Moe, Larry, Curly and Grub

I have so far stuck with my XP Black/Hardy Studio dual boot and been very pleased. Linux has been a refreshing source of daily learning and many challenges. I suppose I've grown accustomed to challenges and enjoy those that have no deadline or serious consequences.

At school, however, I decided to pursue my 3-boot system...I don't know why I get so enamored with frivality. My desktop (on loan from UNH) has a huge excess of storage that wouldn't be filling anytime soon (around 120 GB free of a 160 GB drive) so I thought it safe to manipulate. However, unlike my home pc, I only have the one hard-drive to work with. I was a little intimidated by the prospect of destroying my 6 years of Ph.D. work sooooo..... I copied my "important" files to a networked computer and then downloaded a .torrent of partition magic.

Partition Magic had lots of scary read-me documentation that is likely to thwart the plans of the timid or ignorant. I narrowly escaped...nearly thwarting myself! I did a disk cleanup and defragmented the drive as suggested. At some point I recall scrambling to find the recommended floppy disk back-up but I couldn't find any working floppy diskettes in the department!! So I ignored the advice and continued anyway. It worked flawlessly. I was very pleased with the results of using Partition Magic and would recommend it to anyone that wants to partition their hard drive. (Just make sure to back up!)

I first installed PCLinuxOS2009 on one of the 30 GB partitions I made and it ran without a hitch. I got my first big scare when I tried to boot back into XP. Instead of booting the OS it went to some utility that ran a full system diagnostic scan. Not really sure what I was looking at, I figured I'd run the scan and then perhaps it would pass on to boot. 30 minutes later and just before I had to go home...no boot. When I closed the dialog box, the whole machine rebooted back to the PCLinuxOS grub boot loader. I had a conference to attend the next day and dwelled on the problem. Then it occured to me that I saw a tiny sliver partition at the front of the drive when I was running Partition Magic. I guessed that the grub boot loader menu item for Windows XP defaulted to hd(0,0) and that this was the location of the DELL Utility that ran. After editing this to hd(0,1) in menu.lst in grub the problem was solved.

I still had a roughly 30 GB partition set aside to load ubuntu studio 8.04 (UbStu) but I wanted to keep the nice graphical boot loader splash page that came with PCLinuxOS. So during the installation I skipped the grub set-up. However, I wasn't quite sure of the hd location of the install. So the lesson learned is to carefully note your partition table as you partition your drive. Where is what partition and what is it called. After I fiddled with the menu.lst file in grub for a while, I finally got ubuntu studio to load. Success!

In summary: I learned a bit about partition tables, installing multiple operating systems on a single drive, and configuring a grub boot loader (Including creating a personalized splash screen).

To Do:

1. Write about my experience thus far with Rosegarden/JACK
2. Figure out how to record MIDI tracks in Rosegarden with only my soundcard


1. Cannot record my MIDI sequence in Rosegarden
2. Audacity and Rosegarden freeze my system (complete lock-up) when run together
3. Still not sure how to manage my swap space.


The last time I ran UbStu my swap space wasn't even loading and I couldn't get it to load with a >swapon -a. However, I ran a few memory intensive programs and my system memory peaked at about 25-27% so I guess I just have way more memory than my celeron processor can handle. The processor was maxed out.

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