Linux Ubuntu Installation Guide: Main
There are a number of HOWTOs for installing Linux already on
the web. And there are even several for Ubuntu.
Others may prefer those other tutorials, and that's fine.
But what makes me hesitate to recommend them is that they
jump into installation too quickly, before verifying that
this is such a good idea for you.
Hence this tutorial puts emphasis on verifying that your
computer will work after the install.
And on verifying that the things you do with your computer
can be covered by Linux apps.
Here are some other tutorials I found:
Try It Without Switching
What About My Software?
Taking The Plunge
There a many reasons to switch to Linux.
And a few reasons to not switch.
To keep this Tutorial more focused, the Why/WhyNot
section is in a separate page.
I recommend you read it, especially the section WhyNot.
- Q: Is Linux a program that runs on Windoze?
A: No. Linux completely replaces Windoze.
- Q: But I can't afford to leave Windoze.
A: OK. You can have both. The install can
give your computer dual boot capabilities.
That means that when you start (or boot) your computer
you can select whether you want to run Windoze or Linux.
- Q: This sounds very foreign. I'm not sure I can learn it.
A: It may be less foreign than you think. Many
programs you may have encountered started on Linux
and only later infiltrated Windoze: firefox, openoffice,
gimp. Plus many appliance you may have used are actually
running Linux under the hood: Nokia palmtop computers,
some access points and routers, internet radio appliances.
- Q: Is Linux political?
A: You could say that. Linux is like an
insurrection against the powers-that-be, namely the
Microshaft monopoly. But also interesting is
a look at how political party affects which operating
system a candidate is running. See this site:
- Q: OK smarty-pants. If Linux is so great how
come Windows has almost all of the market?
Microshaft gained its monopoly by treating
customers like victims to be fleeced rather than as
valued customers. For example, it made deals with
equipment manufacturers that forbade them from supplying
computers equipped with other operating systems.
Microshaft is very skilled at marketing but is often
far less than forthright in its advertising. Linux
doesn't have a marketing department but instead spreads
by word of mouth.
If you have questions or feedback you can either email me
using the contact link at the bottom of this page or you
can join deviantart and post a response to
The only way to run Windoze is from your hard drive.
Linux is more flexible. It can be booted from CDs, USB drives,
flash cards, and in special cases from floppy disks.
Because of this we can test how well Linux works on your
computer without touching your hard drive.
I highly recommend this. It means we can have some confidence
you will be successful before we make permanent changes to your computer.
I recommend Ubuntu Linux, especially for beginners.
This is one of many distributions available.
Ubuntu is one of the easiest to install. Despite that it is still
free of charge (however they accept donations if you wish).
And it doesn't skimp on security.
- Download a copy of the CD image.
You will need to select a location. Try to get one close
to you. I use "United States OSU Open Source Lab" because it
is in Oregon. In fact, it is about 10 minutes from my house
- Burn the CD image onto a CD. Don't create a new project
and drop this image into it. You need to burn this image
directly. It already is a project. If you burn it wrong
the CD won't be bootable.
Here are instructions that will work for most people:
- Put the CD into the drive and restart your computer.
- Make sure the boot order in your BIOS will try CDs before
the hard disk. Here is a web page which describes the
process very nicely:
When you get to step 6 you simply use the Ubuntu CD rather
than their WipeDrive product.
- Do it. Booting from CD is slow. Let's face it, CDs are
a lot slower than hard disks. Eventually you will be
presented with a fairly empty desktop looking a lot like this
- Don't be alarmed that the system is running slowly.
The problem is that you are running from a CD.
Once installed on your hard drive Linux will be
- Test your computer. Before we commit we want to make sure
all of your important hardware will work. Here is a list
of the hardware I like to test. You may have things I don't
The types of hardware you use on your
computer the more effort the switch will involve.
But don't freak out.
Most of these items are easy to get working.
If you need help with any of these, let me know as a comment under
If you are not a member of deviantart you can join for free.
- Flash cards
- USB dongle
- Sound system
- Webcam under Skype
- Graphic Tablet
- If any of your important hardware is not working we need
to determine why not before proceeding. Either contact me
or get a local Linux guru to help. The way to get local
help is to do an internet search for "Linux User Group mycity"
Of course if you don't find any groups in your city, try
nearby cities. You shouldn't have to search very far.
The city I live in has 2 user groups, in a population of
52000. But you may want to try multiple groups for a different
reason. Some groups are more active than others. You will
want to find a group that is actively helpful to new recruits.
- If everything is working let's proceed to the next step.
Most games don't work on Linux.
Plus many programs such as photoshop don't work.
In some cases there are good alternatives.
Nevertheless the more applications you use on your
computer the more effort the switch will involve.
If all you do is read web sites and email, switching will be
a piece of cake.
Some advanced macros may not work
May require special codecs. More on this later
Nero, CDBurnerXP, Roxio
Generally gedit can read more files than notepad
Some people don't like gimp as much.
I've heard that Word can't read old revision word files. But Openoffice can!
For a far more complete list of equivalents, see
For software that you need, and which is not on one of the lists above,
first try an internet search for that program and for Linux.
If it just doesn't work, contact me or talk with your local Linux guru.
Let's see if we can find a solution for you.
To be continued once I get feedback on what's here now...
No computers were harmed making this tutorial. However, an illegal monopoly may have been threatened.
Copyright © 2009 C. Allen Brown
Last modified 2 Mar 2009