Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Dual booting Windows 8 and Mageia 4: Part 1 - The Prep

I wanted to install Mageia on the Lenovo laptop as soon as my work allowed me to mess around with it since it was now my main system.
My main worry was UEFI, Microsoft's effort to make it harder to install anything else along Windows in the name of security. After going through so many detailed explanations, I'm still not convinced that it was a good move. Protecting anything is a good idea so long as the bad guys don't crack the key. But with a target as valuable as Windows, the cost spent to crack the key may be justified. I figured it would be best to see how other people were doing it. I found this great guide and how other Mageia users are dealing with it. In this day and age, there was already someone who shared how they did it on YouTube.
After reading some more, I found out that Mageia 4 does already some of the work needed already ( This convinced me that the risk I would mess up everything was not that high (Famous last words).
I tried to shrink the 400GB windows partition down into 100GB but could only go to 200GB
cause is unmovable files. Now I'm thinking: Do I "screw it and use gparted" or do I "do the safe way". Since I don't have a backup copy of Windows 8  and I need A USB stick with 16GB to create a bootable recovery backup, I chose the safe way. Basically I disabled the windows system settings that were preventing me from shrinking the volume. These posts were helpful in getting me to that point.
I was able to shrink the partition to about 70GB and re-enabled the settings back, doing all the reboots that were required along the way

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Login failures and the joy of Linux

Screenshot of Xubuntu 9.04's login screen
Linux login screen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I have only Linux running at home, most of them Mageia. Which means that I am also Technical Support. A few days ago, the kids complained that they couldn't log in on the shared computer near the kitchen..I tried logging in and after I entered my password, a dialog box appeared and said "The name org.gnome.DisplayManager was not provided by any .service files". Clicking on OK would land me back in the login page. Fortunately, I solved it pretty quickly.
I found out that there was a power outage and the machine restarted with a filesystem error. It fixed itself but then the error message came out. I reckon one of the config files got mangled and needed to be re-installed. If you are new to Linux, this is not as bad as it sounds. This isn't the only Linux box in the house, so I had options. My first guess was that the Mate / Gnome config file in my directory was messed up. So I logged in as root. It logged me in without any error.
A quick Google search did said that it was likely my GDM custom.conf file was mangled. I compared it with my laptop's version and it was the same. Then I remembered that Mageia didn't use GDM but LightDM instead. And then I realized that all I had to do was switch Display Managers. Mageia came with about 4, so I was spoilt for choice. I opened up the Mageia Control Center and then chose Boot and then Display Manager. I chose GDM, saved and logged out. Problem solved.
Sorta. I will have to get around to fixing LightDM but there is no rush. GDM is almost similar and Mageia developers went to great pains to ensure all the graphics were consistent. So the difference my kids saw was that instead of a drop-down list with their names to choose from, their names were now in a dialog box list. It was something they saw for about 3 seconds and knew immediately what to do.
This is one of the reasons I love using and working with Linux. It not only gives you choices, those choices are modular to the point where one breaks down, chose another that does the same thing and move on. This would have been a major catastrophe on MSWindows. I'd be looking at a re-installation at least. If I knew, what file was corrupted, I could replace it but I wouldn't know whether it would be of the same version of the other MSWindows components.

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