Getting started with Ubuntu

I’ve blogged earlier about how I tried Ubuntu 7.04 last year. It installed fine but I couldn’t get online as it was only configured for WEP protocol and my wireless router is set to WPA. Yes I know I could have probably solved it given time by searching and asking online but I figured that just shouldn’t be necessary. If Linux is to be a viable alternative to Windows, it should install without a hitch – indeed, it should be easier than a Windows install.

So with that in mind, a few days after Ubuntu 8.10 Intrepid Ibex was released, I downloaded it to try again with some trepidation and not a little excitement. Was this to be the release where for me, Linux becomes a real alternative? Again I was determined that the install should be intuitive and I shouldn’t have to resort to online forums to sort out any problems.

Downloading from a UK mirror was fine on my slow (1MB) broadband connection. Took 1h 50 min. But that was okay. I let it work away during my lunch break and then into the afternoon. I burned the iso file to a CD using CDBurnerXP – that took 4 minutes.

I have a couple of removable hard drives on my old (back-up) PC. Windows XP on one drive and Ubuntu 7.04 on another. So I’ll just wipe away my old Ubuntu 7.04 install. No problem, I’ll just boot off the Linux CD and then reformat. Booted up fine to the GNOME desktop. I wondered if I could get online from the Live CD. Gave it a try. I clicked the Connect icon at the top right. As before, Ubuntu recognized my wireless Zoom router but this time gave me the option to enter my WPA passphrase. Yes I thought. We’re away this time. Sure enough after entering the passphrase I was connected. I fired up Firefox and confirmed that I was indeed online.

So far so good. Now to install Ubuntu on the hard disk. I booted up again from the Live CD and picked the option to ‘Install Ubuntu‘. When I got to the repartition menu, the choice for me was either keep the 7.04 install and add 8.10 in two partitions or to create a new single partition with 8.10. I couldn’t see an option to wipe 7.04 and install 8.10 in two partitions. So I went for the single partition. Anyway it’s only a test install. If I’ve messed up I’ll just reinstall again.

So I went ahead with the option Guided – Use entire disk, and Ubuntu installed flawlessly in 50 minutes. Again, I entered my WPA passphrase and I was online without a hitch. I grabbed the latest Ubuntu updates and that’s where I am at the moment. Quite painless really and having been through it, I know I can easily reinstall in less than an hour if I’ve messed up. In fact, all in all, it was easier than a Windows install so I urge anyone out there interested in switching to Linux to give Intrepid Ibex a try.

I hope to blog about Ubuntu now and again and let you know how I’m getting on. The burning question really is do I move eventually to Windows 7 from XP or can I take the fork in the road which says Linux?

Feel free to comment if you think I could have done things differently with this install.

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