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Introduction to Linux - A Hands on Guide
This guide was created as an overview of the Linux Operating System, geared toward new users as an exploration tour and getting started guide, with exercises at the end of each chapter.
For more advanced trainees it can be a desktop reference, and a collection of the base knowledge needed to proceed with system and network administration. This book contains many real life examples derived from the author's experience as a Linux system and network administrator, trainer and consultant. They hope these examples will help you to get a better understanding of the Linux system and that you feel encouraged to try out things on your own.
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Black Lab is based on Ubuntuís long-term support version and aimed at home users. It can be freely downloaded, or purchased with 2 monthsí support for $30. Itís produced by PC/OpenSystems, who also market commercial versions for business and educational use. It was formerly known as OS4 Open Linux.
Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 7
Email support available. Non-pae version available
Lacks its own documentation
Black Lab offers 64-bit, 32-bit, and non-pae versions. I tested the 32-bit one. It draws on various repositories: Ubuntu, Xubuntu, and Elementaryos. No documentation is provided, but obviously the Ubuntu and Xfce sites provide all thatís needed.
No md5sum is provided and the disk is not self-checking, but it does have m5dsums for its files, so you could check them yourself. Gparted is not provided, so shrinking a Windows partition is best does from Windows. The installer is the usual Ubuntu one, with the option to encrypt /home.
The interface is Xfce, with the whisker menu. Many shortcuts are preset, like super+e for the editor and super+t for the terminal. Itís said to support a touch-screen, but I wasnít able to test that. At the request of their clients, the commercial version will switch to Gnome in edition 6, but itís hoped that an Xfce image will still be provided for the free version.
The software installed included Abiword (with spell-checking), Gnumeric, Firefox (with Flash), Thunderbird Mail, Pidgin, Xchat, Audacious, Audacity, OpenShot, VLC (with codecs), and Steam. Everything worked except VLC, and only Audacity left warnings in the terminal. I installed Parole to replace VLC, and it worked after I reconfigured with ďparole --xv falseĒ.
Black Lab competes with Xubuntu, AntiX MX, Linux Lite, and ZevenOS. All are good and very similar. Black Lab has a non-pae version and offers commercial support, but is the only one without Gparted; AntiX has a better installer; both AntiX and Linux Lite give you LibreOffice by default; Linux Lite canít encrypt /home; Xubuntu has support for the blind.