Monday, 12 April 2010

Switching to Linux

As a first short post, I'll just mention that I recently installed Linux (Ubuntu) on my work laptop (a ThinkPad T61). Up 'till now, I've been using Windows XP (work policy), but I have been curious about Linux for some time now, and wanted to give it a try. Seeing as I also constantly have to deal with servers running on Linux anyway, I saw this as a nice opportunity to learn something new.

I always assumed that in order to install a second operating system, a second partition on the hard drive would also be needed. I was pleasantly surprised to find that Ubuntu can actually be installed as a Windows application. That's right, a whole operating system can be downloaded and installed as a regular application, and if you don't like it, you can also uninstall it as an application. In stead of using a separate partition, the Ubuntu operation system is saved in one big file, which works as a separate disk/partition when you are inside Ubuntu. The Windows installer can be downloaded here.

After installing, I restarted my machine, and a "boot loader" pops up, asking if I wanted to use Windows or Ubuntu. Choosing Ubuntu, I was amazed at how fast the startup process was (20-30 seconds), and having logged in, I found a beautiful, responsive GUI with a very nice selection of preinstalled programs. Everything worked "out of the box", and I was connected to the internet (wifi) and surfing within half a minute.

This "Ubuntu Windows Application" is highly recommended for anyone curious about Linux. I will keep posting my experiences with it as I go.


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