Newbie guide for a Wubi Linux install of Sage under Windows
Wubi is an Ubuntu linux installer for windows users. It is the easiest to use that I know of. It doesn't require a separate hard disk partition since the Ubuntu installation is just a large file under windows. It also uses the windows boot loader instead of a separate one, and it can be easily removed from windows the normal way by using "Add or Remove Programs" in the control panel. Ubuntu is a popular and newbie friendly linux distribution that makes Sage much easier to use. The only downsides are that it does a translation of the linux file system into windows so it's a little bit slower, and the install would like about 15 gigs for the 7 gig operating system and reasonable extra disk space. If you are having problems with VMware or VirtualBox or would just like an easier, more powerful environment around Sage, this is for you.
Note: I am a newbie to Sage, and even though I have played with linux a few times, I'm also pretty much a linux newbie. So if I can do it, you can do it too, because it is really pretty easy. Experienced Sage or linux users should probably just leave now, before they get their intelligence insulted, or possibly stick around to correct my mistakes. Here's a case of the blind leading the blind so feel free to help me. Also, there is nothing wrong with simply installing Ubuntu or your other favorite distribution, but a wubi install is easier to remove if so desired.
1. Defrag the hard drive. I know this part is no fun, but that is a big file and it shouldn't be fragmented. One issue is that most of the free defrag programs only defrag in place. They don't actually move the files around to try to make large areas of free space, and if you haven't defragged in a long time, there may not be much of that left. That is a feature they want you to pay for. One free program (zero-cost but proprietary) that does optimize the file structure is Smart Defrag from IObit.com. I'm only a user, but I've used it for about a year with absolutely no problems. I tried some others but this is my favorite. If you use it, make sure to choose "deep optimize" to get the desired effect. Here is the link: http://www.iobit.com/iobitsmartdefrag.html?Str=download
2. Wubi: http://wubi-installer.org/ Follow some of the links to reviews on the right side of the page for more info. Wubi is also on the Ubuntu desktop CD. Link: http://www.ubuntu.com/ I downloaded the 32 bit version 9.04 CD and ran wubi from it rather than have wubi running as it downloaded the whole distribution. That way I have my own CD copy. Of course, one has to be able to burn an ISO to a CD for that. The install copies files to the disk, then reboots. Be sure to choose Ubuntu when the new bootloader screen pops up. Otherwise it will default to windows and nothing will happen. Next it installs itself and reboots again. Now we're in linux land.
3. Ubuntu found all my desktop hardware automagically(tm). Probably the first thing to do is to let the update manager do it's thing, like windows update does. If it doesn't do so on its own, select System > Administration > Update Manager from the top left menu. When I installed on my laptop, it had to do the updates before it found my wireless, so I had to plug in a lan cable at first. The following stuff is not necessary at this point, just some eventual housekeeping. I installed the proprietary video drivers for ATI or NVIDIA that don't come on the CD. To do that, select System > Administration > Hardware Drivers. I then installed my favorite firefox addons. If you plan to actually use Ubuntu for more than Sage, there is a very useful and extensive HOW-TO on the linux forms about installing medibuntu, a package that includes more closed source proprietary stuff like flash, java, multimedia codecs, etc. Link: http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=766683
4. Download the latest Ubuntu binary file for Sage: http://www.sagemath.org/download-linux.html I did the 32 bit version to match Ubuntu. Ubuntu will put it on your desktop by default. I dragged that into my home directory, then right clicked and extracted it there. If you want, you can then right click the folder the extraction created and rename it to something shorter like sage-3.4.2. Now go into the extracted folder and double click the sage file. Choose "Run in Terminal". When it first runs, Sage will do some installing and path setting. Then it will ask you to create a password for user "admin". Finally, type "notebook()" at the "sage:" prompt and be amazed by Sage in your web browser which should start up on its own. When done, close firefox and press CTRL-C in the terminal window to get back to the "sage:" prompt. Then type "quit" or "exit" at the prompt to close the terminal window.