Wubi, will say Goobye to Microsoft? Not really…
Well, the title kinda says it all if someone already knows this news… what are we talking about, you may ask instead? I’ll explain.
Lately there has been a pair of new strange softwares for Windows XP, very strange and unusual softwares indeed…. the first to appear has been Wubi and it was an incredible new to me. I tryed it on one of my friend’s PC with windows, call him Ciro. Ciro was afraid of partitioning the windows (NTFS) partition, because he basically knows almost nothing about informatics and he thought that the windows partition may have been erased or that the PC would have runt slower ( O_o !!!!!). Yes, really. Useless to explain him it was impossible, you know how this things work, I believe.
Now, Ciro did like my beryl effects on Ubuntu Feisty and his brother was on the way to destroy the entire HD and install Ubuntu just to have Beryl and to say goodbye to DRMs (One of his friends copyed him a number of MP3s with DRM and he was shocked that his PC was unable to play ‘em… of course I told him, they belong to your friend! You can’t exchange a drm protected mp3 without cracking it… and on and on with the lesson… ….)
So I told the 2 brothers about Wubi, I just discovered it and tried it out on my virtual machine with a licensed winXP on it. They where enthusiast. Why is that? What does Wubi do?
1) It is a program installable in XP. You run it, tell him how much hard disk space to use, which language, which username and pass to use and which ubuntu distribution to use and it downloads Ubuntu and sets it up for you (You can also give Wubi a predownloaded iso file if you prefer or have no connection on the PC you’re installing Ubuntu into, and that was my case, but you’ll need the alternate iso).
2) Wubi does a trick: it creates a folder where it stores a number of virtual hard disks, actually large files, one for the system, one for your home dir and one for swap file. So it does NOT FORMAT OR PARTITION you preexistent partition. That’s the best advantage of all: every single windows user I know doesn’t whant to install ubuntu because he’d have to partition the HD… risky indeed and then it is very tricky and difficult to “Uninstall ubuntu” and make the partition as it was before, if you don’t like it.
3) You restart the PC, you now have a boot selector, WinXP or Ubuntu (This is a dos boot selector, absolutely no grub or lilo or whatsoever linux related), you choose Ubuntu, Wubi finishes the Ubuntu installation automatically and then you log normally in Ubuntu as if it was on a partition. only the HD is virtualized but it is a file, a physical one, so it runs perfectly, at the same speed it would in the case you partitioned…
So I went on with this and even created the Italian translation for Wubi (If you install it in Italian, the translation is by me, any argue about how has it been done? Comment here! ;P , I was about to create a topic here about Wubi to promote it but then….
Ciro called me, he was very scared. It appears that his Ubuntu, dunno why, is unable to log-out on his PC. If you do log out, to change user, for example, you get a black screen, freezed. Have to restart the PC manually to get out of this, no command works (Not even alt + ctrl + f*)… while this is not an issue in a Linux formatted FS, since ext3, for example, is very difficult to break, it is a very big problem if you use an NTFS or Fat partition…. because this partitions are shitty. How many times did you lose your data in windows after a crash or by force quitting / restarting the system in a crash of any sort? Plenty, in my old memories.
So Ciro restarted the PC and it said there was no available boot disc. Ouch O_O !!! Astonishment. Fear. And then Despair. Ciro cried at me: wasn’t this safe? Did I lose my windows data!? Argh!!
He had an heart attack, I had two, because the responsibility, of course, was mine. Plus you couldn’t even imagine the bad publicity Linux would have gained with this friend of mine from Naples talking about it around…. he likes way too much talking about things he can’t understand…
So I downloaded a rescue disc of some sort, flew to his house and started hacking his HD. Luckily, after a few tries and hints from the MS site itself, I solved the problem, what an irony, with a free software… the disc was repaired, master boot made safe, etc. Windows booted once again… phewww!!!! -_-
So I uninstalled immediately Wubi… Ubuntu is difficult to crash but some times it does, and if you restart your system brutally on NTFS, not ext3, your data are likely to be erased and lost!!! My God, Wubi is really a dangerous way to install Ubuntu, believe me, use it with caution, you’re warned. I installed Ubuntu partitioning Ciro’s PC after that and he was very happy about it and didn’t notice any slowdown (Of course )…
What about this new tool, Goodbye to Microsoft? It’s a Debian installer but I read on a lot of ignorant people’s blog that it is like Wubi. It is NOT!
I downloaded and tried it myself on my VirtualMachine with XP. This Debian installer downloads an installer version of Debian from the net. After that, it installs the Debian installer on the PC. When you reboot you have a menù to choose: windows or “debian installer”. Choose the second and a normal Debian Net Installer loads! With this installer you’ll have to do everything you would have done with a normal debian CD! You will have to partition you HD as normal, etc, so it uses NO VIRTUAL DISC AT ALL, it is NOT like Wubi.
This tool is in my opinion quite useless. It is not user friendlier than an Ubuntu Live CD, it’s the opposite. You don’t even have the chance to test the compatibility of Debian with your machine (it’s not a Live CD) but go on with a blind Debian installation! So if it works bad, after partitioning, you’ll hate linux for the rest of your ignorant life.
Then another problem: since it does a normal install and actually partitions you HD (See the picture up here I screenshotted if you don’t believe me… and why shouldn’t you??), even with the assisted process there’s always a chance that you format your entire HD by doing something wrong and loose your data. Now, if you did it on purpose with a debian CD ok, but if you got illuded and enchanted by this tool thinking of it as an easier way to install debian, and maybe a safer one, you’re wrong man. This isn’t safer at all.
Another note: many people out there think of this tool as a Debian official thing and therefor started to insult the debian developers mindlessly… read the page. It’s from third party, so the Debian theme is not responsible for this shameful and IMHO useless tool..
Conclusions? There is no easier way than a Live CD today to install Linux… unless you run it on a Virtual Machine, don’t get enchanted by this miracle-promising tools: you’d be really disappointed!