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Ecopup 0.7.3.2 - Beta release now with AUTOMATED INSTALLER!
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ecomoney


Joined: 25 Nov 2005
Posts: 2183
Location: Lincolnshire, England

PostPosted: Wed 24 Dec 2008, 07:46    Post subject:  Ecopup 0.7.3.2 - Beta release now with AUTOMATED INSTALLER!
Subject description: Pedigree linux for the computer recycling/home & business maintenence industry
 

Ecopup 0.7.3.2 – beta

This is a smallish update on the previous version....with one major new feature.

The Smallish updates....

- Browser and Frostwire download locations fixed
- It now has the keyboard map fixed for Supertux
- Wine 0.9.17 included (doesnt run a lot! Pokerstars does work though)
- Updated Transmission (which doesnt crash after long periods)
- Automatic recognition of file types downloaded from FF and in ROX
- Firefox updated to 2.0.0.20 final
- Skype updated to version 2.0

The big feature...

It has been mentioned that Ecopup is tricky to install...(with major thanks to Rcrsn51), this version now has an AUTOMATED INSTALLER! Very Happy

When you first burn the CD and boot, it will give you what is basically Puppy 2.15ce, with an installer icon...



Clicking on the install icon in the bottom right of the screen brings up a confirmation screen..which I hope pulls no punches..



Clicking the "Proceed" button starts the automated installer. This formats the computers hard disk, installs the GRUB bootloader and the puppy 2.15ce files, as well as unzipping a custom boot menu and the eco_save.2fs file (Ecopups pup_save.2fs).



The confirmation dialog is not quite accurate...as a last minute idea, the installer also installs the latest Standard Puppy Linux 4.2.1 also!. Once the installer is complete, it pops out the CDROM and its time to reboot. One last step if you wish is to save a eco_save-[yourname].2fs for if you would like a standard puppy 2.15ce install as well.

The whole process takes about Seven Minutes from start to finish. This means that old computers can be refurbished very quickly, by people with very little training...making it even more economically viable to do so.

For more advanced users, its still possible to install this just by unzipping the ecopup.zip file onto root of the computers hard drive, and booting from the CD. This can be done on a windows or a Linux computer. This is particularly handy if called to a Windows computer as it means ecopup can be installed without reformatting their hard drive/losing data. The CD can be left with the client to enable them to dual boot between Ecopup and Windows.

Heres more about Ecopup....

The main wallpaper screen.

The icons are now arranged in groups (headings down the right hand side) for quicker and easier identification on an not-used-before computer, i.e. at a cybercafe.

heavily customised firefox

The 'Looks Familiar' theme allows new firefox users to feel comfortable. It comes with a wides selction of pre-defined bookmarks in various catagories, designed to assist low income households

Various Applications

AMSN messenger, Abiword, XMMS and Frodo - a Commodore 64 Emulator

Its been getting on for a year since we've posted in earnest on here, and what a year it has been. The economic downturn has meant an large upturn in business for us.

The cybercafe as a testing station has been lost to us, after the local Adult Education Authority offered large sums to the its base the Riddings Drop-in Centre for holding its courses there, on the proviso they install heavily subsidised XP/M$ office applications. Obviously after the time and effort spent for free by us this soured our relationship somewhat, but from what we have heard the PIII 600's are practically unusable and ridden with virii. This is a shame as it was as important a resource for local community as it was for the development of our in-house puppylinux-based OS – Ecopup.

Our domestic, educational and home markets have really opened up over the last year, providing us finally with some sort of income. We install ecopup on two to three computers a week in peoples homes, and have recently been in receipt of another batch of 37 retired school computers. We've been selling these through the local newspaper (and word of mouth) and have since sold all of them for between £30 and £80 each as full systems.

We've retained our existing clients at the Priory Preschool, the Westcliffe Drop-In and elsewhere. They've been providing us with valuable feedback which we've ploughed back into this latest release. Mostly it is our home customers who have provided the majority of the suggestions/inspiration for the new features in this release.

Features in this release

Standard puppy, while being technically superb in concept, lacks so much in its packaging and presentation. We are testing puppy on “linux newbs” almost everyday now (and would recommend anyone in the development of puppy to do the same...it really will open your eyes), and we hope with this release some of these features will be incorporated. In summary:-

-Icons have “[double] click handlers” (rgds Guestoo), almost the first thing that new users do is double click an icon and open two of an application when they try puppy for the first time. In absence of an “hourglass” feature, it also displays a small splash screen, just to give the user confidence that something is happening (surely a must for a distro for slow computers?)

-Windows XP-ish desktop – I know many linux purists dislike the design of a windows desktop (I'm one of them), however, almost 100% of the time we are showing linux to new potential users for the first time. Their biggest fear is they will have relearn everything they currently know about computers when switching over. If they see something that at least looks familiar the first time they see it, it goes a HUGE way to alleviating that fear (we've had this confirmed time and time again). It doesn't take them long to find the icewm themes and change the wallpaper (which they regard as a major feature eventually!). Previous Ecopups have been Vista-themed, but given the poor reception of vista we have gone back to an enhanced XP background.

-Categorised desktop wallpaper, the new wallpaper puts all applications in categories (which are labelled up the right-hand side. Generally speaking, we have grouped the “heavier” applications further right and lighter apps to the right.

-Desktop icon redesign. One of the criticisms of earlier ecopups was that the desktop looked too cluttered. We've moved the various games into three separate subfolders (and added a few like the ever popular suddoku, flash chess, a Commodore 64 emulator, littlewizard etc.), which has saved some space. We've also created icons for the seamonkey browser (which we found some people prefer over firefox, and one for Opera, which we've included for the first time after it is so popular on this forum.

-New browsers, and updates. We've added opera, which we've configured to be more usable, and also seamonkey has been given a place on the desktop. Firefox was already highly tweaked to add features and more closely resemble other windows only browsers. Problems with flash still remain to some extent as with all linuxes, although it includes the latest flash and this seems to have calmed the problem a bit. Slower computers do struggle with the bloated flash player, so firefox we've added a youtube video downloader that uses ffmpeg/mencoder to convert the troublesome .flv format to a video mpg or mp3 that can be played properly on older hardware using the gxine video player.

-Backup and restore feature. We've included functions to the shutdown menu to “back up” or restore from a single predefined saved file. This file is literally only a zipped eco_save.2fs file (we use eco_save.2fs as a pup_save.2fs in ecopup, so it can be run alongside other puppies. We've also tweaked the startup script to backport the multiple pup/eco_save feature Smile

-Change to packaging format. We've merged the content of the openoffice sfs file with the main eco_save file. Most computers now are capable of running openoffice, at least the version 2.2 that comes with ecopup so there's no real reason to have it as a separate file. We've stripped the JAVA libraries out of the original OpenOffice, which save about 40mb (which only leaves the rather outdated version 1.5...but hey it will play runescape!). We've also greatly increased the size of the eco_save file from 768mb to 1758mb, which seems to be running fine on all of the computers we have tried it with so far. This was because the eco_save files were filling up, and stopping certain temporary files from being created and the rox desktop icons were disappearing. (I spent about two months having to visit clients homes and businesses for free sorting this out!). This isn't an ideal solution, but most peoples hard disks are so large now it doesn't cause problems (as quickly).

We discovered that, in zipping the eco_save file, a large fragmentation had occurred which was causing the files to come in at way beyond what they could be stored at. Simply by creating a new, blank eco_save (with a “block size” of 1kb) and transferring the files in the previous used development copy, the eco_save file could be compressed right down to just 441mb from 537 on the previous version. This has given us considerable extra space on the full iso, which we've used to distribute an “extras” folder, into which we've put the iso's of puppy 4.1.2 and geexbox, plus some extra apps such as wine (which we have had to use for some people to get partypoker.exe working) and qemu (which we would have included but we couldn't get kqemu the accelerator working). These have proved useful to us often in the field.

This discovery gives MUCH more room for future expansion. Initial thoughts are for including smoothwall server (68mb?) as a multiboot option that would literally allow an entire cybercafe setup

We've also added a host of other new desktop wallpapers, graphics, icons, xmms and icewm themes, tuxpaint stamps etc etc.

Another criticism of puppy from windows users is that the file system/directory path structure is too difficult to navigate, and the unintelligible pathnames (i.e. “initrd/mnt/dev_save” is your hard disk) do not help matters. As well as shortcuts on the desktop to key places such as P2P shared folders and internet download folders, we've put shortcuts in the “root” folder and in the quick launch bar.

We've also updated amsn to the latest version 0.7.2 so it will work again after M$ changed their protocols.

Pnethood has been added from puppy 4.1, which allows connecting to windows shares. It also connects to ubuntu shares.

Finally we've added a much missed piece of equipment to puppy, internet connection sharing. This can be found in the /root/my-roxapps folder. This runs a script originally written by Gekko that shares the internet connection from eth0 to eth1 (if it don't work, try swapping the wires!).

The base for ecopup is still puppy linux 2.15ce with the 2.6.18.1 kernel. Whilst recognising that there have been many advances in the linux kernel and puppy in terms of usability, ecopup's “pedigree” has a long history of testing, both in the cybercafe and in our wider local community. While we may occasionally come across problems with wireless cards not being picked up by the older kernel, and sometimes even hard disks, overall we have found ecopup to be versatile, usable, friendly and most of all profitable Smile.

Were going to continue to use this version for the foreseeable future. What with the economic downturn, were also in the process of writing a facebook application for administering community currency systems (our original remit).

Known usability issues
The wording for the start menus is not very clear, these need rewording.
The network wizard also has unclear wording and needs revamping. Sometimes the network wizard will not connect with our wireless usb, and we need to use Rutlit wireless access gadget (under network) to complete the connection
OpenOffice just comes with the standard templates...more need adding.

Known bugs

Transmission will often crash if left running for long periods. The workaround is to minimise it
Updates do not work in Frostwire, check “thanks but not now” when starting.
Frostwire and Firefox file locations are set within the pup_save file, rather than outside it. They should be set to /mnt/home/shared and /mnt/home/downloads respectively
Eth0 does not automatically connect at startup

Others...to be discovered Smile

Installation instructions

Update: This version now has an automated installer (see above)

On a windows XP/2000/Vista computer....simply unzip the the contents of the file “ecopup.zip” to the root of c:\. Add the files pup_215.sfs and zdrv_215.sfs if you want to speed up booting a little. On low ram machines you may also want to unzip the file swap.zip to he root of c:\, and rename the file swap.swp from swap1.swp. Reboot, making sure that the computers BIOS is set to boot from the CD-ROM before the hard disk.

On an existing puppy computer with grub installed....extract ecopup.zip as above, but to the root of your hda1 or other partition, add the pup_215.sfs and zdrv_215.sfs files if you like, and boot from the cd as above. Alternatively you can format the hard disk using gparted to ext2 after booting into livecd mode, install the grub loader using the system>grub bootloader tool. After copying the files as above, also extract boot.zip to the root of the hard disk (after removing the faulty /boot folder the grub bootloader creates. This is how we set up the second user computers for sale in the local area.

Enjoy Smile

Download Mirrors (more needed)

http://www.alexander-lessons.co.uk/downloads/ecopup0.7.3.2-beta.iso

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Last edited by ecomoney on Fri 16 Apr 2010, 07:57; edited 8 times in total
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Sage

Joined: 04 Oct 2005
Posts: 4767
Location: GB

PostPosted: Wed 24 Dec 2008, 09:32    Post subject:  

Fascinating - I'll read in more detail later. Amazing how the devil has muscled in on the netbook scene and brainwashed regular punters into believing they need XP - pile of BS, of course. Otherwise I agree with most things you say. BK may be a genius but an undisciplined one! To be successful in the long term, one needs stamina, broad shoulders and some substantial parallel support on a daily basis. Patrick Volkerding is a remarkable man indeed.

Your link is giving me a 403, Forbidden at present. Want to unhook it, please?
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ecomoney


Joined: 25 Nov 2005
Posts: 2183
Location: Lincolnshire, England

PostPosted: Wed 24 Dec 2008, 09:35    Post subject: Unhooked  

Unhooked...I look forward to hearing your feedback again sage.
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Artie


Joined: 04 Oct 2005
Posts: 446
Location: Norway

PostPosted: Wed 24 Dec 2008, 09:48    Post subject:  

I'm downloading it right now, is there an md5sum available?

Artie
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Lobster
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Joined: 04 May 2005
Posts: 15117
Location: Paradox Realm

PostPosted: Wed 24 Dec 2008, 10:17    Post subject:  

Hi Robert good to hear from you and your projects. Smile

Some important points about expectation.
Please keep involved with Puppy were your obvious enthusiasm and efforts are an inspiration to many of us Smile

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ecomoney


Joined: 25 Nov 2005
Posts: 2183
Location: Lincolnshire, England

PostPosted: Wed 24 Dec 2008, 11:18    Post subject: md5sum  

md5Sum

8cefd87856cda99df21f84c2426ae330 ecopup0.7.3.2-alpha.iso

Thank you Lobster for your kind words. Although work has gone pretty well, its been a pretty turbulent time, and I was a little disappointed (with myself) about the 2.14r CE project. Ive put those demons to rest now.

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Sage

Joined: 04 Oct 2005
Posts: 4767
Location: GB

PostPosted: Wed 24 Dec 2008, 13:35    Post subject:  

Your server must be nearly melted it took so long to d/l!
Although it gives a 701Mb .iso in 'doze, it burns OK to a std. 700Mb CD - something to do with the crazy way of calculating bytes, I guess.
Yes, there have been a lot of changes up to 4.1.2.
- localisation is limited to AUS or US. I guess every Brit hankers after being in the former; some reluctantly settle for the later, but neither if they're at home & broke.
- MC not working, cf. separate thread about this, presently.
- no Opera. Once you remove Seamickey, many problems will disappear. There are solutions to all the issues raised about Opera setup, eg Flash, etc. Most have been discussed here. Worth the extra effort to get it set up.
- boot-up k/b selector hasn't been corrected by any developer yet; duplicate entry for US. On reflection, take out both, at least until 28th Jan!
- overlapping icons top right @ 800x600 Xorg
- Hardinfo is much better than Xproc, although I prefer SysStats as per DSL
- there are significant advantages to swapping to Xfce (cf. NOP) or LXDE (U.P. by wow) for neophytes. The additional overheads can be recovered by economies elsewhere, maybe deletion SM alone? Claws recommended, too.
- never liked BK's games selection. The ancient tuxpuck has to be small? but tuxracer is a sine qua non if you want to hook incomers!
- Fotox?
Hope this helps for starters.

MC & HNY.
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smartboyathome

Joined: 05 Jun 2007
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PostPosted: Wed 24 Dec 2008, 15:45    Post subject:  

I hope you got permission from Opera to be distributing it. Opera is closed source, and their license does not permit distributing it other than when you get permission from you. Just thought I would let you know. Wink

Other than that, it looks like a very good release. I have an old laptop which I have been running puppy on, but was wondering how it was with PCMCIA cards. I have only tried Puppy 4 on it, and it seems to run fine. Yours may run just as well on it. Smile
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richard.a


Joined: 15 Aug 2006
Posts: 510
Location: Adelaide, South Australia

PostPosted: Wed 24 Dec 2008, 20:44    Post subject:  

Merry Christmas guys... and Robert, sorry to hear about the typical bureaucratic decision-making Sad

totally off topic... I have a Toshiba laptop given me... and the only puppy I've been able to get work on this T1800 was the MacPup 411F... nothing earlier (I tried 215ce, and back as far as 202), which is strange. Plenty of other distros work. The 411F is far far faster than not just the native XP but everything else of course, in both HDD type 2 install and live CD.


Toshiba T1800 Celeron 896 2x128Mb=256Mb

XP SP2 from Grub to desktop loaded
Startup 78secs
Shutdown 30secs

MacPup 411F from Grub to desktop loaded
Startup 30secs
Shutdown 10secs




Take care folks,

Richard

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cthisbear

Joined: 29 Jan 2006
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PostPosted: Thu 25 Dec 2008, 03:07    Post subject:  

You 2 Lurkalots ...........ecomoney and richard.a .

Seasons greetings to you both.
I hope that you both have a brighter and happier 2009.

Chris.
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richard.a


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Location: Adelaide, South Australia

PostPosted: Fri 26 Dec 2008, 06:07    Post subject:  

lol Chris.... and thanks.

Happy Boxing Day all, Very Happy


Remembering ecomoney's request to write to the lady in the office at the cybercafe, I just sent this email... and have not received a bounce, so I guess she is still in a job...


Hi Jean,

And a merry Christmas to you, albeit a bit late as it is now Boxing Day Smile

You may remember me from my previous email.

Just a note to say how sorry I felt on hearing about the huge costs that your computer room is now going to eat up from the authority's change in funds allocation.

I hope that it doesn't mean the cessation of the underprivileged community-associated projects, because that would be a crying shame that the "have-nots" will miss out next year as a result of succesful lobbying by those with an expensive product and very high ongoing maintenance costs, to say nothing of hopefully your own job not being in jeopardy as well.

Hope you enjoy your holiday break, and return to work revived and invigorated, notwithstanding the financial crisis all over the world. Their decision to take this backwards and costly step could not have come at a worse time, I'm afraid.

Most sincerely,

Richard Ashton.


Now off topic,

Previous email sent August 2007...

Hello Jean,

I've been reading about your cybercafe from about a dozen different web addresses and finally discovered Robert's descriptive thread on the PuppyLinux forum - which I hadn't read until tonight!

I'm really impressed with the way it has been set up using open source software.

I used to use Microsoft Windows, and was a professional designer of electrical control systems among other things, and in about 1992 added instructing old draughtsmen in how to convert to computerised "CAD" because they felt uncomfortable with junior employees teaching them.

Since my retirement I've been involved in returning time and effort to the industry that has paid me handsomely for using what I've picked up in user support the last 10 years or so of my working life. I shall be 73 in January 2008.

Working with people in my retirement where I don't have to waste my time with fixing unfixable (in the long term) problems like virii and trojans through Linux, I thought I'd give you some encouragement with your fantastic venture if you don't mind Smile

My background with open source software is varied... I've been involved with testing BSD Unix for a year or so, testing a commercial Linux over the previous 3 years, and now Puppy Linux for about a year, including the 2.15 Community Edition you are using. A brand new one is just starting, that we are excited about.

Some of my efforts with puppy have been seeing how fast I can run it on time expired old MS Windows computers! It's been a fascinating experience, because my suspicions that we are dumping perfectly good hardware into landfill have shown that I was right! I like being proved "right", as I'm sure most of us do <joke>

Sure there are a few differences from Microsoft Windows - but there are actually more differences between Windows 2000, WindowsXP, and WindowsVista, if we look at them in detail!

Please feel free to contact any of us if you have ANY problems, and we'll find a suitable solution - in my case it could be overnight as I'm in Australia. You can use my phone number at the bottom of this email if you need to, but just check the time difference <grin> or you'll end up on my answering machine!

That's one of the joys of Open Source Software - contributors are literally all over the world!

Enjoy your day, Joan. I'm headed for bed here, it's 10.30pm in Adelaide (the capital of South Australia) - and we are 9-1/2 hours ahead of GMT here, your time is 2.00pm.

If you are into IRC chatting, I'm involved in the running of several chat channels on undernet.org where I use the nickname of eagle`s

God bless you

Richard


--------------

Richard Ashton

Retired PC & CAD Consultant
Linux operating system beta tester
Sound and video recording
Chatroom and website management
On-line technical and personal assistance

08 8396 0440 - 0412 795 400 (within Australia)
+618 8396 0440 - +61 412 795 400 (outside Australia)
skype (by arrangement) - eagles-lair

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ttuuxxx


Joined: 05 May 2007
Posts: 10730
Location: Ontario Canada,Sydney Australia

PostPosted: Fri 26 Dec 2008, 06:53    Post subject:  

richard.a wrote:
I have a Toshiba laptop given me... and the only puppy I've been able to get work on this T1800 was the MacPup 411F...
Take care folks,
Richard


Hi richard There is a toshiba older laptop fix
http://www.murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?mode=attach&id=8940

basically you would have to load a puppy cd on a desktop or another pc that works, install the program and remaster the cd with the fix included, then take the cd and try it on your non booting toshiba laptop, the difference with macpup 411f is that Barry I think included the fix, The original page that it came from is http://www.murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?p=188522#188522
and the user "recycler" uses it all the time. Smile
ttuuxxx

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ttuuxxx


Joined: 05 May 2007
Posts: 10730
Location: Ontario Canada,Sydney Australia

PostPosted: Fri 26 Dec 2008, 13:09    Post subject: Re: Ecopup 0.7.3 - "Phoenix" release
Subject description: Pedigree linux for the computer recycling/home & business maintenence industry
 

ecomoney wrote:
Ecopup 0.7.3 – (Phoenix?)

If you need a hand with anything I could do, I'm here, no problems.
I don't use 2.15 anymore but if you had some icewm themes that you wanted changed, or any part of icewm, just let me know.
Your networking issues can be sorted out easly just talk to tempestuous I think there is a general upgrade for that version.
I could reword text in scripts also.
well maybe some point forms of what you would like done and maybe images. I'm sure a few of us are willing to help.
ttuuxxx

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ecomoney


Joined: 25 Nov 2005
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Location: Lincolnshire, England

PostPosted: Mon 29 Dec 2008, 09:09    Post subject: Thanks  

Thanks for your help everyone, Jean always did take a lot of pursading, Im actually trying to get more local cybercafes involved. I recently did a presentation to one, but unfortunately the type of Dell machine that was there didint seem to want to run ANY linux. I went through a whole roll of bubble wrap that night Wink

Ecopup represents several years worth of usability research into the "linux newbs" mentioned in Puppys Goals. Although it meets a great many of its other goals, on the point of being "extremely friendly to linux newbs" it drops some complete howlers. These are things like

- not autoconnecting via ethernet when starting up
- being set to single, not double click
- the wording of the wizards and setup scripts being overly "techie"
- being grey and old looking.

Many points have thankfully been addressed in puppy 4 i.e. it does something now when the user plugs in a pendrive or a cd/dvd (though not really enough) and it finally doesnt revert to a black screen full of code if not powered off properly (having to type "xwin").

What I would really like ecopup to be used as, is a base of ideas that are implemented in future editions of the mainstream puppy linux.

Tuxx, thank you for your offer of assistance. Is there a way to easily get icewm to automatically change the desktop wallpaper when the theme is changed?

Puppy 2.15ce is getting rather dated now, and we are beginning to see more and more devices that arnt supported by the kernel. We would like future versions to be based on the newest kernel (we will be watching the development of the 4.2 community edition very carefully, and adding our input when we can).

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ecomoney


Joined: 25 Nov 2005
Posts: 2183
Location: Lincolnshire, England

PostPosted: Thu 01 Jan 2009, 23:54    Post subject: Early bugs  

Some early bugs have been identified by some of the testing crew here in scunthorpe. We are offering reduced rate support in return for testing alpha/beta software.

Bugs so far

Critical - Restore function in the shutdown menu will delete the eco_save.2fs, and not restore a backup if one has not already been created!

Moderate - Firefox download folder is still set to the wallpapers folder, not to /mnt/home/downloads.

Moderate - Flash player needs depreciateing, as latest version keeps crashing.is resource hog.

Moderate - Final firefox 2 update shoud be applied. firefox update was causing some people to lose profile information.

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