Exploring Linux - Part 8
by Alan German
is here! Otherwise known as Ubuntu Linux Version 7.10,
the latest distro from Ubuntu is now available, and its
features cause me to revisit a couple of items noted in
earlier parts of this series of exploratory articles.
First up, in Exploring Linux Part 7, I noted that it was fairly
simple to create a dual-boot system for Ubuntu 6.06 and
Microsoft Windows Vista. However, this did require manual
editing of GRUB's menu.lst file in order to add a series
of commands to point to the Vista partition. In the
current Ubuntu release such machinations are no longer
necessary. Gutsy Gibbon is fully aware of Vista's
existence, and the installation process automatically
provides an entry point to access this other
operating system. So, now when you install Ubuntu 7.10,
and boot the machine, GRUB's boot menu includes an option
for Windows Vista/Longhorn (loader).
The second new feature relates back to Exploring
Linux Part 6 where I indicated the commands
needed to mount a Windows partition in order to be able
to use the same data disk for both Linux and Windows'
installations. My application at the time was to access a
FAT data partition, and I had no trouble reading files
from the disk, modifying them with Linux programs (e.g.
OpenOffice.org Writer), and writing them back to the
Windows disk. So, it came as a slight shock
when, on my new machine, I used the variant of the mount
command to access an NTFS partition and found that, while
I could read files from the disk, I couldn't modify them,
nor write them out to the disk, since they were opened as
This obviously needed a little research. So, firing up my
trusty web browser, and equally-trusty search engine, I
soon learned that getting Linux to write to NTFS
partitions was fraught with difficulties. Well, it was
until February 21, 2007. That date marked the
first stable release of NTFS-3G, an open-source NTFS
driver for Linux, and a number of other operating
systems. NTFS-3G has a long history of development,
stretching back to 1995, with recent activities resulting
in a completely functional product.
The NTFS-3G driver is part of the Gutsy Gibbon distro and
so, modifying the etc/fstab file to include the line:
/dev/sda3 /mnt/windows_data ntfs-3g
defaults,locale=en_US,utf8 0 1
provides my system with read-write access to my Windows'
data disk when I am booted into Linux.
NTFS-3G Stable Read/Write Driver
Originally published: January, 2008
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