[ubuntu-za] A modest proposal for eliminating the inevitable partition failure issue with Ubuntu conversions

David Robert Lewis ethnopunk at telkomsa.net
Fri Apr 10 19:33:20 BST 2009

Here's the deal. Converting from Windows 3.1 to Apple System 7 was a 
relatively easy journey.. There was simply no comparison, and Apple was 
not just better, but an ethical choice one made, like taking a stance 
against apartheid. Then Apple like the ANC sold out the revolution and 
became yet another expensive yuppie toy for executives and bankers.

I sat with starting on Apple System 6, converted to Apple System 7 and 
then moved over to system 8,^ and was thus 100% Mac for a number of 
years before calling it a day about three years ago and moving over to 
XP where at least, the hardware had better support in terms of my 
pocketbook. Yes, Intel and economics was on the side of Windows while no 
Windows user complained if your laptop wasn't exactly white or a brushed 
titanium alloy.

Then a technohippy friend of mine arrived at my front door with an 
Ubuntu Hardy 8.04 disk sometime last year. I foolishly popped the brand 
new disk in my drive expecting to be as bored as I was by Windows 3.1 
and all the other Linux offers I had ever encountered but was truly 
amazed. Here was the kind of all-embracing environment and community 
look 'n feel I had once experienced with Apple.

So the inevitable duel boot came along, as I foolishly put caution to 
the wind and allowed the installer to partition my brand new 200gig 
drive into logical and extended partitions that brought with it the kind 
of excitement (and dangers) of the halcyon days of early computing with 
IBM Dos and floppies.

In the short space of 8 months, I have not only been press-ganged into 
service by various forums, LUGS and UBUNTU groups but have become well 
versed in the intricacies of my MBR and the various esoteric teachings 
of arcane tools like Gparted and Testdisk. This is what some on the Net 
refer to as "the poison of linux" and why Apple will surely triumph 
unless nothing is done to stop the inevitable. The same power that makes 
Linux so well loved, is its downfall. In a decade and a half of 
computing I had probably only formatted and reinstalled my system once. 
Apple stability was the reason I swopped over, and economics why I moved 
back to Windows.

But thanks to Ubuntu, I have a new quest, and the price is -- I've 
probably formated and partitioned several times during the course of my 
journey. Yes, my original logical partition was wiped out this week 
during a crazy bout of Ubuntu-mania in which I attempting to install a 
variety of VMs, then moved a secondary partition about to be papered 
over with HFS torrents, simply so that I could prove to myself that 
Ubuntu is better than Mac, or that Windows 7 beta is less of an 
improvement on life than the next Jaunty Jackalope.

There is no explaining Ubuntu fever.

There is a terrifying and shameless zone of "knowing without actually 
speaking". Ubuntu users are divided between those who have simply 
converted wholesale, and those who have desperately tried to stay in 
touch with other systems by duel booting. In some cases, I hear of 
quadruple booting and a gazillion other distros all vying for precious 
harddrive space and it gets worse if you start including homebaked 
Ubuntu variations. This is the crisis of Freedom, yes the OS is no 
longer what it once was and we are surely all being mesmerised by the 
rapture of Open Source in the 21st Century.

Will somebody wake-up and listen? There must be a better way of dealing 
with the inevitable clash, the crisis of boot records when Ubuntu or yet 
another distro writes all over your MBR, and of course, the Windows and 
Apple hacks on the other side, all turn as if say, see, we told you so, 
this your payback for siding with the Libre Open Source devil.

Piracy excluded, I won't turn back now from the Freaking edge, not after 
I have now completely moved over to Ubuntu, leaving my Windows 
companions in tears and my housemate wondering why I am not getting any 
sleep, staying up on the ubuntu forum, or figuring workarounds for 
well-known bugs as we all migrate towards a better future.

I therefore demand a better way of dealing with the existential crisis, 
the inevitable crash, even if it be the result of the siren song of KDE4 
and the 15 or so other desktops that one can install along with any 
number of free and open source programme combinations that make Ubuntu a 
top contender for title - World's best loved OS.


I want a system that is failsafe. A method whereby YOU BLUEPRINT the MBR 
for your own machine, which could then be personalised with your 
favourite Penguin Ubuntu Linux avatar and attached to individual 
synaptic markings associated with the particular cravings of your choice 
in software, and all this to automatically be saved, uploaded on the fly 
to an online destination, a site that could probably back up each and 
every Ubuntu user - from Tomboy notes, Email and home folder via Dav to 
individual projects into some personal Cloud.

I want the option of sharing my markings folder and comparing it to 
other Ubuntu installations.

I want to be able to choose my own Penguin and have my user-name 
registered in the Book of Penguins like every clown.

I want to be able to give away my Ubuntu without being constrained by 

I want a permanent tattoo with the contents of the MBR. Or A partition 
table that can be burnt to a chip and never erased or written over by 
machine code, simply because human error = machine error.

I want to do this within sight of reason. Not so damn close to binary 
that I can hear the machine breathe.

I want a kilometre and a terabyte between me and the next partition or 
root failure.

I want to take the geek out of the BIO/MBR and look towards the light.

I want to share the holy grail of computing, not just another Apple or 
Amiga Rom, but my own MBR attached to a Penguin that recognises me and 
politely inquires, "is there anything wrong?, You haven't uploaded your 
mail in days, would you like to reinstall some code?"

Then we can think of taking over the world, taking on Apple, or Windows 
replacing human stupidity square, ignorance complicated by greed, with 
an intelligent freedom-loving community whose sum is greater than its parts.

-- David Robert Lewis, April 10-2009

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