The Puppy Linux Operating System

What is Puppy?
How is Puppy distributed?
Puppy's two modes of operation
The Puppy Linux User's Manual
Things to do in Windows before booting Puppy
Things to do after booting puppy for the first time
Things to do after booting puppy for the second time
Routine Puppy use
Booting Puppy from a USB Thumb Drive

What is Puppy?

Puppy is a version of the Linux Operating System that is intended to run on personal computers. The use of this system is to offer the security that is not what it should be with the Microsoft Windows operating systems. Puppy is to be used to browse the Internet when the 'reliability' of URLs is in question, that is, there may be a security issue. When Puppy is used properly, no harm will come to your computer or its contents, no matter how malicious are the intentions of the writers of the webpages that you happen to visit. Your usernames, passwords, account numbers, etc. are not available to be stolen.

Puppy is used in lieu of the Windows environment. But, the User may conveniently go back and forth between operating systems by restarting the computer, and choosing which operating system is to be used.

Any Internet use that involves banking or any financial transactions should not be performed in the Windows environment. Use Puppy instead for this purpose.

For Users who do nothing but Internet browsing, 'doing email', and using the equivalent of Microsoft Office Word and Excel, Puppy is able to supply all of the computer needs of the User.

In any event, we want to keep intruders from reading or modifying anything on your disks. This can be accomplished by the proper use of Puppy Linux.

How is Puppy distributed?

Puppy Linux is distributed by the Tulsa Cassandra Society by the use of a Compact Disk (DVD), which we will call the Puppy Boot disk. Also, a USB thumb drive may be supplied. This thumb drive is used in the procedure described at the end of this document in order to produce working Puppy USB thumb drive boot disks.

The Puppy CD Boot Disk holds all of the Puppy Linux operating system files that are invariant under program execution; i.e., each file is not changed in any way while Puppy is running. When a Puppy User wants to save a file, a USB thumb drive may be used for this purpose. If the User's files are saved properly on the thumb drive, the thumb drive can be read and written in a Windows computer. All the files can be used just as if they had been created in another Windows computer.

Puppy's Two Modes of Operation

Puppy can be run in two distinct modes. The first is a way of running Puppy that we will call the "Live Mode", or simply, "Live". This mode does not use any other disks in the computer other than the Puppy CD Boot Disk.

The second mode of running Puppy we call "Frugal". To run in the Frugal mode, the computer is restarted with the supplied Puppy Boot Disk. Then,if a previous session has been saved (described below) on a USB thumb drive, Puppy will find the file that was created to save the session. This is a file that has the file extension, ".2fs". Then,Puppy will read this file, restoring the previous session. When this is done, the session is called Frugal.

The Puppy CD Boot Disk may used for every boot operation with Puppy, i.e. starting Puppy.

In a machine with Windows installed, the BIOS should be modified so that the BIOS boot sequence is such that the CD is examined before the USB, which in turn is examined before any hard drive. So, when the power is turned on and when a Puppy Boot Disk is present in the CD drive, Puppy Linux will be booted. When a Puppy disk is not inserted, when the power is turned on, Windows will be started.

It is that simple.

The Puppy User Manual

The User Manual for Puppy is found here: Puppy Linux Click on "Manual-English" on the right side of the screen.

Things to do in Windows before booting Puppy for the first time.

For the moment, let us assume that the User's computer has a CD/DVD drive and an available USB socket. Also, we assume that without our doing anything with the Puppy disk, when the power is turned on, some version of the Microsoft Windows operating system boots properly.

There are a few things that we must do before we boot Puppy for the first time. These are:

1) If you (the User) have a desktop computer on which Puppy is to be run in the Frugal mode, check the proper operation of the uninterpretable power supply (UPS) that powers the computer. If it does not function properly, repair it. If one is not there, go buy one and install it.

If your computer is a laptop with battery power, the UPS is not mandatory. Also, it is not necessary if Puppy is run in the Live mode, but if the user is running in the Live mode, without a UPS, and the power fails, the user will lose all of the user files that had been created since the last boot.

2) Power up the machine. Quickly hit F2, DEL, or whatever your machine tells you to execute the BIOS Setup program. Hit the Boot key. Change the boot sequence (if necessary) so that CD is first, then USB, then hard drive. Save your settings and boot Windows.

3) If you ever want to access email in Puppy, execute the Mozilla Thunderbird program in Windows. Select "Address Book". Then, "Tools>Export". Choose a name and save your address book as a .ldif file.

4) Also, if you want email in Puppy, execute the Mozilla Thunderbird program, click on your account folder name. Click "View Settings for this Account". For future reference, write down your email address, your pop3 (or imap) server name, and your smtp server name. You will need this information during the Puppy installation.

5) Find out and write down the webmail address for your email account. You will use this URL to access your email using any computer browser, like Firefox. Accessing this way allows the user to avoid using programs such as Thunderbird or Outlook.

6) Find out and write down the manufacturer and the precise model number of the printer that you want to use.

7) Insert a Puppy BOOT Disk in the appropriate drive.

8) Shutdown Windows.

The initial boot of Puppy Linux

Make sure that the Puppy Boot Disk is inserted in the CD drive and that the drawer is closed.

Turn on the power to the computer. Puppy should boot. After a short time period it may ask you a sequence of questions with regard to your nationality, type of keyboard, mouse, etc. Take all of the defaults (by hitting "Enter"), unless you have a good reason not to do so. Of course, choose your location, e.g., America/Chicago, in the drop down list. Probably, you should take the default with regard to screen resolutions. But, keep in mind that you will be able to change any of these things later.

After this you should see a desktop with a lot of pretty icons. If you do, Puppy Linux is booted and ready for use at this time. However, there are a few additional tasks that you need to perform after initial bootup, that is, if we want to do any useful work. So, perform the following tasks:

1) Check for the proper access to the Internet:

The Firefox browser is already installed on the Puppy boot disk. It is brought into action by clicking the "Browse" button on the desktop.

Click the "Browse" button on the desktop. If a page is presented that mentions the name "Google", you are now connected to the Internet. If not, you must execute step 2. Otherwise you may proceed directly to step 3.

2) Connect to Internet:

   Click the "Connect" Icon.
   The Internet Connection Wizard will start.
     Choose the selection, "wired or wireless LAN".
     Choose the selection, "Simple network setup".
   This will show the network connections that are available.
     Choose the desired connection, e.g., "eth0"
   A screen will appear that states that the connection was successful.
     Click "O.K.".
   Exit the Welcome Woof Woof Screen.

3) If you want email capability in Puppy, other than using webmail exclusively, Click the "Email" button on the desktop. Enter what you need to set up an email account. Here you will enter your email address, and the names of the pop and smtp servers that you want to use. If you do this wrong, you will not have email. If you choose to use webmail, only, you do not need to perform this step.

4) Set up a printer by clicking "Install", then select the CUPS printing Wizard. How to perform this step is covered in a separate document.

5) Execute "Menu>Shutdown". You may be asked if you want to save your current session. You will answer "yes" if you want to run Puppy in the Frugal mode. Those who want to use Puppy in the Live mode, only, should answer, no.

If your answer is yes, mount a thumb drive in a USB port, or turn on a hard drive. The computer will ask you for a name for the file. The name of your computer or your initials will do. Puppy will create a file with an extension ".2fs".

During this process, the computer will ask some questions. The answers to these questions are as follows:

   Save to File
   ext2, then O.K.
   jhl  (or your initials)
   Normal (no encryption)
   512M (or even 1 Gbyte)
   Yes, save

Puppy will save this huge file the root directory of the USB flash drive.

Puppy will then shut down. It will not ask the questions, described above, again in later Frugal sessions. If you do not save the session, the next time you boot Puppy, the same questions, as listed above, will be asked.

The Second Boot of Puppy Linux

1) insert the Puppy BOOT Disk in the appropriate drive. Hit the reset button or turn the power off, then on. This will boot Puppy. If it can find a .2fs file anywhere, it will read it and restore the previous session. If more than one .2fs file is found, you, the user, will be asked which of these files is to be read and used. It will also offer you the option to select "none" which, when selected, the Live mode of Puppy will be activated.

As a sanity check, click the "Console" button on the desktop. At the command prompt type: "gcc". If it says something like, "no input files found" the Gnu compilers are installed, else it will say "bash command not found." Again, at the command prompt type "wine" or "wineconsole" if it gives you a menu, wine is installed. The response, "bash command not found" means that it has not been successfully installed.

After all this is said and done, let us now check the speed of your Internet connection. Click here: DSL speed test

Routine Booting of Puppy in the Live Mode.

When you, the User, boot Puppy, the desktop will appear. You will be asked the questions already described, above.

To browse the Internet, click the Browse button on the desktop. A full version of the Mozilla Firefox browser will spring into action. Firefox will function precisely as it does in Windows. There is nothing new to learn.

Just before the browser session is ended, it is suggested that the User select History>Clear recent History from the Firefox menu. When this is done, there are no cookies or any mention of browsing history left on the computer, even if the Frugal Mode is being used.

It is suggested that all automatic update features be turned off.

To execute any of the LibreOffice Suite of programs (the equivalent of the Microsoft Office - Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.), click the "Menu" button on the lower left of the desktop, selecting the category of program and then clicking on the LibreOffice program name. Another way to accomplish the above is it place your cursor in a blank region of the desktop, and right-clicking.

At any time, the User may insert a USB thumb drive in the computer. Puppy will recognize its presence by showing a disk icon on the desktop. When the User clicks this icon, a window will appear that is quite similar to an Explorer window of the Windows Operating System. The User is free to 'drag and drop' files to and from the USB drive. All of the files are completely compatible with The Windows Operation System.

Running Windows programs under Puppy

Let us say the User has placed a Windows program on the USB drive. Lets call it myprog.exe. To execute this program in Puppy, the Console button on the desktop is clicked. Then, the following line is typed: "wine /mnt/sda1/myprog.exe". Depending upon what disks Puppy finds on the computer, "sda1" may be a different name, but Puppy will tell what to use by the label of the disk ikon on the desktop. In the event that windows are employed in myprog.exe, the word "wine" should be replaced by the word "wineconsole"

Working with C language programs

The entire complement of the Gnu compilers is available during the Puppy session. Describing the use of these programs is beyond the scope of this document. But, clicking the Console button on the desktop makes all of these programs available through the command prompt well known to the users of such programs.

Routine Booting of Puppy in the Frugal Mode

When you boot Puppy, if you have previously moved yourself from the "Live" mode to the "Frugal" mode, you have saved files on a hard drive or a USB thumb drive, Puppy will find the files and use them to boot you back to where you were just before you shutdown the previous session. In the event you have the Puppy files in two or more places, Puppy will ask you which files that you want to use.

The user may create and maintain as many different .2fs files as the user wishes. Different computing environments can be used simply by specifying which .2fs file to use when the user boots Puppy. Also, in the unlikely event that the session crashes, the session can be restored by rebooting and choosing an appropriate .2fs file for use.

If you have not saved the Puppy files in a previous session by your responding "no" to the question asked when you last shut down, you are running a "Live Session". This is the preferred mode when the user wants full security.

All of the capabilities described for the Live mode are available in the Frugal Mode.

Booting Puppy from a USB Thumb Drive.

It is possible to prepare a USB thumb drive to act as the boot disk. When this has been accomplished, the CD need not be used. To boot Puppy, simply mount the Puppy USB thumb drive in a USB slot and turn on the power. Instructions for the creation of this thumb drive boot disk is found here.

When a session is saved, and this session is a desired starting point in case of some sort of failure, you, the user, should copy the .2fs file off to a safe place. In the event of a failure at a later time, all can be made right by copying the saved .2fs file back to its proper place on the thumb drive.