Dual booting: PCLinuxOS 2007 and Ubuntu 7.10

As you all know, I am a HUGE PCLOS fan. It is my distro of choice. However, with Dell selling systems with Ubuntu pre-installed, I know I will be getting some calls about what to do. So, I figured I would install Ubuntu and see what I can figure out. I downloaded the latest version of Ubuntu (7.10, ‘Gutsy Gibbon’) and burned it to a CD. I then rebooted my laptop (an old Compaq) and launched into the Live CD. Everything seemed to work pretty well. (Except my wireless card. But I'm used to this.) So I clicked on the ‘Install’ icon and went about the install process. I wanted to make sure I could keep my PCLinuxOS install intact so I made sure Ubuntu installed on the remaining free space on my hard drive. This is one of the greatest features of Linux, IMO. I can take a small 30GB hard drive (small by today’s standards) and install two operating systems and still have plenty of space for all of my documents and pictures. In fact, I have the exact same on both partitions with room to spare. (For those of you who don’t know, what I’m talking about here is dividing the hard drive up into small drives. The OSs (Operating Systems) looks at the different divided drives as two separate hard drives. On one drive I have installed PCLinuxOS 2007 and on the other, Ubuntu 7.10. Now, isn’t that about as clear as mud?) Of course, to make this possible, I didn’t copy over my music library from the external drive (that takes about 60% of the whole 30GB drive).

Anyway, the install went just fine. When I boot my laptop now I can choose between PCLOS or Ubuntu. So, I chose Ubuntu. And it took FOORRREEEEVVVVVEEEEEERRRRRRR to get to the login screen. After I selected Ubuntu, there were three errors: ‘ACPI: resource is not an IRQ entry’. Then, when I finally got to the login screen, and logged in, I noticed a floppy drive icon in my navigation window. The reason this is weird is because my laptop doesn’t have a floppy drive! Hmm... Next, I saw that there was an icon flashing in the upper right corner alerting me that there were updates. So I clicked on that icon and installed the updates. After that, there was another flashing icon telling me that there were drivers available for my wireless card. Cool. I clicked on that icon and it downloaded and installed the driver for the card. Then I clicked on the network icon in the system tray and selected the wireless connection. I was given a list of wireless networks in my area, including my own. I selected my network and typed in my encryption key. Within a couple of seconds, I was connected to the wireless network. So I unplugged the wired connection and launched Firefox to go check out the Ubuntu forums for my error messages.

I had to search around for a little bit, but I found answers and fixed the problems. Now, Ubuntu boots a lot quicker and before where I had just a blank screen, I now see the Ubuntu artwork. Oh, and I don’t have a floppy drive listed anymore. Ain’t help wonderful!

There are a couple of things that I wanted to install, one being Avant-Window-Manager. This is a dock very similar to Mac OS X’s Dock. Another trip to the forums and I had AWM up and running in no time.

At this stage in the game, I rebooted my computer and selected PCLinuxOS from the menu. I wanted to see if the Ubuntu install borked my PCLOS install. It didn’t. Everything was just where it should be and everything was working just fine. I logged out and rebooted into Ubuntu to continue configuring it to my tastes.

There are a couple of new features in Ubuntu. One is Deskbar and the other is Compiz-Fusion. Deskbar is a search applet that sits in the panel. You just select it and search for anything on you computer. A great feature that’s very similar to Spotlight on Macs and Search in Vista (if you have an older system, like Windows XP, you can get Google Desktop to function in similar way). It will take it a little bit to index your computer but once it’s finished you can search for anything on your system even the meta information. For example, I can do a search for text contained within a PDF file and it will show me the document.

Compiz-Fusion is a step up and beyond the Beryl project that comes with PCLinuxOS. At one time, Beryl and Compiz were one company but they split up to work on different things. Later the re-joined forces and Compiz-Fusion was the outcome. Compiz-Fusion is a 3D environment that allows the user to enjoy a little ‘eye candy’, as they say. I don’t think it’s eye candy, per se. One of the features that is extremely helpful is that of virtual desktops. Now, Linux has had this feature for as long as I can remember but with Compiz-Fusion you get a really enjoyable way of seeing your different desktops. I use this feature every day and when I switch over to my Mac, I wish it was there (However, with Leopard, Apple’s new OS, this feature is there. They call it Spaces.).

All of the other standard apps are here that let you browse the Internet, check your email, instant message your friends, manage you music and pictures, and watch movies. And like PCLOS, Ubuntu is completely free. All-in-all this has been an enjoyable experience; much better than my last venture into the world of Ubuntu. So, for now, I’m going to continue using Ubuntu and see how it goes.

Peace be with you.

+ OD


Anglican said…
Interesting as always. I plan to try the new Ubuntu, too, once the newness of my name-taking quad core PC build wears off. (Did you get the pictures I sent? I half expected some feedback, but no big deal.)

Is the new Ubuntu awesome enough to lure you away from PCLOS? If not, what is it about PCLOS that makes you want to stay? Just curious.

I appreciate, by the way, the objectivity and intelligence you demonstrate above in discussing virtual desktops. Some of my other Mac friends--fanboys to the point of arrogance--have been bragging to me about "this cool new feature Apple has invented" called Spaces. It lets the air out of their tires when I point out that virtual desktops have been around for years.
odysseus said…
Yeah, I got the pics. I didn't really have anything to say. Well, I guess I could have said, 'What a JERK!' But, like my Mom always said, if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all. So I kept my big mouth shut. jk

I don't know if Ubuntu will pull me from PCLOS. I have only used superficially for the last couple of days. There is one thing that is bothering me about it right now. Every time I do a search with Deskbar, it crashes and then the bug report loops indefinitely. So bad so that I have to launch XKill just to get rid of it.

Why I would stay with PCLOS is pretty simple, though. I know my way around it. There is not a lot of going to the command line when I want things to be done. There is usually a GUI for what ever I need to do. With Ubuntu, I had to go to the terminal to fix the issues I mentioned in the post. Not a huge deal for me, but the average user would be scared spit-less. The other side of this, however, is that the forum help tells you EXACTLY what to type in the terminal to fix most issues. You can even cut and paste if you prefer.

Concerning Spaces: Yeah. Since Mac OS X is base in UNIX, I have been wonder why they don't incorporate more of the cool features in it. In fact, it was because OS X is based on UNIX that I started messing with Linux in the first place.

Thanks for dropping by, Anglican.
andrewsomething said…
Glad to see a Ubuntu vs. PCLinuxOS post that doesn't needlessly bash either.

I'm a Ubuntu user, but that's because I like Gnome and am familiar with it's Debian base. If I were a KDE fan, PCLinuxOS would probably be the way I went. I feel Kubuntu doesn't see the same level of attention that Ubuntu gets.
odysseus said…
I don't do distro bashing. To me, if you are not using Windows, that's the start. And if you are using some form of Linux, well, it's Linux. Each distro has it's strengths and weaknesses. I hopped around for a while looking for a distro for the company I was with because it was a non-profit. I settled with Linspire for a while but, because it was going to cost us (I know, it was still less than Microsoft), they wanted something else. So I kept looking. I stumbled on to PCLOS and really liked it. When Ubuntu first hit, I tried that as well but it just didn't do it for me at that time so we went back to PCLOS and they are still using that on non-critical machines.

Gnome reminds me of Mac OS X and so I can find my way around it. I'm sure if I needed to do something with OS X I would have to hit the terminal like I do in Ubuntu. But I haven't needed to.

I agree with your assessment about Kubuntu. I tried that as well and it fell way short of my experience with KDE. Honestly, on the KDE side, I can't find a distro that gives me as much freedom as PCLOS. I can't think of anything that I have needed to do (mostly cosmetic stuff) that wasn't accessible to me. Every other KDE distro always seemed to hide or completely remove something I wanted to do. That's one of the main reasons I like PCLOS.

Thanks for dropping by and giving your two cents, andrewsomething.
Roy said…
I use both PCLinuxOS and Ubuntu 7.10 (as well as Suse 10.3). I like each distro for different reasons. I am not overly fond of sudo in Ubuntu, but other than that I have no complaints with it. I prefer separate user and root passwords. I realize that you can change Ubuntu to do this, but I am now used to it.

I use Ubuntu most of the time because it has more in its repositories and is generally better supported than PCLinuxOS (ie. lots of applications now list Ubuntu as a supported application). I have had trouble with RPM based distros in the past with developing dependency issues over along period of time, so I am reluctant to depend on either PCLinuxOS and Suse as my primary distro. That being said PCLinuxOS is a fine distro that has lots going for it.

Suse 10.3 has some really nice features that I would like to see incorporated into other distros. For example, you can download a single script file to your desktop and it will execute and download all of the necessary files to run compiz-fusion or proprietary codecs, etc. This is a nice feature so you don't have to hunt around for them. The latest version of Yast is also much improved and its security features are great. I have found that Xen works better with Suse and PCLinuxOS than Ubuntu, at least on my hardware.

Most comparisons between Ubuntu and PCLinuxOS overlook the fact that Ubuntu uses Gnome and PCLinuxOS uses KDE. You cannot compare them fairly unless you run Kubuntu.

a_naked_ape said…
"After I selected Ubuntu, there were three errors: ‘ACPI: resource is not an IRQ entry’. "

Will you expound on how you fixed this issue? Or point to a resource.

Odysseus said…
How I got rid of the error message was to edit a file. During boot up, it is looking for a floppy drive and I don't have one. So, here's what I did:

01. Open up a terminal
02. Type sudo gedit /etc/fstab
03. Enter password
04. Comment out (i.e., put a number sign -- # -- next to) the floppy drive line.
05. Save it and exit.
Skraps said…
FYI - PCLOS Gnome version is now available and it ROCKS too! I have use both versions and Ubuntu and believe you will be quite pleased with PCLOS - gnome.

odysseus said…
Yeah. I have seen that. I haven't installed it yet (out of CDs). But once I get some more CDs, it's on my list to try out.

Thanks for stopping by.


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