The news site here at Muslim Gamer has been neglected for long enough that I thought its time I updated with a new post. This has been due to a few reasons, the main one being work and time. Ill just quickly add in here that our forums are always active along with updates on the Muslim Gamer Facebook and Twitter pages. OK onto the main subject…
I have been dealing with Linux on and off as all our gaming servers and sites run on a Linux servers. So while I have some familiarity with Linux, I have never really worked with Linux in a desktop environment, more so just command line, SCP and FTP to update the sites and for VPN’s. For those that don’t know, I am a bit of a privacy nut. After all the recent talk of Prism after the Edward Snowdens leaks, it was in a way the straw that broke the camels back. Asad from our forums is the spokesman for Linux. In fact, Ill be pushing for him to start posting in this series (there’s your invite Asad). He has been pushing for everyone to at least try Linux and see how it can work alongside Windows.
My main reason for holding back until now was, why should I? I can do everything I want on Windows, so why bother.
2 main reasons. Firstly, my love and respect for the open source community and secondly privacy. I have nothing to hide, but that is not what privacy is about. The standard “if you have nothing to hide” argument implies guilt, not the right to privacy. Privacy is not about having anything to hide, It’s more so about my business not being anyone else’s business. (more here for those interested).
So with that as my reasoning I am no longer asking why should I try Linux but why shouldn’t I? Why shouldn’t I be able to do everything I want on Linux the same way as I do on Windows?
So this series on Muslim Gamer will be about my journey from Windows to Linux. What its like installing and using Linux, adjusting to Linux as my main desktop environment and most importantly Linux from a gamers point of view. I know SteamOS is on its way, but I wont be installing it. I don’t like Steam for various reasons, the main being the DRM structure and the lack of customer service. So the adventure begins..The Linux Journey
Which Linux Distro?
This is going to be the first question you are going to come across as soon as you decide its time to give Linux a try. Its a long answer, but Ill answer it in the shortest way possible. Asad posted this on the forums recently which is a site that asks you a bunch of questions and suggests a Linux distro. It came up with Debian, Gentoo and Opensuse among others for me. I had a pretty good idea that I wanted a Debian based distro due to that being what I am most familiar with. Regardless of the distro suggestion, I thought I would try Linux Mint. Decisions was mainly due to Asad and it being the current flavour of the month around the net.
Linux Mint? But I wanted Debian!
As I was browsing through the Linux Mint site, I came across Linux Mint Debian edition. Perfect I thought. So I began downloading the ISO. While waiting for that I started watching some youtube videos about different desktop environments. DE’s are essentially the “look” of Linux. The menus, the file explorer used etc. I all of a sudden decided I wanted KDE. But linux mint debian editions wasnt KDE… Back to step 1…
While reading around I found a recently launched distro called SolydK. Essentially Linux Mint Debian Edition – with KDE! Perfect! Start the new download…
(Beware: image below is large)
How to make a Linux ISO?
So as I started downloading the distro the next challenge was how do I dual boot\install Linux and Windows? This was a lot simpler than I expected. I had a SD card lying around (you can use a USB flash drive too) that I wanted to use rather than burning a disc. I downloaded a program called Unetbootin from sourceforge. Selected the ISO, formatted the SD card to Fat32, selected the SD card and pressed burn. Done.
Restarted the computer, enabled boot from USB in my bios and booyah, SolydK boot screen.
Installing Linux, Partitions and dual booting with Windows
The setup process is very easy, a nice interface that guides you through it all. The next question was partitions. I currently have 6 drives in my computer. I recently (finally) upgraded to an SSD for my windows OS drive so I still had the old windows drive. I formatted that completely and made some new partitions. The first being / which is known as the Root partition. think of it as your C drive. Essentially where the operating System will do its thing. I read that around 5GB-8GB is enough for Linux, I had the space so I made it a 20GB EXT4 partition. Then I made the /home partition. Think of this as your my documents and files folder. I made that 80GB which is way overkill, but hey I was using a 320GB drive so why not. Lastly I made the /swap partition. This is for when applications need additional space if you run out of RAM. I am running with 12GB of RAM, so I don’t really need it, but for the sake of it I made it 20GB as the recommendation is 1.5 times your system RAM.
When it comes to dual booting with windows, that was fairly easy. At some point the installation will ask you where to put GRUB, . The thing that takes care of the booting. I selected the drive that I was installing the linux OS on and did not use the same drive as Windows was already installed on. After restarting I made sure that I changed the Hard drive priority in my Bios to the Linux drive and now at boot it asks me if I want to load Windows or Kubuntu. Grub basically found my Windows installation and took care of the rest. Grub is nice like that.
I then clicked through the rest of the setup and BAM! I have installed and started running Linux.
Then the “Linux” problems started.
To keep things short, I run a 6950 ATI card. Linux uses open source drivers for the graphics drivers, but you do have the option of installing the propriety AMD\Nvidia drivers. SolydK uses the Device Driver Manager. A program that takes care of your drivers and updates to them so you don’t have to. It showed me the latest ATI driver and I went ahead and installed. Black screen… Restart. Black Screen… hmmmm
Maybe ill try Kubuntu?
To cut the story short i tried a bunch of stuff and couldn’t get it to work. I then installed Linux Mint Debian Edition and the same problem again.. Essentially it is an issue with Plymouth which is the pretty splash screen and the lack of it working. I gave up. Time for a new distro.
After more reading and Asad’s advice I went with Kubuntu. I avoided Ubuntu because of their data leaks. As their search system is tied in with Amazon there are data leaks so a no go for me. I wanted a KDE and Debian based distro so Kubuntu seemed like a good solution for now.
Repeat the above steps with the ISO making, formatting and installing and I am now running Kubuntu 13.04 with the latest ATI drivers on a dual monitor setup. The adventure will continue as I begin looking at familiarising myself with my new operating system. Next will be getting the gaming peripherals setup inshAllah.
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