An Overview of the Installation Process

The DVD-ROM disc supplied with this book is double-sided. This means it’s like a vinyl LP record. To play Side A, simply insert the disc with the Side A label topmost. To play Side B, insert the disc with the Side B label topmost.

Side A contains the release version of Ubuntu on which this book is based, 11.04, code-named Natty Narwhal. This is the most recent version of Ubuntu at the time of writing. Side B contains the following:

• ISO image files of the 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Ubuntu 11.04, which you can burn to a blank CD-R/RW disc by following the instructions in Appendix D. This is included in case you want to give copies of Ubuntu to your friends, or if you want to try the Wubi Windows installer (see the “Installing Ubuntu Inside Windows” sidebar), which isn’t included with the DVD version of Ubuntu 11.04 for technical reasons.

• The 32-bit “Alternate Install” version of Ubuntu 11.04, which can be useful for setting up automated deployments, upgrading from older installations without network access, LVM and/or RAID partitioning, and installing on systems with less than about 256MB of RAM.

• The 11.04 (Natty Narwhal) releases of Kubuntu and Xubuntu, which provide alternative Desktop environments if Ubuntu’s default Desktop environment, GNOME, does not suit your taste, and Edubuntu, which provides a layer of educational content on top of the standard Ubuntu installation. For more details on these versions of Ubuntu, see Appendix D.

• An image of the Ubuntu Netbook Edition, which presents a simplified interface which its developers feel is more suited to the smaller screens found on Netbooks.

If you want to try one of the installers on Side B of the DVD, you will first need to burn it onto a CD (or DVD, in the case of the Edubuntu image). This procedure is discussed in Appendix D. However, most readers will want to install the default version of Ubuntu. So to start things rolling, insert Side A into the DVD-ROM drive and boot your computer. You might have to set your BIOS to boot from DVD, as explained in stage 2 of the installation guide in this article.

If you’ve ever installed Windows from scratch on a computer, you might be used to working with the Windows installation program. This automatically appears when you boot from a Windows CD or DVD or run the setup.exe program from the Desktop of a Windows version that you want to upgrade, and it guides you through installing Windows onto your hard disk.

Ubuntu is a little different. After you’ve booted from the DVD-ROM, a menu will appear. You can choose the Install Ubuntu option, and the DVD will continue booting to a graphical installer. Alternatively, you can choose the Try Ubuntu option. This allows you to run Ubuntu from the DVD- ROM, effectively trying it out without making any changes to your computer.

Using Ubuntu without installing it to the hard disk is referred to as running in live distro mode. Although this is a great way to take a sneak peak at what Ubuntu offers, there are a few things to be aware of, as discussed in the sidebar titled “Running in Live Distro Mode.”

To install Ubuntu on your computer, simply select the Install Ubuntu option from the Welcome window. This will run the dedicated installation program, which will work through a few stages to get Ubuntu on your computer’s hard disk. During the installation stages, you’ll be asked a handful of essential questions and will be taken through the process of creating space on your computer for the new OS. After this, Ubuntu is installed onto your hard disk.

At the end of the procedure, your PC will boot straight into the Ubuntu login screen, and you’re set to go. There’s no need to mess around configuring hardware, because for almost everything, that’s done automatically. Neat, eh?