[sf-lug] wubi

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Sat May 10 11:26:05 PDT 2008

Quoting Alex Kleider (a_kleider at yahoo.com):

> Thanks for the advice, Rick.
> I'll pass it on. I was worried there might be a catch.
> As I mentioned, I'm already in the process of getting him a "live CD."

To elaborate on what I was saying, both Wubi and live CDs can been seen
as ways of remaining a tirekicker Linux user -- for good or for bad.  

Back in early days of Linux, you would simply install the OS -- done.
Whatever used to be what on the hard drive got wiped out in the process,
and machine booted into Linux only, and so what you used on it from that
point forward was Linux.  If it was unfamiliar (which it was to all of
us), you just stumbled around until you learned.  Traumatised by vi?
OK, you can either learn it, or fall back on easy-but-limited pico, 
or, especially if you knew WordStar keybindings, maybe the "jstar"
startup mode of joe (Joe's Own Editor),
http://joe-editor.sourceforge.net/ .  Don't know how to start and stop
services, configure X11, and so on?  Better learn -- and there were (and
are) a thousand good explanations on the Internet, user groups, mailing
lists, and Usenet newsgroups to help.  And you learned quickly, and
well -- helped by the fact that your system was not elaborate or tricky.
There was a list of things you simply had to learn afresh.  Once you
learned those, you felt at home (on *ix systems generally), and were
acculturated to a different way of doing things.

A couple of years later, the first two notable tirekicker technologies
were UMSDOS filesystem support and dual-booting.  UMSDOS was a really
awful way of running Linux on FAT filesystems, with
permissions/ownership stored in special metadata-storage files.  Being
on FAT, it was slow and fragile -- much like Wubi.  It was promoted to
novices as an easy way to try Linux, because you didn't have to reformat
and set up special partitions.

Dual-booting (then mostly with LILO, now mostly with GRUB) became
popular around the time, unlike UMSDOS has persisted to this day, and
has remained the predominant tirekicker mechanism:  Ostensibly, it
permits users to switch back and forth, but 99% of such users are
kidding themselves, really aren't ever going to get used to Linux, and
would be better off saving themselves (and anyone from the Linux
community helping them) the trouble.

Wubi is effectively just a different kind of dual-booting, except with
the added gotcha of bad disk technology.

Live CDs at least are _explicitly_ just a taste of the CD's operating
system -- and there's typically an "install to HD" icon for anyone who
wants a more serious experience.

(My views; yours for a small fee and waiver of reverse-engineering
rights.  ;->  )

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