The Perfect Desktop - gOS 3.1 Gadgets
Author: Falko Timme
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This tutorial shows how you can set up a gOS 3.1 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 3.1 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
- Flash Player
- 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
- 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
- VirtualBox - 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
- 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.
As you might have noticed, a few applications are redundant, for example there are two CD/DVD burning applications in my list (Brasero, K3B). If you know which one you like best, you obviously don't need to install the other applications, however if you like choice, then of course you can install both. The same goes for music players like Amarok, Banshee, Rhythmbox, XMMS or browsers (Firefox, Opera).
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 3.1 Gadgets iso image from http://www.thinkgos.com/gos/download.html, 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.