Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Linux - chapter 2

I did not like failing on my first attempt with Linux.  And maybe I wanted to give myself an excuse to buy a MacBook whose MacOS is based on Unix.

For some bizarre reason I decided to try to load Linux on my one PC, a Dell laptop of little note.  I want to preserve WindowsXP, you know, in case Linux cannot do stuff like the stuff it could not do when I briefly had that Dell mini 910 on which Dell had installed Ubuntu Linux, one of the many Linux flavors.

I have developed an increased belligerence toward the Linux community for their impractical, self-laudatory, non-commercial attitude.  I also have decided to pronounce Linux as I had when I first learned of it, with a long i.

The latest silliness: Ubuntu Linux encourages you to download the operating system (OS).  Here are the choices:

Notice that the older 8.04 will be maintained longer than the newer 8.10.  I'd like it to remain a mystery, so don't tell me.

Here is what prompted me to write this and admit my silly attempt to deal with Linux again.  The OS is contained in an ISO file.  What the heck is that?  Read on.  After downloading it I first tried to copy it onto a CD.  The ISO file is too big for a standard 650 meg CD, not by much, just big enough to not fit.  Who does that?  Who distributes something in an unusual form and makes it just a little too big to fit on the medium they encourage you to use?  How impractical are these people?  They seem to be so full of themselves that they want to keep this open OS restricted to their elite circle.  That's probably why there are so many flavors.  Each genius wants to do it his way.  Yes, they are all men as far as I have seen so far.  The only woman mentioned is Ian's wife Deb whose names  together form the Debian name associated with this guy's flavor.  I hope Deb dumped Ian.

I then bought a USB flash drive at Radio Shack with four gig for $15; good deal.  I never had one before.  I thought that I could somehow put the ISO file on the USB flash drive.  First I copied both current versions onto the flash drive and tried to boot from the flash drive.  It just sits there.  Turns out an ISO file is an image of the Linux OS on a CD.  Who knew?  Oh, the geniuses who want to make the world a better place but cannot even distribute their product.  Ordering a free CD takes TEN weeks.  Gee, I guess they are trying to discourage that.  It worked.

Then I found way down in the ubuntu.com site some info that indicated that they want you to "burn" the ISO file onto a CD.  While I cannot find an actual definition of burn it appears to include formatting the CD.  My USB flash drive comes with programs on it.  I do not want to burn it.  I want to burn the Linux guys.  I just want to expand the stupid ISO file, which unlike zip and cab files, does NOT compress, and then copy the liberated files onto my new USB flash drive and try to boot from the flash drive and load the damn Linux OS.  Whew!

Here's another flash for the Linux geniuses: some new PCs do not contain a CD drive!  The Debian site talks about creating a boot disk on a floppy.  Say what?  Floppy drives have not been placed in PCs in years.

http://ask-leo.com mentioned:

Treat the iso file as if it were an archive.

Recall how I indicated that iso files are much like zip or cab files? As it turns out some of the popular archiving utilities, including WinRAR and my personal favorite 7 Zip can also read and extract the contents of iso files.

Now you're talking.  OK, Leo's link to 7 Zip did not work but I found it.

7-Zip is open source software.

Hey, tell the Linux guys!

It worked!  Wow, wow, wow, wow, wowie!  Thank you Leo.  Thank you 7 Zip.

Of course, the Linux boys had yet another silliness: a file named README.diskdefines.  I tried to open it but they did not have the sense to name it .txt so that Notepad would open it.  I used Notepad to open it.  Here is the content:

#define DISKNAME  Ubuntu 8.10 "Intrepid Ibex" - Release i386
#define TYPE  binary
#define TYPEbinary  1
#define ARCH  i386
#define ARCHi386  1
#define DISKNUM  1
#define DISKNUM1  1
#define TOTALNUM  0
#define TOTALNUM0  1

Yeah, that's s real readme file.  I learned a lot.

OK, it's time to try to reboot from my USB flash drive and use Ubuntu to create a partition and then to load Ubuntu Linux into the new partition.  Wish me luck.  If this blog does not have a follow up message soon, you will know that I fell into the Linux abyss.

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