The Best of Both Worlds (Linux Mint and Windows XP on my computer)

Sunday · 20 Jan 08 · 09:05 PM IST | Posted by Karthik | Category: Tech

For the past few weeks I had only Ubuntu Linux on my laptop.  Everything worked fine and I was very happy with all the applications that I'd installed (and got for free, by the way).  There was only one program that I wasn't able to run — Doom Builder.

Doom Builder Error when running under WINE

I'd taken out my Doom Collector's Edition CD and copied the IWAD files off of it.  With ZDoom running under WINE, I was able to play Doom well.  But Doom Builder did not work (error above: something about not being able to create a pointer), and I felt lost without a level editor!  How was I going to make maps now?  I tried installing other editors.  The Windows version of SLADE did not run through WINE (was giving some weird drawing error on screen), and from a few forums, I understood that getting it to run on Linux would mean I'd have to compile it myself.

Finally, I gave up and decided that having a dual boot system, with both Windows XP and Linux was the way to go.  Since I was going to mess with installing stuff anyway, I decided to try another Linux distribution, called Linux Mint (this is based on the recommendation of two people — Krish Ashok and Karteek E).  Mint is actually based on Ubuntu, but the difference is that it comes with more multimedia codecs installed.  I downloaded the latest Mint version (4.0 "Daryna") through a torrent, and wrote that onto a CD, and then booted my computer with it, to try it out.  As expected, there were no problems.  All my hardware was detected, and I was very pleased to have a usable system, with the operating system running off a CD!  But Mint went one step further.  It was supposed to be a more multimedia-oriented distro, right?  So, without installing anything I simply opened up a YouTube page (obviously, it was this one) in Firefox.  The video played back nicely!  I was very impressed and confident that I'd made the right decision in "upgrading" from Ubuntu to Mint.  I booted back into my existing Ubuntu install, copied the contents of my home directory onto my external hard disk.  I had a hard drive that was ready to be wiped out now and was armed with the Mint CD and the Windows XP CD that came with my laptop.

At this point, Varun came in as well.  He'd tinkered around with his computer, and played with bootloaders a bit earlier.  He has a dual boot system with Windows XP and Fedora 8, so he has experience in messing with partitions.  Now, we set about "reconfiguring" my computer.  Obviously, if you're doing something like this, you have to install Windows first.  So the XP CD went in, and the following partitions were created —

  • C: [FAT32 partition, 10 GB]
  • D: [FAT32 partition, 30 GB]
  • E: [roughly 40 GB]

The operating system was installed on C: and it took a good 40 minutes or so for this to complete.  I was laughing out at some of the marketing text that appears during the install — "Internet Explorer 6 is the most secure and reliable way to surf the web", the stuff about DRM, etc.  Anyway, once Windows XP was installed, it was time to load Mint.

Installing Linux Mint

Mint has a very nice, polished desktop as you can see above.  The tagline, "From freedom came elegance" suits well!  Anyway, there was a little "Install" icon on the desktop, which when double-clicked, began the install process.  Mint uses the same user-friendly installer as Ubuntu ("Ubiquity").  After selecting the keyboard layout and the timezone options, it asked where the OS was to be installed.

Installing Linux Mint — Partitioning

We chose the "manual" mode of partitioning the disk, then deleted the last partition (the E:, here referred to as /dev/sda6).  We re-allocated around 36 GB for the Linux OS and the rest of the space for Linux swap.  The next prompt really surprised me though —

Installing Linux Mint

Yes, it actually detected the Windows install on the other partition, and asked whether I wanted to import my documents and settings into the new OS!  Great!  However, as that was a fresh install of Windows, there wasn't anything I wanted to import anyway.  The install proceeded after that and quite soon I had a dual boot system with both Windows XP and Linux Mint on it!  GRUB is the bootloader that was installed and it allows me to choose which OS to boot on startup.

The way I'm working now is, the middle partition (D: on Windows, and /dev/sda5 on Linux) is where I am storing everything.  This way, all my stuff (MP3s, images, whatever) is accessible in both operating systems.  I later installed Doom and Doom Builder on Windows, and installed the msttcorefonts on Linux.  I also got some nice themes for Linux.

So, I am able to edit Doom maps now under Windows XP —

Doom Builder on Windows XP

And, this is my Linux Mint desktop as it looks now —

My Linux Mint Desktop

With both these operating systems on my laptop, I couldn't be happier!  It really is the best of both worlds.

16 comment(s) for this post.

Comments for this News Post

21 Jan 08 · 03:30 AM
Congratulations! :)
21 Jan 08 · 11:30 AM
Hey, the Mint is so chilling like mint...
UI looks great and even the Wallpaper adds to it.
So, guess you have all the tools that a power-user needs it!!!
But, it's still pity that (most of ) People in India cannot live without Windows...
22 Jan 08 · 01:56 AM
A quick tip that I usually follow. If you've habit of messing up your Linux once in a while, its better to remove grub and use NTLDR for boot. Windows hardly works, and its hard to mess up.

`dd` the first 512 bytes of your mbr to a file, copy it to c, and point that file as Linux in your 'boot.ini' file.
5 Feb 08 · 01:20 AM
At first I thought you meant best of both eastern and western civilizations :)

Keep rocking kars.
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Karthik Abhiram

27-year old Taurean (birthday 15-May-82), Assistant Manager - HR at Tata Consultancy Services Ltd in Hyderabad, India.  Previously, did Post Graduate Diploma in Management from T A Pai Management Institute (2003-05) and before that, Computer Science Engineering from Sree Nidhi Institute of Science and Technology (1999-2003).

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