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I have a 64bit Vista laptop with no CD drive (and no intention of buying one).

What is the simplest way (if any) for me to dual boot Linux (I don't care what version as long as it's not too old...and will run Ruby 1.8.7 or greater)?

I'd prefer anything with an installer.

I've been programming on Windows for a little over 1.5 years and would like the option of using Linux. I'm not a moron, but the I'm legitimately scared of messing up my computer. I speak the language of Rails, not of OS tweaks.

Thanks!

UPDATE: I'm going the VM route using Virtual Box. Any recommendations for Linux isos? I'm currently trying to install Ubuntu 9.something. Is there anything in 10.x that I'm missing? All I want to do with Linux is write Ruby programs.

UPDATE II: I ended up downloading Wubi to install Ubuntu 10.x. It's looking really good! No problems with drivers (with my logitech wireless mouse and keyboard + external monitor).

I have a new slight problem :/ I installed Ruby according to http://www.ruby-lang.org/en/downloads/ It says to get IRB (Ruby's console) working, I need to "enable the universe repository". How do I do that?!

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Have you thought about running Linux in a virtual machine. Fedora, for one, runs great in a VM. –  Martin Hilton May 27 '10 at 6:07
    
Just came upon the concept now. Are there any VM programs/installers that you recommend? –  user20285 May 27 '10 at 6:09
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VirtualBox is excellent and free. –  Torben Gundtofte-Bruun May 27 '10 at 7:23
    
It's usually better to open a new thread for a new question. I'm glad to hear wubi is working out for you. Your probably looking for the Software Sources program in ubuntu. Find it under System -> Administration -> software sources. Here you can check the universe repository. –  James T Jun 1 '10 at 2:21

4 Answers 4

up vote 7 down vote accepted

I personally like wubi. It installs ubuntu as secondary option when your computer is starting up. If you ever want to get rid of it... you can boot into windows and uninstall it just like any other program in "programs and features". It also does not require you to burn the ISO image to a cd. I've been using it for years... works great. Your windows "partition" is automatically mounted under /host when you install with wubi so you'll have access to any files you have in windows.

https://wiki.ubuntu.com/WubiGuide

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Virtual Box is the best desktop virtualization platform I've used. Thoroughly recommend it.

You can install most any guest OS from it's disk image too, which I think you will find useful.

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+1 for Virtual Box. virtualbox.org to save some googling. –  Martin Hilton May 27 '10 at 6:42
    
To install an OS without actually burning a CD, you can specify that your new VirtualBox virtual machine should boot from an ISO file on your harddisk -- this file would then be any Linux installation ISO you donwloaded. –  Torben Gundtofte-Bruun May 27 '10 at 7:25
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Would this work just as well with an OSX iso? –  user20285 May 27 '10 at 21:13
    
@user20285, it can be done but there is still no guest additions for OSX so not quite as good as it could be. Check out the link below for some good info... takwing.idv.hk/tech/virtual/index.php –  ProstheticHead Jul 19 '10 at 22:08

The usual way is to download an installer ISO image, burn it to disk, and boot from the disk in order to install Linux. (Being able to set up a dual boot is standard these days.)

Since you don't have a CD drive, I would attempt to install the ISO image on an USB stick instead. There are several articles online on how to do that, like this one for Linux Mint.

Edit: A virtual machine is of course another way to go about it, but I personally never liked that idea too much and have no significant experience on that matter.

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If you're still gonna dual-boot, install Vista, then Linux, and it will by default let you choose which to boot using GRUB. If you're going to use a VM, I suggest VMWare- if you can get around the price, it's very good software.

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