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Linux: Why The Dell Not?

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D. Hayward has been using Linux since Red Hat 2.0 in schools, businesses and at home, which either makes him very knowledgeable or a glutton for extreme punishment.

The Alienwares have landed…And an Alien helps out

Dell’s commitment to offering Linux-based systems to its paying customers has taken another step forward this week with the launch of the Alienware X51 Ubuntu System.

The X51

The X51

The X51 is Dell’s shiny, compact gaming machine – and this particular model starts with 8GB of 1333MHz Ram, 1.5GB Nvidia FTX645, Blu-ray player, a 256GB SSD, and a choice of Core i5 or i7 CPU’s. There are, of course, various enhancements you can make to this starting specification via the Dell website, providing you’re willing to foot a higher bill for the pleasure of their services.

“The X51 ships with a Dell-built and customized version of the latest Ubuntu”

Most interestingly, though, the X51 ships with a Dell-built and customized version of the latest Ubuntu; exactly how customized, I’m not sure (so far it’s only available to buy in America-land), but the US version of the Alienware desktop site mentions an integrated firewall, virus protection, the Steam client and the inclusion of the various media codecs in order to successfully play DVD’s, MP3’s and so on.

Dell’s compact gaming beast now has an Ubuntu option.

Dell’s compact gaming beast now has an Ubuntu option.

The X51 is a nice looking machine, about the size of an Xbox, and apparently very quiet in use, so it would probably make an ideal living room PC media center-cum-games console. In fact if the momentum of Steam for Linux, and Linux gaming as whole, keeps going the way it currently is, then as soon as the notable triple- A titles starts to trickle onto the client, the X51 could well become quite the big seller for Dell.

Of course, you could always install another OS other than Ubuntu, I imagine. There’s nothing to stop you from doing so, as far as I can tell though Dell’s warranty bods may not be overly impressed. Mind you, if you’re capable of installing the likes of another Linux-based distro onto the X51, then you’re hardly going to be in need of calling up Dell support, are you?

The X51 is a nice looking machine, about the size of an Xbox, and apparently very quiet in use, so it would probably make an ideal living room PC media center-cum-games console

The X51 is a nice looking machine, about the size of an Xbox, and apparently very quiet in use, so it would probably make an ideal living room PC media center-cum-games console

Using Alien to convert a package

Using Alien to convert a package

I was asked the other day how to make an RPM package install on a Debian based system, Linux Mint in this case. To be honest, I had completely forgotten about a app called Alien, and it was nice to get hold of it gain and run through the process, so I thought it might be instructive to go through it here as well.

First, let’s assume you have an RPM package, originally designed for Red Hat or something, and you are currently running Linux Mint 14. All you need to do is download the RPM, then drop into a Terminal a install Alien with the following command:

sudo apt-get install alien

After pressing Enter, you need to change directory to the saved RPM, and type in:

 sudo alien nameofpackage.RPM

and again, Eress Enter.

You may not always require the sudo command, but you’ll soon find out if the system complains of privileges, and, obviously, replace ‘nameofpackage’ with the actual name of the RPM.

Also, you can convert a Debian DEB package to an RPM by issuing the following command in the Terminal:

Alien—torpm nameofpackage.deb

And pressing Enter.

While, most programs come with multiple package installations these days, you still may come across an older RPM, or DEB that requires converting. And now you know how. Until next week, folks.

 

 

 

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