Tag Archives: open source

Gigastrand to Give Away Over 400 Copies of OS

Gigastrand will give away over 400 DVD copies of its OS from December 1 – 31. Once gone, Gigastrand will cease production of individual DVD copies except in the case of specific products.

The copies will be distributed both online and locally. Some will be retail packages, but most will be individual discs. Copies bought online will be at a reduced price to cover shipping and handling.

This giveaway is a part of the annual holiday giveaway to promote the Gigastrand OS and do something special for our customers. It is a fantastic opportunity to get a copy of Gigastrand OS with all the improvements we’ve done recently.

If you are looking for something truly free and to satisfy that desire for instant gratification, Gigastrand OS Download might be more your speed. You can burn it to a disc using a program like infrarecorder or copy it to a USB drive with unetbootin.

Regardless of how you get Gigastrand OS, get it now before these offers expire.

Installing Kodi in Gigastrand OS 3

Gigastrand OS 3.0 removed XBMC from its pre-installed software list because at the time, customers were reporting that they weren’t really using XBMC as the repositories at the time were for Ubuntu and didn’t have an updated version for Gigastrand OS.

According to Kodi’s website, Debian now provides the packages via Jessie backports. With new Gigastrand OS set-top boxes just around the corner, we figured it was time to renew our familiarity with this powerful home theater software.

Here is an excerpt from the Wiki:

2.1 Debian

The installation if you are using Debian (Jessie), you can use the debian-backports repository.

Add the following lines to your /etc/apt/sources.list file, as superuser (sudo)

# kodi repos
# starting with debian jessie, debian provides kodi via its backports repository
# remember: those packages are not supported by team kodi
deb http://http.debian.net/debian jessie-backports main

And then, update APT and install.

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install kodi

In Gigastrand OS, the above instructions will work, however, if you are more comfortable using a point-and-click method, the following instructions might be more to your liking:

  1. Open Computer
  2. Click on root (the red folder on the left side)
  3. Double-click etc then apt
  4. Right click on sources.list
  5. Go to Root Actions>Open as Text
    editapt1
  6. The file will open in Kwrite. Add the following line to the end:
    deb http://http.debian.net/debian jessie-backports main
  7. Save and close
    editapt3
  8. Open Apper (On the taskbar, or Go>Settings>Apper)
  9. Double click Updates
  10. Install any found updates
  11. In the search bar, type in kodi.
  12. Click the install button then apply.

editapt2

Kodi will install under Multimedia category in the Go menu. These apt modifications will be installed in the next minor revision of Gigastrand OS (v3.4). This means you will simply be able to install from Apper (step 11).

Executing .jar files in Gigastrand OS

Executing Java ARchive ( .jar ) files is not something that you will need to do everyday. However, if you are distributing executable archive content – say from a executable Ark file – the jar file is the only way to go.

From Wikipedia

In software, JAR (Java Archive) is a package file format typically used to aggregate many Java class files and associated metadataand resources (text, images, etc.) into one file to distribute application software or libraries on the Java platform.

In Gigastrand OS, .jar files are not associated with the installed Java Runtime Environment (JRE) 7 automatically. This is partly for security.

If you need to execute .jar files we will use the following example with KouChat.

  1. Right-click the .jar file and select Open With…
  2. In the top line, type in /usr/bin/java -jar
  3. Check Remember application association for this type of file
  4. Click OK

jar files example

Now you will be able to execute Java Archive files using the built-in java runtime. This should work for other games like Minecraft as well.

Never looking back: Why customers stay with Gigastrand

Gigastrand OS measurable recidivism rates are less than 3%. Which means people tend to stick with Gigastrand OS. Obviously, we are very happy with those numbers but wanted to find out what it was that our customers liked so we could keep doing it.

History
When the idea for Gigastrand OS was revived back in 2012, we tried to explain it to the Linux community as a “transitional Linux distribution”. Something to ease people into the Linux and safer computing. We were pretty clear that while our goal was to make a very good, well-supported OS, the target market wasn’t people who were already running Linux.

Today, we have stayed the course. The whole point of Gigastrand OS is to make it as easy as possible for someone to move away from other systems.

Less Support Required
When we incorporated Gigastrand OS into our business, support was a top priority after developing the OS itself. What we discovered was that people rarely needed support after converting to Gigastrand OS.

The average user will only seek help every 3 to 6 months for computer problems. This was also true of some Gigastrand customers, however, the average per-incident support cost went from $60 down to $15. The reason for this was the problems are easier to fix and far less severe on Gigastrand OS as compared to Windows PCs.

Reliability
When we took into account all of the other users who did not call into tech support, we found they were not having any issues. Users reported that there was no strange behavior, no slowdowns, no pop-ups, and whatever minor problem they did run into fixed itself after a restart – which they didn’t have to do very often.

Simple and Straightforward.
Gigastrand uses an older style menu that people have been using for decades. The main difference is that Gigastrand categorizes the programs instead of sticking them under a single subheading.

While most users admitted to only using a couple of programs, those that explored some of the other programs the OS has pre-installed said that they had no trouble finding and using them.

Performance
Users have reported being happy with the overall performance of the system, despite all of the pre-installed software that would normally bog down a system. Users with Gigastrand PCs, overall, felt the performance exceeded their expectations.

It does what users need and want it to do.
Gigastrand has worked very hard to do everything customers need and want it to do. Even on the rare occasion where it doesn’t do something the user wanted, that something is usually minor.

Quality
Even those who use Linux and try out new distributions regularly (sometimes known as “distro hoppers”) are impressed.

“It is a really good OS,” remarked one such individual. Though, then promptly explained that it wasn’t “technical” enough for him.

That’s ok, though. If people can recognize the quality of the product even if it isn’t specifically designed for them, we’ll take that.

What Happened After Gigastrand OS Wouldn’t Install

When one woman bought a Gigastrand OS PC over 2 years ago, she knew she was moving from a slow, buggy, and out of date Windows PC to a brand new one with a different kind of operating system on it.

“I remember explaining to her that, if she absolutely hated Gigastrand OS, we can always just load a new version of Windows on it instead.” Gigastrand CEO Josh Tordsen explains. “But, I knew from over 15 years of experience in Linux, that she was the perfect candidate.”

Gigastrand built a system that they thought was future-proof. It was a fast system with plenty of memory and a large solid-state hard drive. More importantly, it was the first direct sale of a brand new Gigastrand OS system in South Dakota.

“The operating system software makes all the difference. It doesn’t just determine how user-friendly it is. It is one of the most important determining factors when it comes to system security, stability, and reliability.”

Recently, Google dropped support for 32-bit operating systems like Windows XP and Gigastrand OS 2.x. So when Chrome began telling its user that they were no longer supporting the operating system, Gigastrand was already trying to figure out what needed to be done.

“When I got her call, I was already seeing the same thing on my screen. I was still using gigastrand OS 2.x on my personal computers despite the fact we upgraded all the rest to 3.0 by that time. Ideally, we would have liked to use the multiarch feature in our OS to piggyback 64-bit programs on a 32-bit system. It would have extended usable life and compatibility for 2.0.  It seemed like we were so close to doing it too, but it proved impossible.”

Gigastrand began recommending that an upgrade to 3.0 was necessary to resolve the Chrome issue. Mr. Tordsen travelled to his customer’s house to upgrade her computer.

“It was going to be a straightforward upgrade. Backup data, pop the disc in, upgrade the system. We’ve done it hundreds of times.”

This time was different. Several errors were noted by Mr. Tordsen resulting in the system being unable to startup to the installation disc.

“I tried all the usual tricks. Is the disc dirty? Is it a bad disc? Was the version incompatible? Was the drive bad? Nothing worked. We even left site, made a new install image with some things removed, and tried again. That didn’t work.”

After the last attempt, Mr. Tordsen knew he would need to examine the problem more closely. He loaned her a laptop and took the computer to fix it. What he discovered was the hardware used in the original build was not compatible with 64-bit versions of Linux – including Gigastrand OS 3.0. The only option was a hardware upgrade.

As this was a new computer purchased with Gigastrand OS and the OS upgrade was the cause for the hardware requiring to be upgraded, Gigastrand chose to liberally interpret their Lifetime Upgrade Guarantee – which usually applies to hardware upgrades only – and give this customer the hardware she needed to upgrade to Gigastrand OS 3.2.

“All of the trips, all of the troubleshooting, and all of the hardware – and the customer only paid the cost of the software – $25. I don’t know of any other company that stands behind their products like Gigastrand does.”

Gigastrand OS 2.4 EOL and 3.2 Updates

Gigastrand just released updates to Gigastrand OS v2x and v3.x. These minor releases are Gigastrand OS v2.4 and v3.2 respectively.

The Gigastrand OS 2.x codebase is the current 32-bit version of the operating system based on Debian 7 and KDE. The Gigastrand OS 3.x codebase is the 64-bit version based on Debian 8 and KDE. Gigastrand OS v1.x, which is based on Debian 6 and KDE is no longer receiving updates from Gigastrand and is not currently in development.

These releases mainly include several hundred security updates apiece. A few minor fixes are included as well.

2.4 updates Chrome to nearly the latest available version before Google pulled the plug on 32-bit operating system support and disables the Apt Chrome repository.

3.2 includes a long overdue fix to the splash screen and includes the installation files for Gigastrand NVR 1.1 software.

2.4 will be the last planned minor revision to the 2.0 codebase.

Gigastrand is expected to make an announcement about Gigastrand OS 4.0 development next week.

Gigastrand OS is available from the online store.

Gigastrand NVR software installation

Note: The Gigastrand NVR software works without the need for special instruction in Gigastrand OS 3.0. Earlier versions of Gigastrand OS can run the software, but it will require special instruction. As a rule, however, it is not out of the box compatible with earlier versions of Gigastrand OS.

You can also follow this video we made on how to install the Gigastrand NVR.

If you download the Gigastrand NVR software, it will need to be installed. The install.sh script will automate most of the tasks for you, however, there are a few steps to get to that point. Chrome and Firefox will download the GsNVR.tar.gz file to Computer>Downloads (/home/user/Downloads).

Gigastrand NVR Install Prep
Gigastrand NVR Install Prep
  1. Extract the downloaded file to your home folder (/home/user) also called Computer
  2. Go into the GsNVR folder, right-click on the install.sh file and select Properties
  3. Click on the Permissions tab and select Is Executable
  4. Click Ok

Now we are ready to install.

  1. Right click in a blank area and go to Actions>Open Terminal Here
  2. type ./install.sh
Gigastrand NVR Software Install
Gigastrand NVR Software Install

The process is automated but will prompt you for input in a couple of places. Use the default prompt in all cases.

Restart your computer once complete.

Gigastrand OS 2.x Google Chrome Error

Some of you who regularly update your system might have seen the following error in Chrome:

Google Chrome error
Google Chrome error in Gigastrand OS

We know exactly why this is happening: Google has decided to stop supporting 32-bit Linux operating systems by sometime in March. This means you will stop receiving updates to Chrome after a certain point and it will eventually stop working for some things.

What we have tried: Gigastrand has been experimenting with the multi-architecture (multiarch) feature of Gigastrand OS 2.x to try installing Google Chrome 64-bit on the system so that our customers can keep going with the 32-bit operating system some require for their systems.

While this is theoretically possible, it requires a complete revamp of the operating system itself as many of the dependencies required for Chrome are shared with other programs and would need to be replaced with 64-bit versions.

Internally, we need a version of Gigastrand OS that will run on older hardware, we are planning to develop a 32-bit version of 3.0 that will allow 64-bit only programs like Chrome to run. However, we are uncertain what the result might be.

Solution: Until then, you can still use Chrome in 2.x, you can use Firefox, or you can upgrade to Gigastrand OS 3.0 which includes the 64-bit version of Chrome.

 

Gigastrand Celebrates 10 years of Linux Advocacy

February 1st 2006, Gigastrand International* was founded. At the time, Linspire was the flagship operating system product, and Gigastrand’s mission was simply Linux advocacy through sales and support. That same month, Gigastrand attended the very last Desktop Linux Summit in San Diego.

Linspire logo
Linspire logo

Linspire folded in 2007. After looking at creating a Gigastrand distribution and evaluating several existing distributions (including a short-lived distro called Klikit) Linux Mint KDE became the new flagship OS.

From 2008 – 2011, Gigastrand simply existed while it tried and failed at several grand ideas. Some stuck, some didn’t. For those years Gigastrand survived off of the remnant sales of freespire and Linux Mint discs it sold online. Some Ebay and Zazzle sales helped pay for the website.

Then, in 2012, Gigastrand caught several breaks. Ventures into a short-lived wholesaling gig and PC servicing helped generate more revenue than in previous years. 

In September of 2012, founder Josh Tordsen rebooted Gigastrand and added services from his previous venture, Gigabytes Computer Store, which he had closed in May 2006. With a small $3000 initial investment, Gigastrand broke sales records year after year. Recently, December 2015, January 2016, and projected sales for February 2016 shatter all previous sales records for those months in the company’s history. 

 

GsOSDesktop1
Gigastrand OS Alpha .04

As a part of the reboot, Gigastrand reinvented its Linux advocacy plan by revisiting the idea of Gigastrand OS. It developed the Gigastrand OS into 1.0 and released it January 4th 2014. Six months later, July 14th, 2014, saw the release of Gigastrand OS 2.0 and September 1, 2015 Gigastrand released v3.0 – the first 64 bit version of the operating system.

The effort in developing the OS has been enormous but the results have been encouraging. Gigastrand OS set out to make Linux as easy as possible for everyone. The developers have taken over a decade of trying to convert people to Linux using various distros and incorporated what people want.

Gigastrand's Best selling PC
Gigastrand’s Best selling PC

The numbers are impressive as well. In the last half of 2015, 100% of new and used computers had Gigastrand OS on them. Since Gigastrand OS 1.0 was released, over 10,000 people have downloaded the operating system. In 2 years of new and used PC sales with Gigastrand OS we have seen a 98% adoption rate and a 0% attrition rate on new computers.

Gigastrand’s bread and butter continues to be technology management and security. It allows the company to focus on development of new solutions like the Gigastrand OS.

GigastrandNVR1
Gigastrand Network Video Recorder Software

What does the future hold for Gigastrand? According to founder Josh Tordsen, a lot.

“Our focus in 2016 will be software. A new version of the Gigastrand OS with more features is not out of the question before the end of 2016. More immediately, we are on schedule to release the Gigastrand NVR software for recording security cameras by the end of February then, in March, we will start porting some Windows software we own to Gigastrand OS.”

In short, Gigastrand continues its original mission of Linux advocacy while adding products and services to an ever-expanding technical portfolio. Gigastrand has had many ups and downs but it continues to move forward.

 

 

 

 

*In 2015 Gigastrand has dropped the “International” part of its name though some remnants of the old name can still be found.