The Lucid Lynx Installation Process



Ubuntu's lucid lynx 10.04 LTS logo

This tutorial steps out how to setup Ubuntu 10.04, whether on a single or multiple partitions, separating data from the OS or for a dual-boot system.

The setup is straightforward with the exception of the Partitioning Manager which, for noobs, can confuse. This guide helps manage the install with particular attention to the partitioning.

Read all of this section first with careful consideration of the partitioning notes. That will likely save you time and result in a better setup.

And if you do plan on partitioning (and for most of us we should) I strongly recommend you to read Future-Proofed Partitioning: Best Advice 4 Lucid.

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Burn a Bootable Disk for 10.04

Download the Lucid Lynx .iso image here, whether for your 32 or 64 bit PC. To find out how to save an image to a CD, read this.

(If you've already got, say, Karmic or Jaunty, just right click the .iso and choose Write to disc. Simple.)

Now you've got a bootable disk.

How to Install Lucid Lynx

BACKUP: if there's data on the drive you're installing to, back it up.

  • With the installation disk in the tray, reboot the PC.
  • The Lucid installer's language options pop up. Choose your lingo.
  • At the Ubuntu CD menu choose Install Ubuntu.

Prefer to Try The “Live” CD First?

What you burned is what Ubuntu call a live CD. It allows you to test Lucid before installing and before making changes to your PC.

To try rather than install and booting your PC from the CD drive, from the installation CD's opening menu, choose on Try Ubuntu without any change to your computer. That loads Ubuntu, as it says, without changing your system.

Or, if you're running Windows, explore the CD and double click wubi.exe to either install or test Lucid.

.. Either way does the job.

Once loaded, and if you want to setup for real, there's a desktop icon offering to Install Ubuntu 10.04. Execute that and Lucid's permanent installer fires up. Carry on with this checklist, starting above with the installer's language options.

  • Click Forward on the Welcome screen to choose the OS language.
  • Pick your timezone and click Forward.
  • Elect a keyboard layout and click Forward.
  • The partition manager loads with the Prepare partitions panel opening.

Partitioning Your Hard Drive

Installing Lucid is no big deal, except frankly for the partitioning bit which, if you want a quality future-proofed setup, can be a great big headache. Don't be put off, just pay close attention to this section.

Before getting into the guts of this process, please forgive me for spelling out something that may be a concern to many ..

Installing Lucid: The Point of no Return

Installing Ubuntu, you make no changes until the summary page prompts you to Install. WRONG!

THERE ARE IMPORTANT EXCEPTIONS. (Cue lightning/villainous laugh/maybe a scream.)

Yeah, the partitioning has to play hard ball with your drive mid-way through, but you are prompted to say ‘yay' so it's no big deal. Nonetheless, in case you were wondering:-

  • If you're adding Ubuntu to some other OS with the option Install them side by side, at the installer's partitioner stage you will be clearly prompted to accept changes to disk and that You cannot undo this operation.
  • If you're opting to Use the largest continuous free space, at the installer's partitioner stage you will be clearly prompted to accept changes to disk and that You cannot undo this operation.
  • If you're wiping anew with the option Erase and use the entire disk, who cares try it blindfold.
  • If you're resizing an existing partition or partitions – one of the key options within the Specify partitions manually option – having selected the new size as explained below and at the installer's partitioner stage you will be clearly prompted to accept changes to disk and that You cannot undo this operation.

In other words, fear not, it's pretty clear. Just pay close attention to the warning prompts at the disk partition stage.

Right, detour over .. this is where you slice and dice your hard disk/s according to your need.

You're offered up to four choices, depending on what's already on the disk:-

  1. Install operating systems side by side, choosing between them at startup
    … the choice is given at the boot manager screen
  2. Erase and use the entire disk
  3. Use the largest continuous free space
  4. Specify partitions manually (advanced)

Considering each ..

Install side by side (ie dual/tri/quad boot)

You're given this option if you already have one or more OS on your PC.

Select this and up pops a box labeled Write previous changes to disk and continue and, if you choose Yes (DON'T, for now anyhow), Ubuntu installs a default configuration, preserving pre-existing operating systems while pinching space from them for Lucid. One ext4 partition is created for Lucid and another, a swap partition, for swap space (emergency RAM). If you've got a swap partition already (for an existing Linux setup) that will be shared by Lucid so just the ext4 partition is created.

Pros  Easy, faster than manual partitioning, automatic.

Cons  No control of what partitions live where. /home doesn't get its own partition (although the Lucid Bible will show you how to do move a /home partition post-install). There's a *slight* risk of damaging pre-installed operating systems, as indeed there is with the largest continuous free space and advanced manual methods discussed below.

Erase and use the entire disk

The easiest option with one big partition plus a few gigs of swap, this wipes the disk bare, exclusively for Lucid.

Pros  Easy, no-brainer.

Cons  No separate /home partition. Then again, that can be done post-install. (You'll have to Google for that ‘cos I've not written it up, sorry.)

Use the largest continuous free space

Ubuntu's installer scans your drive and, if there is a space large enough already, will choose it. If you're thinking of opting for this option it's likely a good idea to defragment first (with a decent defragger ideally, say Raxco PerfectDisc).

Pros  Easy, no-brainer, trace chance of damaging existing OS'es (but the risk is remote anyway .. 1 word: backup!)

Cons  The largest continuous free space is most likely at the slow end of the drive. No separate /home partition but, again, that can be done post-install [insert GuvPlug here].

Specify partitions manually (advanced)

The best of Ubuntu's install options for a more secure, future-proofed PC.

Pros  You take control, building your PC around your needs. While partitions aren't immune to disk damage, they do add a thick layer of protection and make further system upgrades down the road less worrisome and more straightforward.

Cons  A headache the first time. So it's lucky you're reading this guide, huh 😛

You are paying attention, right?! Read on for the detailed procedure ..

Check the box, click Forward and Ubuntu scans your disk or disks (for a PC with multiple drives).

The Prepare Disks page opens and charted out is the layout of your disk/s along with a partition summary.

Study the chart and its summary with your partition plan to hand ..

.. Er, you don't have a partition plan? You've missed a step .. the most important step in the installation process! Check out Future-Proofed Partitioning: Best Advice 4 Lucid, have a think, then pop back here.

So. Compare your strategy with the chart and partition summary, finalising where on your PC to put what partitions. Being such a nice chap, I'll give you three typical examples which can be mixed and mashed ..

  1. Simple Shrink  Say your drive has been unchanged from its factory install, comprising one big ‘begging-for-trouble' Windows C drive. You can reduce that single partition from either end and, with the freed up space, add whatever partitions you now want. This is rather like Ubuntu's Install them side by side option except you can add extra partitions.
  2. Double Shrink  Maybe you've got both C and D drives (your old Windows data drive). With this scenario you could chop out a whole in the middle. Put another way, trim C from the end nearest D and D from the end nearest C. With the gap, you guessed it.
  3. Slice ‘n Dice  Whether instead of or additionally to either or both the above, you could shrink the far end of your drive, furthest away from the first partition, creating new Lucid (or Windows-Lucid-shared) partitions there. If you're a speed freak remember this though: just as the innermost part of a wheel spins faster than the outer edge, so the first partition runs faster than the last .. so ideally you'd have your key OS on the first partition and your data on the second. Unless you have pitiful RAM the swap can be last.

… You get the idea. Lots of options.

More Partitioning Tips

Swap is Optional  Swap space is Linux' equivalent to Windows' virtual memory, the practical difference being that it has to be on it's own partition as opposed to being a file.

The old addage has been to allocate double your RAM size for the swap space – so for 512mB RAM that's a gig of swap, and that equation would make sense. But what if you've got 8gB RAM? 16gB swap? Hardly. More likely you don't remotely need any .. unless you're crunching something really massive like a Wall Street bonus.

.. The old addage is largely out-dated and wasteful (just like the Fed then.)

Ubuntu has reckoned for this. With the advanced manual partitioning option you can now opt to omit swap. Should you?

I take a purposeful don't-really-know position here, plumbing for a 2gB swap space to compliment my 4gB RAM and, even with (commonly) dozens of FireFox tabs on the go plus VirtualBox plus this that and the other and his brother .. my swap barely kicks in.

(For sluggish boxes we'll play with Swappiness later in this Bible, BTW, and that's just too exciting.)

If you do install with no swap space, you'll get a nag screen pop up after the Prepare partitions screen, saying that a little swap plays nice for better memory management .. call me gullible, that's good enough for me.

Partitions for Media etc  Create as many partitions as you want, leaving the mount point blank to be addressed later (see guv's Automatically Mounting Partitions guide).

File Systems  Lucid will read most file systems, including Windows tipple ntfs; even the communally-challenged Windows will read Linux ext3/4 file systems when it's given a boot up its proprietary arse.

Neither Windows nor Linux will read alien systems as quickly as their native systems though. For shared partitions, if you intend to use them predominently with Linux, go ext4 or, if with Windows, go ntfs.

Allowing for Windows *  If you think you may add a Windows system on one of your partitions at a later date, give that an ntfs file system.

* Better still, check out this site's guides to running Windows within VirtualBox on a pure Linux setup and never again have to reboot all the time.

Secure backup folder  This should ideally be on a separate drive.

.. You get the picture, there are options to consider, particularly for sad-sod tech-heads, er, like me. The most important thing is, did you back up your data?, just in case you are somehow unlucky and the whole thing goes volcano.

Advanced Manual Partitioning: Glossary

Using this advanced manual option and with your mapped out plan to hand, here are the Ubuntu partitioning functions to create an ideal setup:-

New partition table  The table is essentially a list of partitions on any given drive. This option deletes the existing table with all its partitions and everything in them. Choose this to wipe a drive and build a new partition structure. To add a partition to the new table, click on free space and then Add.

Add  To utilise this, click on free space, then Add. Up pops a dialogue box requiring the details:-

  • Select size  The size to make the partition.
  • Use as  For Lucid and those data partitions you wish to use primarily with Lucid, choose the ext4 file system for all partitions except for swap, which requires a swap system.
  • Mount point  Specify what the partition is for. The first available space should be for / (the root of Lucid's system), the next partition for your data, or /home, then whatever else you want. If you've got decent RAM, bung the swap partition at the end of the drive on the last partition. If you're low on RAM, make it the first partition.

Click OK to reserve the partition. To add more partitions, click on free space again, rinse and repeat.

  • Revert If you make a mistake, undo it.
  • Change To use, highlight the partition to change. Up pops a box and you can, for example, change the size. You can also change the file system, say, from that of Windows (ntfs, fat32 ..) to that of Linux (ext4 is best).

Primary or Logical?

In practise, they are the same so it doesn't matter. Lucid's partition manager is awfully clever with this little head-scratcher, by default giving you the first partition as primary and all the rest as logical. That'll work and I'd be interested to hear any reason to over-ride it, which you can do if you're a tweak freak. (If you do, the deal is you can have four primary partitions with the fourth containing as many logical parts as you like.)

Why Not Use GParted?

GPArted is a cracking partition manager but, for this purpose, it's overkill.

You'd more likely use it when, having installed Lucid, you realise I was right to advise you to bin Windows and shove it in VirtualBox instead and, at that stage, decide to switch the old Windows partition to some useful purpose like housing your AC/DC discography.

Otherwise, while GParted is a comprehensive programme, it's less user-friendly than Ubuntu's partitioner (which is more user-friendly with Lucid than before, albeit slightly).

.. That said, sure, you could set up all your partitions with GParted and then, on installing Lucid and coming to the partition manager, simply allocate your GParted-created, Lucid-targetted partitions to the new operating system.

And with your disk space allocated, my ol' ducks, that ends the_guv's 101 to manual partitioning for Saucy Mynx 10.04.

Finishing up Installing Ubuntu

  • Whatever Partition strategy you chose, having instigated it click Forward.
  • On the Personal Identification page, spiel off your basic logon details ..
  • .. The only query you may have here concerns the logon preference itself, with one option being Require my password to log in and decrypt my home folder: not very well worded maybe but, should you choose this, your home folder is encrypted for extra security but unlocks when you log in and that's particularly sensible for multi-user PC's. Click Forward.
  • An installation summary is given on the Ready to install screen ..
  • .. On the Advanced… tab you can specify Boot loader and Network proxy options. I'd tell you more but Boot loader is hardly my long suit and I play with my proxy settings having installed. Here's a clever place to grub up on boot though (if you're really bored).
  • Still on the Ready to install screen, hit Install. It will.
  • Have a nice cup of tea. Likely the best advice in this tutorial.
  • Your partitions will be configured and Ubuntu installed.
  • When the Installation Complete dialogue box pops up, click Restart now.
  • When prompted remove the CD from its tray and ‘Enter' to reboot.

My Lucid Install Hangs!

Here's deja-vu. Just as with Karmic, Lucid hangs right at the end of the installation, when it should reboot.

Likely this is a beta thing, because I'm writing this using the final release candidate installation disk, else the kernel doesn't like my machine.

If that happens to you, just do the technical thing: hold down the power button to force-reboot whilst swearing.

In my case that worked a treat and despite this single Lucid installation hiccup, all serene, upon reboot the OS kicked up as expected.

  • Up pops Lucid's shiny new login screen (after the boot manager if you have a dual boot machine). Chocks away.

Accessibility Features

Should you wish to enhance contrast, resize fonts and icons and so on, Lucid Lynx delivers exciting options. Click on the accessibility icon on the login screen to take your pick.

And voila, cue the Dashboard: you have a purple pussy. Toy with it as you will. I'll get me coat.

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About the Author:

Olly Connelly (yeah, that's me) blogs at guvnr.com, polices WordPress security at wpCop.com and helps noobs build web servers at vpsBible.com, so if you've got sleeping problems you know where to come.

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