Frequently Asked Questions


Yes, running more than one operating system (OS) in one machine is possible. When you're running Windows and want to try using a Linux distribution at the same time, that is possible. And it can be the other way around. The same goes in situations where one is using Mac.

That is done through the virtualization (or virtual machine) technology. That means installing a third-party software (e.g., VMWare, Virtualbox, among others) and use such software to install another OS of your choice, which is called a guest OS.

If you're using Windows, you may install Linux using the WUBI (Windows Ubuntu Installer) approach. Visit http://wubi-installer.org.

If you're using Linux but want to use Windows for various reasons, we suggest that you try Virtualbox. You may try this Techthrob link on how to do it.

Youtube and other popular sites providing video streams use Adobe Flash Player. The format is proprietary, thus, it is not part of the default installation of Ubuntu.

There is hope, though. Here is what you must do. Make sure you do not have any web browser open in your desktop. There are two ways to install the Adobe Flash plugin.

The first option is to download the package from this site: http://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/. And then open the file and follow instructions in installing it. It's very easy to install it.

The second option is to open a terminal (from menu Applications->Accessories->Terminal or by pressing Ctrl-F2 and entering 'gnome-terminal' command (without the quotes). With the terminal open, enter the following command:

sudo apt-get install flashplugin-nonfree

Just press 'Y' to confirm the installation.

It is a fact that Microsoft Office is more popular than any other office suite there is. Corollary to that fact is a sad reality: That Microsoft Office is a proprietary, vendor-lock-in software that goes against the grain of free and open source software (FOSS) advocacy.

So, are there workarounds for us OpenOffice users? How do we deal with our friends, future employers, partners, etc. using Microsoft Office, who will get miffed receiving .odt, .odp, and .ods files? To please them, we would save, if not convert, our OpenOffice files under Microsoft Office formats. This is tedious and "anti-FOSS", though.

If OpenOffice can nowadays open even the .docx formats, why can't Microsoft Office open the ODF formats in return? Good news is that there's already a plug-in for Microsoft Office by which ODF files can be converted to proprietary formats of Microsoft Office.

The answer to the question, therefore, is: Do not share .doc formats. Share ODF, PDF, RTF, plain text files, or even HTML files, depending on level of complexity of the files you're sharing.

You may add a signature to your emails, which contains an advice that your recipient/s should try OpenOffice.org, a free and open source office suite. The advice should also include a link to the ODF plugin.

Yes, if the question concerns the now and coming years. Virus writers tend to target Windows machines because of Microsoft's popularity and because of the operating system's inherently weak security mechanisms.

Linux fares much better because of its default security settings (secure repositories for software packages, stricter root/admin policies, etc.) and faster fixes.

However, as a general rule, no software is 100% insulated from viruses, even malwares and security breach codes. Linux may one day become as vulnerable as Windows, although, that may come in decades.

Meanwhile, read this interesting article (though a bit dated) comparing Windows from Linux in terms of security.

Major Linux distributions are up in competition in the area of user interface. It is not easy to determine which of these turns out to be the best. Factors that come into play include make and quality of machines under which to use a distribution.

Considering the modern computer machines (either desktop or laptops) now in the market, Ubuntu and OpenSuse fight it out in the user experience area. Although, one should not discount the fight that Fedora Core, Mandriva, Mint and Arch are giving.

Would-be Linux users are advised to visit distrowatch.com to get a feel of the Linux distribution universe. They should also search the Internet for keywords such as "best Linux distribution". One such interesting link to visit is this.

Asking around would also help. Only then could one answer the question as to which Linux distribution is the best as far as s/he is concerned.

This is a typical question for those eager to learn to use Linux but are afraid that their favorite Microsoft programs "might not run under Linux."

Before answering that question, a very important note: Chances are there are great equivalent for your favorite Windows applications. For instance, if you've been using Microsoft Office, we are sure you'll love OpenOffice under Linux. (Although there's OpenOffice under Windows as well.)

To know more about these alternatives, please visit osalt.com.

Going back to the question, yes, you may run Windows applications under Linux depending on whether they are supported via a third-party software called wine.

For example, if you've been using Photoshop and are not yet ready to try the alternative Linux application called GIMP, you may install Photoshop via wine.

If you're using Ubuntu, install wine by entering the following command in a terminal:

sudo apt-get install wine.

To install a Windows application, go to the folder where the Windows exe file is located. Right click on the file name and select "Open with Wine Windows Program Loader".

To know which Windows applications are currently supported by wine, visit http://appdb.winehq.org/index.php.

A hard question to answer, as both have similar objectives, though with several advantages and disadvantages.

Both are essential tools for knowledge creation.

Although Forums are more open-ended and require no additional technical skill from users. Users just type in their reply to a topic and click the submission button.

Discussions in Forums are threaded a bit like email. Whereas in Wikis, shared knowledge is instantly integrated into a whole like overlays stacked over one another.

As implied above, Wikis assume that users have knowledge of tags to format text. Most wiki sites have similar tagging schemes. Wikis produce readily available, sometimes academically or technically sound, content. One great example of a wiki site is Wikipedia.

The portal (foss-for-health.org) has both the Forums and Open Spaces Wiki. We highly recommend use of these tools. Use Forums to address urgent concerns or to explore ideas. Use Open Spaces Wiki to create content like howtos, common stories, and collaborative articles.

The question certainly applies to years ago, when one had to be a geek to be able to tweak printing-related files.

Today, printer installation on Linux is much easier and is even comparable to that on Windows. This on the condition that the printer that you are trying to install is in the list of printer models supported by the Linux Foundation. When you power on a supported printer and plug the printer cable into the computer (usually a USB one), your Linux system automatically recognizes it and provides the best driver for it. In just a few clicks, your printer is already up and ready for production.

There may be occasions when a printer model is not in the supported list but its manufacturer provides a Linux driver for it. Only in this situation should you be ready to get your hands dirty by following the installation guide and/or searching the Internet on how to do it. Otherwise, you should contact your nearest Linux buddy to help you work it out.

(as cited in iosn.net)

David Wheeler:

"Briefly, OSS/FS programs are programs whose licenses give users the freedom to run the program for any purpose, to study and modify the program, and to redistribute copies of either the original or modified program (without having to pay royalties to previous developers)."

According to the Free Software Foundation, free software is about protecting four user freedoms:

* The freedom to run a program, for any purpose;
* The freedom to study how a program works and adapt it to a person’s needs. Access to the source code is a precondition for this;
* The freedom to redistribute copies so that you can help your neighbour; and
* The freedom to improve a program and release your improvements to the public, so that the whole community benefits. Access to the source code is a precondition for this.