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Old 03-06-2008, 04:49 PM   #1
oldwordsmith
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Registered: Jan 2003
Location: Washington State, USA
Distribution: Currently Win2K/ Debian and Puppy 3.01 on ancient laptop
Posts: 14

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Debian +Virtualbox +W2K stupid newbie questions


First, I apologise if this in not the proper forum for these questions, it was a "best scientifically wild-ass guess" kind of thing.

After spending the last 12 hours trying to ressurect a vanished partition table for the W2K install on my multi-boot machine, I ended up wiping and reinstalling W2K (and suffering the "normal" loss if irreplacable images, documents and so forth) as well as hours of updating and patching.

I'm looking for a better way.

Basic Specs:
AMDŽ Athlon(tm) XP 2000+ (1.67GHz)
512 meg's RAM
4-18.2 gig SCSI hard drives
nVidia (of some sort~I'm not home right now)

I don't have any problem dumping M$ completely, however I "need" to have W2K availabe for my wife (a free-lance web designer for 11+ years now) since she is stuck with various windows-only programs and frequently needs my machine.

Im looking at a full-blown Debian install with Virtualbox or VMware (or ....??) for W2K as opposed to "fighting" with WINE.

Questions:

1. Is this a reasonable plan of attack given my hardware limitations?

2. Is Debian the "best" distro for this vs. one of the ubuntu family vs. ???

3. My plan was to use all of one of the SCSI drives for debian, all of another for W2K, one of the SCSI drives for a "shared" FAT32 drive (I have that one set-up now from the recently deceased W2K install) and the other for another linux distro or whatever. Does this even make sense?

I've prowled these forums as well as those over at Virtualbox and am more confused now then when I started so please forgive my newbie stupidity.

Thank you in advance for any and all help!!!
 
Old 03-06-2008, 05:22 PM   #2
jailbait
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Registered: Feb 2003
Location: Mineral, Virginia
Distribution: Debian 8
Posts: 7,893

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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldwordsmith View Post

After spending the last 12 hours trying to ressurect a vanished partition table
for the W2K install on my multi-boot machine, I ended up wiping and reinstalling
W2K (and suffering the "normal" loss if irreplacable images, documents and so
forth) as well as hours of updating and patching.

I'm looking for a better way.
The better way is to have a backup and recovery system.


Quote:
Originally Posted by oldwordsmith View Post

2. Is Debian the "best" distro for this vs. one of the ubuntu family vs. ???
Debian is fine for your purposes. Whether one of the Ubuntu family is better gets into hair-splitting.

Quote:
Originally Posted by oldwordsmith View Post

3. My plan was to use all of one of the SCSI drives for debian, all of another for W2K, one of the SCSI drives for a "shared" FAT32 drive (I have that one set-up now from the recently deceased W2K install) and the other for another linux distro or whatever. Does this even make sense?
I suggest that you also create a backup partition large enough to hold all of the data that you intend to back up. Arrange your partitions on the various drives such that the backup data and the original data do not reside on the same drive. That way if you lose a drive you will not lose both the backup data and the original data.

You probably have enough drive space to back up everything including your operating systems. Restoring your operating system using a live CD is generally easier than reinstalling your operating system and redoing your home-grown configuration changes. At least when you back up your operating systems you have a choice between recovery from backup and reinstall.

Having a spare partition for future Linux installs is an excellent idea and one that I always use.

----------------
Steve Stites
 
Old 03-07-2008, 05:30 AM   #3
jlinkels
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Registered: Oct 2003
Location: Bonaire, Leeuwarden
Distribution: Debian /Jessie/Stretch/Sid, Linux Mint DE
Posts: 5,194

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As a matter of fact I have two Debian systems running with W2k in a virtual machine. One is VMWare, the other one is Virtualbox.

Virtualbox lacks a few features as compared to VMWare, but given your applications that doesn't seem to be limiting, you should be able to use Virtualbox.

VB is easier to install than VMware. There is a Debian package for it, and compiling the kernel module is painless. (It is done automatically for you during installation, don't worry) If you have Debian installed, the package management system takes care of what more needs to be installed. I also have the idea that VB is not as memory hungry as VMware, it runs fine on a 1 GB machine. I am not quite sure that you can mount your SCSI drives in VB, but if not you'll notice very early in the beginning.

VMware+W2k does not work on Debian with 768 MB of RAM. Unless you like task switching times of several minutes. After I upgraded to 1.5 GB it ran smoothly. There was also a bug in VMWare graphics which would prevent VMWare client from starting after I resized the virtual screen to fit the window. It simply crashes if you install something beyond a standard resolution like 1024 x 768. (Very nice if you just spent 2 days installing W2k and stuff and adjusted the graphics as a final touch) Maybe it is solved now, maybe not but I do not risk to try again.

That said, you have a powerful processor, but with 512 MB of RAM it is not gonna work with a virtual machine. Upgrade to 1 GB at the very least, better is 1.5 GB.

Debian is a fine, nice and stable distro. I don't like Ubuntu because it deviates from Linux standards to get it more to look like Windows. Many tools can only be used in the GUI, you cannot become root, and if you do anyway, it is not the credentials you use when performing administrator tasks in the GUI, command line configuration seems to be superseded by GUI settings, etc. If you prefer a approach which is as similar to Windows as possible which is performing admin tasks in the GUI while not being aware that you do so, Ubuntu is better.

jlinkels
 
Old 03-07-2008, 04:35 PM   #4
oldwordsmith
LQ Newbie
 
Registered: Jan 2003
Location: Washington State, USA
Distribution: Currently Win2K/ Debian and Puppy 3.01 on ancient laptop
Posts: 14

Original Poster
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Thank You!!

First, to Steve Stites, backup.......? I don't need no stinking backup....!!!!

This situation is a bit ironic since I'm really "anal" about reminding (nagging) my wife about the need for her to backup her data!

Per your excellent advise I'm working on a descent backup plan for myself "as we speak".

Next, to jlinkels, your experiences with VWware and Virtualbox are very helpful.

Since my motherboard only allows up to 1 gig of RAM in 2-512meg "chunks" it seems that I'm stuck with a dual-boot system for now.

Thanks to both of you for the advice on Debian and the ubuntu family.

I'm at a point where getting as far away from M$ as possible is the best plan for me. For what I do at home there is no end to open source alternatives.

As an aside I've been quietly "preaching" linux/open source at work (small rural county in eastern Washington State) and now that it's budget time AND the"Microsoft tax" is due people are starting to listen!

Thanks again!!!
 
  


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