Some months back I managed to completely mess up the Linux partitions on one my home computers, though it would still boot Windows XP when I chose that. Last night I decided to clean up the mess and get Linux working on that system again. First question: What distribution?. I have been using Lubuntu (Ubuntu with lxde), which has worked very well on my trailing-edge hardware. However, I wanted to have an alternative to Ubuntu because I am a little nervous about the direction that company is going. So I ended up installing Ubuntu’s parent, Debian. If you are bewildered by all the variants of Linux see the Linux family tree. You will probably then be even more bewildered.
The last time I had tried installing Debian on this machine I had not been able to work in a useful form, but it went fairly smoothly this time. During the grub install it said it had detected my Windows partitions. So I had a bad moment when I rebooted after the installation and Windows XP was not in the boot menu. However, running update-grub as root fixed that and both Windows and Debian now show up in the boot menu.
This evening I did my usual post-installation stuff, changing to a fixed IP, installing ssh and ftp servers, and my preferred e-mail software. I also did a little real work using the system. Debian uses OpenOffice be default while I have installed LibreOffice on my Lubuntu and Windows systems. Since Oracle no longer owns OpenOffice, the reason for the schism between the two no longer exists. It will be interesting to see what happens between them in the next few years.