This is a three part series to show ways of running Linux within other operating systems. In this first part I will cover Linux on a live disk, and running Ubuntu using the WUBI installer. In part two I will cover Virtual Machines, and in part three we will look at Linux on Android.
Live Disks – try before you buy
Linux live disks have been around for years now, a full modern OS booting and running from a CD. When you consider the amount of software included over and above the OS its actually quite an achievement. Most Linux distro’s offer a live disk in some form, with some also offering larger downloads to burn to DVD. Simply download the ISO from your chosen distro’s website, and use your favourite disk burner to burn to a blank CD. The only other step you will need to do is ensure your BIOS is set to boot from the optical drive. If you opt to use a USB stick instead of a CD you can also create a persistent data file which can be used to store data and setting between boots. As well as testing out a new distro to see if it fits your needs, and works with your hardware, live disks are also incredibly useful for fixing computer issues, and recovering data. There are special distro’s created just for this purpose.
Ubuntu based distro’s give you another install option, the WUBI installer. The WUBI installer works from within windows and allows you to install Ubuntu without having to partition your hard drive. Instead it installs safely onto a block of your Windows hard disk partition. I won’t go through all the steps as the install is very easy and self explanatory. Do think hard about the space you give to the install though, as this cannot be changed at a later date.
So what exactly is a WUBI install. As stated above WUBI allows you to install Ubuntu to your Windows hard drive. Ubuntu is installed to a ‘file’ which is a loopmounted disk image, this means you have a real install as opposed to a virtual machine. The full processing power of your computer is yours, and you have full access to all of the components within. WUBI adds a boot entry to the Windows bootloader for selection on boot, and the default OS can be changed from Ubuntu.
If, once installed you decide you want to keep your install, it can be moved to its own partition at a later date creating a multi-boot system. And if you decide its not for you, simply delete it in the Windows remove application dialogue.