30 Mar 2009

Waddling with Penguins - Moving over to Linux

Since the last 3 weeks I’ve been immersed neck-deep into the wide interesting world of penguins and it has been an exhilarating as well as draining experience. Through a series of Linux articles I intend to pen down my experiences with the penguins and to provide enough information for others who want to try something similar.

Somewhere during the start of March 2009, my Vista login screen froze, the touchpad wouldn’t respond and no amount of restore and safe mode tricks could bring it back to status quo. Now please – no MS bashing here. Those guys have made wonderful software that works stable out of the box for most people. My argument for checking out the penguin was – well anyway I have to format my boot drive and reinstall things again – why not take this opportunity to checkout an alternative OS. And the FOSS buzz coupled with nice looking Linux screenshots prompted me to give it a try.

Though I have been a developer and have taken a pretty much interest in Maurice Bach’s “Design of the UNIX OS”, I can safely be considered a chap who has never done nothing much on a terminal, save for an “ls” or a “cat” or an ftp session. In fact during one of my assignments when I had to migrate encrypted docs from a Perl application in Linux, I actually ended up ftp’ing the whole 30GB of Linux disk on my XP machine and then doing the migration. Anyways what the heck, I’ve seen chaps who work on unix terminals all day still get confused when they enter the exciting and confusing world of Linux distributions (“distros” for short).

A backgrounder - somewhere in early 2008, I had ordered a free copy of Ubuntu desktop CD from Canonical. Was surprised when the CD was actually delivered 4 months later. But the sad fact was - how much ever I tried booting from that, it stopped at the root prompt and provided no UI at all. And I refused to research the matter any further. I have also tried DSL (Damn Small Linux) – which is the first thing I’d recommend complete “noobs” to try out before they take the jump. You don’t need to really install anything. Download the archive, unzip it and click on one of the batch files to actually get full-fledged Linux working right within windows. Perfect for the learners!

But this time I had mentally decided that I was gonna get a nice free Linux OS installed on my laptop – come what may be. I was gonna leverage all the help available on the internet to take a deep dive into the penguin world. And I was gonna cross over and actually use it on a day-to-day basis and finally take a call 6 months later whether I should stick with Linux or Windows.

With that I’ll boot you into the next series of exciting posts on this topic.
Next - Choosing a distro for my laptop


  1. Interesting and all the best :)

  2. Oh i got good information about this on your blog.

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  3. I am with you. Atleast I will start with DSL :-)

    Well new look for the blog looks cool...