Saturday, April 24, 2010

ubuntu update

So in the last two weeks I have been working on trying to get the Ubuntu computer up and running with the NComputing boxes attached to it. First things first, getting Ubuntu installed. This turned out to be more difficult then it probably should have been because of the equipment I am using. The first machine I was trying to install the OS on to was an older computer without a DVD player (it was a Dell Pentium III - like I said, an older computer). The latest version of the OS (Ubuntu version 9.10 as of this writing) can be downloaded as a bootable image, but it is over 3 GB in size so it has to go on a DVD disk. So that was problem #1. Of course, there is always the USB key option, but the BIOS on the machine was sufficiently old enough that booting to the USB drive isn't an option. So, the answer to that little quandary was to install the older version 9.04 (whose bootable image fit on a CD) and then update to 9.10 (the update is available via either the internet update within the software or you can download the update-which also fits on a CD disk).
Then on to problem #2, trying to put Edubuntu on the machine. In case someone isn't familiar (and up to about a month ago I didn't know what I was talking about either!), Edubuntu is a derivative of Ubuntu which has all of the educational programs already installed on it. While you can get them each as individual downloads, it is easier to get the whole version at once. They have it broken up into primary, secondary, and tertiary modules and including all kinds of different pieces of software, all free. Again, version 9.10 is too big to fit on a CD so I had to use version 9.04. Well, I guess that once I updated to version 9.1 Ubuntu, I couldn't put the 9.04 version of Edubuntu (I kept getting an error saying that it wouldn't install). So, I had to wipe the machine, install Ubuntu 9.04 from the CD and then install Edubuntu 9.04 and then upgrade to Edubuntu 9.10. Not too big of a deal, but time consuming. With the older equipment, an install takes about 40 minutes. And then another 30 minutes for the Edubuntu install. Ahhh, but that falls right into problem #3.
Once I had the 9.10 Edubuntu software installed, I completely lost my ability to open the My Computer option on the computer OR use the CD-ROM drive! For whatever reason, I could not use the graphical interface at all (nor could I get the CD-ROM drive to do anything else but eject from a DOS prompt). My assumption is that the older hardware was a problem. So, to review, at this point I have the latest version installed on the computer, but I can't do any of the graphical interface things that make it work like Windows. Needless to say, not a great showing. So, I am going to have to find some newer hardware and see what happens. And so that is where I will end for now. More to come!

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