As the workstation is using 3 monitors, I was somewhat concerned that I would lose functionality with Linux but a little bit of research told me that the chances of getting the third monitor to work were good.
The first step was to download the Ubuntu Studio distro (12.04 LTS) which I did from UbuntuStudio.org. I chose the 64 bit version to make full use of the hardware in the Workstation. As I wanted to install the distro from a USB Flash drive and not a DVD, I then downloaded the wonderful little tool from Pendrive Linux that does it all for you.
There are excellent instructions on how to install the iso image that you download from the studio website onto your flash drive, so I’ll skip over that bit…
As the workstation is using 3 monitors, I was somewhat concerned that I would lose functionality with Linux but a little bit of research told me that the chances of getting the third monitor to work were good. Two of the three monitors are plugged straight into the graphic card. The third is using a USB to DVI interface for which there is no official Linux driver … but there may be some workarounds.
So, once the BIOS had been set to boot from the USB drive first, it was time to give Ubuntu Studio a test drive and check how much of the hardware was still working!
The First Major Problem: Partitioning!
Everything seemed to work well, including the wireless mouse and so on. The third monitor had a nice green screen, which I was hoping to see. It indicated to me that I had a good chance of getting it working – as promised.
I started the installation program and it confirmed I had at least 7,5 Gb of HDD space, a working internet connection and asked me whether I wanted to download updates as I installed (“yes, please”) and whether I wanted third-party licensed software, such as MP3 decoders (“definitely, yes, please!”)! So, I hit continue, and after quite a while waiting…..
….I was faced with my first problem.
I was offered 3 choices: 1) Install alongside Windows (the choice I wanted!), 2) Replace Windows or 3) Something else (????). I clicked on the first choice only to discover that it would not allow me to install Ubuntu on my C Drive, but only on the external Hard Disk! I was not a happy camper! 🙂
Exploring all of the options in Choice No. 3 seemed to offer no safe way of making any room on my Primary disk for the Ubuntu installation. It was then I remembered using a partition resizing utility from the days back when…!!! A quick search through the system utilities menu revealed the program I sought: Gparted.
Gparted – Holy Grail of Partitions
Identifying which of the drives was my boot drive (the Hitachi and not the Seagate) as windows labels weren’t applied was a minor irritation, and I soon found that by right clicking on /dev/sdb I could click on the re-size option and actually drag the boundary to left to make enough room. I left about 200 Gb and noticed that for formatting this new partition I had lots of choices, including a swap drive (I had forgotten that Linux required a swap drive!) and the new ext4 format. So, I chose this – leaving about 10 Gb to be formatted as swap drive.
Following a reboot, I again entered the Installation program and was disappointed to find that Choice 1 was still only showing my external HDD. Choice no. 3, however showed all my new partitions – yay! I had an /dev/sdb2 as ext4 and a /dev/sdb3 as swap!
Almost there now…
I needed to show the installer where to put its Linux. I had to set a mount point. The column is clear in the partition table, but how to do it? Doubling clicking the partition line brought up a dialogue where I was again asked what type of formatting I required (ext4 – d’oh!), whether I wanted to change the size, a tick box for formatting (ticked this as it was probably best to format it afresh) and a mount point option! I clicked the drop-down and selected the ‘/’ symbol, which I remember as being the symbol for ‘root’ or the starting point.
All looking good…. and all that remained was to click the “Install now” button! So here goes…..
It’s asking me my time zone (guessed it correctly), then the keyboard layout I want to use – all the while copying files in the background – and then asked me for my login details. You then get to play with a pretty slideshow showing you all the wonders of your soon-to-be-in-your-grubby-mitts installation! Ooh – exciting stuff! 🙂