The Ham's favorite Portable Operating Environment


These questions were generated by user feedback:


What am I suppose to do with the USB stick I bought for this?

- Make a Ham POE/"shackstick" out of them by following these instructions for installing the image file -*** just be sure to replace the name of the faunos file with the file you have downloaded from here OR here.

What am I suppose to do with the USB stick now that I have them all ready to go after following the instructions above?

- You should be ready to "boot" your computer from the USB flash drive! Most bios' will require that you enable booting from USB by hitting a key on your keyboard to either get to a boot menu or to the bios itself. Which key(s) to hit will often be identified on the bootup screen while the computer is busy looking for the hard drives and other boot devices. If your computer cannot directly boot from a USB memory stick you can use this CD iso to make a bootstrap CD. Then you can use it in combination with the USB memory stick to bootup. After booting the CD may be ejected.

What does "boot" mean?

- When you first turn on your computer, it begins the process of "booting". First it looks at the processor and memory and tests them. Then it looks for a hard drive, cd, and possibly a USB stick to boot off of. It is during this part of the "booting" process that you can note which key(s) to hit to enable booting from the CD or USB stick, especially if the bios has been setup to go to the hard drive first.

My computer does seem to see the USB stick as a bootup option, but I still cannot boot up formthe USB stick. What can I do?

- One of two things. Sometimes the correct option is called "HDD" instead of "USB". Test the various options your particular mix of hardware and motherboard offer.

My computer does not appear to boot from a USB stick. What can I do?

- You can try two things. Most motherboards require that you select the usb stick for booting, usually by hitting F12 or F2 during boot-up. There is sometimes a prompt for this at the bottom of the booting screen and timing can be important for success.
If this method fails then download this CD iso as a bootstrap cd selecting this CD for the motherboard bootup sequence.

What are the passwords?

- They are located on the bottom right of the boot-up menu selection screen.
Username: guest
Password: guest

Username: root
Password: root

What do I need to do go get my networking to work?

- If you are using a cable or dsl modem, then just plug in your cable like you normally do and networking should automatically begin working. You might have to also start the "WICD - Network Manager" and use that to help you connect. You will find this program by first (left) clicking on the Faun's Head icon in the lower left corner of your screen and then finding "WICD" under the "Internet" menu.

How do I get the sound system working?

- Here's the info on how to unmute the channels and testing the sound card:

* Unmute Soundcard - Alsamixer method:

- Since the current version of ALSA installs with all channels muted by default, you will hear no sound. You will need to unmute the channels manually. It is recommended to use 'alsamixer' to accomplish this. Alsamixer can be run from inside of "konsole - terminal program", which you will find in the "System" sub-menu.

- From the alsamixer text ui, the label "MM" below a channel indicates that the channel is muted, and "00" indicates that it is open. Press the 'm' key to toggle MM/00. Use arrow-keys left and right to navigate through the channels and the arrow-keys up and down to adjust the volume.

* Unmute Soundcard - Amixer method:

- OR You can elect to use amixer from a command window. (Open "Konsole" as per the instructions immediately above.)
(NOTE: When using amixer, be sure to unmute as well as bring volumes up to a specific level in percent, i.e you need to use that % sign. amixer understands the percent sign (%), not numbers. If you use a number (say, 90) then amixer will take it as 100%, which can harm your speakers.)

--- # amixer set Master 90% unmute

(Please note that on some sound cards the Master channel may be called Front instead. If in doubt run amixer without any options or arguments to find the various input and putput channels.)

**** THEN:

--- # amixer set PCM 85% unmute

**** AND Try to hear some sound with this command:

--- # cat >> /dev/dsp

(NOTE: Some cards (well, at least Soundblaster Audigy LS) needs to have digital output muted/turned off in order to hear analog sound.)

**** Finally you *MAY* need to restore ALSA Mixer settings at startup
* Run 'alsactl' once to create '/etc/asound.state'

--- # alsactl store


This sounds like a (much) modernized version of ramdisk! ?

- That is very observant of you ! Actually it uses tmpfs, which in this case is set up to be a combination of ram+swap space. I put a .5gB of swap space on the downloaded image, which effectively *doubles* (!) the ram space on a computer with .5gB of ram.

How does the automatic data save feature work ?

- If you have ONE hard drive on the computer the system also automatically uses a 200mB journaling file system for your home area, so your data is retained immediately as it is written/modified. This journaling area is also part of the image file that is downloaded and installed unto the user's usb-stick.


I want to use wireless networking. Is this possible?

- Yes, and linux does this particularily well. Unfortunately with this alpha release it has not been possible to include all of the various drivers and the automatic support to a level that does not require user intervention. There *IS* however a procedure that will work IF you FIRST go through the procedure for enlarging the system onto a larger USB stick OR installing the system to a larger hard drive.

While I'm not really interested in booting from a USB stick I am interested in a agile distro that loads and loads quickly. Is this POE the way to go ?

- Well the nice thing about this POE is that you can boot it up ONCE, click the "FaunOS Installer" icon in the top left of the displayed Desktop, and then install this to a hard drive partition. (Please let me know how well this feature works, as I have yet to actually try it.) Further... the icon to immediately to the left of that installer is for using 'gparted', a partitioning program, to prepare the drive. You *might* find that on your particular hardware the USB stick runs MUCH faster than a hard drive install of ArchLinux !!


You just had to make me want to install Arch again didn't you???! ;-)

- Well now there is the option of no more lengthy ArchLinux installs as you do not have to bother installing from scratch. Just use the "FaunOS Installer" icon in the top left of the displayed Desktop to do an install to your hard drive as mentioned above. BUT, yeah, I *like* and *prefer* ArchLinux, so why wouldn't I be using it for a live-USB POE ?

What is the difference between the "W9YA Ham's POE" and "digipup" ?

- Well the first of four major differences is that digipup only contains three ham radio programs instead of the 20 which are in the W9YA Ham POE. Digipup was also last remastered over a year ago, so it will be much different as there have been MANY substantive changes since then in the areas of stability, speed, and capability in the underlying code that makes up the operating system. Also by some interesting 'tricks' I have been able to improve data saving both in speed and reliability over the underlying Faunos base I am using. Finally some users will find that the ArchLinux system along with the KDE presentation more to their liking than the base that Puppy Linux is using.

I don't have a clue what you are talking about. I always thought a "portable operating environment" was taking a qrp (low power and usually small 2-way) radio out into the hinterland with batteries and a temporary antenna and operating. ?

- Actually they are both "portable operating environments". I guess the computer geeks didn't bother asking the radio geeks first before co-opting their nomenclature. As a member of both groups, I will be forever hanging my head in shame for bring this term into confusion by using it for something such as this. Oh the pain of it all.