Sunday, 20 February 2011

The Meerkats Have Taken Over

I'm sorry I haven't had time to blog much this week. I've had a dead computer to try and rebuild and a work trip to London so it's been a busy few days.

My computer troubles started in the run up to Christmas. I was get lots of random reboots and the dreaded blue screen of death was making frequent visits. I re-installed Windows over the New Year weekend, only for the same problems to continue happening. I eventually decided that it was probably the disk controller on the motherboard that was at fault, which unfortunately involved replacing not just the motherboard but the CPU and memory as well.

I've been a Windows user since I was first introduced to a PC (a monochrome laptop some time in the early 90's which ran Windows 3.11) but I'm not a fan of Vista or Windows 7 and so had stuck with Windows XP. At work though I use a Linux distribution called Ubuntu, and I've been really impressed by how stable and easy to use it is (in comparison to distributions like Mandrake and SUSE that I tried back in the late 90's). So given that I need to re-install my main machine again I decided to take the plunge and switch to Ubuntu. I've installed version 10.10 code name Maverick Meerkat -- hence the photo which I took at a tropical house in Leeds a couple of years ago.

So far everything seems to be working properly (including the cookbook which is hosted on my main machine), and I'm not missing Windows at all! Although to be truthful I have installed WINE and I've got a Windows instance running in VirtualBox while I find replacements for a couple of pieces of software and so I can download programmes from the BBC iPlayer.
20 February 2011 at 18:21 , GB said...

I actually did like Windows 7 but having become a Mac user I can't imagine ever going back.

21 February 2011 at 23:19 , Ian said...

I have to admit, I really like Windows 7. Fast boot, very stable. Having said that Ubuntu is so amazing these days - everything just works, no hassle.

Recently I've been toying with the idea of having a minimal server install on my machine and then running BOTH Windows 7 and Ubuntu desktop in Virtual Box - Equal weights to both OSes - Then I could see which I tend more towards over time.

I like the idea that the whole machine would still be up when reinstalling an OS (I like a clean install of the OS every few months).

Is it a dumb idea? or worth a try?

P.S. Check out this page with screenshots of a few hundred linux distros!

24 February 2011 at 10:57 , Mark said...

Ian, you could definitely do that -- in fact that's what most hosting providers do so that each client has access to what looks like a machine but is just one of a number of virtual instances on the machine.

The downside is that of course you need a powerful enough machine to handle that. I'd be more tempted to install Ubuntu and have Windows in a VirtualBox that way at least OS can run at full speed if needed. You can then either dedicate a workspace to Windows (I've currently got mine on workspace 4) or run Windows in seamless mode where the windows can mix freely with Ubuntu windows (with some caveats) -- it's kind of freaky seeing an IE window within a stack of terminals and nautilaus file browsers!

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