In the beginning…

As noted on the “About” page, this blog has been produced to document some of my experiences with installing, maintaining, and using Ubuntu Linux. However, it isn’t starting at square one. I have been using Ubuntu Linux in a “production” system for the past two years, have tried various versions of Linux prior to that, and also maintain a “development” machine where I install and play with the latest release of Ubuntu.

My current go-to machine for doing real stuff is running Ubuntu Version 8.04 LTS (Hardy Heron). The LTS (long term support) designation means that this version is supported for a period of three years after its initial release. So, while “Hardy” is currently good for another year, for various reasons, I have a hankering to upgrade to the new long-term support release which is Version 10.04 (Lucid Lynx).

For those who don’t know, Ubuntu’s numbering system is such that the “10” in Version 10.04 refers to the year 2010, while the “4” refers to the fourth month, i.e. April, indicating that Lucid Lynx was released in April, 2010. Normally, Ubuntu is on a six-month distribution cycle. This means that Version 10.10 (Maverick Meerkat) is also available at the time of writing this post. And, next April, Meerkat will be replaced as the current release by Version 11.04 (Natty Narwhal). However, as noted above, Lynx will continue to be supported for the next three years because it is a long term support version. This is my main reason for selecting this version as an upgrade path.

My production machine is established in dual-boot mode (Ubuntu and Microsoft Vista). I use Ubuntu for the vast majority of tasks, but currently still need Windows around in order to run the odd piece of software that either has no equivalent in Linux, or which won’t work properly in Wine (a sort of Linux-based emulator for running Windows’ applications.)

For the purposes of the current exercise, i.e. the eventual move to Lynx, the machine is initially going to be running in triple-boot mode. Ubuntu 8.04 will be left as the main operating system, with Vista as a secondary option, and Lynx being installed as a third bootable option.

Note that this maintains my ability to be able to do real work, e.g. read and write E-mail messages on my regular Hardy system, and to boot into Vista occasionally, while offering the ability to try out the features of Lynx (and work out any bugs!) in a separate – and potentially disposable – disk partition.

The reason for the triple-boot system is that, once Lynx is fully functional, the Hardy partition will be removed and my production machine will be back to its regular dual-boot operation. Actually, I am also working on dropping the Vista partition – and moving 100% to the Linux world – but, that will hopefully be part of this blog’s story. So stay tuned!

One final thought – some readers, especially those new to Ubuntu Linux, may not be familiar with all the concepts and software products mentioned, won’t know how to implement specific features of the operating system or its applications, or be unaware of how to obtain or install certain products. If things like “dual-boot” and “Wine” (at least in the context of Linux) are foreign to you, don’t worry. Somewhere in this blog I intend to provide everything you need to know for you to be able to implement the same sort of system that I am using – very happily – on a daily basis.
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