Saturday, 5 April 2008

Day 3 - The Workshop gets Tech.

After spending two days talking about the philosophical, political, economical and possibly even ethical elements of free software; the third morning of the workshop took a turn for the more applied side of things, or, how to reboot your computer from a Live-CD. This step enables you to make use of the most user-friendly method of a linux-based operating system, as it doesn't require any installation but simply works of the CD. As this step consumed quite some time, here follows a bullet-point description.
  1. Turn on PC. Insert the CD you want to boot from.
  2. Press restart.
  3. While Windows, or Mac, or whatelse is restarting, is shown in the black window shortly before logging on, press whatever key (usually F12, F2, or delete) takes you to the Setup menu.
  4. While in the set-up menu, find the option that allows you to change the priority order of booting-- instead of going straight to Harddrive, you will want your PC to try booting from a CD/DVD first. This way, if there is no bootable CD inserted, on start-up your PC will go straight to the regular operating system, while with a CD inside it will take you to the other one.
  5. Continue the reboot!
If all goes well, this is what you'll end up with.

The next hour was spent looking into the possibilities of setting up your own WiFi connection, by building an antenna (for examples of how to do this, google 'wifi antenna build' and find out about the multiple uses of a pringles can). More websites of information that were mentioned include the Linux Documentation Project, as well as a website geared towards making the Linux circles accesible in Arabic.

Going on with the Linux in Arabic, half way through-out the workshop we were joined by an active member (of the open source community) in Cairo; Alaa. He graciously spent some of his time to introduce the class to the local GNU/Linux network, thereby giving participants the
possibility to continue in the field after the finish of the workshop, as well as talking about some other things ... the content of which I couldn't confidently report to you here, due to my merely budding knowledge of Egyptian Arabic. Nevertheless, for the locally interested, I urge you to check out both websites mentioned above (which are in English as well as Arabic).


Returning to the everyday use that can be made of free software, the remainder of the workshop was spent playing around with the different applications of GIMP, a photoshop-style software tool, differing most significantly in that the first can be downloaded for free (as is the case with all free software) online, while the other comes at a costly price.

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