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Ubuntu Linux on a ThinkPad

Tom Rutherford
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      07-25-2010, 02:05 AM
Hi, All.

Eventually, I plan to put some distro of Linux, probably Ubuntu, on my R51
series. The computer now has an 80GB hard drive with 40GB dedicated to
WinXP, and 40GB of freespace in which I plan to stick Linux. I want Windows
to do the booting (no LILO or GRUB in the MBR), and I want to preserve the
Access IBM and the hidden partition, copied from the original 30GB drive
when I cloned it to the 80.

There's an article by Life Is Adventure, who did this on his T60, I believe,
and he refers to several links. The links to the O'Reiley article on doing
this to laptops in general do work, but the links to the articles
specifically relating to ThinkPads don't work anymore, so I may be missing
some details.

What I thought I'd do is do the ThinkPad procedures on my desktop, because I
don't want GRUB as the main bootloader here, either. It works, but it's
ugly, and if it farkles the Access IBM button and so on, I don't want it on
my laptop, either. Anyway, according to the Life Is Adventure article, I'm
supposed to install Linux on the hard drive or partition I want to run it
from (a 640GB drive, in my case), and make it bootable, and install GRUB on
it. I did that, or at least, I think so. :-) Not sure about GRUB, because
the binary file that Windows' boot.ini refers to is nothing but zeroes. I
make that file by copying the first 512 blocks of the Linux boot drive to a
file called ubuntu.bin, by doing the following from a running Linux system:

dd if=/dev/sdb1 of=ubuntu.bin bs=512 count=1

where /dev/sdb1 is the boot partition of my second hard drive, and
ubuntu.bin is supposed to show up in the /home directory of the functional
Linux system I'm doing this from. I then take that file and copy or move it
to the root directory of C:, and reference boot.ini to it by adding a line
to the file refering to the .bin file. The boot.ini business works, but
with the ubuntu.bin file being all zeroes, Windows lets me choose the Ubuntu
Linux selection, then drops me into a screen with nothing but a blinking

What I plan to do later today is to switch drives, make sure that Linux is
the first OS seen, and if it boots, then I'm back to square one. If it
doesn't, then I plan to install Linux on it one more time, and if it boots
then, I'll switch drives back, do the make-file and copy routine (I have an
installation of Linux on a flash drive, but it's slower than I like), and
see if everything's kosher. If not, then I'm still back at the prime

Has anyone here on these newsgroups done this, and what am I missing? TIA!

(Later...) I did disconnect the Windows drive, and Linux booted right up.
Linux *still* wanted to boot when I reconnected the Windows drive! I had to
do some fancy footwork to get things back to normal. I did another copy of
the first block of data from the Linux partition, btw, and put the file in
the Windows boot partition. Still no joy, though it wasn't all zeroes this
time. I wound up putting brackets [] around the Linux instruction in
Windows' boot.ini, and that essentially took it out of the loop. When I
figure out what's going on, I'll take those out so I can get the multi-boot

-- 73 DE Tom Rutherford, N8EUJ, Burton, MI
"She said it was either her or the ham radio. Over."

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