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Saturday, October 13, 2007

Switching to Linux

Well, after years of putting up with Windows I've finally taken the plunge and switched over to Linux! I'm now using Ubuntu 7.04 on my desktop with not a shred of Microsoft presence.

It all started yesterday when I remembered an article I came across some months ago about dual-booting Windows and Linux. The instructions seemed pretty simple so I didn't bother backing much of my stuff up, just a few LaTeX files I considered important.

I booted Ubuntu from the LiveCD and hit "install". Everything went well until I got to partitioning the hard drive. The partitioning options were totally different to the instructions and I couldn't find anything to resize the NTFS partition Windows was using. Then I tried to resize it using a partitioning program that was on the LiveCD, which I think worked, and then I created a new partition using the freed up space and installed Ubuntu. This seemed fine, until the Grub bootloader didn't work and I had no idea how to fix it. I forget what I did after that, but long story short, everything got ruined.

(Of course, in retrospect, not backing up my important stuff was an amazingly stupid thing to do and I really should have known better. Luckily, it's only been a couple of months since I last reformatted, so nearly all my stuff is backed up elsewhere. This morning I freaked out big time because I thought I had lost the full-resolution .psd file for my Mod Rocker picture, but luckily it was still on my laptop.)

After this traumatic episode, I gave up on dual booting and partitioned the whole drive for Linux. Now I have Ubuntu installed and so far it's going pretty well. After stumbling through installing a few things manually, including the driver for my graphics card, I discovered that I could have done it with a fraction of the effort using Synaptic Package Manager. Things are looking pretty good, but one thing's for sure: I've got a hell of a lot of learning to do.

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