Become a friend with Ubuntu Linux
There are several ways to go when Windows user wants to try something new, mysterious, different. I am talking about Linux operating system and I will show you some useful tricks on checking out Ubuntu without destroying your Windows.
From Windows to Linux
As long term Windows user I felt a temptation to try something new. Surely I wanted to go for Apple computer and operating system but the price made me turn to Linux. Basically because it is free and also I got a feeling it is more similar to Mac OS X than to Windows.
I tried several Linux distributions and some of them really impressed me (like gOS for example) although I choose the most popular one – Ubuntu. The decision was affected by the fact that there is huge community around Ubuntu and if I have a problem, I would have better chances to find a solution.
Alright, but which Ubuntu derivate to choose?
This was a bit of pain. I read all around the net that for Windows user it is easiest to try Kubuntu first… So I went for that and I was impressed with those effects, widgets and panels. I stayed with Kubuntu to the day when I became tired of windows look.
I wanted it to change (and I heard that Linux is great in customizing, that was one of the reasons why I wanted to try it) but found it more difficult than what I expected. Especially when I looked at some websites showing different beautiful Linux screenshots, I wanted something like that. To my surprise – Kubuntu is not the right way to go in the situation! These days it is probably getting better than when I tried it (a year ago) but I am already under magic spell of classic Ubuntu which is much more customizable. And the difference is in the desktop environment. Kubuntu uses KDE and Ubuntu Gnome, which was the right way to go for me and for anybody who wants highly customizable look.
To make list of Ubuntu derivates complete, there is also Xubuntu (lightweight derivate which is supposed to run on slower machines – not really usable these days), Ubuntu Netbook Remix (for netbooks of course ;)), school Edubuntu or Ubuntu Studio for multimedia production. Go and try whatever you want. Most of these derivates offer a “Live CD” which is the simplest and non-destructive way of trying one out. You just need to boot the system from this CD. But it is just as simple that you won’t be able to store any changes to the system, nor installing any software…
I want to try Ubuntu with full potential
If you want to try Ubuntu with its full potential, forget about Live CD! What you need is running the system the way that you could install new software, make system updates and saving all your settings including the look. You won’t get this with Live CD simply because the system won’t burn your changes into CD disk. There are several ways of achieving the right results, these are the easiest:
- Install Ubuntu on USB flashdrive and run it from there (boot the computer to flasdrive)
- Install Ubuntu on harddrive next to your Windows installation (or onto different partition of harddrive)
- Final solution is completely new installation of Ubuntu system on your computer
Let me start with the last one as that’s what I started with when I get to Kubuntu. I didn’t know at the time that there was some other solution available and went on with normal installation to my laptop but onto separate drive partition to keep also my Windows and dual-boot with Kubuntu. Bad idea! Linux and Windows uses different system loaders and Linux’s loader overwrote my Vista’s one. It was fine until my Vista crashed completely that I needed to reinstall it (it happens on Windows from time to time ;)). After reinstallation I couldn’t get to Kubuntu as its loader was gone and replaced with Vista’s one again. Bla bla bla, I won’t tell you the whole story. Finally I managed to run both systems again but I told to myself that the nerves I lost during the procedure and possibility of doing it again in the future is not worth that! So I’d say, use the last solution really at last. When you are completely decided to use just Ubuntu, or you can use the solution when you have some spare computer around to sacrifice it as Ubuntu machine.
That’s all for now. In next episodes of this series I will show you how to manage installation with 2 solutions – Ubuntu on flashdrive and Ubuntu using Wubi. I use both.