Saturday, March 10, 2007

Linux & Windows Drivers

If you're following my post, you'll know that my wife left me. So, what's a guy to do? My friends suggested a few things:

  • Drink till I drop
  • Go to a nightclub and knock myself out
  • Get a hooker
  • Party out of town
  • Cry myself to sleep
  • Find a pretty and alluring distraction
  • Find a hobby
  • and Tsongki!
Well, a conventional guy would just do the drinking and hooking but I decided to find a pretty and alluring distraction. So I bought an Intel D845EPI/D845GVSR motherboard, Intel Celeron 2.70GHz Processor, and a regular 266MHz DDR RAM upgrade which costs less then PhP 5,000.00.

So here comes the upgrade. First my Partitions:
hda1 - 13GB - Windows XP Professional
hda2 - 3GB - Windows 2000 Advanced Server
hda4 - 20GB - FAT Partition for my files
hda5 - 2GB - Swap Partition
hda6 - 13GB - Kubuntu 6.10
hda7 - 6GB - Slackware 11.0

Hey, you might ask why I still need Windows. I'm a C++ Programmer, and I got used to using MS Visual C++ 6. Microsoft... damn... hard habit to break. Although I rarely now boot back to XP. The Win2000 AS would be used to teach myself various Win Servers and their configuration as I have yet to get use to *Nix servers.

Kubuntu is my distro of choice and would be my near-future development workstation. Since I am currently unemployed, I might as well make good use of my time by teaching myself Java, Phyton, PHP/MySQL, XML, Joomla!, Eclipse, KDevelop, and of course, C++ in Linux. Unfortunately, most companies here in Baguio still requires Visual Basic 6 skills. I don't know where to go to or how to develop VB6 apps in Linux, but that's the least of my priorities right now... so I'll Google it out once I reached that point. For now, it's C++ in KDevelop and Java in Eclipse.

So first, I partitioned my 60GB HDD using Ranish Partition Manager packaged with Ultimate Boot CD. And then I install Windows 2000 before Windows XP, then Kubuntu and finally, Slackware.

I hit a few snags on Windows while I'm at it. Here's my list:
  • Windows 2000 owned the C:\ drive. When I installed Windows XP, it was assigned E:\ and some programs I installed kept on installing to the 3GB partition (Windows 2000). I wanted XP to see itself as C:\ whenever it boots. So I have to run Ranish Partition Manager again and hide all the other partitions (highly recommended especially if you're going to install 2 or more Windows on 1 computer) and reinstalled XP. This workaround enabled XP to see it's home as C:\ and and assign 2000 to E:\. 2000 on the other hand, still sees itself as C:\
  • Windows 2000 replaced the ntldr file on Windows XP and installed a dual-boot manager. The problem now was I can't boot to XP and the error kept on advising me to run the installation CD and recover it using the Recovery Console. No amount of fixboot and fixmbr, well, fixed it. This was fixed by replacing XP's ntldr with my other XP's ntldr file.
  • Windows (both 2000 and XP) kept on deleting my ext3fs and swap partitions... that bitch!
  • I have 2 Primary and 4 Logical Partitions. Windows kept on deleting my 3 other non-FAT and non-NTFS logical partition and made it into primary. I have to resize my Extended Partition using Partition Resizer (still using the Ultimate Boot CD) again and again.
  • Both 2000 and XP kept on asking for drivers. Who would've thought that the installers only have the generic ones for video. I was surprised that I have to install the driver for ethernet since I assumed that both 2000 and XP has a generic 10/100 Ethernet drivers so all the other drivers can be downloaded via Windows Update (now Microsoft Update). In Kubuntu? I don't need drivers 'coz each and every one component already has a driver. So all I have to worry in Linux is install my free softwares.
  • There is no such thing as batch install in Windows.... ever!
  • Every single program, regardless of its' license (yes including the Open Source ones), would prompt a EULA page. I only encounter such EULA's in Linux when I install Flash, Java, and Opera.
  • 2000 and XP almost always prompts you to "check on the FAT partition for consistency".
  • An Intel "HardDisk Driver" (forgot the exact name) shuts down 2000 and XP... no prompts... just like unplugging the power cord from the back of the casing. Fixed by uninstalling Intel Application (or Program) Accelerator.
  • Win32 Application installer don't know exactly where to install the programs. Is it the home (E:\) or the "standard" Partition (C:\). Hah!
  • Windows 2000 Server took me around 6hrs to install the OS, install the drivers, install Firefox and Irfanview, and configure the desktop settings.
  • Windows XP Professional took me a total of 24 hours (span of 2 days) to install everything (OS, Drivers, OSS Programs, MS Office 2003, VC++6, Corel Graphics Suite 11, etc.) and configure the desktop and Outlook 2003.
  • While Kubuntu took me a total of 1 hour to install the OS and configure the desktop. 5mins to sudo dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg (because Kubuntu 6.10 can't detect the make and model of my monitor which is AOC LM525 and should run at 60Hz). And around 2hours to install Firefox, Flash, Java, Opera, SANE, KDevelop and download & install time of security, application, and KDE updates. Another 5mins to configure KDE settings including user accounts and login convenience. Kubuntu install and configuration time: 3hrs and 20mins (That includes the download and install time of Picasa). (Beat that Microsoft!).
So... to wrap things up, you'll notice that, in Kubuntu, I only configured my monitor settings and installed SANE for my scanner (see previous post). The drivers for my motherboard/chipset, video, AC'97 sound, Genius Video Cam Express V2 and HP Deskjet 5160 didn't need drivers.

After install, I still have to worry about spywares, worms, viruses, trojans, etc. and the dreaded Blue Screen of Death lingering in your head. Not so in Kubuntu... ahhh peace of mind at last!

Performance? Please! Anti-Virus (AVG), Anti-Spyware (Super Anti-Spyware), and Firewall (ZoneAlarm) eats a lot of resources that my OS and apps should be using. I don't need all of that in Kubuntu (unless I run LAMP in which case I just download and configure FireStarter).

This is my personal experience in Windows and Linux. What do you think?

On a side note... Linux should have the "It Just Works!" motto while Microsoft should retain the "Who do you want to screw today?" motto.