Bootcamp: Installing Linux

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A few weeks ago, in Faqs! Facts! Fax! 531 (10/09/06) in response to a query about the DT Mk II ‘Vista Ready’ computer (Boot Camp 436) I casually mentioned that if anyone was interested in finding out about how to install Linux on this machine they should write in, and you did! The sizeable response was unexpected, and not just from DT MK II builders, so in the next few episodes of Boot Camp we are going to be looking at how to install Linux on a Windows XP computer in a dual-boot configuration, so at switch on you will have a choice of operating systems. We’ll also deal with a single boot (i.e. Linux only) installation, so there’s something for everyone.

You will need somewhere to put Linux and in an ideal world that will be on a separate partition on your hard disc drive (i.e. the drive is split into two or more ‘logical’ or virtual drives). However, the chances of you having a spare unused partition handy, or enough ‘unallocated’ space on your drive to create one are very small. That leaves us with two alternatives; you can install a second or ‘slave’ drive exclusively for Linux, or put your faith in Linux and allow it to create a new partition from the free space on your drive.

The only other thing you will need is a copy of Linux. There are many distributions to choose from -- almost 400 at the last count -- but the good news is that many of them are absolutely free. Every Linux expert and aficionado will have their own favourite and the currently trendy and topical Ubuntu was high on my list of candidates but in the end I’ve plumped for a tried and tested distribution called Mandriva (formerly Mandrake).

Part 1.

Part 2.

Part 3.