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[wlug] Dual Booting for the install-fest [long]

 
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s swami sns@p...
Sat Apr 17 15:46:04 NZST 2004


Perhaps the question needs to be asked: what is the purpose of the 
Install-fest?  Or more specifically, what will the user do with his 
new install?

If he wants to experience the Linux phenomenon and yet be able to 
return to his original system to do his usual work, a dual-booted 
scenario is overkill -- a Knoppix-style distribution will suffice.

If he wants to _use_ Linux for common activities (this will vary with 
the person and the distribution) such as email, chat, browsing, 
printing, backing-up to CDs, editing, office work, etc, then why does 
he need to retain his original OS?

Quite likely, he wants to use an application that is not currently 
provided with Linux (or some such) or someone in the house prefers 
Windows.  In these cases, my suggestion would be that he acquire 
another computer.

When would I recommend dual-booting?
------------------------------------
Only as a last resort and if the following requirements are met:
- important data has already been backed up
- the user won't have a problem if all data on the HD is lost 
(requiring re-installation of both OSs).

I have installed Linux on a free partition and then ended up not being 
able to boot into Windows 9X (I overwrote the MBR).  Another time, I 
wasn't able to boot into Linux (lilo wasn't playing with me - more 
likely I didn't know the rules of the game).  In both cases, I had 
backups, and the HD could be and was wiped.[1]

With the better-behaved W2K, things are easier.  Perhaps GRUB makes 
things easier still.  But I would have the same requirements 
mentioned above -- it just isn't worth it!  At times it is better to 
suggest that the newbie wait and use Knoppix instead.  If he can't 
wait, he will find a way to meet the requirements.

Whatever requirements that the installers settle on, it may be better 
to state them simply (_not_ as ominous warnings) on all publicity and 
confirm verbally before the install rather than asking for a 
signature.  Signatures would take the festival out of the 
install-fest.

-Sid

[1] IIRC, to handle a Win9X/Linux dual-boot, I settled on the 
following procedure (no doubt there are better ways):

1. Boot from Linux CD
2. Use fdisk to create fat32 and Linux/Swap partitions (HD erased)
3. Install Win98
4. Install Linux
5. Configure lilo appropriately




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