[Ambassadors] Another subtle blow on Software Freedom?

Onyeibo Oku twohot at fedoraproject.org
Sun Dec 19 18:09:02 UTC 2010

Today, In the spirit of a Fedora Ambassador, I convinced a neighbour to 
release her HP Compaq 615 so I install Fedora 14 for her.  For 
first-timers, I usually go the dual-booting way. So, I booted it up 
using a live USB and started to check what's possible.  What do I get? 
I find a scenario similar to the one I experienced 3weeks back:

The machine came with a 320HDD fully partitioned off.

system	|	Windows		|	recovery	|	Tools
(boot)	|	(OS)		|	(installer)	|	hardware

At first, the challenges are not apparent because I'm used to these 
partition labels, but what I have discovered recently is that their 
order have changed. The Recovery, Tools, and system partitions usually 
come first before the Windows Partition.  Now, the OS is sandwiched 
in-between critical partitions effectively nullifying the creation of 
free space using partition shrinking. Anaconda cannot use free spaces on 
a drive that has all its "Standard Partitions" in use, and in the above 
scheme, Extended partitions are not possible -- not without loosing data.

I thought about moving the partitions around and then I recall that some 
vendors have their BIOS set to access the Tools and Recovery Partitions. 
I am not sure whether the vendor software expect instructions at 
specific sectors on the drive, but I suspect so. If I'm right, then this 
looks like a subtle attempt to discourage dual-booting.

On a machine that is mine, I wouldn't hesitate to backup (mirror) my 
partitions and wipe the hard-drive clean. However, this is appearing 
more on machines owned by wanna-be Linux users; people who still want a 
fall-back plan (Windows) when they get lazy to learn. These people don't 
have extra drives that can be used for drive mirroring ... they don't 
have recovery CDs (some hardware don't ship with those these days).

Has any one been through this?  How does an Ambassador deal with this?


Oku, Onyeibo

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