Ubuntu 8.10 has been released today, and given the leaps forward in ease-of-use and presentation that the last few releases have made, I’ve been counting the days. There’s always the option of upgrading, or even just leaving /home unformatted when you reinstall. Personally, I always like to do a clean install of the distro when it’s released, giving me a shiny clean system every six months. The downside is that I always forget to back up something, so I thought I’d post up my experiences this time so that I don’t get caught out by the same old stuff next time – so I guess this is a basic pre- and post-install guide for Ubuntu 8.10.
Getting Hold of 8.10
I downloaded the 698.8Mb Desktop distribution for i386 in about 35 mins using the Bittorrent download, available straight off the download page. You’ll need a writable CD to burn the downloaded ISO image to and then install from.
Ubuntu 8.04 will take good care of you with Transmission for Bittorrent and Brasero for CD burning out of the box.
Saving your Life (Backing Up)
The advent of online services like del.icio.us (I know it’s delicious.com now, but I like the old name!) makes some of the tedium of backing up obsolete, but there’s still a few bits and pieces to take care of. A bit of discipline in filing stuff away as you create it really helps – and it’s about now when I really wish I had that kind of discipline! Anyway, you might want to think about:
- Documents – do you keep your CV, finances and letters on your computer?
- Web Site Usernames and Passwords, if your browser remembers them for you.
- RSS Feeds – Firefox has Import and Backup options in Bookmarks > Organise Bookmarks.
- Bookmarks – I use del.icio.us! Again, Firefox has you covered if you don’t.
- Add-Ons – do you use browser plugins and add-ons? I do (Delicious, Firebug, FireFTP, ChatZilla and Elasticfox), and if I don’t note down the ones I use I’ll be wondering why my browsing experience sucks for weeks. Same goes for anything else you use that supports plugins.
- Email – do you use an email client? You’ll probably need to back up contacts, messages, calender entries, etc. Google and Yahoo tools store all this stuff up on t’internet for me.
- Wireless Network Keys – yep, I always forget this too. If you’re connecting into a secured wireless network you’ll need a copy of your keys to get back on again.
And if you write software…
- Code – I’m an Eclipse user, so I back up projects I want to keep from the filesystem. I suppose the right way to do this is to use a version control system, and I did recently discover Unfuddle.com which gives me free SVN hosting – so I’ll be trying to use that to resynchronize with my backups as a failsafe.
- IDE Plugins – yep, plugins again. Luckily, the nice folks at eclipse.org provide a bunch of full downloads for different development targets. I also use Spring IDE and some PHP plugins at the moment but I’m going to take the opportunity to try out Zend Studio for Eclipse.
- Databases – this is the one I always forget. If you want to carry on as if nothing has happened, you’re going to want to back up your database(s) structure and data. I’ve used mysqldump to back up a database I’m working on right now, so I’ll be trying to recover from that.
Whatever else I’ve forgotten is gone really soon now. The obvious bit – don’t back up your stuff onto the hard disk you’re going to be formatting. I use removable media to put my backups on.
If I never post again, then the install went horribly wrong…
Still here. The installation was pretty painless as is par for the course with Ubuntu these days. Boot was clean, wireless came straight up, removable media mounted no problem. The wireless light on my Dell Vostro is working too, which it didn’t on 8.04, but it seems to blink when there’s traffic which might get to be pretty annoying. I’ve posted a way to stop it flickering here.
Apply the Latest Updates
I’d say don’t try and activate your video drivers, it didn’t work for me. First job – updates.
System > Administration > Update Manager
Installed the updates and restarted. After the restart, I was able to activate the NVIDIA restricted driver without a problem – after the obligatory restart.
Install the JRE/JDK
Next, the JRE and if you write Java, the JDK, docs, etc. I just grab these out of the repository, so use
System > Administration > Synaptic Package Manager
Search for java6 (unless you want a different version) and then install the packages you want. I install them all except the demos and examples. You’ll need to grab the java 6 documentation zipfile and drop it into /tmp owned by root:root to install the docs from the package manager – precise instructions are given during the install.
Up and Running
So now the system is usable and you can carry on with any other app installs you want. You’ll probably want to set up the Medibuntu repository for the non-free (as in speech) software like Flash, Microsoft fonts, etc.
Add the repository:
sudo wget http://www.medibuntu.org/sources.list.d/intrepid.list --output-document=/etc/apt/sources.list.d/medibuntu.list
And the GPG key:
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install medibuntu-keyring && sudo apt-get update
Finally, here’s my list of essential stuff to install:
- MS Fonts
- Acrobat Reader
- A/V Codecs
Which can be installed using this command – watch out for w32codecs if you’re not on i386 32 bit architecture:
sudo apt-get install msttcorefonts acroread acroread-plugins mozilla-acroread flashplugin-nonfree libdvdcss2 w32codecs skype
Now it’s just a case of installing other software and putting those backups back on the system.
If you found your way onto this post, I hope it was helpful. If there’s anything you think I can do to improve this post then please leave a comment.