Posts Tagged 'Feisty Fawn'

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 🙂

Extremely useful panel plugin: Clipman

If you do not know what a clipboard or copy/paste is, be sure to check the Wikipedia article.

Xfce has many useful panel plugins. One which I never even knew existed, let alone thought of adding to my panel, was the “Clipboard Manager” aptly named Clipman.

This was until I learnt that it would solve one slight annoyance: something you copy to your clipboard will get lost when you close the window you copied it from. While I was already quite content when I heard that Clipman could fix this, I quickly learnt it has many more benefits which woke up the power user inside me.

One example: did you ever copy something that you wanted to paste elsewhere after you had finished whatever it was that you were doing? If you did then you probably have also experienced that uneasy feeling of having to be constantly aware not to copy anything else in order to preserve the item currently on your clipboard. Well, you can say goodbye to that feeling now, because with Clipman, you can switch back and forth between previously copied items with the smallest effort imaginable.

And as if that weren’t enough, you can also have Clipman save your selections. No more efforts to press Ctrl+C (or even worse: right-click and select Copy!), a measly selection is enough! Oh, by the way, did I mention the small but very convenient ability to paste with a single click on your middle mouse button that is present in every Linux distribution by default?

So, here I am, having convinced you of the sheer greatness of the Clipman Xfce Panel plugin, but I still haven’t told you how to add it to your panel. Well, it’s simple really, as it is already installed by default in Xubuntu. You just right click the panel, click Add New Item, select Clipman and press Add. You can then click the Clipman icon and browse through a handy list of clipboard items previously copied, with the current one highlighted in bold. If you want to configure it, right click the Clipman icon and select Properties. Some of the configuration options include whether you want Clipman to remember selections, how many history items it should remember and whether you want to display line numbers. Have fun with this simple but amazingly convenient plugin!

Note: An alternative for Gnome is Glipper, the KDE alternative, with its highly original name, is Klipper, which doesn’t seem to have a website.

Access to the proprietary world

Who doesn’t like the idea of open source, of sharing, and that every one who is able to can change software to his/her likings and share the changes with the rest of the free software world? Unfortunately, it takes a big deal of self-restraint to only use completely liberated software. Who can resist the attraction of shiny animations on websites (Flash), or those of playing music on your iPod (which does not support any of the free formats that are superior in so many ways)?

Unfortunately, due to a lot of legal restrictions, Xubuntu is unable to add support for these restricted formats to a default installation. Luckily, since Xubuntu Feisty (7.04) it is easier than ever to enable, using Applications->System->Add/Remove.... With just a few clicks, you can install the package “Ubuntu Restricted Extras”. So, I open up Add/Remove… and search for “Restricted Extras”…

Searching for "Restricted Extras" - where is it?

Not found?! Oh, wait…

To broaden your search, choose ‘Show all Open Source applications’ or ‘Show all available’ applications.

So, in the top right-hand corner, I select “All available applications” and, what a surprise, there it is!

Searching for "Restricted Extras" - there it is!

Cliking the checkbox in front of “Ubuntu restricted extras” I get the following pop-up:

This should be "Enable additional repositories?"

Hmm… If you are a person (as in: not a company) then it should be legal for you to install these packages. I am a person, so I click “Install”.
However, the purpose of this window isn’t entirely clear. Indeed, the button said “Install”, but it actually meant “Enable”, as in “enable extra repositories” (i.e. locations to download software from). So, if you were thinking the package would now be installed: you’re wrong. In fact, the checkbox in front of “Ubuntu restricted extras” is still unchecked. Check it now, then click OK. You will be asked if you are sure, click “Apply”. The packages will then finally be installed.

There you have it! You can now play your music and watch YouTube (and yes, you can use Gnash for that, but more likely than not situations will occur where you need a version of Flash later than seven). You can use Java (which will be open sourced and thus can be included in future releases of Xubuntu) and websites will now be displayed in the fonts their authors wanted them to be displayed in! Enjoy!

Note: the next version of Xubuntu, Gutsy Gibbon, will introduce Xubuntu Restricted Extras, which will install packages more appropriate for Xubuntu.


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