oscartheduckin’ around

July 27, 2007

wubi

Filed under: ubuntu — oscartheduck @ 2:57 am

For laptops, hands down the only *nix I really consider installing is Ubuntu. Because they always have those weird weird keys for things like volume controls that I never know what to do with on something that I’m compiling myself. In the past few days, though, I’ve installed Ubuntu on two laptops, one less than a year old, and it has solved my issues nicely.

The only complaint I have is that in spite of claiming to have a driver to work my wireless card on the newer laptop it still needs to be manually configured. It *sees* my wireless network, but won’t get an address. This is unlike the ridiculously good FreeBSD, which configured perfectly a card that no linux would even see (and from the rather popular linksys brand, too).

Ubuntu is blingtastic as ever. And its package managment abilities are still reasonably good — the reason I installed it on this laptop, in fact, was because the other laptop I installed it on introduced me toa linux game that was amazingly amazing. I forget the name, but it was similar in feel to Dune2 on the Amiga.

And because I can’t fucking beat GNU chess. Sure I can install that on FreeBSD, but I didn’t want to hose my windows install (again). I’m required to use Adobe Photoshop for one of my jobs, and a few other windows specific packages like MS Office 2007. I don’t *like* using them, and I’m damn good with the GIMP and would LOVE to see an MS Office 2007 compatible plugin on OpenOffice so I could stop booting up into
windows again, but there we go.

So how did installing Linux not hose the install? I used this project I discovered a long time ago in its infancy called Wubi. It’s one of those things I bookmarked in my head and checked in with every month or two because it was so fucking promising. And it has turned out great.

Instead of partitioning your hard drive, Wubi takes a small performance hit by simply setting up a massive file on your Windows box and installing to that file. Presumably it uses NTFS capture or something to ensure that it doesn’t corrupt your drive.  The result, though, is a danger free install of Ubuntu. I gave it ten gigs, figuring that I haven’t ever really gotten close to that without using Virtual Machines, and I’ll just use my windows VMware install to support those.

As far as speed goes, there is a somewhat noticeable lag for things starting up. Firefox took about four seconds to start, which is on a dual core machine with a couple of gigs of RAM and a video card with a quarter gig of RAM. This thing should start firefox almost instantly and, indeed, on a dual core machine with FreeBSD on there, tuned a little, clicking on almost any application is about as responsive as can be.

The slow application startup time, though, is really only for large binaries, which is to be expected given the weird way the file system is having to behave.

My laptop volume buttons are properly configured as is, to my surprise, the scroll bar on my touchpad.  I never ever thought any linux would configure that out of the box, but there we are.

Next, I should see if Beryl will work. Oh hell yes.

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