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Table Of Contents  How to Build Your Own PC - Save A Buck And Learn A Lot
 9  Chapter 11: Installing A Dual Boot Operating System (Linux And Windows XP)

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More Information on Linux and UNIX

Linux is based upon Unix which was written by computer programmers for use by computer programmers. If you think about it, suppose you had to write your own operating system. Rather than writing an operating system with a fancy GUI (Graphical User Interface, which Linux now uses), you’d probably write a basic command-line-based operating system. That would take the least amount of work, and you’d understand the operating system well, so working at the command line wouldn’t bother you. Because of this origin, many things done on Unix or Linux today have a basis in a text file, such as the Grub bootloader using a text file to set the configuration settings.

Knowing how to modify or write text files so that they run as programs or as configuration files is known as Linux or Unix “shell scripting.” Shell scripting is very powerful, because it can allow you to do things automatically that otherwise might take personal time. What you’ve just done is basic shell scripting.

More advanced shell scripts can be written. For example, suppose you’re a network administrator for a company and you need to install Linux on one hundred different computers. You could go through the installation process in this chapter, using the graphical Linux installer. But, that would take a lot of time.

Another option would be to write a script that installs Linux on all one hundred computers over the network. All you’d need to do is run the script once from one computer, and you’d be done. This shows the power of shell scripting. Don’t forget to call your boss and let him know you’ll be working from home the next day. Yawn and tell him you had a busy night installing Linux on all one hundred computers!

There are many websites and books to help you learn more about Linux. Searching for “Linux” on google.com or at Amazon.com will bring up many resources to help you learn more.

Finally, we should note that there are other options that allow multiple boot operating systems. For example, software developers sometimes install a virtual PC, such as VMware (VMware.com) which is a software program that mimics a PC. You need a fast PC, but you can run multiple operating systems at the same time on the same computer with a virtual machine. This is a relatively expensive option.

Installing a special removable hard drive holder (also known as a hard drive rack) into one of the 5.25” drive bays is another option to achieve multiple boots. Cyberguys.com is one source of these devices. These drive racks install like any other 5.25” drive, and they hold standard 3.5” hard drives inside of a removable cassette case. You can purchase multiple cassettes to hold different hard drives. The cassette is easily and rapidly replaced from the front of the PC case when the system is off. This allows each person in a family or school to have their own cassette holding their own hard drive. Each cassette could have a different operating system installed on its hard drive.


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Restarting with the New GRUB Options
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Chapter 12: Home Video -- “So, You Want to Be the Next Steven Spielberg?”
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Version 1.0 - Version Date: May 4, 2005

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