Ubuntu now

200px-Linux_tux_logo.pngI realize that my original plan was to try out Ubuntu Linux using the Wubi dual-boot system, making sure that everything worked and then after a full month, switching over. But I lost patience — having Windows on my disk was slowing me down, consuming scores of gigabytes of space, and forcing me to postpone what was becoming increasingly inevitable.
As a result, I took the decision last night to spend this morning backing up everything I had of value in Windows, and then making a clean install of Ubuntu Linux 7.04. As of a few minutes ago, Linux is the only operating system on my computer.
See my earlier entries to see why I chose Linux in the first place and my experience in two weeks of using it. Below are some notes on the install for anyone considering doing what I’ve done.

These notes are in no particular order — just observations:
1. Wubi is not Ubuntu. There are differences. A couple that came up: Skype comes pre-installed with Ubuntu, but not with Wubi. gFTP comes with Wubi, but not with Ubuntu. I’m sure I’ll discover more.
2. In the middle of the install, there was a moment when the progress bar stopped. The on-screen message said something about ‘downloading’. Downloading? I was installing from a free DVD that came with Linux Format magazine. So I clicked on the icon for my wireless Internet connection, which worked, and the install proceeded. Every computer magazine on sale in Britain today has Ubuntu on the CD or DVD which comes with the magazine, but if you don’t want to deal with that and are prepared to wait, the people behind Ubuntu will happily send you a CD for free in the post. (I find this amazing.)
3. The longest part of the whole process, by far, was cleaning up Windows, finding what I wanted to keep, and backing it up to an external hard drive. Setting up Ubuntu took only a few minutes, though there was the added wait caused by 81 updates which I needed to download. (The automatic downloading of updates for all software is a fantastic feature of Ubuntu Linux. Having known people whose PCs have never been updated, who use the software which came with the PC out of the box, for this reason alone people who lack IT skills should use Linux instead of Windows.)
4. Ubuntu popped up a warning early on about some of these updates being non-authenticated. I’m not sure what that means and hadn’t seen it before, even though I went through a similar process with Wubi. This is not a helpful message, especially to newbies, and should be changed.
5. Moving the files I had created while using Wubi was quite easy — I simply copied them back from the external hard drive, and they nearly all worked without a hitch. My emails were retrieved, it found my old ones, my browser bookmarks and saved passwords for the web were still there, gFTP (once installed) found all my bookmarks, and so on.
6. I wasn’t able to restore data from GnoTIME, a time tracker program. Apparently these are held in XML format and for some reason didn’t survive the migration. Fearing that this might be the case, I printed out the results of the last two weeks before making the move. For the moment, I’m using a web-based time tracking tool, Harvest.
7. Finally, I thought I’d take a look, see how much disk space I now had. A few hours ago, I was down to 21 GB of free space on my hard drive, which is actually not very much. The machine ran slowly. Right now, I’m up to 46 GB of free space. In fact, I’ve got more than 80% of my hard drive free to use again. (And no need, ever, to defragment.)
With no anti-virus software running, the system works lightning-fast. I feel as if I’ve bought a new computer.

6 Comments on "Ubuntu now"

  1. i want to install wubi.exe but i dont want to download ubuntu 7.04 cause i’d already had one in my harddrive, how can i bypass the download?

  2. eric
    i think i read somewhere on your blog that the idea was to go open source – and give up practically whats gone before. You’ve done this now and you seem to have been converted (earlier than originally planned).
    Like you I have done the same – I am still working on the kids though!
    You will find though that using a linux os is a liberating experience. Ubuntu is the tip of the iceberg – and hopefully you will carry on learning about apt-gets and ogg!
    Using linux does require skill – but feisty (ubuntu 7.04) is probably the breakthrough os.
    Microsoft are fully aware of this new wave of enthusiasm, and have moved (in recent months) to ‘negotiate’ with both novell-Suse and Xandros linux OS’s in order to ‘secure’ their own investment!
    This is a worry. Where do we stand in 18months? Will microsoft sue all linux users for infringing their copyright. I hope not.
    I am going to have to stop doing this – i provide better copy for your blog than my own!

  3. good move, 7.04 is an excellent distribution and xubuntu is fairly sprightly on older the machines, given the localisation within various Ubuntu releases I think it is destined to take off in the developing world
    funny enough, as much as I loathes M$ stuff, I tend to keep a Windows partition, just in case, there are a few odd occasions when it might the handy (testing a new piece of hardware, verify kit, etc, issues with Windows managers), nowadays with larger disks it’s not much of a hassle to split them.
    if you get the opportunity have a play with Wine, etc
    another good distro is Zenwalk, although not Debian based, it is very functional and fast
    Cheers 🙂

  4. Matthew Flaschen | 13/06/2007 at 00:44 |

    I’m glad everything is working well for you. I’m running a version of Kubuntu, which is Ubuntu with the KDE desktop (a different GUI). I just wanted to clear a couple things up about your post. Skype doesn’t actually come with Ubuntu, since it’s proprietary software. You shouldn’t need to download anything during the installation. I don’t know what that was about. “Non-authenticated” means there’s something wrong with the digital signature on the updates; that’s not supposed to happen, but has been known to and probably doesn’t mean a security problem. I don’t know why you weren’t able to transfer the GnoTIME settings; XML files are just like ordinary text. And 21 GB is more than enough free space for most users. That’s a couple weeks of unique songs, just to pick an example.

  5. Hi,
    I read you were importing messages from thebat to ubuntu. I am considering now moving to ubuntu and would really appreciate if you shared your experience with me. How does this import work? Did you use standard thebat import feature? Did it keep folder structure? Did it keep message statuses like replied, forwarded etc?
    I’ve got about 40000 messages – would it be better to import them in small portions (I saw you had problems)?

  6. The Bat allows exporting to Unix type files.
    The problem was that Evolution doesn’t like to import very large files.
    I broke up the files in The Bat, then saved in Unix format, then imported into Evolution.
    I don’t know if it kept the status (replied, opened, read, etc.) but the folder structure was intact as I saved each folder as a Unix mailbox.
    Hope this helps.

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