"Real men don't use backups, they post their stuff on a public ftp server and let the rest of the world make copies." - Linus Torvalds

Ubuntu 5.10

Thursday 27th October 2005

Categories: Reviews, GNU/Linux, FLOSS

Installation

I've dribbled on long enough about CDs - let's actually try Ubuntu! So, you whack in the CD, change the boot order, and you're off. As usual, I scribbled down some notes about the installation process. In this case, they are very sparse - besides stating what appears on screen at each stage... actually, that's it. There really isn't much to say about Ubuntu's installation process, but there are a few points to pick up on.

Ubuntu's entire installation process is clearly derived from Debian, including the partitioner. Although it has been cut down, it is still recognisable. As such, it is text-based - it may not feel as cosy as a graphical installation, but it does remove some of the potential for problems. One interesting thing that I noted was that I was never asked to enter a root password - more on that later.

Even without a graphical interface, Ubuntu is among the easiest distributions to install. By my count, from restart to login, there are approximately twelve screens to enter information - hardly a lengthy process. The only particularly difficult part was the partitioning, and even then it is relatively simple. Besides, partitioning is something in an installation that cannot be avoided - I don't think people would be very happy if an installation wiped your entire hard disk without asking, so at least Ubuntu makes it pain free.

Another positive is that Debian was detected as another operating system, although I'd be quite surprise if Ubuntu didn't detect it. At least that saves me having to edit the GRUB menu once the installation has finished, as I had to do with Fedora.

My last point on the installation is a criticism. Right at the very beginning, I was asked whether I wanted a basic installation (i.e. nothing but the base system) or a normal installation. I chose a normal installation seeing as this is supposed to be an 'easy' distribution, and most people don't want to be left without a GUI. At no other point could I select the packages I wanted - Ubuntu just installed them without asking. I suppose a single CD somewhat limits your choice, but any choice, whether choosing each individual package or choosing between different package groups, would have been nice. Interestingly, I'm told that Ubuntu should download quite a few more packages during the installation, but this never happened for me - once Ubuntu has connected to the network, it didn't touch it again throughout the installation. Ideally, I would have liked a list of applications that I could install, including those from the internet. Still, it doesn't install much rubbish, and you can always install more packages later.