Who are ubuntu?

So I did it.  I installed Linux on a PC.  Granted it wasn’t my PC but I did it!  I installed it on a PC I was setting up for a friend.  It was an older box and didn’t have a Windows XP licence with it.  All he wants it to do is run a few displays and I figured Ubuntu should be able to do that.

For those of you who don’t have a clue what I am talking Linux is an operating system (Like Windows or Mac OX) and Ubuntu is the flavor.  It is touted as the most user friendly version of Linux.

The install went really well.  You have to go to the Ubuntu website and download a CD image (called an ISO).  You then take that disk image and burn it to a CD.  I used a free, open source program called InfraRecorder.  The only thing I had to do was set the program to allow overburn.  Once I had the CD I dropped it into the CD drive on the machine.

I won’t go through all the details but the install went very smoothly and the operating system runs well on the old hardware.  Ubuntu automatically updated the first time I logged into it and much to my delight the entire update process took about 30 minutes whereas it took me 2 evening to finishing updating a new Windows XP machine.

So far Ubuntu has been very easy to use.  Anyone who has played around a little bit with computers should be able to find what they need.  The nice thing about this OS is it comes with everything you need.  It has a word processor, web browser, power point (like) program, spreadsheet, photo viewing and photo editing software, audio software and more.  All of these come with the OS and they are all free!

So far I have been very impressed and I am excited to keep playing with it.

Roadblocks

Well my attempt at installing Linux hit a bit of a snag the other night. Two things conspired to stop me; bad CDs and my laziness. I found some CDs in the bottom of our laptop bag. There were a few scratches on them but they were minor and I thought they might work. So I grabbed them and headed downstairs to start burning them. I wanted to make sure everything worked well so I turned on ‘check for errors after burn.’ This option is used to make sure that every piece of data you told the computer to put on the CD gets there. This isn’t really key if you are just whipping off an audio CD as the missing information will most likely just show up as a little blip in a song. When installing an operating system however, that missing data could be part of the core of the system and cause a problem in the middle of the installation. If an operating system installation fails halfway though the installation, it means you have to start the hour (or longer) process all over again.

So I try to burn one CD and the error check fails. So I take another CD and this time I shine it up using my t-shirt (being careful to avoid the spaghetti stains I am sure where there after dinner) and dropped it into the tray. This one gets almost to the end and fails again. This explains the first reason I did not start the project.

The next obstacle was my laziness. I had a spindle of brand new CDs. The problem is that they were all the way back up stairs. This would mean I would have to un-cuddle my wife, get off the couch, go all the way up one flight of stairs and come back down to try again. As I am sure you can agree that it was a big inconvenience. Anyway the point I am trying to make is that I really have little to post about.  I have had dinner provided for me the past few nights (so no recipes to post) and have made no progress in my project. Please feel free to leave comment about what you didn’t get around to doing.

A dark and scary road

I have started down the long and scary road of installing Linux.  I have downloaded a disk image (ISO) of a version of Linux called Ubuntu.  This is supposed to be the easiest version to work with.  I am excited to use a free operating system. 

I have always wanted to run Linux on my server.  It is generally regarded as the best operating system (O/S) for running servers.  I have also noted that many of the applications I want to install on my server are better supported in Linux.  When I was having issues installing MySQL and PHP, I could find a lot more help for Linux systems then I could for Windows.  This will also be a new challenge.  I have been trying to challenge myself technically lately.  I set up a tester blog on my home server and felt a real sense of accomplishment when I was able to get it up and running.

 I am also excited about using all free (or mostly free) software.  It really isn’t hard most of the time to download and install ‘cracked’ versions of software but there are risks.  Many cracked software carry viruses and you normally have to surf to sites full of porn ads to get to what you want.  I like the cooperative mentality that follows free or open source software.  You get a sense like they are saying, ‘Come in, have a drink, and let me show you step by step how to make it if you want to.’

 I will keep people up to date on my progress.  I will try to report on it from two standpoints: how well it works as a desktop operating system (ie how well it replaces windows) and how it works as a server.

 Just as a side note the factor pushing me over the edge was a free eBook I found on one of my favourite websites http://www.redflagdeals.com.  You can find the book here http://www.ubuntupocketguide.com/download.htm.  It made everything seem so simple.  We shall see…