Installing Ubuntu is a really easy task – especially because of the installer it comes with. Almost every computer bought within the past few years can run it without a problem. And unlike Windows which takes around 42 minutes to install, an Ubuntu install will be over in 15-20 minutes!
Is Your System Ready For Ubuntu?
- Ubuntu will run on almost every PC sold within the past few years. Anything with a Pentium III type processor and above, and at least 256 MB of RAM, is up to the task. The official site is www.ubuntu.com
- However, if your PC has lower RAM than that, say 128 MB, then we suggest you to use the official Ubuntu derivative called Xubuntu – which runs a lightweight but fully-featured graphical environment called Xfce (unlike Ubuntu's GNOME). In all other respects, Xubuntu is the same, because it comes with the same software that Ubuntu does, and has all its nifty software install features. The official site is www.xubuntu.com
- In case you want a bit more eye-candy, and a more 'Windows-like' interface, we suggest you to install the official Ubuntu derivative called Kubuntu. This runs a graphical environment called KDE, which has far more built-in eye candy than GNOME. Now although the Kubuntu specifies a minimum of 256 MB RAM, from personal experience, we can say that the system runs much smoother if you have 384 MB of RAM and above. The official site is www.kubuntu.com
- If you're a student, or someone from an educational institutions, you might be interested in the official Ubuntu derivative called Edubuntu. It uses the same graphical environment as Ubuntu – GNOME – but comes bundled with different educational software. Although these can be installed later too individually, installing Edubuntu will simplify everything. The official site is www.edubuntu.com
Ubuntu is free software – both as in 'free speech' and 'free beer'. The operating system is given as a 700 MB CD image, which you can download easily. We at The Open Source Weekend understand that you might not have a fast Internet connection, but you have options! For example, Ubuntu sponsors a free (as in beer) media program at https://shipit.ubuntu.com (for the other derivatives like Xubuntu and Kubuntu, go to their official site for the free media link) – where you can request for a limited number of CDs for yourself; which is shipped to you, free of cost, within 4-8 weeks. Please note that this costs the Ubuntu team money, so don't abuse the program by requesting for more CDs than you need. Otherwise, you could buy the CD at low costs from many online retailers. Since our site policy doesn't allow us to promote commercial sites, we urge you to explore this option yourself.
However, if you do have a fast and reliable broadband Internet connection (and one which is not a limited download account), you may choose to bypass all this and directly get Ubuntu.
- Go to www.ubuntu.com (or the official site of the derivative you want). Click on the Get Ubuntu link, and choose the Download option. The latest version, as of the time of this writing is version 7.10.
- One word about Ubuntu's version numbers. For example, for version 7.10, '7' signifies the year it was released – in this case, 2007 – while the '10' signifies the month it was released – in this case, October.
- In the page that opens, choose the download location closest to your country, or choose to keep the default one if you don't want to bother with all that. Take care NOT to check the box next to Alternate install...; it is a nice option for those with older hardware, we don't recommend this for first-timers (since the 'alternate install' is a text-based interface installer for older computers).
- If the download doesn't start immediately and you're taken to an external page (depending upon your download location choice), click to download the file named similar to ubuntu-7.10.iso – or a similar name. It should be a .iso file, ensure that. Don't click on the file with 'alternate' in its filename.
- Wait for the download to complete – depending upon your connection speed, it will generally take a few hours.
- Once the download is done, you will find a .ISO file. This is basically a CD image and needs to to be burned to a CD, but not in the normal way! Open up your CD burning program like Nero or Roxio and choose the 'Burn CD Image' option. If you don't have either of these, download and install the open source CD / DVD burning program called Infra Recorder. Again, choose its 'burn image'.
- Choose the file you downloaded, and burn the file using the option selected earlier.
- After it is done, keep the CD in your CD tray, and reboot the system. While rebooting, Ubuntu should automatically start. If it doesn't, consult official Ubuntu documentation for extensive instructions on enabling 'boot from CD'.
- Get ready to install Ubuntu!