Art Alexion on 10 Jan 2010 08:45:25 -0800

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Re: [PLUG] Story and warning about wubi and ubuntu

On Sunday 10 January 2010 10:45:04 James Barrett wrote:
> On Sun, Jan 10, 2010 at 9:52 AM, Art Alexion <> wrote:
> > So wubi installs ubuntu on the existing NTFS filesystem?
> Yep.  FWIR, it creates a disk image file on the NTFS filesystem,
> formats the image file as ext3, and installs Ubuntu into it.  Wubi
> modifies Windows' native bootloader to "chainload" out to the ext3
> image file.  I forget if it uses Cygwin, or even if Ubuntu is
> installed from within Windows.  IIRC, everything needed for the
> installation is copied to the image file from within Windows, but the
> install isn't actually initiated until after the machine is rebooted
> into the ext3 image file. After that, when they boot into Linux, the
> user has access to all the files in the NTFS partiton (music,
> documents, cheesy vacation photos...)
> I find it very clever.
> One other problem I remember is if the NTFS filesystem becomes dirty.
> Linux won't mount it, and the user needs to boot back into windows to
> run FSCK.  Of course, the user never knows how to fix it without
> asking someone, because Ubuntu "just won't open", with no explaination
> on what to do next... or, at least that's how it used to be.  Has that
> issue been rectified in any way?

So, in a sense, it is a dual boot that runs within the existing file system.  
Clever, but it seems like a bad design because it the stability of the image 
file depends on the health of the existing file system as you point out.  This 
seems to me to be an unnecessary layer of instability that wouldn't exist if 
it was set up in a distinct partition like a traditional dual boot.

Art Alexion

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