Windows installers for Linux distributions

Much talk has been happening about Wubi that is going to be a part of Ubuntu 8.04 – Hardy Heron. Wubi is a utility that allows installation of Ubuntu through Windows! What’s more? You can uninstall it using Add/Remove Programs in the Windows control panel.

For the geeks, what Wubi does is:


A small executable that can be included on the CD which does the following:

  • If an Ubuntu CD is not present in a CD drive, locates the ISO on your system or downloads it via [WWW] metadl (which can be taught to perform mirror selection)
  • Asks for a user name and password
  • Gathers information from Windows for the remaining install settings
  • Creates a 5GB image file in a user-defined location, C:\ubuntu by default
  • Creates a pre-seed file for the install
  • Adds Ubuntu entry to the Windows bootloader
  • Reboots to start an install process (non-interactive)
    • if a CD is present in a drive, uses that; otherwise loop-mounts an ISO image from the Windows drive
    • loop-mounts disk image from the Windows drive
  • Uses a pre-seed enabled version of ubiquity
  • Reboot again to start Ubuntu (or Windows)
  • Allows simple removal of Ubuntu if desired, via a Windows-based uninstaller in add/remove programs
  • Installer can be launched from the WinFOSS browser

Read the full post here

However not many know that this feature is already available in Mandriva Linux

Mandriva can be installed from another operating system that is rpm based or deb based, not just Windows. It works using UNetbootin which adds an entry in the boot menu to install Mandriva. (Read here…)

Shift Linux (by the Windows guys) has recently released 0.6.5 that is based on Hardy Heron beta. Right now its more of a live cd but there are plans of a full release too. Most probably this would include Wubi too (Isn’t too surprising considering its based on Hardy Heron) (Read here…)

Finally lets talk a bit about UNetbootin. Now this allows you to install any operating system like ubuntu, madriva, fedora etc through Windows. The number of distributions listed here is surprising and slightly spoils the show for Wubi. UNetbootin however works in a different way than Wubi and this very technique makes it so generic. (Read a useful tutorial here…)

Wubi however is still easier for a user who isn’t very technical or does not have the patience and still wants to install and use Linux. Things only become easier by the day!

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6 Responses to Windows installers for Linux distributions

  1. nirmal says:

    whoa!…this is a lot of info!

  2. NickF says:

    The version number of Ubuntu Hardy Heron is 8.04, not 8.10 as mentioned in the article.

  3. Dan says:

    I think you mean Ubuntu 8.04 not 8.10

  4. divya says:

    @Dan, NickF

    thanks for pointing that out! Made a mistake there šŸ™‚

  5. chanux says:

    That was news. thanx.

  6. Pingback: Boycott Novell » Links 24/04/2008: Many More GNU/Linux PCs Up for Sale in Russia, Another Computer Game Ported

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