Long story short, I recently had access to a Dell Studio XPS 8100 with Windows 7 on it. I was told that the computer was not working well and so was allowed to tweak it. The computer was actually working well so I simply decided to add a partition Ubuntu.
Ubuntu is based on Debian and arguably more beginner-friendly than the latter. Roughly speaking:
Ubuntu = Debian Testing + software to simplify its use
There are a couple of articles online that are opposing these two Linux distributions, which makes no real sense to me. I prefer the reading of this article that explains the technical differences. As I mentioned in a previous post, I am currently working on Debian with GNOME (3.30) and it is very similar to the latest Ubuntu (18.04, Bionic Beaver).
I took the opportunity to spend some time on Windows 7. What I did first was a checkout of the hardware with the
msinfo32 command. Then I installed the package manager chocolatey. To do so, I used PowerShell, version v2.+ was required (see https://chocolatey.org/docs/installation and use
$PSVersionTable.PSVersion to check out the version available). One line of command completes the installation of chocolatey:
Set-ExecutionPolicy Bypass -Scope Process -Force; iex ((New-Object System.Net.WebClient).DownloadString('https://chocolatey.org/install.ps1'))
Before installing Ubuntu, I installed a couple of software to experiment chocolatey:
cinst pandoc R R.Studio imagemagick QGIS
Note that this is equivalent to:
choco install pandoc R R.Studio imagemagick QGIS
$ df -h Filesystem Size Used Avail Use% Mounted on udev 7.8G 0 7.8G 0% /dev tmpfs 1.6G 34M 1.6G 3% /run /dev/nvme0n1p2 922G 226G 650G 26% / tmpfs 7.8G 53M 7.8G 1% /dev/shm tmpfs 5.0M 4.0K 5.0M 1% /run/lock tmpfs 7.8G 0 7.8G 0% /sys/fs/cgroup /dev/loop1 87M 87M 0 100% /snap/core/5145 /dev/loop3 88M 88M 0 100% /snap/core/5548 /dev/loop5 88M 88M 0 100% /snap/core/5328 /dev/nvme0n1p1 511M 132K 511M 1% /boot/efi tmpfs 1.6G 9.6M 1.6G 1% /run/user/1000 /dev/sda 15G 809M 14G 6% /media/kevcaz/myusbstick
I unmounted the right device:
myusbstick (last line above) like so:
$ sudo umount /dev/sda
Then I created the bootable key with the downloaded desktop image:
$ sudo dd bs=4M if=ubuntu-18.04.1-desktop-amd64.iso of=/dev/sda conv=fdatasync
The final step is straightforward: I plugged the bootable USB stick, rebooted the Dell machine and press F12 to access the BIOS on boot, then booted on the USB device, and finally followed the instructions. Then on the Ubuntu partition I checkout the system:
$ uname -a Linux mhb 4.15.0-42-generic #45-Ubuntu SMP Thu Nov 15 19:32:57 UTC 2018 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GN U/Linux
During the installation process I was offline and I realized afterwards that I was not able to get the wifi working. So I plugged the computer on the Ethernet and found out that the Broadcom wireless driver was not properly installed. I solved this issue following this answer on Stack Exchange. Then I installed a couple of freeware:
sudo apt install calibre inkscape gimp vlc xournal hugo pandoc pandoc-citeproc imagemagick ffmpeg inxi tree curl openssh-server pass
Below, I used inxi to get details about the hardware:
$ inxi -SMCNDP System: Host: mhb Kernel: 4.15.0-42-generic x86_64 bits: 64 Console: tty 1 Distro: Ubuntu 18.04.1 LTS Machine: Device: desktop System: Dell product: Studio XPS 8100 serial: N/A Mobo: Dell model: 0G3HR7 v: A00 serial: N/A BIOS: Dell v: A05 date: 07/08/2010 CPU: Quad core Intel Core i5 750 (-MCP-) cache: 8192 KB clock speeds: max: 2668 MHz 1: 1496 MHz 2: 1207 MHz 3: 1210 MHz 4: 1283 MHz Network: Card-1: Broadcom and subsidiaries NetLink BCM57780 Gigabit Ethernet PCIe driver: tg3 Card-2: Broadcom and subsidiaries BCM4306 802.11b/g Wireless LAN Controller driver: b43-pci-bridge Drives: HDD Total Size: 1000.2GB (19.1% used) ID-1: /dev/sda model: WDC_WD1001FAES size: 1000.2GB Partition: ID-1: / size: 550G used: 179G (35%) fs: ext4 dev: /dev/sda5
and then I installed R packages and some dependencies required for sf:
sudo apt-get install xvfb libudunits2-dev libgeos-dev libproj-dev libgdal-dev r-base r-recommended r-base-dev "^r-cran-.*" sudo Rsript -e "install.packages('sf')"
I finally I downloaded RStudio and then I was done.
I still have to write a post about my Raspberry Pi setup, hopefully I’ll do so soon. Also, next time I am given carte blanche, I’ll install a Linux distribution quite different: Arch, FreeBSD, Fedora, etc. We shall see!