My first day with Ubuntu - gHacks Tech News

My first day with Ubuntu

I tried to install Kubuntu yesterday but the partitioning program failed and I decided to try out Ubuntu today because I knew they were using different tools for that purpose.

I downloaded the Ubuntu iso image and burned it to a CD. I then changed the boot sequence in the bios to boot Ubuntu from CD.

The distribution that I downloaded is a live CD and installation CD at the same time which means it will boot the complete operating system from CD first and give you the choice to install it or simply use the live CD version.

This is great for testing the operating system before you commit to it. You can test it without making changes to the underlying system.

The first thing that caught my attention was that all my NTFS (Windows file system) hard drives were accessible which is really great. I had an entry on my list of things that I wanted Ubuntu to do and this was one of them. I tried the installation and it worked fine. After selecting a username and password and some general settings like country I had the choice to automatically resize the partitions for Ubuntu or do it manually.

I decided to use the manual approach because I already created the partitions yesterday using the Kubuntu partitioner. I was able to select my Linux partition (ext3) with 30 gigabytes and my Linux swap partition with 1 gigabyte. The installation began automatically and did not take long. After rebooting the system and changing the boot sequence again I was able to boot into Linux, Vista or XP using Grub the bootmanager.

My internet connection worked right out of the box, no installation was required. This was great because I needed to take a look at the Ubuntu documentation.

The first thing that I noticed was that many programs were already installed on my new Linux system. Some of them, like Firefox and Open Office, were applications that I use on my Windows operating systems as well. The only thing that was really missing (at first glance) was support for mp3 files and other restricted formats.

Installing additional packages is slightly more complicated than in Windows. You may use the command line to install software or use a package manager that offers a selection of available software. I decided to use the package manager and took a quick look at software that I wanted to install.

I found Thunderbird, the same e-mail client that I was using in Windows and decided to install it hoping that it was possible to use the Windows profile in Linux as well. Thankfully the software is categorized and you can also use the good search to find something that you are looking for.

I decided to take a look at the Ubuntu documentation to find out what I needed to install to be able to play mp3 and other files such as divx movies.

  • ffmpeg
  • libxvidcore4 (multiverse)
  • gstreamer0.10-plugins-ugly
  • gstreamer0.10-plugins-ugly-multiverse
  • gstreamer0.10-plugins-bad
  • gstreamer0.10-plugins-bad-multiverse
  • gstreamer0.10-ffmpeg
  • gstreamer0.10-gl
  • ibquicktime0 (universe)

Please note that you need to add the universe and multiverse repositories under settings, repositories before you may install some of the above codecs.

Installing and using Ubuntu was quite easy. The only difficulties inexperienced users may encounter are the partitioning process and the installation of additional programs and tools.

Most programs that I use on a daily basis are already preinstalled, if you use your computer mainly for office you are set to go without installing additional packages.

Summary
Article Name
My first day with Ubuntu
Description
I decided to install Linux, and picked Ubuntu for that. The article describes my first day of using Ubuntu Linux, and some of the issues that I encountered.
Author
Publisher
Ghacks Technology News
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Comments

  1. gnome said on December 14, 2006 at 4:07 pm
    Reply

    Hmmm.. might just try it out then… MAybe, sleep on it first…

  2. Yonatan said on December 14, 2006 at 4:31 pm
    Reply
  3. yogi said on December 14, 2006 at 4:57 pm
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    sounds real easy.
    would you be willing to explain how to change the bios on xp so that it will boot from the cd?

  4. jenstar said on December 14, 2006 at 5:02 pm
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    great stuff huh…

  5. Luke said on December 14, 2006 at 5:08 pm
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    Oh, man I wish installing stuff under Windows was as easy as it is in Ubuntu. As it is right now, every single windows application has a different proprietary installer and only maybe 30% of apps support some sort of unattended install.

    Here is how you install apps on Ubuntu – you browse the web and someone mentions application xyz. You do the following:

    First you see if the application is available in existing repositories:

    apt-cache search xyz

    You can read more about the available version and etc with

    apt-cache show xyz

    You can see if the app will install properly without any issues by doing:

    apt-get --dry-run install xyz

    And finally when you are ready you install:

    apt-get install xyz

    Did I mention how easy it is to upgrade to a new version of the OS? Simply go into your sources file, and change every reference to your current version (eg. dapper) to a new version (edgy). Then just run:

    apt-get update
    apt-get dist-upgrade

    Wouldn’t it be nice if Windows could do that.

  6. Zen said on December 14, 2006 at 5:18 pm
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    My first surprise with installing Ubuntu (Dapper Drake) was that, although it could read NTFS partitions, it couldn’t write to them. I had to copy files from a Windows PC to Ubuntu using a FAT32 (instead of NTFS) external hard drive, to enable me to make changes to the files on the drive.

  7. Luke said on December 14, 2006 at 5:27 pm
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    Zen, this is not something Ubuntu team could do anything about. The NTFS is a proprietary filesystem, and Microsoft never released it’s specifications to the general public.

    The NTFS support we have these days is totally based on reverse engineering, and guesswork. It is possible to get write support using Captive NTFS but it is still very sketchy. Blame Microsoft for this.

  8. Martin said on December 14, 2006 at 5:41 pm
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    yogi this is different depending on the bios you are using. Most of the time you need to press DEL, ESC, an F-key or enter. A message during the boot sequence should state which key needs to be pressed.

    Once that is done you have to navigate the entries until you find something Boot Device Priority or something like that.

    Take a look at the following website for some examples.
    http://www.hiren.info/pages.php/bios-boot-cdrom

  9. Martin said on December 14, 2006 at 5:43 pm
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    Luke it probably is easier to install under Linux but you need to understand the following as well. Under Windows you download a file, unpack it and click the exe.

    It seems more standardized in Linux but it is still more complicated if you have been Windows all the time.

    Just another example, installing mp3 support was easy but took a long time. The Ubuntu documentation helped a lot in finding out which packages I would need.

  10. Martin said on December 14, 2006 at 5:44 pm
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    Do you have a suggestion for a binary news reader ?

  11. Luke said on December 14, 2006 at 5:54 pm
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    Have you tried KLibido?

  12. Martin said on December 14, 2006 at 6:01 pm
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    I have not tried one yet, just took a look at the massive amount of newsreaders available..

  13. Jono said on December 14, 2006 at 7:09 pm
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    I saw someone mentioned EasyUbuntu, but try Automatix instead – it does quite a bit more than EasyUbuntu.

    Use one or the other, but do it before you do too much configuration on a new install.

    http://getautomatix.com/wiki/index.php?title=Installation

  14. S Jones said on December 14, 2006 at 7:09 pm
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    I’m a total newb with anything except windows for the Live CD/Install that you mentioned do I just need the std Dapper Drake Desktop CD?

  15. Martin said on December 14, 2006 at 8:24 pm
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    S. Jones, you need Ubuntu 6.10 CD Image for desktop and laptop PCs.

  16. kuriharu said on December 14, 2006 at 8:36 pm
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    He had better luck than I did. My first Ubuntu install found my Windows partitions and mounted them. But when I clicked on the icon to open the files, I got “You do not have permissions to open these files”. Why does it put an icon on my desktop and taunt me with files I need them disallow me from seeing them? Quite a puzzler.

    And if I hear about how much easier installing programs on Linux is than Windows I’m gonna puke. apt-get doesn’t always work as prescribed. You often have to modify the /etc/apt/sources.list file, download pgp keys, etc. Then you have to run apt-get update. THEN you can proceed to install. And sometimes programs won’t install becuase a library you have is TOO NEW for the program you’re trying to install. WTF? This is easier than double clicking on setup.exe? I don’t think so.

    I use both XP and Ubuntu, and both have their ups and downs. Ubuntu is good, but it still has a while to go.

  17. Me said on December 15, 2006 at 10:15 am
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    Hi, this may be of interest to you. It may be outdated, however…
    http://www.plaintivemewling.com/articles/sharing-firefoxthunderbird-profiles-on-a-dual-boot-system

  18. Martin said on December 15, 2006 at 11:32 am
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    Thanks this looks helpful. I still hate the fact that a fat partition is needed for this.

  19. breeza said on December 16, 2006 at 2:23 am
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    Try “Automatix2” for the istallation of codecs and extra apps such as google earth, picasa, opera. Auotmatix2bleeder will even install beryl…
    check it out.

  20. John Pilfer said on December 16, 2006 at 9:35 am
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    For a binary newsgroup, try Pan. It’s not specifically tuned for binaries, but works for me.

    “apt-get doesn’t always work as prescribed. You often have to modify the /etc/apt/sources.list file, download pgp keys, etc. Then you have to run apt-get update. THEN you can proceed to install. And sometimes programs won’t install becuase a library you have is TOO NEW for the program you’re trying to install. WTF? This is easier than double clicking on setup.exe? I don’t think so.”

    Most of this is not true at all. With ubuntu, and other “human”-oriented users, you don’t have to modify any system files to add repositories, you can do it using the rodent; pgp keys are not obligatory to add when you add repositories, but they are recommended for security sake; I’m a pretty moderate-advanced user of gnu/linux, and using Ubuntu and Debian, their own repositories are 95% more than enough for my many ecletic needs, so I wouldn’t think that a new user would need to start adding repositories; if you go the graphical route, you don’t need to update the apt’s repository information with the command line; And if a program doesn’t install, probably you just downloaded the .deb package from somewhere, and probably wasn’t specific for your distro. But like I said, for 99% of your needs, you won’t need to install random .deb packages from the web.
    I agree that for random software, and simple installer which works for all linux distros would be preferable, and they exist: For example, flash from Adobe uses a pretty simple text-installer, others use other installers. I just think that when you need a stable system, with system-wide updates (for security bugfixes, etc.), it’s a lot easier and better getting your software from a repository you trust (usually it’s from your distribution), and whose software you know is watched for, and well tested to run together, than installing a gazillion programs, and have your system hog down.

    In the end, free software is about you controlling your technology, and not technology controlling you. People should live without EULAS, forced activation schemes, and whatever new recipes of control Microsoft has planned for them with Vista.

    But, in the technological world, the more knowledge you have the more power you have. Because that is not allways the case, many companies and communities have developed their distributions to share the goodies of free software to all .

    If that means that, for now, a non-technical user must wait a little while before being able to install a random alpha or beta software off some webpage, (i.e. wait until its developers make a package for my distro (using a popular distro is recomended for newbie users), or they provide a binary, or the software is worthy enough (most are) to get into my distro’s repository) then so be it. Not only many of those distributions are community-lead, i.e. theoretically more humane than a huge billion-dollar hierarchical organization, the user can always learn, and compile (it’s not that big a thing, if the developers did the proper work) if none of the previous options are available.

    Anyway, just use whatever you want.

  21. dev said on December 18, 2006 at 9:59 am
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    use ntfs-3g for writing to NTFS partitions. I have used it for quite some time and found it to be the most efficient.

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