[sf-lug] Ubuntu User wannabe!

jim jim at systemateka.com
Fri Jan 7 10:59:08 PST 2011

rick's _very_ generous infodump may be a little 
too much for some, but it's valuable and worth 
figuring out. if you want translation or hand-
holding, ask. 

On Thu, 2011-01-06 at 16:37 -0800, Rick Moen wrote:
> Quoting Molly Bee (mountainoceansky at hotmail.com):
> > HP Mini 110-3100
> Intel Atom N475 CPU, SATA hard drive, Intel GMA 3150 video using
> 'shared' (stolen from main supply) memory.  Northbridge chip:  Intel
> NM10.  Southbridge chip:  Intel ICH8M.  1GB DDR2 RAM (and there's one
> user-accessible slot if you want to add more).  Unstated wireless,
> bluetooth, and webcam chipsets.  Wireless chip is probably something
> from Broadcom, if I had to guess -- but it could be Intel or Atheros,
> who knows?  SD/MMC/MS card reader is based on Realtek rts5159 chip.  No
> optical drive by default.  (HP will sell you an external USB-connected
> DVD-RW drive, but there's no reason why it would need to be an HP.)
> HP ships it with MS-Windows 7 (with 'reduced-functionality versions of
> Word and Excel that include advertising'), with four primary partitions
> defined, taking up the entire drive:  
> Label           Type    Size
> -----           ----    ----
> 'C:'            NTFS  217   GB
> 'HP_TOOLS'      FAT32   0.1 GB
> 'RECOVERY (D:)' NTFS   16   GB
> 'SYSTEM'        NTFS    0.2 GB
> This layout poses some significant obstacles for dual booting, because
> it's highly likely you won't want to lose what's in the in the HP_TOOLS,
> RECOVERY (D), or SYSTEM partitions, and standard partition tables max
> out at four primary partitions.
> The standard way to make room for native Linux partitions on such a
> system, _normally_, would be to delete one of the primary partitions
> and recreate it as an 'Extended' type, which is a sort-of container
> capable of being further subdivided into additional partitions, which
> further slicing-ups are then dubbed 'logical'-type partitions.  But 
> obviously you want to ensure that you don't lose what's on any partition 
> you repurpose.  (You could use, for example, the gparted non-destructive
> repartitioning tool provided with Ubuntu.)
> This page explains how to create a set of discs, or create stuff on a
> 16 GB USB flash drive, from the files on the RECOVERY (D:) partition.
> (The page also details how to purchase a preburned recovery disc from HP
> at nominal cost.)  You presumably would then be free to repurpose the
> RECOVERY (D:) partition on the hard disk without losing anything.
> What's on the HP_TOOLS and SYSTEM partitions?  Dunno; you should
> probably figure that out.   But it shouldn't be very hard, anyway, to 
> make safety copies of whatever's on them, so that (again) you are freed
> up to repartition as you prefer.
> But there are two alternative ways to avoid partitioning entirely.  One 
> is the one you referred to:  Run Ubuntu (or Kubuntu, or whatever) as a 
> 'live' system from a USB stick or from a CD or DVD disc.  That's
> actually a typical tire-kicking measure to find out if you like a
> Linux-based system at all, though you'll need to be aware of the
> performance overhead from running Linux off slow media with big
> RAMdisks.
> The other method is a 'Wubi' installation, where Linux treats a file
> the installer creates inside one of the MS-Windows NTFS partition as if
> it _were_ a partition.  This definitely works, but is kinda ugly at a
> technical level.  ('Wubi' is the name of the special installer program
> that does this, I think.)  
> Of the two, Wubi is better, I'd say (a good bit closer to native Linux).
> So, basically, you should contemplate whether you want to go with a Wubi
> install, or whether you want to do a real, genuine native Linux
> installation (for dual-boot).  Going for a proper native solution would
> necessitate repartitioning -- and, because of the corner HP has painted
> you into with the four primary partitions, not just the 'Oh, just used
> gparted to make C: a bit smaller' repartitioning most Linux user groups
> (LUGs) are used to walking you through, either.
> You might want to do a Wubi installation for now, and then at a later
> date re-do your setup as fully native if you like Ubuntu.
> _Or_, if you really don't care about MS-Windows 7 and all the preloaded
> junk at all, then you can just blow away _all_ of the four partitions
> while installing Ubuntu, which makes things really simple and is of the
> 'Just do it and be happy' variety of solution.  As you said, it's a
> pretty dirt-simple process, even if using a USB flash drive as your
> installation medium.  Here's a link that covers it.  (There are
> many others.)
> http://www.pendrivelinux.com/universal-usb-installer-easy-as-1-2-3/
> The LUG that meets this Saturday at my house in Menlo Park, CABAL, can
> walk you through the process, and we already have the latest Ubuntu
> Netbook Remix release, 10.10 Maverick Meercat, burned to a CDR in our
> Linux distribution library.  Details are here:
> http://linuxmafia.com/cabal/
> Here's a page that details how to do a Wubi install of Ubuntu Netbook
> Remix without even an optical disc drive, and without even needing to
> have a flash drive.  However, if you don't have an optical drive, this
> method _does_ require you to put the 'ISO' (raw image file) of Ubuntu
> Network Remix on your MS-Windows hard drive in the same folder as
> wubi.exe.
> CABAL can help you around all of those things (including lending you my
> USB-attachable CD/DVD/BluRay burner drive, during your visit).
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