This is a working trip (its not all eating, honestly) and I am trying to get a number of bioinformatics projects sorted out whilst I am away. As I tend to do most of my bioinformatics on remote Linux servers this proves a problem with using high latency connections or when I’m sans internet (for example on the flight over).
So I need Linux dual-boot on my laptop. However, the Lenovo T60 that I use has an annoying problem which means that all of the hard drive space is used up by the default partitioning scheme. I know that you can resize the partition afterwards, but it is a hassle, and there’s always the risk of data loss. Yes, I know I should make daily backups, but who does that?
Mark Kennedy pointed me towards a major time-saver called Wubi, a Windows installer for Ubuntu which installs a virtual partition as a file on your NTFS partition. This means you don’t have to resize your main partition, and it also sorts out the boot-loader so that you can dual-boot Linux or Windows.
OK, nothing revolutionary but it does mean you can have a functioning permanent Linux installation on your new PC in minutes rather than hours. Although you might think running a virtual partition on top of NTFS might slow things down a lot, it doesn’t seem to in reality, and of course any slowdown is mitigated by the speed-up you get from not running Windows BloatWare(tm).
Also, Ubuntu 10 9 is seriously slick and I don’t miss Windows XP at all when I’m using it. Except perhaps for the crummy Flash support.