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8. Linux accompanied with Windows 2000 and Windows XP

2005-10-09

Recently I had a hard-disk failure and my more_than_a_year old Linux/Windows 2000 home system disappeared. When considering what to have on a new purchased disk, I decided to try Linux with both Windows 2000 and Windows XP.

In short, the new disk was of 40 GB and I made a half of it (20 GB) a NTFS partition for Windows XP. It became so called C: disk. The second partition of 10 GB (FAT32) became D: disk of Windows 2000. As usual, you have to repeat installations of Microsoft products for several times - before they even start behaving partly as you expect from them. To be more precize, it looked that Windows 2000 had to be installed before Windows XP, in order its boot entry got a part of XP's list of boot entries (If I remember, I tried it the opposite way and it didn't work).

Then I used the remaining 10 GB to install Mandrake 9.1 (Bamboo) and I made it without problems - The only minor issue was that a try of disk-type installation where Linux files were placed on an existing NTFS partition failed because Linux setup actually did not manage to locate installation files on a NTFS partition. (That was why I made Windows 2000 installation on a FAT32 file system - because later I could use it for Mandrake 9.1 disk-type setup).

So far - so good. One of the main things I wanted to make working within all three environments was the e-mail client. You bet, an another open source solution was available: the Mozilla suite. For Windows operating systems I used Mozilla 1.7.11 and for Linux I used Mozilla 1.6 (an older xft version - some newer ones I was not able to install). And, as usual for me, I wanted all of them to share my mailbox files, i.e. I wanted to access my incoming emails from all and each operating system - booted at the time.

In order to make that possible, I chose Mozilla under Windows 2000 (FAT32) to become the 'central location' for saving the mailbox files. That means I had to make some changes within other two Mozilla's configurations - to make them capable to read/write from/to the first chosen mailbox location (FAT32). For Linux I did the following:

Instead of keeping an 'original' Linux-native location:

/home/misko/.mozilla/default/fydeba98.slt/Mail/solair.eunet.yu
I changed to this mounted one:
/mnt/win_d/Documents and Settings/misko/Application Data/Mozilla/Profiles/default/oeu1tmbd.slt/Mail/solair.eunet.yu

As a result of that change, now it is possible for me to download email messages from within one O.S. - then to read them from another O.S. - and finally reply/send the email from the 3rd one environment. The only minor drawback is that each operating system is likely to 'remember' only its own last known state of Mozilla's Mail & Newsgroups. In order to get a 'refreshed' state of e-mail folders, a user has to click on a mailbox name. Another solution is to activate an option of 'Compact all folders ...'.

What belongs to my 'wish-list' now, is to continue upgrading all three Mozilla's (at least that old one v1.6 that runs under Mandrake). It makes me wonder if I could use a 'regular' one (instead of xft's) - although I remember that older regular's were producing awful fonts under Linux environment. I am not sure if things got improved.

The second important task is to install one of the most popular radio amateur software, also an open-source, called LinFBB (FBB for Linux). More details related to that you can find in another Linux manual: the FBBHOWTO.


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