16 March, 2007

Installing Ubuntu, Part 1

A lot as happened in the last three days, and I hope to recapture it all as accurately as possible in this post.

First, a few reflections about the process. I started my "Ubuntu Odyssey" (and that is indeed what it has been) almost a week ago. If I had had one full, unadulterated block of time, a day perhaps, I may have been able to finish this project. That is not my reality, though. Instead, I had to break down the project into steps, and whenever I had a free hour or two, I worked on it. More often than not, each session ended with a roadblock or dead end -- very frustrating but also beneficial in that I had time between steps to reflect and seek help from others. As it would happen, Ron (my husband) works with a Linux disciple who is all too happy to offer advice. Thanks to this fellow and Ron, I have been able to pretty much avoid a complete nervous breakdown.

So, after the whole download debacle (See posts from March 12th and 13th.), I decided to just go ahead and burn the sucker on a CD-R disc and fore go the whole md5sum nightmare. This burn took about half an hour. Then, I followed the instructions for the CD integrity check found at the Ubuntu website. In about five minutes, the CD passed the test.

My next order of business was to erase my hard drive, or so I thought. Ron told me this was called an f-disk command, but he had never performed the operation before and could not tell me how to do it. I searched the Internet and found step-by-step instructions for erasing a hard drive at computerhope.com. I followed the steps as best I could, but, like the md5sum, my computer would not recognize the f-disk command. I fiddled with it for the better part of Wednesday morning. In the interim, Ron talked to his Linux friend. According to him, all I had to do was install Ubuntu; the installation process would take care of the hard drive for me. Great!

So on Thursday morning, I began the Ubuntu install. First, I started up my computer (which, for the record, is a 2003 Compaq Presario 2100 that runs Widows XP) and immediately hit the f2 key to get the set-up menu. I selected "boot from CD," inserted the Ubuntu CD I had burned a few days earlier, exited the set-up menu, and restarted my computer. When the Ubuntu screen popped up, I selected the first option, "Install Ubuntu." The desktop appeared rather quickly, and I double-clicked the install icon in the upper left corner. I was hopeful that the rest of the process would resemble the 30-minute, 6-step procedure that Jason described in his blog. But that was not to be. I started at 7:02 a.m. My computer locked up twice, once at 7:27 and again at 7:47. When it froze up the second time, I quit trying to install.

Now it is Friday, and I am trying to decide my next move. Do I resume efforts to wipe my hard drive clean in hopes of making the installation go more smoothly? Do I wait for the arrival of the Ubuntu CD I ordered from Amazon before trying again?

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