Thinking About Installing Ubuntu 9.04

Discussion in 'all things UNIX' started by Rain_Train, Apr 27, 2009.

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  1. Rain_Train

    Rain_Train Registered Member

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    Hi. As the title implies, I'm strongly considering installing Ubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty Jackalope) on my laptop, getting rid of Vista. I've read the stickies, but I'm very new to this, so I need all the advice I can get. Furthermore, since there seem to be a mix of Windows and Linux users at Wilders, maybe I can listen to both sides of the table, which is where my story begins.

    Vista has been a complete nightmare for me on my laptop, and I'm so tired of it. It's slow to boot up, the monitor randomly turns off and won't turn back on (forcing me to do a hard reset), explorer.exe crashes, it forgets my settings at random times, and the list goes on. The sad thing is, I just did a complete reformat at the beginning of April, and I'm still having issues. I thought about going back to XP, but I remembered that Microsoft will be dropping support soon (or maybe they already have; point is, support & Windows Updates won't be coming out anymore). So, let me start with some basics:

    • Computer: HP Pavilion dv5z-1000 Notebook, with Vista 32-bit (link to HP support is here, and link to drivers is here)
    • Installing: Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope
    Now the problem is this: I have absolutely no knowledge of Linux, and how it works. What I'm particularly concerned about are all the commands; I'm just as familiar with MS-DOS as I am with Christopher Columbus, so I'm not sure how that will work out for me. I ran the live CD on my old VAIO laptop, and the graphics driver and wireless networking worked flawlessly. I'm going to try running the CD on my HP notebook (my main machine) soon, to see how it works.

    I found a detailed tutorial on installing Ubuntu on HP laptops here, which gives me some confidence. However, what is the general consensus on converting Windows machines into Linux machines? I'm on a laptop, so there is little customization I can do with drivers. Furthermore, it comes with a little sticker that says "optimized for Vista", which makes me wonder if I'm having problems on a computer optimized for Vista, imagine the problems I might have on a computer not optimized for Linux.

    What do you guys think? I was very impressed with the live CD version of Ubuntu, so I'd like to make the switch. Am I crazy trying to install Ubuntu on a laptop that doesn't have official support for it? Do you guys think I will have any issues with drivers (see this link for my drivers). Furthermore, can any of you guys give me some advice during installation or setup of Ubuntu? Remember, I've never used a Linux machine for over four total hours. Is there a big learning curve? Please, any constructive advice would be welcome :) .

    Oh, and also, how is the performance of Ubuntu? I only ran it from the live CD, so I didn't get a chance to see the full picture.
     
  2. chronomatic

    chronomatic Registered Member

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    Go for it. There is absolutely no reason to run Vista (as opposed to Linux) on a laptop. Linux can do everything Vista can and do it better while being more secure and less resource hungry.

    Don't worry, I had zero UNIX knowledge when I started using Linux full time about a year and a half ago. I had used Red Hat back in like 2000 but only used it for a few days because I could not get my dial-up modem working. Now I feel I am decently proficient in the basics of Linux and the command line. So, it just takes a little reading, practice and experience. The nice thing about Ubuntu is that it is newb friendly and just about everything can be done from the GUI.

    If the LiveCD is detecting your hardware, then you can feel pretty confident that it will work and install seamlessly. I say go for it (just back up any important data first).

    Those Vista stickers are there just for marketing hype. All that matters in reality is that there are Linux drivers for the hardware you do have. If there are (and it seems there are based on the LiveCD experience) then it will work just fine. I have a Microsoft keyboard and it works just as well in Linux.

    Well, no laptop or desktop for that matter is going to have "official support" for anything but Windows (unless you have a rare laptop that shipped with Ubuntu). That doesn't stop millions of us from using Linux everyday on our "Windows optimized" machines.

    As for advice on install, yeah I can give you some (thought it might be easier to ignore my advice and just let Ubuntu install in the default manner). But, I like to have separate partitions for various purposes. For instance, a good setup for a desktop or laptop personal machine is:

    /boot (100 MB)
    / (about 1/10th of your HD size)
    swap (size of RAM)
    /home (all the rest of the space)

    The Ubuntu default will not create a /boot or /home partition. You don't have to do this and isn't necessary for getting a working install, but it has the advantage of making your install more "modular" and allowing you to keep your /home files even if you reinstall. What I mean is that if you make different partitions for different directories, then they are physically separated from one another which is good for several reasons: A) security B) the ability to keep data intact on one partition when another partition gets corrupted, etc.

    Secondly, when you get to the step in the install process where it wants to partition the disk, then click on manual install. This will allow you to select the ext4 file system. It is recommended you use ext4 because it increases boot times and other disk intensive activities by a good margin over the older ext3. If you don't want to jump into all these partitions I outlined above, then just make a "/" partition (ext4) and a swap partition.

    With ext4 as the file system, it is pretty stellar.

    One other point of advice: Linux is not like Windows in many ways. Most Linux distros have what are called package repositories. This means that any software you want to install after you get up and running, you can install it from your distro's repositories. In Ubuntu, you open up Synaptic package manager and just search for what software you want (there are over 20,000 packages) and then click on install and you're done. I mention this because a lot of Linux newbs are constantly asking how to compile source code for package X that they downloaded from website Y. Only in very RARE cases should you need to compile software on your own. So, get the Windows notion of "I need to go to the Winamp website to download and install it so I can have a music player." It doesn't work this way in Linux. Again, just open your package manager and search for music players, and a dozen will pop up ready to be downloaded and installed directly from ubuntu's servers.

    Also, Linux has a filesystem and file permissions structure far different from Windows. In my opinion, the UNIX file system is much more intuitive and simple than Windows, while also providing for better security (due to the built-in DAC).
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2009
  3. Arup

    Arup Guest

    Go for it, Ubuntu works out of the box and if you need minor tweaks we are all here for you and Ubuntu is the most supported Linux distro on the net, just type Ubuntu and you will see the reason why.
     
  4. Longboard

    Longboard Registered Member

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    If the worst happens, and it doesn't work for you: you can always go back :)
    Back up all your files on an external thumb drive or USB HD.
    Make an image for recovery/reinstall if required.

    Ubuntu can be set up to read from NTFS if required and has no issues with FAT32 which is on most thumb drives.
    If the live Cd picked up your network, screen res, peripherals and key board you are more than likely good to go. MAke sure any USB peripherals can be seen.
    Check for printer drivers/printer compatibility if you need them.

    Heh, by now you prolly realise that you will need "much less" in terms of space and 'stuff' to run Ubuntu and open source apps ( particularly security utilities: third party apps etc )

    This might be a helpful read for you:
    http://www.howtoforge.com/the-perfect-desktop-ubuntu-9.04
    Very comprehensive.

    After some uncertainty I have installed 9.04 with no problems on a winbox desktopand used the above guide as a template: no issues, took about 40 minutes from CD boot to running system !!.
    Working well here.

    If you do get stuck and really need MS/Win utilities: Wine.

    Despite not a large *nix user base here there are a couple of really experienced users who like to help, and then there is a www community to help if you want.
    Good Luck.
    Looks like you have already done some ground work: With a good recovery image/data backup if needed you will be good to launch.
    :thumb:
     
  5. Rain_Train

    Rain_Train Registered Member

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    Thanks everyone, I appreciate your replies :) . Yes, I am definitely going to back up my files before I attempt this, so no worries there ;) !
    Yes, when I ran Ubuntu from the live CD, it was very slick and easy to use... the GUI, that is :D . So that brings me to my first question: about how often do you have to use the command-line? I have no problem with learning (after all, installing and using Ubuntu will be a learning experience for me), but it's nice to know ahead of time.

    Obviously, performance is my #1 concern (hence I'm ditching Vista; it crashed, and boot-up was slow). So my second question is this: does Ubuntu, by default (i.e. automatic installation) use the ext4 file system, or does it use the ext3? If it uses ext3 by default, then I will have to partition my hard drive in order to get the ext4 file system (i.e. manual/advanced installation)?

    Right, that's why I chose Ubuntu :) . I see in your signature you're using Ubuntu, too. What do you think are some pros and cons about it?

    Ack, that's something I forgot to check :gack: . I use a Lexmark wireless printer, so I'll have to see if the software (you have to install software with a disc) runs on Ubuntu, or a workaround of sorts. Thanks for the heads-up.

    I used the software repository (Synaptic something, I forgot exactly what it was called) when I booted from the live CD, and I was very impressed. I managed to install VLC media player 0.99 on my VAIO, and it worked without a hitch :thumb: . Thanks for the link, too; I'll have to do some digging into the Linux world of software, so this will help me on my way!
     
  6. chronomatic

    chronomatic Registered Member

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    Rain_Train, to answer your question about partitioning: yes Ubuntu uses the older ext3 by default. So in order to get ext4, you have to click on manual partitioning. As I said, all you need is two partitions:

    / ext4
    swap (double the size of RAM for a laptop)

    You can add more partitions, but if you're a newb it might confuse you, so go with the simple install first.
     
  7. Longboard

    Longboard Registered Member

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    Oh yes: Dual Booting...

    If you have the space on HD:
    ( need for arguments sake 8-10g to do a nice Ubuntu install, probably less in fact )
    You can of course ( after making back-ups ;) jic)
    Install Ubuntu directly to your system ( not exactly sure re Vaios and boot tools ) the GRUB utility (grand unified boot loader ) will see Vista and give you a boot option list: : Ie "dual Boot"
    So can keep Vista while on learning curve.
    Ubuntu Installer might be able to manage the disc space automagically and should do all the partitioning for you if you have free space on the disc.
    http://apcmag.com/how_to_dualboot_vista_with_linux_vista_installed_first.htm
    Good guide there, with pictures :) read the comments for some issues

    ( easy google search: http://www.google.com/search?btnG=Google Search&q=dual boot Vista and ubuntu )

    If the Ubuntu live Cd cannot organise the HD by itself -Vista seems to create problems there or there are any problems with the disc manager in Vista- then create some free space on the disc; clean-up the disc, system restore any junk lying around, defrag etc, then create space for the Ubuntu install, with either Vista "Shrink " as per the guide above or .... read this:

    Gparted is an excellent tool: can also be used on a stand alone CD ;
    http://distrowatch.com/table.php?distribution=gparted
    D'l the .iso, burn and boot. Easy GUI. Safe and effective.
    http://www.dedoimedo.com/computers/gparted.html

    LOL: option overload :D
    You;ll be a pro in no time. :D
    Looks complex and overwhelming, but not.
    from what you have already posted, your learning curve will not be too steep.

    PS when you have "made the change" just wipe the Vista partitions and expand the Ubuntu to fill the space.

    PPS
    You will find using the CLI is easy enough when you need it. Google is your friend !!
    I am at the lower ( bottomest) rank of expertise here :blink: and have done ok so far. Ubuntu is set-up to be the easiest end-user experience wrt Linux and really, the CLI is not a big issue at first: as you get more interested then you will move ahead.
    How much do you CLI in Vista ;)
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2009
  8. Arup

    Arup Guest

    Rain Train, I have added repos from Transmission, Banshee, aMule and VLC as well as latest xorg from ppa. All this keeps my Ubuntu Jaunty updated automatically. Currently I have VLC 1 alpha and it runs quite nice.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 28, 2009
  9. clansman77

    clansman77 Registered Member

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    go for it rain train.remember you have to read a lot online to tacle that initial learning curve.may be for the first 2 weeks it will be little difficult.but if you manage to survive the first 2 weeks you will end up using linux forever.remember Perseverence is the key.almost any problems that you encounter can be tackled by reading online.ubuntu forums are a wealth of knowledge and many problems that you encounter must have already posted by someone else...
     
  10. Longboard

    Longboard Registered Member

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  11. Ocky

    Ocky Registered Member

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    Try to replace the sticker with this one and you should be OK.. :D
     

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  12. Longboard

    Longboard Registered Member

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    Aagghh: so sorry, forgot WUBI
    http://wubi-installer.org/
    This is a very coool option to try: does not give absolutely native performance but does everything very well.
    Tried it here on XP and liked it.
    Worked just as advertised: easy install, full uninstall.

    LOL, I think that is me out ...
     
  13. Rain_Train

    Rain_Train Registered Member

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    Thanks for the replies, guys :) . I have two questions: (1) Is there a CTRL-ALT-DELETE command (i.e. kill switch) on Ubuntu? Unfortunately, I'm so used to doing it in Windows, so is there a similar thing on Ubuntu? And (2), where can I get some good Ubuntu themes; not just wallpaper, but themes that change the look of windows and the taskbar.

    Longboard, I'm not interested in dual-booting with anything. I know you said I can wipe Vista after I install Ubuntu, but what if I wipe it before? Also, can GParted help me create partitions using the ext4 file system? I want to do what chronomatic said -- install two partitions and use ext4 -- but I might mess up on the partitioning, especially since I've never install Ubuntu before and don't know the installation GUI and advanced options. Hell, I might not be able to even find where I type in /ext4, I'm that new to this. Whatever the case, I'd really like to get everything right the first time, instead of using software to try to go back and fix my OS installation, where I risk screwing something up again.

    And Ocky, I like that sticker :D . You're right, I probably should replace that with my Vista sticker.
     
  14. chronomatic

    chronomatic Registered Member

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    Ctrl-Alt-Delete also acts as a kill switch on Linux.

    Ctrl-Alt-Backspace will act as a way to kill the X server (your GUI desktop). This is often helpful to keep from having to reboot the machine if a desktop app goes haywire.

    This site should have everything you need for customizing the appearance of the desktop.

    During the install process you will be asked to partition. In order to use ext4 you must select the manual partition option. May I ask how big is the hard drive you plan on installing to?
     
  15. Longboard

    Longboard Registered Member

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    Not quite yet, but: Parted magic is good to go:
    http://partedmagic.com/
    Also a bootable CD with good gui.

    If you are going to do a complete fresh install you will of course be wiping your Vista OS and will not neccessarily use any boot/partition managers.

    I have not gone the ext4 route yet.

    I'm just a home user with a small bizness.
    After reading around and doing the "live Cd experience", I have tried all the options as listed above and been using and experimenting in VMWare as well initially to run dual systems as I need some speciifc apps for my business that do not run in Linux.
    Mostly, except for the business and teaching the tinlids, I spend my time in Linux now.

    From your postings you likely know more than me already :)
    I'm not an expert, just gained some experience over the last few months and still a learner driver.
    I'm happy to defer to more experienced guides; chronomatic looks good to go. :)
    :thumb:
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2009
  16. Rain_Train

    Rain_Train Registered Member

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    Thanks for the link, I bookmarked it.

    My hard drive is 250 GB.

    Alright, thanks. I'll try the manual partition of Ubuntu first, and if I screw something up there, I'll go back and use this to change to ext4.
     
  17. Arup

    Arup Guest

    If you are partitioning with gparted using Live CD, / denotes the boot partition, you can select the entire drive minus space for swap, usually the amount for swap would be twice of your installed RAM size, for 4GB usually Ubuntu selects around 12GB of space so go by that formula and you are all set for ext4 experience.
     
  18. Rain_Train

    Rain_Train Registered Member

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    Okay, so let me get this straight. I have a 250 GB hard drive, so:

    • Boot Partition: 'X' GB (how big is the boot partition?)
    • Swap: You said 12 GB for swap. What exactly is swap? Is it like the Paging file on Windows?
    So that leaves me with at most 238 GB free (250 GB - 12 GB = 238 GB). What will happen to all this extra space?

    Also, I've been Google searching some Linux info, and the word "root" has come up. I know what a root user is (it's like Administrator on Windows), but is it also a term for a portion of the drive?
     
  19. AKAJohnDoe

    AKAJohnDoe Registered Member

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    I had Ubuntu 8.04 installed, updated to 8.10 in order to update to 9.04. Seems OK to me. Although I have configured multiple-boot systems in the past, I used an older laptop for Linux, as it seemed logical that I might want to use both simultaneously, which, of course, is an impossibility in a dual-boot configuration.
     
  20. Kerodo

    Kerodo Registered Member

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    Probably you'd just need about 10 gigs for '/' (root partition), another 8 to 10 for swap partition, and then the rest of the HD you can allocate to /home, for data, config, settings, what ever else you have.
     
  21. Arup

    Arup Guest

    You can use that entire 238GB as / or as I do, make it smaller to around 20GB max and use the format the rest as a separate data folder. That way if you reinstall in future, you don't have to move your data. Root is like admin in Windows, in Ubuntu you are never root unless you type sudo in terminal. For negotiating among folders like in windows you can install nautilus-gksu, this puts a tab of open as admin on all folders including the ones needing root access.
     
  22. Longboard

    Longboard Registered Member

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    Yah
    Sorry for continually sticking my nose in..
    @Rain Train: the rationale behind dual boot, VMs or wubi is "having the option" for double system or simultaneous system ( to keep Vista or XP) while on learning curve and making application 'transfers' to linux tools.

    As for manual partition: either get very explicit instructions re root, home and swap or let Ubuntu installer do it for you for first time.
    Then later get more complex arrangement.

    A simple guide:
    On your 250G HD there is PLENTY of room. :eek:
    For arguments sake
    Swap: 4G
    Root: 25G ..because you really want too ;) ...if you are going to have heaps of videos and music and apps and not use home partition, can be as big as you want...but typically home might be the same or less than root.

    Sizes can be changed later if you are running out of room.

    Look here for comprehensive guided install and actual partitioning sizes
    http://www.dedoimedo.com/computers/ubuntu-9-4.html

    Dont forget that there are many ways to go and remember I am pond-scum level end user and have used lots of "screenshot guides" to date; so dont take my stumbling advices as a given.
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2009
  23. Rain_Train

    Rain_Train Registered Member

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    Please, stick your nose in all you want :D . Your input is very much appreciated.

    Okay, so if I want to install additional software, can I do it on the home partition, or do I have to use the root partition? I ask this because I'd like for the root partition to only contain my boot files.

    The setup I'm looking at is this:
    • Swap: 6 GB (I have 3 GB of RAM)
    • Root: 8 GB (or the bare minimum, just for the boot files)
    • Home: 'X' (the remaining space)
    I changed my mind and have decided to keep Vista on a separate partition just as a safety precaution for now. I will later be able to go back and remove Vista and use the remaining space for Ubuntu's home partition, correct?

    I certainly don't think you're at the "pond-scum" level, as you have already shown you know more than I do about Ubuntu. Don't worry; I'm doing plenty of research on my end, but hey, the more advice, the better :thumb: .
     
  24. Longboard

    Longboard Registered Member

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    I could be wrong, but that is not the function of /home
    This is a nice explanation of a basic partition layout and explanations of the initial set-up.
    http://www.control-escape.com/linux/lx-partition.html

    That 8g is the whole OS. :)
    The home file is sort of an accessory -that might fire up some users- , but can be very important for a reinstall.
    Again fwiw, make the (/) partition 20G and home say 5G for starters and in view of your HD, there will be plenty of space left over if/when you need it.
    That will be plenty for testing Ubuntu.
    Obviously some distros have very large installs and may need bigger partitions eg Sabayon = 4g download alone.
    If you are going to keep big files, movies, spreadsheets, music, or work with them, then make the root and home bigger as needed or use external storage or optical storage.
    Just like Windows ( lol ducks and runs for cover )

    FWIW, don't over complicate stuff at first ( LOL in fact, never ;) )

    Each set-up needs consideration of individual requirements obviously.
    There are more expert users here who can offer more sophisticated advice re set-ups.
    I'm about at my limit for 'useful' advice.

    I run a full install of many distros in VMs with 10-15G root partitions and 1G RAM and they work great.
    On my HD installs I use about the same; but, my current needs are simple and I dont do a lot of video or music.
    I keep most non-active docs etc archived on ext USBs
    HTH
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2009
  25. Mrkvonic

    Mrkvonic Linux Systems Expert

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    Hello,

    A few things:

    Install size - if you intend to install lots of programs in the future, then you may want to consider a larger / partition. You can go with as little as 2GB for some distros, though. But if you're installing stuff like Java, Vuze, Miro, MythTV, LyX, Kile, and other heavier utilities, which each weigh some 200+MB, then you'll need more space.

    You have a big disk, then I recommend 20GB to be on the safe side.

    Swap - with lots of RAM, you're most likely never going to use, so no need to go head over heels. If you're running really heavy apps, then some swap might be ok, but with 3GB RAM, you can easily use just 3GB RAM. Still, space is not a restriction, you can go wild.

    The rest you can use any way you want.

    You can create several partitions and mount them with different mountpoints, no need for just /home.

    You can have /music, /data, /backups, etc, this makes imaging and backup easier.

    /home is essentially anything you use + configuration files for various programs. Useful for keeping apart, because if you reinstall, you don't lose data.

    Mrk
     
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