The Ubuntu alternate version is supposed to be the desktop version with RAID added and using the basic Debian character based installation process to let you use RAID. I tested it on one of my computers. Here is the result.
Standard AMD 64 bit system with an SSD, A couple of magnetic disks to use in a RAID 1 array.
The BIOS is set to boot from CD. The disks are displayed in the Award BIOS from 2007 as IDE devices. There is an
OnChip SATA Type set to
SATA->AHCI. AHCI gives you better error reporting. Everything else is standard.
Boot from CD
You change the BIOS to boot from CD then boot from CD. Leave the hard disk as the second boot device. Part way through the installation you remove the CD and reboot from disk. The next time you start your computer, you can remove the CD from the boot sequence in the BIOS.
There are 66 languages to choose from. This language is used only for the initial installation screens. During the installation process, you select the language to use on the computer. After installation you can add extra languages.
If there are several people using your computer, they can select a language before logging in. They can also set a language in their user profile after they log in and that language will be used whenever they are logged in. Word processors and Web browsers also have a language setting to override what you set in the operating system.
You get a list of options.
- Install Ubuntu
- Check disk for defects
- Test memory
- Boot from first hard disk
- Rescue a broken system
As described in another article, Ubuntu desktop upgrade 10.4 to 10.10 failed because I did not check the media, always run
Check disk for defects before starting an installation or an upgrade.
Check disk for defects
You may have to battle through mount messages to get the scan of the CD working. Linux appears to forget the CD is already in place and asks you to
mount it again, where mounting is the simple act of inserting the CD in the CD drive. Sometimes you can just hit enter a second time on a mount message and Linux will recognise the CD.
Look for the magic message: The CD-ROM is valid.
You could check memory. Memory is one of the most reliable components. I never find memory errors on computers I assemble. I recommend testing memory when old computers are upgraded or this is your first time on hardware assembled by someone else.
Install Ubuntu [Enter]
Ancient Debian character menu
You are now back in the 1960s with bell bottom jeans and character based menus.
Choose a language: English [Enter]
Choose a country, territory, or area: Australia [Enter]
Detect keyboard layout: No [Enter]
Origin of the keyboard: USA [Enter]
Keyboard layout: USA [Enter]
Configuring the network
Hostname: small [Enter]
Configure the clock
If you are connected to the Internet, a timezone is displayed based on the possible geographic location of your IP address.
Is the timezone correct?: Yes [Enter]
Partitioning method: manual [Enter]
There is a bunch of raid partitioning required here. I have two disks and want a boot partition, a swap partition, and a partition for the rest of the files. I want them in RAID 1 for reliability. There are some notes on RAID at the side.
If I had more disks, I would separate the home directories from the system partition. I make that separation on severs and NAS style devices.
I deleted all the existing partitions on each disk then defined a 197 MB RAID 1 partition on each disk for the boot partition. Linux currently boots from RAID 1 but not RAID 5. If you have many disks, put two together as RAID 1 for the boot partition then use the rest of the disks in a RAID 5 array.
I added a 4 GB swap partition to both disks. A swap partition equal to memory size is useful. If I put the whole 8 GB on one disk, I would have to leave an 8 GB empty space on the other disk. Splitting the swap space into two equal size partitions gives me equal size remaining space on each disk for the remaining partition.
The rest of the space on both drives became a RAID 1 partition mounted as
Do you want to boot your system if your RAID becomes degraded? Yes [Enter]
Write the changes to disk? Yes [Enter]
Installing the base system
Ubuntu will jump through several steps with the first one formatting partitions and the rest copying files from the DVD.
Set up users and passwords
Full name for the new user: peter [Enter]
Username for your account: peter [Enter]
Choose a password for the new user: arterioscope [Enter]
Re-enter the password to verify: arterioscope [Enter]
Use weak password? Yes [Enter]
Reply Yes for the following option when using a notebook with no other form of encryption.
Encrypt your home directory? No [Enter]
Configure the package manager
You might need a special setting if you are behind a restrictive proxy server. Most small networks are behind intelligent routers and do not need anything special. Big companies usually work the other way round and ban everything then force you to use a special proxy setting that bypasses all the restrictions in the proxy server.
HTTP proxy information: [Enter]
Install the GRUB boot loader to the master boot record? Yes [Enter]
Finish the installation
Is the system clock set to UTC? Yes [Enter]
You get a message asking you to remove the CD. Remove the CD.
The system reboots.
The system is faster than previous versions of Ubuntu. Everything video related is faster.
The alternate install is more work than the desktop install but it gives you RAID and RAID 1 on my little test computer is worth the extra work.