Friday, November 30, 2007

Linux Shout Out!

I'm calling this blog post , "Linux Shout Out!" It's an area of the blog where, from time to time, I'll pass along some of the articles and news tidbits I've come across which discuss how popular Linux is becoming.

For instance, Linux is playing a major part in film animation. Read all about how Linux helped create the Dreamworks Animation Feature "Shrek the Third."

Dreamworks Animation isn't the only studio using Linux. Disney made the move a few years earlier.

On another Linux front, the One Laptop Per Child project is moving along quite well. If you're not familiar with this project, it involves the construction of a $100.00 laptop that will be distributed to children in the third world. the project's leaders selected Linux as the Operating System. Read a review of the laptop here.

And just in case you were considering buying a nice,new, shiny (and overpriced,IMHO) Mac computer, read the latest review of Mac Leopard here. According to this reviewer, the news is not good.

Do yourself a favor and save a whole lot of Christmas dough! Get Linux!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Linux App Finder

When switching to Linux, the first thing you need to understand is that Linux is not Windows. Sure, Linux is more stable and secure than Windows. and Linux runs faster than Windows. This is because Linux isn't bogged down with a lot of software running in the background (anti-virus, pop-up blockers, etc.) on the lookout for a possible virus or Trojan infecting the system. Linux is immune to Windows viruses.

But Linux is set up to run Linux software, not Windows software. So if you're using, say, a desktop publishing application in Windows, you're going to have to abandon it for a Linux alternative.

Luckily, Linux has thousands of software programs available and many are top notch! In many cases the Linux alternative is better than the Windows program you're currently using.

A great place to see which Linux program will replace your current Windows programs is Linux App Finder.

Linux App Finder lists Windows programs in the left hand column. In the right hand column, it lists those Linux applications that will replace the Windows program. In many listings there are several Linux apps to choose from. So, if one doesn't quite feel right or give you the desired result, simply move on down the list to the next offering.

The only other thing you should be aware of when moving to Linux software is relearning some"moves" in the app's interface. Just stick with it. You'll find it'll become as easy and familiar as that program you were using in Windows.

And yes, if there is that one Windows app you really need, there are ways to get it to run in Linux.

But take that first step. Get Linux. Or get a Linux computer. There are thousands of Linux software programs waiting for you. It's a fun computing adventure!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

It's Totally INSANE To Run Windows!

I'll say one thing for Apple, their ads are so creative they get copied and lampooned all over the web. The current "Hello, I'm a Mac, and I'm a PC" ads have spawned hundreds of imitators.

A few years ago, Apple did another ad campaign that was widely imitated. It was called "Switch." The commercials showed former PC users standing against a white background talking about why they switched to Mac.

Well, this commercial was hugely popular and, as I already mentioned, brought about a lot of parodies. Some of the most creative parodies involved ads showing people who switched to Linux. Which, in my opinion, has always been the better choice.

My favorite comes from Chris at (The ad is below. Simply click to play). Not only is it a neat parody of the original Mac Switch commercial, it's quite informative. Chris gave me permission to run it here on my blog. Listen to the ad and what is being said. It's all true. Linux installs easily, finds all your hardware and Internet connection and starts running with a nice clean display and wonderful software already installed. And the cost (and ownership under the GPL) can't be beat! So, what do you want to do? Spend a bundle of money on a Windows system, or simply Get Linux (and save a bundle)? And sometimes, the best way to get Linux is to buy a new system with Linux pre-insttalled. I use Kiowa Linux on my laptop.

Regardless of the Liux distro or how you get it, it's the right move to make. Enjoy the Linux ad!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Fix Windows for good! Get Linux!

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I enjoyed creating the above comic strip. It's an innocent little poke at holiday spending. And, at this time of year, we all enjoy going out (or online) to do a bit of holiday shopping.

It's the unforeseen expenses that give us headaches. The things we don't budget for. A home plumbing repair, new brakes for the car, and possibly, repairing the family computer due to some virus or related problem.

And speaking of repairing computers, I'm amazed at the number of businesses that have sprung up claiming to be able to fix your Windows computer problems online or through phone tech support. Have you noticed the same? Just turn on your radio and give a listen. Companies advertise a "Quick Fix Online" and all will be well. They'll scan your Windows computer though the Internet and then pinpoint the problem and fix it...provided you hand them your credit card. And the charges for such a service can be quite hefty. Upwards of $100.00.

I'm going to show you how to avoid spending hundreds of dollars repairing your Windows system of viruses,Trojans and other Internet nasties. It's simple. GET LINUX! For the cost of a blank DVD or CD (About a buck), you can download Linux for free, burn the iso file to the disk and install on your PC (I outlined the process here).

Then it's goodbye to Windows and goodbye to Windows repairs. You'll no longer need anti-virus software or online repair services. Your computer will be stable and secure. You won't run into unforeseen crashes and problems due to Windows viruses.

An even better solution is to take that $100.00 you'd be spending to fix your Windows PC and simply put it toward a brand new Linux computer system (After all, it is Christmas). I recommend Kiowa Linux.

Make 2008 the year you move to Linux. It's easy to do. There is an active Linux community which will help you make the transition. There is also a large number of Linux distributions, to choose from. One is just right for you.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Vista is a drag

It's becoming more widely reported that in order to run Windows Vista at a decent pace on a laptop or desktop computer, you'll need to do a major upgrade of hardware. That means more memory,more graphics memory, etc. And that means a higher cost for that new computer. If you're purchasing a new laptop or desktop, and opt to get something from the bargain bin, you're going to find that Vista really under performs. With the minimum system requirements these cheaper laptops are configured with, Vista does not deliver. Vista drags. It drags on your system's resources and drags on your computing experience.

And Vista isn't cheap,either. You're paying a hefty price for what Microsoft regards as cutting edge technology. In fact, Vista is more of a drain on system resources.

But, consider a laptop or desktop running Linux. With Linux, there's no large demand on system resources. Linux runs just fine with 512 megs of RAM. Most new laptops come with 1 gig of RAM. Linux will run at a very nice clip with that much memory AND give you a 3D desktop (Compiz). For Vista to run it's 3D Aero desktop, you're going to need 2 gigs of RAM for sure. And that means spending more for the laptop in hardware costs and the added cost of Vista.

So, you can get that great priced laptop for under $1000.00. To make it run well, simply get Linux on it!

You're using Linux!

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Right now, you're using Linux. That's right. At this very moment, because you're reading this blog, you are running a Linux machine and experiencing the full power of Linux. How do I know? Well, it's because this blog (OneClickLinux) is powered by Google. And Google is powered by Linux. Don't believe me? Read this article.

Every time you use Google, you're using a Linux machine. Whether it be Gmail, the Google search engine, Blogger, Google Earth, or any other of the many Google're using Linux.

If you use Google on the web, you're using Linux.

Now, if Linux is good enough, secure enough and stable enough for Google, it ought to be good enough for your own home machine.

Get Linux!

Better yet, get a computer pre-installed with Linux. My favorite is Kiowa Linux. I run Kiowa Linux on my laptop.

The clear choice is Linux. Google made the Linux choice. So should you.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Linux To The Rescue!

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Linux can actually help repair or save your Windows system!

When it comes to Windows, sooner or later, the system crashes or fails. This could be due to a virus or Trojan infecting the file system or merely because of operator error. Chances are pretty good that if you have multiple users on a Windows system (Mom, Dad, and kids), you're more prone to system failure.

Although Windows Vista has tried to increased security, the system is a bit clumsy in implementing these measures. And Windows Vista has been less than stellar in generating new sales. It seems folks want Windows XP. So, we'll address this article to the majority of Windows users using Windows XP.

When you set up a Windows XP user account, the system, by default, creates this account in full administration mode. This means that the new user has complete access to the entire system. Should they surf to a virus-laden website or do something which corrupts his/her account, it affects the entire system and all users.

Usually, when this happens, mom or dad unplug the system and take it to the local computer shop or large chain electronic
s for repair. $100.00 (or more) later, they get their computer back. And in some cases, it's no better than when they sent it out to be fixed.

This is where Linux can help you save some money, your critical files and data, or both. Linux can read Windows files and the overall hard drive Windows is installed on. If you were to download a Linux distribution and run it in Live CD mode on a Windows system, Linux would be able to see the entire contents of your Windows hard drive. The Linux Live CD is also able to move and copy these files in real time. This means you have a powerful tool to help troubleshoot your Windows problem before you send it out for repair. In the very least, it gives you a last chance to back up critical files sitting on your Windows hard drive before you lose something during the repair process at the local computer shop or bib box store repair center.

Let's say your Windows system will not boot. Your son or daughter has a term paper on it that's due the next day. It's 50 pages of hard work and unfortunately, wasn't backed up. You tried the Windows repair/recovery disk to no avail. Now is the time to pop in Linux! Simply drop the Live CD in your CD/DVD tray, boot the system and run Linux. Now you'll be able to navigate to the Windows hard drive, (usually called hda5, hda1 or similar), find the document, and copy it to a thumbdrive or other backup device. Now, you can search through the hard drive and identify the problem, whatever it might be (a corrupt file, Trojan or virus). If you'd rather not get under the hod as much, at least you have been able to back up documents and data. Rather than take the system to a repair shop where they'll more than likely reinstall Windows, you can simply do this yourself.

You've saved time, money and your critical files thanks to Linux! If you want to avoid this problem altogether, simply Get Linux.

The best way to get Linux is to buy a system with Linux pre-installed. Make it your New Year's resolution. 2008 will then be crash and error free!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Inside Amarok

The best MP3 music player, hands down, is Amarok. If you're a Windows or Mac user, well, you're missing out on one piece of slick software!

Amarok is only available for Linux. If you've never seen it, allow me to give you a peek at what you've been missing. Once you give Amarok a try, you'll never go back to anything else.

The first big attraction is that Amarok is tied directly into Wikipedia. This allows the user to quickly reference artist information with a click of the mouse. In the above screenshot, we can see I'm listening to Frank Sinatra ("Christmas With the Rat Pack" Wal-Mart $9.72...I ripped the audio tacks with k3b!) I can read all about 'Ol Blue eyes as he sings "I Believe."

Now,if I'm interested in signing along (trust me, I should really stick to cartooning!), I simply click another icon and Amarok once more hits Wikipedia for the information. And in a short moment,the lyrics appear! Of course,this depends on how popular or obscure the song is. Chances are anything by The Beatles or Frank Sinatra will result in finding lyrics to most of their popular tunes. Less popular singers or bands may not result in a Wikipedia find. But because wikipendia is community driven,it's always being updated. If you can't find the lyrics in Wikipedia, a link is displayed to take you to the web where an automatic search is made. Either through Wikipedia or the web, the lyrics will be found.

Amarok also scans for album art. Here in this screen shot, I'm playing the soundtrack from the movie The Polar Express. The album icon in the left hand artist/album list was blank. A right click and selecting "fetch cover art from amazon" retrieved the album cover. And Amarok knows to apply the cover to all songs appearing on that album. But if you've tired off listening to the same songs in your music collection over and over again, Amarok is also tied to its own online store!

Magnatune is Amarok's online music store. Magnatune lets you preview entire albums by new, up and coming, and alternative musicians and singers. Magnatune covers all genre's of music. Good new for those who are fans of classical, pop and rock. Amarok is absolutely loaded with music in these categories. Amarok also features folk, country, blues, etc. If you like what you hear, simply click the purchase button and Amarok displays a page where you can complete your purchase. In some instances, you can name the price you wish to pay!

But if you're a little short on cash and really can't swing five bucks for an album (you heard me...many albums can be purchased for as little as five bucks!), Amarok has streaming audio (found in the playlist area) where you can stream any kind of music found on the web. Here I'm listening to David Bowie's "Let's Dance" on Sky FM's All 80s web music station. And just like your own music collection, when listening to music streams you can call up lyrics via Wikipedia.

So you can see that Amarok is simply an amazing and feature rich MP3 music player for your Linux computer. As I mentioned earlier, Amarok is not available for Windows or Mac. The only way to get Amarok is to Get Linux.

Many Linux distributions include Amarok pre-installed. This means when your run Linux in Live CD mode, you'll have a chance to run Amarok. Granted, a Live CD will run a bit slower than your own computer's hard drive, but you'll be able to see Amarok in action. Better yet, buy a Linux computer for yourself or your family. Not only will you get Amarok, you'll also have a secure and stable Linux system. It'll be the best Christmas gift this year!

Friday, November 23, 2007

k3b burns Windows!

One of the most common ways of storing data and backing up files is through writable (and rewritable) CD-ROMS and DVDs. It's a simple matter of dragging files over to a menu and starting the burn process.

Usually, Windows comes with third party burning applications by Nero, Roxio, Toast, and others already intalled. However, these pre-configured Windows apps are somewhat limited in what they can do. Again, you get hooked into using the app and then when you need to do something a bit more advanced, they reach for your wallet. Need to do something advanced? Simply send them an extra payment for an upgrade and then you can proceed with that advanced procedure. So that CD-burning app that came with windows for "free" really isn't. It's going to cost you additional dollars.

Linux is different. Linux comes with a full featured CD/DVD burning app, pre-installed, called k3b (meaning, "KDE Burn Baby Burn").

k3b is free, feature rich and quite powerful. It can do it all. No need to have to buy an upgrade because of some limitation. k3b can burn, copy, erase, format your CDs, DVDs, etc. It has an easy to use graphic interface. It's easy to make burn DVDs and CDs, audi disks and media disks, data disks and archival disks. k3b does it all.

Get Linux.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

It's been another great Thanksgiving! I had a great meal with family and had a chance to show everyone my new Kiowa Laptop. My niece wants one! Her Windows XP laptop is loaded with all sorts of pop-ups and other problems too numerous to list here. And it's now easier for her to make the transition to Linux.

The great thing about Linux today is, there's no learning curve. Linux looks like Windows, feels like Windows, yet has none of the Windows problems with viruses, pop-ups, etc.

And to make things more "Windows-like", it appears that folks in the Linux community are figuring out ways to make it easier to install Linux software.

I told you about these different methods in a previous post.

Well, with my Kiowa laptop, I stumbled on a new method. It was a wonderful to discovery because it again illustrates how much easier Linux is than Windows.

Kiowa uses the RPM (Redhat Package Manager) system for installing software. Built into Kiowa is an automatic installer that recognizes the RPM package and simply installs the software with a couple of clicks. There's no need to open a console (aka "Konsole" in Linux terminology) and type a command.

This is a great method of installing software if you happen to have downloaded an RPM file from a Linux commercial or commuity site. Simply right click on the RPM file, select "install RPM package" from the context menu, enter your root password to gain administrative privileges, and away you go! The software installs and menus are created in the launch area.

So,there's no need to run out at 4 A.M. tomorrow morning (Black Friday) to try and get a discounted Windows Vista laptop or desktop system. Simply check out the deals at Kiowa.

Get Linux and get rid of that turkey called Windows!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Kiowa Laptop

Well, folks, I'm writing today's blog post on a brand new Kiowa Laptop! It is absolutely awesome! I'm running the latest version of Kiowa Linux and it is rock solid and sports some really cool customization features!

Kiowa comes with a 3D environment already installed (Compiz) and it's really amazing. I have a gig of Ram on this laptop and Kiowa never strains at all, even when running the 3D environment.

The menus are laid out so you can find all your applications quickly.

With any new computer,I 've had a few questions and the nice thing is Matt has made himself more than available to give me the help I needed. The technical support has been very personal, kind, and patient. That's a big plus on my book.

If you're looking to start with a Linux distro, Kiowa is a great choice!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


As I mentioned in a previous post, Kiowa Linux has quickly become my favorite version of Linux. I guess it's because of all the extra features Matt and Co. have added to this terrific Linux operating system. One really nice surprise has been their version of Wine.

Wine is a Linux program that allows you to install and run certain Windows programs without having to run Windows.(WINE is recursive acronym and stands for, "Wine Is Not an Emulator.")

Because Wine is Open Source, anyone can obtain it, rework it, improve etc., and offer it to the public.

Codeweavers is a company that obtained Wine and reworked it into a commercial version they call Crossover Linux. It has a nice interface and does a good job of getting select Windows programs to run in a Linux environment. But it costs about $40.00.

On the other hand, Kiowa Linux offers Wine in it's repository. Kiowa's Wine also has a really nice easy to use interface. Kiowa's version of Wine is free.

To install a Windows program in Kiowa's Wine you simply open the File Manager (it reminded me of Windows 3.11) and from there select the location of the program you want to install.

Next,you select the location of the program you wish to install. In the example at left, Ive selected Drive "g" which is the CD-ROM drive. I'm then selecting the "setup.exe" file to start installing the program. (In this case, it's a graphics program I like called PhotoImpact 8.) The installation routine starts and the program installs just as if you were running Windows.

Lastly, Wine creates it's own menu entry for all the Windows programs you've installed. Here in this example at right,you can see the menu entry for PhotoImpact 8. Simply navigate to this, click, and PI8 launches and runs!

I run both Crossover and Kiowa's Wine. While Crossover is good, it has never been able to install and run PhotoImpact 8.

Kiowa's Wine installed on the first try! And it runs just as it does in Windows! It's no wonder I'm a big Kiowa Linux fan!

Get Kiowa Linux!! Kiowa's version of Wine and a lot of other outstanding features in this distro will make your move from Windows to Linux a real pleasure!

Got a question about cartooning with Linux, or Linux in general? Email me at: If I use your question on my blog, I'll send you an original, signed George comic strip!

Visit the George Store for all things George!

Monday, November 19, 2007

A Kiowa Chistmas.

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The wonderful thing about Linux is choice. There are a lot of Linux distributions to pick from. And over the past few years, I've used quite a few. I've either installed them on my hard drive or run them via a Live CD.

With so many Linux distributions to choose, it's like being a kid in a candy store! After trying several Linux distributions, pretty soon, you narrow it down to one and settle in with it.

For me, my absolute favorite Linux distribution, more and more, is Kiowa Linux.

Why? Without getting too technical, Kiowa combines the best of an RPM Linux distribution and a .deb Linux distribution. It's the best of both worlds! If you thought Linux was highly customizable, wait until you see how much more control you'll have over all your hardware and software when you run Kiowa.

Kiowa also comes with the most recent software releases of OpenOffice, Gimp, Amarok, K3b, and other open source software. This means the most cutting edge developments are right there at your fingertips in Kiowa.

Kiowa also allows you to run BOTH KDE and Gnome desktops! No need to install a second or third Linux distribution to see these desktops in action. The latest 3D desktop is also available in Kiowa.

Kiowa also sports a much friendlier version of Wine. In the past, Wine has been a bit confusing to new users. This is why CrossOver Linux (based on Wine) has increased in popularity. Now you can easily run Wine and install supported Windows applications without having to purchase CrossOver. Although, both will run on Kiowa.

The best way to get Kiowa is to buy a computer system preconfigured with Kiowa. Now that the holiday shopping season has kicked off, sales abound! And there are terrific deals on Kiowa Linux computers and laptops at the Kiowa Linux web site! You'll get a great computer system with a great Operating System at a great price. Plus, you'll get terrific support from the Kiowa folks.

If you'd rather ease into Linux, the Kiowa folks can build you a dual-boot system. They'll install Kiowa Linux on half the hard drive and Windows on the other half. This way, you can run both and decide which OS is better. I guarantee you, once you run Kiowa Linux, you'll very rarely boot into Windows. (BTW, I'm writing this blog in Kiowa Linux.)

Get Kiowa Linux. Give a Kiowa system or laptop to a family member and assure them a safe, secure computing experience this Christmas!

Got a question about cartooning with Linux, or Linux in general? Email me at: If I use your question on my blog, I'll send you an original, signed George comic strip!

Visit the George Store for all things George!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Too much time.

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Do you spend too much time in front of your computer? If so, are you spending all this time surfing the web and enjoying multimedia? Or are you busy constantly fixing your computer?

If you run Windows, chances are pretty good, you're spending a large amount of time either fixing your computer or updating anti-virus software and testing firewalls in order to avoid the next round of attacks from viruses, spyware and Trojans.

That's no way to spend your valuable time on a computer. You should be having fun exploring the web and using it to make every day tasks easier and more enjoyable.

Linux is immune to Windows viruses, spyware and Trojans. When you run Linux, you spend more time enjoying your computer and less time de-bugging it.

I've been running Linux for nearly four years now and have yet to worry about updating anti-virus software or scanning for spyware.

Get Linux, run it as a Live CD, and discover how easy it is to use and how much more secure it is than Windows.

With Linux, you'll spend waaay too much time on your computer...using it, not cleaning it of viruses.

Got a question about cartooning with Linux, or Linux in general? Email me at: If I use your question on my blog, I'll send you an original, signed George comic strip!

Visit the George Store for all things George!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Let go of Windows

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With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I thought I'd run this fun holiday strip. It's one of my favorites. But it also helps to make the point that in order to move to Linux, you really need to LET GO OF WINDOWS.

Rather than make a complete blind leap of faith, it's better to build a bridge (that is, build an understanding of the operating system).

The best way to do this is to simply run Linux from a Live CD. When you run Linux from the Live CD, you don't risk losing any of your Windows data or documents. You also get a chance to see Linux in action, run the software, browse the Internet, send email, play media files, etc. You can do all this right from the Live CD. And you'll be learning about Linux a little bit at a time. Pretty soon, you'll be familiar with Linux enough, that you'll want to do a permanent hard drive install.

Every year, Thanksgiving falls on the fourth Thursday of November. But what falls on the second Tuesday of every month?

Answer: Patch Tuesday.

Patch Tuesday is the day Microsoft releases a new security patch to plug yet another hole found in Windows. The problem is, once this security patch is released, malicious coders can analyze it and then build a new exploit. This usually happens the very next day. hence this has become known as "Exploit Wednesday."

Why continue to risk the countless exploits and patches plaguing Windows? Get Linux, run the Live CD, and you'll see how much safer, secure and enjoyable it is!

Got a question about cartooning with Linux, or Linux in general? Email me at: If I use your question on my blog, I'll send you an original, signed George comic strip!

Visit the George Store for all things George!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Amazing Linux Desktops Part III

I thought I'd include some desktops from other Linux users. These folks frequent the Freespire forums and have been very helpful to me over the years in learning how to use Linux and unlock it's incredible potential. You may want to consider trying Freespire Linux. Regardless of the distribution you do select, make sure to get involved with its forums community. Folks are always there to help you with Linux.

First up(at right), we have a desktop shot from AdamK. He's using a SuperKaramba widget for the weather report in the lower right hand corner and the clock at the top. He also notes that the icons used on this desktop are from the "Exquisite" icon set.

A nice clean looking desktop!

Next up is a couple of screenshots from Freespire forum member JDoyle. In the first (at left), he's demonstrating the 3D desktop called XGL. It's powerful and quite amazing! If you thought Windows Vista had cool 3D graphics, then check out XGL in Linux! There are also other 3D desktops available for Linux. Check out Beryl. and look into the project Beryl was based upon called Compiz.

These 3D desktops are powerful , constantly being updated by the community, open source, and free.

The last screen shot is also from JDoyle. He calls it BOB (which I think is a play on the old Bob Operating System companion to Windows that Microsoft pushed unsuccessfully many years ago.) Again, notice how he has used SuperKaramba widgets. It's the same Superkaramba application as in the other desktops, but now has a very different look, as does the icons, fonts, and panels.

Linux and KDE give you endless possibilities in making your personal computer or laptop truly personal! You can give it your own look and style! It's easy when you use Linux!

Got a question about cartooning with Linux, or Linux in general? Email me at: If I use your question on my blog, I'll send you an original, signed George comic strip!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Amazing Linux Desktops Part II

Here's another screenshot of one of my Linux desktops. Note how the icons have changed. The background (wallpaper) is now different. My panels are a bit different. I added a space wheel (It actually spins on my desktop just like it does in the movie 2001!)

This customization is all possible due to Linux using the KDE desktop. Like Linux, The KDE desktop is open source and free of charge. This allows the entire Linux community to build, create and contribute icon sets, fonts, splash screens, wallpapers, Superkaramba widgets, window decorations and so much more!

Visit and explore all that is available. All have been built/created by Linux users and all are free of charge.

The desktop elements can be easily downloaded and installed through the Linux control panel. Installation instructions are usually included with whatever element you download to your system.

Linux and KDE allow YOU to customize the look and feel of your desktop computing environment!

Get Linux, customize your desktop, and stop looking at the same old "Window(s)."

Got a question about cartooning with Linux, or Linux in general? Email me at: If I use your question on my blog, I'll send you an original, signed George comic strip!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Amazing Linux Desktops!

This is a screen shot of my Linux desktop. As I've mentioned in earlier posts, most Linux distributions use the KDE desktop. it's pretty much the standard Linux desktop GUI (Gnome is a close second). And the Linux distributions I run use the the KDE desktop. KDE stands for Kool Desktop Environment. Some say the "K" in KDE doesn't stand for anything. But, for me, it stands for "Kool" because it really is cool! And the advantage it has over Windows is that the user can customize his/her desktop in an infinite number of ways.

If you take a good look at the screen shot, you'll see that I have toolbars on the top and bottom of the desktop. I have a couple of SuperKaramba widgets running, as well. One widgets displays local weather conditions and forecast and the other widget is a quick search bar for Wikipedia.

I also have a THIRD toolbar (in Linuxland we call them "panels"), sitting atop the bottom toolbar (panel). This third panel displays a ticker which updates the latest Linux news headlines. the second half of this panel is a dictionary.

I can hide these panels at anytime simply by clicking on the arrows at the right or left I can also drag these panels to any edge of the screen.

All this is incredibly easy to do! The best way to see this customization is action is to simply GET LINUX!

Download any of the distributions, bun to CD-ROM, and run it as a Live CD. You can then experiment with how easy it is to customize your KDE desktop.

Believe me, you'll be amazed at how much you can personalize your desktop compared to Windows.

When it comes to customizing, hands down, Linux wins!

(By the way, did you notice from my desktop that I'm running a couple of Windows applications in Linux? That's thanks to WINE! More on that in later posts! Stay tuned!)

Got a question about cartooning with Linux, or Linux in general? Email me at: If I use your question on my blog, I'll send you an original, signed George comic strip!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Top 10 Windows Headaches

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If you're reading this, it's probably because you've had many a problem with Windows (and you're looking for information on alternative Operating Systems). Here's my list of the top 10 things wrong with Windows. Do these sound familiar?

10. Slow system performance. As Windows writes, rewrites, and saves files to the hard drive, the system slows down over a period of time. In order to get an increase in performance, you need to defrag your hard drive. Defragging a Windows hard drive could take all night. Linux never needs to be defragged!

9. Repeated Cost. You have to buy Windows over and over again. When you purchase a new PC, you're buying Windows, yet again. You're not allowed to take that copy of Windows and install it on a second or third PC without first paying Bill and company, yet again. Linux is free. and once you own it, you're permitted to install it on as many PCS as you and your family own.

8. Pop-ups and Spyware. Windows is susceptible to so many internet nasties. Pop-up ads and spyware can easily burrow onto your system simply by visiting a web page. Linux is immune to spyware and pop-ups are few and far between thanks to the FireFox browser and its built-in Ad blocking.

7. Internet Explorer vulnerability. Internet Explorer is a great big hole in your Windows system. it allows hackers and others a portal to all your critical data. It's because Windows and IE are so tightly integrated. Linux uses Mozilla based browsers (Sea Monkey, FireFox, etc.) that run independently of the core operating system.

6. DRM (Digital Rights Management) trap. DRM is a way of keeping your songs locked onto one computer system. It doesn't give you the freedom (or limits your freedom) to move your digital music to other computers or playback devices. Linux is free of DRM and utilizes the free, open source .ogg file format which has better sound and compression than MP3.

5. Third party utility software slowdown. This is software has has to constantly run in the background looking for viruses and other attacks. This requires the use of system resources and results in slower system performance. Linux does not need firewalls, anti-virus or other scanning software. Linux is immune to Windows viruses.

4. Administrator Mode vulnerability. All Windows users default to an administrator account. Meaning every user has access to the entire system, data, documents and other files. f something infects one user account, because all accounts run at the adminisration level, everyone's account becomes infected. Linux requires everyone to run in user mode. No one runs in administration mode. If a user damages their account in some way, it it limited to their account only. They cannot access another user's documents or data.

3. Crashing and Freezing. When a software application in Windows crashes or freezes,the entire system crashes or freezes. Windows is so tightly woven into its software and GUI, that when something goes wrong in one area, it affects the other area. Linux is built on layers. The core OS is separate from the GUI and independent of software applications. If an application in Linux crashes or freezes, the operating system and GUI continue to run. Simply terminate the frozen program start it up again.

2. High cost of repair. When Windows becomes corrupted and things stop working, taking it to a computer shop for repair can potentially cost hundreds. If it's been infected with a virus, there's no guarantee the problem will be completely eradicated. Linux has a wonderful community of fellow users who are always on hand to help you through any problem you may have. In addition, some Linux distributions will sell you support at a very modest cost.

1. Virus and Trojans. If a user isn't careful, Windows can become quickly infected with a virus and, in many cases, render the system useless. Linux is immune to Windows viruses.

So, the only way to really get rid of your Windows headaches is to get rid of Windows and Get Linux.

Got a question about cartooning with Linux, or Linux in general? Email me at: If I use your question on my blog, I'll send you an original, signed George comic strip!

Visit the George Store for all things George!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Gimp tutorials are everywhere!

Well, let's say you've finally loaded Linux onto your computer. You boot the system, log in, and are greeted with the KDE (or Gnome) desktop. You start to explore the menus to test drive some of the applications. One of the main applications you'll undoubtedly want to try is The Gimp, the free, open source image editing program that comes pre-installed in Linux.

Now, I absolutely love using The Gimp. But I will admit, the interface is a bit different and takes some getting used to. Trust me, it's an easy adjustment to make.

Even though The Gimp is as powerful and feature rich as PhotoShop, PhotoImpact, Paintshop Pro and others, you'll find that you may need just a bit of help in navigating the toolbar menus and keyboard commands.

Luckily, the web is chock full of Gimp tutorials. My Linux buddy Matt passed along these links to Gimp tutorials, help manuals, and forums. (Thank you, Matt!)

In addition, there is an extensive help manual for Gimp located in your Linux distribution's repository (usually called gimp-help-en. "en" for English, "fr" for French, etc.)

But, if you're more inclined to use a book, is loaded with Gimp manuals. Simply enter, The Gimp in the search bar. The most widely known Gimp manual (which will come up in the search results) is called, "Grokking The Gimp."

If you don't want to wait for the book to be delivered, Grokking the Gimp is available for free as a web site.

So, once again, you can see how open and generous the Linux community is with information about the Operating System and its applications.

When was the last time Microsoft gave you any help without first reaching into your wallet?

Got a question about cartooning with Linux, or Linux in general? Email me at: If I use your question on my blog, I'll send you an original, signed George comic strip!

Visit the George Store for all things George!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Music! Music! Music!

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One of the biggest developments to come to home computers has been the digital music revolution. MP3 Players, online music services and music players for your computer desktop are now driving the recording industry. And Linux gives you so much more freedom in the digital music realm than Windows!

If you have a lot of music files, you may want to consider using the free, open source format called .ogg. Also known as Ogg vorbis, this format has better compression and sound than MP3. .Ogg Vorbis was developed when its founder discovered that a royalty was gong to be charged for using
the MP3 audio format. Folks are quickly discovering the advantages of using .ogg.

.Ogg is available for Windows. But, if you run Linux there are a multitude of free music players that support .ogg (and many of these support MP3, as well). With Linux, you have the best of both worlds!

My favorite Linux music player is Amarok.

Amarok is incredibly feature rich. Like other players, Amarok allows you to create play lists. But it ups the competition in this area. Amarok looks at your music habits and creates play lists for Most Played, Never Played, Newest Tracks, Random Tracks, etc. You can search your music by artist or title on the fly by simply typing in the first few letters in the search bar.

Amarok's neatest feature is its link to Wikipedia. So, if you were playing, "The Way You Look Tonight" by Frank Sinatra, Amaork scans Wikipedia and displays the lyrics and biography information on Old Blue Eyes. Like the Beatles? Whenever you play a Beatles song, you can ask Amarok finds the lyrics within Wikipedia's database.

Amarok can also sync up to your MP3 Player so you can take your music with you.

Amarok is head and shoulders above any other music player out there. it's free, feature rich and exclusive to Linux.

Get Linux and then you'll have Amarok. Amarok. Rediscover your music!

Got a question about cartooning with Linux, or Linux in general? Email me at: If I use your question on my blog, I'll send you an original, signed George comic strip!

Visit the George Store for all things George!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Got a business? Easily create a business card!

gLabels is a terrific little Linux software program that does ONE THING and does it very well!

gLabels allows you to easily create business cards and labels.

And because it runs in Linux, gLabels is free software. It is distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL).

gLabels has a very straight-forward and easy to use interface. Simply choose an Avery template (business card or label) and the way you want the final card or label printed (landscape or portrait orientation) and start right in. Anyone can master this program in only a few minutes! You can insert artwork, create and edit text, create lines and shapes, and move and edit things to your liking.

When you've got your design just the way you like it, gLabels will perfectly print it to the Avery business card stock or label sheet that you selected in the opening steps.

For any small or medium sized business, gLabels is heaven sent! All too often in the Windows world, in order to create your own business cards or labels, you need to purchase a high-end desktop publishing program. Spending $100.00 or more is quite steep when all you wish to do is create a business card. gLabels is free! Check your Linux distribution's repository.

gLabels is a GNOME based program and runs on the GNOME desktop. But as long as all the proper libraries are provided in your distro's repository, gLabels will run just fine on the KDE desktop.

I run the KDE desktop on my Linux systems and gLabels is always in use. As you can see by the accompanying screenshots and pictures, I use gLabels to create all my business cards. As a cartoonist, it goes without saying that I need to have a fun business card to hand out to readers, editors and other. gLabels lets me easily create all my cartooning business cards in a snap! (All screen shots and pictures edited, tuned, and cropped using the Gimp.)

Got a question about cartooning with Linux, or Linux in general? Email me at: If I use your question on my blog, I'll send you an original, signed George comic strip!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Linux - No assembly required.

(Click Image for larger view)

I had fun drawing the above comic strip. Because, nowadays, it seems everything needs to be assembled. This is especially true of Windows. When you buy a computer with Windows pre-installed, you get some bundled software. But two things are true:

1.) You paid for that bundle of software. It may not be listed in the price of the computer, but you had better believe, you paid for it.

2.) Bundled software is very seldom a top-shelf offering. The bundle is designed to give you a taste of what is possible. It's an introductory level software package. Sooner of later you're going to need an advanced tool or feature. You won't have it within the bundled software, so you'll be marching off to the software store to find a piece of software that has the features you need.
Which means, you're plunking down another $40.00, $50.00 or even $100.00.

Next, you'll bring the software home, open it, drop it in your DVD/CD tray, and install it. Then, you have to file it (and the license number) away in a safe place. Because if you ever lose the disk or the installation license, you're out of luck. You won't be able to install the software again, especially if windows crashes and you have to due an entire system re-install.

With windows, you'll need to install a firewall and an anti virus program. Sure, these come with some versions of Windows, but the pros recommend you get a third party program to "plug up" the holes in Windows security. More money spent. And again you'll need to install this software. And, if it's an anti-virus program or similar utility, you'll be required to purchase a yearly subscription. More money.

Want desktop publishing? Well, this very rarely comes standard on a Windows system. So, off to the software store to buy yet another disk. The same goes for Graphics, photo editing, Office suites,...the list goes on.

Pretty soon, you're going to have a rather large stack of disks and license codes that need to be saved.

As I mentioned earlier, heaven help you if you have to reinstall all this software! It could take hours of loading disks, punching in license codes and waiting for the application to install.

Linux is better. When you install Linux, it already comes with top shelf, full featured software that gets you immediately up and running and using your computer. And the software is all open source. No need for license codes.

And Linux is immune to Windows viruses! here's no need to install an anti-virus program or pay for a subscription to this type of service.

Linux comes with the following (most or all) pre-installed:

OpenOffice - A full featured office suite fully compatible with MSOffice.
The Gimp - Full featured Photo editing software compatible and a rival to Adobe's PhotoShop.
K3B - a CD and DVD burning utility
Pidgin - Instant messenger
Thunderbird, Kmail, Evolution,etc. - email clients.
Firebird/Mozilla - Web Browser
Amarok - Full featured MP3 music player
Kaffeine, VLC, MPlayer - DVD/multi-media players
DIGiKam - Powerful full featured Photo organizer and editor
InkScape - Vector Graphics editor
Scribus - Desktop Publishing
SuperKaramba - desktop widgets
Xsane - Scanning utility
Kfax - Faxing utility

The list is endless. And more software is being developed every day by Linux community members.

Linux comes with so many software titles pre-installed, that once Linux is started, you simply begin working on your computer. No further "assembly" is required. It's all there and ready to go!

But, if you chose to explore more software offerings, it's a simple matter of obtaining the software from the repository or a one click installation system. There's no need to visit the local software store or spend additional dollars! Linux software is free, open source, full feature and always available in your distribution's repository. No need to store a mountain of CD-ROM disks!

Get Linux. No assembly required.

Got a question about cartooning with Linux, or Linux in general? Email me at: If I use your question on my blog, I'll send you an original, signed George comic strip!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Warning! Do Not Open!!!

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How many times have you received a Virus Warning Email? A Virus Warning Email goes something like this:

Beware of Virus - This is a must read!

An email is circulating that claims to have Pictures (or video, audio, documents, etc.) of (name of the event, person, etc. goes here). DO NOT OPEN THE ATTACHMENT! It is a virus (or Trojan) that will crash your whole system!

Usually, a link to is included to show the authenticity of the virus email threat.

Well, these are well meaning communications meant to make sure everyone avoids installing a nasty virus or Trojan on their systems.

Well, not EVERYONE. Only those users who happen to be running Windows. You see, Linux is immune to Windows viruses and Trojans. When I get one of these email warnings, I'll pass it along to others who are running Windows. But I'm not concerned at all. I run Linux.

And I hope that, if I point out Linux' immunity to Windows viruses often enough, you'll decide to give Linux a try.

A much better method of informing people about Linux was posted by Jim Isbell a member of the Freespire Linux forums. When he receives one of these Email warnings, he simply clicks on "Respond to all" and sends all the following email response:

"Dear (Whomever), I run Linux on my machine. It is immune to ALL Microsoft viruses. Also if you will read that Snopes article you will see that it DOES NOT say that the virus messes with your HD. It says that it installs a "Trojan horse" program in your computer to spy on you. This is NOT a major problem, however, first because a Trojan horse program does not trash your computer, it only spys on you. And secondarily the article also says that even this will not happen if you have a properly updated Windows system which you should have since it is a free service if you subscribe to "Big Fix".

But more importantly, if you run a Linux based system (there are over 200 of them), which has all the features of a windows system without the virus susceptibility, and has the added bonus that almost ALL software for Linux is FREE, even the operating system, AND even updates of the operating system are free, AND the desktop is hardly distinguishable from a Windows desktop so there is virtually NO LEARNING CURVE, AND support is free FOREVER not just for 30 or 90 days, AND it will run and can be easily installed on any computer that will run Windows, then you have no virus problems and no constant "send us $45 for an update" problems..."

How true!

Linux really gives you freedom! You get a great Operating System, great software and become part of a great community of Linux users. It's easy to start. Pick a Linux flavor, download and try it out!

Get Linux and get rid of viruses, spy ware and other internet nasties! Run Linux and maybe you'll be the one sending your friends a similar email.

Got a question about cartooning with Linux, or Linux in general? Email me at: If I use your question on my blog, I'll send you an original, signed George comic strip!

Windows Crash! Crash! Crash!

(Click on the image to see a larger view)
The above George comic strip was inspired by my own past, personal use of Windows. It was also inspired by an online forum discussion I was having with a few other Linux users. This comic is the inspiration for today's blog entry.

Windows crashes. Sooner or later, while using a Windows system, you're going to experience a crash. You may be launching an application, or plugging in a thumb drive, or surfing the web. Regardless, trust me when I say, "Windows is going to crash."

Why does this happen? Why the heck does Windows crash so often? The simplest explanation is because Windows is so tightly integrated. Applications are closely intertwined to the operating system. When an application crashes, the whole system crashes. The screen goes blank and you have to reboot.

Linux is built much better than Windows. Linux is built on layers, so to speak. The core OS is a layer independent of the GUI layer which is separate from the application (another layer of sorts) being run. If an application crashes, the rest of the system is intact. It remains up and running. All you need do is simply restart the application and not the entire Operating System.

In addition, unlike Windows, when a new application is installed in Linux, no reboot is needed. This is also true of installing new hardware. Again, these independent layers are the reason why a reboot is not needed.

Linux, and the way it's been designed, is simply more stable than Windows.

So don't worry. If an application crashes in Linux, it's not a major problem. It's just a simple restart of the app. You won't have to reboot the entire system. And you won't have to call a teenager to get your system up and running again.

By the way, the above George comic strip was scanned in two pieces using Xsane. I then used Gimp to stitch the pieces together. I cropped and re-sized for print publication. Lastly, I used used Gimp to add the color.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Who sent this email? Should I open the attachment?

Last night, I received an email from someone named Steve. The email address simply said Steve. Steve? Steve who? I didn't know who this Steve was. Could it be my college friend Steve? Is it my cousin Steve? Is it some other Steve I don't even know?

And, there was an attachment. It was a file called, "HighHeelFall.wmv." Okay, so someone named Steve sent me a Windows media file.

Now, if were running Windows, there is ABSOLUTELY NO WAY I would ever download and open this file! First, I don't know who it's from. Second, even if I did know the sender, how can I be sure that it isn't infected with some sort of virus? What if my anti-virus hasn't been properly updated? What if it misses catching the virus? What if it's a new virus not yet identified? What if it contains a back-door Trojan which will load onto my system and steal my identity and bank records? What if it's a key logger Trojan that reords and steals all my passwords to online banking accounts, email accounts, forums, etc?

What if, what if, what if???!!!!

Let's face it, when you run Windows, you have a big, fat, target on your back. Windows is being constantly attacked by viruses, Trojans, spy ware, pop-ups, and every other kind of internet nasty out there. And it's getting worse.

But, because I run Linux, I don't have this worry. Why? Linux does not run or recognize Windows executable files. Windows viruses come in the form of an .exe (executable) file. When a Windows user double clicks this file, an installation process begins which will result in the entire system (all users, all system files) becoming infected. Sometimes these viruses disguise their file names. Folks think they are opening up a picture or text document when they are actually being fooled into launching a virus.

The simple explanation is: Since Linux doesn't run .exe files, Linux cannot be infected with a Windows virus. And the majority of viruses out there are written for Windows systems. And there are other layers of protection built into the Linux system. (See my post on Root and user accounts).

Even if Linux did run .exe files, (and it is possible, to a certain extent, if WINE is installed.), the nasty virus or Trojan would be confined to only that user's directory. (Again, see my post on Root and user accounts).

(Note: To clarify this, I checked with my Linux expert friend Matt on this point regarding WINE and Linux. Matt tells me that a Windows virus can only be executed from WINE. BUT, only if launched. This goes back to someone actually double clicking the .exe file. Bottom line, the virus would have to know to invoke WINE to invoke a Windows script or exe. The simple fix would be to delete the .wine directory and everything is gone. Even apps installed using WINE. )

(Regardless of the OS you use, always remember to periodically back up your critical data and documents).

But, safe to say, Linux does not get infected with Windows viruses. When I stated running Linux, I didn't need an anti-virus program. It's simply not necessary. And because Linux isn't bogged down with having to constantly run an anti-virus program in the background (as Windows needs to do), your system runs faster!

So, get the Windows virus target off your back. Get rid of Windows and get Linux. When you run Linux, you say goodbye to viruses, Trojans, and other nasty computer infections. With Linux, you'll enjoy a safer and more secure computing environment and experience.

Oh, and Steve turned out to be my cousin Steve. So, I confidently downloaded and played the file in Kaffeine. I wasn't worried about a virus. I run Linux.:)

And yes, the file was quite funny. Here it is.