Balsa is a system on an SD card that turns a netbook into a Basic Language Software Appliance. It contains basic language software with a simple to use interface.
- Balsa is free. There are no restrictions on making copies and distributing them to others.
- Simple User interface; designed for unsophisticated users.
- The operating system and programs are all contained on and run from a single SD card.
- Simple upgrading without affecting your data
- No need for an Internet connection
- Turn off the machine
- Put in a new Balsa SD card
- Turn the machine back on
- No viruses – ever! No need for an anti-virus program.
- Can be customized to use languages other than English.
- Can be customized with other Ubuntu programs.
Here is more information about what programs come with Balsa.
Making a Balsa SD Card
To make your own Balsa SD card, you will need:
- A blank 4 gigabyte (minimum) or 8 (recommended) SD card
- A Windows or Linux computer with 5 or 9 gigabytes of free temporary space on its hard drive. After the card is made, the temporary files can be deleted.
- An Internet connection to download about 700 Megabytes
What’s New in the Beta
Here are some of the features of the Balsa beta release:
- Based on Xubuntu 10.04 (lucid)
- Distributed as a compressed image file. The compression system we use is 7-Zip. It reduces the size by 30%, compared to other compression programs.
- Quick Start Documentation.
- Improved support for Windows:
- Windows can now be used to make a Balsa SD card
- You can easily set up a Windows machine to run Balsa. Plug a Balsa SD card into the machine and run a set-up script. When you boot again, you can choose to run Balsa.
- Removing Balsa capability from the computer is simple as well. Just run a short script.
- Improved set up in Linux. To set up a Linux computer to run Balsa, plug in the card, and click on a desktop launcher. Reboot, and Balsa will appear in the boot menu.
Here are some other changes from the alpha release BALSA-0.6-jaunty:
- Changed the name from BALSA to Balsa
- Dropped support for OLPC XO-1
- KMFL support has changed from SCIM to IBUS
- Applications have been updated.
- Many bug fixes.