Augustina's Technological Blog

Technology, Perl, Linux, and a Woman's perspective on the FOSS community

Installing Ubuntu for the First Time

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Given the ancient state of the computers I have to deal with at work, and my desire to become more proficient in Open Source technology (so that I can better serve clients on a very limited budget as well as the social activism aspect), I’ve decided to install Ubuntu Linux on both my home computer and my work computer. I will be using it for both general work productivity (spreadsheets/reports/system admin) and for home as a desktop (gaming, graphics, general stuff). I’ll be recording my experiences in this blog – problems I experience and how I was able to fix them.

Work installation
At my current job, I administer FileMaker server and a web server. I use Perl to generate scripts to clean the data and generate reports. While I would like to migrate the whole system over to a MySQL/Perl solution, I don’t know the feasability of that, so right now I’m just setting up replication so that I can at least run my reports against MySQL and move the “data cleaning” stuff out of my reporting scripts. Other tasks involve accessing Exchange email and using Excel-compatible spreadsheets and calculations (as well as general administrative duties on the servers). I will detail the server installations in another post.

Hardware
Dell Optiplex (not sure of the model), P4, onboard intel 945 graphics card. (I’ll have to post the specs when I’m at work).

b>Home installation
This system will be used initially as an Ubuntu “tutorial” system, and will ultimately become a multimedia center where we store movies and music. We will have it linked to a projector where we’ll be able to play movies. Eventually I may look into configuring MythTV.

Hardware:
Asus bare bones system with P4 3.4 GHz, Western Digital Caviar 80 gig SATA hard drive, Patriot 512mb DDR2 ram, SolidTek mini white usb keyboard with a trackpad, Samsung SyncMaster 941BW, Nvidia GeForce 7300 (used, from another computer that was upgraded).

Total cost for the home computer including shipping (3-day for monitor and computer, overnight for CPU when I realized I’d forgotten to order it..) – $605.97

Note that I’d already had the graphics hard from another computer and so it is not included in the cost. BUT if i was to have bought the same model, it would have added an additional 69.99 to the cost. so in hardware components alone the real total value of my computer is : $675.96

I plan on building a dual-core system, but I wanted to test drive Ubuntu on a “lesser” system first. I also plan on purchasing a Laptop and installing Ubuntu on it as well. All of these will be detailed when I actually DO THEM.

Building the computer was a little tricky. The Asus case I had chosen was VERY compact:

the graphics card wouldn’t fit due to some power cables for the front panel going into the motherboard. my boyfriend aka the KLUDGEMASTER managed to split all the bands holding together the wires and get the nvidia card in there. everything else installed fine. it was rated low on newegg, but i would give it 4 out of 5 eggs. you get all the cables you need and it’s got a nice copper cpu fan, and everything is very well placed in a tiny space. the only problems with it, the instructions that come with it SUCK and the issue with the graphics card, which is more a case of bad case design than bad motherboard design (adding another inch to the bottom would have fixed the issue easily). the case itself is very compact and quiet, the noisiest thing being my graphics card (it actually had a faulty fan that made a lot of noise, but the wiring issue actually fixed it funny enough).

Installation
(it was the same on both machines.. effortless)

To install the software, I downloaded the latest Edgy release from the Ubuntu site. I burned an ISO on Mac and Windows (the DVD burner on my PowerBook has been flakey lately). The instructions for burning are also very well detailed on the Ubuntu site.

Some mirrors are faster than others. I tried a few before I found one that was zippy enough.

First I booted off the Live CD to make sure my system components worked. Monitor resolution was pretty low (I’ll detail the fix for that in another post). Everything installed fine, it even detected my SolidTek keyboard (I was unsure about that one!).

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Written by missaugustina

March 3, 2007 at 7:08 pm

Posted in Applications, Ubuntu

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