|Moving To Linux (Jan 2013)||What choice ?
Make an Installer stick
As the years roll by there's been less and
less excuse not to move to Linux as an alternative desktop
Granted, Linux hasn't made it particularly easy to either install or use in the past. It used to be touch and go whether your PC could boot or had the right hardware. And you had to be a sort of a programmer to use it. The main complaint being that Linux was not Idiot Proof, requiring the user to actually 'understand' what was going on behind the screen. This philosophy does not go well with the majority of non-geeky people.
|Now that Linux has
matured, the tables have turned. Most modern Linux
systems will auto-detect modern hardware. Meaning not only do you
not have to install common drivers, but also that if you move your
installed OS to another PC, it would probably boot and work without
change. This is not something you can easily do with Windows.
Linux has also caught up with package management (i.e proper installers/uninstallers). Even upgrading the kernel with new drivers is now automated. No more messy compiling or hair pulling. Just a proper kick ass system that does the job.
|What choice to do
you have ?
Probably the worst thing that happened to Linux is it's abundance of choice. This had led to a case of 'too many chefs in the kitchen' in which any new software had to cater for a variety of system installations. But after a time some noteable names stood out like Debian, Redhat, BSD and other numerous flavours.
For the geek, It doesn't really matter which distro is chosen because the geek knows that Linux is just a filesystem with a kernel and supporting software.
But for the non-geeky newbie, it matters a lot. He doesn't want to toil hours over a simple change, he wants an array of things to be ready to go, namely;
Easy adding and removing Apps.
Being a kind of minimalist, I'm here to recommend a distro that can be easily run on anything from the worst performing netbook to any high end PC.
Lubuntu - A lightweight version of Ubuntu that's scaleable and doesn't tax your cpu or resources.
Lubuntu is a lightweight version of Ubuntu that boots in less than 30 secs.
Ubuntu is an internationally recognised heavy weight distro in the Linux world with solid support in terms of hardware drivers and apps.
We have to remember that the linux kernel (+drivers) is relatively tiny compared to the rest of the system. When distros catch on to a large audience, there tends to be loud power users who want everything big new and shiny, not all of which is neccesary for everyday use. On top of this a distro must cater for about 150 langauges, source code, development tools,..etc. All of which is irrelevant to an average user. This all comes at a cost of disk/memory space and new hardware.
If you strip away all the 'fat', you can easily come up with leaner distros such as Lubuntu. The 'L' standing for LXDE lightweight desktop manager. Fully installed, this comes around to about 2 to 3 GB. Which could fit onto a 4GB USB pendrive/stick or permamently onto any harddisk partition.
The advantage of having it on a USB stick is that you can boot it on any machine, and it would auto detect any new hardware upon boot. THIS really shows off Linux's edge over Windows in today's modern age.
|And you can install it from a USB
stick to another USB stick. How cool is that ?
|How to make a Lubuntu Installer stick (from
This is basically a live CD installer image transfered to a USB pendrive.
1. Download Unetbootin
This is a piece of software which can extract the Live CD iso image to a USB pendrive and make it bootable.
2. Download the latest Lubuntu Live CD image (.iso).
You can either go to the Lubuntu website or
You can select the download from within inside Unetbootin.
Make sure you have your empty USB stick (at least 1GB) plugged in and select it.
Select the CD image you already downloaded OR highlight it to be downloaded from it's list.
The rest should be automatic and you should end up with a bootable installer stick. This is the stick you will install with, NOT the target stick. The target stick has to be seperate.
|How to Install
Lubuntu To a USB Stick
1. Reboot your target machine with the installer stick, setting your bios to boot from USB if needed. you will end up with a live desktop and you can generally mess around trying out the apps. There should be one Installer icon on the desktop, don't click it yet.
2. Plug in your target USB stick (at least 4GB) so that
the installer recognises it and just say 'no' if it wants to open a file manager.
Open an LXTerminal (from Accessories) , and type;
You will see some mounts. The last one with the word "media" will be the target stick, e.g /dev/sdb1
Remember this because e.g "sdb1" will be the partition to install to when you run the Installer icon.
3. Run the Installer icon.
Say 'yes' if it wants to un-mount your target stick.
Choose 'Something Else' when it comes to the partitions.
Select your target stick e.g 'sdb1' and click 'Change'
Choose Use As 'ext4'. (choose to format it)
Mount point as '/'.
Device for 'boot loader installation' should be e.g /dev/sdb1 NOT /dev/sdb
This is important, choosing the wrong one will overwrite the MBR with GRUB's which is not what we want. (We don't want to touch the MBR, just the VBR, I found this method more reliable for booting).
Ignore any swap space, we don't want it (this is a single partition).
After installation, you have a choice
A) Take out the installer stick and reboot. That is, stay with GRUB's VBR on the boot sector and hope it boots.
B) Install EXTlinux, a reliable bootloader.
If you need an MBR to multi-boot other OSs, I recommend Ranish.
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