CLUG Install Fest

Tux, the Linux Mascot



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What is an Install Fest?

An Install Fest is an event where Linux enthusiasts help you install Linux or other Free Open Source Software on your computer. You can also bring a computer with Linux on it and we'll help fix whatever problems you've got. We step you through the process so you understand what we're doing and why, and learn more about your computer as a result.

You can also come along and learn a bit about Linux in a friendly environment, even if you're not interested in installing Linux just yet.

Why have an Install Fest?

The main reason is that Open Source Software revolves around a community. We all benefit from each other's work and knowledge. Some of us might have had our first experience of Linux at an Install Fest; others learn it on their own and find out that there's a bunch of friendly people in their local vicinity that have had similar problems. We enjoy helping people learn for themselves, because they might find out something that we want to know. We share our experience and knowledge because that's the best way for everyone to learn.

Despite what you might have heard, Linux is actually very easy to use. But people used to other operating systems might be confused initially as to how it all works. We like to help you over that 'hump' so that you can get working with Linux as painlessly as possible. Every year Linux gets easier to use, works on more computers and with more peripherals, and includes more applications that do what you want to.

So why use Linux?

Linux is a free operating system with huge power. It's free in the sense that you get it for nothing, and also free in the sense that you can also pass it on to everyone you know. The license of Linux and most of the software that runs on it specifically allows this redistribution! Why pay lots of money for an operating system that restricts your ability to share it with other people, when you can get one even more powerful for free!

Most Linux 'distributions' also come with a huge range of software that is also free. Everything from full-featured word processor and spreadsheet packages, through internet browsers and mail readers, to powerful graphics programs, sound editors and games - all this gets installed as well, so you get a complete system with all the software you could need. All the updates for all that software is free, as well, and most distributions include tools to easily download and install a vast panoply of other software as well.

What an Install Fest is not

It's worth mentioning a few things that we don't try to do at Install Fests:

All right, what do I need?

What you need is everything that you want to get working. Bring your computer, a monitor, keyboard, mouse, and anything else that you can conveniently bring that you want to get set up. Bringing a power board to plug it all into is also very useful - we have a limited number of power points. There a few things - notably speakers and USB flash disks - that we can pretty much be sure will work because they're pretty standardised, but if you have any doubt bring it along and we'll check. You might want to label your stuff beforehand - while computers are often fairly recognisable, things like power cords and leads can be both hard to distinguish and annoying once lost.

Linux is renowned for its broad compatibility. You'll find most computers, whether Mac or PC, built in the last five years will pretty much work. Linux distributions also cater for everything from very simple, older computers to the latest and fastest machines. If your machine or your requirements are quite modest and you've found it isn't compatible with the latest incarnations of other operating systems, Linux can give it a new lease of life!

You won't need your ADSL modem or firewall, if you have one. Thanks to the Australian National University we have a great connection to the internet, and one of the main sources for Linux updates is right there in the building. Several others are on the high-speed AARNET connection, so we can get any updates for your Linux install quickly.

We have a barbecue during the day and snacks available, and we appreciate a donation of some sort to help pay for those. If you want to partake in the barbecue, then please let Paul know (above) by the Friday before the Install Fest.

More information

There are a couple of excellent sites about Linux and why you might want to use it:

The commonly-used Linux distributions that we use and recommend are:

Last updated 26th May 2009

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