Ubuntu How To

Geek!This is Sam-M’s submission for the HP Magic Giveaway. Feel free to leave comments for this article as you see fit – your feedback is certainly welcomed! If you’d like to submit your own how-to, what-is, or top-five list, you can send it to me. Views and opinions of this writer are not necessarily my own:

This is a ‘How-To’ for all you curious minds out there who like the idea of Linux and would like to have it either as a primary or even a secondary operating system, but are having trouble installing or need help with Ubuntu Linux. This article is focused mainly on Dell Vostro or Inspiron series notebooks since I explain how to fix the wireless problem that Dell initially has with Linux, but it can also be used for non-Dell users.

So, lets get started!

I will be teaching you how to install Ubuntu Hardy Heron 8.04LTS operating system, the wireless driver for Dell Vostro and Inspiron series notebooks, as well as the Compiz Fusion EyeCandy; the basics to get your Linux up and running with a working wireless connection as well as some cool desktop effects to go along with the whole Linux experience.

NOTE: Installation of Ubuntu 8.04 is actually pretty much the same as the installation of any other previous version of Ubuntu or Kubuntu.

Ubuntu requires a little bit of work to be done before it installs properly on your computer.
Follow this guide, and you will be enjoying the Linux experience in no time!

Step 1: Where to get Ubuntu

Ubuntu is a free / open source operating system. It can be downloaded for free, shipped to you for free on a CD, or you can also get newer versions of Ubuntu Linux all from the Ubuntu website.

Step 2: Installing Ubuntu (CD)

Important: If you choose to download Ubuntu, you are still required to go through this process. Follow the instructions that are available on Ubuntu’s website on how to get the downloaded file on to a CD. Once you have burned the CD, follow the steps below:

1. Preparing your computer through BIOS

This is a very essential step. This step prepares your computer to recognize the Ubuntu Live CD and uses the CD to boot first regardless of what operating system you have on your hard-drive.

  • Place the CD in your DVD drive and reboot the computer.
  • When you see the initial boot-screen with the Dell logo in the middle, press “F2.” This loads your BIOS where you are required to make a few changes.
  • Image 1

  • Now press the Right Arrow key repeatedly until the “Boot” tab is selected. Once in the Boot tab, press the Down Arrow key repeatedly until your DVD drive is selected. Now press the “+” or the “-” key on your keyboard to change the priority for the DVD drive (use “Shift” key for “+”). Pressing “+” raises the selection, which is in this case the DVD drive, and “-” lowers the selection’s priority in the boot order.
  • Once you are done with that process, press “F10” and then select “Exit Saving Changes”
  • Image 3

  • The computer will now reboot and will use the DVD drive first.
  • Image 4

Your computer is now set-up to load Ubuntu using the CD as its first priority.

2. Loading Ubuntu (CD)

Once your computer has rebooted, the Ubuntu Boot Options screen will first appear.

  • Press “Enter” to select “Start or install Ubuntu”
  • Image 5

  • Ubuntu will now start to boot up, this may take some time.
  • Image 6
    Image 7

3. Installing Ubuntu (CD)

Now that Ubuntu has booted, you will see the general layout of the Ubuntu Desktop. You will see a few icons, one being “Install” and the other being “Examples.” If you see any other icons on your desktop, they are most likely to be any external devices that you have connected to your computer such as a USB Flash drive, or an external hard-drive. Ubuntu is now running through the Live CD, you can play around with the system and get a hang of it and see if you like it. The system at this point in time will run relatively slowly as it is running off the Live CD. Lets go on and install the operating system on your hard-drive.

  • Click on the “Install” icon and follow the on-screen instructions.
  • Image 8

  • You will be asked to enter your time zone, keyboard layout, login name, and then finally, you will be asked to enter the location on your computer where you would like to install Ubuntu. Your options are according to the hard-drive you choose; Master: Erase the entire disk (and install Ubuntu on a clean hard-drive), Manually edit the partition table (and create as many partitions as you like and the size of each partitions. This option also allows you to have another OS running besides Ubuntu itself.) Your last option is a Slave or an external hard-drive, if you have one connected.
    • For the Manually edit option, you must enter one partition named “/” as mount point and the file system as ‘ext3’s and another partition called ‘swap’ and that must be of at least 200MB in size.
  • Follow any other on-screen instructions, and Ubuntu will start to install. This will take some time, anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  • Once Ubuntu is installed, it will ask you whether to restart your computer and run Ubuntu off the hard-drive or to continue using the Live CD.

You now have Ubuntu successfully installed on your system.

Step 3: Enabling all software-sources (a very important step)

It is very important for you to enable software-sources, as it allows Linux to download any necessary files and packages off Ubuntu’s website and other related websites. Following this step will be great help when installing the wireless driver as well as Compiz-Fusion EyeCandy later on in the tutorial.

  • Go to:
    • “System” tab
      • “Administration” tab
        • Software Sources
  • Under the “Ubuntu Software” tab, check-mark the following:
    • Canonical-supported Open Source software (main)
    • Community-maintained Open Source software (universe)
    • Proprietary drivers for devices (restricted)
    • Software restricted by copyright or legal issues (multiverse)

Image 9

  • Next, go to the “Updates” tab, and check-mark the following:
    • Important security updates (hardy-security)
    • Recommended updates (hardy-updates)
    • Pre-released updates (hardy-proposed)
    • Unsupported updates (Hardy-backports)

Image 10

Step 4: Installing Wireless driver using ndiswrapper (for Dell users only)

    (Please follow instructions properly and carefully)

  • First, with your Ubuntu desktop fully loaded, go to:
    • “Applications” tab
      • “Accessories” tab
        • Terminal
  • (NOTE: This setup works best on a fresh install of Ubuntu, and therefore it is necessary to uninstall all previous versions of ndiswrapper before we continue) The following code should be entered one at a time into ‘Terminal’:
    • sudo rmmod ndiswrapper
    • sudo ndiswrapper -e bcmwl5
    • sudo apt-get remove ndiswrapper-utils
    • (If you get errors, do not worry because these lines of code above are just there to confirm that there are no files regarding ndiswrapper present before we get into the installation.)

  • Now we get the needed packages for the installation, go to www.dell.com and download the appropriate driver for your wireless lan card according to your notebook model number. For those with Dell Inspiron 1501 series and Vostro 1000 series, the driver can be found here: http://ftp.us.dell.com/network/R151519.EXE
  • Now enter the following code:

    • sudo apt-get update
    • sudo apt-get install build-essential
    • sudo apt-get install linux-headers-`uname -r`

    • (Note: The characters around `uname -r` are back-tics and it is found above the “Tab” key and to the left of the number “1” key.)

  • Next, we need to download the ndiswrapper program and that can be found here: http://internap.dl.sourceforge.net/sourceforge/ndiswrapper/ndiswrapper-1.49.tar.gz
  • Next, we uncompress/unzip the ndiswrapper-1.49 file (In terminal, type the location where you have downloaded the files. In this example we’ll download the files to the desktop, so the location will be, home>user-name>Desktop, we’ll type this in terminal as: “/home/user-name/Desktop/ndiswrapper-1.49.tar.gz”)
    • tar -xzvf /home/user-name/Desktop/ndiswrapper-1.49.tar.gz
  • Now, we blacklist the default bcm43xx firmware drivers that try to install upon Ubuntu installation
    • sudo -s
    • echo blacklist bcm43xx >> /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist
    • exit
  • After rebooting, go to the location where you extracted ndiswrapper (in our example, the ndiswrapper directory is no longer, “/home/user-name/Desktop,” it is now, “/home/user-name/ndiswrapper-1.49”)
    • cd /home/user-name/ndiswrapper-1.49
    • sudo make uninstall
    • (enter the above code “sudo make uninstall” several times until you receive a message that says, no files and/or directories found)

    • sudo make
    • sudo make install
  • Now we install the Dell Wireless Lan Card driver, in terminal, enter the location where you downloaded the files (in our example, it is “/home/user-name/Desktop”)
    • unzip -a /home/user-name/Desktop/R151519.exe
  • Now go to the “DRIVER” directory in your ndiswrapper-1.49 folder
    • cd /home/user-name/ndiswrapper-1.49/DRIVER
    • sudo ndiswrapper -i bcmwl5.inf
    • sudo ndiswrapper -l
    • (you should see a message that says the following:

        bcmwl5 : driver installed

          device (14E4:4311) present (alternate driver: wl))
    • sudo ndiswrapper -m
    • sudo modprobe ndiswrapper
    • sudo echo ndiswrapper >> /etc/modules
    • (you should now see your WiFi light on your notebook illuminated, if its not, try pressing “Fn-F2”)

      • sudo -s
      • echo ndiswrapper >> /etc/modules
      • exit
    • Time to test the wireless adapter
      • sudo iwlist scanning

      (at this point, Ubuntu will tell you whether or not it has found any networks that you can connect to and even if it doesn’t, you should still see the following:

      • lo Interface doesn’t support scanning.
      • eth0 Interface doesn’t support scanning.
      • wmaster0 Interface doesn’t support scanning.
      • eth1 Scan completed)
  • If you see “eth1 Scan completed,” Ubuntu has installed your Wireless Lan Card successfully.
  • I would suggest for you to install ‘network-manager’ for a better user-interface and easier connectivity
  • (If it didn’t already install when you installed Ubuntu).

Step 5: Compiz-Fusion EyeCandy (the last step)

1. Preparing your Graphics Card

  • The first step to install Compiz-Fusion on your Linux is to enable your graphics card. Goto:
    • “System” menu
      • “Preferences” menu
        • Hardware Devices
  • With Hardware Devices window open, look under Device driver for your graphics card.
  • Check-mark “Enabled,” and click Close.
  • Restart your computer.
  • Once your Ubuntu is rebooted, you should get an icon in the system tray that says “New restricted drivers in use.”
  • Click on that icon, and Hardware Devices window should open again, but this time the Status should say, “In Use.” (If you are having a problem, you can leave a comment detailing what problems you are facing, and I will get back to you.)

2. Installing Compiz-Fusion

  • There are two ways to install Compiz Fusion in Ubuntu. One using Terminal and the other using Synaptic Package Manager.
    • The Terminal way
      • Go to: “Applications” menu
        • “Accessories” menu
          • Terminal
    • All the latest versions of Ubuntu such as 8.04 and 8.10 come with Compiz-Fusion pre-installed. All we need to do is install the Compiz-Fusion Settings Manager
    • In terminal type:
      • sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager
    • To run Compiz-Fusion Settings Manager, scroll down to “3. Enabling Visual Effects”
    • Next we install the necessary packages, in Terminal type:
      • sudo apt-get install compiz compizconfig-backend-gconf compizconfig-settings-manager compiz-core compiz-dev compiz-fusion-bcop compiz-fusion-plugins-extra compiz-fusion-plugins-main compiz-fusion-plugins-unsupported compiz-gnome compiz-plugins compiz-wrapper libdecoration0 libdecoration0-dev libcompizconfig0 libcompizconfig0-dev python-compizconfig fusion-icon simple-ccsm emerald
      • (Copy the above and paste it in Terminal, as is, if necessary)

    • The Synaptic Package Manager way
      • Go to: “System” menu
        • “Administration” menu
          • Synaptic Package Manager
    • Click search and enter: “compizconfig-settings-manager”
    • Click on the box and select “Mark for Installation.”
      • Click “Mark” on any following window if it asks about Dependencies

Image 11

    • Next search for “Emerald” and follow the same instructions as above.

Image 12

    • Once finished, click the “Apply” button.
      • This will start the download and installation procedure.
    • Once installed, close the “Synaptic Package Manager”

3. Enabling Visual Effects

  • Now go to the “System” menu
    • “Preferences” menu
      • Appearance
        • Click on the “Visual Effects” tab
        • and then click on “Extra” and then close the window

Image 13

    • Your visual effects should now be enabled.
  • Now go to the “System” menu again
    • “Preferences” menu
      • Advanced Desktop Effects Settings
      • (Here you can enable and disable the effects you want, such as 3D desktop effects; Cube Effects; Water and Fire Effects; Closing, Opening, Focusing, Minimizing Effects, etc.)

Image 14

4. Themes

  • Go to the “System” menu, once again
    • “Preferences” menu
      • Emerald Theme Manager
      • (This is the program we installed when we were in Synaptics Package Manager)

  • This is where you can access your themes that you can download
  • You can download themes from http://themes.beryl-project.org/
  • It is recommended that you download emerald themes to your Desktop
  • Once you have a theme downloaded to your Desktop, open “Emerald Theme Manager” and click on the “Import button”

Image 15

  • Browse to your Desktop and select the downloaded theme, and click Open.
  • Activate the theme by clicking on it and then close the Emerald window.
  • Press “ALT-F2” on your keyboard and enter: “emerald –replace”
  • This will activate your theme
  • Once your theme is activated, you can move the downloaded theme file anywhere you like.

Congratulations! You have now successfully installed one of the latest versions of Ubuntu Linux, the next major operating system. You can browse the web, open documents, spreadsheets, presentations, chat and do much more with the next generation visual effects that OS X and Vista wish they had.

I hope you enjoy your Linux experience. If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to post them below in the comments section. I’d love to hear from you!

26 thoughts on “Ubuntu How To”

  1. I really do like Ubuntu. I’ve been thinking about installing it using Wubi, but this tutorial is great! 😀 Thanks! 🙂

  2. Very nicely done, Sam-F. As far as Ubuntu installation guides go, this one is the best one I’ve seen that has all the steps in one page. Good job!

  3. Thanks, that helped me to be less scared of ubuntu because I already installed it in VMware in my Mac but deleted after 10 minutes because I was lost 😀

  4. Hey Readers!
    Just a quick reminder about the article above. In “Step 4,” I am mainly talking about the Broadcom43xx Wireless Lan Card. This is because that is the Wireless Lan Card that most notebooks come installed with nowadays regardless of brand name. And Ubuntu has some problem identifying that card right out of the box. So, check your system specifications, if you happen to have the Broadcom43xx or similar Wireless Lan Card, this How-To might be of some help. 🙂


  5. Wow, nice guide I have been looking for an easy one and not complicated guide for awhile now. Thanks!

  6. Good tutorial samM only step 3 has me a bit worried. You say to people to allow ubuntu to look for unstable and not documented or supported updates. Me as a long time ubuntu user would never recommend to put those on, only if you know what your doing because the might break you system. I don’t know if you said this because of some update for this dell particularly or not because i don’t have a dell but my point is still valid.
    Never the less i’m still going to link this on my site. Good luck with the contest.

  7. These instructions should work out great if the reader is on the exact same Dell model as the author.
    If you have any other system you will be constantly translating each step to your configuration starting with a less proprietary BIOS SETUP
    It would be more helpful if the steps were explained as to what you are trying to accomplish instead of “this keystroke is to be used”, which would help the reader get through using shortcuts and his own system configuration.
    The whole bit about partitioning parameters is where the average user will get totally lost, and once you have partitioned – Xp is very unforgiving. A little more clarity is needed there.

  8. Great post – really. And I am routing for him. That said:

    Correct everywhere and well detailed, but overkill in the wireless dept as per usual.

    I HATE NDISWrapper, its a crutch for cheapskates IMHO. But I do not blame newbies for this. It is those idiots in the forums that keep screaming on about it like it is the second coming or something equally significant.

    Locating compatible wifi dongles is not dificult – just search Lockergnome!

    Basically, my wifi tute would have been:

    1) Buy a ZyXEL G-220 (either version)

    2) Plug in to usb port

    3) Connect to network with 8.04 (best) or 8.10 (NM is buggy, but works)

    4) Enjoy

    (With this specific notebook, “may” have still need to echo
    blacklist bcm43xx to get the dongle working, but that is it for
    command line)

    If cheapness is an issue, go get.a $15 Wibee usb wifi dongle, even if it is not as the rock solid ZyXEL. Again, the Wibee is showing as up and down in signal strength with 8.10 (buggy Network Manager), but it actually works out of the box and is stable enough for use.

    But hey! Clearly, spending an hour or two configuring wifi as to save a few bucks is vastly “better” it seems. Who needs free time? 😉

    I own multiple natively working USB wifi dongles – really wish both the Ubuntu users and developers would stop this insanity with Broadcom – seriously, just stop – it sucks, let it die in Windows boxes where it belongs. You do have a choice, I just presented you with two them. Google this link for the other two. 🙂 Hint, the USG is way better than the UG and think cooling pad anytime you use wifi with an older notebook.

    I would also point out that network manager in 8.10 is sorta buggy, be it not a shop stopper. It has some cool new features, but for wifi in the native sense, 8.04 blow it out of the water – hence the value of using a long term release over the latest.

    I also would have spent time on printer setup as it is really easy these days – plug it in and enjoy. That and Wubi coverage over the Live CD would have been wise as well.

    Just my two cents. Wifi aside, good piece – well done. 🙂

  9. Since Chris had mentioned about ubuntu in 2005/2006 I have been an avid fan of Ubuntu since Hoaryhedgehog. Their second release of linux under their name. And loving it on all of the computers that I have installed it on. Very reliable and stable for any workstation/desktop, laptop, and server. I’m currently using the latest version of Ubuntu 8.10 but it is another dirivative through ultamatix. Called Ultimate edition ubuntu. Amazing stuff with all the new games. Take a look and see everyone. Chris if you have a chance take a look as wel this is a plus for gamers as well who want to play games under Linux. http://ultimateedition.info/ultimate-edition-20/ it is a must to take a look even without the game add ons.Both 32 and 64 bit are available.



  10. Your article was really helpful for me to learn how to let my labtop to boot from cd drive first,as I needed it to install my kubuntu. I also liked the way you taught how to install compiz fusion on for my kubuntu. I’m so glad that you took the time to write such an article.


  11. Nicely informative article. This is being typed from an Ubuntu system which due to laziness, administration fatigue from work (27 workstations plus 3 servers) and general annoyance, I’ve come to use exclusively for Internet and general day-to-day use. Sometime come spring, I’ll get around to reloading Windows XP on the other system to improve it’s stability, but execpt for Adobe products and a few necessary Windows programs, it’s funny how little I miss it. How well does the Adobe CS3 suite run on Server 2003?

  12. A question about compiz. I m planning buy an Inspiron 1525 and has x3100 that is said having problems with compiz. Is it true? Has anyone tried and works ok without mods?

  13. Max, try my way of installing Compiz and if it works, perfect. If it doesn’t, however, I will try and look up an alternative for you. Which version of Ubuntu are you running?

  14. None yet. I m planning buy a new laptop after holidays so i m between the dell and toshiba u400-10n. I prefer the toshiba, but both have that card. And i dont want those effects that are fantastic to be messy or not work at all. I ll put of course 8.10.
    Excellent guide, hope you get the stuff 😉

  15. Thanks Sam,
    I am new user with Linux, this was a very user-friendly guide =). The Ubuntu installation was a success, I hope you see more guides from you.

  16. Thanks for the step-by-step guide! It was simple enough for me to understand therefore eliminating the possibility of be screwing up along the installation process :P. I’ve been dabbing into Linux here and there and have mainly left it aside due to it’s complexity, but you’ve helped me pick it back up with this easy to use guide. I’ve successfully installed the OS and am very happy with the results, hope to see more great guides from you!

  17. Your article was really informative. Im a novice computer user and have never used Linux before. Using your guide im sure i could install ubuntu successfully! Thanks!

  18. Sam-M, great tutorial. before I had read this tutorial, I had no idea what ndiswrapper was, I tried using ihmo but had no luck. I think i have the same dell as you. and so I tried your ndiswrapper idea and it worked great!

  19. First of all I’d like to say, nice tutorial!! =)
    Secondly, I’m having some major problems with downloading Compiz Fusion, the big lengthy code that you had there, it keeps giving me an error in terminal! What do I dooo? Any help would be great!

  20. This is truly a great article. I’m a noob when it comes to Ubuntu, but I’ve been using it since 6.10 came out. But never actually got around to understanding how I can get accustomed to this operating system. When 7.04 came out, I used Beryl, and it worked fine — I got it by Fluke! (lol). I’ll go back to my point, reading this tutorial I now understand what to do and why to do it that way. I got compiz fusion to work on my hp dv4z 😛
    Good Luck with the contest bro!

  21. GREAT tutorial. the only problem for me is that i cannot seem to get my linksys wireless g with speedbooster pc wifi card to work with ubuntu

  22. Mmmm for Blackzmage, try Ubuntu 9.04 beta. I have just used a Linksys usb stick on my Dell Inspiron 530 over SMC rounter using Apple Airport Express as base station and I have no problem getting the wireless network running. On the other hand I couldn’t get D-Link usb stick to work. I wonder! I alove my Ubuntu though, I have been using it over 2 years now.

Comments are closed.