Some Windows 7 Users Will Have XP Downgrade Option

According to a recent article on ZDnet that I just now got around to reading Windows 7, like Vista, will have a “downgrade” option.

However, leave it to Microsloth to restrict that ability. Apparently, only “volume license users” will be able to exercise this option. The rest of those who end up stuck with 7 are going to have to fork over hard cash to get that ability.

According to a recent article on ZDnet that I just now got around to reading Windows 7, like Vista, will have a “downgrade” option.

However, leave it to Microsloth to restrict that ability. Apparently, only “volume license users” will be able to exercise this option. The rest of those who end up stuck with 7 are going to have to fork over hard cash to get that ability.

Personally I think that, just like vista, it’s going to be a much better idea to avoid the hassle and just skip seven altogether. I know *I* am sticking with XP on my desktop machines and after the nightmare experience I’ve had with vista on my laptop, I’m seriously thinking about at least converting it to a dual boot with either Ubuntu, Kubuntu or Mandriva which I’ve heard plenty of good things about but haven’t had a chance to work with it at all.

(note to self, get a Mandriva Live-Cd and check it out)

I honestly think that we’re at a point in computer history where Microsloth’s stranglehold is losing it’s grip. I’ve seen a lot of talk in recent weeks about not only individuals, but both small and larger businesses moving to linux because of the money they can save by not having to shell out to Microsoft.

[Tags]Nightmare Experience, Kubuntu, Computer History, Dual Boot, Mandriva, Stranglehold, Hassle, Laptop, Linux, Windows, microsoft, Desktop, Exercise, Microsoft, Vista, Money[/tags]

How To Make A Bootable Flash Drive Running Ubuntu 8.10

In the world of Windows XP continues to be the preferred version for lots of people, especially after many have had a taste of the nightmare creation that is vista. Now vista is becoming less and less of an issue because Windows 7 is on the horizon.

As expected Microsoft is making a big deal about how much “better” 7 is going to be. Of course they said the same thing about Vista and we know how that turned out don’t we? It’s becoming more and more clear that for many people the Microsoft honeymoon is over and that particular honeymoon lingerie is something that this growing number of people no longer want to see.

In the world of Windows XP continues to be the preferred version for lots of people, especially after many have had a taste of the nightmare creation that is vista. Now vista is becoming less and less of an issue because Windows 7 is on the horizon.

As expected Microsoft is making a big deal about how much “better” 7 is going to be. Of course they said the same thing about Vista and we know how that turned out don’t we? It’s becoming more and more clear that for many people the Microsoft honeymoon is over and that particular honeymoon lingerie is something that this growing number of people no longer want to see.

The answer that many people are choosing is to switch to Linux. The problem with that is that for people who have never even seen Linux, let alone had a chance to use it enough to become comfortable with the idea of making it their primary operating system.

The first answer I’ve seen a lot of people suggest is to use a Live CD to boot Ubuntu linux and use that to learn your way around the system. The problem with a Live CD however is that because it doesn’t store anything on the hard drive, Every time you boot the thing you’re starting back at square one.

Fortunately there’s an easy solution. Get a flash drive with 1GB or more of space on it and make it into a bootable Ubuntu installation so that it does NOT have to start from scratch every time you boot.

You’ll need a Working CD Drive, Ubuntu 8.10 CD, and a USB flash drive with 1GB or more of space on it. Obviously the more space on the flash drive the better this will work.

Start by Downloading the Ubuntu 8.10 ISO and burn it to a CD

Then reboot your computer from the Live CD. Once you’re looking at the Ubuntu desktop, plug in 1GB or larger USB flash drive.

On the Ubuntu menu go to: System | Administration | Create a USB startup disk

On the dialog that pops up Select the USB disk to use and then Select the option “Stored in reserved extra space”. Then adjust the slider to set how much space to use (I would recommend using as much space as you can and still have room for the Ubuntu install. if you’re using a two GB flash drive, use 1GB for the reserved space) and click “Make Startup Disk”

You’ll see a progress bar tracking the installation, when it’s done all you have to do is remove the Ubuntu Cd and restart your computer. When the computer restarts, set your BIOS to boot from the USB flash drive.

Once the installation is complete, simply remove the CD, restart your computer and set your boot menu or BIOS to boot from the USB device

You now have a working Ubuntu linux installation that’s fully usable, won’t lose everything when you shut down and still will not touch your main hard drive with it’s Windows installation.

To return to Windows just reboot, boot menu or BIOS to boot from the hard drive and you’re back in your windows install and everything’s right where you left it.

I admit that I haven’t done the procedure yet myself, however I’m going to do it this weekend whenever I can scrounge up some time.

[Tags]Boot Linux, Linux, Bootable Flash Drive Usb Flash Drive, Preferred Version, Startup Disk, Usb Disk, Easy Solution, Cd Drive, System Administration, Nightmare, Hard Drive, Scratch, Primary Operating System, Windows[/tags]

Windows Declines Again In Favor of Linux

Yesterday I announced that I had had enough of Windows and the fact that in my effort to re-install a seriously hosed copy, it managed to nuke the partition table on my 250GB hard drive, taking all of the contents with it.

Yesterday I announced that I had had enough of Windows and the fact that in my effort to re-install a seriously hosed copy, it managed to nuke the partition table on my 250GB hard drive, taking all of the contents with it.

I had an install of Debian a couple years back but ended up moving back to Windoze because at the time, there was still software that I needd to run that couldn’t be made to function in Linux. However things have sure changed. For one thing, Linux now supports a wider range of video cards, motherboards and other hardware. There’s also much better support for running Windows apps natively in Linux thanks to Wine. Those things that can’t be made to work in Wine can be dealt with in a virtual machine.

So, It’s time for Wine, VM’s to handle Windoze apps and Ubuntu Linux for everything else. The only Windows install this machine will ever see again is in a VM.

Ubuntu 8.1 is an almost painfully easy (if that makes any sense, it does to me.) to install and the Synaptic package manager makes it very easy to locate and install a great many software packages automatically. For those that Synaptic doesn’t recognize, it’s not a whole lot more involved to compile software from source and install it from the command line.

[Tags]windows, crash, ubuntu, linux,migrate to linux, windows in vm[/tags]

How To Run Linux Within Windows

Thing is, changing your operating system is no small thing. It means very basic, fundamental changes to your computer and the way you work with it. This makes it very easy to understand why people are hesitant to make the change.

The OS wars continue. Microsoft thought they had a killer OS in Vista only to find out that tens of thousands (myself included) hate it. Ubuntu has recently released version 8.10, nicknamed “Intrepid Ibex” (no, I don’t know what an Ibex is let alone an intrepid one). Large numbers of people are either “upgrading” from Vista back to XP or just plain switching to Linux and declaring freedom from Microsoft entirely.

Thing is, changing your operating system is no small thing. It means very basic, fundamental changes to your computer and the way you work with it. This makes it very easy to understand why people are hesitant to make the change.

There’s all kinds of questions to be answered, most of which you won’t even think of until you’ve had a chance to run the new OS for a while and become familiar with it. If you’re moving to an OS that you already know, like a Vista victim user switching back to XP, that’s one thing. Trying out one that you’ve never seen or used is another idea entirely.

Fortunately there is a couple of ways to go. The first thing that a lot of people will suggest is to get a “Live CD” and boot from that. A “Live CD” allows you to run the new operating system entirely from your hard drive without affecting your current Windows install at all.

The only real problems with the “Live CD” is that I have found booting from and then running entirely from the cd is slower than running an installed OS, which kinda takes away from the performance. There is also the problem that running from a “Live CD” means that every time you start it, you’re basically starting over. Bookmarks, saved files, everything, gets lost when you shut down because it’s NOT saved on your hard drive. In fact, you can run a “Live CD” on a system that doesn’t even have a hard drive (great if it’s fried!) as long as you have a working CD Rom drive.

The answer that I like best is the virtual machine. This is a program that allows you to run a virtual machine within your Windows OS. That virtual machine is essentially a second computer running within your physical computer. You can do a full install of a new OS on it and run it just like it was a new machine only without having to shut down Windows or affect your Windows installation.

You can save files, bookmarks, email and whatever else. This is probably the best way to test drive a new OS short of installing it on a spare computer. What’s cool about it is that the Windows install doesn’t get touched, nor does the rest of the hard drive. You can even leave the VM running while you switch to another Windows task.

I’ve been using this myself for a while and it’s pretty cool. Earlier today I had Ubuntu Linux running in a VM with a FireFox browser open with pages loaded in several tabs. I then switched out of it to windows where I had it’s FireFox opened up with a bunch of different sites in several tabs. The two are treated very much like completely separate machines in every way.

To do this, you need three things:

The VM Ware Player. You’ll need to fill out a brief questionare and accept the terms of agreement. This download is fairly large (about 175MB) and will take a little while.

Once that’s done, you need to get an image of the Ubuntu Install Cd. The current version right now is Ubuntu 8.10 and you want the desktop edition. It’s around 700MB in size and will definitely take a while.

Finally, you’ll need a Virtual Machine Image for the VM Ware Player, This includes a file that defines a virtual 1GB hard drive for the virtual machine to run on. (yes, you’ll need to have that much free space on your physical drive to allow that file to exist, but that is the only place the VM will write to.)

Once you have all the files, you’re ready to begin.

Install the VM Ware Player, accepting the defaults for installation works fine. Next, extract the files from the OS.Zip file you downloaded and put them in a directory of their own such as C:\ubuntuvm or something like that.

Now move the ubuntu image (as of this writing that’s ubuntu-8.10-desktop-i386.iso ) to the same folders as the OS files. Right click on the OS.vmx file and select “open with” and choose Notepad.

Look for this line:

ide1:0.fileName = “c:\image.iso”

and change it to:

ide1:0.fileName = “ubuntu-8.10-desktop-i386.iso”

When that’s done save the file and quit Notepad.

The next step is to double click on the OS.vmx file and the VM Ware Player should start up. When it starts it will automatically load the ubuntu file and you can then go ahead and install Ubuntu on the Virtual Machine just as if you were installing it on a real computer.

Now you can use the VM to run Ubuntu, install applications on it, save files and use it just as you would use Windows. It gives you a chance to take your time and learn some of the ins and outs of Linux… like how to install software with the Synaptic package manager, how to install things that need to be compiled first.

Ubuntu comes with a full suite of applications for all kinds of needs. Openoffice.org to handle spreadsheets, word processing or Presentations. For tasks that it doesn’t come with software to handle, you can usually find something to take care of the job by using the Synaptic package manager. Installing new software is often a matter of selecting it from a list and allowing the manager to download and install it.

It shouldn’t take long for a lot of people to decide that Linux is the way to go for full time use and make the switch permanent. Or you could decide to just have both available thanks to the VM Ware player.

[Tags]how to, linux in windows, ubuntu, linux, virtual machine, free operating system, vm ware player, vm ware, os wars[/tags]

Sun Java Finally Open Source

Good news for Linux users, According to a recent Slashdot article, Sun Microsystems is finally moving on a decision to open-source Java.

Once it’s done and released, this will clear the way for Open source linux distributions like Debian to be able to include Sun Java in their distributions.

Apparently Sun has spend a LOT of time negotiating with various companies and software writers that own parts of the code that makes up Java. Most, it seems, have been eventually willing to open-source their code, which allows sun to keep it in their new open source version.

Other companies and software writers haven’t been so willing to open source their code and so Sun has had to rewrite those parts of Java from scratch

The last two holdouts were code involved with raster graphics and 2D graphics and a sound-related component within Java.

The first turned out to be owned by a company that didn’t want it released as open source but after some negotiations agreed to open source the code.

The second is joining the ranks to code bits that are being completely rewritten

The end result ought to be showing up soon and we can finally welcome Sun Microsystems to the Open Source community.

[Tags]open source, sun microsystems, java, sun java, source code, rewrite[/tags]