Linux migration. Part I. WHY

I’ve been using Windows™ for fifteen years. And now I decide to try Linux.
What the benefit do I expect from Linux? Let me explain.

 I have a lot of customers and work on various projects for them. The project’ files are placed inside appropriate folders of a customer. This helps me to interact with several customers at the same time.

But this structure is not comfortable to work on the projects. So I need to copy or move the project folders into a separate folder to have all of them in one place. This forces me to synchronize all these folders.

Windows™ operates with FAT and NTFS file-systems. These file-systems don’t allow you to have the same file in different folders. This is the main pain in my Windows experience.

 Linux can operate with a lot of various file-systems. The most popular are ext3, ReiserFS, JFS, XFS. All of them support Hard Links and Symbol links. This means you can have the same file in a number of folders and even to have one file under different names. So when you change the file inside one of these folders, you’ll have it changed in all other folders. You don’t need to synchronize them any more!
It’s very easy to create a symbol link. You just drag and drop the file into a desired folder.

To be honest, Microsoft Windows Vista™ supports symbolic links for both files and directories with the command line utility mklink by what is called an NTFS junction point. However only 31 symlinks are allowed in a directory, relative symlinks cannot cross volumes and users must manually be aware whether a symlink is a file or directory for both creation and removal.
Earlier versions of Microsoft Windows™ do not support symbolic links on files, but do offer a bare bones directory symlink support for directories with similar (and worse) limitations as those in Vista™ symlinks.

What’s the Plan?

1. Choose a distribution. There are many different Linux distributions. Some of them have a LiveCD version, so you can take a look at it without of touch your Hard Drive and decide if you like the distro.

2. Backup your files. This could save you if you crash your working system while experiments. Also you’ll need the files restored in a new system after the migration completed.

3. Install Linux as a second in a dual boot system. This would allow to continue working with your Windows™ and test Linux on the same computer.

4. Test Linux applications as a replacement of the Windows’ ones. Would the Linux applications be suitable for your needs? You have to find a Linux email client you like. It’s important to import your existent emails and address book into your new email client. Would the OpenOffice work with your Word™ and Excel™ files? I have some Windows-only programs I can’t live without. They need to be tested under a virtual machine (VirtualBox or VMware Workstation).

5. The final installation. After (and if only) the all tests have passed you can clear your Hard Drive and make a fresh install of Linux system. Or you can keep the dual boot system to be able to roll back on your old system at any time.


Kubuntu is a KDE-based derivation of the modern and popular Ubuntu distribution. It contains powerful KMail e-mail application and Konqueror — a web browser, file manager and file viewer. I like Kubuntu distro.

I ordered Kubuntu CDs at and received it in 2 weeks.


by Michel Komarov, © Copyright 2008.
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