Tag: click

Meet My Media Center: Ubuntu 12.04 64-bit

So you’ve got a decent machine and you’re wanting to try out this crazy Linux thing to build a home media center. I’ve used various Linux distributions for various projects, and they all have their strengths. If you’re a noob to the wonderful world of Linux, I’d recommend you start out with one of the many Ubuntu varieties. They have multiple versions for whatever environment and look you prefer. If you’re the type who likes things to ‘just work,’ aka the Mac type, Ubuntu (Gnome) is for you. Love getting buried in the details and customizing every nook and cranny of your workspace, Kubuntu (KDE) is your new best friend. Linux built for the classroom computer lab is dubbed Edubuntu (Gnome). Wanting to test Linux on an old machine before replacing the OS on your main box isn’t a crime, but you may want to choose Xubuntu (XFCE) or Lubuntu (LXDE). You can even run this stuff on your Android phone or TV.They also have derivatives for multimedia production, Ubuntu Studio (Gnome), and even Mythbuntu for building that home theater MythTV PC you’ve always wanted. Last but definitely not least, if you’ve got a rack that needs new life breathed into it, try the Ubuntu Server Edition.

We’ll be discussing the Ubuntu Desktop 64-bit Edition 12.04 primarily using the Gnome Desktop Environment in the post, however most is very comparable if not identical to the other variations.

Let’s discuss installation. The Ubuntu installation is a piece of cake (or pie if you prefer) and only a couple areas foul folks up.

  • You’ll need to get your hands on an Ubuntu install image. You can download one directly, via torrent, or if you have a spare USB thumb drive and a buddy who already has Ubuntu installed, have them make you a USB install stick.
  • Insert the install disc/usb stick and boot up the machine.
  • Select ‘Install Ubuntu’ and hit the ‘enter’ key.
  • Select Language for Ubuntu.
  • Where are you? Pick the Region and the closest City in your time zone, and click ‘Forward’
  • Keyboard Layout. The ‘Suggested option’ is generally perfect, click ‘Forward’
  • Select ‘Specify partitions manually’ and click ‘Forward’
  • HEAD’S UP!! Okay, this can totally hose your machine if you don’t pay attention and know what you’re doing. Make sure you know which hard drive you want to use for your Linux installation, otherwise you’re going to wipe out your music/movie/photo/game collection, your Windows partitions, etc. If you’re wanting to toss Windows out the, uh, window, this will overwrite those partitions if you choose. Just make sure you backup anything you want to keep on another drive, disc, server, etc.
  • That said, pick the drive/partition you want to install Ubuntu on and ‘Delete partition.’ To scrap the whole drive and use the whole drive for Ubuntu, choose ‘New partition table’ and click ‘Forward’
  • Now you have ‘free space’ on that particular drive/partition. Select the ‘free space’ and click ‘New partition’
  • Create a new partition.
    For the first new partition (swap), you’ll want to make sure that the ‘Type for the new partition’ is set as ‘Primary’
    ‘New partition size in megabytes’ as a general rule, needs to equal twice the amount of RAM on your machine. If you have 2GB of RAM, you’ll want 4GB of swap space. (1GB = 1024MB)
    ‘Location for the new partition’ should be set to ‘Beginning’
    ‘Use as’ needs to be ‘swap area’ and click ‘OK
    You’ll notice that your swap space partition now appears on your partition table screen.
  • Select the remaining ‘free space’ and click ‘New partition’
  • Create a new partition.
  • For this partition (root or /), you’ll want to make sure that the ‘Type for the new partition’ is set as ‘Logical’
    To use all the remaining space, leave the ‘New partition size…’ as it is. If you plan to have separate partitions for your settings (/home) or the like, choose the size to fit your preference.
    ‘Location for the new partition’ should be set to ‘Beginning’
    ‘Use as’ should be set to either Btrfs or EXT4, I prefer the latter
    ‘Mount point’ should be set to ‘/’ unless you’re planning to have separate partitions for your settings etc. If you choose the latter select the mount point to preference. Click ‘OK
    You’ll now notice that ‘free space’ is all gone and we’re ready to click ‘Forward’
  • You’ll see the last Warning about the partitions and a general summary of your install options selected thus far. Take this time to check again to make sure you haven’t selected the wrong drive/partition etc. Once you’re sure that all is well, click on ‘Install’
  • Now you get to tell Ubuntu what to name everything. When you’ve got that all filled out, click ‘Forward’
  • Now is a great time to go grab your beverage of choice and relax for a bit. Don’t get too comfortable though, this won’t take long.
  • Installation Complete! Yee-Haw! Click on ‘Restart Now’
  • Remove the CD/USB installer and hit the ‘enter’ key like it says

As always, feel free to comment or ask questions about any of the ideas shared in this post.

~matt

How To Setup Facebook Chat On Empathy or Pidgin In Ubuntu 9.10

A couple of folks have written in wondering how to get Facebook chat to work with Empathy in Ubuntu 9.10 like it worked with Pidgin in previous Ubuntu versions. Thanks to the Ubuntu repository folks the plugin needed for either Empathy or Pidgin is now available via Synaptic (System->Administration->Synaptic Package Manager).

Let’s get to it!

  • Open Synaptic (System->Administration->Synaptic Package Manager)
  • Click ‘Reload’ button (top-left on toolbar) and let it run until complete
  • Click ‘Mark all possible upgrades’ button (top-left on toolbar) and click ‘Mark’ and let it run until complete
  • Now to adding the plugin, simply click on the ‘selection box’ to the left of the package name. Search and add the following packages (and ‘Mark’ all other recommended/required packages if prompted):
    pidgin-facebookchat
  • For Pidgin, you’re done! Quit and Reopen Pidgin and the Facebook chat protocol will now be available
  • For Empathy, we will need to remove one file. Open Terminal (Applications->Accessories->Terminal) and paste the following:
    sudo rm /usr/share/telepathy/managers/haze.manager
  • Quit and Reopen Empathy and the Facebook chat protocol will now be available

As always, feel free to comment or ask questions about any of the ideas shared in this post.

Ubuntu 9.10 (Applications — part 2)

{cont from Ubuntu 9.10 (Applications — part 1)}

  • Now we’re going to setup Synaptic Package Manager (System->Administration->Synaptic Package Manager)
  • Open the ‘Preferences’ (Settings->Preferences)
  • General tab options should be set as below. Click ‘Apply’

    Preferences - General tab settings

    Preferences — General tab settings

  • Files tab options should be set as below. Click ‘OK

    Preferences - Files tab settings

    Preferences — Files tab settings

  • Open ‘Repositories’ (Settings->Repositories)
  • On the ‘Ubuntu Software’ tab make sure all items are selected as below.

    Software Sources - Ubuntu Software tab settings

    Software Sources — Ubuntu Software tab settings

  • On the ‘Other Software’ tab make sure all sources are selected as below.

    Software Sources - Other Software tab settings

    Software Sources — Other Software tab settings

  • Once the settings are correct, close the Software Sources dialog
  • Hit the ‘Reload’ button, and let it run until complete
  • Hit ‘Mark All Upgrades’ and click ‘Mark’ and let it run until complete
  • Now to adding the programs. To add programs in Synaptic, simply click on the ‘selection box’ to the left of the package name. Search and add the following packages (and ‘Mark’ all other recommended/required packages if prompted):
    build-essential
    p7zip-rar
    rar
    unrar
    mail-notification-evolution
    spamassassin
    inkscape
    ink-generator
    create-resources
    blender-ogrexml
    scribus-ng
    scribus-template
    kmymoney2 (MS Money) or gnucash (Quicken)
    gparted
    ubuntu-restricted-extras
    playonlinux
    virtualbox‑3.0
    aacgain
    aacplusenc
    libdvdcss-dev
    non-free-codecs
    vorbis-tools
    ffmpeg
    flac
    simple-ccsm
    subcommander
    nautilus-actions
    nautilus-gksu
    nautilus-image-converter
    nautilus-open-terminal
    nautilus-script-manager
    nautilus-script-audio-convert
    nautilus-script-collection-svn
    nautilus-filename-repairer
    nautilus-wallpaper
    libnautilus-extension-dev
    phatch-nautilus
    k9copy
    avidemux
    mozilla-plugin-vlc
    vlc-plugin-ggi
    vlc-plugin-svgalib
    vlc-plugin-sdl
    vls
    openoffice​.org
    openoffice.org-pdfimport
    openoffice.org-wiki-publisher
    openoffice.org-evolution
    openoffice.org-ogltrans
    openoffice.org-writer2latex
    openoffice.org-writer2xhtml
    openoffice.org-dtd-officedocument1.0
    mozilla​-openoffice​.org
    openoffice.org-dmaths
    openclipart​-openoffice​.org
    openoffice.org-report-builder
    openoffice.org-presentation-minimizer
    openoffice.org-presenter-console
    pdfcrack
    torbutton-extension
    gtkam-gimp
    flegita-gimp
    gimp-dds
    gimp-gluas
    gimp-plugin-registry
    gimp-texturize
    gimp-dcraw
    gimp-resynthesizer
    gimp-gutenprint
    gimp-gap
    gimp-data-extras
    gnome-xcf-thumbnailer
    pandora
    extremetuxracer-gimp-dev
    tropic-wallpapers
    blubuntu-wallpapers
    peace-wallpapers
    ubuntustudio-wallpapers
    ubuntustudio-sounds
    ubuntustudio-screensaver
    gnome-themes
    gnome-themes-extras
    gnome-art
    ubuntu-gdm-themes
    ubuntustudio-gdm-theme
    peace-gdm-theme
    blubuntu-gdm-theme
    tropic-gdm-theme
    gdm-themes
    screenlets
    quickly
  • OR if you’re more comfortable with using the Terminal, you can paste this command to achieve the same results:
    sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade && sudo apt-get install build-essential p7zip-rar rar unrar mail-notification-evolution spamassassin inkscape ink-generator create-resources blender-ogrexml scribus-ng scribus-template kmymoney2 gnucash gparted ubuntu-restricted-extras playonlinux virtualbox‑3.0 aacgain aacplusenc libdvdcss-dev non-free-codecs vorbis-tools ffmpeg flac simple-ccsm subcommander nautilus-actions nautilus-gksu nautilus-image-converter nautilus-open-terminal nautilus-script-manager nautilus-script-audio-convert nautilus-script-collection-svn nautilus-filename-repairer nautilus-wallpaper libnautilus-extension-dev phatch-nautilus k9copy avidemux mozilla-plugin-vlc vlc-plugin-ggi vlc-plugin-svgalib vlc-plugin-sdl vls openoffice​.org openoffice.org-pdfimport openoffice.org-wiki-publisher openoffice.org-evolution openoffice.org-ogltrans openoffice.org-writer2latex openoffice.org-writer2xhtml openoffice.org-dtd-officedocument1.0 mozilla​-openoffice​.org openoffice.org-dmaths openclipart​-openoffice​.org openoffice.org-report-builder openoffice.org-presentation-minimizer openoffice.org-presenter-console pdfcrack torbutton-extension gtkam-gimp flegita-gimp gimp-dds gimp-gluas gimp-plugin-registry gimp-texturize gimp-dcraw gimp-resynthesizer gimp-gutenprint gimp-gap gimp-data-extras gnome-xcf-thumbnailer pandora extremetuxracer-gimp-dev tropic-wallpapers blubuntu-wallpapers peace-wallpapers ubuntustudio-wallpapers ubuntustudio-sounds ubuntustudio-screensaver gnome-themes gnome-themes-extras gnome-art ubuntu-gdm-themes ubuntustudio-gdm-theme peace-gdm-theme blubuntu-gdm-theme tropic-gdm-theme gdm-themes screenlets quickly
  • Now that all that is installed, explore, check out all the great things you can do with your new Ubuntu Linux machine.

As always, feel free to comment or ask questions about any of the ideas shared in this post.

Ubuntu 9.10 (Install)

I’ve had several folks send emails asking about what parts that I’d build into a machine, what themes are in use in my screenshots, and what programs I’d recommend for a new Linux user. As one who favors the ‘work smarter’ over the ‘work harder’ method, I thought I’d post this info over the next few posts, rather than sending a 32 page email to them all.

So you’ve got a decent machine and you’re wanting to try out this crazy new Linux thing. I’ve used various Linux distributions for various projects, and they all have their strengths. If you’re a noob to the wonderful world of Linux, I’d recommend you start out with one of the many Ubuntu varieties. They have multiple versions for whatever environment and look you prefer. If you’re the type who likes things to ‘just work,’ aka the Mac type, Ubuntu (Gnome) is for you. Love getting buried in the details and customizing every nook and cranny of your workspace, Kubuntu (KDE) is your new best friend. Linux built for the classroom computer lab is dubbed Edubuntu (Gnome). Wanting to test Linux on an old machine before replacing the OS on your main box isn’t a crime, but you may want to choose Xubuntu (XFCE). You can even run this stuff on your phone/PDA/netbook with the Ubuntu Netbook edition. They also have derivatives for multimedia production, Ubuntu Studio (Gnome), and even Mythbuntu for building that home theater MythTV PC you’ve always wanted. Last but definitely not least, if you’ve got a rack that needs new life breathed into it, try the Ubuntu Server Edition.

We’ll be discussing primarily the Ubuntu Desktop Edition primarily using the Gnome Desktop Environment in the post, however most is very comparable if not identical to the other variations.

Let’s discuss installation. The Ubuntu installation is a piece of cake (or pie if you prefer) and only a couple areas foul folks up.

  • You’ll need to get your hands on an Ubuntu install image. You can download one directly, via torrent, via wubi, or if you have a spare USB thumb drive and a buddy who already has Ubuntu installed, have them make you a USB install stick.
  • Insert the install disc/usb stick and boot up the machine.
  • Select Language for Installer. If you want to read everything in English, like I do, just hit the ‘enter’ key.
  • Select ‘Install Ubuntu’ and hit the ‘enter’ key.
  • Select Language for Ubuntu. Again, I read English, just click ‘Forward’
  • Where are you? Pick the Region and the closest City in your time zone, and click ‘Forward’
  • Keyboard Layout. The ‘Suggested option’ is generally perfect, click ‘Forward’
  • Select ‘Specify partitions manually’ and click ‘Forward’
  • HEAD’S UP!! Okay, this can totally hose your machine if you don’t pay attention and know what you’re doing. Make sure you know which hard drive you want to use for your Linux installation, otherwise you’re going to wipe out your music/movie/photo/game collection, your Windows partitions, etc. If you’re wanting to toss Windows out the, uh, window, this will overwrite those partitions if you choose. Just make sure you backup anything you want to keep on another drive, disc, server, etc.
  • That said, pick the drive/partition you want to install Ubuntu on and ‘Delete partition.’ To scrap the whole drive and use the whole drive for Ubuntu, choose ‘New partition table’ and click ‘Forward’
  • Now you have ‘free space’ on that particular drive/partition. Select the ‘free space’ and click ‘New partition’
  • Create a new partition.
    For the first new partition (swap), you’ll want to make sure that the ‘Type for the new partition’ is set as ‘Primary’
    ‘New partition size in megabytes’ as a general rule, needs to equal twice the amount of RAM on your machine. If you have 2GB of RAM, you’ll want 4GB of swap space. (1GB = 1024MB)
    ‘Location for the new partition’ should be set to ‘Beginning’
    ‘Use as’ needs to be ‘swap area’ and click ‘OK
    You’ll notice that your swap space partition now appears on your partition table screen.
  • Select the remaining ‘free space’ and click ‘New partition’
  • Create a new partition.
  • For this partition (root or /), you’ll want to make sure that the ‘Type for the new partition’ is set as ‘Logical’
    To use all the remaining space, leave the ‘New partition size…’ as it is. If you plan to have separate partitions for your settings (/home) or the like, choose the size to fit your preference.
    ‘Location for the new partition’ should be set to ‘Beginning’
    ‘Use as’ should be set to either Ext4 or ReiserFS, I prefer the latter
    ‘Mount point’ should be set to ‘/’ unless you’re planning to have separate partitions for your settings etc. If you choose the latter select the mount point to preference. Click ‘OK
    You’ll now notice that ‘free space’ is all gone and we’re ready to click ‘Forward’
  • Now you get to tell Ubuntu what to name everything. When you’ve got that all filled out, click ‘Forward’
  • You’ll see the last Warning about the partitions and a general summary of your install options selected thus far. Take this time to check again to make sure you haven’t selected the wrong drive/partition etc. Once you’re sure that all is well, click on ‘Install’
  • Now is a great time to go grab your beverage of choice and relax for a bit. Don’t get too comfortable though, this won’t take long.
  • Installation Complete! Yee-Haw! Click on ‘Restart Now’
  • Remove the CD/USB installer and hit the ‘enter’ key like it says

As always, feel free to comment or ask questions about any of the ideas shared in this post.

Whatcha Runnin’ Man? (Linux Applications — part 2)

{cont from Whatcha Runnin’ Man? (Linux Applications — part 1)}

  • Now we’re going to setup Synaptic Package Manager (System->Administration->Synaptic Package Manager)
  • Open the ‘Preferences’ (Settings->Preferences)
  • General tab options should be set as below.  Click ‘Apply’

    Preferences - General tab settings

    Preferences — General tab settings

  • Files tab options should be set as below.  Click ‘OK

    Preferences - Files tab settings

    Preferences — Files tab settings

  • Open ‘Repositories’ (Settings->Repositories)
  • On the ‘Ubuntu Software’ tab make sure all items are selected as below.

    Software Sources - Ubuntu Software tab settings

    Software Sources — Ubuntu Software tab settings

  • On the ‘Third Party Software’ tab make sure all sources are selected as below.

    Software Sources - Third Party Software tab settings

    Software Sources — Third Party Software tab settings

  • Once the settings are correct, close the Software Sources dialog
  • Hit the ‘Reload’ button, and let it run until complete
  • Hit ‘Mark All Upgrades’ and click ‘Mark’ and let it run until complete
  • Now to adding the programs. To add programs in Synaptic, simply click on the ‘selection box’ to the left of the package name.  Search and add the following packages (and ‘Mark’ all other recommended/required packages if prompted):
    build-essential
    p7zip-rar
    rar
    unrar
    mail-notification-evolution
    inkscape
    create-resources
    blender
    scribus-ng
    kmymoney2 (MS Money) or gnucash (Quicken)
    gparted
    ubuntu-restricted-extras
    playonlinux
    zeroinstall-injector
    virtualbox
    aacgain
    aacplusenc
    libdvdcss2-dev
    non-free-codecs
    simple-ccsm
    subcommander
    nautilus-gksu
    nautilus-image-converter
    nautilus-open-terminal
    nautilus-script-manager
    nautilus-script-audio-convert
    nautilus-script-collection-svn
    nautilus-filename-repairer
    nautilus-wallpaper
    k9copy
    avidemux
    mozilla-plugin-vlc
    vls
    openoffice​.org
    openoffice.org-pdfimport
    openoffice.org-wiki-publisher
    openoffice.org-evolution
    openoffice.org-dtd-officedocument1.0
    mozilla​-openoffice​.org
    openoffice.org-dmaths
    openclipart​-openoffice​.org
    openoffice.org-report-builder
    openoffice.org-presentation-minimizer
    openoffice.org-presenter-console
    pdfcrack
    torbutton-extension
    gimp-plugin-registry
    gimp-texturize
    gimp-normalmap
    gimp-dcraw
    gimp-resynthesizer
    gimp-gutenprint
    gimp-gap
    gimp-data-extras
    tropic-wallpapers
    blubuntu-wallpapers
    peace-wallpapers
    ubuntustudio-wallpapers
    ubuntustudio-sounds
    ubuntustudio-screensaver
    ubuntustudio-gdm-theme
    mythbuntu-gdm-theme
    peace-gdm-theme
    blubuntu-gdm-theme
    tropic-gdm-theme
    gdm-themes
    screenlets
  • Now that all that is installed, explore, check out all the great things you can do with your new Ubuntu Linux machine.

As always, feel free to comment or ask questions about any of the ideas shared in this post.

Whatcha Runnin’ Man? (Linux Applications — part 1)

I’ve had several folks send emails asking about what parts that I’d build into a machine, what themes are in use in my screenshots, and what programs I’d recommend for a new Linux user.  As one who favors the ‘work smarter’ over the ‘work harder’ method, I thought I’d post this info over the next few posts, rather than sending a 32 page email to them all.

Groovy!  You’ve got your new Ubuntu machine up and running, and you’re wondering what apps you’ll want to install.  Before you go searching the apps in the repositories, let’s make sure you have some key repositories added to ease your transition to Linux. Before you have much of a chance to look around, you’ll be greeted by the Update Manager.  This cat will be a great friend.

  • On the Update Manager dialog box, choose the ‘Settings’ button

    Update Manager

    Update Manager

  • You’ll be taken to the ‘Updates’ tab of the Software Settings dialog.  On ‘Updates’ tab make sure all items are selected as below.

    Software Sources - Update tab settings

    Software Sources — Update tab settings

  • On the ‘Ubuntu Software’ tab make sure all items are selected as below.

    Software Sources - Ubuntu Software tab settings

    Software Sources — Ubuntu Software tab settings

  • On the ‘Third Party Software’ tab make sure all sources are selected as below.

    Software Sources - Third Party Software tab settings

    Software Sources — Third Party Software tab settings

  • Select the ‘Add…’ button and then paste into APT line:
    deb http://​download​.virtualbox​.org/​v​i​r​t​u​a​l​b​o​x​/​d​e​b​ian jaunty non-free
  • Click the ‘Add Source’ button

    Add Source

    Add Source

  • A must add for all Linux gamers is the PlayDeb repository.  Select the ‘Add…’ button and then paste into APT line:
    deb http://​archive​.getdeb​.net/​u​b​u​ntu jaunty-getdeb games
  • Click the ‘Add Source’ button as in the previous example
  • On the ‘Authentication’ tab select ‘Ubuntu CD Image…’ and click the ‘Remove’ button

    Software Sources - Authentication tab

    Software Sources — Authentication tab

  • On the ‘Statistics’ tab, select the ‘Submit statistical information’ to help the developers know what is being used etc. and close out of the Software Settings dialog and the Update Manager dialog
  • Open ‘Terminal’ (Applications->Accessories->Terminal)
  • Next we’ll add the VirtualBox key (paste into console):
    sudo wget ‑q http://​download​.virtualbox​.org/​v​i​r​t​u​a​l​b​o​x​/​d​e​b​i​a​n​/​s​u​n​_​v​b​o​x​.​asc ‑O- | sudo apt-key add -
  • Next we’ll run a full update before we start adding software.
    sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade
  • It may ask you if you wish to continue with the update, type ‘Y’ and hit the ‘enter’ key
  • Go grab a snack, this may take a bit.
  • You may be prompted to reboot with a ‘Restart Required’ dialog after the upgrade has completed.  Go ahead and click on the ‘Restart Now’ button, it won’t take long.
  • Log back in and open ‘Terminal’ (Applications->Accessories->Terminal)
  • Then we’ll add the PlayOnLinux repository and key (paste into console):
    sudo wget http://​deb​.playonlinux​.com/​p​l​a​y​o​n​l​i​n​u​x​_​j​a​u​n​t​y​.​l​ist ‑O /etc/apt/sources.list.d/playonlinux.list
    sudo wget ‑q http://​deb​.aplu​.fr/​p​o​l​.​gpg ‑O- | sudo apt-key add -
  • Add the Medibuntu repository and key (paste into console):
    sudo wget http://www.medibuntu.org/sources.list.d/‘lsb_release ‑cs‘.list –output-document=/etc/apt/sources.list.d/medibuntu.list; sudo apt-get ‑q update; sudo apt-get –yes ‑q –allow-unauthenticated install medibuntu-keyring; sudo apt-get ‑q update
    sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade && sudo apt-get install medibuntu-keyring && sudo apt-get update
  • It may ask you if you wish to install the keyring, type ‘Y’ and hit the ‘enter’ key
  • We’ve added the PlayDeb repository.  So let’s add its key as well (paste into console):
    wget ‑O- http://​archive​.getdeb​.net/​g​e​t​d​e​b​-​a​r​c​h​i​v​e​.​key | sudo apt-key add -
  • Next we need to complete a bit of clean up and remove install CD from the Repository list (paste into console):
    cd /etc/apt/
    sudo gedit sources.list
  • A text editor named gedit will open the file ‘sources.list’
  • Delete the following line (usually within the first few lines) from the file:
    # deb cdrom:[Ubuntu 9.04 _Jaunty Jackalope_ — Release i386 (20090420.1)]/ jaunty main restricted
  • Then save and close this file

{cont to Whatcha Runnin’ Man? (Linux Applications — part 2)}

Whatcha Runnin’ Man? (New to Linux)

I’ve had several folks send emails asking about what parts that I’d build into a machine, what themes are in use in my screenshots, and what programs I’d recommend for a new Linux user. As one who favors the ‘work smarter’ over the ‘work harder’ method, I thought I’d post this info over the next few posts, rather than sending a 32 page email to them all.

So you’ve got a decent machine and you’re wanting to try out this crazy new Linux thing. I’ve used various Linux distributions for various projects, and they all have their strengths. If you’re a noob to the wonderful world of Linux, I’d recommend you start out with one of the many Ubuntu varieties. They have multiple versions for whatever environment and look you prefer. If you’re the type who likes things to ‘just work,’ aka the Mac type, Ubuntu (Gnome) is for you. Love getting buried in the details and customizing every nook and cranny of your workspace, Kubuntu (KDE) is your new best friend. Linux built for the classroom computer lab is dubbed Edubuntu (Gnome). Wanting to test Linux on an old machine before replacing the OS on your main box isn’t a crime, but you may want to choose Xubuntu (XFCE). You can even run this stuff on your phone/PDA/netbook with the Ubuntu Netbook edition. They also have derivatives for multimedia production, Ubuntu Studio (Gnome), and even Mythbuntu for building that home theater MythTV PC you’ve always wanted. Last but definitely not least, if you’ve got a rack that needs new life breathed into it, try the Ubuntu Server Edition.

We’ll be discussing primarily the Ubuntu Desktop Edition primarily using the Gnome Desktop Environment in the post, however most is very comparable if not identical to the other variations.

Let’s discuss installation. The Ubuntu installation is a piece of cake (or pie if you prefer) and only a couple areas foul folks up.

  • You’ll need to get your hands on an Ubuntu install image. You can download one directly, via torrent, via wubi, or if you have a spare USB thumb drive and a buddy who already has Ubuntu installed, have them make you a USB install stick.
  • Insert the install disc/usb stick and boot up the machine.
  • Select Language for Installer. If you want to read everything in English, like I do, just hit the ‘enter’ key.
  • Select ‘Install Ubuntu’ and hit the ‘enter’ key.
  • Select Language for Ubuntu. Again, I read English, just click ‘Forward’
  • Where are you? Pick the Region and the closest City in your time zone, and click ‘Forward’
  • Keyboard Layout. The ‘Suggested option’ is generally perfect, click ‘Forward’
  • Select ‘Specify partitions manually’ and click ‘Forward’
  • HEAD’S UP!! Okay, this can totally hose your machine if you don’t pay attention and know what you’re doing. Make sure you know which hard drive you want to use for your Linux installation, otherwise you’re going to wipe out your music/movie/photo/game collection, your Windows partitions, etc. If you’re wanting to toss Windows out the, uh, window, this will overwrite those partitions if you choose. Just make sure you backup anything you want to keep on another drive, disc, server, etc.
  • That said, pick the drive/partition you want to install Ubuntu on and ‘Delete partition.’ To scrap the whole drive and use the whole drive for Ubuntu, choose ‘New partition table’ and click ‘Forward’
  • Now you have ‘free space’ on that particular drive/partition. Select the ‘free space’ and click ‘New partition’
  • Create a new partition.
    For the first new partition (swap), you’ll want to make sure that the ‘Type for the new partition’ is set as ‘Primary’
    ‘New partition size in megabytes’ as a general rule, needs to equal twice the amount of RAM on your machine. If you have 2GB of RAM, you’ll want 4GB of swap space. (1GB = 1024MB)
    ‘Location for the new partition’ should be set to ‘Beginning’
    ‘Use as’ needs to be ‘swap area’ and click ‘OK
    You’ll notice that your swap space partition now appears on your partition table screen.
  • Select the remaining ‘free space’ and click ‘New partition’
  • Create a new partition.
  • For this partition (root or /), you’ll want to make sure that the ‘Type for the new partition’ is set as ‘Logical’
    To use all the remaining space, leave the ‘New partition size…’ as it is. If you plan to have separate partitions for your settings (/home) or the like, choose the size to fit your preference.
    ‘Location for the new partition’ should be set to ‘Beginning’
    ‘Use as’ should be set to either Ext3 or ReiserFS, I prefer the latter
    ‘Mount point’ should be set to ‘/’ unless you’re planning to have separate partitions for your settings etc. If you choose the latter select the mount point to preference. Click ‘OK
    You’ll now notice that ‘free space’ is all gone and we’re ready to click ‘Forward’
  • Now you get to tell Ubuntu what to name everything. When you’ve got that all filled out, click ‘Forward’
  • You’ll see the last Warning about the partitions and a general summary of your install options selected thus far. Take this time to check again to make sure you haven’t selected the wrong drive/partition etc. Once you’re sure that all is well, click on ‘Install’
  • Now is a great time to go grab your beverage of choice and relax for a bit. Don’t get too comfortable though, this won’t take long.
  • Installation Complete! Yee-Haw! Click on ‘Restart Now’
  • Remove the CD/USB installer and hit the ‘enter’ key like it says

As always, feel free to comment or ask questions about any of the ideas shared in this post.

Whatcha Runnin’ Man? (Hardware Recommendations)

I’ve had several folks send emails asking about what parts that I’d build into a machine, what themes are in use in my screenshots, and what programs I’d recommend for a new Linux user.  As one who favors the ‘work smarter’ over the ‘work harder’ method, I thought I’d post this info over the next few posts, rather than sending a 32 page email to them all.

Lets start off with some quick hardware preferences and recommendations.

  • Nvidia is preferred over ATI for my gpu (graphics card)
    This is based on less than positive experiences with ATI drivers in both Linux and Windows environments.  Nvidia has never let me down, and especially for Linux machines, their driver support is unparalleled.
  • AMD is preferred over Intel for my cpu (processor)
    Despite my horrible experiences with ATI, my fondness of AMD (ATI’s daddy) grows by the day.  The price point for AMD over Intel is fantastic.  Also AMD is the ‘little man’ of the two and I enjoy supporting the low man on the totem pole, however their popularity, along with Linux is growing.  AMD chipsets have supported 64bit for generations at lower prices than the 32bit Intel alternatives.
  • Hiper is hands down my favorite psu (power supply)
    This fairly young company has gained my respect and love after real world tests in rack and box units.  I’ve accepted nothing less than their brand in the past several machines that I’ve built for myself and others.  Simply put, they spank the competition in performance and price.
  • The rest is less brand dependent.  Just check out the specifications and read all the user reviews that you can find.  Just because they have a badge of honor and a whole batch of pie charts on their own web site stating that they’re the best thing since the breakup of the Spice Girls, doesn’t mean that their product functions practically in the wild.
  • Desktop beats laptop.
    Don’t go throwing your laptop down the garbage chute, this is my personal preference.  I dig laptops as much as the next cat, but I can build two desktops for what you paid for one laptop with comparable components.  They might call it a frugal choice where you’re from, but in my neighborhood, we called it being a cheapskate.  If you’re going to play video games released lately, the odds of being able to build a laptop to handle the recommended system requirements and having it cost less than a car are slim.  A decent desktop gaming machine can easily be built on the cheap.
  • Dual Flat Screen monitors beat the pants off of Single CRT monitor.
    No matter what you do with your machine, more visual real estate is always better.  In this day and age it’s almost a necessity to have at least two flat screen monitors to remain functional and efficient.  Whether you’re a gamer, a visual designer, coder, administrator, or a little old granny watching Matlock reruns on the net, more is definitely more.  Not to mention that due to recent advances, the pricing for a couple of 22″+ monitors can’t be beat.
  • Once you know, you newegg.  Enough said.

As always, feel free to comment or ask questions about any of the ideas shared in this post.