Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Boot Ubuntu...

Well, finally wiped the hard drive on my main machine, partitioned it off, and tried to setup the dual boot Windows XP and Linux Ubuntu. And while I realize I'm a newb that doesn't know what he's doing in Ubuntu, my first impression is not exactly a good one.

I formatted and created 2 partitions, and got Windows installed no problem. Then I threw in the Ubuntu CD and booted it up. Went through the install stuff, and thought it wasn't too bad. Then I hit the infernal paritions section. I wound up circling that particular roundabout for a while till I did some forum help searching online and got some usable advice from another newb that had posted. About the only way it would go and make any sense was to delete the partion I had setup for it, back out 3 screen, and wade back in selecting to install on the largest continuous free space. It finally took over from there and did what it had to do. How was I to know you need 5 partions to install Ubuntu? (slightly exaggerated, but to a newbie, the prompts on the screen made no sense whatsoever - I had a partition ready, install to it! You'd think that'd be simple enough.) So I finally got out of partition hell and got the dang thing installed. Remarkably, the dual boot thing setup on it's own, so I didn't have to fool around with that. Right away I had Ubuntu and Windows XP boot selection. At least that worked.

So now that I finally had Ubuntu installed, I booted it up to play around with it. The boot up is actually slower than Windows, which surprised me, but it's not that much of a difference. Once loaded, it seems to have most of what you need to use - until you start to use it. On first impression, starting programs up is rather slow. In Windows, I fire up notepad and it's right there. In Ubuntu, I fire up gedit, and I actually had to wait a few seconds. Huh. Then came more bad news - I fired up the mail and Outlook clone called Evolution (I think) and it actually looked pretty good. Until it crashed during first use. What the? Ok, whatever, I started up Firefox 2.0 and started surfing and somehow managed to have that crash on me during its second use. What the hell? This is more unstable than XP at this rate. Started Firefox again after a reboot, and while it didn't crash, it was so sluggish trying to log into Blogger (the flash like login in part) that I gave up. (and yes, I installed Flash) Now, I don't know if it's Firefox 2.0, or Ubuntu, but on the whole, it's a helluva bad start to this little experiment. And I didn't even mention that I had wanted to use a different video card that I have here with a S-Video out and thought now would be a good time to swap it being I'm doing a rebuild. Well, with that card in, Ubuntu wouldn't even give me a screen to look at - I just got a black screen. So it obviously couldn't handle it, and I had to go back to my other one with an RCA jack out. Oh, and the sound volumne is half of what I get out of Windows even with all the settings I can find cranked. All this, and I haven't even tried to play a DVD or burn a disc or rip some MP3's yet. I can only imagine what that'll be like.

I'm going to keep messing around with it, of course, but on a first look experience, I am so far not impressed at all. If Ubuntu is the beginners way into Linux and they're trying to convert Windows users with it, they gotta do better than this. Stay tuned, I'm sure I'll post more of this weird parrallel universe of computing I've stumbled into where things look like what you know how to use, but don't actually work that way...

Comments on "Boot Ubuntu..."


Anonymous Marina said ... (February 27, 2007 1:15 PM) : 

I've never used Ubuntu but I have played with SuSe, Redhat and Mandrake and of the three Redhat was the easiest to maneuver through...or so I thought at the time.

Good luck with the experiment. I'm interested to see how things go.


Blogger The Original LRU said ... (February 27, 2007 4:20 PM) : 

Ha! That was funny. :-) And honest.

I'm sorry you had a bad experience with it. Maybe I will have to reconsider my recommendations of Ubuntu for new installs.

You ran into classic problems though. The partitioning in Linux tends give you a set default, or dump you into full complexity mode, with little middle ground. It's good that it setup your dual boot automatically though.

As for Evolution crashing, I've heard reports of that as well, although I've known people who used it as their primary mailer for a long time. I think even still do.

Was there an option to upgrade your system over the internet? I usually do (as root) "apt-get update" and then "apt-get upgrade" to keep things up to date with security patches, etc. If you haven't done this yet, there may be updates that fix the crashes you've experienced. I can't imagine you'd be the only one to see them on a new install, so hopefully they have been fixed by now.

There may be a GUI option for these updates as well. One program I'm familiar with is called Synaptic.

Thunderbird should be available for Linux too, which may be more familiar to what you use in Windows.

As for the speed of startup, some of that depends on the services that fired up at boot time. On some systems you'll see a line come up for each service that is started, with an OK or FAILED beside them. I forget how Ubuntu does this. But these services can be configured to start or not, and you may not need to run them all, all the time. They can be started and stopped at will without rebooting.

Of course it helps to know what each service does before you change it. :-)

All available services can be seen by browsing to /etc/init.d. Each of these can be started/stopped by running the script in that directory like:

/etc/init.d/apache stop

... to stop the web server, for example.

I found more on controlling services here

Stay tuned, I'm sure I'll post more of this weird parrallel universe of computing I've stumbled into where things look like what you know how to use, but don't actually work that way...

That was well put, and probably the funniest commentary I've read about Linux in a long time. You'll probably run into a lot of such things, since it is a new universe, no matter how hard some people try to make it look like Windows.

As things used to be with computer games it will probably be with Linux. :-) "Why didn't they ask me first??" The nice thing about Linux is that it is possible to send feedback, and possibly get things changed someday. Your blog entries will be great reading though, and will be great feedback for the developers, when taken as a whole. Maybe someday I'll point people to this series. I look forward to hearing more, and will help if I can.


Blogger Eaglewing said ... (February 28, 2007 4:07 AM) : 

Thanks for the notes people. I'm interested too in how this will work. Slow Learning Curve Ahead...


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