[ubuntu-uk] On giving people Ubuntu to try.

Martin Houston mhouston at deluxe-tech.co.uk
Mon Jun 13 20:51:55 UTC 2011

I have a couple of old Thinkpad T43s that a friend gave to me thinking 
that he had killed them with a faulty USB device.

A bit of googling and a 'deep reset' restored them both to life much to 
my friends consternation.

I offered them him back but was given permission to keep them :)

Neither laptop had an internal hard disk so they were ideal 
experimenting grounds for working with various USB and net booting projects.

Something I found that works really well is a 2.5" (i.e. bus powered) 
USB hard disk.

Linux installed onto a 250MB one of these is really quite usable, much 
more so than a USB memory stick.

This is a route that you can use to get your friends to try out Linux 
you lend to them, without having to go axeing that internal hard disk 
incumbent just yet.

Things will get even more interesting when USB3 ports become common, 
especially once motherboards can boot from them! USB3 connected hard 
disks are faster even than eSATA and even cheap USB3 memory keys have 
performance on the par with old PATA hard disks (but the small extra 
advantage of zero seek time!).

Bootable CDs & DVDs only go so far. Telling newbies that they need to be 
patient because of the very slow seek times is not easy. It does not 
create a very good impression.

Peoples first impressions of Windows are not of having to install it 
from the media, so why should Linux have that disadvantage of first 

One of the things we should be doing for others is 'Linux propagation' - 
if you have a friend who wants to try Linux ask if they have a spare USB 
hard disk (a smallish one would do!) or can risk the less than 50 quid 
it costs to buy one.

We need to build some logical volume manager based system replication 
procedures. That 250MB hard disk Linux started life on a memory stick 
and using just lvm volume replication and expansion moved onto the USB 
disk and then onto the internal hard disk of another laptop.

Having that complete bootable, golden copy of the OS is good insurance 
even if you do move to the convenience and speed of internal disk in the 


*Deluxe Technology Ltd*
/Linux Consultant/
mhouston at deluxe-tech.co.uk <mailto:mhouston at deluxe-tech.co.uk>
Mob: 07970 850961

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