Ok, today's the day! Ubuntu 8.10, Intrepid Ibex, will be released. Here are a few tips about downloading and installing it.
- The download is about 700 Mb. With today's broadband internet speeds, that's not gigantic, but it's still non-trivial. There is likely to be a huge demand for it initially, so it would be nice to avoid the kind of problem that OpenOffice.org suffered last week when their new release came out. The simplest and most obvious way to get it is to go to the Ubuntu download page and select the version you need. Be sure to select a location near you to download from! However, if you are able to download via BitTorrent, you could go directly to the Ubuntu BitTorrent download page and pick it up from there.
- Once you have the .ISO file downloaded, you need to burn it to a CD in ISO format. If you have one of the popular CD-burning packages installed - Nero, EasyCD, etc. - you should be able to use that, just make sure that you burn it in ISO format; if not, you can go to the Ubuntu Community Documentation Burning ISO HowTo page for instructions on Windows, MacOS and Ubuntu, including links to free/open source ISO burning software.
- Once you have the ISO CD, there are several ways you can proceed. You can simply boot the CD, and let Ubuntu come all the way up without actually installing it or changing anything on your computer, so that you can see how it looks and works, and then decide to do the full installation from there if you want. If you already know that you want to install it, you can run the installation procedure directly from the CD.
- If you run the installation procedure on a computer which has Windows already installed, you will have the choice of either reducing the Windows disk partition to make room to install Ubuntu, or overwriting the entire disk with the Ubuntu installation. If you're installing Ubuntu for the first time, you would be well advised to keep your Windows installation. However, the Ubuntu installation script offers to reduce the Windows partition to just about the absolute minimum that is actually in use, and that doesn't leave you much room to work if you want to keep using Windows after the Ubuntu installation. In my experience, choosing the "Guided" option and specifying a Windows partition size that is about 20% larger than the currently used space is a better choice.
- The Ubuntu installation will take about 20-30 minutes. When it is complete, it will tell you to shut down, remove the CD and reboot. If you chose to keep your Windows partition, it will actually boot to a Grub bootloader menu that will give you a choice between booting Ubuntu or Windows, but the default will be Ubuntu and there is a 10-second timeout, so if you don't respond within that time, it will boot Ubuntu automatically. You can select Windows (and stop the timeout from running) by pressing the up/down arrow keys.
There you have it! Now you can run Ubuntu, and Windows if you chose to keep that intact. I'll post again later, when the distribution is actually available, and I'll include some tips on setup and configuration that I hope will help make it more comfortable for new Ubuntu users.