Notes on Installing Ubuntu Linux -

Here we give a simple procedure to install Ubuntu Linux on Windows 7. One great thing about Ubuntu Linux is that it does not need a harddrive partition of its own. You can install it into your Windows machine's C: drive! You do need at least 8 GB of free disk space.

You can also install Ubuntu Linux on an Intel-based Mac machine running Mac OS X. In order to do that, you need to first create a hard disk partition to hold Ubuntu Linux before installing it. Please see the instructions below. After you have finished installation and are able to run Ubuntu Linux, you can continue with using the Ubuntu Desktop.

I don't have a Chromebook, so I don't know if it's easy to install Ubuntu Linux on it. Please check the ChrUbuntu web page and let me know if it works for you.

Links Suggested by Students
Here are some links suggested by students (which I have not or could not verify). If the other procedures described on this web page did not work, may be you can give these links a try.

Windows 8:

Windows 7:

Mac OS X:


  • VirtualBox (this is a reliable way to get Ubuntu running on your Mac Os X; this can be slower than other approaches, but if you have a fast Mac, doing it this way can save you a lot of frustration)

Chromebook and Tablets:

  • Chromebook and Tablets are not general purpose computers. They may be good for surfing the web and reading e-mails. But they are not good choices for OS development.
Download and Install Ubuntu Linux on Windows 7
If you have a Windows 7 laptop or desktop, the easiest way to get Ubuntu Linux running is to download and install Windows Ubuntu Installer (WUBI). This guide will assume that you will use WUBI to install Ubuntu Linux.

Visit the Windows Ubuntu Installer (WUBI) web page and click on the big Start Download button and run the downloaded wubi.exe program. You will get a screen that looks like the following:

Set the Installation Size to be at least 12 GB, set the Username to the same as your nunki/ loginname, and enter your password (it does not have to be the same as your nunki/aludra password) and confirms it. Then click on the Install button. Part of the installation process is done on Windows (and it would take a while for this to finish). When that's done, you will see the following screen:
Select Reboot Now and click Finish to reboot your machine. At this time, your machine will be booting Ubuntu Linux to finish the installation process. A few minutes later, you will be prompted with a login screen. Select your loginname and enter your password and your desktop would be running on top of Ubuntu Linux! If this is your desktop machine, Ubuntu Linux may have automatically detected your printer (and may be other devices). In this case, you may get a window on your desktop asking if you would like to install a printer driver for your printer. Please read the on-screen instructions and decide which way you would like to proceed.

By default, you are an administrator on your machine. Any time you get a popup box asking for administrator password, just type in your Ubuntu Linux login password for your account.

Dual Booting and Uninstall on Windows Machine
From now on, if you reboot your machine, as your machine comes up, you will be asked to choose between Windows 7 and Ubuntu. Just use your keyboard's up and down arrow keys to select what you would like to run. If you don't do anything, Windows 7 is selected and will be started. If you would like to run Ubuntu Linux, you need to selected Ubuntu and press the <ENTER> key.

To remove Ubuntu Linux, simply boot into Windows 7, run Control Panel and select Programs and Features. Click on Ubuntu to uninstall it. After you have done this, your machine will just boot straight into Windows 7.

Ubuntu Desktop
On your Ubuntu desktop, there are a bunch of buttons on the left. This is the Laucher area. It's like the Dock on Mac OS X. Here's a brief explanations of the functionalities of these buttons in the Launcher.
This button allows you to search for a program on your machine and run it. If you simply press the <ALT> key (or the Windows key, if you have a Windows keyboard) on your keyboard, it would be the same as pressing this button.

Try this... Click on it and type "Terminal" and click on the Terminal icon to run the gnome-terminal program. A Terminal button will be added temporarily to your Launcher. Right-click on that button and select Lock to Laucher since you would most likely use the gnome-terminal to ssh to nunki/ The gnome-terminal program can have multiple tabs. You can press <Cntrl+Shift+t> to add a tab and press <Cntrl+PageUp/Dn> to circulate between tabs. Select Set Title from the Terminal menu to give each tab a title can also be quite useful.

This lauches your filesystem viewer (similar to Windows Explorer on Windows or Finder on Mac OS X).
This lauches the Firefox web browser.
This lauches the LibreOffice Writer program. It's quite compatible with Microsoft Word. It can read and write .doc, .docx, and .rtf files.
This lauches the LibreOffice Calc program. It's quite compatible with Microsoft Excel. It can read and write .xls, .xlsx, and .csv files.
This lauches the LibreOffice Impress program. It's quite compatible with Microsoft PowerPoint. It can read and write .ppt and .pptx files.
This lauches the Software Center whenere you can download and install additional software onto your machine (kind of like an App Store). In addition, it can also show you what programs are installed on your machine and let you uninstall them.

If you use Adobe Photoshop a lot, the free software that comes closest to the functionality of Adobe Photoshop is probably the "gimp" program. Launch the Software Center and type "gimp". The rest should be easy to figure out.

Sometimes, the Software Center popups by itself if you are installing something in Firefox. For example, if you go to "" with Firefox, you should see that a plugin (to play Adobe Flash) is missing. If you proceed to install the plugin on Firefox, you will see that the Software Center is needed to finish the installation.

This lauches the Ubuntu One client program. Ubuntu One is free and you can use it as your "personal cloud". A free subscription will get you 5 GB of free storage space in the cloud and you can sync-up any directories in your account with the Ubuntu One cloud drive. This way, all your development work gets backed up automatically (this is probably a good reason to use this free service). Also, if you have multiple machines all running Ubuntu Linux, you can sync them up through the cloud drive.

To get this set up, you should first create an account on and launch the Ubuntu One client program. The client program will create an Ubuntu One folder in your home directory and you should put all your development work under it. When the client program is asking you to choose which folder you would like to sync to the cloud, check the Ubuntu One folder. You may include other directories such as Music and Pictures, if you'd like.

This lauches the System Settings program (similar to Control Panel on Windows and System Preferences on Mac OS X).
This lets you switch workspaces (not the same as desktops). By default, you get four workspaces. After you click this button, double-click which workspace you want to work in. This is pretty useful if you are running too many applications all at once.
Install More Software
Many software on Ubuntu Linux are free, although they may not be installed by default. You can use the Software Center to install more software. Alternately, you can install them over the commandline using the Terminal (i.e., gnome-terminal) program, if you know the precise names of the software packages.

Here's my list of must-haves for developing C++ and Java programs and for viewing PDF files:

  • g++
  • javac
  • java plugin (for web browsers)
  • acroread
To download and install them, first, start an instance of Terminal. Then enter the following command:
    sudo apt-get install g++
The apt-get is the program for downloading and installing a piece of software. But only administrator can install software. Although you are an administrator on your own machine, you do not run at the administrator privilege level normally. The sudo command is used to temporarily raise you security privilege to the level of an administrator in order to execute the rest of the command you typed into the commandline (in this example, that is "apt-get install g++"). Therefore, when you run the above command, you will be prompted to enter your password before the rest of the command can be executed. The good news is that if you run the sudo command subsequently in the same console, you will not be prompted to enter your password, unless your console has been idle for a long time.

Software came from Software Repositories (also known as Software Sources). Ubuntu uses a couple of default repositories. Some software, such as Adobe's acroread program, are on Ubuntu partner's repositories. To include Adobe's repository, you need to start the Software Center, select Software Sources from the Edit Menu, click on the Other Software tab, and click on the Add button. Copy and paste the following line into the textfield where it asks for an "APT Line":

    deb natty partner
Then go to your Terminal and enter:
    sudo apt-get update
to connect to the newly incorporated repository. At this point, you can download and install all the software mentioned previously by doing:
    sudo apt-get install g++
    sudo apt-get install openjdk-6-jdk
    sudo apt-get install icedtea6-plugin
    sudo apt-get install acroread

Please note that when you run apt-get from the commandline, it often asks you to confirm that you really want to install the software you asked for. This means that you cannot run a bunch of these commands in a script easily.

Please also note that you can only run one instance of apt-get at a time. Internally, the Software Center also invokes apt-get to download and install software. So, if the Software Center is busy installing a program, you will be blocked from running apt-get until the Software Center is finished.

Download and Install Ubuntu Linux on Mac OS X
If you have an Intel-based Mac machine (running Mac OS X) and you don't have Windows installed on it, you need to first create a hard disk partition to hold the Linux OS before you can install Ubuntu Linux.

To check if you have an Intel-based Mac machine, click on the Apple logo, select About This Mac, and click on More Info. If the "Processor Name" starts with "Intel", then you have an Intel machine.

Partition Your Mac Hard Drive

To create a hard disk partition, start a new Finder window, select Applications, scroll all the way to the bottom and select Utilities, then double-click on Disk Utility to run it. In Disk Utility, click on your main hard drive and click on the Partition button in the right pane. Your main hard drive partition should be selected automatically and its attributes shown in the right pane. In the Size field in the right pane, it should be showing the size of your main hard drive partition. Reduce that number by 16 GB (since we want to reserve 16 GB for Linux). Once you have enter the new size, press the <TAB> key to tab out of that field. You should see that the graphic will show that the partition size has been reduced. Click on Apply and this will shrink the size of the main partition by 16 GB. You will be prompted to confirm that you want to re-partition your hard drive. If everything looks good, click on the Partition button in the popup window to confirm. It should take a minute or two for the Mac to verify that the updated partition is intact.

The above procedure opens up 16 GB on your hard drive so that you can install Ubuntu Linux into this open space. Just leave it open and Ubuntu Linux will know what to do with it!

Download Ubuntu Linux & Create CD/DVD

The next thing is to download Ubuntu Linux and create a bootable CD/DVD.

Visit the Ubuntu Desktop Download web page, select whether you want the 32-bit or 64-bit version of Ubuntu Linux (most likely, you would need the 64-bit version, especially if you have tried the 32-bit version and got an error), and click on the big Start Download button. We will use the 64-bit version of Ubuntu Linux as an example here. Save ubuntu-12.04-desktop-amd64.iso on your hard drive. It will probably take a long time to finish downloading this file. When you are done, open a Finder window so that you can see the downloaded ubuntu-12.04-desktop-amd64.iso file.

Open Disk Utility. Drag ubuntu-12.04-desktop-amd64.iso from the Finder window into the left pane of Disk Utility and put it below your hard drive. Put a blank CD or DVD into your CD/DVD-RW drive. Click on ubuntu-12.04-desktop-amd64.iso in the left pane of Disk Utility and click on Burn in the right pane to create a bootable CD/DVD. Please note that the created CD/DVD can be used on both Windows and your Mac since they are all Intel-based machines!

Installing Ubuntu Linux

IMPORTANT: I strongly recommend that you plug your Mac into a wired network! It's the best way to ensure that everything get installed properly! (If you only have a wireless connection, during the installation process, you will be prompted to choose a wireless connection. Make sure you select it. In this case, I'm not sure if everything will get installed properly. Although I think most of the stuff should work fine.)

Restart your machine with the installation CD/DVD in the drive. Hold down the C key as your machine restarts to boot your machine from the installation CD/DVD. (You may have to hold down the C key for quite a while. You can let go the C key when you see a dark screen instead of the white screen with a grey Apple logo.)

Select "Install Ubuntu alongside Mac OS X". By default, the slightly smaller than 16 GB drive will be selected. The installer would partition the 16 GB partition into two partitions having sizes shown on the screen. If you want to make the Linux partition larger, you can drag the divider to the right. When you have decided how large the Linux partition you want, you can click on Connect to continue.

Dual Booting and Uninstall on Mac

When your Mac starts booting, hold down the Options key as your machine restarts. You may have to hold down the Options key for quite a while. You can let go the Options key when you are offered to choose between Mac and Windows. (Don't worry, you don't have Windows.) You can press the <TAB> key to switch between the two choices. Press <ENTER> when Windows is selected and you will be booting into Ubuntu Linux.

There is really no need to uninstall Ubuntu Linux since it's invisible on the Mac (unless you boot your machine and hold down Options). If you really want to delete Ubuntu Linux and reclaim the disk space occupied by Ubuntu Linux, you should contact the instructor.


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