There are two ways to obtain the Ubuntu operating system. You can go to the Ubuntu web site at https://shipit.ubuntu.com/ and ask them to send you the lastest distribution on CD. You are cautioned that although Ubuntu is free, it could take up to ten weeks before the CD will arrive in the mail. The "ship me the CD option" exists for those who do not have access to another computer to download Ubuntu. Almost everyone I know burns their own CD image. We want it now, why wait ten weeks.
To download Ubuntu go to: http://www.ubuntu.com/getubuntu/download , select a site, begin your download, save it to you hard drive, and go get a cup of coffee. At the moment the current distribution runs 690 Mb. Expect it will take a little bit of time to download depending on your connection.
Ubuntu downloads in an .ISO format also known as a disc image which includes all the files and file metadata in one file. To load Ubuntu, we will need to burn this downloaded .ISO file to a CD, that it can be read in a DVD/CD drive. This creates a small problem. Your popular DVD/CD burners do not support creating a CD from an .ISO file.
To burn the .ISO to a CD, Ubuntu recommends downloading an ISO burner program called, InfraRecorder, for free from: http://infrarecorder.org/?page_id=5 Download InfraRecorder and install it on your system.
The first gotcha to look out for is one that got me. We are going to burn the 690 MB image to a CD, NOT a DVD. What happens if you burn to a DVD is the burn may go too fast, and skip some things in the .ISO file. The result is a corrupted disk. When you go to Install Ubuntu, an error message something like: "Loading isolinux: Disk error 32, AX = 4222, drive 9F Boot Failed" may appear, which will leave you scratching your head.
The solution is to use a CD, not a DVD. Make sure the CD you put in the drive to burn can store 690 Mb of data. Put the CD in your drive and start infraRecorder. InfraRecorder will start and a bunch of disks will come up in a visual menu on the main screen, ignore them, and go to the top menu; select Actions>Burn Image. Find and select your .ISO image and click OK. Screen shots for each operating system to show you the step by step process of using IsoRecorder are located here: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/BurningIsoHowto
Burning the image will take some time, so go get another cup of coffee. Get out a marker pen for the CD and label the disk, "Ubuntu 9.10." Your done. You now have a bootable CD disk that will load the Ubuntu Operating system on your computer. We will cover that in our next article.