Sunday, April 22, 2007

Installing Ubuntu Feisty Fawn With Dual Boot

As a counterpoint to my Windows Re-Installations notes, here I'm going to give a blow-by-blow of my installation of Ubuntu 7.04 (Feisty Fawn) on that Hal's Evil Twin. HsET is an old (2003) Dell Dimension 2350 computer, with 512MB memory, a DLink DWL-G510 wireless card, a Microsoft Wireless Keyboard/Mouse combo, plus a Wacom graphics tablet which also serves as a wireless mouse, and connected to a Canon printer. The goal is to set this up as a dual-boot machine, and not have to run an Ethernet connection from the DLink router downstairs up to the computer, i.e., get the wireless running. Then Spouse, who likes Linux because it boots up a heck of a lot faster than our Windows machine, can read email while I'm composing pointless blog entries.

This is still an incomplete story, so stay tuned for further developments. Right off the bat, let me tell you that I don't have the Wireless connection going, yet.

First, we need media to hold Ubuntu. I've pretty much filled up the Seagate 120GB disk with Windows stuff, so I connected a Maxtor 40 GB disk (HsET's original disk, as it turns out) as a second drive:

The duct tape isn't the only thing holding up the disk, the cable is quite stiff and keeps everything upright. The tape is just to keep things from jostling around when the box gets moved.

For some reason we have to set the jumpers to make the Seagate the Master and the Maxtor the Slave. Setting both to Cable Select just gives you a computer that doesn't boot at all, even though both of the drives are attached to the same cable, in proper order.

So here we go:

  1. The target disk is now /dev/hdb. I find it easier to format these things before installing the distribution, so I loaded up a GParted Live CD to set everything up. I decided on these partitions:
    Mount Point File System Size
    /boot ext3 1 GB
    / ext3 12 GB
    /usr/local ext3 5 GB
    /home ext3 19.29 GB
    swap Linux Swap 1 GB
    (note: GParted found Microsoft Wireless keyboard/mouse, but not the Wacom tablet)
    GParted is quite easy to use, and I find it helpful to see what I'm doing, rather than trying to do it by cylinder number with fdisk.
  2. Burn a Ubuntu Feisty Fawn (7.04) Live CD.
  3. Boot it.
  4. Weird. The text screen resolution went Apple ][: 40x25.
  5. However, the GUI is fine. Wacom mouse works out of the box, as does the wireless keyboard.
  6. There is a warning message that we're using a Restricted Driver for the WiFi card.
  7. Try to set up wireless interface, connect to house 802.11g WPA personal network. Timed out. Though this is ultimately a deal-breaker, go ahead with the install and worry about it later ...
  8. Click the Install Button.
  9. Language: English.
  10. Time Zone: EDT (New York).
  11. U.S. English keyboard
  12. Set up partitions as above. (Manual install.) Does it really have to rescan the disk every time you click the mouse?
  13. Format everything, even though it's already formatted (it's Required by Ubuntu).
  14. Temporarily, at least, set Windows as the default boot device. See how at
  15. Reboot to Windows: Works (including wireless).
  16. Reboot to Linux: Works, except for wireless. It can even see the NTFS and VFAT files on the Windows partitions.
  17. To do:
    • Fix Wireless
    • Check printer drivers: Dapper's drivers did not do well with the Canon printer.
    • Update, load up software that we might want. This mostly involves things such as Java and Flash, and Feisty's pretty good about helping with that installation, once we have an Internet connection.
    • Move Spouse's files from downstairs upstairs.

To be continued ...