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Make Your Own Customized Linux Distro [How To]Lifehacker

Information Week has posted a thorough walkthrough guide for anyone interested in taking their Linux customization to the next level by creating their own distribution, whether for installation or running from a live CD. Among the topics covered are customizing and rebuilding Knoppix or Puppy Linux, as well as building from the ground up with Linux From Scratch (LFS) or Gentoo. Those less inclined to work (and sit) through a lot of compilation and package-choosing can try something like rolling their own Ubuntu CD, but this kind of guide makes for a great, geeky weekend project. Thanks Jeremy!

Fix Windows’ Master Boot Record with an Ubuntu Live CD [Boot CD]Lifehacker

If you’ve ever delved into the realm of Windows/Linux dual-booting, you probably know that the Master Boot Record can unexpectedly stop working, leaving you locked out of your Windows system. If you don’t have (or just don’t want to dig up) your Windows installation CD to fix it, ArsGeek has a handy tutorial on un-wonking the MBR with an Ubuntu live CD. The guide seemingly requires a working internet connection from inside the live session, but all should be well once you download the ms-sys application and run the right command. Except for the installation line, this guide could work for other Linux live CDs as well. For other live CD options, check out Gina’s Top 10 free computer system recovery tools.

Easy Desktop Customization with Ubuntu Tweak [Featured Linux Download]Lifehacker

Ubuntu Linux only: Ubuntu Tweak is a small customization tool that gives you a single access point to some of the interface and file browsing options tucked away in Ubuntu’s advanced preferences or text configuration files. Along with a few of the more common Compiz Fusion and interface preferences, Ubuntu Tweak lets you enable useful functions for CD burning, easily enable and change splash screens, make advanced power management changes, and even lock down certain tools for security reasons. Experienced users may know how to change a lot of things in this app, but for new installs, and new users, it’s a time saver. Ubuntu Tweak is a free download for Ubuntu Linux systems.

Use Google Web History WIthout Installing a Toolbar [Google]Lifehacker


The Google Operating System blog has a helpful, quick guide on how to enable Google Web History for more than just Google searches without having to make the usual Google Toolbar installation, using JavaScript-based tools like Greasemonkey for Firefox, Trixie for Internet Explorer, and Safari, Opera, and Konquerer (KDE Linux) also. You still need to be logged into a Google account to enable history tracking, but it could be a real help to those using alternative browsers for which the Toolbar isn’t offered. And while many users certainly still have their privacy concerns about Google knowing everywhere you’ve been browsing, disabling the non-Google portion is as simple as turning off the script.

Free PDF to Word Doc Converter Is Exactly That [Featured Windows Download]Lifehacker

Windows only: There are many, many tools to convert Microsoft Word files into PDF documents, including those built into the latest office suites, but what about the other way around? Free PDF to Word Doc Converter is a small program that solves a big headache for some office and document workers. Load up a PDF, choose how you want to export the file—including images, shapes, and text layout functions—and hit the convert button. My own tests found, like others, that some pretty big Word files can come out, especially if you've got images and graphs embedded, but for your standard text-only document, the free tool gets most of the text and layout right. Free PDF to Word Converter is a free download for all versions of Windows.

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