Quad Boot - Friday Update - It's Good!

Quad Boot - Friday Update - It's Good!

Summary: After nearly a full week of working with this quad-boot setup in various stages of completion, I can say that I am very pleased. It is working well and it is allowing me to easily compare the three different versions of Linux, which is just what I wanted.


After nearly a full week of working with this quad-boot setup in various stages of completion, I can say that I am very pleased. It is working well and it is allowing me to easily compare the three different versions of Linux, which is just what I wanted. Here are some notes about each of the versions as I went through the setup and configuration.

- Ubuntu: This probably wins the "dead easy" install and use award. Not only did it just install and run, it was the easiest to get the additional software packages installed on. Java, Flash, Thunderbird, OpenOffice, C-Kermit and the Gnome Partition Editor were all found in the Synaptic Package Manager, and Citrix, Opera, Gizmo5 and Skype all installed from downloads on their respective web pages without any trouble. This was also the only version on which I was able to figure out how to disable touchpad tapping without a lot of trouble. The automatic update manager seems to be efficient and reliable.

- openSuSE: This probably wins the "cantankerous" award. In the end, it can probably do everything the other can do, but it just seems to make a big fuss over everything. The pacakages are an odd mix; Firefox 3 is now being distributed as an update, but Thunderbird is still at (two versions behind current). Opera and C-Kermit are included in the packages, but Gizmo5, Skype and Citrix are not. Citrix would not install properly from either of the downloads on their web page; I ended up having to figure out where the plugin needed to be installed, and make a symbolic link into it myself. The automatic update wouldn't work properly, perhaps because it was asking me questions that I didn't understand but I don't think so; but at the same time, manual update worked perfectly.

- Mandriva: This may very well end up being my personal favorite. But you have to be willing to accept that this is a very conservative distribution, they don't rush to include all the latest updates and every possible package. Firefox and Thunderbird are still at 2.x releases, Flash is still at least one release behind, and I couldn't find Java or JRE in packages at all. As with openSuSE, when I installed the Citrix client, I had to manually symlink the plugin to the correct directory before it would work. It is very flexible, it did an excellent job of recognizing and configuring all the hardware in my laptop.

Of course, all three of them are more stable that XP Professional on this laptop, and miles more stable than Vista was. But having XP there to boot when I absolutely need it for something is certainly nice.

Over the weekend and next week, I will get into a few more peripherals, and then perhaps try another Linux variant or two.

jw 4/7/2008

Topic: Linux

J.A. Watson

About J.A. Watson

I started working with what we called "analog computers" in aircraft maintenance with the United States Air Force in 1970. After finishing military service and returning to university, I was introduced to microprocessors and machine language programming on Intel 4040 processors. After that I also worked on, operated and programmed Digital Equipment Corporation PDP-8, PDP-11 (/45 and /70) and VAX minicomputers. I was involved with the first wave of Unix-based microcomputers, in the early '80s. I have been working in software development, operation, installation and support since then.

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  • Quad Boot - Friday Update - It's Good!

    Congratulations! I have 2 machines with triple boot. but haven't tried a quad. I was a Mandrake/Mandriva user from 2001 to 2006 when I discovered PCLinuxOS, which is derived from Mandriva, but uses the Synaptic Package Manager. Have you noticed any difference in speed between XP and Linux? I have yet to find a distro that has everything I want that works "out of the box". The good part is that you are able to remaster the live CD and make it your own. I have been a bit afraid to try that yet.
  • Quad Boot - Friday Update - It's Good!

    Sun Java packages are available for Mandriva in the /non-free repository, with the name java-1.5.0-sun and java-1.6.0-sun . See http://wiki.mandriva.com/en/Docs/Basic_tasks/Installing_and_removing_software for instructions on adding the official repositories. The 'IcedTea' project to complete the bits of Java that Sun has open sourced - since renamed OpenJDK - is also available, in the /main repository, under the name java-1.7.0-icedtea .

    As we make stable releases - where 'stable' means 'you don't change anything unless it's severely broken or a security issue' - Firefox and Thunderbird in 2008 Spring will not be updated via the official update repositories to version 3.x unless version 2.x goes out of maintenance at mozilla.org. Version 3.x packages will be made available in the /backports repositories, which are intended for this kind of thing. They are documented at the Wiki page I linked to above.

    Adam Williamson
  • Quad Boot - Friday Update - It's Good!

    @ator1940 - Yes, I have noticed a significant difference in speed between XP and Linux, in fact I've noticed it on two levels. First, the laptop is noticeably quicker when running Linux. Nothing like twice as fast, but still noticeably faster. Second, more importantly, unlike XP it doesn't seem to slow down over time, with use and addition of more software. This is something that had become so "normal" to me that I didn't even think of it any more. But since I got a new disk drive two weeks ago, and loaded all four operating systems from scratch, I have noticed that there was not such a noticeable difference in speed when they were all freshly installed. But after about two weeks, I can already see the speed difference between them more clearly.

    @Adam Williamson - Thanks for the tip on where to find things. I did notice that Mandriva updated to Firefox today, which was nice, and gives clear support to your statement that you are staying with the stable version, and continuing to upgrade it.

    To both, as always, thanks for reading and commenting.

    jw 10/7/2008