T Nation

Embracing My Inner Nerd and Linux

For reasons I am not even all together clear on myself, I installed the Linux distribution Ubuntu 6.06 (Dapper Drake) as a dual boot on my machine with Windows XP. This was not without its moments of drama, frustration, muttered swearing and gnashing of teeth (such as when the Xserver did not feel like loading), but I now have it up and running, using it for this very post.

Now that is running, I really like it… well, except for not being able to figure out yet how to access my Windows files from Linux so I can snag my MP3s and photos.

I know there are a few Linux-y types on here and I was curious to what extent do you use it. Has anyone dropped everything MS or Mac to go full-time Linux? If so, what have been some of your biggest issues? And my favorite question… do you think Linux can ever make the jump to a true mainstream OS?

Hey there,
After installing Ubuntu on a spare laptop I “borrowed” from work, I forced myself to use only that for a week.

Not a problem.

AFA getting stuff off your Windows box, just burn it to a CD. shrug No biggie.

If you had two machines (Win and *nix) on a network, you’d use Samba (SMB) to transfer files hither and yon.

The beauty thing about Ubuntu is the package manager… poke around the forums and find some more repositories and install a bunch of stuff to play around with.

Also, you’ll want to write a little script to turn DMA off (or was it on?) on your DVD drive if you intend to watch movies.

Welcome to Linux.

Bob

As an aside, I think the fact I now:
a) get this; and
b) actually think it’s funny

is not a good sign. lol

[quote]Kuz wrote:
Now that is running, I really like it… well, except for not being able to figure out yet how to access my Windows files from Linux so I can snag my MP3s and photos.
[/quote]

Oh, also, you can “mount” the NTFS partition and grab the files that way. Look it up.

Trying not to give too much away… I find that searching for the answers and trial/error is the best way to really absorb material.

Good luck!
Bob

Linux will always non-mainstream, and thats how I like it!

I use Kubuntu on my laptop, and love it. Unfortunatly, I’ve never dual booted, so I don’t know how to acces windows files.

Stick with it! Linux is tough to learn but damn is it rewarding :slight_smile: .

[quote]Norwell Bob wrote:
Kuz wrote:
Now that is running, I really like it… well, except for not being able to figure out yet how to access my Windows files from Linux so I can snag my MP3s and photos.

Oh, also, you can “mount” the NTFS partition and grab the files that way. Look it up.

Trying not to give too much away… I find that searching for the answers and trial/error is the best way to really absorb material.

Good luck!
Bob[/quote]

I have been trying to find the NTFS partition and have found some info on the Ubuntu forums concerning that, but so far I have not quite solved the puzzle.

But I do agree - the trial and error is really where the big learning occurs.

Do you have any particular favorite apps you like? I am trying to build my library up.

I’m a little rusty… I dropped my hobbie with computers a long time ago, but yes it is possible to mount an NTFS drive onto your linux. For help always refer to the man pages - throw up an xterm if your in Xwindows or if your in a console man mount. Man pages will help you figure out pretty much everything… otherwise check for your HOW-TOs usually under usr/doc/something HOW-TO … yah i told you its been a while… or do an slocate for HOW-TO.

As for the NTFS try this
Depending on where your NTFS mount is check with fdisk or cfdisk for which hd it is and which partition (lets say its hda1)

mount -t ntfs /dev/hda1 /home/Kuz/Windows

now lets say you dont want to have to type that everytime you log in…

you want to add something like
mount -t ntfs /dev/hda1 /home/Kuz/Windows

in /etc/fstab

As for my experience with linux - or any *nix based platform for that matter… I used to be a system administrator a few years back for a few companies and ran distros of linux and bsd. So if you have any questions send me a PM and i’ll help you get things setup… Just remember never do anything on the internet as root! and make sure to secure your machine as soon as possible!

As for dual-boot if its more feasable what I did for test distrubitions was run something called VMWare it was an emulator and you could run Linux on it while running windows at the sametime and it was easier to network the virtual linux machine with the windows one.

[quote]JG wrote:
I’m a little rusty… I dropped my hobbie with computers a long time ago, but yes it is possible to mount an NTFS drive onto your linux. For help always refer to the man pages - throw up an xterm if your in Xwindows or if your in a console man mount. Man pages will help you figure out pretty much everything… otherwise check for your HOW-TOs usually under usr/doc/something HOW-TO … yah i told you its been a while… or do an slocate for HOW-TO.

As for the NTFS try this
Depending on where your NTFS mount is check with fdisk or vfdisk for which hd it is and which partition (lets say its hda1)

mount -t ntfs /dev/hda1 /home/Kuz/Windows

now lets say you dont want to have to type that everytime you log in…

you want to add something like
mount -t ntfs /dev/hda1 /home/Kuz/Windows

As for my experience with linux - or any *nix based platform for that matter… I used to be a system administrator a few years back for a few companies and ran distros of linux and bsd. So if you have any questions send me a PM and i’ll help you get things setup… Just remember never do anything on the internet as root! and make sure to secure your machine as soon as possible!

As for dual-boot if its more feasable what I did for test distrubitions was run something called VMWare it was an emulator and you could run Linux on it while running windows at the sametime and it was easier to network the virtual linux machine with the windows one.[/quote]

Thanks for the excellent tips!

In terms of securing my machine, here is a funky thing. I got both ClamAV and Firestarter, but Firestarter does not appear to load when Linux loads (like I have to do it manually… which seems odd for a firewall) and I cannot even FIND ClamAV (but I did install it with Synaptic). LOL

I guess these are part of the learning curve with all of this.

And thanks for the offer of help. I very well may take you up on it.

Congratulations on making the switch, welcome to a better world. I’m a certified geek, Comp Sci degree and all. I use linux almost exclusively at home. I’m a huge fan of Ubuntu, started using it when warty warthog came out as a beta. Although I’ve actually been into linux for about 6 or 7 years now. To answer your question, I tend to agree with the above poster who said “look it up, it’s half the fun” or something like that. It’s often expressed quite succinctly as “RTFM” (Read The Fucking Manual (or Man-page)). But since you seem to be a bit of a newbie, here’s a little help. Learn to use the man command, e.g.
%man mount

it’ll give you the manual page for the command with all the switches and syntax you’ll need to use it. For mount you’re going to need to provide some information, namely what partition you want to mount, where in your file structure you want to mount it, and what filesystem the partition is. There’s tons of other options but that’s the basics. The partitions are broken down by drive and then partition number. So if you’ve got linux and windows dual booting on one hard drive, call it hda (as opposed to hdb or hdc etc…), and you’ve got your linux distro broken down into root, boot, and swap partitions, you probably have 4 total partitions on the drive. These are hda1, hda2, hda3, and hda4, savy? Most likely your windows partition is hda1 as it was probably there first, but it could be any of them, play around with fdisk to figure out which one is really the windows partition.

Next you need a target to mount the partition to. Traditionally other drives and partitions are mounted in the /mnt directory, although ubuntu has a /media directory which is where cds and dvds automount to so you might want to put your mounted drive there. Either way, find a place you want to mount your drive to and create a directory there, call it whatever you want, I usually go with /mnt/windows, but I’m not very creative.

So, now you know which partition you want to mount, and where you want to mount it to, all you need to do is figure out how to put that information into the mount command and you’re good to go. Some words of caution though. First, older versions of the mount utility don’t recognize NTFS as a file system and you’ll need to call it VFAT, this shouldn’t be a problem with newer versions but I’m not sure. Be careful who you mount it as. If you mount the directory as root or using sudo, you may not be able to access it from xmms or whatever media player you’re using unless you’re logged in as root (which is disabled by default in ubuntu, but can be hacked open if you like, which I do). On the other hand, you may not be able to mount a drive, or at least mount it to a specific location without using su or sudo. I don’t remember the exact specifics, I have mine set up to automount my windows drives on startup (btw, if you want to do that, look at your fstab and mtab files in /etc and you should be able to figure it out).

And lastly, and this is very important, be careful working with NTFS and linux. NTFS read is fine, but writing to it can be tricky, it needs to be built into the kernel or loaded as a module, and even then it’s still experimental and has the ability to royally fuxor your windows partition. Reading is fine, but I suggest you wait until you’re better at using linux or linux is better at using NTFS before trying to write to it.

Ok, long as post over. Again, welcome to the wonderful world of linux, you’ll soon realize that linux is like doing heavy ATG squats with a fitness model and windows is more like standing one legged on a swiss ball while doing 1 arm overhead presses with 8lb dumbbells. (Mac OS is sort of like jumping around on a rebounder in a padded room with 3D glasses on, yeah it looks pretty and you can’t hurt yourself, but it’s not much fun.)

Anyway, let me know if you have any more questions. As I said, I’m a certified geek and self proclaimed aspiring linux guru.

Cheers,
Jay

[quote]m0dd3r wrote:
Ok, long as post over. Again, welcome to the wonderful world of linux, you’ll soon realize that linux is like doing heavy ATG squats with a fitness model and windows is more like standing one legged on a swiss ball while doing 1 arm overhead presses with 8lb dumbbells. (Mac OS is sort of like jumping around on a rebounder in a padded room with 3D glasses on, yeah it looks pretty and you can’t hurt yourself, but it’s not much fun.)
[/quote]

Jay,

LOL Awesome post and I like the analogy. I was able to successfully mount my NFTS partition last night and access all my Windows goodness. Thank God for the Gentoo-wiki! Now if I only had a [i]seamless[/i] way to use my iTunes purchased MP3s in Linux. sigh

[quote]JG wrote:

now lets say you dont want to have to type that everytime you log in…

you want to add something like
mount -t ntfs /dev/hda1 /home/Kuz/Windows

in /etc/fstab

A[/quote]

Putting that in /etc/fstab will not work and will generate an error. You want something like:

/dev/hda1 /media/windows auto noauto 0 0

making sure that you have a directory called /media/windows. It won’t mount automatically like this (you probably don’t want it to), but you can just “mount /media/windows” and it will work.

Alternatively change the ‘noauto’ to ‘auto’ and it will mount automatically.

[quote]Kuz wrote:
Now if I only had a [i]seamless[/i] way to use my iTunes purchased MP3s in Linux. sigh[/quote]

If you run the free version of most Linux distros you will find that it may not have any mp3 capabilities, due to the $.75 license fee for the engine. I run SUSE, and have downloaded the Xine engine and player: http://xinehq.de/index.php/releases

I tend to run both Windows and Linux for work, and go back and forth at the house as well. My 14yo son has a dual boot and is starting to learn the linux goodness.

If you get the pay for (or professional) version, it will come with all that other stuff built in.

By the way, I am no expert, certainly, but I may be able to answer some questions if necessary.

-folly

[quote]aleph wrote:
JG wrote:

now lets say you dont want to have to type that everytime you log in…

you want to add something like
mount -t ntfs /dev/hda1 /home/Kuz/Windows

in /etc/fstab

A

Putting that in /etc/fstab will not work and will generate an error. You want something like:

/dev/hda1 /media/windows auto noauto 0 0

making sure that you have a directory called /media/windows. It won’t mount automatically like this (you probably don’t want it to), but you can just “mount /media/windows” and it will work.

Alternatively change the ‘noauto’ to ‘auto’ and it will mount automatically.

[/quote]

you don’t need the auto, it’s default behavior for mount -a to mount all volumes listed in /etc/fstab. noauto is just in case you don’t want it included when mounting all drives.

[quote]folly wrote:
Kuz wrote:
Now if I only had a [i]seamless[/i] way to use my iTunes purchased MP3s in Linux. sigh

If you run the free version of most Linux distros you will find that it may not have any mp3 capabilities, due to the $.75 license fee for the engine. I run SUSE, and have downloaded the Xine engine and player: http://xinehq.de/index.php/releases

I tend to run both Windows and Linux for work, and go back and forth at the house as well. My 14yo son has a dual boot and is starting to learn the linux goodness.

If you get the pay for (or professional) version, it will come with all that other stuff built in.

By the way, I am no expert, certainly, but I may be able to answer some questions if necessary.

-folly[/quote]

a quick google search and I found this
http://www.banshee-project.org/
I’ve never used it so don’t take my word, but it looks like a decent replacement for itunes. In order you play the files you’ve got you’ll need some player with DAAP support, I believe rhythmbox has it (as well as the product linked above). As far as standard mp3 support goes, just use the symantec package manger with the extended repositories (universe and non-free) to find the mp3 codecs for gstreamer or whatever media player you choose to use (I prefer xmms).

Jay

There are a lot of other funny ones by this guy, some with Linux in them.

[quote]Kuz wrote:
For reasons I am not even all together clear on myself…[/quote]

Because you’re a good man and care for the little people.

Just found this thread and wanted to bump it.

I just loaded Ubuntu (Dapper Drake)onto an old system we had laying around at work. After about 5-8 tries, swapping the memory because it reported errors, swapping the hard drive (for a bigger one) and swapping the cd-rom drive (install kept hanging), I finally got it to install.

So, now it’s onward into the wonderful (hopefully) world of Linux.

Question for you Linux users. I would like to someday move to Linux at home also. That would mean that my wife would have to use it also. She’s a decent “user” and could probably pick up on it.

Anyone have any experience with this situation?

I understand I could do a dual boot system so she could still have Windows. But I’d like to abandon Windows altogether.

[quote]dre wrote:
Question for you Linux users. I would like to someday move to Linux at home also. That would mean that my wife would have to use it also. She’s a decent “user” and could probably pick up on it.

Anyone have any experience with this situation?

I understand I could do a dual boot system so she could still have Windows. But I’d like to abandon Windows altogether.[/quote]

Welcome to the wonderful world of Linux!

First of all, Dapper Drake isn’t the newest ubuntu release, I believe it’s 6.06 and the current release is 7.04 (Feisty Fawn). You may want to update. You should be able to do so right from the desktop if you want.

I’ve currently got dapper drake on my laptop and it works pretty much fine but will be updating as soon as I finish my other project. That being the rebuilding of an older machine of mine at home to act as a router, file server, and media box/home theater which will be running ubuntu 7.04 server edition.

As far as ditching windows and getting your wife to switch over, take this into mind. She’ll probably hate it. Things will be in the “wrong” place or called by the “wrong” name. The familiarity with Windows is powerful and makes switching hard. I’ve actually had better luck getting people who’ve never used a computer before to use linux than trying to switch people.

It’s just like switching from windows to mac, or, to a lesser extent, switching from win 95 to 2k or 2k to xp, etc… Maybe she’s used to closing windows with the red X on the top right but the new system has a red circle on the top left. Little things like this add up and cause people to get really frustrated really quickly.

The best things you can do are as follows:

  1. Get really comfortable with the system before switching your wife to it. That way you can answer any questions she has without having to spend time looking things up online.

  2. Gnome and KDE are both extremely customizable. It’s worth your while to go through and try to make the “look and feel” as much like windows as possible. You can always tweak things later if you want, but it helps to ease the transition if you can reduce the number of differences.

  3. Make up a cheat sheet listing applications and common activites in windows and their equivalent in linux (ms office -> open office.org, outlook -> Evolution or thunderbird, etc…).

  4. This is a biggy. Explain to your wife the benefits of Linux. Especially the fact that Windows XP or 2k (I’m assuming you’re using one of those) are getting old and Vista is expensive. Most the geek benefits don’t appeal to many people, but the free part does.

Hope that helps, if you have any other questions, feel free to ask.

Cheers and good luck,
Jay

Thanks m0dd3r! I understand that Fiesty Fawn is the newest release and will upgrade to that.

You make some very good points and I think my wife will ok with it.

However, and I hate to say this, she’s one of them “AOL” people. She was using it long before we got together and I haven’t broke her of the habit. So, does the AOL IM work in Linux? I know that will be her biggest request! haha

I’m in the process of trying to dual boot my work laptop with Ubuntu so I can get more familiar with it. Currently running XP also running XP at home.

Like you suggested, I want to be really knowledgeable with it before we make the switch at home.

It’s good to know some Linux users out there that I can bounce questions off of. Thanks!

[quote]m0dd3r wrote:

Welcome to the wonderful world of Linux!

First of all, Dapper Drake isn’t the newest ubuntu release, I believe it’s 6.06 and the current release is 7.04 (Feisty Fawn). You may want to update. You should be able to do so right from the desktop if you want.

I’ve currently got dapper drake on my laptop and it works pretty much fine but will be updating as soon as I finish my other project. That being the rebuilding of an older machine of mine at home to act as a router, file server, and media box/home theater which will be running ubuntu 7.04 server edition.

As far as ditching windows and getting your wife to switch over, take this into mind. She’ll probably hate it. Things will be in the “wrong” place or called by the “wrong” name. The familiarity with Windows is powerful and makes switching hard. I’ve actually had better luck getting people who’ve never used a computer before to use linux than trying to switch people.

It’s just like switching from windows to mac, or, to a lesser extent, switching from win 95 to 2k or 2k to xp, etc… Maybe she’s used to closing windows with the red X on the top right but the new system has a red circle on the top left. Little things like this add up and cause people to get really frustrated really quickly.

The best things you can do are as follows:

  1. Get really comfortable with the system before switching your wife to it. That way you can answer any questions she has without having to spend time looking things up online.

  2. Gnome and KDE are both extremely customizable. It’s worth your while to go through and try to make the “look and feel” as much like windows as possible. You can always tweak things later if you want, but it helps to ease the transition if you can reduce the number of differences.

  3. Make up a cheat sheet listing applications and common activites in windows and their equivalent in linux (ms office -> open office.org, outlook -> Evolution or thunderbird, etc…).

  4. This is a biggy. Explain to your wife the benefits of Linux. Especially the fact that Windows XP or 2k (I’m assuming you’re using one of those) are getting old and Vista is expensive. Most the geek benefits don’t appeal to many people, but the free part does.

Hope that helps, if you have any other questions, feel free to ask.

Cheers and good luck,
Jay[/quote]

[quote]dre wrote:
Thanks m0dd3r! I understand that Fiesty Fawn is the newest release and will upgrade to that.

You make some very good points and I think my wife will ok with it.

However, and I hate to say this, she’s one of them “AOL” people. She was using it long before we got together and I haven’t broke her of the habit. So, does the AOL IM work in Linux? I know that will be her biggest request! haha

I’m in the process of trying to dual boot my work laptop with Ubuntu so I can get more familiar with it. Currently running XP also running XP at home.

Like you suggested, I want to be really knowledgeable with it before we make the switch at home.

It’s good to know some Linux users out there that I can bounce questions off of. Thanks!

[/quote]

dre-
Its been awhile since I have touched a linux box (I am an engineer-turned-lawyer), but I seem to remember a program called GAIM that ran not just AOL IM, but all the IM platforms.

I imagine it is as simple as googling “linux AOL IM” or something. I think it is a safe bet that any simple Windows-based program has a Linux counterpart (one that’s probably better, too). There will definitely be something to replace AIM.