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2,857 Tutorials

How to try Linux with no strings attached

Install Damn Small Linux on a USB drive

Step 7. On first launch, a window entitled ‘Dillo: Getting Started with DSL’ will pop up. Dillo is a small and fast web browser. It’s an ideal accompaniment for DSL, and the file displayed onscreen is simply a getting started guide. If you’re a habitual reader of manuals then feel free to peruse it, otherwise join us on our quick tour of DSL.

Linux 7

Step 8. Given that Dillo doesn’t support the enhanced content found on many modern websites, it’s useful to have an alternative browser option. Firefox is included in the distribution and, although it’s a rather old version, it’s better than Dillo. Click on its icon in the taskbar and get a feel for web browsing DSL-style.

Linux 8

Step 9. Click the DSL button at the bottom left of the screen. This is similar to the Windows Start button. Click Apps, Graphics, mtPaint in the context menu. mtPaint is very much like Windows’ Paint; try your hand at creating a work of art, then use the File, Save menu to store your painting in the default folder.

Linux 9

Step 10. To later find the file you created, click the Files icon in the taskbar to open emelFM. This file manager is noticeably lacking in the graphics department when compared to Windows Explorer, but its directory structure is simple to navigate. You’ll find your painting in /ramdisk/home/dsl.

Linux 10

Step 11. DSL includes some basic office productivity applications. To launch its word processor, click DSL, Apps, Office, Ted Word Processing. Ted uses the RTF file format. The easiest way to try it out is to email yourself a sample file while running Windows, then pick it up in DSL using Firefox.

Linux 11

Step 12. You’ll find Siag Spreadsheet in the same menu. Siag has a remarkably similar interface to Microsoft Excel, but first appearances can be deceptive: those familiar with Excel won’t find Siag intuitive in use. More suitable alternatives include LibreOffice, which also includes a word processor and spreadsheet tool.

Linux 12

Step 13. This lightweight Linux distribution also includes some games. As with the games that are bundled with Windows, it’s mostly primitive stuff. Click DSL, Games to take a look at the games on offer. Our screenshot above depicts The Ace of Penguins Freecell and Minesweeper, although there are 12 games to choose between.

Linux 13

Step 14. Click on the Panel icon in the taskbar to launch DSL’s Control Panel. This isn’t nearly as extensive as Windows’ same-name configuration utility, but it does let you set preferences for various system attributes, such as the keyboard layout and desktop background. You can also view system statistics.

Linux 14

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