friendly reminders. Memos are also specific to a certain day on your calendar; tasks are always visible, but memos appear only on the day they are assigned more on that later. Memos are useful for storing longer bits of text.

Just remember that tasks are for short reminders, and memos are for adding comments and notes and then applying them to specific days on your calendar. Memos are better than tasks for typing longer bits of text for later use in other documents or tools. Figure shows a minicalendar that displays a full month. The current date is indicated by a small square surrounding the date February 1, in Figure , and other days you select are highlighted by a solid-colored square.

Ubuntu pretty much only restarts for kernel updates, but if you install Ksplice, even those go away. Every time Ubuntu updates it asks me to reboot the machine, yet in Win7 I can update video card drivers and not have to restart. I pointed out that Lucid Lynx is receiving updates almost every day. Therefore, by your original statement, I should be rebooting it almost every day.

Usually this isn't required, it's just that having the person restart their whole computer is easier than explaining to them how to restart a particular process like X in the case of a video driver update. Are you running Win7 bit? MS has some basic hot-swap update service that works better on bit and a lot of things that would require a reboot in bit or in the old XP days, no longer do so.

Supposedly the x64 architecture allows for stuff like this in a safer way than bit x This is completely false, all you need to do is shut X down, unload the driver, and restart X there is no need to completely reboot. If a file is in use by Windows or a program an installer has two choices: fail and rollback, or mark the file for replacement next reboot and ask the user to do so. Which is great. Only updates for Linux I've needed to reboot for are kernel updates, which is understandable.

You can also get Windows to reboot less but it takes some knowledge of how and why that happens to know how to avoid it, whereas Linux "just works".

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You can't even buy the operating system and anti-malware protection for Microsoft Windows for that. The didn't have privilege levels, so essentially everything would run as root. Shhh, don't spoil the fun for the zealots. They love pretending that Unix folks had their shit together back then. It lets them believe that Microsoft won through some underhanded marketing bullshit instead of the fact that there were no realistic alternatives.

The fact that it took Microsoft another 10 years to catch up is really sad. Meanwhile, everyone else had better hardware and GUIs. You can't even buy the operating system and anti-malware protection for Microsoft Windows for that, let alone have any money left over for hardware and productivity software! Then when you install the software, you have the paradigm of having to restart the computer to complete software installation and you have to learn how to practice safe computing while budgeting for annual anti-malware software license renewals! So you're saying people who use Ubuntu don't need to practice safe computing?

That's great news! Next time I get an email from a Nigerian prince, I'll make sure I send him my account information with pine instead of Outlook, so then I'll be safe. Of course there are scams to consider. However those really have little to do with technology. They're a pure con game that just happens to use email as the communications medium. OTOH, you could just use the principle of "avoid Microsoft as much as possible" to whatever degree you feel that you can get away with. This could mean dumping Windows entirely or merely avoiding as many Micro.

I think you might be mistaken. There were a few others, but I can't remember the names off the top of my head. Windows persists because it's designed to be a desktop operating system. Linux is an adaptation of a server operating system. All of the software is there in Windows, and it has the nifty interface and a company backing it up by writing professional documentation, hordes of device drivers, and being there to issue updates in a timely manner.

No offense intended to the Ubuntu folks, but there's a reason the market often beats the volunteer efforts: it can pay for in addition to inspiring great performance. I could run BeOS for free. And on today's machines, it would play the fastest game of Tetris ever. Jokes aside, who considers the price of the OS the primary issue? Way to miss the point. The primary issue is "does this OS run the applications I want to run".

I encounter naive Linux desktop converts occasionally. And no, that's not to suggest all Linux desktop converts are naive. It's very frustrating to hear them pontificate about their latest install Ubuntu Malodorous Moose, and then on the other hand ask "what's the Linux equivalent of [some Windows application]? If it doesn't run the applications I need to run, you could give me the OS for free and it still won't run them. Throwing in red herrings about what certain security apps cost when there are free alternatives for Windows is pretty disingenuous as well. Ubuntu is all well and good until you need something that is not covered by its package manager.

It's all well and good until some piece of hardware only has limited support via some hack. The problem with Linux is that even with all the advancements, it's still a fragmented platform that only works properly if you stay within it's narrow selection of hardware that is known to work. If I say you'll have no success trying to sell a car that doesn't go over 20 MPH, is it funny because years ago no cars went over 20 MPH? I dunno Many games have what amounts to a command line. I would say that a good amount of people would have no problem using a command line interface IF they knew its uses.

They're sold at BestBuy but they are kind of hidden from view. They're tucked away in a corner so that you don't notice them as you pass by the more expensive machines. When you say "most recent" do you mean the Hardly a fair test, if indeed there is any truth to your post at all.. The whole point of this book is to reduce those requirements by explaining things.

As stated in the review, it's apparently easy to follow. So is a phone call to tech support, where you get told the stereotypical useless answer by a script-reader making slightly more than minimum wage. Posting a message on a forum, where you can get advice from a few dozen fellow users is more "bang for the buck", so to speak.

Listening to overbearing geeks tell you how easy things you can't figure out are, is a cost. So is having to tell the tech support script-reader that your computer is really plugged in, you did push the right button, and the mouse is not being used as a foot pedal. There's remarkably few arrogant helpers like that, and they usually get chewed out by the benevolent ones. Having to find and download "free" software to do stuff MS users get with their machines, and then finding out it isn't quite the same, is a cost.

Things included with Windows generally come installed in Ubuntu. Installation is two mouse clicks and typing one word, where Windows installations usually require serial numbers, a drive to the store, and other costs you conveniently ignore. Expecting everything to be in the exact same place after replacing a core component of you computer is a ridiculous requirement.

Not being able to easily exchange docs and pictures with your nieces and nephews is a cost. If you're having problems running a basic email client, or even opening a file in OpenOffice, perhaps you shouldn't be using a computer in the first place. Maybe now is also a good time to mention the joyous pain of Microsoft Office's ever-changing file formats. Have you forgotten already? You've made your knowledge of the subject fully evident.

Thanks for playing correct-a-troll, and have a nice day. I know a lot of people will argue, seeing as we've been using zeros for a while now, but conventionally, the 21st century started on January 1st, Therefore the There may be more comments in this discussion. Without JavaScript enabled, you might want to turn on Classic Discussion System in your preferences instead.

Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter. Migrate from GitHub to SourceForge quickly and easily with this tool. This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted. Ubuntu on a Dime More Login. More Login. Share twitter facebook linkedin. Re:your first sentence is technically flawed Score: 5 , Funny. Why stop at the first sentence when the title is flawed? Two hundred dollars! Parent Share twitter facebook linkedin. Re:your first sentence is technically flawed Score: 4 , Funny. Did you intentionally make that rhyme? Re: Score: 2.

Re: Score: 3 , Interesting. Seriously, go to salvation army for your ultra-cheap computing needs. Book reviews? Score: 5 , Insightful. Re: Score: 3 , Insightful. Re: Score: 2 , Informative. Re:your first sentence is technically flawed Score: 4 , Insightful. Re: Score: 3 , Informative. I don't know. How many employees do you have? How much time do you have to back up their mailboxes? Archive them? Replicate them in a DR facility? Propagate them across the infrastructure? Index them on the server? Instance them? You're talking how much the drive space costs and ignoring infrastructure costs.

Mind you, what kind of drive and where? Is it part of an array? Is it 15K, 10K, 7. Is it being mirrored? And so on. Unix didn't start out as a virtual memory based operating system with protected address spaces. Re:your first sentence is technically flawed Score: 5 , Informative. This has nothing to do with the skills or lack there of of programmers in , but everything with the CPU features available. The and anything else IBM might have used did not support memory protection or any form of privilege separation.

UNIX needs those features in hardware to run. Yes, there are some specialized UNIX variants that will run on such limited hardware, but they don't support proper secuirty simply because they can't The original versions of Windows didn't have any memory protection or any concept of security or separate users. It wasn't designed to. Re:your first sentence is technically flawed Score: 5 , Interesting. Given that the 4. That's not to say they di. Its amazing how much people leave out when they are writing histories. There's not a single mention of the best selling based Unix workstation of the s in that article, TRS Model 16 aka Tandy running Xenix.

But the Tandy machines were sold to accountants and small businesses. But we all remember Sun and Apollo, because Sun and Apollo sold their machines to geeks. I use what works for me, leaving dogma aside. Re: Score: 2 , Insightful. That was my thought too. Score: 4 , Insightful. Score: 4 , Funny. Re: Score: 3 , Funny. Knowing your wireless card and webcam will work: Priceless. She doesn't have to know how to test if her IP Address is good. She doesn't have to update drivers. Plus I've had the update manager tell me to restart after updating, so I don't get the idea that I'd never have to reboot Ubuntu after doing updates, that's just not true.

As far as OS configuration, are you also consi. You're going to cite one specific Microtek scanner? What percentage of scanners manufactured in the past 10 years work today in Windows 7? I wager a higher percentage is supported in Linux. Her only. So who is the book for? Score: 3 , Insightful. Building a PC from scratch? What FOSS is? How to use Ubuntu?