July 30, 2010

Quirky Linux

A spirit wanting to be set free.

Yes, quirkiness can be very pleasant indeed.

Lest people think I'm a Microsoft junkie, I have to let out some Linux geek in me. Yes, I do dabble a little to find other things, just like I would really love to script some Open Office counterpart to my DB Acctg series (w/c I think would be good to release open source style).

And with that Linux would be the better system.

So what have you tried yourself, lately? Or would you be scared messing up your MBR with this thing called Grub?

Well, if you're floyding on it, go buy a surplus harddisk, unplug your existing system and put the thing. My advices are the following:

- be sure you know how to go to your BIOS settings 'coz you may have to configure your pc to boot on the livecd. Unless of course you happen to find whatever key it is in your pc to choose the bootup direction on the right time. Hint, try "F2", "F9", "Esc" or "Del" button while the thing is waking up. No, you won't delete the system. You might just go either to a bunch of options from which to boot from or to a BIOS settings window. And while you are at the BIOS, be very careful and perhaps have a manual to see where your bootup preference settings hide.

- so, you think you are brave enough to experiment on your brother's pc. Then I suggest Mepis, Slax/NimbleX and Linux Mint. And you don't know how to fit them in one old 20G surplus hard disk?

Then, just play around booting into a live Slax CD, or for that matter anyone of them. Fiddle and diddle your way to find a partition editor where you can divide the space into 3 parts.

- perhaps, you will find Slax or NimbleX to be the easier to use among the choices, but the other two will be more compatible with your scanner, printer, web cam or what not. Plus the apps available may be more like what you are used to in terms of look.

- So install Mepis first. There is a system assistant there, where you can renew the grub (the counter part of MBR). Nuts, you don't know what MBR is? ...Then it's the first thing read in the hard disk. It serves as the pointer to where your system resides. If MBR messes up and you panicked, you may get a crappy tech suggesting a reformat of the hard drive.

But, don't worry, your brother's hard disk is not disconnected for no reason. Be assured he will not lose his pictures of Ana Kournikova (before she got hitched). And for this ride, you'll be using grub (unless you want lilo, or do you?) Well, let's talk about grub.

- At last, you got Mepis installed and working (it's that easy). Your grub gives you many booting choices, which you may not like clogging the choices screen on a boot-up. Then navigate to home folder and click, going up further to the root and see the boot directory where a subdirectory grub resides. There, you'll find a file named "Menu.lst". Clicking it will open in a text mode and there you'll see some clumps of lines. Cut out the clumps or paragraphs representing the choices, you don't like.

- Now select partition 2 on the desktop. Create a directory named slax and another named nimblex. Since these guys are light and takes less space, the 2 live cds may actually occupy only 1 cd (actually). Copy the files to their respective directories. These 2 may run using the pre-existing grub that the Mepis installed. Now go to the nimblex directory and cut the subdirectory "boot", paste it on the root of that partition and then renamed it into "n". Do the same with "Slax/boot", only this time renaming the "boot" subdirectory into "s" on the root of partition 2.

Go to the Menu.lst and edit it by adding another clump like:

title NimbleX
root (hd0,1)
kernel (hd0,1)/n/vmlinuz-nx08 ramdisk_size=7120 root=/dev/ram0 from=/dev/hda2/nimblex6 rw passwd=urpassword autoexec=xconf;kdm changes=/dev/hda2/nimblex/
initrd (hd0,1)/n/initrd-nx08.gz

Since you are using only the surplus hard disk (right?), the second partition is "hdo,1" because the first partition of the said first (and only plugged) hard disk is "hd0,0".

The "vmlinuz-nx08" and "initrd-nx08.gz" must be present in the "n" directory or you have to adjust the Menu.lst if the vmlinuz and initrd files were named differently. Do the same edit representing slax and then you may have another set of entries like:

title Slax
root (hd0,1)
kernel (hd0,1)/1s/vmlinuz ramdisk_size=6666 root=/dev/ram0 from=/dev/hda2/slax6 rw passwd=urpassword autoexec=xconf;telinit~4 changes=/dev/hda2/slax/
initrd (hd0,1)/1s/initrd.gz

You've done that and wallah: You can boot Mepis, Slax and NimbleX!

- After a couple of days, you now wish to try Linux Mint but first, is it Linux Mint 9? If it is, be aware that Mint 9 uses another version of grub, But don't worry I'm here to ease your task. Copy first your "Menu.lst" file from the Mepis partition to a diskette or usb flashdisk or sent it via email to yourrself.

Now just install following the default options to partition 3. Boot and you'll find that you may lose your Mepis boot splash screens and that Slax and Nimblex were gone. That's because, Mint has taken over as the holder of the grub files and it's grub version has no Menu.lst file.

So select Mepis on the choices given by Mint choices-screen (another way is to use a Mepis livecd) and find the System Assistant where you have the facility to rebuild the Mepis grub version. Rebuild it and then edit the Menu.lst making sure that the entries for Slax and NimbleX are present. If not copy from your backup file. Then add the following to have Linux Mint 9 available:

title Linux Mint 9
root (hd0,2)
kernel /boot/grub/core.img

Now boot and you have a hard disk that can boot Mepis, Slax, NimbleX and Linux Mint 9.

So you are a geek afterall as linux users are! But then your brother is coming from his weekend trip.

You have then a choice of unplugging your linux hard disk, putting your brother disk in its place. Or you may convince him to be a geek as well and plug his hard disk as a slave. (Yes, man brought slavery even to his toys).

Then do the following:

1) Set his hard disk as a slave by following the jumper settings from the markings (or hard disk manual).

Then edit the Menu.lst file and add the following entries:

title Windows NT/2000/XP
rootnoverify (hd1,0)
map (hd0) (hd1)
map (hd1) (hd0)
chainloader +1

Reboot and voila! You can boot even Windows!

Now, it all started with your quirkiness.

You can now be out of the Windows-box, to another paradigm.


Cheers and heres an old-time quirky music to your new world:

1 comment:

  1. Interesting but the instructions may be too geeky for me to follow.


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