Living with Linux Part One

For a blog ostensibly about books, why am I writing about living with linux? (Should that be capitalised? Hmm…. Off to the internets! Apparently it is, as it’s trademarked. And it should be GNU/Linux, else Richard Stallman will get all worked up.) The reason that I’m living with Linux is because my laptop and Windows 7 decided to have something of an argument. Windows 7 went to sleep one night (it may have updated, I’m not sure), and wouldn’t wake up the next morning. Cue some tremendous annoyance, especially as I was due to leave town for five days shortly afterwards.

It wasn’t the RAM, the hard-disk was alive, as I loaded a live-boot virus scanning CD that was built on Linux, and managed to navigate the old file-system, and I couldn’t work out an obvious cause. The recovery partition didn’t work. So, I downloaded a legal .iso file for my version of Windows 7, as computer manufacturers have this annoying habit of not shipping with install discs! (See here, via PC-World) And it didn’t work. I tried a few other things, and finally grabbed the latest Ubuntu (definitely a proper noun) from www.ubuntu.com (12.04 Precise Pangolin in a 32-bit flavour). Put it on the thumb drive, and the computer booted. My relief and happiness was tremendous. I bit the bullet, and told it to install the hard-disk, and I’d work it further from there. Slight issue that when the laptop required the thumb-drive to be plugged in to boot in Ubuntu, but I think that the bootloader was installed on the thumb-drive rather than the hard-disk. Simple fix by executing “sudo grub-install /dev/sda” (without the quote marks) in a terminal window.

So. I reached the point where I had to decide to reinstall Windows 7 again now that I had a working laptop. Or do I bite the bullet and go with Ubuntu? I’ve been a luke-warm fan of the FOSS movement for a while, but I’d never managed more than dipping my toes into the water. I have some Warty Warthog Ubuntu CDs kicking around, I installed Fedora on a desktop box in 2006 for a few days, my laptop still wants to boot into Linux Mint, but I’ve never really followed through. Microsoft Office drives me crazy, but SunOffice, OpenOffic.org, LibreOffice and GoogleDocs were just too buggy.

I’m going to make a serious go of it this time. I’m going to live with Linux for a week. For everything. Everything! Including actually starting this blog. This is a terribly roundabout way of saying that I’m writing about Linux because I need Linux to write about books.