Switching from Windows XP to Ubuntu

July 2nd, 2008 | Yaz

Having heard much about Ubuntu and Linux, I was mentally ready to switch from Win XP to Ubuntu. However, since I hate to install OSs in general, I was not dare enough to touch OS of my computer. Last Friday, I got encouraged to do so by an annoying bug appeared on my Windows. I couldn’t figure out how it started, but it was annoying enough to motivate me to switch from Windows to Ubuntu instead of re-installing Windows. Another motivation came from Microsoft by announcing that they have stopped to sell Win XP. Anyway, I was/am decided to not use Vista and sooner or later I should start working in Linux.

Before starting to install Ubuntu, I neaded to take a back up from my files. I thought it is better to recover my Windows first. After booting by the the recovery CD that came with my laptop, got a warning that all my files will be gone! Apparantly, the recovery CD is meant to just recover Windows and Microsoft does not think there can be valueable stuff in the costumers’ hard drives other than Windows. I gave up and started to take the backups using the Safe Mode.

You can get a free Ubuntu from their website. It’s in the form of an image file and a friend of mine burnt it on a CD. I knew that Windows and Ubuntu(Linux) are using different file systems. So, I was not expecting to have both of them on my laptop. I had used PartitionMagic to create partitions with different file system before, but I was not willing to do that. On the other hand, it was tempting to have both Windows and Linux on my system, mostly because of being a newbie in Linux and being used to some programs that I only have their Windows version.

After inserting Ubuntu CD in CD drive and booting, I found out that I can easily have both Windows and Ubuntu on my system and Ubuntu can take care of the annoying partitioning process. So, I “recovered” my Windows by the recovery CD and started installing Ubuntu. Since I was completely determined to switch from Ubuntu to Windows, I assigned most of the hard drive to Ubuntu. Later I found out that Ubuntu is able to see and use the Windows partition but Windows cannot see the Ubuntu partition. So, if you are about to install Ubuntu, have this in mind.

Ubuntu is cool, but after working for 11 years in Windows and forgetting commend line environment, I need to spend a lot of time to learn it. To figure out how to extract a rar file, I spent almost three hours reading forums and blogs. The solution was to install a rar engine by:

to get into tmp directory:
$ cd /tmp

to download rar engine from rarlab:
$ wget http://www.rarlab.com/rar/rarlinux-3.6.0.tar.gz

to untar the file downloaded:

$ tar -zxvf rarlinux-3.6.0.tar.gz

to copy rar and unrar to the bin folder, so that they can be called in anywhere:

$ sudo cp rar unrar /bin

“sudo” should be used here to kinda permit you to copy files to /bin.
After executing those commends, you can extract rar files by running:

$ unrar x file.rar

in the folder which contains file.rar. This works also for divided rar files. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find out how can I redirect the extracted files to other folders directly and this was the part took a lot of time.

If you are a fan of Latex, as me, and you are wondering how you can use Latex in Ubuntu, I should say it is easy after you wandering for five hours in blogs, websites and forums. You can install TETex (which contains PDFLatex) by

sudo apt-get install tetex-base tetex-extra tetex-bin

After executing that in the terminal, go to the folder which contains your Tex file and simply run

pdflatex yourfile.tex

where yourfile.tex is obviously the name of the Latex file. Hopefully, you will be lucky enough to have your pdf file made. If you encountered with any error and you do want to work on Latex files as easy as how you used to work in WinEdt, install Lyx by

sudo apt-get install lyx

Now, if you enter lyx in the command line and enter, Lyx will be invoked. The only problem that I had with Lyx was EPS files. It was not able to handle EPS files. After skimming forums, I found out that Lyx needs a converter to convert graphic files to its own format. This can be done by installing Imagemagick using

sudo apt-get install imagemagick

Now, I have basic tools in Ubuntu and that means I should stop idling and start working!
1. If you are going to use those commands, do at entirely your own risk!
2. I read in Lyx’s Wiki that tetex is not maintained any more and they strongly recommend to install the package texlive instead.

7 Responses to “Switching from Windows XP to Ubuntu”

  1. Ramkumar says:

    It’s unfortunate you had to go through all that to work with .rar files. You could have just installed the “unrar” package from the Synaptic Package Manager (under System->Administration). Then you can extract the files with the Archive Manager. There is no need to use a terminal.

    Anyways, hope you’re getting along well in Ubuntu. :)


  2. chill says:

    Lol you wasted 3 hours, there is a rar engine available in the repositories.
    Search for rar in synaptics and install the unfree one for the best experience 😛

    You’ll go back to xp ubuntu’s annoyances are not fixable unless you have the time and programming skills.


  3. Yaşar says:

    Thank you for your help. I am that newbie that I didn’t know anything about Synaptic Package Manager before.


  4. Yaşar says:

    Well, I am determined to stay in Ubuntu! I haven’t logged on my Xp for three days!


  5. Sunforce Wind Generator says:

    Hi, I can’t understand how to add your site in my rss reader. Can you help me, please :)

    Hummm…. use http://yazaq.com/?feed=rss2


  6. Deven says:

    hi very nice blog


  7. Quick Facts says:

    You you should edit the page subject Switching from Windows XP to Ubuntu Yazaq to more generic for your content you create. I loved the blog post all the same.


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