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Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Rediscovering Puppy Linux.

I have always admired Puppy Linux for its hardware detection, speed etc. The main reason for not using it regularly was my love for Hindi and Marathi sites which required perfect rendering of Indic fonts. Firefox 2.0 and earlier versions required Firefox build with pango which was not available for Puppy Linux. Firefox has recently launched version 3.0 which provides out of the box support for Indic script (no special build is required now). I decided to give another try to Puppy Linux.

I downloaded Puppy 4.0 iso and mounted it on /tmp/puppy by following command:
sudo mount puppy-4.00-k2.6.21.7-seamonkey.iso -o loop /tmp/puppy

and copied the following files to a spare partition in /puppy400 folder:
sudo cp vmlinuz initrd.gz pup_400.sfs zdrv_400.sfs /media/hda8/puppy400

then I added following lines to /boot/grub/menu.lst
title Puppy Linux 4.00 frugal
rootnoverify (hd0,7)
kernel /puppy400/vmlinuz pmedia=idehd psubdir=puppy400
initrd /puppy400/initrd.gz

and I could boot into frugal install of Puppy Linux on my machine. The first step in Puppy Linux is to configure the internet connection by clicking on the "connect" icon on the desktop. Configuring eth0 is very easy.

Next step was to add Indic fonts. I downloaded the fonts from Indlinux site, created .fonts folder in /root and copied the fonts folder "Open Type" in it.

Then I searched on Puppy Linux Forum for Firefox 3.0 and found following .pet packages:
firefoxfix-1.0.0.pet
firefox-3.0.pet

firefoxfix-1.0.0.pet is required to resolve the dependencies for Firefox 3.0.

My next project was to add Hindi Keyboard and the Desktop applet to toggle between English and Hindi Keyboard. Hindi keyboard could be added by clicking on Menu/Setup/Mouse/Keyboard_wizard/Advanced_Xorg_keyboard_configuration/Layouts/ and selection "in India".

Adding fbxkb applet was a little difficult because I had to compile it from source. For compiling on Puppy Linux you need to download devx_400.sfs and copy it to / of the partition.

Then I downloaded fbxkb-0.4.tgz source package, extracted it, entered the directory and issued ./configure and make commands. (Note versions 0.5 and 0.6 of fbxkb do not work on Puppy Linux).

In Puppy Linux you give the following command instead of "make install"
new2dir make install

By the above command Puppy Linux makes separate directory for the package. You convert the directory into .pet package by following command:
dir2pet fbxkb-0.4-i486

and I got the .pet file:
fbxkb-0.4-i486.pet

fbxkb does not come with Indian Flag. I added it to /usr/share/fbxkb/images/

After giving fbxkb command I got the US Flag icon on the panel and clicking on it changed to Indian Flag (Hindi Keyboard).

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