Microsoft Windows


Every Operating system employs a certain installation process

                        Windows Installation

    The Windows installation is designed to configure all systems the same. When you run it, it offers you very little choices. Basically , you can choose the folder on C: where windows is to reside (default is windows), you can specify the name to give your PC and your name and company, time zone and country. Everything else is done through defaulted settings. Using the Auto-detection the windows installer will try to identify Plug-n-play and legacy devices. Windows is somewhat forgiving if devices
are not set-up right in terms of hardware.

     The automated approach means that everybody can install windows but it also means that advanced features of your motherboard, monitors, video cards will not be done or used. In order to get these devices to work right you need to run specialized install disks for the device after you install windows. Windows most notably doesn't like to change the monitor. In order for you to change the monitor you must remove the general purpose original one then install the correct one. But as soon as you remove the general one you must reboot. When you reboot, the hardware detector immediately sees the monitor isn't defined and replaces the original general driver. Around and around and around you go.

     For the technically challenged windows is a great solution the few choices you are given it generally goes without a hitch in as little as 25 minutes.

Linux Installation

    Linux Installer is a far cry from being a cookie cutter approach. Using The various Linux versions of Mandrake 5.2, 7.6, 9.1; Ubuntu 10, 10.1; Kunbuntu 11; Redhat 7.5; and OpenSE 11; the following was found to be the case:

  1. A live CD allows a user to try out Linux without installing a thing. Some Live CD's allow you to install a base Linux system and then from the base, install a real working Linux system on their hard drive.

  2. The CD/DVD contains Instructions for installing from CD/DVD, Boot disk set, from a network, and right from the harddisk. All these methods are intended to work around issues of installing when you can't use the boot CD or DVD. Ideally you follow the instructions to create the alternate install method then do your install.

  3. For most of us we have a working CD/DVD so we just insert the CD/DVD and reboot the PC with the bios set to Boot from CD first.

  4. Whichever method 1 or 2 above we used, an install screen appears with the following options:

    1. [             ] Enter   Express Install is accomplished using just the enter key. If you have only a C: drive with windows on it, this mode will replace Windows with Linux. If you have partitioned your harddisk so that Windows is on C: your data is on D: and you have set-up unallocated space of 3GB or more (best choice), Linux will install into the unallocated space. Express mode will make most of the choices for you. You will have to specify your mouse, keyboard, language, root password, user name / password, and type install workstation or server. A workstation is like Windows XP while a server is like Windows server 2003.

    2. [Expert   ] Enter  Expert Install gives you much more choices to how Linux works. With Expert you can shrink the Windows c: partition, make new windows partitions, make partitions for Linux, Format partitions that are new, set the primary purpose to workstation or server, add and remove optional packages by groups like (games, webserver, network share, office, multimedia) or by program such as gnu-chess, openoffice, koffice, illustrator...). Note as you select the packages, you are given the name of the program, group the program is part of, what the program does, what other programs are needed. In many cases the system will resolve and automatically add all the additional things required to add the package you want.
          Expert mode: Are you ready for some real choices?  First off Linux gives you the option to scan for Plug and play and Legacy devices (sometimes the other modes standard/normal crash if a non-100% hardware compatibility exists) Next up is choosing how many of the installation disks (besides the main installer) you have. Some versions of Linux contain 3 other 5 and some even 20 CD's . All you need is CD #1 to install Linux. Once installed, you can use rpm or gnorpm or drakrpm or kderpm or kpackage to install additional CD's.
           Ok, so now you the real fun begins.
      1) choose your keyboard layout
      2) choose the mouse type  (Serial USB Optical Ps/2 Microsoft Logitech )
      3) choose the system purpose (Client / Server / Client&Server )
      4) choose the security level (standard (internet) to Paranoid (server))
      5) set the Messaging address of the administrator (where to send notifications of network problems)
      6) Define how you want Linux to utilize the harddisk. (All, Free Only, Custom)
                All   -   Linux will erase everything including windows and install a basic 2 partition system
                Free Only - Linux will not disturb existing partitions but will create a basic 2 partition system in any free space.
                Custom    - You choose everything, what to scrap, what to keep, where to put partitions, how many partitions & what types of partitions to make.

    3. F1 ....... Gives you  optionals of starting other modes:
          TEXT - choosing text mode means that the installation process will use simple block style character graphics to instruct you through the installation. You might choose this method if Linux has trouble installing with your current display, video card, or mouse using any of the GUI methods.
          GUI low res runs the display as a 16 color VGA graphics
          GUI high res runs the display as a 256 color SVGA graphics which is
       the default.

  5. A Closer look at setting up Partitions

C: <=================== 160GB ======================>
C: <===>  
C: <===> D: = E: <==> F: <==>  
        B           /  
        B          / {swap}             
        B         / {swap}             home  

        In the above the first row shows the original layout of the harddrive. Windows
is Installed and has the entire hard drive
. So we don't want this. Our first step is to reduce the volume size of the windows partition by first defragmenting the drive, and then re-sizing the drive much smaller. For our example, we had a 160GB C: which was resized to 10GB (row 2). There is now 150GB of free space. In the next step we have decided to make 3 more partitions for grouping our files. So for this we create the D: E: F: partitions using windows to allocate and format them.
        For our Linux we want about 10GB for root (/), 30GB for our users (home), a small Boot partition (B) of 50 - 100MB and a fair swap area of 3-6GB. In reality, Linux only requires 3GB for a basic system and a swap space of 2-4GB. If there isn't a specific home partition or boot partition, they would be also part of the root so you would want a root larger than the 3GB! Don't pay too much attention to the sizes of the partitions shown. It's more to represent the number of partitions rather than their sizes.
       OK, so now we have shown what we did before trying to install Linux. During the Linux install where we define the custom partitions, we first create our optional Boot partition (B) as type "boot" with a size of 100MB shown in line 4. S
o  we click the grey area, select TYPE and choose Linux native, Select size and choose 100MB, then we set the mount point to BOOT. Click the grey area (line 5) select TYPE as Linux native and Set size at 10GB and set the mount point to root [/]. Now if we were going to have a lot of users as in this example we can make a separate home partition at a modest 30GB and so we click the grey area set  the type to Linux native with size of 30GB and mount point of home. Lastly, we must have a swap partition  So once more we click the grey area and select the type as Linux Swap which has no mount point since it is private to Linux Kernel. Our
Swap covers the remainder of the free space. At this point we choose Done to begin the real install. So in our example, we have our 10GB windows partition, our D E & F partitions using up 107GB in any way you like, 100MB for boot, 10GB for Linux root, 30GB for all our users files, and 3GB for swap space.

  1. Before Linux can install it must reformat the drives that were newly created.

  2. Choose the application groups to Install (you can also select to individually select applications in a group)

  3. Choose install to install the system with your choices of applications.

  4. Once all is installed, It's time to Set the root password (Do Not forget this password or you will have to re-install everything right from scratch!)

  5. Next up is defining a few regular users or so. For each user there is their real name, their log-in name, an initial password for them, and repeated initial password, and an Icon to show as them in the log-in screen.

  6. Here is where you Finalize the install ... surprisingly it's called summary.
     Under the summary you can review or setup:

  • Keyboard Layout

  • Mouse Type

  • Video Resolution
  • Sound system

  • Remote and local printers

  • Internet

  • Boot system (including making an emergency boot disk)

  • Configure services that are allowed to start at every boot including firewall

  1. At this step the Linux installer writes all the configurations and installs either
    the LILO boot loader or the GRUB bootloader. This boot loader grabs a
    copy of the windows boot loader and tucks it safely into the Linux boot partition, then it installs the Linux boot loader into the master boot partition
    of the harddrive.

  2. The last step, choose Reboot or Halt. Wow!! did you notice that during this whole procedure, Linux:

  • Gave you choices on how you want your system

  • Didn't pull a hissy fit if it saw Windows and just up and kill it

  • Was quite happy to give you a way to choose Linux and Windows

  • Determined what devices you have in your system without all those annoying reboots

  • Didn't try and dial out to the internet (there is a place where you can ask it to connect and fetch updates but it doesn't force you)

  • Lets you see a full list of every application available, describes what the application can do and what it needs to run.

  • And it's a free download not no friggin $280 with purchase of new system or $600+ for full version that doesn't work or crashes constantly. (I know I am being hard on Microsoft here but in my eyes they deserve it. With the power and money behind that enterprise you would think they could do something more for their clients than say Pay us more and maybe we won't give you less)