I have just has an exciting few days. I finally got some time to myself and my new PC, and I have been making it the way I want it. One of the things I wanted was to dual boot into either XP (which I need to drive my vinyl cutter) or Ubuntu. I have spent the last week trying to install a version of Ubuntu, but for some reason could not get any to install except 9.04, and even then if I followed the instructions on the FitPC website I could not get it to work. In the end I installed the vanilla 9.04 and it seemed to work fine! I really wanted something better than 9.04, so I tried upgrading to 9.10, but that failed miserably too.
I was looking through the Ubuntu web sit when I read that version 11.04 will actually update an existing installation from the live CD. This showed promise, so I took the live CD I made of 11.04 downstairs to my 10.10 system, and went through the upgrade process on that machine, which worked great. I then used the built in utility to generate an installable USB version of the 11.04 disk, which I took back up to my FITPC2i (which doesn’t have a bootable CD player). I booted from the 11.04 USB key, and when prompted, told it to upgrade the 9.04 installation. This worked almost perfectly, it hicoughed on the re-application of existing packages, which there probably wasn’t any of with it being a brand new installation. When I booted into the new system, I didn’t have the correct hardware to run the new Unity interface, so I had to run the classic interface. As my first task would have been to switch back to the classic, this was just bonus! A swift bit of work changing the boot order in grub2, and putting in a better colour scheme and making the windows buttons appear on the right, and I had a fully working Ubuntu 11.04 running on my FITPC2i.
Grub2 was a bit of a problem, I couldn’t get it to boot into Windows by default until I read somewhere that you can specify the default in the /etc/default/grub file as a string field rather than as a number. I got the string from the /boot/grub/grub.cfg file (the title of the OS to boot into).