Ok, let's get back to getting our computer system built. Now that we have installed our hardware components in the case, hooked all the cables up, and got the system to "post," so we know that the hardware is working correctly, it's time to load the operating system.
The operating system we're going to load is Ubuntu 9.10. It was just released last Friday. Ubuntu is a version of Linux. Linux is an open source operating system, many people have taken Linux and changed it to suit their needs. There are a lot of different versions of Linux, one of which is the Apple operating system. The different versions of Linux are called "distros." We talked about this in another post.
I choose Ubuntu, because it is one of the most popular distros out there, they are committed to making an operating system that competes with Microsoft, and finally they have a strict update schedule of a new release every six months, which means they are committed to continuously improving their software.
Before we load Ubuntu we want our own CD of the operating system. The operating system installs from the CD. It currently takes 690 Mb of space. There are two ways to obtain the Ubuntu CD. You can ask Ubuntu for it, and they will send you a disk, or if you're like me, and can't wait, you can make your own disk. Let's walk through creating your own disk.
Click on the Begin Download Desktop 9.10 (32-bit), select your location, and start your 690 Mb download. It will take a while depending on your connection. This downloads a compressed file with an .iso extension. Do not load the Windows Installer version, which is made to install over top of a Windows installation.
After you download the .iso file, you'll need a CD disk burning software that will burn an .iso file. An iso file is an archive of a disk image, which is what we want to end up with. Windows Media will not do that. I recommend downloading the open source .iso burner recommended on the Ubuntu site, called InfraRecorder. To get this in Step 2. of the Ubuntu site, click on "How to Burn a CD Image." Scan down the page until you come to the operating system your using to obtain the .iso image. Click on InfraRecorder to download and install it. After InfraRecorder is installed go bak to this page and follow the directions for your operating system.
After the CD is complete, were just about ready to load the operating system. To check the CD, put it in the DVD drive you used to obtain the iso image, and reboot your computer. The CD is set up so you can boot the Ubuntu operating system from the CD. If Ubuntu comes up on the computer, the CD is ok. Do not click "Install Ubuntu" on the Ubuntu desktop. We'll do that on the computer you built.
If you'd like to look around the Ubuntu desktop before hand, feel free to look around. We'll get into the operating system itself later. When your done, take the disk out of the DVD drive, and reboot your computer to get back to your other operating system. You may also want to tour the Ubuntu Features here.