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The Blag Book

Blag (a recursive acronym, standing for Blag Linux and GNU ) is a GNU/Linux operating system distribution that consists entirely of Free Software. When I first stumbled upon the...
Views: 611 Created 12/19/2006

Blag (a recursive acronym, standing for Blag Linux and GNU) is a GNU/Linux operating system distribution that consists entirely of Free Software. When I first stumbled upon the system a few months ago, I knew this would be the operating system I would stand behind.

Like many GNU/Linux systems of the day, they can be a little intimidating to the average (or new) computer user to install onto their computer. Because I enjoy using Blag so much, I wanted to give back to it in some way. Thus, I have designed this comprehensive tutorial that could assist anyone who wishes to install and use Blag on their computer in a smooth fashion.

This work is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. You are free to copy, distribute, display, and perform the work, to make derivative works, and to make commercial use of the work, as long as you allow others to share under the same terms - no more, and no less. That being said, I expect the general public to treat this document like a wiki: Add or edit the content to match historical or technical accuracy. I ask that you make your revisions public, so I may make better use of the information.

Acquiring Blag

I am writing this document to fit the whims of the general public. Because of this, I personally only trust GNU/Linux systems that have proven themselves to be stable, tried-and-true operating systems.

Blag is based largely off of Fedora Core, a GNU system that is sponsored and funded by a large corporation that develops large pieces of Free Software. That company is Red Hat. Here’s how Fedora Core works:

1. Red Hat wishes to test new Free Software technology for use in a future commercial GNU/Linux system.

2. Red Hat says to itself, “What better way to test new technology than by presenting it to a large population of GNU/Linux users? We’ll be able to look at large numbers of bug reports, fix the software, and eventually release a fixed revision to the world within our own commercial GNU/Linux system.”

3. The new technology is implemented in the new, “bleeding-edge” system that is Fedora Core, a Red Hat derivative.

4. After the new technology becomes stable enough to be implemented in an enterprise environment, it is considered “solid” and is placed in Red Hat’s commercialized operating system.

5. After a long period of bug testing and making sure the Fedora Core operating system runs smoothly and solidly, most of the technology has been implemented within Red Hat’s system and is currently being sold and used. The Fedora Core equivalent of Red Hat’s commercialized operating system is labeled as “legacy” and is, technically speaking, slightly outdated in comparison to the latest Fedora release.

Practically speaking, the fact that the “legacy” release of Fedora Core is a little less recent than the latest Fedora release is, for the most part — irrelevant to the end-user. If nobody wanted to use the legacy software, Red Hat would be out of a business.

Generally speaking, if you want a solid system and also wish to use Blag, I suggest you use the revision of Blag that corresponds with the label of “Fedora Legacy” so you get a more stable operating environment. On the other hand, you may not care to have a truly solid system. If you are one of those people, I still encourage you to try Blag, as it is still functional and usable. I just prefer a very solid, tested system.

If you are one of those people who does not necessarily want the same thing out of their Blag experience, you will not reap the same benefits by reading this tutorial. Over the course of Fedora and/or Blag system development, many things will change and this tutorial could easily become vastly deprecated and obsolete.

So, if you wish to follow the path of a stable Blag, continue to read this tutorial.

The latest “Dylan-Approved” stable revision of Blag Linux and GNU is version 30003, which is based on Fedora Core 3. You can download the ISO image for that particular version of the Blag distribution at this location:

ftp://ftp.blagblagblag.org/pub/BLAG/linux/30000/en/iso/BLAG-30003.iso

Installing Blag

In comparison to other GNU/Linux systems, Blag is generally easy to install. Assuming you have already successfully downloaded and burned the disc ISO image to a blank compact disc, the following are instructions for installation of Blag.

*** NOTICE ***: Before you do any of the following, you may find it extremely beneficial to back up all of your independent data files before performing an installation of any operating system. Independent data files include (but are obviously not limited to):

- Commonly used image file formats (JPEG, GIF, PNG, etc.)
- Commonly used movie file formats (MPEG, OGG, MOV, WMV, etc.)
- Commonly used audio file formats (OGG, MP3, FLAC, WAV, etc.)
- Commonly used document file formats (TXT, SXW, ABW, DOC, etc.)
- Internet bookmarks or favorites
- Any other information that does not subjugate the user to a specific platform.

It is usually best to back up all of this information to some sort of transferrable media, such as an external hard disk, CD-ROM, DVD, or large-capacity Flash storage.

With all of that being said, here’s the instructions:

1. Reboot the computer with the Blag CD in your computer’s CD-ROM drive.

2. If not already configured to do so, enter your BIOS and configure the boot order to recognize the CD-ROM drive first. Because many BIOSes are different, you may try hitting ESC, any one of the F (function) keys found at the top of your keyboard, or DEL at boot to get into the BIOS. Save the changes and exit the BIOS configuration menu.

3. Assuming you performed Step 2 correctly, you should now arrive at the “boot:” prompt. The “boot:” prompt is actually more extensible than it looks. Generally, one of three things can happen:

- You simply hit the ENTER key and the default installation begins.

- You type “linux text” and hit the ENTER key. Typing “linux text” tells the installation program that your computer probably does not have enough resources to use the graphical installation program. While the graphical program is generally prettier, they are about the same in terms of functionality.

- You type “blagblagblag” to install everything on the CD. This automatically configures the operating system, installs all packages on the CD and sets up the root (administrative) password as “blagblag”. I recommend that you change this password as soon as possible, as it is not very secure.

Because the end result of each installation method is generally the same (the third simply comes with more programs installed), we will continue, assuming you installed using the default method.

The next screen that you will encounter is the Media Check screen. The two options are basically “Yes”, and “No”. Choosing “Yes” will force a data integrity check on the CD you are using for the Blag install, to make sure that none of the system will be corrupted upon finishing the installation. Choosing “No” will simply skip this portion of the installation process and continue to the next section.

In the next segment, a splash screen welcomes you to the installer. The next few parts of the installation are self-explanatory, so I’m only going to briefly describe each section.

- Language: Select the default language of the installed system.

- Keyboard: Select the default keyboard layout of the installed system.

- Upgrade or Install: If this installation is merely an upgrade from a previous version of Blag, choose the Upgrade option. If not, choose the new install option.

- Desktop, Server, Custom: Customize the package selection of the installation.

- Partition: In computer engineering, hard disk drive partitioning is the creation of logical divisions upon a hard disk that allows one to apply operating system-specific logical formatting. Most users will want to auto-partition here. Make sure you do not overwrite another operating system here unless you are absolutely sure you want to. You will lose your previous operating system if you overwrite it. This is very crucial to the installation process.

- Partition Confirm: This prompt allows you to rethink the partitioning process.

- Boot Loader Install: This section is virtually irrelevant to the end-user. Skip through this part, selecting the Next button.

- Network Configuration: Adapt to your own needs. You will know what to do. If you do not know what to do, it is most likely the case that nothing needs to be done. Simply select the Next button.

- Firewall Configuration: The default firewall options are adequate. Skip through this part, selecting the Next button.

- Additional Languages: Take a moment to consider any additional languages you may wish to have installed.

- Timezone: Select your time zone.

- Root Password: MAKE SURE YOU REMEMBER WHAT THIS PASSWORD IS!!! I CANNOT STRESS THIS ENOUGH. The root password is the password designated to the user with administrative access. If you somehow forget your root password, you cannot install new programs or perform any sort of administrative tasks.

- Package Selection: Just a re-iteration of the package selection process.

- Getting Ready to Install: Here’s your last chance to hit back and change any settings before the installation starts.

- Formatting Hard Drive: The hard drive gets formatted here. All properly delegated data is erased here.

- Installing: This takes a few minutes. Go make a sandwich, and come back within about 20 minutes.

- Reboot: The system is now finished installing. Reboot the system to enter it.

Now, there is but one step left in the installation process…

Final System Configuration Process

This part of the install process does not take very long at all. Here’s another brief overview of what’s going to happen.

Upon the reboot, you will be presented with the terms of the GNU General Public License, the principal Free Software license. This is what makes Blag free software. There is no proprietary code on the Blag CD and your computer is free. Note that you are not required to accept the terms of the license to be able to use the software, but why would you reject the freedoms, anyways? I just select “Yes, I agree” and click Next.

Now, your sound and video hardware will be automatically detected and configured for usage. Configuring your sound device is trivial, but configuring your monitor device requires you to know your screen resolution. On most of today’s modern monitor devices, that value is “1024 x 768 pixels”. A larger monitor yields a larger pixel by pixel value. This, is also quite simple.

After you have passed the GNU General Public License, you will be required to set up a regular user account. This account is used for day-to-day computer usage and not for system administration.

Congratulations. You have successfully installed Blag Linux and GNU.

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