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Short version : PCjacking is sticking Linux Live CDs in computers located in popular department stores, to let the customers know that something other than Windows exists (see pictures below). If you think it's an useful thing to do, try it yourself ! PCjacking is totally safe for the hijacked PC, and leaves it completely unaltered.
A few people are beginning to talk about PCJacking on the Internet :
A "Linux Live CD" is a CD that can help you run Linux on your computer without touching the hard disk, thus leaving Windows completely unaltered, if it is installed. You just insert one of these CDs, reboot the computer, and voil√†, you got Linux running (the computer just "booted on the CD").
I thought this was a tremendous opportunity to let people know that there are other systems out there, that work better than Microsoft Windows, don't cost a cent, and have neat and easy to use interfaces. I believe that people chose Windows not because (they think) it works better, nor because they think they wouldn't be able to use another system, but just because they don't know that there exists other systems apart from Windows. So, I just went to a few stores in the center of Paris (where I live), and used these great CDs on the shown machines, the let the customers know ! Of course, well, I didn't tell the staff about that, I'm not sure they would have been okay with it :)
All right, I'm not a photographer (what do you mean, you already noticed ?), so the following pictures are sometimes a bit blurry. This is also because I couldn't use the flash (or a tripod), and the light in there was not quite sufficient.
I prepared three CDs of the Knoppix live Linux distribution (a "distribution" is just some version of Linux). These "CD images" (that you can directly burn onto a CD with any burning program) are available free of charge (just like most Linux distributions) on the internet ; I got mine from here (file called "KNOPPIX_V4.0.2CD-2005-09-23-EN.iso").
Then I wrote something on each of these CDs :
This is written in French (so that the guys working in the stores can understand it) and it says "This is a Linux CD to protest against the forced sale of Microsoft Windows with every computer bought in this store. This CD leaves the computer totally unaffected. Just take the CD out of the drive and reboot to let the computer back in its original state."
So, with those CDs and a camera in my bag, I took my bicycle and had a look around for nice stores... Of course, each time I used a Live CD, I left it inside the computer, so that people can have a look and try the system all day long, after I'm gone ! That is, unless a sales representative notices it and decides to reboot with Windows. But considering that I could open the drive, put a CD inside, reboot the computer and type a few options at boot time without being noticed, I believe that Linux will keep running several hours before they notice something !
"Fnac" is one of the biggest department stores in France for electronic stuff, DVDs, CDs and books. Paris has dozens of them. This one is located in the "quartier latin", in the very center of Paris, boulevard Saint-Germain (three huge floors of electronic stuff).
This one was not easy because lots of people were always walking around the laptops, and the desktops were too close to where the sales representatives stood (click on the pictures to enlarge -- sorry about the blurry pics).
"PC City" is some kind of "computer supermarket" : you can only find computer-related products inside. And it's a huge surface in the heart of Paris (just next to the Sorbonne university).
This one was easier, considering that very few clients were wandering around (lunch time !), and the staff seemed busy reviewing other stuff (click on the pictures to enlarge -- sorry about the blurry pics).
The "Forum des Halles" is the most central commercial center in Paris, located in the nearly perfect geographical center of Paris. It has its own "Fnac" (on three floors).
This one was the hardest : I can't even understand how I made it :) The computer I used was on the bottom-right of some kind of "screen wall", just in front of where the sales representatives stood, and very obvious to anyone. Anyway, Linux looks great in there !
This is the Knoppix Linux live distribution. I usually prefer Ubuntu, both install and live versions, but it required me to first answer a few questions using the keyboard before it really starts, and this makes pcjacking harder. So here's what you're seeing, in a cleaner view (screenshot) :
Well, that's easy ! Here's how to do it :