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.