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Move to Linux from MS-Windows!

My pc was getting old so I bought the components to make a new one. I wanted all the components to be quiet, as a result of which I wrote an article. I have a web site about using free sound recording/editing at & put the article at the end of that. I found building the pc was easy.

But which OS do I use now? What people want is the software (that has to use Windows) - not Windows itself.

So every time Microsoft make a new Windows, the one you have now(or the one before that or before that) has to be replaced.

Little do people know what they've been missing! There are people who use Windows, then Linux, then never return.

There are people who use Windows, then Linux, find it does some of what they want because there's still Windows software they need, then have to beg to come back, and we know that this will mean they will have to pay for the next better operating system, because they're down on their knees begging.

Some people using Windows have no Windows or driver CD for their PC, so if anything went wrong with their hard drive or OS, they'd be in trouble. Luckily Linux can rescue them! Linux uses generic hardware drivers(including graphics/sound card, onboard USB ports), which means they work with almost all the hardware you use, so you will hardly need to install any drivers at all. Which means Linux can use hardware designed for Windows 95/98/ME which 2000/XP/Vista can't like serial port modems, graphics/sound cards & printers.

Microsoft say it's the manufacturers only who are responsible for updating all their drivers. Manufacturers go bust, get taken over, avoid doing so etc. With Linux, the many people who create it take the responsibility. Microsoft take very little responsibility.

Some of the Windows soft/hardware you use may well have to be ditched because the next newest Windows won't run it. Learning Linux is an investment & although Linux OS's get bigger as they're updated, you can just continue to use whatever Linux OS you're using.

People want to use computers. What if the hard drive fails, or you get spyware/virus damage or something goes wrong with the OS? Most people never thought that far ahead, so for them the only answer is to buy a new PC, or re-install the OS if they know how. And you may know that if you buy a new drive you can copy the free "Powermax" software onto a bootable floppy disk if the drive is larger than the capacity supported by the BIOS(on older PCs). Having installed both Windows & Linux, I found it easier to install Linux. There's usually no extra driver/commonly used software that has to be installed.

30% of users are using Windows 98/ME which are very insecure OSs. There are 2000/XP users who would like to move to Vista but can't afford to.

Even if your motherboard's XP drivers work with Vista, they probably won't with what comes afterwards if you're using XP.

Linux is more stable than Windows. There's no problems with spyware either & it has far fewer viruses. Microsoft Internet Explorer is a gateway for many hidden viruses.

It's more difficult for viruses to attack. There's different variants of Linux. They have more in common than they have differences. All the modern distributions(distros as they're called) are free to download or are on CD/DVD for a few dollars/pounds & have free office suite software Openoffice from (which includes drawing/database/presentations software that can read Powerpoint/spreadsheet that can read excel files) & software needed to use popular files/software/hardware like Micro$$oft Offi$e $uite, mp3, wma, jpg, pdf, zip, web browsers, photo editing, digital cameras, DVD burner, wifi cards, portable mp3 players, Quicktime, dBase, DVD software, cash management software, video conferencing software, time organizer software etc.

Broadband modems need to be plugged into a LAN/ethernet port, which looks like a USB port. Serial modems are recognized too.

Linux OS's comes with picture editing software like Photoshop called GIMP - see The forum is at


This is software designed to run Windows software on Linux. It's free & has been developed over the years & is updated every month. It will not need more cpu speed because it's not an emulator - see The web site also lists a database of Windows software where people have attempted to use them using WINE, but not necessarily succeeded. WINE works with MS Office, Photoshop, Intuit Quicken, Visio, Lotus Notes, Winzip, Irfanview(free, user-friendly picture editor from 1Mb, which can count the colo(u)rs in a picture).

Someone has successfully used WINE to install the Lotus Wordpro word processor(designed for Windows 95/98). And, they said it actually works better in Linux using WINE than it does in Windows 2000! So a piece of software designed for Windows 95/98 actually works better in Linux than it does in a more modern version of the operating system it was designed for!

BeatrIX for those with older PCs

If you have 64-128Mb RAM try here/ which has BeatrIX for those with a pentium I. It's 200Mb as a free download. You can buy it at, £4(you'll need a free account).

BeatrIX comes with all the software needed for a modern PC. They are designed for novices & have their own forums. They can be run from the CD 'live', so you can use them fully without committing to an install.

32/64 bit

The major Linux operating systems come in 32 & 64 bit. Although there is a lot of 64 bit Linux software, I would only recommend using a 64 bit Linux operating system if you're experienced in Linux.

AntiX Linux for those with older PCs

31dec08: AntiX is designed for those using 128 Mb RAM but I haven't tried it.


Windows has only one desktop look. Linux has several, the two most common are KDE & GNOME. KDE looks more similar to Windows - it's a question of personal preference which one you use. GNOME is probably easier for PC(not Linux) novices. Generally KDE software works on GNOME & vice versa.

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My experiences

I tried different Linux versions: Xandros 3 installed very easily but I got no sound from it(I now know that in the volume software it needs to be un-muted). It didn't have that much extra software with it. Pclinuxos 0.92, Suse 9.3, CentOS 4.4 & Kubuntu 8.10 didn't install. Puppy Linux(for PCs with 64-128Mb RAM) & Ubuntu 6.06 could not install to the hard drive, although they worked as live CDs. Knoppix 5.1 did install & work but I couldn't read floppies/CDs/USB devices. Mandriva 2007 (free version) worked fully. I read others who said it was the best OS they'd ever used. I'd agree.

I heard bad things about Linspire but I did try Freespire 2, which was rather basic & didn't work with my ATI X1300 card.

I now think the reason why the others didn't install is because of my unreliable Sony NEC Optiarc DVD Re-writer.

The difference between the free & the non-free Mandriva( versions are that the latter have commercial software & technical support whereas the other only has free software.

Mandriva(used to be Mandrake) 2006-9 can install as 32 bit or 64-bit if you have that CPU(needs more memory). Reviews here:

Mandriva 2006

[It may be possible to use Mandriva 2007-9 with 128-256Mb RAM:
At login you can select IceVM which is a very basic windows display(this doesn't affect the software you use). If you have 128 Mb RAM you may still be able to use KDE but if you use the Amarok media player you'd have to close all the other software first, & I would suggest you avoid using Openoffice. The Konqueror browser(which uses less memory than any of the other browsers) also acts as the file manager. If using Konqueror in IceVM, to access the control panel settings click the Window menu(top right) & show the navigation panel, then click the Services tab on the left. Digital cameras are installed in the multimedia section of the Start menu in Digikam. Kmix would be your volume control. To start Linux software you downloaded, enter a terminal & type in the name of the software. Otherwise see if you can get a copy of Mandrake 9 which came out about 2002(I'd appreciate it if someone who has a copy could send it to others. I could set up a guestbook request list).]

KDE comes with Koffice, which takes up less memory than Openoffice, has photo editing/drawing/painting software & Visio-style flowcharting software. See later

The Kwrite text editor has bookmarks, a spell check & you can choose the font it uses. It shows html all neatly written with different colo(u)red text & uses less memory than the Koffice word processor.

I have viewed DVD's which work fine. Search google to watch encrypted DVDs.

Mandriva can use monitors with resolutions up to 1600x1200. My motherboard's Windows software drivers would never reach that much. Mandriva can take you through the wifi card set up.

Mandriva has a great web page creator called Nvu. This is now called Kompozer & a version for Mac OS X 10.1.5, Windows & other Linux distros can be found here. Mandriva also has kdewebdev.

Mandriva also has desktop publishing software from & KDEnlive video editing software. There is software called Ekiga - Voice and Video over IP software that's compatible with Microsoft Netmeeting. Mandriva installs Palm Pilot software too.

If your Windows 2000/XP drive is NTFS rather than FAT32, (K)Ubuntu can read but not write to it(someone said the same for Mandriva). They all read/write to FAT32 drives(which is what 95/98/Me would be). See & to write to ntfs.

I've used MS Office 2000 & OpenOffice is better. Files take 3-5 times less space. The word processor looks like Word & is better than Word 2000 but in some ways not as good as Wordpro. It can read/save Word & Pocket Word/Excel files. The spreadsheet can read/save Excel files & read Lotus 123 files. The drawing software is fairly good & can export pictures as .jpg. Powerpoint presentations can be read/saved. You can create pdf files. They have help files.

Buying Linux CD/DVD's(UK) have Linux OS's on CD/DVD, £4 each. You need a free or Nochex account to buy. refunded me for the CDs that didn't work.

Buying Guide

I used Ebay's software section to get a copy of Mandriva, which I found to be a reliable way.

It is legal to copy the free Linux CD/DVD's. You're no longer in Microsoft/commercial land.

In the US sell Mandriva CD/DVDs. Here is a selection from their Mandriva page:

Mandriva 2008.1-RC1 DVD i586 USD 5.95

Mandriva 2008.1 Beta1 DVD i586 USD 5.75

Mandriva 2008.1 Beta1 DVD x86_64 USD 5.75

Mandriva 2008 DVD i586 USD 5.75

Mandriva 2008 DVD x86_64 USD 5.75

Mandriva 2008 i586 USD 5.85

Mandriva one-KDE 2008 i586 USD 1.95

Mandriva 2007.1 DVD i586 USD 5.25

Mandriva 2007.1 DVD x86_64 USD 5.25

Mandriva One 2007.1 KDE 32 i586 USD 1.75

Mandriva One 2007.1 Gnome 32 i586 USD 1.75

Mandriva One 2007.1 KDE extra 32 i586 USD 1.75

Mandriva One 2007.1 KDE 64 x86_64 USD 1.75

Mandriva One 2007.1 Gnome 64 x86_64 USD 1.75

Mandriva One 2007 Gaming DVD i586 USD 5.25

Mandriva Free 2007 - DVD i586 & x86_64 USD 5.25

Mandriva Free 2007 i586 USD 7.00

Mandriva Free 2007 x86_64 USD 7.00

Mandriva One - 2007 - gnome i586 USD 1.99

Mandriva One - 2007 - KDE i586 USD 1.99

Avoid the beta versions as they are test versions. You can order any of the 2008 versions. i586 is the 32bit version. 2008.1 is the next version after 2008. Mandriva One (see for specifications) is a compact Mandriva on one CD instead of 3 or 4, which I tried but thought was too basic & didn't have the Openoffice help(KPPP which is used to access dial-up internet was also missing). I would recommend the Mandriva DVD, which will also have KDE, GNOME & Koffice software.

Dual core processors are supported by Mandriva. Someone said they installed it on their quad core, which also works on Windows XP PRO & 2000 but not XP Home.


During installation it will ask if you want an automatic installation or a manual one, where you create new partitions on your drive yourself. Some people have Windows in the whole of their hard drive i.e. in one partition. During the installation you can arrange for Linux to dual-boot, so you can keep Windows in its current partition, resize it to make it smaller & have Linux installed in its own separate partition. You will then be allowed to boot to either one.

On your hard drive you are allowed to create up to 3 primary partitions(each can store one Windows OS) & one 'extended partition' for storing data. This extended partition can itself be divided into partitions, each of which would be called logical drives. Each Linux OS can exist inside one of these logical drives or in a primary partition.

Linux OS's use partitions called Journalised Ext3 (Ext3). (Your operating system may offer you Ext4, in which case choose this.) If you are re-sizing existing Windows partitions it's vital to defragment them just before installing Linux(use the Start menu, Programs then Accessories then System Tools).

The extended partition & primary partitions can be created in any order, although it's best not to disturb any partitions already there. You can delete partitions and logical drives in the extended partition too.

When creating partitions these can be created anywhere in the available space. If you wanted say a 1Gb partition & had 10Gb of space, you can put it 4Gb after the start. You'll be given a rectangle on the screen, you can drag the left hand end so that there's 4Gb before it, then drag the right hand end so that there's 5Gb after it. Or maybe there will be a text box showing the size of the new partition, say 1024Mb. Beside it are + & - boxes that you click to increase/decrease it. If you type in say 1023 into the box you still have to press the + & - to register it properly.

If you had say 3 primary partitions & one extended partition(with 2 logical drives inside) Linux would label them /hda1, /hda2, /hda3, /hda5 and /hda6. The primary & extended partitions are always hda1-4, logical drives start with hda5 upwards. These would be called /hdc1, /hdc2.../hdc6 if your drive was instead connected to the second IDE connector(you probably have 2 IDE connectors, not one).

I recommend that the Linux operating systems be put in the extended partition & not a primary.

If you have Windows on your hard drive, the Linux install would label its format type (FAT32 if you have Windows 9x/ME or maybe NTFS for 2000/XP).

I recommend creating one extended partition. Inside this create 4 partitions as follows:
a partition (Ext3) for the 'swap' partition (this would be 2.5-3 times the size of your RAM memory).
a partition (Ext3) for the new Linux OS (preferably 5-15Gb).
a /home partition for your files, say, 10Gb+ (make this partition FAT32 or NTFS if you'd like Windows & Linux to read & write to them).
a 4th Ext3 partition which takes up the rest of the hard drive space (for novices you could use a /home partition which takes up the rest of the hard-drive space).

Ext3 supports a maximum size of 16 TB, and a 2 TB maximum file size. Ext4 adds 48-bit block addressing, so it will have 1 EB of maximum filesystem size and 16 TB of maximum file size. (1 EB = 1,048,576 TB).

If you are using too much memory the PC will store the excess on the hard drive; that's what a swap file is. If this is in its own partition this makes things faster. If you have more than one Linux OS they all use the same swap partition.

The main Linux partition will be called / You will need to remember this. It's called the "root". When you install Linux you get your own folder within /home named /home/your-name

For the OS alone(excluding software) Windows 9x/ME/2000 will need about 1Gb of space, XP 4-8Gb.

Both the Mandriva & the (K)Ubuntu partition software can re-size NTFS partitions, but only do so if you do not have enough space for the new OS.

You'll be offered options for the partitions. One of these will be for those people who have already partitioned the drive. Another option is custom partitioning. If you choose the first you will be shown the drives hda1...hda7 etc. & to the left or right of each one is a blank box. Ticking any one will ensure it gets formatted before the installation. This is in case the partitions for placing / & /home already have things inside.

If you use Mandriva to create partitions, even though you can have at most one extended partition, Mandriva treats each logical drive inside it as separate extended partitions.

Ext 3 partitions do not need as much defragmenting as other systems & are formatted very quickly, unlike FAT32 & NTFS.

During the partitioning each partition will display no name, only its size & its allocated drive number. On paper make a note of these & which will be the swap, / & /home partitions. Keep this by the DVD/CD.

If you're using the custom-partitioning option press the "Format" button to format each one. After the partitions have been created you will need to specify the mount point (name) of each one. So press the "mount point" button and choose the name; for example, / or /home. After this press the "mount" button so that it will be used. Also press the "mount" button for the swap partition, If you're using a 4th partition you could call this, say, /mnt/tom

You will be shown a list of software to be installed, things like Office, Internet etc. It's a good idea to include "Development". There is an option to select software individually but this is tedious.

Mandriva installs a firewall automatically.

You will be asked where you want the boot loader. This is the file needed to boot Linux & Windows. It will ask where you want it placed: in the master boot record for your drive(which means at the start of your hard drive), a floppy disk or the root partition. If you haven't installed your own boot-loader software choose the first, otherwise choose your Mandriva root partition. (In some Linux installations choosing the last may result in it saying it won't boot properly; you can ignore this.)

Next, you will be given a list of setup options. One of these will be the boot loader, if you want to make any alterations. Choose the GRUB not the LILO loader as LILO is the older one. Select the delay time, in seconds (the default is 10). It will ask where you want the grub boot loader placed. Just put it where you have already chosen.

I recommend getting boot software & use it before you use Linux. It's easy to use, although it will wrongly describe Ext3 partitions as Ext2. If you're using it from a Linux operating system its instructions will tell you to run (as root) the script In fact you need to use ./

I found that the GRUB boot loader used by most of the Linux OS's(including Mandriva) only booted Windows & its own OS. If you find a Linux OS that works I'd advise you not to try another one on the same hard drive otherwise you could risk not being able to boot into the first one, unless you have your own boot loader software.

If you have a 64-bit pc Mandriva 2007 installs that version(likewise for 32) but if you want to use WINE(or your printer) you will need to install 32-bit, as I did, so when the installation start menu appears press F3.

When you come to install Linux you will need to go into your BIOS when you restart your PC or turn your PC on(press the Delete key lots of times), then switch from booting to the hard drive to booting to the CD drive. Once the CD has installed Linux you need to undo it.

In future when you come to install Linux on another new hard drive during the installation process you can mount your old /home partition so that you can copy files over to your new drive. Later you can unmount these partitions using the Mandriva Control Center. Select each mounted partition on the old drive and press "unmount". Then erase the name of the mount point.

There is a "ndis-wrapper"( which means that your LAN/wireless network card can use its Windows drivers.

Many vendors do not release specifications of the hardware or provide a Linux driver for their wireless network cards. This project implements Windows kernel API and NDIS (Network Driver Interface Specification) API within Linux kernel. A Windows driver for wireless network card is then linked to this implementation so that the driver runs natively, as though it is in Windows, without binary emulation. With ndiswrapper, most miniPCI (builtin), PCI, PCMCIA (Cardbus only) or USB wireless network cards work in Linux 32 or 64 bit. Although ndiswrapper is intended for wireless network cards, other devices are known to work: e.g., ethernet cards, USB to serial port device, home phone network device etc.

It can be installed in the Mandriva Control Center in the System, Configuration part of the Start menu. Go to the software section & do a search for ndis, then tick it & insert the Mandriva CD/DVD.

Finally has a tutorial about installing software from repositories using the Synaptic Package Manager(in Ubuntu), which itself has a help menu.

here has a lot of useful Linux information including hardware compatibility lists, WinModems(PCI ones), PDA, DTP, CAD, PCMCIA, SATA, accounting & music writing software. The section on printers has information from the major printer makers HP, Lexmark, Epson, Brother & Canon about which printers/'All In Ones' can be used in Linux. The section on Word Processors has help on using OpenOffice. Also other Linux OS's for people with less powerful PCs.

Join the forum with thousands of users.

BeatriX, Xandros & (K)Ubuntu are based on the debian Linux code(Mandriva & PCLinuxos are based on Mandriva).

In a world without fences, who needs gates?

Happy computing
28 Apr 2007

Using Mandriva 2007/8

Note that the Mandriva Control Center & the Control Center are not the same thing. The Mandriva Control Center is labelled as 'Configure your computer'.

I still haven't worked out how to do mail merge in Openoffice, which takes a lot of memory. See later for a solution to both using Koffice

I installed KDE & GNOME. I prefer KDE as it has more options. GNOME gives you a little bit less screen space & is easier to configure options for. You access the Control Center indirectly(using the Konqueror browser/file manager by its Services tab on the left in Settings), but in GNOME there is no need to use the Control Center as most options are accessed from the main menu & by right-clicking taskbars.

If you install KDE & GNOME, you will be able to use all the software designed for both. The software for KDE is better than that for GNOME, so I think it's a good idea if you plan to use GNOME only.

Installing a printer/scanner/broadband modem/adding another user/performing a screen resolution change is done in the Mandriva Control Center in the System, Configuration part of the Start menu(not the same as the Control Centre).

There are Linux printer drivers for Hewlett Packard (HPLIP).

If your make/model of printer isn't listed you may get partial operation by using the nearest model. Also try the generic PCL drivers. Read your printer manual as it may have information about PCL emulation mode.

TurboPrint works with many Canon, Epson & HP printers/all-in-ones. Costs 18 Euros.

Linux and Mandriva have the Xsane scanning software, which I believe will work with any make of scanner.

Canon printer drivers (also Scangear scanning software).

Printers for Linux

Also in the Mandriva Control Center you can also (un)install software - just (un)tick the software: in System, Configuration, Hardware you'll find ndiswrapper; in the video section is kino, a DV-editing utility; in sound is playmidi. In 'Graphical Desktop' is KDEutils-klaptop for battery/power management; in Networking, File Transfer is bittorrent.

In Linux devices e.g. drive partitions, CDs, USB devices etc. are mounted by the OS. This is only for devices that need data to be read/written unlike say audio CDs. In the file manager, the / (root) directory is at the top of course & it has many folders. One is the /mnt folder where the Windows partitions & DVD/CD/floppy drives can be accessed.


I downloaded the Opera web browser(5Mb) from See Mandriva has KDE's Konqueror & Firefox but Firefox could not see visited websites offline. Konqueror & Opera are the only browsers I've used which let you quickly switch picture loading on/off. Opera/Konqueror can use/export Internet Explorer/Mozilla favourites. All have 256 bit security encryption(they also block pop-ups). Opera has bittorrent support. Arrange for the web browser cache to be 400-500Mb to store plenty of pages for offline viewing.

I would say you need 512Mb RAM to use Opera or Firefox 3. Konqueror is light on memory usage so if you have 128-256Mb RAM this is the best one.

Double-click the HOME icon on the desktop to start the file manager(which is Konqueror). As a web browser, I thought Konqueror was very good. Pages can by shown in separate tabs. I was able to use all forums properly unlike in Opera.

Konqueror & Firefox worked with just about every web site. Although I like Opera & it could see most of the websites I viewed, it's no good at javascript so if you click a link & it's supposed to open in another window it won't.

Konqueror couldn't save passwords or pictures in websites saved on the hard drive but the others could. I used Openoffice to view those pages. Nvu could be used too.

Midori is a browser with lower memory requirements.


In GNOME the file manager is Nautilus, which is very poor compared with KDE's Konqueror, so I'll talk about the latter only. Click the Window menu & you can un/hide the navigation panel(the left portion of the file manager). Konqueror can display pictures in a folder as thumbnail images.

You can configure Konqueror's toolbars. In the main toolbar, the html toolbar appears only if you're viewing web pages. This is the time to configure its main/extra toolbars using the Settings menu. The 2 main toolbars are called main & <khtmlpart> You can add buttons to <khtmlpart> like images on/off & 'save page'.

On the left hand side are tabs for various services, like history & home folder. Whichever you're using is the biggest one. If you click it again the left section(occupies 25% of the screen width) vanishes so you get more space for the main section.

In Konqueror's left hand side is a tab with your /home folders. If you click the root tab below it, in the /mnt folder are your other partitions.

Right-click the main titlebar at the top of the screen, choose Advanced, 'no border' to remove its titlebar.

Konqueror bug

19Jan 08: occasionally Konqueror shows a file name as if it's scrolled down half way. Copy it to the same folder & rename it. This may work but if not repeat.

Installing WINE.rpm & Other .rpm Files

I downloaded WINE(20Mb), double-clicked the .rpm file & it was installed. DirectX 9 is incorporated into WINE. Pulse Audio (in the hardware section of Mandriva Control Center) must be disabled prior to installation.

[Debian/Ubuntu users: to install a .deb file double-click it; if that won't work open a terminal where the .deb file is & type in
sudo dpkg -i filename.deb
It will list any missing files that are needed.

Type in "aptitude" to uninstall software. Aptitude also lists missing files needed by any piece of software. is a great place to find software, including software that's missing on your PC, since it also has the .tar.gz versions of all .deb files. It includes the 64 bit versions for AMD users.

Type in 'debian' into to find our which version you have.]

click here to skip if you're not using WINE
If you want to test it, see to download the Wavepad(400k) sound editor. Once you've done this, use the file manager to get to the folder which contains it, open a command terminal(looks like the DOS terminal) using the Tools menu, type:

wine wavepad.exe

(whatever it's called) & WINE installs Wavepad just like Windows does. Go to the Start menu & you see its entry installed in a folder called wine. Mp3-encoding (called mp3el) and other plugins are available at Wavepad can decode mp3 by default.

WINE installs software in the /home/yourname folder in the .wine folder. If it works with the Windows software you want, future versions of WINE may not!

I have a copy of Irfanview at - easy to use picture editing software. I had it in .zip format & unzipped it to another folder, say /home/david/irfanview. I then accessed the Start menu editor from the Mandriva Start menu. I created a new entry for irfanview in the wine folder. So its command text box reads:
wine "/home/david/irfanview/i_view32.exe"

If you insert a CD/DVD-ROM you'll find it in /mnt/cdrom or use Konqueror's go menu & look in Storage Media. Then open a terminal where the CD/DVD-ROM is & type:
wine setup.exe

I installed Lotus Wordpro from CD-ROM & it seemed as if it did not install. I then used the Konqueror file manager to show hidden files(using the View menu) & found it in the /home/yourname/.wine folder. I then accessed the Start menu editor from the Mandriva Start menu(right click it), made a copy of the entry for Wavepad, then edited it to point to Wordpro. So its command text box reads:
wine "/home/yourname/.wine/drive_c/Program Files/Wordpro/Wordpro.exe"

Once I opened Wordpro, I found that it could only read files if the filename & its path had no spaces. I found that Wavepad, Irfanview & Wordpro didn't show their fonts properly, so I copied the Sans Serif fonts from the C:\windows\fonts folder in the Windows partition to the corresponding .wine folder.

I found that to get Wordpro to work properly when it started, I had to open a new document, then I could open a Wordpro file. To open another Wordpro file, I had to open another Wordpro & repeat the same thing. Even then it wasn't always stable.

Update 15Nov11: Wine can be configured if you open a terminal at /home/username/.wine/drive_c/windows/system32 and type in:
wine winecfg.exe
Wine will provide you with two drives: 'C:' and 'Z:'. The Z: will be your Linux partition. If you're Windows software needs the CD-ROM to operate, mount it first by double-clicking it in your file-manager software. This will mount it, for example, as '/media/cdrom'. Using winecfg.exe, your D: drive will need to be set as this.

You can install the Ligos indeo codec at

If you download Wine from somewhere other than you will get a wine.tar.gz file. Its README file describes two ways of installing it, both of which take an hour to install. (On Mandriva you will need libfreetype-devel & libx11-devel already installed.) Bison is also needed from

To install software designed for Mandriva

I downloaded the Audacity sound editor from & double-clicked the audacity.rpm file & it installed. I found it in the /usr/bin folder. To use it, I opened the Start menu editor(right-click Start menu), looked at the entries for different pieces of software & found that in the command text box for each entry was simply the name of each piece of software e.g. Amarok had amarok, Kmplayer had kmplayer so it was easy to create a new entry for Audacity.

Typing rosegarden into the Run command of the Start menu starts Rosegarden, an attractive, user-friendly MIDI and audio sequencer, notation editor, and general-purpose music composition and editor( Or type knotes for a post-it note(I had to use its plain not fancy setting to work properly). Or dia which is like Visio for drawing diagrams.


Use Digikam to add your digital camera from the list supplied e.g. Fuji FinePix A330. Then click 'Fuji FinePix A330' to import pictures. Digikam has many models listed including the Precision Mini-camera.

If your PTP camera isn't detected in Digikam: in its list of cameras try "USB PTP Class Camera". Digikam has an entry for 'mass storage camera' but I reckon Konqueror should be able to use cameras which are USB mass storage. has information on which cameras can be used like USB devices.

Linux works with USB card readers.

The Showphoto editing software can do red eye removal, lens correction, photo editing & aspect ratio cropping. As a photo editor it uses less memory than GIMP & Krita and is easier to use.

Moving from the Windows word processor to Openoffice

I copy/pasted text from Wordpro files into the Openoffice word processor & sometimes got â?? instead of an apostrophe(start & end ones) when I copy/pasted that text into another application(or used a browser to see html pages I saved in Openoffice using that text). I found that by using find/replace & replacing it with an apostrophe did the trick. Also the same with the - dash. I also got the same problem with the quotation marks - with the starting & closing mark. To get correct ones I used the Autocorrect in the Tools menu & unticked the Replace box in the 'double quotes' section. I also got the same problem with pound signs. Correct ones can be done through the Insert menu's Special Character. (To make this easier, record a macro from the Tools menu. Then customize the toolbars, click Add & at the bottom of the list are the macros you made).

I found the answer is to paste the text from Wordpro into Openoffice using 'paste special' using unformatted text. But this doesn't work for pound signs.

I found all my Wordpro bookmarks were copied when I copied the text to OpenOffice, as well as paragraph styles.

The bottom left of the screen shows what page your using. Double-clicking that area brings up the Navigator so you can for example double-click a bookmark to go to it. Or right-click that area to go to one.

You can see 2 different parts of a document - this is done using the Window menu to create a new window. You can create comments, macros & use the Autocorrect.

Added 6 nov 08 If you select AutoCorrect in the Tools menu, in its Options you can tick both boxes of "Capitalise first letter of every sentence", which works nearly all the time. has a filter for MS Word to read Openoffice files.

You can create a template document, then save it by clicking File, Templates, Save & save it in 'My templates'. Then click File, Templates, Organise, double-click 'My templates', & right click the one you created to make it the default new document type.

The smallest font size is 6 but I found that if you type in say 4 into the box it will do 4. Added 19 Jan 2011 In Openoffice 3, by default the open/save dialogue screens use the Openoffice rather than the Mandriva screens, which means that you have no bookmarks and other short cuts to commonly used folders. If you use the: Tools menu then Options, you can change this: click, General, untick the 'Use Openoffice dialogues'.

Snapshot of the screen

20Apr07: Pressing the PrintScreen key brings up software that takes a snapshot of the screen which you can copy to the clipboard or save as a file.


I discovered that Mandriva already has clamav antivirus software(as does Ubuntu). I was surprised to find that it has a 'graphical user interface', as opposed to text line commands. To use it right-click any file & choose Actions. It found several viruses & put them into the quarantine folder, as I had chosen. It then wrongly gave an error message saying it couldn't put them there! The files it detected were zip/archive files. It seems to be a bug in the software.

Clamav(free from currently has 100000 virus signatures. Avast(another free antivirus software) has about half that. have a free version for Windows (15Mb) with a forum.

Messaging software

Added 26 Aug 07: Mandriva comes with instant messaging software. Networks include MSN messenger, ICQ, Yahoo, AIM, Jabber, Gadu.

Installing .tar.gz software e.g. LAME mp3 encoder

If you look in the Mandriva Control Centre, you'll see its list of software. In the left box, ensure that all files are listed rather than gui only. In the development section, in "C", there is a file called GCC(tick it) which you need installed from the CD/DVD. In the "Other" section is "make" which is needed too, & GCC(the highest version) in the C++ section. Downloaded software like LAME will be called something like lame.tar.gz (the .tar.gz means it's a compressed file, much like .zip files). Double-click it. Copy the files to a temporary folder. Open a console here. Type: su
and press Return. Then your password(which lets you get into root-user mode). Type

make install

Without the make & gcc files, doing the above would give an error like "no acceptable C compiler found in $PATH". If using Audacity, the "" or "" file it needs to save mp3 is now in the /usr/local/lib folder(or /usr/lib).

When downloading software, 32-bit software will be called i386 or i586, 64 will be 'x86 64'.

Sometimes there is no configure file so ./configure may be skipped.

Or instead of configure there is another file used, in which case you would use ./filename & skip the "make" & "make install" & you probably won't need to use the "su" command. It will give error messages which you can ignore. An example of this would be the software which lets you download Youtube videos(instead of just watching them). It will also convert the file from Flash .flv to say .asf which is a Windows media video format. It can be found on this current page here

Your file may end in: .tar.gz,, or .tar.bz2, which are 3 different types of compressed files. To uncompress each one from a terminal type in:
tar -zxvf file.tar.gz
tar -jzvf
bunzip2 file.tar.bz2

You can remove the program binaries and object files from the source code directory by typing `make clean'. To also remove the files that `configure' created (so you can compile the package for a different kind of computer), type `make distclean'. 'make uninstall' uninstalls the software. By default, `make install' will install the package's files in `/usr/local/bin', `/usr/local/man', etc. You can specify an installation prefix other than `/usr/local' by giving `configure' the option `--prefix=PATH'. Click here to see more.


Most websites streaming audio use Windows Media or Winamp which is mp3(both can be heard using Konqueror). Occasionally, files are in Realplayer only. Download this from 5Mb.

Rename it to realp.bin
Open a console in the file manager(e.g. Konqueror) in the folder with realplayer, type: su & Press Return. Then your password. Type

chmod a+x realp.bin (case sensitive)
./realp.bin (start install)
Specify directory: /usr/local/realplayer
Type n when it asks about symbolic links. After installation you'll find it in the multimedia part of start menu. If it's not then enter root mode in a terminal, then type:
cd /usr/local/realplayer (if that's where it was installed)
mv realplay /bin (which moves it to /bin)

You can now use the Start Menu editor to create a link to it with the command: realplay

Download Accelerators/Bit Torrent

These speed up file downloading by 2-3 times. The Opera & Firefox web browsers have their own accelerator. Konqueror uses the sophisticated kget software. They go at a rate of 5Kb/sec on 56k modems, which is about what I got using 'Download Accelerator Plus' in Windows(16Mb per hour). Opera & kget could pause file downloading & resume them another time without reloading the entire thing, although a minority of files won't. In Opera this won't happen if you close it down, unlike kget.

In kget if you have say 3 files to load, you can queue the last 2.

Tip: if you want to download a file & you want say the second half of it, use your downloader to download a small bit of it, close it, use the appropriate software to edit a similar file so it takes up half the volume of the file you want, swap this for the first & rename it, then you can continue the download. If it's an mp3 it has to be the same bit rate.

For people not using the Opera web browser, has bit torrent software.

Amarok media/CD player

In the Amarok media player iPod/iRivers are configured in the settings menu. When using Amarok, switch off OSD in the settings otherwise you get an annoying banner stopping the PC for 10 seconds as it announces the next track being played.

The default settings didn't play audio CDs. I made a change in its configuration menu: in the engine tab the default device should be /dev/cdrom , or /dev/cdrom1 for those with a second CD drive.

Installing Internet Explorer

(16 Sep 07)
Not necessary but for those who want it see Download cabextract & install it. Then download ies4linux, double click it, copy the files to a temporary folder, & install it like Realplayer without the chmod.

Playing DVDs

I have an AMD Sempron 2800+ CPU with no graphics card & found that using Xine to play DVDs meant slow frame rates. I then used Kmplayer(not the embedded Kmplayer in Konqueror) & got a much better frame rate. In its configuration settings use the Xine engine as the default as the Mplayer engine only plays at full screen mode(which Xine can do too). You can also set the region number here. Then insert a DVD, use 'Open' from the Source menu & select all the files needed whilst holding down the Control key(I had to use Konqueror in icon view mode to see which ones were needed). After each one is played press the Forward button(2 right arrows) to view the next file(or see the play list & double click the next one).

If the DVD has an options screen at the start only Xine & not Kmplayer will show it. When you use 'Open' from the Source menu, you can bookmark the folder with the DVD's videos.

I've now found or Kplayer is the best Linux software for audio & the viewing of DVDs & unlike Xine is not slow on my AMD 2800+ CPU. You can use its 'Player' menu to select the language & subtitles - the others cannot do that. You can have playlists & it doesn't take up as much memory as say Amarok, but Amarok is much better for playing CDs.

Turning off the kscd player

7nov07: When audio CDs are inserted, the awful Kscd player comes up. To turn it off, in the Control Centre choose peripherals, storage media, in medium types select audio CD, select 'do nothing', press 'toggle as auto action', then the apply button.

How do I get more software for Mandriva?/easyurpmi

See this

(If you ever use tick compressed index, which means you download small & not huge files.)

Installing Java

See, 18Mb

(The following can also be done by opening a terminal & then typing:
su (press RETURN then your password. In (K)Ubuntu you use sudo). Then type in: konqueror (to use it as a root user.)

Open a terminal at the /usr folder
type: su
type: md java
This creates a folder called java.

Go to the folder with the downloaded file & rename it to java.bin
Open a second terminal there
type: su
type: cp java.bin /usr/java
(which copies it)

At the first terminal
type: cd java (to enter /usr/java) [typing cd.. moves up one folder]
type: chmod a+x java.bin
type: ./java.bin
hold down the RETURN KEY. At the end type y

A java.rpm file is produced as a result of this, which you should save so that you can install java quickly in future.

You can install it for the Konqueror web browser: click 'settings', configure Konqueror, java, tick 'use security manager', in 'path to java' type: /usr/java/jre1.6.0_03/bin/java (check its exact path first).

Or install it for Firefox: go to /usr/bin by typing:
cd /usr/bin

If you look in the /usr/java folder there is now a folder like jre1.6.0_03 with a bin folder in that & java in that. Type:

rm java javac jar
The command rm deletes files.
type y - it may give an error saying no javac & jar
ln -s /usr/java/jre1.6.0_03/bin/java java
(you can copy this & right click to paste)
Now go to the following folder by typing: cd /usr/lib/mozilla-firefox-

ln -s /usr/java/jre1.6.0_03/plugin/i386/ns7/

cd /usr/java
rm java.bin
rm jre-6u3-linux-i586.rpm

You can now use Firefox with java.

ftp & telnet

28 Jan 08: In the Mandriva Control Center, in networking, in 'file transfer' is gftp software. In 'remote access' is telnet.

gftp automatically assigns a port number. Normally to upload files to your web page provider the address is
Occasionally you have to set up an ftp account first, but that's easy to do. Upload html files as ASCII, picture files etc. as binary. Make the number of connection retries zero else the PC crashes.

More software for Mandriva

30apr 08: has some useful software including text reading & audio streaming software.


Mandriva has gnuchess or try Cross-platform Fritz chess works with wine too; version 7 is free here.

Submarine simulator at ,63Mb. Works for 32 & 64 bit. You need libSDL_net1.2, libsdl1.2, libsdl-mixer1.2, libfftw3, subversion, and libSDL_image1.2 from the Mandriva Control Center. The Web site has installation instructions. I used the old way which is easier:
chmod u+x dangerdeep-0.3.0-linux-installer.bin
It will ask you what folder to install to, but it won't install it there! Use the start button's menu editor to create an entry with the command '/usr/games/dangerdeep'. The game's time-lapse keys conflict with the map-zoom keys, so the the latter can be changed to '[' and ']'; SHIFT-6 shows the frame rate but is the same key used to launch torpedo 6, so torpedo 6 needs to be changed to, say, to SHIFT-7. Enabling GLSL allows more-realistic waves. You can train by attacking unarmed convoys without escorts. The lowest resolution I could get on my widescreen was 1152x864. flight simulator at have a jet fighter simulator, but the reviewers say it's no good. have a glider simulator. They use openscenegraph

Also has a flight simulator for broadband with great world scenery. & have a spectacular free space-flight simulator for all Windows. I don't have broadband, but wondered if anyone could try it with WINE. 500Mb, a 3-D space simulation game that lets you trade, fight, and explore in a vast universe. Mandriva version, 10Mb, which requires the data 300Mb file. This is a simpler one, based on Elite, 22Mb and this too. Also, Star Voyager, a space combat and exploration game, Space Opera, a turn based space exploration game , Privateer Gemini Gold, a remake of Wing Commander Privateer.

Freeorion, a space planets colonization game, 66-160Mb depending upon what version you want to download with the installation instructions in its parent folder. See You probably have the files it needs: /usr/lib/

More simulations/games including football management game, Stardust space flight game, SimCity adaption

more games and here, including hexen 2 and here and

Scorched3d, a cross-platform game, 50Mb Players are placed randomly on a 3D map, and take turns aiming at an opponent's "tank", by adjusting angle, rotation and power and firing a weapon of choice until able to hit or kill the target.

Native quake 3 clone called Open arena. It's in the Mandriva Control Center if you have 2008.1+. You do not need Quake III Arena to play this game. Download here, 2Mb. Data here, 280Mb.

Freedoom is here

Free Flightgear flight simulator 2.4 source file, 1.9Mb, with a gui for it here. Installation instructions here; the main data fileis 420Mb. Version 1 is here, 3Mb, which needs flightgear-base, 200Mb and "libopenal 0.0.8". Files are stored in "/usr/share/games/FlightGear"; documentation in 'Docs' (this Web site contains useful pages from the manual). Planes at:,, v1 scenery, in 60Mb segments. Typing "fgfs" will start the software with the Cessna c172. It plays in its own window but most planes did not operate properly. A lot of settings need to be chosen. You can copy/paste the following into the Run command of the start menu and change the aircraft to other planes which do work, like the pa28-161 or seahawk:

fgfs --disable-game-mode --disable-splash-screen --disable-intro-music --disable-mouse-pointer --enable-freeze --disable-fuel-freeze --turbulence=0.0 --disable-clock-freeze --disable-auto-coordination --aircraft=c172p --prop:/consumables/fuels/tank[0]/level-gal=50 --prop:/consumables/fuels/tank[1]/level-gal=50 --units-feet --enable-hud --enable-sound --bpp=16 --fog-nicest --geometry=1024x768 --timeofday=noon --airport-id=KSFO
X-plane, the advanced flight simulator, has a Linux, Mac and Windows version on the same DVD, US$30 The only file 32-bit users need to add is the Open Audio Library 'libopenAL' version 1 in the Mandriva Control Center, although you may have version 0.0.8. X-plane comes with no airport buildings. There is a list of airport buildings here for download which requires More scenery at

openal 1.1.rpm for Mandriva 2010/11, suse, fedora 14+, centos 4+ is here.

Openal 1.1 is also here at the bottom, 111Kb. cmake is required for it: for Mandriva 2009; for Mandriva 2008. Un-compress it. Open a terminal there in its cmake folder and type:
cmake ..
then copy the files to /usr/lib.

openbve is a free train simulator for windows, mac and Linux. Some add-ons such as trains or routes produced for BVE Trainsim (Boso View Express) can be read by openBVE. Check its pictures on and have stunning pictures. More train downloads and at Some files are compressed in the .7z (7zip) format; see this section to use 7zip for Linux. I haven't got Openbve working in Linux yet, but I used wine 1.2.2 to run the Windows version. has scenery downloads: Birmingham Cross-City South, 14Mb, and Watford, 1.7Mb; speed signs are in mph. Birmingham Cross-City South also has a one-handle train for download, 10Mb---Openbve doesn't have any default ones. The Watford scenery only works in winter, not summer, mode. Create a 'bve' folder in your home folder. Then create a folder called 'bve-content'. Scenery files will have 3 folders; these are supposed to be moved into 3 folders called Objects, Sound, and Route, all inside 'bve-content', so you will need to create these 3 folders first. Use upper case O, S and R. Also create a folder in 'bve-content' called 'train'. Each train that you download will come in its own folder; these need to be moved into 'train'. has great scenery downloads; the 'Genova Brignole-Recco' route, 49Mb, is demanding graphically so unless you have a great graphics card use only the driver view. It also has trains for download---only use ones with 'esternal view'. Its first train, the ALN663 (8Mb) is a good two-handle train for novices; press the DELETE key when the 'EB' symbol lights up on the bottom right of the screen; press the up-arrow key to see the speedometer, which is in km/h. An easy route for beginners is Guaianazes to Estudantes, 10Mb; use the low-res version at 800x600 and use only the driver view unless you have a good graphics card. Once you have all the necessary openbve files installed, create a Start-menu entry with the command:
wine "/home/username/bve/Openbve.exe"
It will mention various error messages, but these can be ignored. Your Linux partition will be in the Z: drive. To start a train, put the reverser and power lever/brakes in neutral, then switch off any alarms.
Some downloads are in the form of a .exe file. These are Windows self-extracting files which can be run with WINE. Certain U.K. routes need this semaphore pack and BR signals.
Sample pictures from the above Birmingham Cross-City, each 70Kb:

glider/light aircraft simulator which costs 39 Euros

Train Director, 1.7Mbis a clone of the popular Train Dispatcher simulation software. With Train Director you can simulate the work of the Centralized Traffic Control (CTC). Your task is to direct trains running in a territory to their final destination, by throwing switches and clearing signals.

Linux WYSIWYG & HTML Editors


HTML Editors:
Great video on Bluefish showing the joys of using this great non-WYSIWYG html editor It's an 8 minute 13Mb video - you can download it if you have dial-up as it needs 1.5Mb per minute of video & you don't have to download all of it to watch it. If you're using MS Windows you will need the Theora plugin at
Download Bluefish here
Search the link below for the extra plugins required. Bluefish for (K)Ubuntu/Debian users

Download Flash/YouTube videos as files (instead of just watching them)

Youtube keep changing their system, which stops people downloading videos using software. I use Choose the flv as the output format so that the Web site won't have to spend its resources converting it to another format. You can use the following simple user-friendly Windows software with WINE to convert .flv (and .mp4) formats to .mpg or .avi, which you can view in your media software. (Use 300-1000 Kbps for the video rate and 64+ for the audio rate.) A small number of flv files can only be converted to avi and not mpg. In this case you can choose the (Microsoft avi) DivX 3 codec. (10Mb) It allows you to increase the volume of the output file. I set it at 300% because the volume is normally too low.

[ (4Mb) This is simpler to use for a novice but you can't change the volume., 4Mb converts flv files to mp3. lets you convert youtube videos to 32Kbps mp3 files.

The Opera 11+ web browser has an extension called "Extendtube" which lets you download youtube videos. You need to search for it when you reach the Extensions web page.

For Windows, (Vixy Freecorder (XP to 7), Orbit Downloader (Windows 2000 up to 7), Umplayer (13Mb) & Cherry (20Mb) will record videos that you watch on Youtube etc.)

To convert from one video format to another (like .flv to .mpg or .wmv) you can also use ffmpeg in a terminal:
ffmpeg -i input-file.flv -b 400k -ab 32k -r 30 output-file.mpg
sets the video bitrate to 400k, the audio bitrate to 64k, and the frame rate to 30. (Use the Mandriva Control Center to install ffmpeg.)

click here to get back to Installing .tar.gz software e.g. LAME mp3 encoder

Webcams/video editing/camcorder has a varitey of software, including Desktop session recorder producing Ogg Theora video; Dvgrab which receives audio and video data from a digital camcorder via an IEEE1394 (FireWire) or USB link; Camorama is a small utility to view and save images from a webcam. software for webcams and other video-devices. Video/DVD Encoders

Business, Tax, Accounting & Finance software

Boot loader software 1.4Mb works well. It's vital to use this as you can save a copy of the boot loader to floppy. To install it insert a floppy disk & from DOS use its install.bat
Then go into your BIOS & boot to the floppy.

If you already have Linux & the grub loader was first installed in the master boor record of your drive, you will now need to put it in your Linux root partition. In Mandriva you can use the Mandriva Control Center to reinstall the grub loader there. The author of mentions another way to do this is to use
"grub-install /dev/root_partition" to reinstall the grub loader in the root partition, but it didn't work for me. They then tell you another way of doing this is to use its FAQ page part 28. Open a terminal, click the Session menu, then New Root Shell, then type in:
root (hdX,Y)
setup (hdX,Y)/boot/grub/menu.lst

This worked for me. They tell you to use setup (hdX,Y) on its own but it would not work for me.

Dosemu - DOS emulation software


Hard drive diagnostic software

SeaTools for DOS made by Seagate can work with any make of hard drive. I couldn't install it in DOS but could from a DOS prompt within Windows! The software will create a bootable floppy disk with the diagnostic software on it. Someone said that Linux's Wine won't work with it either. You can run it every 2-3 months. Minor problems can be fixed in its basic test, but I've found that if a problem requires its advanced test then even if it says that it has repaired it, it's only a short matter of time before you need a new drive. The basic test takes about a minute. The advanced test takes about 30 minutes on a 40Gb drive. The software also claims that it can limit the size of a hard drive but I found that it didn't work. Download SeaTools for DOS here Alternatively if you have a bootable DOS floppy, you can then copy the files in this zip file to it to create SeaTools. If you don't have a bootable DOS floppy, see here

Mail merge/using Koffice(Koffice takes up less memory than Openoffice)

From the MCC - the Mandriva Control Center(in the System, Configuration part of the Start menu), I installed Koffice 1.6 which did mail merge without problems. Koffice also has:

KPresenter: presentations
Karbon: drawing software
Krita: photo editing/painting software(which Openoffice doesn't have). Needs 512 Mb RAM.
KChart: diagram generator
Kugar: A tool for generating business quality reports
Kivio: A Visio-style flowcharting application
Kexi: an integrated environment for managing data

These can be installed individually from the MCC in the software section: 'graphical desktop' then KDE & look for Koffice. Or install all of Koffice from the office software section.

If you want Koffice the Ubuntu & Mandriva GNOME CDs won't have it, although you can download it. The Mandriva DVD will so you can install it if you're using its GNOME.

Kword can read Microsoft Word .doc files but not save them - it can save files in .wri & .rtf(Microsoft Word compatible) format. The only problem with Kword is that you can't have a background picture, otherwise it's almost as good as Openoffice's word processor. You will need to see Kword's help to learn how it uses frames as it doesn't work like other word processors. I had problems if I selected text & tried to right-click with the mouse because it thinks I want the frame properties rather than the text properties(which results in it un-maximizing the window so you'll have to maximise it again after the frame is no longer selected). You can solve this by either not right-clicking, or by using text mode from the View menu. You can't see page breaks properly in this mode or insert pictures. I had problems seeing comments/notes(represented as a tiny yellow box) until I put at least one character before the box. I now know that if it's too near the left or right border then right-clicking it selects the frame & not the note. You can see the word count using Insert, Variable, Statistic.

Kword can read Openoffice files so it's a good idea to save in (OASIS) Openoffice .odt format. Wordperfect, Amipro & Abiword files can be read/saved but it can't export files as pdf(unlike Openoffice).

[You can have a background colo(u)r if you create a text frame & right-click its border to edit its properties(which results in it un-maximizing the window so you'll have to maximise it again after the frame is no longer selected). In its properties you'll need to select "create a new page" in the part called "if text is too long for a frame" so it'll run into the next page. Also tick 'protect size & position'. You can then save it, then create a new template from this document in the File menu.]

Kspread can open Excel/Quattro Pro files but not save them.

Data/partitions recovery software

TestDisk is a powerful free data recovery software! It was primarily designed to help recover lost partitions and/or make non-booting disks bootable again when these symptoms are caused by faulty software, certain types of viruses or human error (such as accidentally deleting a Partition Table). Partition table recovery using TestDisk is really easy. You can copy files from deleted FAT, NTFS and ext2/ext3 partitions; rebuild FAT12/FAT16/FAT32/NTFS boot sector.

DIA(like Visio)

In the Mandriva Control Center in the office section of software, is DIA which is like Visio for drawing diagrams.

kbackup software users

11nov 08: I now no longer recommend using this software as it appends a .bz2 extension to all file names. If you have backups made from it, I would advise you to access a single file inside it using Konqueror, right-click it & extract. This extracts it with the .bz2 removed via the Ark software(I tried using the Ark software directly to extract it but this didn't remove the .bz2).

Online Repositories For Downloading Mandriva Software/Best Media Playing Software

There's a huge online debian repository at Also see for Mandriva software.

2 great sites for downloading Mandriva software are:

kplayer is one of the best software I've found for playing video & music files. You can create your own playlists & hear audio CDs. Best of all is that it uses mplayer, so there's no need to download any extra files to install it. Get it from one of the above 2 links.

If you have Mandriva 2007.1 or newer you can try smplayer. It can play mp4, sound/video in slow/fast motion & can filter out voice in music. It may be on the dvd or else try one of the above 2 links.

Simple Painting Software Called Kolourpaint

If you have KDE 3.5 try
For Mandriva 2010 users try

Thesaurus Software

If you have wordnet 3 you can use , 354Kb
Mandriva 2007 has wordnet 2. To use it, open a terminal and type:
wn (which brings up the help list for wordnet).
So to show verb synonyms for the word "board" you type:
wn board -simsv
If you type: "wn board" it will bring up another list of commands that can be used with the "wn" command. has more information.

Converting Videos e.g. flv(Flash), wmv, asf, avi & mp4 to the free theora format which Linux can play

This is done using a piece of software called ffmpeg2theora. Get it here for Mandriva, Fedora and Ark users Other Linux users can get it at or Then assuming you have installed ffmpeg in the Mandriva Control Center, open a terminal where you have your video files. Then type:
which is the help list. So if you have a video called fishing.mp4 you type in:
ffmpeg2theora fishing.mp4
which will convert it to fishing.ogg which is a video file which Linux can play. Make a copy of your originals first. You can change the quality of the encoding with a number from 0 to 10 like this(the default is 5):
ffmpeg2theora -v 8 fishing.mp4

Add ons for Openoffice

Several here The most useful is the, Sun PDF Import Extension(1.7Mb) for Openoffice 3, which lets you modify pdf files.

Another one is the EuroOffice Dictionary which has on screen translations between English, German and French(5Mb) There is also another add on for people familiar with Wordfast.

More here which includes the grammar checker for Openoffice 3.2(2Mb), Advanced Find & Replace for Writer(I think this is excellent. Java needed. 470Kb), Mail Merge tool(26Kb), OOTranslator, which allows on-line users to translate text from a document to any language without having to use

(I tried AddPics creates a text document from pictures of scanned pages but it did not work and it stopped Openoffice from working.)

Double click the .oxt file to install them. Add ons are found in the Tools menu, where they can be removed. Restarting Openoffice may be necessary to use them.

If the add on is a zip file, like The EuroOffice Dictionary, rename it to .oxt

Modifying pdf files

There is pdfedit software here(3Mb), which requires 'pdfedit-core-dev' & are web sites that will convert a .pdf to .rtf You can also use GIMP. Save the document as a GIMP XCF file(you'll have to save several different pages if it is a multi-page document). Close the document, then open the resulting image in Krita(see the Mandriva Control Center) or any graphic manipulation program. Go to File>Print, then choose 'Print to PDF'. You could try to print to PDF from GIMP. Some people never have a problem, but many experience trouble with the conversion to a PDF file. Do not name your output PDF the same as the file you started with. You'll lose the original. (I tried Gimp but could not find a way to get from one page to another. But I could save a single page.)


Mandriva 2008.1+ has p7zip in the Mandriva Control Center. has software for decompressing .7z '7zip' files. Extract the files to a temporary folder. Its main folder will be called 'p7zip_9.20.1'. It will have a large list of makefile's for different PCs. For example, if you have a 32-bit processor, you would make a copy of 'makefile.linux_any_cpu', paste it into the same folder then rename it to 'makefile.machine'. Allow it to overwrite it. Open a terminal at the 'p7zip_9.20.1' folder, then type in:
make 7z
make 7zr
It will produce a folder called 'bin' with several files called '7zr', '7z', '' & 'Codecs/'. In root-user mode, copy/move these files to /usr/bin. Compression software, like KDE's karchiver, can then use 7zip files.

Graphics Cards

ATI does not like Linux—or Windows come to think of it. Mandriva 2007 has drivers only for older cards like Rage Pro, All In Wonder up to the Radeon 8500. It doesn't recognize modern ATI cards but you can get software( for X300(came out in 2002) & newer cards. It is proprietary & complex to install. The current driver is 80Mb in size & is updated every month. The web site has copies of older versions.

This may be the best page for ATI users It says the following files need to be obtained first:
libQtGui4 (you may have libqt4-gui)

Debian users can use this to simplify things Installing your Nvidia Or ATI Card & this

(K)Ubuntu can now install the ATI & nvidia driver software. Installing Nvidia on Linux:
A new installation of any Mandriva will install a 2D driver for a nvidia (and ATI) card. A new installation of Mandriva 2009.1+ will install the 3D nvidia driver software for your card. If you are not making a new installation, download the nvidia software, 31Mb. Install Kernel-desktop-devel or kernel-devel (or possibly another variant) from the Mandriva Control Center of Mandriva 2008+. (Type in "uname -r" to get the name of your kernel.) 'Kernel-sources' is not needed. I'm using "" so I used the corresponding version. For, say, "2.6.12-1.1447_FC4smp" you would use "kernel-devel-smp". Without this software it will say something like "can't find kernel source headers" when you try to install the nvidia software. GCC (from C and C++) and 'make' are also needed from the Mandriva Control Center.

In the Mandriva Control Center switch to the generic nvidia driver in the hardware section, then switch off the PC and put the nvidia card in. When you log in you will get the standard 2D display without the 3D nivida driver. However, to install the 3D nvidia driver software that you downloaded when you reach the login stage choose "console login" by pressing one of the buttons at the bottom then login, this time in text mode.

Type in "su" to enter root mode. Change to the folder with the nvidia software. For example, cd /home/username/nvidia-folder
Then type:
sh (assuming it's called '')
Once it's finished type
modprobe nvidia
to check it's all there. Now exit from root mode by typing 'exit'. Press CONTROL-ALT-DELETE to re-boot. The nvidia software is in the Tools menu.

[If you cannot enter console login:
Copy /etc/inittab to your home folder. Open the file in an editor. In the line "id:5:initdefault:" change the 5 to a 3, then save it in a new folder /home/yourname/init. Open a terminal there, then type in "su" and press RETURN to enter root mode. Then:
cp inittab /etc
which will overwrite the old inittab. The '3' means that the PC will boot into text mode next time. Restart the PC. At the login prompt enter your username and password. Type in "su", then change to the folder with the nvidia software. Then type:
sh (assuming it's called '')
Once it's finished, type
modprobe nvidia
to check it's all there. Then change to your home folder and type:
cp inittab /etc
to copy back the original 'inittab' file. Now exit from root mode by typing 'exit'. Now press CONTROL-ALT-DELETE to re-boot. Then start the nvidia software in the Tools menu.]

To disable turbocache, add this to the nvidia driver section of the /etc/X11/xorg.conf file:
Option "RegistryDwords" "RMDisableRenderToSysmem=1"

(Copy /etc/X11/xorg.conf to your home folder first.) This didn't work for me. So, I copied back the original xorg.conf file and typed in "nv-xconfig" in root mode. I now realize that turbocache is only used on my card if I have more than 1Gb of memory.

If you experienced a problem with the refresh rate due to NVIDIA’s DynamicTwinView feature, disable it by adding:
Option "DynamicTwinView" "false"

You can use your graphic card in 2D mode using Linux's generic vesa display driver.


Updated 7nov07: To install a modem click the Start menu, Internet, Remote Access to use KPPP. If it's not there, look in the Mandriva Control Center & use the software section to perform a search for KPPP, then tick KDEnetwork-kppp to install it from the CD/DVD. Use the manual setup to create a new ISP account, then create a new modem entry: a serial modem for example is dev/ttys1 or 0. Linux works with certain USB modems. Try setting it as dev/ttysl0 - that's L-ZERO. See 6 jul 08) &
18 sep 08: sell Linux USB dial-up modems for $50.

Someone said "May I suggest, if you can find one, a Diamond SupraExpress 56e Pro external SERIAL modem? Actually, you may find now that even the USB one works. I know the PCI version does. After that, any of the 3COM or USR ones."

Also see

Portable Storage

To use a portable storage device, in the go menu of Konqueror click 'storage media' & you'll find it listed. When you finish right-click the portable storage device, then 'safely remove'. File names must not have characters like ( or : but you are allowed these: ,(comma) &(and) .(dot)

USB 2.0 ports/firewire

See & nov 2004)

Midiman Delta, Terratec EWS and EWX Sound Cards

In the sound section of the Mandriva Control Center in the System, Configuration part of the Start menu is envy24control, which allows control of the digital mixer, channel gains and other hardware settings for sound cards based on the Ice1712 chipset (Midiman Delta series, Terratec EWS and EWX series).

Adding printers/Using HP

(7 mar 08) In the Mandriva Control Centre, in Hardware, you add printers. For HP it'll ask if you want to install HPLIP from the DVD. It's from You also need to install Xsane from the graphics section if you have a scanner.

In order to fax with an HP multi-function device, users need to start "hp-sendfax" (Start Menu: Office -> Communications -> Fax -> HP Sendfax) BEFORE sending a job to the fax printer (usually with a print queue name with "FAX" in it), otherwise the job will be discarded. It is possible to send more than one job into one fax. Fax is available through the print functionality of any application.

6 April 2011: If you are using a modern HP printer, like the Deskjet 1050 etc. this may need a version of the HPLIP software greater than the one from the operating system's DVD. In this case, 3.10.6 is needed. The latest Suse 11.4 operating system DVD may have it, otherwise see Mandriva 2011, when it comes out, will have it.

On the HP web site are two versions of HPLIP. The first is called something like "", around 22Mb, and is designed for operating systems like Suse 11.1, 11.2, 11.3, Fedora and Ubuntu 8.04 upwards but not Mandriva. It is easier to install than the second. If you want to install this rather than the second, I recommend that you install Suse or Ubuntu on a 16Gb Class 10 SDHC memory card—8Gb if you use Suse 11.1. Also set up an Ext 3 swap partition, say 800Mb, and a 50Mb FAT32 partition too, so that you can copy files to it that you want to print out. To run the software, type in:
It will tell you that it needs various missing files. In Suse, those files can be installed from the Suse DVD using the YAST control centre. Two of those missing files, however, have already been installed by default! They are, libusb and libjepg. So, install all other versions of these two files from the DVD using the YAST control centre—which is like the Mandriva Control Center—things like libjpeg-devel etc. When you start the HPLIP software again, it will tell you to disable the ability to install software from the DVD, so you disable the DVD in the software repository section, first, by unticking it.

The HPLIP software will download all the other files it needs from the internet.

If you use hplip 3.10.6 see this

Using Scanners

In the Mandriva Control Centre is software called libsane1-devel for various makes. I'm not sure if it's needed but if it is then install it(I didn't need it for my HP). The Xsane scanner software in the graphics section is needed though. In Xsane you choose the scanning resolution, which is from 75x75 DPI upwards. Higher resolutions need more memory.


22nov07: Mandriva already has avasys software for scanners but here is a page for scanners & printers.


see here

Canon Pixma

see here pixma ip1000 - they say it runs better in Linux than in Vista & here

Benq 5550

see here

Ipod Shuffle

Someone has said that their Ipod Shuffle doesn't work with Mandriva but did on another Linux.


Microsoft Natural/Microsoft Natural Keyboard Pro/Microsoft Natural Keyboard Pro USB/Wireless Natural MultiMedia are installed in the Control Centre, Regional Accessibility, as well as Logitech iTouch/cordless & laptop keyboards.

Even my old 102 key keyboard works(pre Windows 95).

Daily Use

Sometimes menus are too big to fit on the screen. THIS HAPPENS with Linux. The answer is to hold down the ALT key & click upward with the mouse. If installing on someone else's PC point this out.

Linux uses zip & tar.gz(works exactly like zip) compressed files. In the file manager these can be un-zipped by double-clicking & copying the contents to another folder. Tar.gz files can be used in Windows with zip software.

Removing the word 'free' from being shown in the Mandriva free edition

(added 9 dec 08) Use the Control Centre, Desktop, Panels, Menus & untick 'show side image'. To change the login background picture: open a terminal then type in
su (& press RETURN then your password. In (K)Ubuntu you use sudo). Then type: konqueror. Change
to another picture as that one is 1Mb. Right-click a picture & use 'Actions' to convert a picture into .png

The shutdown picture for your resolution can to be changed too.


Mandriva comes with about 30 fonts. Updated 7nov07: Use the "Mandriva Control Centre"(not the Control Centre) in the system part of the start menu to install more fonts: in its 'system' part click import, Add, then select all the fonts you want, then "Install Fonts", once finished click cancel. When you next log on it will be available.

The Konqueror file manager can show examples of what fonts look like in its icon view mode, so you can look at C:\windows\fonts. You can also use the word processor to see Linux's many fonts. Mandriva has no Courier, Arial, Symbol, Wingdings or Times New Roman fonts but has equivalent ones

It's a good idea to copy the Windows fonts to another folder first, so you can back these files up later. You may have a lot of fonts already, & some of the font file names are meaningless e.g. gsttolrm.ttf which is the Tolkien(Lord of the Rings style) font. The Konqueror file manager can show which name a Windows font has if you copy the font from there to another folder, then double-click the file & you'll see the file name.


In the Control Centre, you can set up multiple views of the desktop, up to 20. By default you get 4 in KDE, each of those views will show the same taskbar at the bottom. You can opt to have each desktop view show its own taskbar(as it already is in GNOME) using the Control Centre: in Desktop choose 'Taskbar' & unticking the 'Show windows from all desktops'. What this all means is that you can have for example desktop number 2 dedicated to Openoffice documents, & desktop number 1 for all else.

I'm KDE if for example you're using Openoffice & have 5 documents, each one will have a button on the taskbar. Once the taskbar is full, they get grouped into one button. You can choose for those 5 documents to each have their own button by using the Control Centre: in Desktop choose 'Taskbar' & 'Group similar tasks' & choose 'never'.

By default, the KDE taskbar is twice the height of the one in Windows. To halve it use control panel using 'Panels' & choose the size as tiny.

I found that when using the file manager in desktop number 1, I also needed it in number 2. So right-click the file manager taskbar button & click to desktop all.

You can assign a keyboard shortcut to an event e.g. to switch from desktop number 1 or 2 to the other. To do this use the control panel, 'regional & accessibility', 'keyboard shortcuts' then 'desktop switching'. Then click the custom box to assign a key to it. I use the key to the left of the number 1 at the top left. You can also use another key like 'Alt Gr'. One very useful one I use is to assign F2 to minimize the current window - to quickly reveal the previous window.

The open/save menus in Linux let you bookmark folders. There's a star icon at the top of the menu which lets you bookmark folders. If it's not there then use the spanner icon on the right to show it. To access the other partitions, use the drop-down box at the top to get to the / root folder, then choose /mnt. It is better to save OpenOffice files in its OASIS OpenDocument(.odt) format. The " 1.0" (.sxw) format is the old version. The file manager can show icon previews of .odt files.

Special effects only in Linux!

If you have 512+Mb RAM, use the Control Centre: go to Settings, 'Appearance & Themes', Style, Effects, change 'menu effect' to translucent, at the bottom select 'software blend' 82%. Now look! Click your Start menu!

Recycle Bin

There's no way of setting its size. Press SHIFT & DELETE to erase files without putting them into the recycle bin.

Turning off unnecessary software & save memory/tackling software freezes

8dec 08: In the Mandriva Control Center in the System, Configuration part of the Start menu, in system, 'enable/disable the system services' you can turn off these: acpi if you're not using a laptop, atd, freshclam, lisa(if you have no LAN), netfs & possibly mandi. In the Control Center, Regional & Accessibility, Activation Gestures, untick 'use gestures for activating sticky/slow keys', or press SHIFT for 8 seconds to do the same thing.

Pay attention to memory usage with Ksysguard, which can also be used to shut down software that has frozen.

Bugs in Mandriva There are pages for others editions.

If you write html: using find/replace to look for the RETURN character

If you have some text to copy/paste, click the Start menu, then 'More Applications' to use the Kwrite text editor. Use the 'replace' from the edit menu, tick 'regular expression' & press edit, select the 'end of line', then put <br> as the replace. This puts a <br> at the end of each line. It can also replace the TAB character.

CD-ROM's are poisonous has many amazing articles. one called "Poisoned CD?" half way down at which says that back in 1994 the way CD-ROM's were made changed. They say CD-ROM's are poisonous & seem to be used for mind control when near a PC & work up to 26 feet away. Another person wrote in to confirm the same thing. Audio CDs they say are ok.

It's another reason I'm glad I moved to Linux Mandriva - all I need is one DVD-ROM which I now keep outside away from my home.

Also I saw in a conspiracy forum message that from leaked information, the Windows & Mac operating systems contain a back door key used by the American NSA to hack into PCs in case people want to do something about government/elite corruption/tyranny/control/scams/genocide/mind control technologies/weather manipulation technologies/child abductions/control of the internet/health/electromagnetic pollution/school "education"........

Mandriva 2008.1/2009

Review at which works with the Asus Eee PC.

I tried Mandriva 2009 & found it was inferior to 2007 in almost every way! I think KDE 3.5 is far better than KDE 4, which has bugs in it still. Openoffice 3 has bugs in it too, like Mandriva 2009. 2007 comes with more software too. KDE 4 works more like Gnome than KDE 3.5. 2008.1 & higher come with Pulseaudio which some users don't like. It can be switched off in the Mandriva Control Center.

If you can't change the screen resolution/depth any more

Other ways to change the screen resolution/depth:

If you use KDE 3.5 then use the Control Centre, Peripherals, Display, enter administrator mode, untick "show only modes this system can support".

Another way is:
Open a terminal, click the Session menu, then New Root Shell, then type in:
cd /etc/X11 (It must be X11 & not x11)
cp /etc/X11/xorg.conf /etc/X11/xorg.conf.orig
which lets you enter the /etc/X11 folder & create a back-up copy. Now
cp xorg.conf /home/yourname
cd /home/yourname
then go to /home/yourname & open the "xorg.conf" text file. Part of it should look like:
Section "Monitor"
Identifier "Hanns.G HQ19"
Option "DPMS"
ModeLine "640x480" 25.17 640 648 744 784 480 482 484 509 -HSync -VSync
ModeLine "640x480" 31.50 640 656 696 816 480 481 484 504 -HSync -VSync
ModeLine "640x480" 31.50 640 656 720 840 480 481 484 500 -HSync -VSync
ModeLine "800x600" 40.00 800 840 968 1056 600 601 605 628 +HSync +VSync
ModeLine "800x600" 50.00 800 856 976 1040 600 637 643 666 +HSync +VSync
ModeLine "800x600" 49.50 800 816 896 1056 600 601 604 625 +HSync +VSync
ModeLine "1024x768" 75.00 1024 1048 1184 1328 768 771 777 806 -HSync -VSync
ModeLine "1024x768" 78.75 1024 1040 1136 1312 768 769 772 800 +HSync +VSync
ModeLine "1152x864" 108.00 1152 1216 1344 1600 864 865 868 900 +HSync +VSync
ModeLine "1280x1024" 135.00 1280 1296 1440 1688 1024 1025 1028 1066 +HSync +VSync
ModeLine "1280x1024" 108.00 1280 1328 1440 1688 1024 1025 1028 1066 +HSync +Vsync

Section "Screen"
Identifier "Default Screen"
Device "Generic Video Card"
Monitor "Hanns.G HQ19"
DefaultDepth 16
SubSection "Display"
Depth 1
Modes "1280x960" "1152x864" "1024x768" "832x624" "800x600" "720x400" "640x480"
SubSection "Display"
Depth 4
Modes "1280x960" "1152x864" "1024x768" "832x624" "800x600" "720x400" "640x480"


SubSection "Display"
Depth 24
Modes "1280x960" "1152x864" "1024x768" "832x624" "800x600" "720x400" "640x480"
Or maybe this:
Section "Screen"
Identifier "Default Screen"
Monitor "Standard skjerm"
Device "Configured Video Device"
DefaultDepth 24
Delete all those lines to get your resolution:
Section "Screen"
Identifier "Default Screen"
Monitor "Standard skjerm"
Device "Configured Video Device"
DefaultDepth 24
SubSection "Display"
Depth 24
Modes "1280x1024"
Save it. Then use the Root shell again:
cp xorg.conf /etc/X11/
Then log out.

See this too

Re-installing Mandriva

It is possible that files you created can only be read, not written to, if used on another or re-installed Mandriva. If you right-click a folder & select properties in your new Mandriva, change 'others' from 'read only' to 'read & write' you can then write to them.

If you're re-installing Mandriva you can specify your old /home partition again as the /home folder.

OCR/copying text from a pdf file

13 sep08: I found the Kooka OCR software was no good. If you double-click a pdf file to see it, in the Tools menu is the select option. Drag a rectangle around some text & you can copy it. If you have text in a .jpg or picture file(e.g. scanned pages) then import it into the Openoffice word processor, then export it as a pdf in the File menu.

Changing/Mounting other partitions

8 Nov 07: In the Mandriva Control Center in "Local disks" or "Mount points" you can alter partitions: e.g. you can increase the size of the extended partition, as well as the / root, or swap partitions. (Do not use any other partition software if you have any as it will damage Mandriva's grub loader). It won't let you delete any partitions in use. If you need more space for the /home partition I would advise that you create a new partition. Select the white empty space. Use "journalised FS Ext 3" if you want it for Linux only otherwise use FAT32 or NTFS if sharing with Windows. Select 'extended' in the preference box if there is one. Give the partition a name, let's say "tom". The mount point you would enter as /mnt/tom
Press 'format' then press 'mount'. After a restart look in the /mnt folder for it. Update: 3 Feb 2013You may first need to use the file manager, say, Konqueror, in root mode (type "konqueror" as a root user): Right-click on the /mnt/tom folder & select properties. In the "Permissions" tab the ownership of "user" & "group" will be "root". Change these to the name of your home folder.

File Backups

In your/ home/yourname are hidden files you should backup. Folders include: .kde & .ooo(Openoffice). You can bookmark these folders:

has the Openoffice toolbars.

has many .xcu files that record your Openoffice options(in its Tools menu).
holds autocorrect entries.

holds the Control Centre options.
has the Start menu editor entries.

has bookmarks.xml & konqueror.rc

Opera users: in /home/yourname/.Opera
the bookmarks are opera6.adr
Passwords are wand.dat

If you use Audacity

Encryption/File Compression

ccrypt-1.9.tar.gz 650Kb works well and is very user friendly. There is a version for Windows 95-XP so you can sent files to Windows users. Use "./configure", "make", and "make install" as usual. You should also get which allows you to encrypt/decrypt files/folders by right-clicking on them in KDE, Gnome, and Windows 98+. To install, uncompress it. Open a terminal. Then type in the full path name. Like '/home/yourusername/ccrypt-kde-install' if it was in your home folder. It works for KDE 3.5 but I'm not sure about KDE 4. I think that in Windows you double click 'ccrypt-Win32-install.bat' to install it.

The good thing about it is that after encrypting files, you don't have to delete the original file. ccrypt is based on the Rijndael block cipher, with 256-bit block size and 256-bit key size. The Rijndael cipher is the U.S. government's chosen candidate for the Advanced Encryption Standard. mac version too

Or you can try 350Kb which is written in Java 5 so is platform independent.

[I have unsuccessfully tried 2.5Mb, which also has a Windows version. To install it, uncompress it first. It is just one file. Then enter root mode by typing: su
Then press RETURN. Normally you would type in the name of the software, for example, 'truecrypt-7.0a-setup-x86'. But you have to enter the full path name too: /home/yourusername/truecrypt-7.0a-setup-x86 if it was in your home folder. The software comes with a user guide. To use truecrypt, enter a terminal and type: 'su -' instead of 'su'. Then type 'truecrypt'. I then opened another terminal and used 'su -'. I then typed in 'konqueror' but could not place files into the encrypted folder that I created using truecrypt!]

Openoffice can save files with a password.

File Compression
Zip files are created with Mandriva's Ark software but Konqueror can create tar.gz compressed files if you right-click a folder/file in Konqueror. You can also make a tar.gz file made up of multiple folders/files by clicking each one whilst pressing the Ctrl key & then right-clicking.

Using K3b

Use K3b to backup data to a CD-RW/DVD-+RW & burn CD/DVD's. It can't write data to a CD-RW/DVD-+RW like a hard drive. (Those with Pentium 3 laptops will have to back-up to USB storage as they are not fast enough to write data to a modern CD-R/RW/DVD-+R/RW). If you won't access those discs in Windows then untick joliet in the options when you come to write/burn them.

Drag folders to the bottom half of the screen. Before burning the CD-RW/DVD-+RW save the project into one of those folders so a copy of it is placed on the CD-RW/DVD-+RW. When you next use K3b you would open that project.

To read them, in the go menu of Konqueror click storage media.

/usr/share/doc/DVD+rw-tools-6.1/index.html has a useful technical page.


Mandriva can play mp3, but comes with no LAME mp3 codec(copyright reasons), which is needed by the Grip & Kaudiocreator software for ripping cds. You can download it from (1.3Mb & it works for Windows/Mac too).

Mandriva has 2 pieces of audio CD ripping software, Kaudiocreator & Grip. In Grip you can select the rate of recordings e.g. 16 or 128kbps etc. Kaudiocreator can't do this but is faster, easier & comes already installed. They both use mp3 & ogg. To install Grip if it's not there, in the sound section of the Mandriva Control Centre, install cdparanoia & Grip. Its entry will then appear in the multimedia part of the Start menu.

If you access the CD audio disc in the storage media of Konqueror, you can copy/paste files to rip audio tracks. This also provides the path name which Kaudiocreator needs, which, for example, could be 'system:/media/hdb'.

ogg is a compression like mp3 & is used by all Linux sound software as it's free to everyone. ogg works with any media player software, but not all portable audio players, although certain ones do like Samsung YP-U2RZ(£30, 1Gb) or the YP-U2X(£30, 512mb), or YP-Z5FZB(2Gb). Or use the amazon web site & type in 'Samsung mp3' in the electronics search category.

With Kaudiocreator mp3's are encoded at 180kbps(CD quality is 192) with a 44,100hz sampling rate, or with ogg at 100kbps with a 44,100hz sampling rate, which sounds good quality too.

Using Grip or Kaudiocreator, rip/encode files using oggEnc or LAME mp3. Ripped files are put in the /home/yourname/mp3 or /ogg folder.

[If you only have 128-256 Mb RAM you can avoid using Grip or Kaudiocreator as Konqueror can rip CDs in its Services tab on the left if you copy/paste files.]

Certain theme music audio CDs from movies will be treated like CD-ROMS by some software as they contain PC software. For these use Kaudiocreator.

You can use the Konqueror or Firefox browser(the first is better) to listen to Windows Media/mp3 streams(radio & sound clips) online. (Try & listen to Alex Jones who will tell you what those who actually govern really get up to. Bookmark the address of the station).

I had sound quality problems for ages, but by reducing the line setting in Kmix/volume it is now OK.

If you have 512 Mb RAM: to record what's playing on the speakers use Audacity or Mandriva's own basic sound recorder. First, use the Kmix software(in the multimedia part of start menu): set the line's green button on, the capture slider must be above halfway & its red light on, the headphone & front buttons yellow, the capture & the mixer buttons to red; in the volume control in the capture tab both the line-in & the capture must be enabled for output & record. If using Audacity select line as the input source. Then press the record button in Audacity or the sound recorder. I found Audacity recorded line-in sounds(any sound heard on the speakers) with a loud screech. The sound recorder did not & can save a 1 hour recording very quickly. It can save using ogg with a bit rate of 140-160kbps, or using speex at a rate of 48kbps - which Konqueror will wrongly label as an ogg but you can play by right-clicking it & hearing it using Konqueror's embedded player. Save using FLAC if you want perfect sound quality. Audacity/Wavepad can read FLAC files.

[Wavepad(mentioned earlier) can also save ogg files as mp3(without needing LAME), but I could not record with it. I closed Wavepad by clicking the X at the top right corner & tried to open it again, but it didn't work. I pressed the keys CONTROL-ALT-DELETE simultaneously, which presented a list of all software running & found that it hadn't closed in the first place. So I selected it & pressed the 'kill' button to close it. Wavepad is closed by using exit in the file menu.]


Do not use Audacity in Mandriva if you have 128 Mb RAM. With 256 Mb RAM you could use small files. Audacity.rpm (1.2) is an OSS version. There is an Audacity ALSA version which people can download & compile. ALSA is the new sound driver, OSS being the old one. Version 1.3 when it's out will use ALSA.

In Linux, Audacity can open wav files, unlike Wavepad. In Audacity, you can change the volume using the gain control to the left of the track display.

In Audacity's preferences, you can set the quality for exporting files in ogg or mp3 format. Assuming a sampling rate of 44000hz, using ogg: 0 is 58kbps, 1 is 67kbps, 2 is 80kbps, 3 is 95kbps, 4 is 133kbps, 5 is 160kbps. I find I can't tell the difference between 64 & 160kbps. 64-133kbps is good enough for most people for music. For speech even 16 is clear enough, although 32 is better. Ogg is better than mp3 below 128kbps because it keeps the 44000hz rate.

Close all audio files before using Wavepad or Audacity or they won't play.

/usr/share/Audacity has Audacity's help files.

Added 24 April 2010: is another piece of sound software. I think it's for GNOME users rather than KDE. has the extra files needed.

Audio Streams

mp3's on websites are files you download, or you can choose to hear them online as a stream instead - in which case you open the file when offered the chance. An m3u is an online audio stream which you open. With a 56k modem you can reliably use at most a 32k stream - good enough for clear speech.

Installing the USB sound card/editing files(that require root user access) using a text editor

[Added 23 nov 08: instead of using the vi editor as follows, it's easier to open a terminal then type in
su (& press RETURN then your password. In (K)Ubuntu you use sudo). Then type kwrite which is a much better text editor. You can also use Konqueror as a root user.]

Added 2 November 07: Plug in the USB sound card, enter the Mandriva Control Centre, in the hardware section it will list your onboard/current sound card as snd-hda-intel(which is sound card 0) & the USB card as something like snd-USB-audio(which is sound card 1). Your /etc/modprobe.conf file should have an entry called
alias sound-slot-0 snd-hda-intel
We want to change this to snd-USB-audio, so open a terminal at the /etc folder & type:
su (& press RETURN then your password). We want to copy this file which we'll then use to use the original sound card(which I will call onb which stands for onboard) & create a modified one to use the USB sound card(which I will call USB). So type:
cp modprobe.conf onb
And we'll create a copy called USB which we'll modify using the vi text editor:
cp modprobe.conf USB
We'll edit this so we'll type:
vi USB
Press i to enter text mode, then change:
alias sound-slot-0 snd-hda-intel
alias sound-slot-0 snd-USB-audio
Press the ESCAPE key to enter vi's command mode.Now type:
:wq (to save & exit). Type :q! exits without saving.

All editing is now done so type
cp USB modprobe.conf (which means copy, then type y to overwrite the old modprobe.conf file)
[If you copy & paste more than 1 line of text in vi, each RETURN character will be listed as #
These need to be deleted.] Now log off & do a full re-start.
In kimx, switch to the USB audio; in its output tab, in the right speaker the green light needs to be on(this is now the volume adjust). In the volume control, switch to the USB audio. I can record great from microphone using Audacity & the Mandriva sound recorder. I plugged in the speakers into the USB card & the sound was great too. I can record from microphone using the PCM control, but I have no line-in setting. If I work out how to change this I'll add it here. Maybe it only comes in a newly installed Mandriva with the USB card as the only sound card in the pc.

To use the old sound card, unplug the USB card, then type: su
cp onb modprobe.conf
in /etc, then log off & log on quickly again using 'end current session'.

To use the USB card again:
cp USB modprobe.conf (then type y to overwrite the old modprobe.conf file)
Now log off & do a full re-start.

USB audio devices/using good quality microphones

USB microphones work with Linux with no drivers needed.

If you need to record from 1 or 2 microphones the Lexicon Omega(US$200 £130) is ideal. It's powered by mains not USB port, so you will get less noise than it's cheaper brothers, the Lexicon Alpha & the Lambda. Information on the Omega here, here, here, here It includes cubase LE software, which has a big forum here

You will need a converter plug to convert from 3.5mm to 1/4inch to plug in your PC speakers.

see here(UK)

Or ART Tube MP Project Series USB-$100 £80
has phantom power(for condensors) & is mains powered. Itonly uses 1 microphone. See here has an article saying if you have a Wireless-G USB adapter plugged in then take it out if you're using any Lexicons/USB sound devices. has a lot of information for novices. They recommend the Shure SM57 dynamic microphone as a good all-round starter, reviews here, here

here is a guide to stereo recording using 2 microphones & here

Connecting a netbook to a laptop/desktop

If your netbook has a hard drive then you could take it out & put it in a laptop/desktop PC. But, there's 2 types of hard drive, ATA & the newer SATA & each uses different connectors. If you have a desktop, & your netbook/laptop has an ATA drive you could buy a 2.5 to 3.5 inch converter: to use it in the desktop PC. Ebay probably sell that connector.

If your desktop PC can use SATA then it uses the same connector as a 2.5 inch SATA netbook/laptop hard drive.

In the U.K. you can also get an adapter to connect a 2.5 inch laptop/netbook hard drive to a USB port:
£12 for ATA
£8 for SATA

This here for £9 connects a 3.5 inch IDE hard drive to a USB port.

Using USB sticks

USB sticks normally use FAT16 partitions. This means the maximum partition/file size is 2Gb using 32Kb clusters. If 64Kb clusters are used the maximum partition size is 4Gb but only Linux & Windows NT4 & 2000 upwards can use them. If your USB stick no longer works use your partitioning software to create FAT16 partitions. If you get a new USB stick sized 8 or more Gb then you should create these FAT16 partitions before use. Also most computers will not recognise a flash drive as being bootable if the drive is formatted with anything other than FAT-16.

Set a slower CD/DVD-rom speed

eject -x N /dev/cdrom
(which won't actually eject it). N is the number of the speed you want. 4 is OK for music and 12 is OK for movies.

Via Onboard Graphics Users has the drivers. Mandriva users can get them here or here for Mandriva 2007 Mandriva 2008.1 already has Via drivers. has another for Via users.

Watching DVB-C/T/S (Cable, Terrestrial, Satellite) Digital Television/Radio

Many companies make digital receivers which can be plugged into a U.S.B. port, such as the "Hauppauge NOVA-T USB DVB-T" which does work automatically with all Linux distros from kernel 2.6.19 onwards, which is pretty much all modern distros since around 2007.

Kplayer may also view DVB; Kaffeine and the "VLC media player" certainly do; see their help files. You should see compatible device lists to see if your DVB device is Linux compatible; see to get drivers; Type: "uname -r" to see which kernel version you have. Using an alumin(i)um baking tray helps the signal if you use the portable antenna of your digital receiver. You may need a more up-to-date graphics driver if your digital receiver doesn't work: one person updated their nVidia graphics driver and found that it worked.

In the video software of the Mandriva Control Center, Klear can also be used to watch DVB-C/T/S. Klear is a KDE application for recording video streams from your DVB device and watching TV with all advantages of digital television (like EPG, OSD, and so on). It runs under Linux with the usage of the KDE/QT GUI-Framework from Trolltech. It uses a flexible video engine for playback. An engine with libXine is included. It supports almost all DVB devices supported by Linux, including all budget devices. Klear for Mandriva 2007

Also there is, Alevt, a teletext decoder for bbtv and DVB. Klear's features:
DVB Playback; DVB Video and Radio support; Internal (and player-independant) Tuner for DVB-T, DVB-C and DVB-S; Timeshifting with 'save-back capability'; full featured scheduled recording; live-recording system; EPG with connection to the recording system; Full teletext/videotext support; OSD system; nifty GUI with fullscreen and minimal mode; screenshot capability with different formats; integrated deinterlacing filters; Audio-muting and integrated soft-mixer; complete graphical configuration system; KDE kicker integration ; recording formats: MPEG TS (raw) and MPEG PES (realtime conversion); free keybindings for hotkeys; Multilanguage support.

Kaffeine and Klear save digital radio recorded files as m2t (MPEG-TS) which can be played with any sound software. To convert Kaffeine's/Klear's m2t (MPEG-TS) digital radio recorded file format to .mp3

Ubuntu users and GNOME users of other distros can use metv

USB WiFi Adapters

A $15 USB 802.11g WiFi Adapter For Linux, the Encore ENUWI-G2 See also

The very small/compact Edimax EW-7811UN 150Mbps B/G/N works in Linux and Mac too. Someone says it has at least a 14m range. Drivers are at Manual Some people have said installation is easy, otherwise see here and error: implicit declaration of function 'init_MUTEX'

See also

Using 3G U.S.B. modems

Since kernel 2.6.20 the Huawei E220 works with all operating systems, including Android. See The ZTE MF112 also works in Linux with kernels more recent than 2.6.20

Useful page bookmarks:

Mandriva Buying Guide
My early experiences of Linux
Setting up Mandriva 2007/8
Re-installing Mandriva
ndis wrapper
Linux for those with older PCs
Installing Linux / Disk partitioning

Graphics Cards
Portable storage
digital cameras / Linux works with USB card readers
To install a modem
Adding printers/Scanners/Using HP(updated March 2011)
Installing the USB sound card/editing files(that require root user access) using a text editor
Connecting a netbook to a laptop/desktop
Using USB sticks
Set a slower CD/DVD-rom speed
Via Onboard-Graphics Users
Watching DVB-C/T/S Digital Television/Radio
USB WiFi Adapters
sound recording
How to play Blu-ray in Linux
VDPAU (Video Decode and Presentation API for Unix) provides a large subset of PureVideo functionality for NVIDIA users (decoding of MPEG-1, MPEG-2, H.264, and VC-1)
wikipedia: Linux has supported USB 3.0 since version 2.6.31, which was released in September 2009
Linux compatibility with SATA hard drives

Using 3G U.S.B. cards
Amarok media/CD player
Turning off the kscd player
Easy-to-use Windows sound-recording software (600Kb). (Great for recording speeches because it doesn't use as much memory as a sound editor.) ABR (average bit rate) is the best mode for file saving as it's the best compromise between file size, quality and ease of use.

Encryption/File Compression(important update)
backup data to CD-rw/DVD-+rw
File Backups updated 28nov08

Adding/Mounting other partitions (Important Update: 3 Feb 2013)
to write to ntfs partitions

Moving from the Windows word processor to Openoffice updated
Installing .tgz software e.g. LAME mp3 encoder
Download Accelerators/Bit Torrent
Installing Internet Explorer
Playing DVDs
How do I get more software for Mandriva?
Installing Java
Installing WINE.rpm & Other .rpm Files
Konqueror shows a file name as if it's scrolled down half way
ftp & telnet
Linux WYSIWYG & HTML Editors
Playing Ogg, Speex, Theora & FLAC in Windows Media Player, 824kb
Download Flash/Youtube videos as files(instead of just watching them)
Webcams/video editing/camcorder
Business, Tax, Accounting & Finance software
Boot-loader software
DOS emulation software
Hard-drive diagnostic software
mail merge/using Koffice(Koffice takes up less memory than Openoffice)
SIAG-graphical office software for those with low specification PCs(Check in the Mandriva Control Center that you have libxpm) Data/partitions recovery software
Online Repositories For Downloading Mandriva Software/Best Media Playing Software
Simple Painting Software Called Kolourpaint
Thesaurus Software
Converting Videos e.g. flv(Flash), wmv, asf, avi & mp4 to the free theora format which Linux can play
mtCellEdit, a basic, graphical spreadsheet that uses the R1C1 cell notation(700Kb) Add ons for Openoffice
Modifying pdf files
7zip software for Linux
Software to uncompress .rar files
fax send/receive software Type "rpm -qa | grep glib" to see what libglib and libdbus-glib you have.
fmod 3.4
Adobe Reader 9.5 for Linux (54Mb)
Free Office software suite which can read Openoffice word-processor files, 62Mb. Kingsoft office, 160Mb is another, which can't read Openoffice files.
Everyday Use
Removing the word 'free' from being shown in the Mandriva free edition
menu too big to fit on screen
If you write html: using find/replace to look for the RETURN character
OCR/copying text from a pdf file
laptop battery/power management
Tips including saving in Openoffice's new not old format
Turning off unnecessary software & save memory/tackling software freezes
Bugs in Mandriva
Mandriva 2008.1/2009
If you can't change the screen resolution/depth any more
Re-installing Mandriva
You can change the default operating system the PC boots to in the Mandriva Control Center.


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