anyone running Ubuntu here?

Discussion in 'Dell' started by Timothy Daniels, Feb 16, 2008.

  1. Is anyone here running Ubuntu on a Dell laptop and
    using VMWare or VirtualBox on Vista to run the
    Ubuntu OS? I have the XPS M1330 laptop loaded
    w/Vista Business, and I'd like to demo some simple
    web apps which make requests on Apache/MySQL

    Timothy Daniels, Feb 16, 2008
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  2. I am researching this. Check out, because they
    state that we can just install from a standard Ubuntu CD, but if we
    want the extra like the Dell DVD player etc, we need to download an
    ISO image from the Dell site. However, they don't state whether this
    image will allow us to configure the bootloader etc, because by the
    looks of the instructions it does a wipe of the disk then puts an
    image back on the HDD.

    I am also interested in the M1330 notebook.

    Ubuntu runs fine under VmWare, and there are plenty of pre-built
    environments available as VmWare images.

    Andrew Hodgson, Feb 16, 2008
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  3. Timothy Daniels

    Journey Guest

    I personally would prefer the Lenovo T61 14" over the M1330. The
    M1330 is obviously lighter, but the T61 is pretty light and very
    durable. The M1330 obviously would win if you're interested in Media
    Center type functionality but if you want a relatively lightweight
    quality notebook, I think the T61 is better.

    Note: that applies to the 14" T61, not the 15" ones which are
    Journey, Feb 16, 2008
  4. Timothy Daniels

    Journey Guest

    Also, you can use modular bay batteries with the T61. Just food for
    thought. I don't have the T61 but have seen them. I do have an X61
    which is very durable and I love it.
    Journey, Feb 16, 2008
  5. I am in for lightweight and small. I was primairly interested in this
    for the screensize, and the fact that people were running the Linux
    with the wifi.

    Andrew Hodgson, Feb 16, 2008
  6. Timothy Daniels

    Journey Guest

    Sounds like the M1330 is the best choice for you if you want the
    lighter weight. Just a FYI -- the T61 runs Linux very well with the
    wifi (3945abg). I base this on a friend with a T60. One thing I like
    about the Lenovos is that there is almost no flex in them which makes
    them feel lighter.
    Journey, Feb 16, 2008
  7. Timothy Daniels

    Ben Myers Guest

    Sturdier, too? The T-series have a titanium shell, hence almost no flex.

    .... Ben Myers
    Ben Myers, Feb 16, 2008
  8. Timothy Daniels

    Journey Guest

    Yes -- IMO a 14" Lenovo T61 is more "portable" than lighter laptops
    that flex more. With my X61 it's lighter it's the best of both. I
    sold my XPS M1210 on Craig's List today.
    Journey, Feb 17, 2008

  9. That ISO image makes me a little nervous, as it sounds
    like it will make the Ubuntu installation the entirety of the
    HDD, wiping out the Vista installation. But... never having
    installed Linux, I don't know for sure. And finding anyone
    at Dell who knows about Dell's Ubuntu offerings seems to
    be impossible. I was primarily interested in Dell's Ubuntu
    ISO image because it has all the drivers for the XPS M1330
    except for the nVidia graphics card (the Ubuntu version has
    only the IC graphics), and I could always just download that
    driver from the nVidia website. But if the ISO image will wipe
    out the existing partitions, I'd have to get Ubuntu from and download the nVidia graphics driver and
    probably the Wi-Fi driver and the fingerprint reader driver
    and maybe the CD/DVD driver. It could get to be a pain.

    Installing Ubuntu may also wipe out the restore partition,
    the utility partition, and the Media Direct partition - either
    automatically during installation or it may require the user to
    do it in order to free up a primary partition or two. What's
    strange is that Dell won't tell how to delete those partitions
    unless you pay them for it as a "service call". Do you know
    if you just delete them like any other partitions?

    You may want to shift Vista over to some of the freed
    space, and that would take something like Partition Magic.
    And you'd probably want to shrink down the Vista partition
    a tad to make some space for Ubuntu, and that would either
    take Partition Magic or a utility that is new with Vista, but which
    I still haven't found on my XPS system, yet. Have you found it?

    Of course, rearranging the partitions would require editing
    the boot menu for Vista, something you'd probably want to
    do with something like EasyBCD. And Linux's Grub boot loader
    will be put into the MBR by the default Ubuntu installation, but
    which I'm told will not interfere with booting Vista.

    There's a lot there that doesn't meet the eye until you get
    into the nitty gritty, and I was hoping to find another Dell Vista
    laptop owner who has tackled the problem.

    It's a beautiful machine - my first laptop. It has
    the LED screen backlight option which gives wider
    vertical and horizontal viewing angle, better color
    rendition and longer service life and less power
    consumption than fluorescent tubes. Getting used to
    rubbing a finger on a touchpad instead of a moving
    a mouse or a tackball has been a little frustrating for me.

    Do you know if one of those free VMware Linux "appliances"
    has a Linux capable of supporting servers such as Apache and

    Another way to go would be to run VirtualBox. It's free and
    there are versions which will run on Windows and versions which
    will run on Linux:

    Timothy Daniels, Feb 17, 2008
  10. Timothy Daniels

    Journey Guest

    Isn't Linux, almost by definition, a pain? :)
    Journey, Feb 17, 2008
  11. Timothy Daniels

    Ron Hardin Guest

    The grub loader disables Total Recorder's wakeup
    out of hibernate, even if you make windows the
    default system. A datapoint.

    I've found Cygwin (under XP, but presumably modern
    versions work with Vista) almost a complete
    substitute for linux, if you're into usual
    programmer-type stuff. It's free. And disturbs
    Ron Hardin, Feb 17, 2008
  12. Timothy Daniels

    Colin Wilson Guest

    I've found Cygwin (under XP, but presumably modern
    I use virtualbox for "real" linux stuff - pretty much any OS you care
    to install in a virtual machine on your existing desktop.
    Colin Wilson, Feb 17, 2008
  13. Timothy Daniels

    Journey Guest

    On the Mac side, VMWare Fusion works well for Ubuntu and Windows. In
    fact, I think XP runs better on a Mac than Vista on a PC!
    Journey, Feb 17, 2008
  14. Timothy Daniels

    Colin Wilson Guest

    I use virtualbox for "real" linux stuff - pretty much any OS you care
    Virtualbox is very similar to VMware, and can even load VMware images
    I've heard that said before...
    Colin Wilson, Feb 17, 2008
  15. Presuming that you run VirtualBox on a Windows host, have
    you seen whether you could run other apps (say, a browser)
    directly on the Windows host OS at the same time as VirtualBox
    is running Linux?

    Timothy Daniels, Feb 17, 2008

  16. I don't have Total Recorder, but the change to the MBR
    by the substitution of Grub into it could impact the functioning
    of Media Direct - the stuff which plays DVD movies without
    running Vista. I didn't get this laptop to watch DVD movies,
    but that could be show-stopper for other people who want
    to dual-boot with Linux. I hear that there is a way to put
    Grub in the boot sector of the Linux partition and keep the
    MBR the way it is to continue to boot Windows directly,
    but I'm unclear on how to do that. Otherwise, the way to
    run Linux and Windows may only be with a 3rd-party boot
    loader or with virtual machines.

    Right now, I need to run Windows and Linux, specifically.
    But thanks for the info.

    Timothy Daniels, Feb 17, 2008

  17. <LOL> Say that in alt.os.linux.ubuntu, and they'll
    be all over you like red ants. They're a super-sensitive
    and arrogant group over there, and they see a troll
    under every rock. Since that is the only Ubuntu NG,
    I would see that as one of the "cons" against chosing
    Ubuntu as a Linux distro. As for the
    forum, I see more questions unanswered or inadequately
    answered there than answered. Ubuntu, and Linux in
    general, seems to have a largely folklorical knowledge
    base whose users prefer that newbies "pay their dues"
    before treading their sacred halls.

    OTOH, Ubuntu is a free download, and installation
    CD/DVDs cost between $2 and $10, and scads of apps
    are free to download from the Web. Ubuntu Server Edition
    even includes the Apache web server and the MySQL
    database manager - which would allow me to demo some
    apps I wrote for a course that I took. I think everyone
    should have some Linux experience, if only to see how the
    other half lives, and to see that for some people, Linux is a
    genuine alternative to Windows. The peer support needs
    improvement, though. It would be neat if were a new NG
    "" or "".

    Timothy Daniels, Feb 17, 2008
  18. Timothy Daniels

    Journey Guest

    My Linux experience has shown me that Linux is a complete waste of
    time, unless I want to run a web server or some other professional
    development software. As a web developer student, Linux was a
    necessary evil, and a language with a command called "grep" is simply
    poorly thought out.


    grep = "Global Regular Expression Print"

    grep comes from the ed command to print all lines matching a
    certain pattern


    Um... sure, makes <no> sense to me (even though I am familiar with
    regular expressions). I mean I understand the reasoning and logic
    behind it but the command could be named better. Don't "hard-code"
    the output type "p" in the name of the command when the output can be
    directed elsewhere.

    Linux, >>> from an end-users standpoint <<<, is IMO a very poor
    alternative to Winodws. The user-interface is not very rich and looks
    like it was designed by a kindergarten class (I am referring to the
    interface that came up when I installed Ubuntu). Thankfully there is
    Open Office for Linux, but otherwise comparatively there is a dearth
    of useful applications for it (based on my honest effort to find

    From a developer's standpoint, or someone who wants to have
    programmatic control, or business owner who wants security and a
    low-cost OS and / or server OS, Linux makes more sense to me.

    Every single trip I have taken to Linux-Land has been a waste of time.

    Having said that, I can almost guarantee that I will, at some point,
    because I have a Mac with VMWare Fusion, take that journey again and
    run Ubuntu virtually on my Mac. I guess I am a glutton for punishment
    ! :)

    I truly hope that I will have to eat these words. Not likely though.
    Journey, Feb 18, 2008
  19. Timothy Daniels

    Ben Myers Guest

    Well, sample some newer Linux distros from time to time, and you may be
    pleasantly surprised. Lately I have installed and used the latest Ubuntu,
    Mandriva, Fedora, and Suse distros. Every one of them installs cleanly on my
    old Dell SC400 server, and requires one and only one reboot after installation.
    EVERY one of them comes with the Gnome user interface as a default. It has a
    look and feel very similar to Mac OS X. There is no need to grep or awk or sed
    or cat anything as a normal garden variety end user. It is all there for you
    to use through the Gnome interface. Yes, I admit some of the ways in which
    programs are identified is a bit weird and obscure, so you have to learn to
    navigate around and find out what is where.

    And you can download a live CD version of each of these, burn the ISO to a CD,
    and try each distro without installing it on your hard drive.

    My whole motivation for doing this was to select the distro best suited to be a
    Samba (for Windows users) file server and print server, with ALL of the server
    administration done via menus, ZERO command line execution. In other words, I
    can sell someone a Linux server box, show them how to administer (add/delete)
    users, printers, installed common software and folder shares. And the customer
    can actually do it on his/her own. Much better than being extorted by
    Microsoft for Server Client Access Licenses, which cost as much as the hardware
    in the 5-user version and go up from there. I'm not done yet and I have not
    chosen the distro I am going to use, but what I have seen thus far before
    suspending work to earn more money and upgrade the Linux hardware is extremely
    encouraging... Ben Myers
    Ben Myers, Feb 18, 2008
  20. Those terse acronymic commands are from the
    early days when Unix was being developed by nerds
    and the command line shell was the only user interface.
    Nowadays there many desktop environments of varying
    user-friendliness, some very similar to Windows. The
    problem, in my opinion, is the lack of reviews for the
    universe of Linux/Unix end user software that is available.
    Since much of it is free on the Web for download, there
    is little economic insentive for someone to review and
    compare apps because few users would pay for a
    subscription to such a site and few advertizers would
    pay such a site for ad space. As a result, all information
    about a Open Source app comes from researching folklore
    and personal trial experience - a major investment of time -
    and there is no insentive to produce good documentation
    for Open Source products.

    Timothy Daniels, Feb 18, 2008
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