Friday, August 27, 2010

Learning New Skills: Reformat, Partition, Backup, Virtualize

Too much peace and quiet is too much, I guess. As soon as the current skill-set is working, I seem to need to add more complexity. Tomorrow is Ubuntu Global Jam, designed to get *buntu users together to test new software, the next release, work on bugs, clean out stale wiki pages, and other useful stuff. Seattle-area members of the Washington LoCo are gathering at the Rainier Beach Library tomorrow for Global Jam, so I thought I would try out Kubuntu Maverick, which is at the end of alpha. I figured backing up my current ~/home would be wise, so I bought a hard-drive at Costco for $99. For under a hundred dollars, I got 1.5 terrabytes!

Unfortunately, I hadn't done my research ahead of time, and it turns out that this Seagate model, the Free Agent, doesn't really like Linux, and isn't supported. Plus it was NTFS, so I figured out how to re-format it into EXT3, here: Basicly, use sudo fdisk -l to figure out what you have, and then mkfs.ext3 /dev/sdb1 to re-format.

I asked some friends what the best Kubuntu partition manager was, and it turns out to be Partition Manager, hahaha. On the other hand, I'm not sure I got it successfully partitioned, but I decided that I could always do that later, if necessary. So after doing a bit of research, I settled on LuckyBackup to manage the backup, because it's a nice light GUI on top of rsync, which rocks. Set it up last night, and let it back up during the night. It feels GREAT to start out a day with success! I let it update ~/home this morning, and also backed up /usr.

Next step, ask the developers in #kubuntu-devel what is most useful for tomorrow. So, now downloading (very slowly) the Maverick 64-bit ISO, and investigating how to install Virtualbox for testing. Using a guide to getting it going. It really was very easy!

I found another guide for those who are testing inside the environment, at The seamless mode ( seems like it is worth trying out also.


  1. whow! posting something like mkfs.ext3 /dev/sda1 without further explanation is dangerous. what if someone copied, pasted and executed it verbatim without knowing any better? common spelling would be sdxy or something similar.

  2. I gave the website where I got the advice, and explained how I made sure I was formatting my USB drive, and not my main one! I trust readers will do their own research, as I have done.

    Valorie, the Linux Grandma