Archive for November, 2007

Installing Xubuntu

When I installed Xubuntu 7.10 “Gutsy Gibbon“, I could not resist the urge to create a walkthrough for installing Xubuntu. It took me a while to write it up, but here it is. (Note: I have also written a review of Xubuntu 7.10)

Since Xubuntu uses the same installer as Ubuntu and Edubuntu, Ubiquity, this guide also applies to them, and Kubuntu’s installer is basically the same, so it also gives you an overview of what Kubuntu’s installation looks like. Also, the installer has not changed since the previous version, 7.04 “Feisty Fawn“, so it applies to that version too.

To start the installation, you just click the Install icon on the desktop once it is booted. However, I wanted to configure my internet connection first, because that way I would immediately be able to install language packs and whatnot. Note, though, that you can also complete the installation without internet connection.

In order to configure my wireless connection, I click the NetworkManager icon in the top right-hand side. It then pops up a list of detected wireless networks and has an entry listing my wired card.



Simply clicking the network I want to connect with, it prompts me for the passphrase. I can then click Login to Network and I am connected! It couldn’t be easier 🙂



Now that my network connection is all set, I can start Ubiquity (the installation application, remember?). The first screen allows you to select a language and links to Ubuntu’s release notes.



Clicking Forward brings us in the timezone selection screen, where we are presented with a map of the world.



Clicking the area on the map where you live zooms in the map making it easy to select your location.



Clicking Forward again presents us with a screen to select your keyboard layout. It includes many options, including many Dvorak ones (note to self: get to learn to type using Dvorak). An input field allows you to test the selected layout.



Yet again clicking Forward, a dialog box pops up telling the partitioner is being started.



When it has finished loading, you are presented with three partitioning options:

  1. Guided, resizing your main hard drive using the freed up space to install Xubuntu.
  2. Guided – use entire disk to wipe a whole hard drive and install Xubuntu on it.
  3. Manual



I opted for Manual.



The reason for me to select Manual was because I wanted a separate partition for /home, which allows me to keep all documents and settings for all user accounts were I to reinstall Xubuntu (i.e. when a new version is released). Adding the required root (/) and swap partition I ended up with a total of three partitions.



Then we need to provide Xubuntu with some user information for the first user account.



And finally, just before the actual installation will start, you are presented with an overview of everything you have selected so you can check it.



However, before you commence the installation, be sure to click the Advanced button in the bottom right-hand side. It allows you to set the location of the boot loader if you wish to, and enables you to opt in for the “Package usage survey”. If you check the checkbox, Xubuntu will send anonymous application usage data to a central Ubuntu server, so they can generate statistics about which applications are most popular. Not only does this enable the developers to improve the distribution in general, it also influences e.g. the ratings of applications you see in Add/Remove…



It will then start the installation, which will take a while.



Meanwhile, and this is an awesome feature, you can continue to use the system! You can browse the web using Firefox, heck, you can even install new applications for use during that session, all while the installation is progressing!



After a while you will be notified that the installation has finished, and that you should restart the computer to use it.



When you have restarted, with your internet connection configured, you will mostly be notified that updates are available.





I was also notified that I had the option to enable a restricted driver. This driver is not open source, but as I would like to try out Compiz Fusion (more on that in a later post) I wanted to install the driver.



Enabling the driver was very easy – just check the box and it will start the installation.



Once the installation completed, I was notified that I had to restart.



Clicking the notification gave me the option of deferring the restart to a later time, or to restart immediately.



That restart was the last restart I had to do since 🙂

All in all, Xubuntu’s installation process is a breeze. The partitioning part might be a bit scary (but hey, we’ve got Wubi if it’s too scary) but overall, it’s very easy and even comfortable. Being able to use the system while it is installing is a feature that blows away every other operating system I’m aware of, apart from other Linux distributions 🙂

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