Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Greetings From 64 Bit Ubuntu Linux Installed On A WinXP Partition

I've recently been inspired to take the plunge into screwing around with Linux. Today I installed the Wubi release of Ubuntu, which installs a filesystem into a single big file under XP, and is removable by the XP Add/Remove programs dialog. The machine then becomes a dual boot operation without having messed with disk partitions or anything scary like that. And the nice thing is that the Linux installation, because it just looks like a moderately large file to XP, can be backed up along with all of my other XP stuff using my current methods.

So far, I'm quite impressed; this is a real operating system instead of a Microsoft junkpile. So far, all of the usual stuff seems to work: Firefox, YouTube, Flickr, Blogger, etc. Right now I am listening to some Brian Eno ambient music via Lala.com.

One very pleasant surprise was that Linux recognized my USB 2.0 ethernet adaptor (which I got when the built-in Ethernet port blew out when I was away on vacation last year), so there were no problems getting on the Web, which was utterly crucial to get the setup working, since I had to do many problem-solving searches on Google to get things tweaked in.

All that being said, this is not for the faint of heart. You really have to be ready to roll up you sleeves and search for answers when a few things do not work right. For example, it took me many hours to get Linux to run my Nvidia adapter at 1024x768 75Hz. Not recommended for non-software professionals or for anyone that does not have at least passing familiarity with Unix.

Still, I'm quite impressed overall, considering this is all absolutely free! It's also cool that the exact same box I run XP on can also be a Unix machine, depending on how I boot it up.

3 comments:

Ilíon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ilíon said...

What's scary about partitioning, especially if you have the Partition Magic software (or similar)?

Here is how I (currently) use partitioning --
1) At the beginning of the physical drive I have a very small (FAT16) partition in which is a "DOS7" (the version of DOS from Win98 or late Win95), and DOS version(s) of Partition Magic, and *also* the Boot Magic software which is bunded with it.
1a) This DOS partition is the *real* primary or bootable partition -- when the machine boots, the Boot Magic software runs, and from there I decide which partition to boot into.
2) next, I have the primary partition into which I installed WinXP -- and then, I *never* install other software into that partition, but rather onto the "D:" partition.
3) Next, I might have another primary partition into wnich I've installed some other OS. Currently, I'm not doing this.
4) Lastly, the bulk of the physical drive is comprised of a primary/extended partition which can be divided into any number of logical partitions: I generally have partitions D: through H: or so.
4a) One of the first things I do after installing Windows is to move the swap-file to the D: partition and *ALSO* re-set the default "Program Files" folder from "C:\Program Files" to "D:\Program Files" -- therefore, when I install other software, it typically is put on the D: partition (some software, of course, puts parts of itself under "C:\Windows")

5) One good use of this system is that I can "back-up" my C: partition, or any other -- the entire thing, *as* a partition -- into the extended partition, or onto another physical disk, and keep it hidden from the active OS.
5a) Thus, should something corrupt my Windows installation, I simply use the DOS version of Partition Magic -- which, being in a different, and dedicated, partition from the Windows OS (and also hidden from it), is unaffected by the corruption -- to blow away the partition(s) which have been corrupted (i.e. the C: and possibly D: partitions) and restore to the hidden backups.

BPq8u.Axn44_TZvW9EdBbh73qjTBXCk1 said...

Ubuntu is amazing easy to install and it has become a real contender in the operating system world. Not only is the operating system free but it comes with all the additional software you have to buy in addition to Windows. It pretty much does everything my Windows installation does. Ubuntu even does wireless out of the box and recognized my printer and scanner without a problem. I gh.am still trying to figure out how to use my Palm Pilot with Ubuntu thou

That said, the menu structures aren't always the same and some of the keyboard shortcuts are different. Ubuntu pretty much does what WiMy major gripe is that the change case function doesn't have a "Title Case" setting. I think I can live with it until they catch up.