How hard can it be to install Linux?

Ah! see … folks go on and on and on about how lovely and shiny Linux is, and how much better it is than Windows.

So I dug out Jane’s old PC and fired it up with the Live CDs of:

  • Ubuntu 7.10 – didn’t load the Live CD
  • Ubuntu 6.06 – loaded Live CD, but wouldn’t install
  • Kubuntu 7.10 – didn’t load the Live CD
  • Kubuntu 6.06 – loaded Live CD, got bored waiting for install
  • Xubuntu 7.10 – didn’t load the Live CD … and it’s for old, crap PCs!! 😉
  • Ubuntu 5.whatever – installing right now, but won’t recognise the network

Not as easy as these so-called experts make it out to be, ay!

Mind you, it probably doesn’t help that Jane’s old PC is made from twigs and previously ran Windows 98. 😉


00:19 Monday

I really should have added the wink 😉 at the end of the last paragraph — I’ve added it now.

Woohoo! I persevered as Ubuntu 6.06 seemed to get so far before falling over.

So after updating the PC’s BIOS — after much detective work I discovered that the motherboard is a M810L v.7.1a from PCChips — I was able to boot to the Ubuntu Live CD and install from there … once I’d used GParted to manually delete all the partitions on my hard drive.

Thanks for the advice Richard, but I really wanted to check out Ubuntu having used it very successfully before. And I’m not the kind of person who just gives up because something’s not working. That’s how I learn. 🙂

Published by

Gareth Saunders

I’m Gareth J M Saunders, 52 years old, 6′ 4″, father of 3 boys (including twins). Enneagram type FOUR and introvert (INFP), I am a non-stipendiary priest in the Scottish Episcopal Church, I sing with the NYCGB alumni choir, play guitar, play mahjong, write, draw and laugh… Scrum master at Safeguard Global; latterly at Sky and Vision/Cegedim. Former web architect and agile project manager at the University of St Andrews and previously warden at Agnes Blackadder Hall.

10 thoughts on “How hard can it be to install Linux?”

  1. Gee, I guess Linux doesn’t work. You know, wouldn’t it be a good idea if there was more than one Linux? Ubuntu in all it’s various desktop incarnations is still Ubuntu. So something like a completely different Linux… Hey wait, there is. As a matter of fact, there are about 10 other top notch distributions you could try. If Ubuntu didn’t work on your computer, then I would doubt very much that any other Ubuntu would. My brothers computer hates Linux. I tried DSL, PCLinuxOS2007, Fedora 7 and Ubuntu 7.10. None of them worked. If they loaded at all they ran REALLY slow. I finally tried the latest SimplyMepis. It not only worked, it ran really fast on the CD no less. I was amazed. So the point is, you can’t say Linux is hard to install because you didn’t try Linux, you tried Ubuntu in its various flavors. You can say Ubuntu is hard or impossible to install, but Linux, no, you didn’t try Linux, you tried A Linux.

    I would suggest you try DSL, Puppy or SAMLinux. They work well on hardware-challenged machines.

    1. If you want to try out Linux #! a.k.a. Linux crunch bang. It’s distro is is Ubuntu but it does not look like ubuntu at all. It is not on the top 10 (I have not checked lately) but it is easy to use and works on almost any computer. Also it is not big on space it worked on my 10 gb hard drive (I am using a dinosaur until my other computer is fixed). please give feed back via email.

  2. Richard: distributions do not just “not work”.

    I’d suggest you read up and consider trying the `alternate’ CD for ubuntu gutsy, or some kernel commandline parameters (noacpi / noapic / whatever else), or a recent debian/testing CD.

    1. What about putting linux onto a usb and booting from there I have tryed this with Linux back track 3 (a off-beat file recovery OS) its like DSL (damn small linux) but a lot easyer to use plus it sports a cleaned up gui.

  3. Hi Richard, sorry, I should have added a 😉 to my post in various places. It was mostly tongue in cheek.

    I guess that some of my other regular readers (like Tim) would have got that.

    I do realise that Ubuntu != Linux. I just wanted to try out Ubuntu as I’ve used it successfully before. I’ve updated my post appropriately.

    And got Ubuntu to install. It just required a BIOS update, I think.

    I’m really looking forward to checking it out now.

  4. with a system that is too out of date for xubuntu, try Puppy Linux, or Damn Small Linux. I’ve had puppy running on a 64mb RAM, Pentium 2. Puppy is the best for older systems in my opinion, and it looks smooth as ice too. The file system mounting is more complicated than ubuntu, but doesn’t take too long to figure out.

  5. Well in that case, thank you. I get a little testy around Ubuntu. It’s not that it isn’t a great distribution, it is, but it is not the only great distribution. If the Ubuntu CD was the one that worked on my brother’s machine, then that’s the one that would get installed. We’ve been deceived by a great monoculture, the Windows Dynasty. In Linux we have a system that has created multiple distributions, why narrow it down to one again? I understand that there’s no need for hundreds of distributions, but a dozen or so should keep the ecosystem healthy. I use PCLinuxOS and I’m very happy with it but is it the right distro for everyone? Not for my brother it isn’t.

  6. Richard, you’re right about (at least 🙂 one thing. I run quite a few Ubuntu boxen but I’m not actually sure why; I do generally prefer Debian/Testing for the simple reason that there is *never* any major upgrade lurch. Not every 6, 12 or even 18 months. Just every day, a drip of updates to packages that haven’t changed in a fortnight, and that’s it. I really wish Ubuntu would institute such a system, because if I wanted the 6-month-reinstall-everything hell, I’d run Fedora. 😉

  7. QUOTE We’ve been deceived by a great monoculture, the Windows Dynasty. In Linux we have a system that has created multiple distributions, why narrow it down to one again? /QUOTE

    Indeed, and I’d hate for anyone to suggest that Linux should be reduced to just one or even two distros.

    I happened to have a couple of Ubuntu and Kubuntu (6.06 and 7.10) CD-ROMs lying around (like you do), that’s why I persevered. I’ve also got SuSE, Fedora, an old Red Hat distro, DSL and a couple of other distros sitting around on DVDs or CDs.

    Ubuntu has got me out of a few scrapes in the past, so I’m rather fond of it.

    Ironically, I’ve had most of my Linux experience doing command-line stuff (or via FTP or SCP). Learning how to do the GUI stuff is quite fun … like leaning another language.

    I suppose I should shut down my new toy and go to bed, it’s now 02:15!

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