Tag Archives: ubuntu

The perfect Ubuntu 8.04 setup

The HowToForge site have released a step by step tutorial for the perfect Ubuntu 8.04 desktop setup. I’ve used their tutorials extensively over the last few years, and this one is just as good as the others and includes tips that you wouldn’t normally think of when installing Ubuntu.

The Perfect Desktop – Ubuntu 8.04 LTS (Hardy Heron)

This document describes step by step how to set up a Ubuntu 8.04 LTS (Hardy Heron) desktop. The result is a fast, secure and extendable system that provides all you need for daily work and entertainment.

Now I just need to work out how to remove Firefox 3 beta, and install Firefox 2…

Installing Ubuntu 8.04 Server on Virtual PC 2007

Virtual PC is infamous for it’s inability to support Linux installations. There are always hacks required to get through the installation, but once installed your Linux machine should work fine.

So I wasn’t completely surprised when I ran into issues while trying to install the latest server version of Ubuntu 8.04. A quick Google search lead me to find out (via a comment left in a blog post) that to get the installation working you need to do the following:

  • Boot off the CD (ISO) and then choose your language
  • Press F6 on the next screen and you’ll see a long string of text near the bottom of the screen.
  • Type the following before the trailing dashes: noapic nolapic vga=791
  • Press enter and continue the installation.

ubuntu-server

So far so good.

And remember, that Ubuntu 8.04 is a LTS (long term support) version, which means that Ubuntu will provide support and updates for 5 years for the server version.

Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron – First impressions

I’ve been following Ubuntu since it’s inception in 2005 with Warty Warthog which was labelled 4.10. Each year since then they’ve released two versions a year – one in April and one in October – and this is where the version number comes from. For example, the 8 in 8.04 is from the year 2008, and the 04 is the fourth month of the year.

Each release has been getting better, and especially the last version (7.10) which I thought was a definite contender. So Ubuntu 8.04 was released today and I’ve just finished ‘installing’ it and giving it a very quick test.

I put ‘installing’ in quotes, because if you’re running Windows, Ubuntu have created an impressive installation called Wubi. This allows you to install it on your Windows computer without having to make any changes to the disk partitions. They do this by creating a folder called Ubuntu on either your C or D drive and install all the necessary files in this folder. Then, with a simple modification to your boot options, when you first turn on your computer you can choose between Windows or Ubuntu. Here’s a screenshot of the Wubi installation manager:

Wubi installation manager

Once Wubi finished installing, I rebooted choosing the newly added Ubuntu option. Ubuntu loaded up quickly and I was presented with a login box. I had already set up the first user account in the Wubi installation manager as you can see in the installation window above. After logging, I was impressed to see that my screen resolution was set to the correct size, sound was working, and a network icon in the top menu bar indicated that there were available wireless networks available. I selected my wireless network, enter the secure key and connected successfully.

Wow.

What just happened there isn’t possible with any other operating system on my notebook. Not Windows XP, Vista or any other flavour of Linux that I’ve tested. The key hardware was detected automatically and I didn’t have to install any additional drivers or software to get up and running. That’s impressive – and all that without needing to repartition or reformat my disks.

So once again I’ve been impressed with Ubuntu, but there was one major problem – and this was a show-stopper for me. Ubuntu have always prided themselves on providing the absolute latest software and sometimes on the bleeding edge too. So I wasn’t completely surprised that they included Firefox 3.0, but I also wasn’t happy as it’s still in beta and in my opinion still has a way to go before being complete. This becomes obvious when trying to install addons, even installing the Adobe Flash plugin through up an error after just browsing for a few minutes.

For me, my internet browser is the most important tool on my computer, and I absolutely need it to be as stable as possible. That’s why I never run beta versions of Firefox as my default browser. So I tried to install Firefox 2 by using the add/remove programs applet but I couldn’t find anything apart from the version that was installed.

I’m sure that I could have installed Firefox 2 by downloading it directly from Mozilla but it just annoyed me that they would think that a beta version of Firefox would be fine for the typical home user.

Ubuntu 7.10 is a real contender

While I was away on holiday, Ubuntu released the latest version of their desktop operating system: Ubuntu 7.10. I had last tried the 7.4 release on my new notebook without much luck as the hardware was a lot newer than the operating system.

I wasn’t too hopeful of having much luck installing 7.10 either on my HP 6910p notebook, but a funny thing happened – it just worked!

I downloaded the 64 bit version and booted up the Live CD, preparing myself for disappointment, but after a short while the desktop appeared with a nice little startup sound (wow – the sound card works!)

The resolution of the screen wasn’t perfect though as it should have been set to 1440×900 but a quick look in the resolution settings showed that it had maxed out at 1152×864 and I couldn’t set it any higher. I haven’t used Ubuntu that much but I looked in the System menu and found a hardware devices icon which looked like it may be able to help. Sure enough, my graphics card had been detected but couldn’t install the drivers as they were proprietary, and this flies in the face of the Ubuntu principals. However, a simple check box allows you to give Ubuntu permission to install the evil drivers. A reboot is supposed to be required but as I was just running the Live CD, I would have been reset back to default so I just restarted the X server by using the Ctrl+Alt+Backspace command.

Hey presto – I had native resolution!

But what about networking? Especially wireless networking – something I’ve never had any success with in Linux. I noticed a networking icon flashing in the top task bar (or what ever it’s called) and clicking on this brought up a list of wireless networks that had been detected. I selected my home wireless network, entered my WPA password and I was connected – simple as that.

This was the first time that I had sound, video and networking all working out of the box (almost) in Linux.

During this whole process my iPod had been connected through the USB cable and it showed up on my desktop with an iPod icon and the correct name. Wondering if I would be able to access the songs on it, I looked in the Applications menu and ran the Rhythmbox audio player. Surprisingly, the iPod shows up as a device in the left had side just like in iTunes – so you can browse through all the songs or the playlists and play them just as you would in iTunes.

However, there is one catch – Ubuntu doesn’t include any proprietary audio formats either, so you need to install the restricted Ubuntu extras package through the add/remove programs applet. This also installs additional fonts, Sun Java, and lots of audio and video codecs. Once installed you can plays music from your iPod through Rhythmbox!

All of the above was done using the Live CD with no reboots and without affecting the Windows installation on my notebook. I’m going to install Ubuntu properly soon so that I can also test out the new Compiz bits which make your desktop come alive with nifty and useful 3D effects. But so far I’m really impressed with Ubuntu’s latest release and it’s becoming a real contender in the desktop operating system market.