sally_maria: (Mint Logo)
So, to start with, I've done a new entry on [community profile] shiny_things. It's definitely Dreamwidth orientated this time but hopefully some of you will find something interesting in it.

Apart from that, I'm loving the dynamic cut tags, one of those features you didn't know you wanted until they were there, and now I'm really missing them on LJ.

I've also been playing about installing new versions of Linux. My Mint installation is fairly well bedded in on the laptop, so I decided to use the other partitions for something else. My brief flirtation with OpenSuse convinced me that I'd really rather stick to Debian/Ubuntu derivatives for the time being. I'd also been thinking about going for a light-weight distribution that would boot quicker for those times when I'm not going to be spending all evening on the computer. (Not that Mint doesn't already boot faster than Windows did - these things just move the goalposts.)

More about operating systems )
sally_maria: (Mint Logo)
Well, installing Ubuntu NBR didn't take that long at all - an hour or so, maybe? On the other hand, getting it to boot properly has been a rather more challenging task.

To start with, it wouldn't show the Grub menu at all, and I wound up having to boot into Linux using its command line. Once I'd run grub-mkconfig, there was a slight improvement - now, when I turn the computer on, after sitting around for six or seven minutes, hey presto! Grub menu.

After that point, the whole thing works fine, and will boot into NBR or Windows as requested. Still, we used to think that it took Windows forever to boot, and that was only 3 mins or so. The only advantage is that NBR only has one user at the moment, so you don't have to sit over the computer to click on icons part way through the boot process - turn computer on, go away for 10 mins and come back to a computer booted and ready to play Frozen Bubble.

People on the Ubuntu forum have been trying to help, and there are some very useful web pages out there, with instructions that are straightforward enough for a relative newbie like me to use. The current state of play is that we think it may be a known bug -

I am going to try swapping the drives round, so that NBR is on the master drive, rather than the slave, as it's possible that that is part of the problem. *fingers crossed* But it may be a question of waiting for a fix for the bug - we shall see.

On the other hand, my brother, who has as far as I know never touched a Linux computer before in his life turned my desktop on, which boots into Ubuntu by default. He happily loaded Firefox and generally found his way around, with no instructions from me at all. Admittedly I've changed it to one panel at the bottom, with one menu on the left, in the standard Windows way - but still. If anyone tries to tell you that using (as opposed to installing/administrating) a Linux desktop is that much more difficult than Windows, they really aren't trying.
sally_maria: (Mint Logo)
My parents have an old lowish-spec computer, that runs XP but is rather temperamental due to various Windows bugs I haven't been able to sort out. (Basically it won't print or run 16-bit software, except as an administrator, and since one of the main things they want it for is playing our old Patience/Tetris games, that were many cases written for Windows 3.x...)

So I decided that it might be worth installing the Ubuntu Netbook Remix on it and that way they could play a whole range of Patience style games securely and with no irritating error messages. I went with NBR because not only is it designed to run on lower spec hardware but its menu system is very simple and straightforward to use - not as powerful or flexible as ordinary Gnome or KDE but that isn't what my parents need. (Mum sat down in front of it as soon as I installed it and worked out how to use it with pretty much no prompting from me.)

I started with a Wubi install, but the main hard drive in this computer was only 40Gb and I was hoping to be able to give the Ubuntu install a reasonable amount of space. So I remembered that we had a couple of hard drives knocking around that had been in older computers that no longer worked and thought it would be worth trying to put one of them into the computer in question. Since I don't do hardware, that involved waiting for my brother who does to be home for Christmas.

It wasn't a straightforward process for us - finding the right size screwdrivers, working out how to slide the drive in, and then trying to connect it, and then we booted to find that the computer refused to acknowledge the presence of either of the hard drives...

After a couple more attempts we were nearly ready to give up and call in professional help, when I spotted something rather significant in my brother's build a computer book. It really isn't a very good idea to try and connect a hard drive with a floppy drive data cable.

After that things went a little more smoothly, and once we'd worked out how to set the jumpers on the back of the drives, so that you had one master and one slave, we had a working system with an additional hard drive. Go us! Of course, at this point we realised we had used the smaller of the two extra hard drives in the machine, and really we'd be better off with the larger one. ;-)

So, open the case up again, but this time the whole thing took about 10 mins rather than the four or five hours the first time. So hopefully, if we have to do it again, the whole thing should be rather easier.

I haven't installed NBR yet - we finished the hardware tinkering at around 11pm - but hopefully that should be rather more straightforward. I'll let you know.
sally_maria: (Mint Logo)
As I had a day off today, I decided it was time to do some more fiddling with my Linux setup on the laptop.

After some discussion with [ profile] alitalf, I'd decided that the best solution was to put a new larger hard drive in the laptop, as I hadn't been able to free up enough space from my Vista partition to make using Mint a particularly sensible long term prospect. (Yes, I might have been able to make Vista give up more space by hitting it harder, but the drive was still only 80Gb.)

I'm fine with software upgrades, but I don't do hardware. Fortunately alitalf was able to take time out of his busy schedule at Oxonmoot to fit the new drive, and I came home to the chance to start again with a completely empty 320Gb drive. Of course, at this point, the Mint CD, which had already done two Wubi installs and one normal one, decided that it wasn't going to play any more. :-(

Read more... )
sally_maria: (Foxkeh)
I've been promising to write a post on my experiences with Linux over the last month or so, and now I'm finally getting round to it.

So far, my experiences have been extremely positive but I know that Linux isn't for everyone, so I'm not going to turn into one of those advocates who thinks Windows is evil, and that Linux is always the best solution.

I just like tinkering, and have the time to play with my computer to get it set up the way I want, instead of just using it for work, and so I think Linux is a good choice for me. I'd love to talk to other people who use Linux and learn from their experiences, and people who are thinking about trying it and would like to know more.

I currently have Ubuntu on my desktop computer and Linux Mint on my laptop.

Read more... )


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