HELLO, UBUNTU (PART 1)
August 28, 2007
image: Ubunto Logo ™ Ubuntu
I finally decided to join the geek crowd and install ubuntu linux on my home computer. I was hesitant at first, as I tend to avoid early adoption of ideas, but after seeing it gain momentum and legitimacy, I decided to jump into it.
I've been a hard core slackware fan so far, what with the slackware philosophy appearing to be something akin to throwing a person into the wilderness with a survival manual and letting nature take its course. I prided myself in having to set up my own xorg.conf file and having to mount the CDROM and second hard drive manually, and having to hard code instruction to read files from my digital camera. I liked that during the installation, it forced me to establish partitions, directories, and then it had me pick packages were installed, making me feel like I was controlling a wild beast.
However, I've got a wife and three kids, which necessarily means that I have less time to micromanage my computer's processes. I have a life to live that extends beyond my desk at home, so I needed an operating system that I could install, boot up, and forget about. Apart from all the security risks, stability issues, and price, Windows generally seems like a reasonable option.
It turns out that ubuntu is the linux distribution that meets me in the middle. It's almost a turn key system... with a few hiccups that my previous linux experience helped me overcome. This is my little journey into ubuntu. I've been using for two whole days now, and I'm quite enjoying it.
The first thing I did was download the version of ubuntu that made the most sense to me. On the download screen, I was presented with a few options:
Download, buy, or request free CDs
I have a high speed connection, so downloading made the most sense to me. I might request the free CDs anyway, just to have an "official" set of CDs. Why not?
Desktop or Server edition
Because I'm not going to run any servers, the desktop version is probably just fine for me. All I really do at home is browse, e-mail, chat, and a bit of perl coding, so having a server isn't really necessary.
7.04 or 6.06 LTS (long term support)
I figured that more support means greater stability, so I downloaded the 6.06 version, burned it to disk, and tried booting up with it. That's the nice thing about this distribution -- the live CD will boot you directly into the operating system without installing anything, which will let you test-drive the OS.
Type of computer
The top option was "standard personal computer," which is a fair description of what I have. I don't own a 64bit processor (most people don't, and if you do, you'd know), and I still have no clue what a Sun UltraSPARC based computer is. I mean, I know it's a computer, but it's so far out of the realm of my daily life that I don't really care.
The ubuntu files are mirrored all over the world. I downloaded mine from Gigenet, but I could just as easily have downloaded it from Zimbabwe, as that was one of the options.
Remember the thing I said before about how a live CD is great, because it lets you test drive the OS? It's great in theory... but in practice, the 6.06 version simply hung forever. It looked like it was going to boot up, went to a black screen with the following text:
Uncompressing Linux ... Ok, booting the kernel.
... and then hung forever. I browsed around on a few forums and saw other people having the same problem, so I took out my 6.06 disk and threw it away. I downloaded the 7.04 file, burned it to disk, and tried again, and it worked. I don't know nor care why the 6.06 version didn't work.
The 7.04 version booted up just fine. With all my options behind me, the system booted into a nice graphical menu, gaving me the ability to run/install the OS, and I decided to jump right in. It booted up fairly quickly, and gave me access to the essentials - Firefox, the Evolution e-mail client, the Gimp image editor, an office suite, etc. Everything worked well, and after about an hour of playing around with the live CD version, I figured I'd go ahead with a full install.
[part 1] [part 2] [part 3] [part 4]