After a short break, I’m here to pick up blogging once again. Incoherent as always, but then again, would you expect anything else from me?
I made the switch and now I’m a fully fledged Linux user. This was a great learning experience so here are few pointers for people who are just preparing to undertake this journey:
For me the first hurdle was partitioning my hard drive. The recent versions of windows use NTFS which preaty much sucks. Why? Because it’s not an open standard, and Open Source Comminity and it is not supported by the standard partitioning tools shipped with most of the current stable Linux distributions. Mandrake 9.2 installer could not touch my NTFS partition even though it was compleately defragmented. The Knoppix tools also could not resize it – and I got the most recent version avaliable…
I was recomended to use Partition Magic made by Symantec – it seems to be hell of a tool actually. It however has one major drawback – it is freekishly expensive. The price ranges from more than $80 to little bellow $40, but it seems that all the low range prices were offered by some very shady internet dealers. I think buying a tool that I will not be using very often, for more than my operating system is absolutely ridiculus (MDK Discovery costs 50 bucks! And since I downloaded set of iso’s my OS costed me exactly $0)!
Fortunately there is a free alternative which works just as well as Partition Magic. I found out that the newest GNU Parted can actually work with NTFS quite well. Of course you have to get the release which is more recent than the one included in Knoppix. Ideally we would want it on some live distro, just like good old knopp – and such an ideal solution does exist. Recent release of SystemRescueCD includes an up to date version of QTParted which is a great GUI app based on Parted. It resized my NTFS partition without any problems whatsoever. I highly recomend getting SRCD even if you do not need to do the partitioning excercise like me, because of all the cool features it includes. I think Knopp and SRCD should be in every emergency cd case out there :)
Now, QTParted partition and format your free space into any linux file system – ext2, ext3, swap – etc… I didn’t do that though – I left the space free and allowed MDK installer to do the job and autoallocate the resources for me. I must say that this distribution fully lived up to it’s reputation as one having the most friendly installer software ever! I must say that most windows installs I did in my life haven’t gone half that smoothly! 90% of my hardware was autodetected and configured correctly. Only my scanner didn’t quite make it, but out of laziness I haven’t even attempted to correct that yet.
Now here is an important tip to anyone still using dialup like me – double check your modem! If you have an internal PCI modem then you are preaty much screwed just like me. These things are not really modems – they are simple phone interface cards. All the modem functions are implemented in software – and most of the software drivers are only avaliable for windows… There are drivers out there but they often need work to install and configure correctly. If you are lucky, you will just need to download a package and installit… If you are less lucky you will need to compile it from source… If you do not even know what luck is (like me) you might need to recompile your kernel… Check the linmodems site for details on how to go about getting a winmodem to work on linux…