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Good, Portable "Virtual" Linux Distro? 261

Posted by kdawson
from the load-once-run-anywhere dept.
Prof. Nix writes "I have been given the opportunity to redesign the Linux course for the community college I work for. This course will be taking students from the 'What's Lee-nux?' stage to (hopefully) Linux+ Certifiable in about three to four months. However, one issue I haven't solved is finding a semi-stable, highly portable, and readily accessible platform the students may pound on, and have root access, independently of their peers. The powers-that-be have already vetoed any sort of server environment accessible from off campus. We've already tried live USB drives, but we ran into many issues with non-supported hardware on students' home computers. So I'm left with the idea of virtual machines run from flash drives. My ultimate goal is to have some sort of portable system that students can use with equal ease on lab systems and personal laptops — regardless of hardware. Preferably this system would be installable on a 4GB flash drive and run an Ubuntu- or Fedora-derived OS. So I ask the people who have been in the trenches a lot longer than I — what distros should I look at?"
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Good, Portable "Virtual" Linux Distro?

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  • Slackware (Score:3, Informative)

    by vikingpower (768921) <exercitussolus@gmaiYEATSl.com minus poet> on Tuesday April 20, 2010 @05:59PM (#31916212) Homepage Journal
    You can fully "undress" it, down to the bare basics, and it is incredibly stable. You'll definitely run it from a 4 Gb USB stick - and your students, most importantly, will LEARN from it.
  • Virtual Box (Score:5, Informative)

    by bsDaemon (87307) on Tuesday April 20, 2010 @06:01PM (#31916226)

    Can't you put the virtual disk image for as a regular file on a USB stick, then load it into Virtual Box from there? That way, no purchase necessary with regards to software to run the VM, and you can issue a standardized appliance image to start with. Of course, you need to make sure that everyone has a thumb drive of sufficient size.

    • Re:Virtual Box (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Jurily (900488) <jurily@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Tuesday April 20, 2010 @06:10PM (#31916326)

      Of course, you need to make sure that everyone has a thumb drive of sufficient size.

      You can't even buy drives too small for this anymore.

    • by Mr. DOS (1276020)

      The problem with VirtualBox (or any other virtualization, for that matter) is that, if students' hardware is incapable of booting from a USB stick, it's probably old enough that smooth virtualization will also be impossible. Even though it would be slow (although hopefully not as slow as virtualizing), a customized LiveCD with required software preinstalled coupled with a USB stick for storage would probably be a better option.

      Mind you, providing a VirtualBox disk image for those who can run it wouldn't be

      • by sconeu (64226)

        I think you misintepret.

        Put VirtualBox on the lab computers.
        Put the student's .VDI file on a thumbdrive.

        Boot the lab machine from HD, run VBox and boot VM from the thumbdrive's VDI

        • The question mentioned off-campus access to the system and students having compatibility trouble running Linux natively at home. I'm pretty sure that the submitter is looking for a reliable way to run Linux on the students' home machines, rather than the lab hardware. I'd assume that if the lab hardware was having compatibility problems and was the intended target of the solution they're asking for, the guy running the course could overcome the issues, and the whole question would be moot.
    • Re:Virtual Box (Score:5, Informative)

      by hausen (1180303) on Tuesday April 20, 2010 @06:45PM (#31916682)

      I ran across almost the same problem this week: needed to have a live USB, but also the ability to run inside a virtualized machine in the case the physical machine wouldn't boot it. I second the parent's opinion: VirtualBox is the way to go. It even has a "portable edition," so you don't have to ask users to install any software, neither you need to ask the lab administrator to install any software.

      I seearched a little bit and found this nice gem: http://www.linuxliveusb.com/ [linuxliveusb.com] (notice: this is not a slashvertizement; I have no links whatsoever with the development group. Just a really satisfied user.) You just have to:

      1) install the live CD iso of the distribution of your choice (I have chosen Ubuntu, since I am familiar with it)
      2) download Linux Live USB Creator - Full Pack (w/ Virtualbox)
      3) run it, point it to the iso file, mark the persistency option (I have setup 2GB for it) and click the "lighning bolt" icon to create your live USB with a portable VirtualBox
      4) profit!

      You can either boot it as a USB hard drive, or you can run your virtualized OS under Windows clicking the "Virtualize this Key" executable! That's it! No messing with settings in grub, no modprobe, no nothing! Just use an easy GUI.

      • by couchslug (175151)

        Portable Virtualbox can also be completely backed up by .raring the whole folder including the virtual machines.

        If the student manages to hose things, extract a replacement copy and press on. Very cool.

      • That functionality is built into Ubuntu. Probably others as well, but I know it is in Ubuntu.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Hurricane78 (562437)

        You say that as if it were a good thing to learn and understand absolutely nothing about the devices you’you using.
        Basically this behavior trains people to play with colorful clickables on what is essentially only an appliance.
        And then you act surprised, that everyone that calls you when you work in tech support, is a fuckin’ moron...

        Sorry, it’s your own damn fault.

      • by darealpat (826858)

        You could also look at using Mepis as the iso of choice. It even has the option while running as a live cd to install on to a usb drive. I have found that it has superior hardware recognition. KDE is the window manager, so if you are partial to gnome, you have been warned!

    • As the GP said, if you're running into HW issues, just put the disto onto a virtual machine and run it with VMWare Player or Virtual Box. Personally VMware Player is easier to use from an end users perspective, it depends on how open you need it to be. Both can easily be installed onto the students home computers and will provide students with a stable, consistent environment that can be run from anywhere.
  • Portable Ubuntu ? (Score:2, Informative)

    by phideaux3 (1758070)
    Is this what you're looking for? http://portableubuntu.demonccc.com.ar/en/download [demonccc.com.ar]
  • You could think about running 'Ubuntu on Ubuntu' - as both the main desktop OS, and another copy in a VM running VirtualBox. Anything they're trying for the first time, or that has the possibility to go wrong, they can do on the VM and snapshot + remove it as required. Once they are more capable, maybe they can start to perform tasks on the Desktop copy. If anything goes wrong and the workstation needs to be re-imaged, there's a chance the VM could be be backed up (so the work is not lost) and it's also po
  • Portable Virtualbox. (Score:5, Informative)

    by sxeraverx (962068) on Tuesday April 20, 2010 @06:03PM (#31916262)

    Look at Virtualbox: http://www.virtualbox.org/ [virtualbox.org] and there are portable (current) versions out there. On there, you can install Ubuntu, Fedora, what-have-you.

  • We all had school issued laptops. So that definately played a big part in being able to run Linux.

    However, we used VMWare to launch Fedora Core 4, on some verion of a Toshiba Satelite, on a standalone network for the classroom lab. We were able to mess around learning the ins and outs of Linux off of the one CD they obtained, by handing out the ISO to each student on the first day. I've often wondered if it was legal or not, but I think their method of thinking was along the lines of "If they discover they

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Zardus (464755)

      Unless I totally misunderstood your post, Fedora Core *is* a free distro.... If I totally misunderstood your post, it's *still* a free distro, but then that information is irrelevant.

      • I think I keep mixing up Fedora and RH because at the time their logos were similar...

    • ... we had punch cards :-) Still, that didn't stop a friend who has since become famous from running a copy of VM on top of the mainframe's main VM system (buy guessing the backup system password), which let him run his own copy of the system that users interfaced with (albeit rather slowly.)

      To be fair, we did also have a few PLATO terminals, and some VM/CMS interactive systems (using paper terminals) that you could access as an upperclassman or CS major, and a couple of Tektronix 4014s, and the various

  • SUSE Studio? (Score:5, Informative)

    by sznupi (719324) on Tuesday April 20, 2010 @06:04PM (#31916274) Homepage

    Easy customisation to your needs, has few virtual machines as targets.

    http://susestudio.com/ [susestudio.com]
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SUSE_Studio [wikipedia.org]

  • The basic problem with your request is that it is very hard to build a virtualization mechanism that is both useful and portable.

    At very least, virtualization software tends to want to install some sort of virtual ethernet device(or muck about with the tun device, if you are running on linux), so that the VMs can have network access. That is typically an operation that requires admin rights. Not uncommonly, other rather invasive install steps are involved.

    Unless you are OK with no network, and quite p
  • Virtualbox images... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by IANAAC (692242) on Tuesday April 20, 2010 @06:06PM (#31916292)
    can run from a USB stick or SD card.

    I run an instance of XP (Ubuntu host) from an SD card no problem. It shouldn't matter what OS the image is, it should run fine.

    • How's it run off the SD card? I never even considered doing that but now that it's been said /facepalm

      That's brilliant. Do you run into any issues doing this?

      • In retrospect, s/How's it run off the SD card?/How's the performance when you run it off the SD card?/g

      • by carlzum (832868)
        I'm going to try it too. I have a pile of flash cards and XP disks in my drawer, but I never made the connection. The parent said the performance is a little slower, but I rarely need Windows and hate the idea of wasting disk space on every computer. Labeled flash cards that fit flush in my laptop are a great idea, like an operating system on a DS cartridge.
  • by Ohio Calvinist (895750) on Tuesday April 20, 2010 @06:06PM (#31916296)

    I teach at the community college myself, and find that installing the OS is a really important part of learning to use it (creating partitions, mount points, swap, etc...) and is one of the first part that makes it very different from most Windows installation processes. Doing the install on a USB stick could result in students killing the Windows partition on the disk if they botch the install and accidentally put it on the hard disk. (I've had it happen).

    Using a VM host on the lab computers (either MS Virtual PC or VMWare; assuming that your lab PCs are Windows) and then allowing them to create the virtual disk on their 4GB (or larger) flash disks will give them the install experience (without risk of damaging the host system), and allow their install to be fairly hardware independent (assuming they have the same VM host on their home PC.)

    This also allows them to use a normal, general purpose distro than a stick-oriented one, that is also likely to have better textbooks available. I know any text should be good enough for derived distributions, but for students having an out-of-the-box or off-the-iso experience can alleviate a lot of first-week frustrations, and gives them a better (vanilla) resource to consult when bad things happen.

    • by Locutus (9039)
      that's my thought too, basically it goes like this:
      1) Install VMware Player on all the lab workstations because it's free, cross platform, and it's well supported ( another option might be VirtualBox )
      2) Create a disk image large enough to fit on the smallest of the flash drives you expect your students to be using.
      3) Pick a distro which you can use with this size disk image and be usable for your classwork. There are a few recent blogs on small/fast distros
      4) Figure out how to get the LiveCD of your distro
    • by value_added (719364) on Tuesday April 20, 2010 @07:13PM (#31916880)

      I teach at the community college myself, and find that installing the OS is a really important part of learning to use it

      Wholeheartedly agree. And while the rest of your comments have merit, I'd offer the suggestion to build on the "important part of learning" principle.

      Instead of going the VM route, just hand out Slackware CDs. Or if the kids are bright (like the kids were in my day), point them to the Linux From Scratch project and let them loose! For extra credit, you could have them figure out how to integrate their new OS in a Windows domain environment or, if that requires unavailable resources, have them install a complete Cygwin distribution on their Windows PCs to figure out creative ways to make Windows behave more sanely so that things like odd file names, line endings, a useless PATH, a nonsensical hierarchy, reliance on drive letters, security token issues, and reconciling Posix permissions don't present insurmountable challenges.

      By the end of term, they'll have all the experience they need. More importantly, they'll be prepared for the real world.

      The instructor benefits, too, as grading the students is simplified. Anyone that completes the class gets an automatic A, except for those caught cheating who get a B+. Kids that came in with a note from their parents excusing them from class gets an incomplete. Everyone else fails. And those that switched to one of the BSDs in midterm get put on the honour roll.

    • by 6350' (936630)
      Sadly, however, the students would be at the most ready and receptive to go through an install process at the *end* of the course, instead of the beginning. I fear that on the start, it would just be a confusing jumble of arcane looking commands to type in verbatim, with no foundation yet present to appreciate what is going on.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by kandresen (712861)

      From experience I totally agree:
      I myself tried to learn linux 3 times before I finally moved to the platform. I had my then had Redhat 5.2, SuSE, Mandrake, and some others before dropping out - the interfaces worked well, but I did not understand the fundamentals - expecially things like why I could not execute my programs etc - which I later on learned was - my programs where not in path and thus I had to make them executable and then use ./ and other issues.

      All solutions - Ubuntu, Redhat, Slackware, etc u

    • by mmaniaci (1200061)
      I don't agree that installing the OS is necessary as the first step towards understanding Linux. Better to get newcomers comfortable and excited about working with the OS and have them install it on their own machines on their own time when they might actually have some true interest. Also, Ubuntu is even *easier* to install than Windows, requiring less input from the user. My last Xubuntu install was just a Next, Next, Next, Finish sort of thing, albeit on a well supported VM. Creating users/groups and man
  • I suggest you first pick a popular Linux with good hardware support, such as my personal favorite Ubuntu. Then, offer both bootable CDs and USB flash drives, and VM images for VirtualBox. Since VirtualBox is free and multiplatform, as well as being easy to install, the students with weird hardware can use that to run Linux.

    In my experience, Ubuntu just boots up and works on a wide variety of hardware. So I'd guess that many or most of your students would be able to boot their computer into native Linux.

  • you can actually run a full-bore linux on usb hard drives, not with a 4GB limit or stuff like that.

    install the distro of your choice on a laptop.

    take hard drive out, put it in an enclosure.

    boot to the now USB drive (with no hard drive in the IDE/SATA spot)

    fix the mount points to point to the right /dev/sdbwhatevers

    fix the swap space or config cryptswap (if you don't, it will trash the shit out of the /dev/sdawahtever was the old swap...i.e. the persons primary hard drive, partition x, that uses it next)

    clon

  • Here are two. (Score:5, Informative)

    by zero_out (1705074) on Tuesday April 20, 2010 @06:15PM (#31916384)

    DSL [damnsmalllinux.org] works well. It's 50 MB, can boot off a USB flash stick, and comes with its own virtual environment for running within MS Windows. It's probably missing a few features you will want for teaching a course in Linux, though.

    I also like Puppy Linux. [puppylinux.org] I was able to make an MP3 player out of a small thin client computer and this OS. I just had to modify a few shell scripts, and plug the TC into my home stereo.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Tigersmind (1549183)

      DSL [damnsmalllinux.org] works well. It's 50 MB, can boot off a USB flash stick, and comes with its own virtual environment for running within MS Windows. It's probably missing a few features you will want for teaching a course in Linux, though.

      I also like Puppy Linux. [puppylinux.org] I was able to make an MP3 player out of a small thin client computer and this OS. I just had to modify a few shell scripts, and plug the TC into my home stereo.

      Exactly what I was thinking. This too http://tinycorelinux.com/ [tinycorelinux.com] I run it on my PII.

    • Grab a copy of Geexbox if all you want is a linux media player. Boot it, remove it, and it plays almost everything you can throw at it. It may be a DMCA violation in your local as it does play DVD's without the DVD consortium's blessing or license. The only downside is it is keyboard navigation. The mouse is a paperweight in the program.
      http://geexbox.org/en/index.html [geexbox.org]

  • If you are going to put it into a VM, just use the one you know the best it wont care.

  • vms (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Look at vmware's site, they have a link to a second site they run which has nothing but
    "virtual appliances" which are pre configures VMs ready to run for various purposes.
    Included therein are VMs of popular LINUX / UNIX OSs. Most of those are of course free, though
    they also have various commercial VMed applications of various sorts too. Generally the VM images
    lag a few months behind the very latest releases since they're made by 3rd parties and aren't generally part of the official distribution release.

    Al

    • by Ritchie70 (860516)

      I don't know for sure when the virtualization extensions showed up in the Intel product line, but I can report that, at my job, we have at least a thousand (geographically dispersed) Pentium 4 systems happily running VMware Server, each with two virtual machines (one Windows, one Unix.)

      My recommendation in this whole debate is VMware Player + whatever distro you know best. Player is free, and it works fine on almost anything that can run Windows acceptably well.

      We're using it a lot at work for the BAs to ha

  • Make your own (Score:5, Informative)

    by houghi (78078) on Tuesday April 20, 2010 @06:25PM (#31916480)

    http://susestudio.com/ [susestudio.com] allows you to make your own. This can then be done as USB stick, CD/DVD, VMware and what not. You can decide if you want it to be installable or not, add your own specific software and almost anything else you like.

    How far you go to make things special is up to you.

    However, you will always have non-supported hardware. Happens with any OS, except for the one that was pre-installed and then hope people have not added hardware.

    • Yeah, I agree (Score:3, Informative)

      by itomato (91092)

      Studio is a great place to start. Dead simple to manage, and easy to churn out revisions. You can even include the Suse virtualization stack, which provides most of the functionality of Xen's 'official' server release. Put OpenXencenter http://www.openxencenter.com/ [openxencenter.com] in the live release, and you're set.

      If hardware support is an issue, have them generate a support email with a basic hardware profile. Add appropriate packages to the Live DVD, and repeat.

      Caveat: It's invite only, and it make take some time

  • Like others mention, use a virtual machine like VirtualBox, and give everyone a virtual machine of your Linux system in addition to instructions to set up their own. This will save countless hours of helping your students get up and running.

    To your question, what distro? I'd recommend Centos [centos.org], which is a free as in beer version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) and/or Oracle Enterprise Linux (OEL). The only real differences between the three is branding and the support contract, with a five year support

  • by rwa2 (4391) *

    The advantage of qemu over VMware or VirtualBox would be that you wouldn't need to install anything.

    I made a custom KNOPPIX LiveCD with my master's thesis on it, and worked out some .bat scripts to get it running it in place under Windows. (Copy it to the hard disk first for performance, no need to run off the CD if you're doing it in a VM)
    http://hairball.mine.nu/~rwa2/school/ense799/arcosim_20070601.iso [hairball.mine.nu]

    You could probably adapt something like this for a more modern LiveCD / USB distro.

  • I think a virtual computer lab, run by the university, is the only way to go, not only for the CS students but many other classes too. Other university labs are surely the best place to find an example, every university is full of competent geeks. If the virtual machines shouldn't access outside data, a firewall should be able to do that. Barring that, I think I would recommend something like wubi for students with slower home computers, vmware or virtual box for those with faster computers. I can't figure
  • I found a thing a few years ago called Moka5 LivePC Engine. It's basically a portable VMware environment that goes on a thumb drive. There were many, many Linux images available, last time I gave it a look. I think that it would be an easy, pre-packaged way to handle what you're trying to do here.
  • VirtualBox or VMware have always worked pretty well in my experience. VirtualBox is free, and VMware Server is free as well. I know there are Linux and Windows ports for VMWare Server (for the host OS), not sure about VirtualBox. The one problem with virtual machines is the students' computers will have to have enough resources to run the software plus the guest Linux OS that they install. Some students' home systems might not be quite up to par.

    Perhaps another route, although a bit more expensive, coul

    • by Ritchie70 (860516)

      For class work I'd use VMware Player over VMware Server. The VM is running while the user wants it, then is automatically shutdown or suspended (depending on user configuration) when they're done.

  • Would be possible to get a cheap low low end Netbook added on as a lab or material fee?

    Everyone gets a thumbdrive, a netbook, and a semester tog et Linux booted on that thing.

  • If I will see a person who learned how to use Linux by running it in VM, I will punch him in the face.

    Install Ubuntu on a USB flash drive, or, if their hardware is too old to boot from a USB drive, use a live CD.

    • by CAIMLAS (41445)

      Mod this up.

      Also: don't use a stupid book that teaches someone how to use "RedHat" or some other such thing. Those people generally have no understanding of existential things like:

      * cron
      * init
      * the kernel
      * much of anything in /etc except apache, etc.
      * LSB directory structure

      Honestly, I'd like to see a college course where they take someone from "I've tooled with Linux on the side" to "I've rolled my own distribution for esoteric custom-purpose hardware and turned it into a functional single-use system". It

    • by Ritchie70 (860516)

      One question:

      Why?

    • by Linegod (9952)

      If I will see a person who learned how to use Linux by using Ubuntu, I will ignore them.

  • You can download VMWare Player 3.0 [vmware.com] for free. Then go download an Ubuntu 9.10 [vmware.com] appliance. Or else, have them download the Ubuntu ISO and install it themselves. You can run VMs off of a thumb drive with no issues-- just make sure that your machines have adequate physical RAM to run both the VM and the base OS. A VM that doesn't know it is swapping is a real performance killer.

    I frequently use both VMware and Virtualbox at work and at home. They're both great, but if you work in an enterprise IT shop, t
  • Mint might be the distro you seek.

  • We've already tried live USB drives, but we ran into many issues with non-supported hardware on students' home computers.

    Best advice I ever got, particularly with regards Linux but it's true for almost everything computer related, was from my Linux+ prof. He said the best way to learn a system was to break it and then figure out how to fix it. Frankly, the students who have hardware issues are already half way there.

    Make it part of a class project to fix it, and if they don't have anything that is broken, then really break something good and then fix it. Point them in the right direction to find what they need, and let th

  • by CAIMLAS (41445) on Tuesday April 20, 2010 @09:01PM (#31917606) Homepage

    I'm a strong believer in immersion as the best way to instruct people how to do things.

    Probably the best way to go about it would be a VM disk image file sitting on the flash drive itself. Dealing with the actual flash drive might be problematic due to compatibility.

    For the virtualization, I'd probably just go with the Open Source version of Virtualbox. It can be run as a server for the lab (if need be - though not advised),

    The biggest problems with going with USB flash drives are speed and compatibility, in that order. Flash drives are still very, very slow compared to a hard disk: it will jade their opinion of the operating system due to very sluggish writes (particularly due to the virtual disk allocation on top of the flash). There are also a number of limitations with the flash drive standardization themselves, as many are utter crap. Best to verify the make/model of flash drive you pick works. (Caveat: note that vendors -very frequently- change the underlying chips in the flash drives within a single model. Expect to have to buy them in lots.)

    Honestly, given the cost of external hard disks, the lack of flash drive consistency, and your stated apparent requirements of them being able to use their own systems as well as the school lab, you might want to make a USB hard disk a class requirement instead of a flash drive.

    But: why stop there? Honestly. When I was in school, we had a lab. I had a laptop. I brought my laptop and did almost everything on my laptop in the lab - and this was way before virtualization became commonplace (VMWare existed, but just barely). There were very few classes where I needed to have anything other than what was on the laptop - Debian Linux. Students could come and use the labs at any time (though most did not, as they had their own computers which were better).

    Seriously. This is 2010, not 1998. Assuming you're not offering this as an entry-level course (you shouldn't) and you'll have at least 2nd-semester CS students taking it, there's no reason to coddle them. Just set up a CentOS or Debian system and allow students to connect to it from the campus.

    On top of that, encourage them to install Linux themselves and configure it from scratch. It'll be good for them. Make obscene recommendations, like Gentoo or (god forbid) Slackware. A certification isn't going to mean jack shit in the long run (except for maybe taking a job from someone more qualified who doesn't have the cert) if they're not intimately familiar with the material.

    This, like the virtualization question the other day, is yet another instance of "virtualization is cool so I want to apply it". It's not appropriate for every scenario (and I'd argue this is one of them, due to the added complexity and potential for outside cases).

  • by Weezul (52464)

    Doesn't your university have a VPN? Wouldn't that allow for servers that are not accessible from outside?

  • grml [grml.org] is nice. deb based, zsh by default, lots of packages, etc.

  • I used about half a dozen distros, and I never quite understood, WTF was going on. They all hid everything behind colorful clickables and other pointless ncurses-based tools (aka “Windows syndrome”), any it was really hard to get it all, because you were starting from the surface.

    But more and more often I only found help on the Gentoo forums (before the search became defunct). So I thought: Why not give it a shot.
    This was the first time where I had to learn the most basic stuff that everyone els

  • I like Puppy Linux for a very small portable Linux.

    http://puppylinux.org/ [puppylinux.org]

    I've used it several times as a recovery disc and booted from USB as well. Should work well in any virtual environment too.

  • It took me four years to get to that stage where I pronounce it the way Linus does.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Linus_pronounces_linux_(english).oga [wikipedia.org]

  • I'm throwing the Ubuntu or Fedora derived requirement out the window; along with a lot of GUI sugar. The first week would have to be dedicated to simply installing the OS; however, because it will be run inside a virtual machine, the installation will be identical for each student. You can guide them through it. I have a few reasons why I think that this is the way to go.

    1) The course is about Linux. That means being comfortable with ls, grep, man, less, vi (or emacs), etc. Teach the way a Linux system is b

    • by Larryish (1215510)

      Why use less when you can use more?

      I'm just sayin'.

      • by petrus4 (213815)

        Why use less when you can use more?

        I'm just sayin'.

        Depends on what you're doing. Some of us actually like a lighter system. They tend to run somewhat faster on old hardware; and there's also the point that the less you can install, the less can potentially break/crash/go berserk and trash the system. Also, if he is doing it for a Linux class, it would pay for the students to learn the fundamentals.

  • Virtualbox (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Boyne7 (1794218)
    I would definitely recommend that you use Virtualbox (as many other have recommended) as it is a fully featured desktop virtualization environment and is free as opposed to vmware workstation which offers similar features. This would also allow the more adventurous of your students to create their own virtual machines and try out different distributions. To me, part of learning linux lies in learning the differences and quirks of each of the popular distributions. Obviously learning how to use bash and u
  • Try Ubuntu Live USB [wikipedia.org].

    More options at https://wiki.ubuntu.com/LiveUsbPendrivePersistent [ubuntu.com].

    Just be careful when doing system updates or anything involving Grub and the boot sector.

  • See http://www.pendrivelinux.com/run-pendrivelinux-2009-in-windows/ [pendrivelinux.com]

    Pendrivelinux uses colinux http://www.colinux.org/ [colinux.org] to run a linux kernel as a windows process without using any general purpose PC virtualization software.

    I have not used pendrivelinux 2009, but I have an earlier version of pendrivelinux based on the Qemu emulator. Here's a link to Qemu USB Pendrivelinux Persistent Linux: http://www.pendrivelinux.com/portable-qemu-persistent-pendrivelinux/ [pendrivelinux.com]

    You might want to experiment with b

  • So, gmail has this (quite unique) feature that it shows you a couple IPs used to log in to your account ("Last account activity:"). However the feature is quite basic but still there can be many things to do with a little more intelligence on the client. A firefox extension could easily store all these logs somewhere and alert when it sees suspicious activity (based for example on white-listing current IP and some manually entered ranges). Anybody knows about such beast?

Lisp Users: Due to the holiday next Monday, there will be no garbage collection.

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