Thursday, May 31, 2012

Wubi usage/opinion survey

Things have been a little quiet on the Wubi support front, since the 12.04 release (which resolved a lot of the usability bugs in Wubi.) So while twiddling my thumbs, I decided to find out how Wubi is perceived in the community.

Clearly there are many vocal 'anti-Wubi' voices, but how - I wondered - does the general community receive this product? I created a survey via and advertised it in The Community Cafe section on The idea was to target more seasoned Ubuntu community members.

Q. What sorts of users responded to the survey
77% of the respondents stated that they used Ubuntu more than Windows.
65% had experience with Wubi, either running it currently (9%) or having run it in the past (56%) 

Q. How many users responded
43 users completed the survey

Q. What was the opinion of Wubi
The following chart shows the opinion the respondents had of Wubi. e.g. 30% neither liked nor disliked Wubi.
The following chart shows the average opinion rating, broken down by category of user (on the chart a value of 1 = "Hate it", 2 = "Dislike it", 3 = "Neither Like nor Dislike it", 4 = "Like it"  and 5 = "Love it".)
The first column is the average for all respondents (3.28), and the rest are broken down by whether the respondent has ever used Wubi (or is currently using it). It shows that the opinion of Wubi is higher amongst those who have used Wubi (perhaps not surprisingly).

Q. Who would recommend Wubi
The following graph shows who would recommend Wubi to others to try out Ubuntu. The graph is broken down by category of user (first column is all respondents.) Again, not surprisingly, those who had used Wubi were more likely to recommend it.  Users who had no experience with Wubi were extremely reluctant to recommend it.

I was a little surprised to see the results. I expected to see more negativity to Wubi amongst non-Wubi users. But it should be noted that even though the average opinion rating wasn't bad in this category (2.47) only 7% would recommend Wubi to a new user to 'Try out Ubuntu'.

Contrast that with the average opinion rating of those that have used Wubi (3.54) or those that currently use Wubi (4.75) and you see a recommendation of 67% and 100% respectively. So these users clearly feel there is some value for introducing Ubuntu to newcomers.

Here is a list of the questions on the survey. Questions with an asterix were mandatory.

  1. *Do you run Ubuntu installed with Wubi? (Yes/No)
  2.  If you answer No to Q1, have you ever installed Ubuntu using Wubi (Yes/No)
  3.  If you used or are using Wubi, how long have you used it? (<1 day /<1week /<1month /<3months /<1year />1year)
  4. Have you upgraded releases using Wubi? (Yes/Yes but it failed/No)
  5. *Do you use Ubuntu more or less than Windows? (Less/Same/More)
  6. *Do you ever force shutdown (power off) your computer if it hangs? (Never/ Sometimes/Frequently)
  7.  If you are currently using Wubi, are you planning to move to a normal dual boot in the future, or stay with Wubi? (Reinstall/Migrate/Stay with Wubi/Not sure)
  8. *Would you recommend Wubi to others to try out Ubuntu? (Yes/No)
  9. *What's your overall opinion of Wubi (1-Hate it/2-Dislike it/3-Neither like nor dislike it/4-Like it/5-Love it)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Wubi Kubuntu not working in 12.04

You cannot install 12.04 Kubuntu when running wubi.exe standalone at this time. The addresses of the ISOs are incorrect so it will fail.

I'm not entirely sure but perhaps this has something to do with Canonical no longer supporting Kubuntu. Whatever the reason, the ISOs are now hosted on instead of (as it was in prior releases). Unfortunately this wasn't picked up in testing as Wubi uses a different download site while in development. It's only after release that this switches over.

I've submitted a bug patch that may or may not be accepted as an SRU (stable release update) - if you read a previous post you'll know that these are now possible for wubi.exe whereas they weren't previously. But in the meantime you'll have to use a workaround to try Kubuntu

Download the Kubuntu Desktop CD ISO manually from here and save it in the same folder as wubi.exe before running.

Friday, May 11, 2012

How to run the development release with Wubi

Prepare for breakage
This goes without saying, but I like to say it anyway. If you choose to follow these instructions, and you lose your installation/data or worse - you're on your own. That said, I've been running the development release on Wubi since 11.10 and with a few precautions you should be okay. 
Note: Since the 32-bit non-pae kernel will not be supported in 12.10, I advise not following these instructions if you are using the 32-bit non-pae kernel.

Backup and restore
Even though I am aware that things could go awry, it's still irritating to lose the install. So I keep a fully synched backup of the root.disk. After running updates (which you'll probably get used to doing every time you boot), once you've rebooted and confirmed things are stable, you can resynch your backup. 

Here's how to do it:
  1. Make a copy of your root.disk using the Wubi resize script 
  2. Keep it synchronized by rerunning the script, but supplying the --resume option (which will copy only files that have been modified/added and delete ones that have been removed).
  3. Make the new.disk bootable (so you can confirm it works without booting to Windows to rename the disks). You do this by adding the following lines to /etc/grub.d/40_custom (changing the bits in red to match your own settings):
menuentry 'Ubuntu - backup new.disk' --class ubuntu --class gnu-linux --class gnu --class os {
        set gfxpayload=$linux_gfx_mode
        insmod part_msdos
        insmod ntfs
        set root='(hd0,msdos3)'
        search --no-floppy --fs-uuid --set=root 18B4B7BBB4B799A8
        loopback loop1 /ubuntu/disks/new.disk
        set root=(loop1)
        linux   /vmlinuz root=UUID=18B4B7BBB4B799A8 loop=/ubuntu/disks/new.disk ro   quiet splash vt.handoff=7
        initrd  /initrd.img

Then you'll see "Ubuntu - backup new.disk" at the bottom of the grub menu when you boot. If you don't see the grub menu, hold down the Shift key after selecting Ubuntu.

Upgrading to Quantal
Since there is no Wubi.exe version for Quantal available at this early stage of development, the only way to get it is to install 12.04 Precise Pangolin, and then modify your sources.list. (Note, once the Alpha1 is released you may be able to install normally and in this case you should not use this method).
sudo sed -i 's/precise/quantal/g' /etc/apt/sources.list
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get dist-upgrade 

Partial upgrades
Always review the results before running dist-upgrades. In particular, look at what is being removed. It's fairly common for the packages to be out of synch at times during the development release, and if you're not careful you might uninstall critical bits. My rule of thumb is, if anything is being deleted look for a newer version of it being installed. If there is no corresponding entry, then wait a few days. Sometimes you'll find the packages are no longer listed as being removed. In other cases, they're still there and it's probably safe to proceed. If you notice a lot of packages being deleted, run away.

Where to go for help
Please review the Sticky threads in the Ubuntu+1 forum on If you have any questions or problems, look there to see if someone else has a solution or post your own questions.