There is a new version of this tutorial available for gOS 3.1.

The Perfect Desktop - gOS 3.0 Gadgets

Version 1.0
Author: Falko Timme

This tutorial shows how you can set up a gOS 3.0 Gadgets desktop that is a full-fledged replacement for a Windows desktop, i.e. that has all the software that people need to do the things they do on their Windows desktops. The advantages are clear: you get a secure system without DRM restrictions that works even on old hardware, and the best thing is: all software comes free of charge. gOS is a lightweight Linux distribution, based on Ubuntu 8.04, that comes with Google Apps and some other Web 2.0 applications; gOS 3.0 Gadgets uses the GNOME desktop.

I want to say first that this is not the only way of setting up such a system. There are many ways of achieving this goal but this is the way I take. I do not issue any guarantee that this will work for you!


1 Preliminary Note

To fully replace a Windows desktop, I want the gOS desktop to have the following software installed:


  • The GIMP - free software replacement for Adobe Photoshop
  • F-Spot - full-featured personal photo management application for the GNOME desktop
  • Google Picasa - application for organizing and editing digital photos


  • Firefox
  • Opera
  • Flash Player 9
  • FileZilla - multithreaded FTP client
  • Thunderbird - email and news client
  • Evolution - combines e-mail, calendar, address book, and task list management functions
  • aMule - P2P file sharing application
  • BitTornado - Bittorrent client
  • Azureus - Java Bittorrent client
  • Pidgin - multi-platform instant messaging client
  • Skype
  • Google Earth
  • Xchat IRC - IRC client


  • OpenOffice Writer - replacement for Microsoft Word
  • OpenOffice Calc - replacement for Microsoft Excel
  • Adobe Reader
  • GnuCash - double-entry book-keeping personal finance system, similar to Quicken
  • Scribus - open source desktop publishing (DTP) application

Sound & Video:

  • Amarok - audio player
  • Audacity - free, open source, cross platform digital audio editor
  • Banshee - audio player, can encode/decode various formats and synchronize music with Apple iPods
  • MPlayer - media player (video/audio), supports WMA
  • Rhythmbox Music Player - audio player, similar to Apple's iTunes, with support for iPods
  • gtkPod - software similar to Apple's iTunes, supports iPod, iPod nano, iPod shuffle, iPod photo, and iPod mini
  • XMMS - audio player similar to Winamp
  • dvd::rip - full featured DVD copy program
  • Kino - free digital video editor
  • Sound Juicer CD Extractor - CD ripping tool, supports various audio codecs
  • VLC Media Player - media player (video/audio)
  • Helix Player - media player, similar to the Real Player
  • Totem - media player (video/audio)
  • Xine - media player, supports various formats; can play DVDs
  • Brasero - CD/DVD burning program
  • K3B - CD/DVD burning program
  • Multimedia Codecs


  • KompoZer - WYSIWYG HTML editor, similar to Macromedia Dreamweaver, but not as feature-rich (yet)
  • Bluefish - text editor, suitable for many programming and markup languages
  • Quanta Plus - web development environment, including a WYSIWYG editor


  • VMware Server - lets you run your old Windows desktop as a virtual machine under your Linux desktop, so you don't have to entirely abandon Windows
  • TrueType fonts
  • Java
  • Read-/Write support for NTFS partitions

Lots of our desired applications are available in the Ubuntu repositories, and some of these applications have been contributed by the Ubuntu community.

I will use the username falko in this tutorial. Please replace it with your own username.


2 Installing The Base System

The installation of the base system is easy as 1-2-3 because the gOS installer doesn't offer a lot of options to choose from, so you cannot go wrong.

Download the gOS 3.0 Gadgets iso image from, burn it onto a CD, and boot your computer from it. Select your language:

Select Try gOS without any change to your computer to start the gOS live system:

The system boots and starts a desktop that is run entirely in the RAM of your system (the gOS installation CD is also a Live-CD) without changing anything on your hard disk. This has the advantage that you can test how gOS works on your hardware before you finally install it.

Double-click the Install icon on the desktop to start the installation to the hard drive:

The installer starts. First, select your language:

Then choose your time zone:

Change the keyboard layout, if necessary:

Now we come to the partitioning of our hard disk. Usually Guided - use entire disk is a good choice, unless you need custom partitions and know what you're doing. Use entire disk will create one big / partition for us:

Type in your real name, your desired username along with a password, and click on Forward:

The next screen shows us a summary of the installation settings. Click on Install to start the installation:

Afterwards, the gOS system is being installed. This can take a few minutes, so be patient:

After the installation, the system will automatically reboot (remove the gOS CD from the CD drive).

Your new gOS system starts. Log in to the desktop with the username and password you provided during the installation:

This is how your new desktop looks:

Now the base system is ready to be used.

Share this page:

Suggested articles

5 Comment(s)

Add comment


By: loxley

Consider using Virtualbox, it's open source, VMWare is not.


I had a bit of spare time this weekend, so i took the cd with gOS and pushed it into my HP E-pc 40. Very easy installation, nice theme colors and the bottom menu i like it.
But so little info on the internet about the new OS.

I want to recommend it to anyone new to Linux (like me ). Works out of the box, not easy to find you way.

By: Anonymous

Falco might consider mentioning in his tutorial that in partitioning the disk, th choice of "Guided-Use Entire Disk" is only a good choice if you plan to totally destroy anything on the target hard drive. I can just see the 14-year-old who follows this guide and blows away his family's computer, all the data, and the OEM OS installation. That will win "Linux for beginners" a lot of fans.

By: stone

I'm trying to run gOS on my 32-bit pentium IV desktop and as the system tries to book to X windows then this command appears

BusyBox v1.1.3 (Debian 1:1.1.3-5ubuntu12) Built-in shell (ash)
 Enter 'help; for a list of built-in commands.


 what should i do. What does it mean?

Any help.

By: mahjongg

The appearance of busybox (she "swiss knife" for software engineers), is a sure sign that during the install a crash occurred, either because of failing hardware, or because of a serious bug (not very likely), or because the system ran out of memory (at least 512MB should work fine), or files on the install medium are missing (bad burn, or damaged .ISO file).

 Check that the CD works on another computer, if not its certain that the CD is bad.

 If your system has enough memory, try pressing F4 in the boot menu, and choose "safe boot", if that works you may have an unsupported video system.