Monday, December 31, 2012

Gigastrand to have a new website soon

Gigastrand International will soon have a new website and, on the surface, you may not be able to tell the difference.

What we plan to do is move to a newer, better, more capable host and many of the changes will be seen starting with the Gigastrand Store and the Gigastrand OS page.

Recommended Linux Printer
HP has always had very good Linux compatibility and the Officejet 8600 Pro is no exception. I have personally tested it on Linux Mint and the Gigastrand OS and it has performed beyond expectation in both cases.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

New Gigastrand OS Promo Video

It was time to update the promo video for the Gigastrand OS - so we did. Updated a few slides, some screenshots and changed the message.

We lied, however, on the last slide. It says it was made with OpenShot. While we had intended to do so, we actually made it with KDEnlive on the original Gigastrand laptop.

I find it funny how the darn thing will barely run 2 web browsers at the same time yet, it can render a one minute video in less than 2. 


Friday, December 28, 2012

Gigastrand OS: BETA Delayed and Free Insider Membership

It is as we suspected: The Gigastrand BETA will be delayed until we can secure funding and overcome some of the pre-BETA challenges. Work will continue on other systems while we tackle the issues in the OS itself. 

In the meantime, we are forming the Gigastrand Insider Group (GIG). Members of the group will 

  • Get special access to Alpha, BETA, and Release Candidate software
  • Free software on release
  • Special access to areas of the Gigastrand Website
  • Discounts and special offers given only to insiders
  • More to come!
Through December 31, 2012 we will allow anyone who is interested in becoming an Insider to sign up for free for a year. Just use the contact page on the Gigastrand site to send the following information:
  1. Name
  2. Address
  3. E-mail
  4. Preferred Username (for future site access).
Indicate in the message that you would like to sign up for the insider program.

On January 1, 2013 the insider memberships will be $48.84 per year or $84.48 for a lifetime membership and can be obtained through the Gigastrand OS website. 100% of the proceeds will go to the Gigastrand OS development fund.


Monday, December 24, 2012

Friday, December 21, 2012

Gigastrand Zazzle Products

Ok. I admit this is a little late for Christmas, but most of this is stuff you will want to give all year round. Proceeds help Linux4Everyone or the Gigastrand OS. Our first Gigastrand OS product with the new logo is now available.


Monday, December 17, 2012

Gigastrand to remove "Windows Tax" from laptops.

Gigastrand has been selling Linux PCs and laptops for nearly 7 years. While our customers never pay for the Windows license on our PCs, our laptops have often been a challenge.  

Paying the "Windows Tax" is not just less than ideal, but completely ridiculous for someone who wants a machine purely Linux. Having the Windows licence for those who dual-boot or run a Windows virtual machine is beneficial.


"Every time you buy a computer that bundles a Windows license just to save a few bucks over buying a Linux machine, you're shooting yourself in the foot. It doesn't matter that you blow Windows away and install Linux-- it still counts as a Windows sale, which reinforces your vendor's belief that they need Windows users and can safely ignore Linux users. It sends money to Redmond. It rewards all the junkware, adware, and spyware vendors that load their garbage on Windows PCs. And it cements the anti-competitive status quo more firmly."

Gigastrand is taking action by eliminating or mitigating the "Windows Tax" from its laptops. This will lower the price of each laptop and the option of Windows will now be an add-on.

Look for these changes soon.


Friday, December 14, 2012

Gigastrand OS: Chrome Browser to be Included

Gigastrand International announced today that they plan to include the Google Chrome web browser in the Gigastrand OS. This will add Chromebook-like functionality to the Gigastrand OS when used in conjunction with Google cloud-based services like Google Drive, Gmail, and YouTube.

At this point it is unclear as to whether Chrome will be the default web browser on the OS or if it will be installed alongside Firefox, the OS's current default web browser, so that Chrome will be available to users that wish to use it.

"We are certainly having fewer issues with Chrome than we are with Firefox," explains Gigastrand CEO Josh Tordsen. "From a compatibility standpoint, Firefox has the edge. From a functionality standpoint, Chrome has the edge. We are not sure which should be the default browser so we are currently listening to the community and running various compatibility tests."

A default browser decision may not be made until early February. Until then, Gigastrand is taking feedback from the community.


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Gigastrand OS: Mr. Gigabytes Desktop

The Gigastrand OS has been evolving. We have redesigned some graphics, installed new software, and have been working on some bugs. My desktop is probably the most customized of all the installations we have here at Gigastrand. I have 2 laptops I use for Gigastrand - one for home and one at the office. Both have the Gigastrand OS on them. The above screenshot is the more powerful office laptop. I have done everything from this one. Editing videos, creating documents, developing the Gigastrand site, writing this blog, bookkeeping, and - naturally - this screenshot.

What we have done so far I equate to dipping our toes into the water as far as development is concerned. We started with a proven system, customized it, and now we have a good base to add the more complex items to. 

As one person put it: "You've got a good system here. Now its time to eff it up and see what it can do."


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Gigastrand OS: New Logo Video Announcement

The Gigastrand OS has a new logo inspired by the "Globe desktop" screenshot from Alphas .02-.04. It has been observed that the 2 parts of the Gigastrand "G" logo look a bit like parts of the globe - either North and South America or Eurasia and Australia. The blue parts of the new logo also form an OS. The font was changed for the "Gigastrand OS" Label. 

For no real reason whatsoever, we also created a short 15 second video demonstrating this inspiration. 

Shortly, we will have the new logo desktop wallpaper uploaded to the Gigastrand Operating System site. You will see new graphical components for upcoming screenshots as well. The "GO" (Start, Launch, Menu or whatever you want to call it) button will also change in the next set of screenshots.


Monday, December 10, 2012

What Gigastrand is working on: A leak from the founder

Gigastrand is working on several projects through the first of the year. I figured rather than surprising folks when the projects are released, I would just tell you what we are doing.

1. Gigastrand OS. We are attempting to get an installer and flash player working by December 15th. If we can do that, we can meet the deadline for beta release on January 1st. If not, we may have to delay the BETA program while we build a custom installer.

2. LOTS of website changes. We are currently testing new site designs to be released by year end. We have several goals in mind in regards to the website changes.
  • More modern look. I like the design of our website and how consistent the look is across the many sections, but I feel it lacks a few modern touches that many other sites have. We will also be improving the flow of the site considerably.
  • Ease of use. We are looking into content managers to improve function and useability on both the front and back end.
  • Refocusing key areas. Support is a big one. I want to see a consolidation of support on the Gigastrand site. Right now, each section has its own store and its own support area.
  • Landing page simplification. Each division should have a share of the main page. As it is, the bulk of the main page goes to the top story and the other divisions simply have a link in the menu.
3. Removing the Windows Tax on Laptops. Gigastrand is making a concerted effort to remove or mitigate the Windows license on its laptops and lower its prices. This has been a giant pain for me personally on a number of levels. More on that in an upcoming blog.

4. Development of the Gigastrand OS support systems is commencing. You will start to see some of the systems around the the new year - even if the OS development is delayed.

5. New Gigastrand OS Videos. Around the first of the year the Gigastrand YouTube channel will have new OS promo videos. Later on, we are planning How-to videos.

6. New tablet offerings. Gigastrand is working on new Gigastrand P.A.D.D.s to go on sale early next year. Look for a sale on the current tablets soon.

7. Expanding our Zazzle store. We have already added new products to both the Linux4Everyone and Gigastrand Stores. More to come!

Well, that is about all I am going to be allowed to tell you about. We will be making regular blog posts through the end of the year and will keep you updated on all the Gigastrand news.


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Digging up the past: Old TV commercial

I got my nickname because I used to own a local computer store with a couple of locations. Gigabytes Computer Store closed shortly after Gigastrand International was founded and it was a good run. I am posting this at the request of those who participated in its making. 

Though the quality of the video is poor (it was re-recorded off of a screen), it is a well put together piece of advertising. It aired on a local TV station (KELO/UTV) mostly during the news.


PS: For you Linux fans, note the operating system on the computer at the end.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Gigastrand OS: An Update

Gigastrand has developed the Gigastrand Operating System to the point where we can manually build the OS onto various devices. All of Gigastrand International's PCs and servers are currently running the Alpha.04 version.

We have run into what appears to be a compatibility wall with the OS. We have several Via Epia 1000 mini ITX PCs laying around and have not been able to get a successful load onto them, however Linux Mint Debian seems to work well. This is the first time we have seen the Gigastrand OS not work on a system when another does.

On what has worked:
  • Toshiba Satellite L505 Laptop
  • Uniwill Intel Centrino Laptop with 512mb RAM
  • AMD Athlon PC with 1Gb RAM
  • All new Gigastrand PCs and Laptops
We are still working on making an updated flash player work with the system, developing a repository, support systems, and an installer for BETA distribution. We have also secured along with other domains to begin building a separate website.

We have posted some items for sale in the
Join the Project section of the Gigastrand OS page to help us fund the Gigastrand OS project. You can also simply donate to the project. All proceeds raised go toward the Gigastrand OS development.

The great thing is, that donations and proceeds can be used immediately and do not cost as much as with Kickstarter.

I have been asked: "What exactly do you have to pay for?"  A part from the standard operating costs of running a business, here is a short list:
  • Software licenses. Some of the technology used in the development will be free for end-users but Gigastrand will have to foot the bill for it in the way of a flat fee.
  • R&D time. Developing an OS means solving problems. Solving problems takes time.
  • Development costs. Including developer resources (i.e. hardware / software), developer time (i.e. payroll), and tools (i.e. websites, host space, etc.). I will say that the nice thing about developing software in Linux is that 99% of the tools are free or low cost.
I should say that we are not simply remastersys-ing an existing OS. Much of what we want the OS to accomplish means some custom development. Fortunately, Linux is a nice environment to develop in which is why we do not need a quarter of a million to get this thing developed. $40,000 for an OS is incredibly low. Some applications require far more than that to bring them to market.

So, get involved! Feel free to
contact us, check out the OS page for updates, and Join the Project.

Gigastrand OS: Linux for Everyone

Monday, November 19, 2012

Mr G's Top 10: Milestone Linux Distros

I have used a lot of Linux Distros. Some have endeared themselves to me and allowed me to accomplish certain milestones. I was exposed to Linux for the first time in 1997 when a friend of mine showed me a program he was compiling on his PC in Linux. Since then, many distros have come and gone. These are my most memorable.

10. Corel Linux - I was able to install this on one PC of mine back in 1999. It was a KDE / Debian installation. It was where I first discovered desktop Linux and where I began my pursuit of Linux. I played GNUlactic Konquest for days.

9. Linspire 4.5 - The first Linux my first Laptop ran. This was pre-Gigastrand Laptop. It was an old Dell that barely ran Windows 2000. Linspire 4.5 ran very well on it and that prompted me to offer it to my customers.

8. Linspire 5 - Linspire 5.0 was an excellent OS and represented a time when Gigastrand was formed. 

7. freespire 2.0 - I ran freespire 2.0 longer than any other Linux OS. It was hard to move away from.

6. Ubuntu / Kubuntu - I do not use Ubuntu nor have I ever. However, Linux Mint is based on Ubuntu and both are great OSes.

5. Linux Mint 5 KDE - This was the distro that led me away from freespire and convinced me that Linux Mint was the new distro of choice for Gigastrand.

4. Linux Mint 7 KDE - Despite a few bugs, I ran this on my work PC for 4.5 years.

3. Zorin OS - I really like some of the ideas these guys have and have really given me a lot of food for thought.

2. Linux Mint 10 KDE - One of the best versions Linux Mint ever released. It ran better than Linux Mint 8, 9, 11, 12. It also allowed us to create the Gigastrand OS proof of concept.

1. Gigastrand OS - Really? You didn't see this coming? Ok, perhaps I do need to recuse myself a little here but I am running Alpha.04 and it does literally EVERYTHING I need it to do (except flash player which we are working on). This blows my mind every time I turn on my computer. An Alpha version of an OS that I built onto my computer actually works. You just can't beat that.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Roadmap: Blog Themes and Meanings

I have fielded several questions as to what some of the recurring themes are that seem to pop up now and again on my blog. The truth is that some of the recurring themes on this blog were not intentional. I did not plan to have different series of posts when I started out (though I knew I may be posting multiple times on a single topic at times) however, over the last few months, the blog has inadvertently taken on these themes all by itself. So, why not take a few minutes to define them.

The reason I am defining these themes now is that you can search the blog for a specific theme and it will pull up all of the posts for that series.

PC or PoC: Personal Computer or Piece of Crap started as a single post on I brought that post back, updated it, and it turned out to be one of the more popular posts I have done on this blog. I have since done 3 more (Gigastrand Laptop, Gigastrand Server Update, and Blackberry Curve 8330) and plan others in the future. So this blog theme will continue to be recurring character.

Gigastrand OS: If you have been following the progress on this it has thus far not been a runaway success. However, when Gigastrand decided to continue the project with or without the funding, the Gigastrand OS theme on this blog will continue to provide updates and a look behind the scenes during the development.

Rant: Not every rant has been labeled as such, however, this theme has made an appearance now and again.

Mr. Gigabytes Top 10: This theme has not been posted in a while and is probably due. This theme was more intentional than most with a way to get information out in a more digestible form.

Video Blog: This is a blog entry that contains video. 

So there you have it, all of the themes in this blog. Search for the specific theme you are following and it will pull up all of the posts in the series.


Monday, November 12, 2012

PC or PoC: Blackberry 8330

Ok. Technically this is a phone but, smartphones are really just baby computers. This Blackberry is a smartphone that can run apps. Because of this, this phone has not yet outlived its usefulness.
Now, don't get me wrong. This phone is old and slow. It connects to the internet at 1x speed. It takes 5 minutes for it to fully restart. It has 96mb of app storage (doesn't allow you to move apps to the card). Not to mention, no WiFi.

So the challenge before me was great. Circumstances beyond my control had forced me into this phone and now it was time to deal.

There were several things I liked about the phone. It did e-mail well. It could get on the internet and could be customized up to a point. So, this is how I was able to live with a phone that most consider past its prime.

The very first thing I did was replace the browser with Opera Mini. It displays web pages much more accurately than the built-in browser. I added Gigastrand and Linux4Everyone to the speed dial page (of course). Then I added,,,,, and Now, without installing any additional apps on the phone itself, I have access to al of the following apps:
  • Google search
  • Blogger
  • Google Docs (Drive)
  • Gmail
  • Google Maps
  • Voice Search
  • Latitude
  • News
  • Sync
  • Photos
  • Voice
  • YouTube
  • Calendar
  • Reader
  • Notebook
  • Tasks
  • Google+
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Ebay
  • Paypal
  • Accuweather (came with Opera)
  • Keloland (Local news, weather, sports)
Now, this is all nice but, some of the apps are better and starting with what is essentially a blank phone I had room.

So I installed the following apps.
  • My Verizon
  • Backup assistant
  • Battery Watch
  • Google Voice
  • Paypal
  • Ebay
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Scan Life (barcode Scanner)
  • YP Mobile
  • Skype
  • Google Maps
  • Tunein Radio
I started with a flashlight app, but I found if I simply went into Video Camera Settngs and Options then set the Light to turn on by default, I could use that as my flashlight app.

Everything else was either already on the phone or stuff I didn't use.

Some of the things that I wish I could do:
  • Square or Paypal here
  • Siri-type app (Vlingo did not work)
  • Some network tools
I then changed the left button to lock the phone (like a normal smartphone) and left the right to activate the Camera (default).

I downloaded the Gigastrand Wallpaper (the white one) and set it to the home screen picture then I had a phone I could live with that did about 90% of what my Android could do. No, not as well but it can do it.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

PC or PoC Update: Gigastrand Server

 Original Post

The Gigastrand OS A.04 is now running successfully on 100% of our systems. The last of the systems loaded being the Gigastrand Server.

Because of the age of this server, the system ended up being reloaded twice to get it to work properly. Something happened with root access the first time around that we are still unsure of exactly what happened.

The Gigastrand OS is an improvement over Linux Mint Debian - on this box at least. For one, it runs much faster than before. Secondly, it runs the stuff we want it to run and we can install things we were never able to before thanks to Gigastrand OS being built on a stable release of Debian.

We were concerned that Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE) was all this server could run as it rejected LM10 KDE, LM10 Gnome (main edition) and several other versions of Linux initially.

We have updated the hardware a little as well. We have installed a PCI SATA card to add 2 SATA ports to the machine. Before, the System would only accept IDE drives. We also have adapters to convert the IDE ports to SATA if we run out of IDE drives.

Ok, so many of you reading this may think: What is the point? Why not just upgrade it? Why try to work around the obvious deficiencies and just go with something new?

Well, we could but here are a few reasons why we are tweaking the system: 
  1. Here at Gigastrand we hold the radical belief that a computer is obsolete ONLY when it no longer does what you need or want it to do. With a little tweaking, we can keep this machine doing what we need and want it to do.
  2. Making the little tweaks to the system have cost us less than $75 and maybe an hour and a half worth of labor (not including the OS loads). Which is about 1/4 the cost in time and effort it would take to pull, build, and re-purpose the existing (and I might add working) hardware.
  3. It is the green thing to do. Reduce, reuse, re-purpose. 
  4. Personally, it is important. This machine has been through a lot and we have a lot of history together.
  5. It is a challenge. Coming up with creative solutions to extend the life of a PC gives us experience with these types of solutions for our customers.
So, there you have it. The Gigastrand server marches on.

Monday, October 22, 2012

PC or PoC?: The original Gigastrand Laptop

Another of our "vintage" computers we run here at Gigastrand is the "original" Gigastrand Laptop (that's it behind the table).

The laptop was sold to a customer of ours in 2004 and it originally ran Windows XP. He later traded it in and we kept it, loaded Linspire 4.5 back in 2005 and it has never ran Windows since.

It has been upgraded a couple of times. It started with 196Mb of RAM originally and now runs 512mb. It has had 2 hard drives fail, the last we upgraded from 20Gb to 60Gb. It has even been wet after a pipe on our water heater blew up. We dried it out and it worked perfectly.

I would like to upgrade it further, but I am just not sure how much longer this laptop can last. If anything is going to go out it is the screen and a laptop this old may have trouble finding parts.

It was my main system for Gigastrand in 2006 and made the journey with me to the Desktop Linux Summit. After being smacked around by airport security in 2006, the Laptop ran freespire for a couple of years until it was loaded with Linux Mint 5 KDE in 2009. It has run Linux Mint 5 KDE until last week when we successfully loaded with the Gigastrand OS.

Ok, when I say successful, there are one or two problems with it. The first is that the wireless is not working for whatever reason - which we will fix soon. The second, we piled on a lot of stuff from the repository to see if it could handle it. 

Well, it sort of handles it but it is slow. Not "holy cow I think I am going to reload Linux Mint 5" slow, but slow nonetheless. I plan to pull off a lot of the KDE developer stuff we loaded and that should help quite a bit.

Anyway, the laptop still serves an important role at Gigastrand. It is my backup PC. It was able to edit video in Open Shot when my main laptop (running Linux Mint 10 KDE) would crash on startup. (BTW: Open Shot works great on Gigastrand OS on both laptops.)

This laptop stays at home for the most part. Now that both systems run the same OS, I can work on either system without having to transport computers back and forth.

So, the little laptop that doesn't die soldiers on. Do you have a PC that has been with you for a long time?


UPDATE: The wireless now works after an Intel firmware update. The laptop still struggles a bit with the new system but considering that it would not run anything later than Linux Mint 5 KDE, I call it a win.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Gigastrand OS: What's Next?

First of all, I want to personally thank everyone who took the time and effort to support the Gigastrand OS project.

While the Kickstarter was not successful, we had an outpouring of moral support from the Linux Community. I was never counting on the funding from Kickstarter as our only means of getting this project done. We have other sources that we may draw from to get this project off the ground.

So what happened? I think we may have been talking to the wrong audience. I was anticipating more financial support from the established Linux community. The problem is, the product we were proposing to make has little appeal to those who already run Linux. They do not need a "transitional Linux" unless they want to convert someone else.

So the Gigastrand OS is far from dead. This is too good of an idea to simply give up - even if we do not have the funding- we will continue to develop for BETA release.

We are also not leaving the Kickstarter scene. We have several other projects we will be asking for funding for. 

For now, the Gigastrand OS plans are this:
  1. Continue development of the OS and various tools while pursuing alternate funding sources.
  2. Install the insider program and other resources
  3. Evaluate and adjust the release schedule as needed.
  4. Continue to post updates via this blog and Gigastrand OS page
 We have already posted updates to the GsOS page and updated this blog entry. More updates are to come so stay tuned!


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Gigastrand now running Gigastrand OS

After a few days of loading and configuration, Gigastrand International is now running the Gigastrand OS Alpha on about 66% of its systems.

The Gigastrand OS Alpha still does not install successfully, however, we have been able to custom-build the OS on various machines.

Our server is next and will be updated this weekend. It has been running Linux Mint Debian since its resurrection and has served us at about 95% of what we need and want it to do. With this update to the Gigastrand OS we hope to realize 100%.

Using this method, we may be able to realize a stable OEM solution before the OS is fully developed. So, we are currently looking into the possibilities, potential, and risks associated with providing a pre-loaded, customized version of the Gigastrand OS on Gigastrand PCs.


Monday, October 15, 2012

Gigastrand A.04 is being made available through Google Docs

Starting immediately the Gigastrand OS Alpha.04 will be made available via Google Drive through Friday the 19th at 5:00pm CST.

You will need a Google login to access the file.

Some things you should know before I give you the download link:

  1. This is an Alpha version. Use at your own risk.
  2. This disc is not customized with all the graphics like you see in the screenshot. We are still working on that part of the OS.
  3. It will boot live on most systems. It just will look like a standard Debian Live Disc.
  4. We have thus far not been able to get it to install successfully. Though, I would encourage you to play with that feature.
  5. The installer is the basic Remastersys installer. It is not as elegant as say, the Linux Mint Installer so be sure you read everything carefully.
  6. Keep in mind this is an Alpha version and is rather unsophisticated. We have many issues that need to be addressed that may seem like rather silly little problems - and many of them are - but we are aware of them and plan to fix them by the time of BETA.
  7. Finally, feedback is always welcome. This is your opportunity to let us know what you would like to see in the system, offer your assistance, and try out a system at the early stage of development. 
Don't forget to go to Kickstarter and support the development. If we don't make it to $40,000 by this Friday the development will be delayed considerably while we search for alternate sources of funding.

I am posting this link in the hopes that we can reach our goal by Friday and we have a long way to go.


Friday, October 12, 2012

Gigastrand OS: Linux for your business - and your mom!

The Gigastrand OS will be the the first Linux OS purpose-built for assisting users in transitioning away from other systems. It will incorporate cross-platform compatibility technologies as well as advanced user assistance and support systems.

This project is centered around the end-user. It is being developed with business users in mind, but the technologies and support systems will make it so friendly that you can give it to your mother and she will be able to use it. The Gigastrand OS all about increasing the odds that businesses and individuals will run Linux full-time.

Alpha testing has already begun and a BETA is planned for release in early January. A 6-month testing cycle is planned before the June 2013 release date. Gigastrand will ship 2 versions: a low cost Open Version based on free software that will be distributed through Linux4Everyone; and a Premium Version that will be available as a retail product and pre-installed on Gigastrand PCs and Laptops.

We want to provide as much software and support for the user as we can right out of the box. For anything else users want to do, we will make sure the process is well-documented and assistance is readily available. The system has to be as self-supporting as we can make it.

The self-supporting features of this OS combined with Gigastrand's Lifetime Warranty PCs have made for some impressive cost-savings projections for small businesses. Gigastrand recently ran a 10 year operating cost projection of a 10 user, 1 Server environment for Windows, Linux, and Gigastrand OS.

The projection was a show-stopper. The cost saving of Linux over Windows was close to $300,000. The cost savings on the Gigastrand environment with the same variables was more than double that at $670,000. It was unbelievable. We ran the numbers several more times and came out with the same figures.

More information is available from Gigastrand ( and Kickstarter websites.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Gigastrand OS Plan

Making a Linux distro is great and all, but your average user barely knows what Linux is, let alone why they should switch. Understandable.

Most of you Linux folks out there are fully baptized in the church of Linux, but really do not see what a commercial distro with built-in Windows compatibility would really do for them. Fair enough.

So, we talk numbers - and yes, we have done the math. Individually, the savings are not huge, but the benefits are tremendous. Businesses, however, the savings are much more impressive. They get even more impressive when we take into account the support systems and technology behind the Gigastrand OS.

We did an evaluation over 10 years and compared the costs associated with running in a 10-user Windows environment with a single server.  We took into account every variable we could including Licensing, hardware failures, downtime, upgrades, etc. We published the results on a promotional flyer and will be handing it out to a large group of people very soon.
How to Save your Business Over Half a Million Dollars on Technology over 10 years

Imagine your average small business with 10 PCs and 1 server. Now, let's examine the average expenditures to operate this equipment over 10 years.

With a Windows environment, the average expenditure to operate in this environment (including upgrades, downtime, and support) is approximately:


With a Linux environment taking into account the same variables the cost of operating the same environment is approximately:


That is a significant savings ($296,333 to be exact) but not really much of a secret. Many companies know about the savings of running Linux.

Now, let's shake things up a bit and assume that the PCs and Server are scalable and upgradeable Gigastrand Lifetime Warranty PCs running the Gigastrand Operating System. Operating this environment will cost approximately:


That is a massive savings of $670,085 over a comparable Windows environment!

We have all of these systems in place except the one that makes this all possible: The Gigastrand OS. It is currently being developed right here in Sioux Falls but we need to raise the money required to complete the software. So head on over to our Kickstarter page and pledge your support to make this a reality!

Kickstarter Direct Link


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Rant: I hate "Software Technology"

I try not to use the term "Software Technology" because I am a software developer and I am a writer. I know this term to be an oxymoron. This is why.

Software comes from code. Lines and lines of code called a programming language. If you put the language together in a certain way, it forms a program that the computer can use to carry out certain tasks. 

Books come from words. Lines and lines of words called a language. If you put the language together in a certain way, it forms a story that the reader can use to inform themselves or imagine other places.

Software patents are a fallacy. If anything, software is subject to copyright laws - like books.

But MR GB! Programs give the computer instructions. It is not recreation.

I have read more how to books than I care to admit. They gave me instructions on how to complete a task. Should they also be subject to patent law? I think not.

If books were subject to patent law, the dummies books and the complete idiot guides would sue each other out of existence. Each has information about the same topics and both solve the same problem but they are completely different works.

We do not go around saying books are technology. 

Ooh, book technology. I think I will patent it.


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Gigastrand OS Alpha.02 Created!

In anticipation of the BETA release, Alpha.02 has been created! 

This is based completely on the proposed base system of Debian / KDE. The screenshot for this project and the Gigastrand website has been updated to reflect the a.02 desktop.

The same system in the Gigastrand OS - Take 2 video was used to build it.

We have also created a couple of other videos including a promo video on our Gigastrand YouTube channel.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Video Blog: Mr. G Speaks of Gigastrand OS

This video was a single long take with a lot of Information in it. When we created Gigastrand OS take 2, we had to gut the video to keep it short. We have posted it here so that those who want the info and can sit through 8 minutes of Mr. gigabytes speaking, can have access to it.


Friday, September 28, 2012

Video Blog: Gigastrand OS - Take 2

The Gigastrand Video for the Kickstarter project was replaced this week with a new video. This one was created using a better camera, better graphics, sound, and animation. Whereas the original video cost nothing and took less than 24 hours to shoot and edit, the new video cost $100 in licensing and equipment but an investment that was worth the end result.

I should point out that both videos were edited and compiled using the same OpenShot software and LinuxMint 5 KDE on a single-core Intel Centrino processor laptop with 512mb RAM.

Yes. Seriously. 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Developing OS Bandwidth Intensive...apparently

So, as of this post, the Gigastrand Kickstarter Project has about $26 pledged to it with about 3 weeks to go.

This morning I get an alert about how we have used 3.5Gb of our 6Gb allowance from Verizon. Holy cow! We have only been at this for a week. Sometimes we do not use that in a month!

Apparently, developing an OS is bandwidth intensive. Downloading the base systems and various test distros have been done at my home so that hasn't been a factor. All of the videos we have created are the same story.

We are getting ready to build Gigastrand OS Alpha.02 which will actually be built on the real base system (Debian / KDE). Because of bandwidth issues, we will be packing up the PC we are building it on and heading out to a less bandwidth-restrictive environment. 

Namely, my home. I think Verizon may need to rethink the whole share everything plan or perhaps we do.


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Video Blog: Promo for Gigastrand OS

In terms of sophistication, it is not at all. Just images and a soundtrack.

Rather than using OpenShot which does not run on my Linux Mint 10 laptop - AT ALL - I used KDEnlive, a rather unpolished video editor with some powerful features on Linux Mint KDE.

I wanted to get the point across in less than a minute. Did I succeed? 

Please share this with as many people as you can.


How MR. G switched to Linux

I made the switch to full-time desktop Linux during the time desktop Linux was still evolving. While it is much easier to make the switch now, the process and the level of commitment is generally the same.

Step 1. Figure out what software you use.
Step 2. Find Open Source and cross-platform alternatives to said software
Step 3. Use the open source alternatives in your current OS
Step 4. Find a Distro
Step 5. Install the software you use on the distro.
Step 6. Use Linux!

Now, that is all fine and dandy, but that is six steps - which is about 3 more than most people are willing to invest in. What if it went more like this:

Step 1: Install Gigastrand OS
Step 2: Install the software you use
Step 3: Run Linux!

Wow. That saved, like, 50% of the steps I required to switch to Linux.That is what the Gigastrand OS is hoping to accomplish. Technology really is making our lives easier!

Support the Gigastrand Operating System on Kickstarter!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Mr. G Speaks About Creating the Gigastrand OS

By now, you have probably read the press release, maybe even seen the video, but you may be wanting a little more information on what ideas we have after we have the 1.0 version; or perhaps you want to know what it took to create the Alpha version; or what it is like to be creating an operating system for the first time.

Well, good news! I will be talking about that today.

The Concept
Gigastrand has had the idea to create its own operating system for about 5 years now. Since creating the concept, Gigastrand has done extensive research into how best to go about making this OS happen. It is only recently that things have fallen into place to allow us to pursue that goal.

Even though we had a development plan and goal, I knew Gigastrand would not be able to fund the initial development on its own. That is when we turned to Kickstarter 

Kickstarter required 2 things Gigastrand had never attempted before: A video and a prototype.

The Prototype
The prototype was created first. We took a PC and loaded Linux Mint 10 KDE. Then I customized it with graphics, loaded Wine and installed other software we wanted on the system.

We then tried a few ways of compiling the Alpha without success. One of those ways included the use of Ubuntu's Customization tool. The tool worked but not in the way we needed it to at the time. 

We soon turned to remastersys. The system was exactly what we were looking for and was a quick way to get the prototype built.

As I said in the video, the end result worked, but it is very much a Frankenstien's monster. Allow me to elaborate.

  • When the system boots up, the boot menu is still Linux Mint 10.
  • After the boot screen it shows the Kubuntu splash screen.
  • The login goes back to Linux Mint 10.
  • The OS startup screen is our startup screen and the OS has all of our customizations on it.
  • When you boot from the CD, it has our logos on it.
  • It then boots to LinuxMint 10 with the installer labeled "Custom CD Install"
So, a bit of work yet.

The Excitement
In a way, I feel a bit like Bill Gates creating the first Windows 1.0 (Except without the money or the fame). I am really looking forward to working on the project and have high hopes for the future.

The Future
So what are we going to do with this OS once we have it? Well, we are going to use it as a base for all of the projects and ideas Gigastrand has. We will be developing with it, for it, and around it. The proposed development schedule after that will be about once every year or so we will come out with a new release.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Yokel Creates an Operating System...

...and nobody is more surprised than him.

To be honest, I never would have thought that I would have been the one to create a distribution. I had always imagined that it would have been something I would have delegated to someone more talented than I. Yet, here I am with a kickstarter project and the beginnings of a whole new Linux distribution.

Of course I will be getting in some additional talent once the project is funded, but I will be at the helm the entire way through the project.

I sort of feel like Steve Jobs creating my first Mac computer. It is an exciting feeling.

So get involved with the project. Visit the Kickstarter page and become part of the action!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Power of Linux: Sorry, I Run Linux

It is no secret that if you are going to sell me something, have me do some sort of remote training session, or whatever, it HAS to be Linux-Compatible. Gigastrand doesn't run Windows and sure as hell won't start just because you have something to sell me.

But that is not the funny part.

My wife (Mrs. Gigabytes) has been getting telemarketing calls galore lately and what brought this particular post to mind was that I just saw in the Argus Leader today that South Dakota is investigating "robo calls". On one call my wife received in particular, Linux helped to save the day.

My wife received a phishing call telling her that there was a problem detected with her PC. The conversation went something like this:

Phisher: "Good morning. I am calling to tell you that we have detected a problem with your PC."
Wife: "Oh?"
Scam the man: "Yes. We need you to go to this website and download a special utility."
Wife: "I'm sorry. I run Linux. What exactly is the problem with my PC?"
Soul-less spawn: "What?! Ooh. Goodbye."

They never called back.  

Monday, September 17, 2012

The one thing that irritates me about most distros.

I love Linux.

Having said that, there is one thing that really irritates me when it comes to nearly every distro with few exceptions: How they try to look like the operating system they are trying to compete against.


I will give you an example: Remember how Windows had that nifty little Start button in the corner? Remember how every single desktop more or less copied it?

Now, remember when Windows Vista came out and they changed the Start menu? When that happened, every Linux distro went to a similar start menu. Linux Mint's tasty menu is a fantastic example of this. Why change it? Why not keep a Windows 2K or XP style menu?

Well, ok. I pick on Linux Mint a bit perhaps out of some naivety because I know Linux Mint was named the best distro recently. I also know all kinds of marketing reasons to do this but not one that actually pandered to my stubborn sense of not fixing what isn't broke.
Microsoft does this all the time and it drives me up the wall. What possible reason would you have to changing the menus in Microsoft Office? What added value did your customers get by going to the new menu system except having to hire people like me to figure it out?

Oh. That's it isn't it? Making money for those who support and train the end-users. Well, TA Microsoft.

But that still does not make it right nor does it explain why a simple and straightforward menu system in Linux had to be completely redone to the point is was so busy it made it more difficult to get around?

XFCE? Don't get me started. If I wanted something that looked like a MAC, I'd buy a MAC.
Though, I can't really fault them too much. After all, they are only doing what everyone else is.

So, as I get off my soapbox, I would issue this challenge to distros: If you are going to be different, be really different. Don't just try to do better what was a bad idea in the first place. If you want to be useful, simple is always better

Or, maybe I should just shut up or put up. Go make my own OS. Hmmmm.....


Friday, September 14, 2012

Top 10 Places to get help with Linux

This list is an expanded version of the one on Gigastrand's support site. I am sure you will see it on that site soon as well. Items here are organized but not in any particular order.

1. This List!
Like a treasure map to knowledge, follow the list and it will lead you to enlightenment.

2. Online help
Click on help.  Sit back with your favorite beverage, and enjoy.

3. Linux Manuals
RTFM.  Many available at your distro's website or local book store.
Great resource for printer problems, drivers and purchasing advice.
Ok, we're biased.  But we are trying to make finding help a little easier.
A great source of knowledge about everything Linux. I follow them on Twitter and facebook. Heck, just do a search for Linux and follow everything you find! (That's pretty much what I did. Just don't forget Linux4Everyone).
7. Your Distribution's Website
Your distribution has forums and support documents and maybe even a Wiki to help you out.
8. Mr. Gigabytes Blog
Showing my unabashed bias once again.
9. Linux Magazines
Holy cow are there some great publications for Linux out there. Linux Magazine is one of my favorites.

As of right now, not a whole lot of documentation, but it is a good website (even if I do say so myself.)