What Portable Ubuntu for Windows does mean? Portable Ubuntu for Windows is a compact yet complete Ubuntu system that can be executed directly in Windows as if it were a regular software application designed for that operating system. Ubuntu is today one of the most popular Linux distributions: it is immediate, easy to use, has a cute aspect and is widely used all over the world.
The term portable has recently increased its popularity due to the fact that today hundred-megabyte applications can be easily ported and maintained on low-cost high capacity USB mass storage (typically pendrive or thumb drive).
Portable applications are useful since they allow us to use our favorite Linux tools and programs also when moving on machines that have Windows as operating system. Portable Ubuntu for Windows is based on a previous project called andLinux, and the system is built with the Colinux Kernel, Xming X server and Pulse Audio server for Windows; it has the popular orange-colored look with the GNOME-based desktop environment exactly as the original Linux distribution. Xming is a X server version specifically targeted for Windows. Pulse Audio is an audio server for Win32 and Posix systems which acts as an interface between the application and the native Windows audio system. Colinux Kernel is one of the several Linux kernel portings under Windows; it allows to execute the Linux kernel as a stand-alone process with a separate address space, and cooperating with the Windows operating system when all the low-level operations have to be executed.
The following picture gives you an idea of how Portable Ubuntu looks like when is run on a Windows machine.
Let’s now go through the step-by-step procedure that let you prepare and install on a thumb drive, pendrive, or just in a directory of your hard disk the Portable Ubuntu. Be aware that the current version of Portable Ubuntu requires about 1.85 Gb of free space: I used a 2 Gb USB pendrive and it works fine.
How to set-up Portable Ubuntu for Windows
The first operation to be performed is to download from this site the already available and eventually upgraded version of Portable Ubuntu. The file shall have this name: Portable_Ubuntu.exe, and its size is approximately 450 Kb.
Once you have downloaded the file, execute it (it is a self-extracting application). You will be asked only where to copy the Portable Ubuntu files (choose among local hard disk or removable mass storage units). If you plan to install it on a USB pendrive, maybe it could be better to perform the extraction on the hard disk and then copy the entire directory tree (named Portable_Ubuntu) on the removable device: that will allow to save some time.
After that, just run the batch file run_portable_ubuntu.bat in the Portable_Ubuntu directory: that’s it!
Ubuntu will be started and the typical menu bar will appear on the top side of your screen, as visible in the next pictures.
Portable Ubuntu for Windows - Characteristics
Portable Ubuntu for Windows presents these remarkable characteristics:
- It actually works, at least in most cases and on most PCs. I have tried it on my laptop (Intel dual core with 2 Gb of RAM) and it is really impressive
- It is portable and can be copied to a pendrive with at least 2 Gb of free space
- It has full access to Windows file system, and can read and/or write Windows files (just point to the /mnt/C folder to see the Windows file system)
- It is executed by Windows as a stand-alone application and works also with dual-monitor systems
- It is possible to upgrade the application by installing new packages through the Synaptic tool. If you plan to do that, consider that the default user created in Portable Ubuntu is pubuntu, and the password is 123456
- It helps people with little or no experience with Linux installation to have a working and ready-to-use Linux environment, getting them closer to the fascinating and ever full of new ideas and creativity world of open-source software. By the way, Ubuntu has always been popular right because it is easy to install and to maintain, at least compared to other Linux distros, and it was pretty soon available with a DVD bootable version that did not require any installation at all
Portable Ubuntu for Windows is a nice tool because it allows to use a Linux distribution on several machines just moving a small, light, and portable USB mass storage device. Moreover, it can be kept updated without affecting the system on which it is executed. Some “pure” Linux users, however, storch their noses when talking about this or similar projects: they say that a portable Linux distro hosted on a Windows-based machine is not comparable to a real native Linux distribution. Well, probably they are right, but this project will surely bring new users to get closer to Linux and to the open-source world.
The Portable Ubuntu for Windows home page on SourceForgeNet