For many of you, the switch to Linux seems a daunting task. Words like shell prompt, format, and new PC may come to mind. Linux, if nothing else, is an excellent oppurtunity to learn. There are quite a few methods of obtaining Linux and in several deifferent forms. A majority of distrobutions are installed via CD to your harddrive. Some are booted directly from a CD, floppy, or pendrive. The third method of running Linux on your PC, which I will discuss today, is embedding it inside another OS.
DSL, or Damn Small Linux, is a distrobution of Linux that comes in the form of a bootable CD. It also comes in the embedded form mentioned earlier. You can download the dsl-embedded.zip file from the following link:
You will need to extract the files upon completion. I created a directory on the C: drive called LINUX and moved the files there. You now need to locate the dsl-windows batch file in the directory you extracted from. I created a desktop shortcut called Launch Linux to make things simpler.
That's about it. Double click the new shortcut and DSL will launch in an application called QEMU.
QEMU is an open-source emulator for x86 based systems. I can run in Windows, Mac, or another version of Linux. It is primarily used to run an OS inside another for debugging purposes and such, but it makes a great way to learn Linux without the need for large downloads and harddrive partitioning. DSL works well with the version of QEMU that is packaged with it.
You may be asking why I like this method of using Linux without an install opposed to downloading and burning a Live-Linux CD. Well, there are a few reasons. I like using QEMU with DSL because it requires very little skill or effort to set up and it does not require the user to burn an ISO image or play with BIOS boot settings in order to work properly. Also, the fact that it is in Windows may be more comfortable to some people. This seems to benefit not only the ease of use but the initial configuration of the operating system. I has fewer problems with drivers and device support because it is fed through the host OS. For example, I have a Linksys WUSB11 wireless USB card. Some of you may know that it is next to impossible to configure this card in Linux. I have never had success with it. However, DSL uses the internet connection of the host OS along with most other drivers and works flawlessly. – Written by Colin Maykish