About the Ubuntu Installer for Windows January 17, 2007Posted by Carthik in microsoft, Other sites, ubuntu.
Lifehacker featured a post about the Ubuntu Installer for Windows, with the headline:
Install and run Ubuntu without disturbing Windows
This is disturbing, since the installer is not yet finished and tested. Lifehacker’s readers belong to a variety of “categories” but I worry about the users who expect everything to work ship-shape and start bad mouthing if it does not at first try. It is not clear where one would file bugs with this installer, for one. I hope this does not end up creating a “Ubuntu does not work properly” image in the minds of these readers. The installer prototype features ntfs-3g, which itself is experimental, and since Ubuntu will “reside” within windows, auto-detection and automatic configuration of hardware might not work the same as it does with native Ubuntu installs.
There is a prototype of the Install.exe installer for Windows. In layman’s terms, this installer is just like any other software application installer for Windows. It works by copying an image of Ubuntu to your Windows partition and using that to “drive” Ubuntu. So it does not repartition your hard drive, or install Ubuntu independent of Windows. In C:\Ubuntu an image will reside and be complemented by the auto-detected settings for Ubuntu, the home directory for the users etc. So Ubuntu will end up borrowing space from Windows, without repartitioning. For more details, read the specification. Don’t be scared by the word specification – Ubuntu specs are a pleasure to read, with the rationale,use cases, to-do items etc written in simple English.
I love the idea of the Ubuntu installer, and it sure makes it easy for folks to try Ubuntu out. I expect problems when these users finally want to switch completely to Ubuntu while preserving their Ubuntu installation, settings, files and permissions. Now that would be difficult since uninstalling windows will wipe out Ubuntu(which lives “within” Windows).
So, the approach will solve a problem but might end up inventing some more problems for its users.
All you need to try out Ubuntu without risking data loss is the Live CD – that really can’t be beat for simplicity and ease-of-use!