miércoles, 26 de septiembre de 2012

Advantages of Multi Booting

I've been experimenting with several utilities on my little Netbook Toshiba NB-100.  Concretely, I plan to use them for educational purposes, once I give them a twist (they have not been planned initially as educational tools!)  Yesterday, while I was fiddling with Platinum Arts Sandbox, I must have pressed a weird key combination.  This caused the speaker output of my MEPIS 11 system to go mute.  Of course, I didn't realize because I usually turn down the computer's master volume to work in my office.

Later, I went to my class.  Since I wanted to show a movie to my students, I turned the master volume up...It was then that I noticed I had a very silent MEPIS system!

I didn't have much time left before my class...maybe it was three minutes before it started.  Most of my students were there already and I had all the equipment set.

I checked Alsamixer in a hurry and apparently everything was fine (I did not get as far as to check the speaker control).  I had no time to investigate...

What did I do?

I rebooted my netbook using Pardus this time.  Pardus played the movie without any issue and nobody knew about my previous agony.

After my class, I booted MEPIS again and, since I was not under stress any longer, I quickly found the culprit: that muted speaker!  It was solved with a simple click.

This situation made me think about the eternal discussion around multi boot computers and virtual machines, usually fueled by notions of fragmentation vs. wholeness.  Many people think "Why bothering with a dual-boot computer?  Install the other system as a guest in a virtual machine!"

Now...if I had done that, it wouldn't have helped me much because the output of the virtual sound depends on the sound output of the host system.  I would have ended with two beautiful, but silent systems!  And what if the host system fails altogether?  What good is the virtual system then?

In conclusion, multi boot systems, although fragmented, do have their advantages over those that are hegemonic. Too bad then that Windows 8 will make multi-booting systems more difficult to set up. 

3 comentarios:

  1. I like your article. this has happened to many of us: in desperation, we never think of the most obvious problem.

    I also share your opinion about multi-boot systems. It's always good to count on other OS if the main one misbehaves.

    1. Yes, those problems that make us suffer in agony usually have a very simple solution! :P

      Thanks to this experience, I learned that multi-boot systems are not as useless as Virtualization advocates argue.

  2. Well, I think you're right. I would have freaked out there... That is an advantage for you. The computers we use at the university only have Windows installed... and when one misbehaves, time is wasted in a desperate attempt to find a solution...