Friday, October 19, 2007

Grappling the Gutsy Gibbon

I've been invited by GameGod to contribute to this blog giving ongoing updates of my foray into the world of Linux. However, I haven't figured out if it's because he thinks some readers may find it illuminating to see how a total newb is getting along with Ubuntu, or if its because he is sick of helping me with this stuff and wants the comments section to take his place. Regardless, here I am.

As far as operating systems go, I've been using Win2K for probably about 5-6 years. Sure, theres probably something nice about XP, but 2K has been good and stable for me and I dont want to rock the boat. However, I've been tinkering around with an old P3 800mhz thats been kicking around, getting it to run Ubuntu 7.04 so I can make a mythtv box. Everything has been going pretty well, except for the fact that while I'm at school I have a hard time justifying the $150 in hardware I need to purchase to get the thing off the ground. The one thing I did learn in that experience though is that iTunes is a piece of garbage and I want to use Rhythmbox full time. Therefore, I've decided to make the plunge and give this "dual booting" nonsense a try so I can have Win2k for gaming, and Ubuntu for living.

My progress so far is as follows:
Downloaded the new version of Ubuntu (7.10). Booted off the CD to give it a shot. Sound doesn't work, wireless doesn't work. The built-in wireless networking app cant detect the network, and freezes the whole system when I try to manually connect. That may just be a problem with the boot cd, or it may be that I dont have the correct drivers at the moment (I've got a USB key with drivers, apps, and instructions so I hope that'll cure what ails me. Also, here's a handy list of supported wireless cards. Link). After wrestling with some HDs for a while (sata is new to me, and thats a long story that has nothing to do with linux) I've got them both up and running.
The game plan is to format the new 100gb drive to ntfs, backup my files from my primary drive to the 100gb, wipe the primary (a 320gb), partition it with about 100gb for windows, 200 gb for Ubuntu. Install windows, install linux, dual boot. Then if I want, format the 100gb to ext3 (or whatever the linux format is), and then use that.
My first HD problem was with gparted. Got the 100gb HD in, set it to delete the current partition, and format it to NTFS. Everything looked good, but it did everything unusually quickly and then crashed. Cool. Thanks gparted. So I booted back into windows, checked it out, and everything looked fine (I threw a file on it, loaded it from the 100gb). I decided though that I'd like to make sure everything was working properly and make sure there wasnt some corrupted section thats going to make me lose my files. I figured I would give gparted another shot so I used the boot CD, got into Ubuntu, performed the same operation as I did before, only this time it failed making the drive NTFS, and would crash every time I tried to do anything with that drive. So then I booted into Win2K, and formatted it via My Computer in less than 2 minutes without any problems. As it stands, I'm copying my folder of files-to-backup over to the 100gb.
Well actually, this is the second time. The first time the operation failed because it said that one of the files couldnt be copied because the name was too long (what the hell? If the name was too long, why didnt they make me rename it when I saved it on my primary drive? I checked the name, and its just a pdf file without any of the banned characters in the name). So I moved the subfolder with that file in it out of the back-up folder to try again. But because half of the stuff was copied on in whichever order, I decided to delete everything and try again. The recycle-bin told me that some of the files had names too long to be put into the recycle bin....

Why do I have the feeling that this is just the beginning?

Update: I think I have figured out the "filename too long" problem. I guess the "filename" isn't just the name of the file itself, but the location of the file as well. So instead of garbage.pdf, its c:\stuff\garbage.pdf. But if you have it on the desktop or something, its c:\documentsandsettings\users\username\desktop\stuff\garbage.pdf. So apparently for whichever reason, theres a limit to how big the filename would go. I always had this folder of stuff right in c:\ so there was never a problem with the largish filenames. However, once I put it on my desktop, or in a subfolder in my backup folder, they became so large that I couldn't open some of the files (which I definitely have done before). So I guess I learned something new there.
Also, there wont be any updates from me until monday at the least. Going home for the weekend, and bringing back my Win2k cd so I can finish this off. I'll also be meeting up with Gamegod, so I'll be able to ask for annoyingly detailed questions about how to get dual-booting set up


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