Weekend with Linux

After reviving my laptop from a virus infection , I started tinkering with it once again . I always had a passion for Linux and the Open Source community , but after trying to think about it a couple of times , I decided to stick with Windows XP for a while .So before I go on and try to tell you why I had Linux on the title of my post , I listed some reasons why I chose to stick with Windows XP for the meantime.

1. I use M$ products at work . Im a .Net developer , thus I use Microsoft Visual Studio for work . Having it installed in my machine is a necessity . However , I have begun exploring the Mono project (which will be posted later on ).
2. I use several software that I still could not find any alternatives yet in the Linux platform.
3. I have a legit license for my Windows XP so I decided to stick with it anyway.

Back to the main topic , I decided , however, to still go ahead and use Linux on my machine . Next stop , virtualization . Yep, as many have been hooked into it , i turned on virtualization to quench my Linux thirst . After looking at two possible options ( VMWare vs Vitual PC - VirtualBox should have been another good candidate) , I decided to go with M$ Virtual PC 2007 . Mainly because I have an existing VirtualPC that I want to use , and I find the software (but less feature rich than VMware ) simple to use.

Using my Ubuntu 7.10 (Gusty Gibon) installation disc, i moved ahead with the VPC creation . Which , of course , went unsuccessful . The screen just went ballistic upon loading the X window.

To make your life much easier when dealing with this odd combination ( Linux on M$ product ) , here are some few points that I would like you to look into:

1. VPC 2007 does not support the high resolution being offered by Ubuntu installation , thus it would be wise for you to choose the Start Ubunutu in Safe Graphics Mode . The disc i have is actually a liveCD which can let me use the OS without actually even installing it on the machine (or virtual machine as our case maybe) .
2. The Ubuntu 7.10 kernel has some problem dealing with mouse once it is in the emulated environment by VPC 2007 . To work around this problem , the i8042.noloop option added on the boot options seems to do the trick . Once you have selected the Start Ubuntu in Safe Mode Graphics , press F6 to bring out the boot options and simply add the new option at the end of the line.
3. Once done , hitting the enter key (and after several minutes of waiting) brings the Ubuntu desktop to life. Just click on the INSTALL icon to begin installing the guy. Installation will proceed similar to the usual Linux installation screens.
4. After reboot , fix the mouse again through the command line . Press Ctrl+Alt+f1 to go to command line then edit MENU.LST under /boot/grub adding the i8042.noloop at the end of the kernel option . Reboot and head your way towards a new Linux experience.

I managed to get my Ubuntu up and running on VPC 2007 , after several runs I found out several problems :
1. I cant access the USB devices . After running some google queries , i found out that it is one of the problems with linux on VPCs . Try several hacks and tricks to make them work.
2. I cant share folders using the VPC (of course I could not without installing the add ons for VPC which unfortunately does not support Ubuntu ) . Solution , folder sharing . I have managed to share a forlder on my host machine and just like any computers on a network it worked . SAMBA of course is another topic worth discussing.
3. My wireless network is not working.

I decided to upgrade to Ubuntu 8.04 (Hardy Heron) . Fortunately , I dont need a new CD for that , I just run the Add/Remove utility and Ubuntu seems to have detected that a new version is out and let me upgrade from 7.10 to 8.04 easily ( i used a wired connection to my network just to make thi work ) . And after almost 8 hours of downloading new packages (my connection was soooo slow) , I have managed to upgrade my Ubuntu , no CDs/DVDs/ required and not even a single cent to spend ( how I wish M$ can also offer this service ..I wish hehe ).

More than 1 day have passed , now I have my Ubuntu VPC working . It does not have the visual effects (like this and the one shown below) that it supports for real install but every thing I needed to start is there.

With all things in place , im heading towards the next stop : .Net development in Ubuntu using MonoDevelop , C# and MySQL . The screenshot below shows my Ubuntu VPC running MonoDevelop, MySQL , Firefox and Pidgin.