Day 1

I woke up this morning at 4:45 to change Michaela and didn’t see the point in sleeping anymore, so I hopped on the computer.

Booted up and into a updated system.  I had started the updates previous.  My goal this morning was to implement my 2 HDD system/data model.  First step is format my old data drive.  A quick search brought me to Gparted (link).  I installed and formated /dev/sdb1 to ext3.  I have no plans on going back to Windows and I am not going to make it easy for myself to do it.

My Newly formatted drive mounted itself as /media/Data.  I’m still very new at the file structure  in linux and the lack of drive names continues to throw me for a loop.  The only reason why have a clue on this is that my Android phone operates with the same file structure.

Ubuntu has a “My Documents” analog as /home/user.  In this directory all the documents, videos, picture and music are store and also have handy system shortcuts.  So my goal is to mount /dev/sdb1 (newly formatted) as /home.  This was easy enough to do in windows (right click My Documents….properties…..Move target) but it seems to be a little more complicated in Ubuntu.   I am finding out in linux, where there is a will there is a way and plenty of forums to help you.

I found this forumof another chap in my situation.  Seems easy enough.  I fire up gedit and add UUID=xxxx /home ext3 defaults 0 2  to /etc/fstab And reboot.  And then I can’t login anymore.  Stuck at login screen and nothing happens when I put my password in.  The best help i can find is on yahoo answers.  I opt to start over.

Quick wipe and re-install and 11 minutes later I’m back where I started the morning at.  This time I get the idea to FIRST copy the contents of /home to /dev/sdb1 before I reboot.  I try to copy the contents and i get an error that I don’t have permission to write to the drive.  Time for more google.  I learn about the chown command and a quick

sudo chown -R skyjedi:skyjedi /dev/sdb1

I own the drive now.

sudo cp /home to /dev/sdb1

After one failed attempt at manually editing /etc/fstab I opt for a gui approach.

sudo apt-get install pysdm
sudo cp /etc/fstab /etc/fstab.bak
gksu pysdm &

Point /dev/sdb1 to /home/skyjedi with pysdm

I cross my fingers and reboot.  IT WORKS!  Login and look at /home and it looks good.  I confirm that /dev/sdb1 is mounted at /home in gparted.   I start copying all my data into /home and confirm that /dev/sdb1 is taking the data and not /dev/sda1.

2 drive lifestyle continues!

That’s it for the day.

Day 0

Andrea is out running, Michaela is asleep, 45 minutes before the movie theater requires me at my post, the perfect time to take the massive leap into a new OS.

I have already downloaded Ubuntu 11.10 64 bit and made a bootable USB key from here.  I take one last look at Windows 7 and reboot into Ubuntu Install.  Where I see this:

Since I started building my own computer I have used a two HDD method where one HDD is just for the OS, another is just for data, and never the twain shall meet.  This enables me to nuke my OS install and always have my data safe and untouched from the process.  The same can be achieved by partitioning a single HDD but I’m paranoid of drive failure and HDDs are cheap as mud so I use two physical discs.

It eludes me as to why my two HDD are partitioned into three drives, which partitions are on which drives, and why one of them is labeled OS X.   I am also unfamiliar with this partition manager so reboot back to windows!  Where I see this.

160GB System Drive? Check.  750GB data drive?  Split into 2 partitions of 542GB and 156GB.  Mysterious ~156GB Partition, Check.  Wait WHAT?!?  Then it hits me.  I installed OS X 10.5(.6?) onto this machine back in ’10.  I must have had the great idea to break my Data and System “never the twain shall meet” rule and play with of OS X on my data drive.  I can only assume that OS X didn’t pan out since I have forgotten all of this.

Quick check on Michaela, still sleeping like an Angel.  WHICH SHE IS!

Alright, hmmm how to proceed at this point?  I remember that NTFS works but is not preferred in a Linux environment.  I decide to format the 160GB HDD for the OS install and deal with his weird partitioning on the 750GB data drive later.  To be safe I pull out my trusty 300GB external HDD and backup of all my data ~120GB off the data drive.  Calculating time of transfer…….about an hour.  Well that’s it till after the theater.

(Movie theater job interlude)

Get home, the ladies are already asleep. 🙁 The backup is done, a quick random check to verify, and reboot back into Ubuntu Install.

Select format and install onto /dev/sda, my 160GB system drive, and leave the 750GB Data drive alone for now (his day will come).  Ubuntu takes care of all the partitioning, which is good because I don’t know the difference between a primary partition, a swap partition, a logical partition, or a well dug hole in the ground.  The process starts.  It asks for a few things, username, password, region, and offers to download updates during install.  Only then do I realize that the computer is connected to the internet, on my wireless network,  in the installation instance, without futzing with drivers. Score one for Ubuntu.

The worst fears over hardware and unforeseen complications begin to wane.   After a rocky start this whole process finally gets moving and things are looking up.  The installation starts and a progress bar begins to progress mere 10 minutes since I got home.  Done with computers for the day, time for bed.

Hop in the shower and head towards the bed, and BAM!  I wake Michaela up.  Ooops.

The Final Frontier

I have always been a person who likes to tinker with my computer.  I also have a huge love of open sourced, free software, and taking customization to a crazy level. To that end I have always had an itch to have Linux on my desktop as my primary OS.  In the past my drive has been pushed aside by the need for very specific programs, gaming, and other hardware constraints.

The first hurdle, and largest, has been my need for very specific programs on a desktop.  Top of this list was iTunes.  I have owned iPods and iPhones in the past but with my move to Android all the functionality of iTunes is now contained on the device.  Cross this requirement off the list.  After iTunes was a long list of media editors, notifications programs, media streaming, and a few odds and ends.  Most if not all of these concerns have been solved by Google Chrome and the awesomeness of HTML5.  Chrome has a linux version.  I can still stream video to Xboxes around the house with a simple application uShare.  Its old and no longer developed but it works so no big deal.

Speaking of Xbox aside from minecraft (for now) I don’t touch my desktop for gaming anymore.

Finally hardware constraints have mostly been my wireless card from 2002.  It died not to long ago and I was replaced with a D-link DWA-556, which usings the ath9k driver and from what I have read will work out of the box on a Ubuntu 11.10 install.  The last bit to fall into place was support for my printer from 2003.  This one is a toss up.  It no longer works under Windows 7.  So I am left without a printer regardless of OS choice.

So over the next week or so I will have my desktop up and running.  Michaela and Andrea will of course come first, then work, then sleep, and then Michaela and Andrea again, then the dog, then laundry, but after that will be this project.  I’m looking forward to expanding my mind through new experiences.

Oh yeah and I will be able to build Android from source.  Bonus!