Install Linux Ubuntu
In the last part of our Linux article series, we introduced this operating system and explained why it is important to be able to work with it at least at a basic level. Today’s part is about installing Linux Ubuntu and choosing a distribution, testing a live version and, finally, installing a complete system on a hard drive.
What is Ubuntu?
We already know that the term Linux refers to the entire family of operating systems and that there are many specific Linux distributions. In our series of articles, we will be using the Ubuntu distribution.
Ubuntu is based on Debian, which mostly benefits from using the Debian packaging system to install applications on it. It is a very popular Linux, primarily aimed at beginners and simple, so it’s really easy to use and you don’t need a thick tutorial.
As an illustration, note that $ 10 million was invested in the founding of the Ubuntu Foundation. So this distribution is really serious, and it’s not just another small piece in the puzzle (by the way, there are at least dozens of significant distributions, if we count them all, we get thousands, fragmentation is a flaw in the OpenSource model).
Another good news is that Ubuntu tries to be like Microsoft Windows from a user perspective and offers its own Unity user interface.
Developers understand that Windows is a working standard that people are used to and should be adhered to in their own interests. Ubuntu does not copy Windows, it just uses its principles.
Here you will find the toolbar, start menu, window docking, and other features you are used to. It’s worth mentioning that Microsoft itself was inspired by these features on other systems.
Ubuntu is released every 6 months and every 4th version is marked as LTS (Long Term Support). These versions are supported for 5 years, which is very nice in the dynamic Linux world.
Ubuntu also offers several official derivatives, such as a version of Kubuntu that uses the Unity KDE environment, or Lubuntu, where the environment is minimal and the system needs to run faster and with less power.
Another widely used distribution currently is Linux Mint, based on Ubuntu. However, we will stay with the source code and install the Ubuntu distribution.
First Steps to Install Linux Ubuntu
Linux tries very hard to gain access to workstations and therefore it was very easy for users to try it out. You don’t even need to install Linux, most distributions have a so-called live version, which is bootable Linux – it just runs from a flash drive or DVD.
You can work with the system without installing it, and when you remove the media, your computer will work as if you had never had Linux. This is a great opportunity to try different distributions and their versions. Several distributions also have a live version as an installation version, including Ubuntu.
The live version can also be useful for rescuing data from Windows or other Linux. Getting started with a live version is also a good idea to test your computer’s hardware compatibility with your new system.
Bootable Linux Ubuntu installation stick
Now let’s create a bootable USB stick with the current version of Ubuntu that we will boot the system from and then install it. The disk image can be downloaded as a corresponding .iso file from http://www.ubuntu.com. You can also burn the file to DVD, but since many computers no longer have an optical drive, we will install it from a flash drive.
Let’s prepare a USB flash drive with a size of at least 4 GB and clear it (if it contains unnecessary data). We will format the drive to the FAT32 file system – you can do this by right-clicking the drive and choosing the Format option. You can easily choose a quick format, however, be careful – make sure that you are formatting the flash drive and not another drive.
We now download the Unetbootin or Rufus application, which extracts the .iso file to our USB stick so that it can be downloaded. Launch the application, select the disk image option, select our .iso file and then select the letter of our flash drive. After confirmation, the application will prepare a disk for us.
Now you need to restart your computer and boot from your USB drive. Often times, the USB stick is not installed as the primary boot device, so you must install it in the BIOS setup utility or press the boot menu shortcut right after turning on the PC – usually F10 or F12. Select USB storage from the menu.
After booting from the disc, Ubuntu will offer you a trial version of the system without installation, or the installation itself. We choose the first option. After some download, you should be taken to the system desktop.
Now we are on a different path. For more serious stakeholders, I recommend purchasing another hard drive (smaller, cheaper) that you will be installing the system on. This way, you can unmount the Windows drive and experiment as much as you can without damaging Windows.
Of course, you can install Linux on a different logical drive, or directly on the Windows drive – Ubuntu will partition it for you and Windows will keep it. There is also the installation of the so-called GRUB, which is a bootloader that allows us to do what is called multibooting – choosing the operating system we want to boot after starting the computer.
This is the easiest way to get started with Linux, and you can return to Windows at any time. You can have as many systems in GRUB as you like.
Before we start the installation, please make a backup of your Windows data. They’ll stay with you, of course, but backing up is a good practice and you definitely have most of your documents in the cloud (like DropBox), and if not, you have a better moment to do it.
Now restart your computer, boot from the USB stick again and choose install. If we are connected to the Internet, then at the beginning of the installation we will check the download of updates and the installation of non-free formats. Libraries can be installed later, but it will be a little more difficult.
In the next step, we will choose to install Linux alongside Windows. Be careful not to select the replacement option here, as you will lose your data. Ubuntu lets you choose the drive you want to install it on. Here you can choose how much space the Ubuntu partition should take up.
It’s a good idea to put at least 20GB. More advanced disk partitioning is described – this step of the installation can be found in the official Ubuntu manual.
During installation, you will see a few more screens – such as time settings or keyboard layouts. Set your username and password on the last screen. You can choose to log in automatically without entering a password.
Read: Linux Ubuntu Basics – Lesson 3
The password is required when changing the system – for example, when installing new applications.
After a while Ubuntu will be installed and you will be ready for the next part of our Linux introduction as we get to know the new system.