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Thread: Is WUBI worth it?

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  1. #1
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    Is WUBI worth it?

    I know the developers don't read this and it's not a Canonical forum, but the topic is Ubuntu-related and I'm curious about the thoughts of forum members.

    Soooo many of the posts pleading for help seem to come from new users who have installed with WUBI that I've lost count. WUBI is meant to make it easier for Windows users to try Ubuntu, but does it do more harm than good? What happens when trials turns into tribulations? Are the problems even a representative sample? I've no experience with WUBI so have no idea how well-behaved it is, but looking through the sour experiences on these threads is kind of depressing.

  2. #2
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    Re: Is WUBI worth it?

    I can't say why, but I don't like WUBI as a concept.
    de gustibus et coloribus non est disputandum -- Wiktionary

  3. #3
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    Re: Is WUBI worth it?

    First, I'd say that threads on these forums are never a representative sample. This is a support forum, and by definition people don't post here until there is a problem. For every person who posts here reporting a problem, there may be 100, 50, 10 , 2, or 0 people who didn't have that problem; we'd never know.

    As for WUBI, there is the concept, and there is the implementation. Implementations always have problems, and they usually tend to fix those problems over time. The real question is whether the fundamental concept is worth it. I'm not sure if it is.

    Consider the problem: someone who is not terribly techy, but wants to try Linux on his Windows computer. His options are:

    ** Boot to the liveCD or LiveUSB image

    The advantage here is that the Windows install isn't touched, there's nothing that needs to be set up, and no commitment to be made. Downside, of course, is that nothing is saved, there is a limit to what can be installed, proprietary drivers can't be tested, the performance is somewhat slower, and (in the case of the CD) the optical media is tied up.

    ** Install Dual Boot

    The advantage here is that Windows is still there, Ubuntu has native hardware access, programs can be installed, data can be saved, etc.etc.
    Disadvantage is that setup is tricky and lots of things can go wrong, including the Windows partition being wiped out or made unavailable.

    ** Virtual Machine

    The advantage is that Windows remains safe and untouched, Ubuntu is easy to remove if it's not wanted, and Ubuntu is considerably easier to install. Disadvantage is that performance really suffers, and you have to run two OS at the same time. That, and the very concept of a virtual machine makes a lot of people's heads spin.

    I see WUBI as a sort of compromise between all three. You suffer some performance loss and limitations, but your Windows install is safe, you can install programs and save data, and you aren't running two complete OS at the same time. I'd never recommend it as a long-term setup, but it seems like a better choice than a liveCD or VM for basic testing.

  4. #4
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    Re: Is WUBI worth it?

    Quote Originally Posted by lykwydchykyn View Post
    First, I'd say that threads on these forums are never a representative sample. This is a support forum, and by definition people don't post here until there is a problem. For every person who posts here reporting a problem, there may be 100, 50, 10 , 2, or 0 people who didn't have that problem; we'd never know. ...
    +1.

    One more point is that it's possible that, given the perceived ease of a WUBI install, less proficient (or technically competent) users maybe drawn to it thereby increasing the chances of a bad experience.
    de gustibus et coloribus non est disputandum -- Wiktionary

  5. #5
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    Re: Is WUBI worth it?

    Well if there was no wubi I would not be an Ubuntu user . It provided me the opportunity to try Ubuntu first . Then I formatted windows partition and installed Ubuntu .

  6. #6
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    Re: Is WUBI worth it?

    Thanks for your input @asifnaz. Would you have gotten to the same decision point with a LiveCD trial?

    Just learned from a concurrent thread (thanks to @bcbc) that WUBI installs Linux's native ext3/4 file structure on top of NTFS. This has the potential to be awful.

    Scenario: I'm a less-techy user newly from Windows. I'm not happy with Windows because my system seems to be slower all the time from fragmentation, crufty registry, service bloat, etc, but of course, as a non-techy, I don't know that those are the causes. I try out Ubuntu because I've heard that it runs faster, is more reliable, etc. But the first thing I do, and totally unbeknownst to me is, I install my Ubuntu system on this horribly fragmented NTFS partition. The file is not only spread and fragmented all over heck's half-acre, but the double-journaling overhead is killing performance still further. One day, Ubuntu doesn't even start, or worse, starts but acts wonky. This is due to file corruption caused by a bad write or shutdown from that new Windows game that crashed on me. But I don't know this. It doesn't occur to me that a Windows issue could affect Ubuntu. Conclusion: Ubuntu/Linux is slow, wonky and totally unreliable. All marketing hooey.

    Did I get something wrong? Am I painting an unrealistic scenario? I suspect it's pretty common, especially the slow file-system issues.

  7. #7
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    Re: Is WUBI worth it?

    Quote Originally Posted by DuckHook View Post
    Thanks for your input @asifnaz. Would you have gotten to the same decision point with a LiveCD trial?
    IMHO a Live CD is insufficient to try an operating system as it does not allow to install any apps and live CD gives just a sneak peak .

    I was not impressed by the live CD at all until I went through a wubi installation and downloaded some apps.

  8. #8
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    Re: Is WUBI worth it?

    Quote Originally Posted by DuckHook View Post
    Scenario: I'm a less-techy user newly from Windows. I'm not happy with Windows because my system seems to be slower all the time from fragmentation, crufty registry, service bloat, etc, but of course, as a non-techy, I don't know that those are the causes. I try out Ubuntu because I've heard that it runs faster, is more reliable, etc. But the first thing I do, and totally unbeknownst to me is, I install my Ubuntu system on this horribly fragmented NTFS partition. The file is not only spread and fragmented all over heck's half-acre, but the double-journaling overhead is killing performance still further. One day, Ubuntu doesn't even start, or worse, starts but acts wonky. This is due to file corruption caused by a bad write or shutdown from that new Windows game that crashed on me. But I don't know this. It doesn't occur to me that a Windows issue could affect Ubuntu. Conclusion: Ubuntu/Linux is slow, wonky and totally unreliable. All marketing hooey.
    That's certainly a significant downside to wubi; then again, the less-techy user who tries to set up a dual boot and ends up blowing Windows away is none too pleased either. I know that because we see a fair amount of that happening here too. Is there a perfect solution?

  9. #9
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    Re: Is WUBI worth it?

    Quote Originally Posted by DuckHook View Post
    Scenario: I'm a less-techy user newly from Windows. I'm not happy with Windows because my system seems to be slower all the time from fragmentation, crufty registry, service bloat, etc, but of course, as a non-techy, I don't know that those are the causes. I try out Ubuntu because I've heard that it runs faster, is more reliable, etc. But the first thing I do, and totally unbeknownst to me is, I install my Ubuntu system on this horribly fragmented NTFS partition. The file is not only spread and fragmented all over heck's half-acre, but the double-journaling overhead is killing performance still further. One day, Ubuntu doesn't even start, or worse, starts but acts wonky. This is due to file corruption caused by a bad write or shutdown from that new Windows game that crashed on me. But I don't know this. It doesn't occur to me that a Windows issue could affect Ubuntu. Conclusion: Ubuntu/Linux is slow, wonky and totally unreliable. All marketing hooey.

    Did I get something wrong? Am I painting an unrealistic scenario? I suspect it's pretty common, especially the slow file-system issues.
    I think you're right on the money. Unfortunately, that user would have had even worse problems had he tried to install alongside Windows, and might easily have wiped out his (not backed up) Windows system and all his precious data. In such a case, wubi seems to be the least of possible evils, with no good solution available.

    On my 2005-era HP laptop, I wasn't able to install Xubuntu alongside WinXP Pro even after explicitly making room for it on a second physical drive. For some reason, the box would not read the entire CD although the CD tested okay and installed properly on other boxes. As a compromise, I installed via wubi and that worked. It wasn't noticeably slower than native installs on older, slower boxes, and let me experiment a bit on the laptop. Just before I gave the laptop to a son's family, after cleaning it of all personal files and the wubi installation, I did manage to get a side-by-side installation of 12.04.1 working properly so that they could get a taste of Xubuntu if they desired to do so, and it was not noticeably different in feel from the old wubi 8.04 installation.

    I think wubi has a place, despite the problems associated with it. However I don't plan to try it again.
    --
    Jim Kyle in Oklahoma, USA
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    Howto mark thread: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/UnansweredPo.../SolvedThreads

  10. #10
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    Re: Is WUBI worth it?

    I think WUBI provides the first actual method of somebody with no technical skills installing and trying ubuntu.

    Yes Live-on-cd's are brilliant and usb sticks which are boot-able are neat. But they require some "technical" knowledge to create, can go wrong, and things can get alot more scary for someone who doesn't know what they are doing if they do go wrong.

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