Ubuntu linux for dummies

By in Software Reviews on April 2, 2010

ubuntu linux desktop

Maybe some of you already know about Ubuntu but I am sure that there are still some internet users that don’t know what is Ubuntu although they already heard the word Ubuntu a few times.

For those that do not know a damn about Ubuntu, don’t worry because this post is written completely for beginners. For easy understanding, I make this post in question and answer style. Just follow the question and answer one by one.

What is Ubuntu?

I am sure you know about Windows. There are Windows XP, Windows Vista, and the latest one is Windows 7. Those things are called operating system. Windows is an operating system by a company called Microsoft (the same company that produced Microsoft Office). Besides Windows, there are other operating system like Mac and Linux. Ubuntu is a distrubution under Linux. There is also other linux distrubution such as Puppy Linux, Mint and Fedora.

Why Ubuntu?

Since there are other Linux distributions, why a lot of computer user use Ubuntu? Actually you can use any type of Linux distributions thay you preferred. Fedora is suitable for server management, Pupply Linux is small and suitable for troubleshooting hard disk, and Mint has the interface that quite like Windows. For Ubuntu, most people like it because it has friendly user interface compare to other Linux distribution. If you are new to Linux, I suggest that you try Ubuntu first before going to other Linux distro.

Why Ubuntu over Windows?

What so special about Ubuntu compare to Windows. I am sure a lot of people ask this in their minds. Firstly, Ubuntu and other Linux distributions is open source. That means they are free of charge. Compare to Windows, you need to pay hundreds for the genuine version. And it’s hard to update pirated Windows version. By using Ubuntu, you do not need to worry law and you can always update Ubuntu without worrying about license being blacklist.

Besides that, Ubuntu is tough against viruses. Or to be more correct, viruses have difficult time to operate in Ubuntu and other Linux distributions. That’s why some Ubuntu users do not mind to let their PC without any anti virus. So do I.

After installing Windows, you need to install other application like MS Word, Alcohol 120%, PDF Reader, and other important softwares on your own. Ubuntu make life easier because most important softwares are included. Very convenient. More about Ubuntu softwares and applications are elaborated below.

So, how to install Ubuntu?

Firstly you need to download Ubuntu distribution (in ISO format) at Ubuntu website. The file size around 700MB.

After that, you can choose a few ways to install Ubuntu. The first one is by using bootable CD (or live CD), second one by using live USB, and the third one by using USB Start Up Disk Creator that is available in Ubuntu OS. So which one do you prefer?

If you want to use bootable CD, you just need to use burning software to burn the ISO image of the Ubuntu in a CD.

If you are cheapskate and don’t want to spend money on CD, you can try to make live USB by using Unetbootin. I prefer live USB because it’s a lot convenient and can easily be erased or replaced with another distribution. Besides that, I don’t have CD burner right now.

The last one is to use USB Start Up Disk Creator that you can find in Ubuntu OS. To do that of course you need to know someone that use Ubuntu. If you found one, go to them and and ask them to make a USB Start Up disk for you.

What should I do next?

Then you just need to restart Windows and change boot sequence so that CD is above hard disk. If you are using live USB, make the USB flash disk as the top. This will boot CD/USB instead of your hard disk that contains Windows partition.

At the start up screen, you can choose to install Ubuntu or just proceed with Ubuntu without installation (Test Mode). You can choose which ever you want.

What you should know before installing Ubuntu?

In order to install Ubuntu, you should have a unused partition. This is because you’re going to install Ubuntu in a different partition than Windows. Besides that, Ubuntu use EXT partition while Windows live on NTFS file system. So both of them cannot work in the same partition. You can either clear a partition by moving them to other partition or use partition software to resize and create new partition.

During installation, you would be asked between Side By Side installation, Erase and Use Entire Disk or Specify Partition Manually.

Lets choose Specify Partition Manually. After that you need to delete the partition that you had prepared before for Ubuntu. Then, create two new partition from the free space. One partition is formatted as EXT2 (10GB size, install it in / ) and another partition is formatted as SWAP (2GB). The SWAP is used as cache or virtual memory in case your current physical memory don’t have enough available space.

By doing this, you just have a dual boot OS. At the start up, you can choose either to use Ubuntu or Windows.

That’s the hardest part in installing Ubuntu. After that it’s just like installing Need For Speed. Oh, Ubuntu installation is very quick compare to Windows. You would not have enough time to grab a meal.

Okay, now I am interested to try Ubuntu. However is there a way for me to test drive Ubuntu first? I am worried that I might do something wrong during installation process.

Lucky. By using the virtualization technology, Ubuntu can now be installed as virtual drive under other OS (operating system) by using VirtualBox. That means you can install Ubuntu in Windows XP. Basically, VirtualBox is used to install other OS inside current OS. That means VirtualBox is not limited to put Ubuntu inside Windows but you can also put Windows inside Ubuntu OS. You do not need to worry to install Ubuntu in Windows by using VirtualBox because it not dangerous since the installed OS is only a virtual drive. You can delete the virtual drive anytime you want in a single click.

Can I just keep using Ubuntu in VirtualBox instead of installing Ubuntu in new partition?

Yes, you can. However you need to remember that the Ubuntu installed by using VirtualBox is nothing more than a virtual drive. To get more speed, I recommend you to install Ubuntu on a separate new partition.

Yahoo! At last I succeed installing Ubuntu. So it was not really hard. Can you recommend me softwares for Ubuntu?

Ubuntu 9.10 already included several important softwares. That means you can start using these softwares after Ubuntu finished installing. With windows, you need to install most of these softwares manually.

  • Word Document – Open Office (can open MS Document too)
  • Archive (.zip, .rar) – Archive Manager
  • Picture Editor – GIMP Image Editor (a lot more better than paint)
  • CD/DVD Burner – CD/DVD Creator
  • Chat – Empathy IM Clien (for YM, Google Talk, AIM, and a lot more)
  • Partition Manager – GParted
  • Internet Browser – Mozilla Firefox

If you want more, there are tons of Ubuntu Linux applications that you can install by using either Ubuntu Software Manager of Synaptic Package Manager.

Can I install Windows software in Ubuntu?

At default, you cannot load .EXE program in Ubuntu. Ubuntu only works with .DEB program. However you can install Ubuntu program that is called Wine that can make Windows application works in Ubuntu.

Okay, now I have .DEB file. So what I need to do to install the program?

You can either double click the .DEB file and let Debian Package Manager do the rest. Or you can use terminal to invoke the installation process. Terminal is like Command Prompt in Windows.

To invoke installation, you just need to type “sudo dpkg -i file_name.deb”

Ps: That’s all for now. I will update this from time to time.

3 thoughts on “Ubuntu linux for dummies

  1. 1

    i`m want to download Yahoo Messeger, pls help me

  2. 2

    Very nice tutorial. Thank you. I can’t wait to try out ubuntu with virtual box. Please add more information asap.

  3. 3

    Hi Dreamer.. thanks for visiting Mr.Review.
    However I feel bad to tell you that I’ve stopped using Linux.

    However I had written about virtual box before.

    Check it on http://mrr2.com/how-to-use-virtualbox/

    The content is short but valuable I guess.