Xubuntu 9.10 LiveUsb Demo
This is not a tutorial on how to make a pen drive into a liveusb. I just wanted to show it being used.
I just started downloading and playing with Xubuntu in the last couple months. I chose an Ubuntu-based distribution because supposedly there's a larger support community. I like the concept of free software (free, as in freedom to alter and improve). It doesn't hurt that it's also free of charge. Specifically, I chose Xubuntu because it has a 'lighter' desktop environment (Xfce) than Ubuntu's (Gnome) that works better on older machines.Some people also choose it for newer machines because it's faster. Supposedly, Xubuntu is becoming more like Ubuntu.
I've recently acquired an old hand-me-down pc from my brother (which was made in the late nineties) out of storage to get it working for my sister. The Ubuntu 9.10 livecd wouldn't work on it so I downloaded Xubuntu next to try it out as a livecd (which lets you try out the operating system from the cd-rom drive) and IT WORKED! So I used the cd to install Xubuntu onto the hard drive (dual booted with Windows 98) and that was the first time I'd installed an operating system. It's still slow but the processor is ancient (AMD K6-2) so I don't expect alot. I could try to put PuppyLinux on it or Damn Small Linux but I want to stick with an Ubuntu distribution.
The learning curve is a little bit steeper than with Windows, so if you just want things to work this may not be for you. I like to figure out how things work and tinker with them so I like it. Although, these distributions are becoming increasingly user friendly. If you want to switch over gradually, there are options: LiveCd/Usb, Dual Boot, Wubi, Virtual Machines. Using a LiveCd/Usb requires the least commitment but it has its limitations.
The back story of how the GNU operating system and the Linux kernel came together is interesting too. By the 1980's, the majority of software was proprietary. Richard Stallman (who developed the GNU operating system) and Linus Torvalds (who developed the Linux kernel) believed that you should be able to work on and share ideas about software in the same way you might with the plumbing in your home. Proprietary software was changing the landscape and these guys wanted the freedom to be able to program their own software and share it with the broader community. The GNU operating system was complete except for the kernel. In Finland, Torvalds had developed the Linux kernel so they came together to form GNU/Linux. It's often shortened to just Linux but the proper name is GNU/Linux. GNU is developing a kernel called Hurd but it isn't quite ready yet.
To learn more about GNU and Linux, go to:
For Xubuntu and Ubuntu:
A good place to start if you want to learn how to download an Ubuntu distribution onto a cd/usb is in the forums. I personally made a cd first and then used the cd to make the LiveUsb. From with a LiveCd session, I went to Applications, System, and then to the USB Creator application. There are some beginners guides in the Absolute Beginner Talk forum: