Installing Ubuntu 12.04 - Confessions Of A Windows User…
By Lasa Information Systems Team
In May 2012 Lasa's Head of Technology Services Aba Maison caught up with Paula Graham of Fossbox for a long overdue chat. It wasn’t long before they got round to talking about FOSS (Free and Open Source Software) and the latest version of Ubuntu. Paula described how version 12.04 was a lot more user friendly and more “Mac” like. In this article, Aba relates her experience of installing Ubuntu.
What is Ubuntu?
Ubuntu is a computer operating system derived from Linux (other common examples of operating systems are Microsoft’s Windows, and Apple’s Mac OS X). Ubuntu powers millions of desktops, netbooks and servers and as well as being free software, has the advantage that it can run on older desktops and servers.
We’ve followed the development of Ubuntu here on the knowledgebase over the years so I decided to check out the improvements in the latest version by having a go at installing it from scratch on an old Lasa Windows laptop.
The first step was to visit the Ubuntu website and download the desktop version of the software. I was pleased to see very clear instructions and choices of ways to do the installation.
After downloading the desktop ISO image (a disk image file so I could create and installation CD for use on other computers if required in future), it took a few minutes to burn a CD and start the installation.
Installing the software
During the installation process, Ubuntu picked up our wireless network, I entered our wireless security key and we were away… The installation offered the choice to install Ubuntu alongside Windows or completely replace Windows with Ubuntu. I opted for the latter as the laptop was old and already running pretty slowly.
The whole process from downloading the software, burning the installation CD and getting Ubuntu up and running took around an hour. After restarting, Ubuntu needed to install 115 updates which took another 15 minutes or so. Not too challenging so far… I shut down the machine and took a break to do other things.
A couple of days later I logged back on to the machine. The wireless network was detected easily enough but the machine wouldn’t connect… weird, because it had done so previously and other devices connected to our wireless network were working fine. Ubuntu had experienced an internal error and prompted me to reboot. After doing this a couple of times, all was well again.
Installation mission completed it was time to see if the machine would be able to browse our Windows network so I could access shared folders and files. The first couple of attempts failed and then on the fourth or fifth I was able to easily browse our network and access my files.
From my brief look at Ubuntu, it was fairly intuitive to navigate even though I’m much more used to using Windows. Ubuntu comes preinstalled with useful software like the Firefox web browser, and Libre Office (an open source productivity suite similar to Microsoft Office and also available for Mac or Windows). The Ubuntu Software Centre also provides access to large amounts of other free software applications. You also get Ubuntu One a personal “cloud” service that offers 5GB of free file storage, sharing and file synchronisation on desktop and mobile devices (Ubuntu One is also available for Windows). Sign up is easy and took just a couple of minutes.
Overall, it was a cinch for me to get Ubuntu up and running on a standalone computer, and not beyond the wit of any confident computer user. Of course, coming up against any problems (such as connecting the Ubuntu machine to our Windows network) may take a little more confidence and persistence to resolve. In the end though, it didn’t take any technical wizardry for me to overcome the stumbling blocks – that tried and tested IT support secret “try again a few times and if that fails reboot the machine and have another go” seemed to work for me.
If hadn’t however, there is a helpful community of Ubuntu folk out there from whom to get more detailed, free technical support. And if you’re based in London you could always pop along to Fossbox’s regular monthly Foss Fridays to get some hands on free help.
- Paula Graham's Open Source Update - November 2011
- Ubuntu – A Trial – And Some Tribulations...
- Ubuntu Lucid for non profits
Published: 12th June 2012
Copyright © 2012 Lasa Information Systems Team