Getting started with Linux

So in my last post I mentioned that for the purposes of tutorials I’d stick with Ubuntu. Today we are going to use one of the best features of Linux (although I’ll probably end up saying that a lot). Linux, unlike windows, doesn’t care where you install your system files as long as the kernel recognizes that location. That means that the boot loader can be on one hard disk (hd) and the actual OS is on a completely separate disk. Better still the OS could be on a flash drive, network drive, or, in the case of booting off of the live CD, in RAM. What makes this feature great is that it allows you to test the full Linux OS without installing anything on your machine. So we’ll go through the steps required to download and test drive the Ubuntu LiveCD.

First we need to download the CD. We need to go to the Ubuntu webpage to download the proper disk. You can get it here. The download will take some time depending upon your connection speeds. This will download a file that ends with .iso (International Organization for Standardization, but you say it like it looks). This is basically the file format for imaging disks (CD and DVD). So the file is downloaded now we need to burn the iso to a cd-r. (I’ll walk you through doing it on Windows using DeepBurner, but here are simple instructions for doing it on a Mac). I use DeepBurner because it is free and there isn’t an iso-burner built into windows. Download the program and install it with all of the defaults. After you open the program choose “Burn ISO image.” You should see a screen like this

Choose the 3 … from there you will need to choose the iso file that you downloaded earlier. After that you choose BurnISO.

Enter the disk into your computer and restart the machine. Note that you must set your machine to boot from the CD drive rather than from the HD. Here are instructions on how to do that:
1. Soon after restarting your computer, if your computer won’t boot from CD, then reboot and hold on F2 to start BIOS (Basic Input/Output System) settings. If nothing happens try restarting your computer again and press DEL key this time.
2. After BIOS loads completely (usually a blue screen). Go to ‘Boot’, by pressing the arrow keys.
3. After the [Boot] settings appear, seek an item named [Boot Priority]/[Boot Order] (or similar) etc., and press enter.
4. Then see if your CD-ROM is set as ‘First boot device’, it would have been named as [ATAPI CD-ROM], by its manufacturer’s name, or simply [CD-ROM]. If it is not first boot device, then set it using the keys usually Page Up and Page Down. If not, then take help from the Legend which appears at the right portion of the screen.
5. After setting CD-ROM as the ‘First Boot Device’, press F10, the BIOS will ask you whether to ‘Save Changes and Exit’, select ‘Yes’. The BIOS will automatically restart your Computer.
You can see from the screen shot how it might look on your machine. Most BIOS commands are listed at the bottom.

Once your system boots into Ubuntu you should finally see your desktop like this:

Poke around and use the programs that are preinstalled. You’ll see a browser and an office suite and even an IM client. Check this link out for an indepth tour of the Ubuntu desktop.

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