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... AltOS
JAN/FEB, 1999
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MacOS, Linux, Unix, OS2, BeOS, heard of them? They're operating systems. Just like Windows is an operating system. Many would say they are arguably superior in many respects to the common Windows alternatives. Like to find out more about them? Then read on ...

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Linux, the new force to be rekoned with in OS development. Want to see what you can do with Linux and Unix? Come to the CSU's Linux Users Group Meet.

MURLUG Meet Saturday 20th March

The place to be is:

Event: Albury Wodonga Linux Users Group
Date: Sat 20th March
Time: 09:00 to mid-avro
Place Charles Sturt Uni (Albury city campus) Nowik theatre (car parking next door to theatre off Guinea Street)
Purpose X and VNC (proposed)
Cost Gold coin to cover costs of refreshments
Contact Howard Lowndes

Come in for a chat, a cuppa, and a refreshing change.

Murlug - The Murray Linux Users Group


Murlug Mailing List:

Murlug maintains a low volume mailing list for those interested in discussing things Linux. The Address of the mailing list is If you want to be added to (or deleted from) this list, please send an email to, with the text "subscribe" or "unsubscribe" in the message body.

You can read more about Linux and Red Hat from Red Hat Software

Excerpts from the MURLUG Mailing List

  • Linux kernel 2.2.0 has been released
    Linus has just released Linux 2.2.0
    Get it from

  • Subject: sunsite is ready
    The Linux archive at is now ready and is updated daily at 6:15am from
    It contains:
    distributions/redhat/ : redhat-5.2 and updates
    distributions/debian/ : whole debian tree except for binaries for m68k, ARM, HURD, Alpha and SPARC
    kernel/ : v2.2 kernel sources
    metalab/ : whole of sunsiteunc archive from
    kde/ : complete KDE archive
    gnome/ : complete Gnome archive
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TUCOWS (, "one of the best sites on the net for finding Internet related software" has opened a Linux section - aptly named Linuxberg. X11 and console applications are available, as are all the popular Linux distributions. Like the TUCOWS other sites, it's pretty current, comprehensive, and includes handy reviews and rankings for listed software.

Linuxberg boasts over 100 Mirror sites. The list of Australian Mirrors are accessible from The South Australian primary affiliate (good access from here) can be found at

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Case story:
Multiple boot notebook with Win3.1/DOS, Windows 98 and Red Hat Linux 5.2

Shortly before Christmas, a disgruntled Windows user came to us with his brand new notebook and the following problem:

His business is increasingly dissatisfied with the Windows operating systems, but have to support an existing Win3.1 network. They also have to be able to accept files from clients using Windows 98, who generally aren't computer literate enough to save files in a compatible cross platform format. Could we put both Win3.1 AND Win98 on his notebook, preferably so that they could not interfere with each other.

This was fairly easily achieved by re-partitioning the disk into two primaries, one for 98 and one for 3.1, using Partition Magic and the IBM Boot Manager to handle a dual boot option. At boot time a simple menu let him choose between one OS or the other and as you can only have one active partition at a time they (98/3.1) couldn't see each other's files and therefore couldn't "accidentally" overwrite or corrupt anything.

Within a fortnight he was back - so comfortable with the dual boot operation that could we "possibly pinch some disk space from the 98 partition and install Linux" so he could start to evaluate an alternative to the Windows OS without losing his existing set-up?

The hard disk was a reasonable size - 4Gb, so the space was there. It did require however re-sizing and moving around of partitions, shuffling of boot manager, and a few re-installs before everything was working properly. The main problems stemmed from both Windows 98 and Win 3.1 both fighting for the first half of the disk. Win3.1/DOS would install past the 2Gb point, but wouldn't boot! Frustration! Win98 wanted the first part of the disk for it's files. Linux didn't care where it was installed as long as the partitions were sequential (it needed at least 2 partitions - a boot/data and a scratch partition). As we were nearly at the limit of primary partitions we had to install an extended partition and use a combination of logical drives in the extended partition (you can only have 4 primaries - and we had Win3.1 and Win98 on separate primaries already for reasons stated previously, and Boot Manager which takes an albeit small partition of it's own).

Partition Magic (V3) was invaluable! One of the best tools available for hard disk manipulation under any operating system. Quite capable of recognizing the Linux file system (although it was far safer to let the Linux install format the Linux partitions with the appropriate file systems (type 82 scratch and type 83 Linux native).

So after nearly a day of reformatting and re-partitioning the hard disk, shuffling OS's and partitions back and forth, installing and re-installing OS's, we finally settled on the following working arrangement:

  • 1st Primary: Win98 800MB up the front;
  • 2nd Primary: Win3.1/DOS 2Gb approx starting straight after 98 BEFORE the 2Gb point on the disk;
  • 3rd Primary: Boot Manager (smallest allocatable 3.9Mb) (much easier to use than remembering the Lilo incantations for the die-hards ;-)
  • 4th Primary: Extended 1Gb approx. divided into two logical drives of 100Mb (type 82 scratch) and 900Mb approx.(Type 83 linux native) for the OS and apps.

We installed the Window Maker X-window manager, and evaluation copies of Corel Word Perfect and Star Office (Having used Star Office myself for a while, I feel it may well be a likely contender as an Office productivity suite. I will be interested to hear how it performs in a real office situation against the Windows alternatives -Ed).

To all outward appearances our clients notebook remains a standard Toshiba 320CDT. But when it boots, it presents a menu of three choices of OS. To a small extent, we feel we have put the power to choose, for the moment, back in the hands of this consumer.

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Local supporters of non-Microsoft systems are invited to contact us here for inclusion of your SIG (special interest group), event or web site in these pages.

Others are invited to open their eyes, and their minds, to worlds beyond the confines of Microsoft.

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For general information on alternative operating systems, check out the following sites:

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