Talk:Ubuntu installation

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1 old stuff below -- Daniel K. Schneider (talk) 13:02, 19 August 2013 (CEST)

2 Ubuntu 10 8.04 LTS installation start in a nutshell

This 8.04 distribution now is way too old, but it gives an idea on what you'll have to do, sorry I don't have time to update since I only install a new Ubuntu when I get a new desktop machine - Daniel K. Schneider 12:47, 3 June 2010 (UTC).

2.1 Step 1: Get it

Download site

Decide what version you want. Basically there are 4 options for a desktop machine: 32 vs. 64 bit machines and normal vs. alternative distribution.

  • 32 bit (most machines, also some third-party software may only run 32bits). Two sub-choices:
    • ubuntu-8.04.1-desktop-i386.iso (this is your "normal" choice)
    • ubuntu-8.04.1-alternate-i386.iso
  • 64 bit (more expensive desktop machines)
    • ubuntu-8.04.1-desktop-amd64.iso (also includes Xeon etc. processors)
    • ubuntu-8.04.1-alternate-amd64.iso

Finally, there exist also vendor-packaged images that include additional goodies, e.g. graphics card drivers. E.g.

The image you will download is an ISO ready to burn CD image (so you need a program to do this). Read burn the image.

Memory errors and stupidness

I spent about a weekend burning various CDs (32bit normal, alternate, 64bit) because I thought first that downloaded ISO images were damaged during burning and then that my hardware couldn't handle it. Got SQUASHFS and other decompression errors.

That was a weekend lost. I simply had to replace the RAM. It was slightly defective (after all, the days before I did use my system, though I had some Firefox and Thunderbird crashes. Never occured to me to test the RAM. Bad RAM if intensively used such as in the install process will make it fail. PERIOD.

So if you insert a CD for testing and returns errors, do it again. If the file is not the same, then blame your RAM. Basically you can ignore the "burning horrors" below, unless you really have problem with downloading or burning. Just make sure to burn at relatively low speed....

Burning horrors

It is likely that you might download a bad image (see step 3). Make sure that your image is correct with How to MD5SUM. E.g. if you download to a Unix machine, type something like:

md5sum ubuntu-8.04.1-desktop-i386.iso

This file name may change of course. The output should be a single line which you can match again the magic number, e.g.


for the ubuntu-8.04.1-desktop-i386.iso image. These is an official list (if you don't trust your mirror).

Anyhow, if Ubuntu is happy (see also step 3) you don't need to worry about this.

Also to download, you may avoid using a browser, there exist FTP mirrors. Alternatively you can use a program like wget if you do this from a Unix machine. Copy the download link from the appropriate mirror and type e.g.

 wget --no-cache

or (better) from a trusted mirror:

 wget --no-cache

Now burning is another painful issue (see step three). I took the simple default CD version from some Ubuntu mirror and first used infra recorder on a Windows machine to burn the image (Menu Actions -> Burn Image..). Despite setting it to low burn speed it didn't work (i.e. failed the test in the Ubuntu installation). So I took another laptop and burned with Roxio. After 3 attempts (enabling all options like checking, very long file names, etc. it did seem to work at first (test passed). But during the install (some SQUASHFS error) and with a second test it failed again. So you actually may have two problems: CD is bad or the installation program (i.e. the SQUASHFS program) has a problem

Frustrating as experience. In any case set burning speed to something that is really low" (like 4 or 8), but never maximum !

If your CD seems to be ok and installation fails you first should check your RAM. Only then go for another install (e.g. download the fat DVD total Ubuntu-only reinstall DVD ISO from DELL or the alternative CD from Ubuntu.

  • Finally, make sure to have an Internet number ready if you use your machine at work.

2.2 Step 2: save some stuff in your old Ubuntu install

(if you have one, else skip).

If you mount foreign file systems

  • /etc/fstab

If you have a special video setup

  • /etc/X11/xorg.conf


If you don't have your home on a different partition make a gtar archive tar zcf archiveXX.tgs directory

  • save all homes (I don't keep any real data on my personal machine, but you may later retrieve some config files or navigator bookmarks.)
  • You also may save /usr/local (but it's better to reinstall !)

2.3 Step 3: Format or repartition if you plan to continue using windows

  • I don't want windows on this machine (erased it sometimes)
  • You also may consider reformatting the hard disk (you can do this during the install process)
  • If do want Windows, you may consider sharing a partition and this is a bit tricky (see docs elsewhere).

2.4 Step 4: Boot the PC with the CD and enter installation

  • You may have to hit F12 or F2 (watch!) when the machine wakes up, select the CD-Rom Drive
  • You then must select a language (English for example)
  • You also should define your location and keyboard. Hit the F2 and F3 buttons at the bottom of the screen.
  • You also should check the integrity of the CD. Bad files can be a total show stopper ! I suspect that errors can have two reasons: A bad CD (sometimes), damaged RAM, or some hardware incompatibility (bad trouble for you).
  • Do not "try" Ubuntu without change unless you are afraid that Ubuntu is not compatible with your hardware. If your decision is made click on "Install Ubuntu"

... then wait a bit ... if nothing happens, it can mean that your RAM is damaged, your CD is bad or that your PC can not handle it.

2.5 Step 5: Try other versions if needed

Give up on the desktop version, if the installation fails after 2 half days or so. Take the alternative version. The interface is uglier, has less functionality, but it let's you repartition and format at early stage and make some more technical choices.

The problem is that you then have to install things more manually which is not really difficult but requires some reading...

2.6 Step 6: Make life a bit easier

In Ubuntu a desktop user can't seem to log in as root. It never asked me for a password during install. I must be root, since entering "sudo" plus a password for every command drives me crazy. The trick is simple:

sudo su

Then type:

... now you have root password :)

2.7 Alternative: Installation from the no-desktop distribution

So I finally got ubuntu-8.04.1-alternate-amd64.iso and wind up in a root terminal after boot.

Some stuff is already on the CD. First thing you want is the X11 system and a desktop. Reinsert the same CD and type the following. However I suggest taking this rather from an Ubuntu mirror (see packages)

 apt-get install ubuntu-desktop
 /etc/init.d/gdm start



Then you can use the GUI to define you as user and configure the network.

Next thing is to select repositories. The easiest way is to use the "synaptic package manager" that can be found in the System->Administration menu. The click on "Settings->Repositories" and select either the fastest or one you trust. In the same software sources panel, you also may tick most checkboxes. Alternatively, edit the configuration file in /etc/apt.

Then you have to upgrade. That also was quite a nightmare, since apparently my (now that new) hardware was not fully compatible....

One thing that seems to be needed if you have the server version is:

apt-get install linux-restricted-modules-server