Transition from Ubuntu 9.10 to openSUSE. I have questions about preserving a dual boot.

First off, thank you to anyone who takes the time to read this thread and reply to it, if it weren’t for you all on the support forums I would not have attempted to move from Windows. I am switching from Ubuntu 9.10 due to the constant package updates (everyday a new update), as well as the horrendous orange and brown themes. I do have one problem with moving though, I have a dual boot with Windows Vista that already exists from the Ubuntu 9.10 installation. I need to know how to install openSUSE 11.3 in place of Ubuntu 9.10 ALL WHILE keeping the existing dual boot setup. I also heard that openSUSE still uses GRUB Legacy instead of GRUB2, which is what is already in place on my system from the Ubuntu installation. If that is true, what does that mean for my dual boot? Once again, help with this is greatly appreciated. I will warn you that while I do know a lot about computers, I am still a new user to Linux with minimal experience with GRUB or the Terminal.

Could you tell me how the partitioning scheme looks like from your Ubuntu installation ?

Post the result of this command from your terminal:

sudo fdisk -l

and this command:

mount -l

You could install openSUSE’s GRUB as a replacement for Ubuntu’s GRUB2 in the MBR and all traces of it will be gone.

While not discouraging you from migrating from Ubuntu, I hardly think getting many updates and not being able to change the wallpaper are good enough reasons to migrate. Getting updates is good. At times openSUSE will also have bursts of updates.

I hope you have positive reasons to want to move to openSUSE.

Although I agree updates are good and bring in a lot of security fixes, I’m not a total fan of updates… Many a times I’ve ended up breaking some functionality just because of some updates which got installed and having no clue what is the root cause of the issue I’m facing - especially with NetworkManager, Codecs and A/V plugins…

But when you’ve decided to choose Linux and the open source community based software development, you can’t totally avoid them either…

Yeah, my reasons do sound a bit stupid. A couple better reasons would be that I don’t really like GNOME that much, and I thought KDE would be a bit nicer. I picked openSUSE because unlike Kubuntu, openSUSE is primarily a KDE install rather than having KDE be an after-thought (i.e. Kubuntu’s lack of Ubuntu Software Center, no original theming, no sense of pride to brand it as more than a regular KDE install, lack luster choice of pre-installed software, etc.). Plus openSUSE has some of the same benefits of SLED. YaST2’s usefulness as a control center. openSUSE’s somewhat above average hardware support, especially since I have an aging graphics card that’s no longer supported by ATI. Plus Novel is the main supporter of Mono, which would be nice since I do want to do some level of programming under Linux, and the Mono .Net libraries would allow the programs to be used on Windows as well. Perhaps I should get used to Linux updates as well, that or I’m sure there’s a setting somewhere to install the updates at 3 A.M. automatically. I apologize for coming off as an idiot, I forgot the reasons I came to Linux for a second, and those are security and the freedom of choice.

As for the partitioning scheme: /dev/sda1 is Windows Vista, /dev/sda2 is an extended partition containing /dev/sda5: Ubuntu and /dev/sda6: Ubuntu’s swap.

Currently I have zero internet access to the computer in question, I have to run the internet through a bridge on my Windows XP netbook (which I’m writing from), and I am having conflicting IP addresses from the Desktop. I will soon have an ethernet cable ran into the room where I have the computer in question so that I can receive updates and hopefully get more than 5 seconds worth of time on the internet.

If you need any more information, just let me know and I’ll try to find it.

Just tell the openSUSE installer to use all of sda2 the way it wants, and install GRUB in the MBR and it will be like Ubuntu was never there.

Thanks ken_yap, once I find a blank CD I’ll give it a go.

One thing though is that once started you must complete the install all the way to writing the GRUB into the MBR, otherwise you will end up with a system that will not boot, even into Windows, because the GRUB2 auxiliary files and Ubuntu kernel will have been overwritten, but the MBR is still GRUB2.

If you are concerned about this, you may wish to restore the Windows bootloader first so that you can boot to Windows and then you can abort the openSUSE install anytime before the MBR is overwritten without affecting your ability to boot into Windows.

That’s very good to know. I think I will go with restoring the Windows bootloader, just so that the freak-off-chance that openSUSE’s installer fails I can at least reclaim the partition as usable storage space. Plus, I’ve heard that restoring the MBR after it becomes corrupted with Vista is almost impossible due to the lack of a repair feature on the install DVD. Thanks for the heads up!

Restoring the Vista bootloader is not much of a problem at any point of time… Just boot into your Vista DVD and choose the FIX BOOTUP or some similar option and it restores back the vista mbr… If that doesn’t work - you could launch a command prompt from the Vista DVD and there is a way to restore back the Vista’s BCD boot loader onto MBR… I earlier used to do this when I was using Vista’s BCD as the boot loader on MBR…