Thank you openSuse

openSUSE logoWe would like to thank openSUSE for their generous donation to our Free and Open Source IT Tools drop-in. Last week openSUSE, a popular GNU/Linux-based project and distribution, sent us 100 USB flash drives. We will put free software on the flash drives for people to take away to use on their own computers.

There are tools to use for design, photo and video editing, word-processing, spreadsheets, learning, and much more. For anything you want to do with your computer, there is a free and open source application. On the flash drives, we can give you a complete system to try out with no commitment.

To get some great free tools to use at home or at work, come to the Drop-in at Redbridge Library. It is on the first Friday of every month, 1–3pm. Or contact us —  we would love to hear from you.

 

 

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Great website hosting

Screenshot link to Vidahost website: woman wearing long-sleeved, blue top; starter package £29 p/a, including free domain and free migrations.

Click image to go to Vidahost’s website.

We are often asked for advice about web hosting. Here are a few reasons why we like Vidahost.

They are a UK company and we have always experienced excellent customer service from them.

They are very easy to contact by phone or email. Emails are answered fully and promptly. There is a freephone (0800) number and lines are open 9am–midnight.

They offer a number of modern approaches to web hosting, which will make your website secure and scalable.

Their prices are extremely competitive and the service offers good value for money.

We provide advice about websites, domains and hosting at the Open Source Options drop-in. Come along to Redbridge Library (Ilford) on the first Friday of the month between 1pm and 3pm to try free IT tools.

We’re happy to have a chat and answer quick questions about hosting between sessions. You can contact us here. If you are ready to check out hosting, have a look at Vidahost now.

 

Why Linux Mint?

We’ve been running our Open Options sessions at Redbridge Central Library, in Ilford, for a few months now. I think it’s good time to revisit our early decisions.

We chose Linux Mint because, out of the box, it has a relatively close feel to Microsoft Windows. That gives it a familiarity for new users.

Although we have our custom-built operating system, running on the servers we supply, we work with many other systems. My personal desktop of choice, in the office and at home, is Linux Mint. This means I can provide support that is rooted in my everyday practical user experience.

Linux Mint is the 4th most widely used home operating system and is based on the 3rd most widely used. A result of its popularity is that there is a lot of online help, support and a strong user community.

What is Linux Mint?

Linux Mint is a packaged distribution. It comes with an operating system, a set of software applications, and access to add (many) more applications. When it’s installed it looks like this:

Screenshot of the Linux Mint desktop.

And with the menu open, it looks like this:

Screenshot of the Linux Mint desktop with open menu.

Operating System (OS)

Linux Mint is built on the GNU/Linux operating system. I’m planning to write a post about what GNU is and what Linux is … sometime soon. I’ll come back here and link to that post for people who’d like to know a little more. To keep things simple, GNU/Linux is equivalent to Windows 8 (Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP) or Mac OSX. You can install Linux Mint on a PC and on a Mac.

Applications (software)

When you install Linux Mint it comes with a set of applications. This is the same as buying a Windows or Mac operating system and an office suite. The office suite that comes with Linux Mint is called LibreOffice. It includes six programs: word processor, spreadsheet, presentation, drawing, database, and maths. Linux Mint also comes with a range of other applications including: web browser, media player, graphic design, and email.

Software Manager

The Software Manager is an integral part of Linux Mint. It is the main — but not the only — way of adding and removing software applications. You will find a link to it in the main Linux Mint menu. The icon is a yellow star and when you open it, it looks like this:

Screenshot of the Linux Mint Software Manager.

It links to an online repository of about 62,500 software packages. All the software in the Software Manager is free of charge. It is all licensed for commercial and non-commercial use.

More about Linux Mint

If you are local, come and try Linux Mint at one of our drop-ins. Our Open Options sessions run on the first Friday of every month in east London. They are open to all and you don’t need to book. See the side panel for more information. Visit the Linux Mint main website (opens in a new window or tab).