Linus … no piano, and old is GNU.

Ok, drifiting away from photography again …

This time it is about Linux.

Linux is an operating system that was influenced by Minix, which was based on Unix … ok, so now I have to explain about Unix … this was an influencial computer operating system based on Multics. So now I have to explain Multics … nah, go and google it yourself.

Just to give you Youts some reference with the old days of computers … here is a picture of the two guys who coded Unix (Ritchie and Thompson) … yeah that thing along the wall is the computer … and yeah they all looked like the Woz. Note that this was only 40 years ago.


1048px-Heckert_GNU_white.svgLinux was created as a completely free and open source operating system with GNU applications … it was free for anyone’s use, unlike Minix.

Ah, GNU’s not Unix. Richard Stallman created the GNU project to bring a wholly free operating system to the public.

… back to Linux … it was released in 1991 and was created by Linus Tovalds.


Ok, that is not a great picture of him (2012), but it is an iconic image as it kinda represents a bit about his personality … he may not have been this way when he was younger.

Linux became a big hit with all the nerdy computer geeks of the time … cause it was free to use.


He was also the one who thought the official mascot would be Tux the Penguin. … back to the story … I have been thinking about dual booting my laptop with Windows and Linux for while. I finally upgraded the SSD to a larger size, so now I can fit both OS’s. Now this ain’t the first time I’ve had multiple OS’s … I once triple booted OS-X, Windows, and Linux, so it should be easy this time.

Linux has always attracted me, probably because I starting computing with the green/amber screen terminal on a PET … umm, just recall The Matrix green text … so working with a console is kinda consoling (hey, I made a pun).

425px-Larry-the-cow-full.svgI previously been working with Gentoo (it is a Linux distribution and also a species of Penguin … though their mascot is Larry the Cow), but I thought this time I would go easy on myself and work with Arch. Like Gentoo, it is a minimalist style … but not so far as compiling everything from source.

Now Linux has come a long way in terms of compatibility with hardware, so it is so much easier to get a working Linux system … but there are still somethings that don’t work right out of the box … so here are my tips.

My installation is on a Dell XPS 13 9343 with a QHD+ high res touchscreen … which is an awesome laptop … that is currently running Microsoft Windows 10.

I suggest getting another SSD drive, with a USB enclosure and clone your existing Windows installation … just in case you really @$&% up and wanna go back to an easier life … and later on you can use it as a very portable backup drive.

240px-Archlinux-icon-crystal-64.svgPrep … look over the Arch Linux Wiki docs about installaton and also the detailed page for this model of laptop (though a lot of that could be tweaked after the install).


Step 1.

Get a USB to RJ45 ethernet adapter, cause the Broadcom wifi adapter will cause you issues (no network connection) … they aren’t expensive … and it is handy to have for other future purposes. Another suggestion is to buy an Intel AC-7260 wifi card and replace the crappy Broadcom … it is much more better in reception, and natively supported by Linux.

Step 2.

Free some space. The Windows disk management utility should be able to resize your partition. I just left about 100GB for my Linux install, even though I would not be using that much I though I may in the future install much more stuff if I liked it.

Step 3.

Install Rufus to create a bootable USB stick, and then download the Arch ISO file.

I had to set Rufus to use an MBR partition scheme in order to get my laptop to boot from it.

Step 4.

Boot the USB drive with the help of the F12 key at boot.

When you get the Linux bootloader screen you will really want to edit the Grub bootloader kernel entry and add the parameter: video=1280×1024 … otherwise you will get text soooooo small you will need to get out a magnifying glass.

Step 5.

On another computer or tablet, get to the Arch Linux installation documentation, and really follow it.

Modifications I made after finishing the install but before the final reboot …

Time Zone

Windows does not play nice with UTC, so I forced Arch to follow the Windows way … otherwise every time you reboot into Windows the time will be wrong.

  • # timedatectl set-local-rtc 1

Boot Loader

As I noted about the screen resolution, I edited the /etc/default/grub and edited it.

  • GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT … I added video=1600×90
  • GRUB_GFXMODE=1280×1024

So you should be pretty safe after rebooting.

Have fun.

Windows update note.

If you happen to have deleted the little OEM Partion that sits behind the Windows C: partition (like I did) then be ready to rescue Grub with tiny text. When a major Windows update installs (like the October one) it will recreate that partion, and the next time you reboot you wil get a Grub rescue prompt. You will have to reconfigure the bootloader to use the new partitions.

This page has instructions to recover: Grub Rescue after Windows Update

One note was I searched for / instead of /grub2 to find the partion that my /boot/grub directory resided in (I did not create a separate boot partition).

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