Linux and an off the shelf Raspberry Pi are operating on Mars. That means you can grab what NASA is doing and make your own Ingenuity drone copter. From LinuxGizmos:
Ingenuity is another proof-of-concept experiment, in this case for flying on Mars. It is not part of Perseverance’s primary mission, which is to search for signs of life. Yet, if the drone helicopter happens to capture an image of a Martian waving up at it when it makes its test flights in the coming weeks, all glory goes to Linux.
From the ZDNet article:
As for the software, Canham said, "This the first time we'll be flying Linux on Mars. We're actually running on a Linux operating system. The software framework that we're using is one that we developed at JPL for CubeSats and instruments, and we open-sourced it a few years ago. So, you can get the software framework that's flying on the Mars helicopter, and use it on your own project. It's kind of an open-source victory because we're flying an open-source operating system and an open-source flight software framework and flying commercial parts that you can buy off the shelf if you wanted to do this yourself someday."
It's another FOSS Friday! We have more refreshing Mint for you this week. Today's Mint comes in Cinnamon. It's Linux Mint, of course!
We saw the sun set on Windows 7 this week and there isn't be a better time to switch to Linux on your home or work computer. Linux Mint Cinnamon is one of the best and easiest distros (distributions) for beginners. It's also the best distribution for anyone who doesn't want a lot of fussing about. Mint allows you to install and instantly get to work.
When I originally switched from Windows to Linux this was the distro I picked. My switch was nearly seamless. It took a little while to get used to the new folder structure and to what I could and couldn't do without administrative permissions (sudo!), but all of it was easily learned and soon I was happily working away on my new operating system.
Mint's desktop is intuitive to Windows users. It starts with the task bar on the bottom and the 'start' button on the left. Click on the button and it opens to a whisker menu that lists categories which open when you run your pointer over them. The installed options include nearly every program you need to hit the ground running: Firefox for web browsing, Libre Office for Officing, Rhythmbox for music, GIMP for graphics, and so on. The Package Manager (like Windows Store or iTunes for iOS) has tons of other options for nearly any other program you might need.
Mint Cinnamon, as shipped, isn't going to win any beauty pageants. It's sort of old fashioned looking. But it is very stable and it performs beautifully. It's a workhorse. One of the nice things about Mint is that they tend to change very slowly. Unlike most OS builders, they don't throw out big changes to users and expect them to adapt or die. The change from version 18 to 19 was mostly under the hood and involved security and speed. Updates are not exciting times. For many users that's a good thing.
If you have concerns over beloved Windows programs Mint uses WINE fairly well and Play On Linux gives you even more options. It's not ideal, but Windows programs will work.
I encourage anyone who is reluctant to switch from Windows 7 to Windows 10 to take a look at Linux Mint Cinnamon. It's honestly one of the best operating systems out there.
If you think you might like to try out Linux Mint before you install it on your computer, give us a call and we'd be more than happy to show you what the OS is like and let you have a go at it.
Hello FOSS FRIDAY! FOSS is free and open source software.
Yummy Peppermint today.
With Windows 7 coming to a screeching halt next week there may be a lot of people who are not thrilled with the idea of updating to Windows 10. Many have concerns about the way that the OS operates and behaves.
If you are one of those people and you are willing to experiment a bit, there's Linux.
Linux OS comes in what is called "distributions" or "distros". Some are easier to learn than others. Some look and work a lot like Windows 7. It's a myth that Linux is hard to use. It isn't. It's "Follow the directions." easy. If you've backed up all of your personal data, you can be up and playing or working within a couple of hours.
I'm going to show you a few Linux distros (distributions) that I think are the easiest to transition from Windows 7. I will not post about a distro I've never used. I'll post links to articles on my Rabbit Stew Facebook page about distros I've never used. Open Source (Linux is Open Source) has some of the smartest people around writing about their experiences on various distros.
Let's get started.
PEPPERMINT OS 10
Peppermint is geared toward using internet resources rather than native desktop programs. It's good for Netbook use and low powered computers. I also love this distro for newcomers. I think it is the most user friendly of all the distros. If you spend most of your computer time online doing email, surfing, watching YouTube videos, playing simple games, Facebooking, reading, etc., this one is for you. The interface includes a lot of internet apps.
Visit the Peppermint OS Web Site to look at screenshots or read about the OS.
If you want to get a feel for how the OS works, watch this simple exploration video by Linux Scoop.
I found a great overview of the pros and cons of Peppermint 10 by watching 3D PC's video:
3D PC gets a bit geeky at times (and uses really lame memes that kind of make the vid adorable), but he lays out what he likes about the distro and what he doesn't. He's got specialty software needs that won't run on any Linux distro, which is a major concern for many users. In all honesty, it takes a bit of time to adjust to using nothing but Linux compatible software. There are ways to run Microsoft programs on a Linux computer, but that's another post.
Casual computer users should not be concerned about this. In my opinion using Peppermint OS is closer to using Windows 7 than using Windows 10.
Peppermint 10 is a great OS for someone switching from Windows 7. Most of the interface is intuitive for Windows users and what isn't is easy to learn.
I'll be posting more on other Linux distros soon.
It's yet another FOSS Friday! This is a long one and I'm breaking it up into parts.
While reloading Windows 7 on a very old, very slow 32-bit laptop yesterday I got my first pop-up saying that support for Win7 will be ending in January of 2020. It's sad for sure. Windows 7 was the last Microsoft OS that I used and I still like it quite a bit. But, we all have to move on and update to new things in the digital world. There is no standing still.
OTOH, there's an incredible amount of waste out there with old computers that simply can't handle the new operating systems and the tremendous amount of CPU power that is required to keep them running. Sure, you can upgrade to Win8 or Win10, but will your computer handle all of that? It might. But probably not. You can't make Windows 10 run on a computer that was made to run Windows XP. It's just not going to happen.
Fortunately, there's an answer for outdated hardware that still functions like it was meant to - And old hardware can have a very long life.
The answer is Linux. There are a lot of distros (Short for distribution, distro is a term used to describe a specific distribution of Linux that is built from the common Linux operating system and includes additional applications. Red Hat, Debian and SuSe are all examples of a distro. - From Webopedia) out there. Some are high end and run rings around Win10 for productivity and looking good. (They are also much more private.)
There are also distros that are specifically made for old computers that simply can't run all of the things modern tech throws at them.
One of my favorites is Peppermint OS. It's a gorgeous OS that I have on my little Toshiba laptop that was made in the mid-00s. The laptop is 32-bit, has 3.5 gigs of RAM and has 80 gigs of storage. When we took it in, it was running XP. Badly. It ran out of memory and crashed frequently. It couldn't handle basic tasks with all the things that XP needs to keep running in the background.
So, I installed Peppermint 6 (the most recent at the time). It ran beautifully.
Peppermint OS is a small footprint distro that's easy to use straight away. Install it and go. Everything you need is right in front of you. The desktop is intuitive for Windows users with an easy walk through to set up your desktop and explore with a Whiskers Menu at the bottom (it looks like the Win7 start button). See the image below.
Peppermint is also very kid friendly and it can be run from a USB if you want to experiment with it.
If you like what you've heard and seen so far, stop by the shop to check out an older computer running Peppermint 9 (the current version). We think you will like what you see!