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Get Ubuntu Hardy Heron (8.04 LTS) up and running on HP DV 2000 in no time

In howto on May 22, 2008 by theoryl Tagged: , , , ,

The following are the step-by-step procedures I used to setup Ubuntu Hardy Heron 8.04 LTS (released Apr 24, 2008) on my HP DV 2000 laptop (or DV 2015nr specifically). Most instructions applied directly to this model, but I’d say other models/brands will not deviate too much from these rather standard procedures I used.

Ok. First, grab yourself a copy of the installation disk image (.iso), which is roughly 700MB (can nicely fit into a CD). I recommend using torrent, although you can download from the server (warning: it’s very slow!). Once the .iso is downloaded, burn it into a blank CD-R. Nero can do it, although I prefer an open-source program called InfraRecorder.

Then you need to prepare partitions for dual-boot (I’m assuming you have already installed Windows, and you want to dual-boot). In order to have Ubuntu live side-by-side with Windows, you need an ext3-formatted primary partition and also a swap space (if it’s not primary, the partition won’t boot). The Ubuntu partition needs less than 2 or 3 GB, but there’s no harm in giving it more space; while the swap space should be as large as your memory (so if you have 512MB RAM, then make it 512 MB large). I would not want to go into details of partitioning, you can refer to a documentation here. As for myself, I used the very nice Paragon partition manager, but bear in mind it is a proprietary software.

Next, the installation should be very straight-forward, just like how you would install Windows. Boot the laptop with the Ubuntu installation CD. Follow the instructions (basically just click ‘Next’, and don’t worry about the time zone, you can adjust it after the installation) until it asks “How do you want to partition the disk?”, choose Manual if you don’t want to risk losing your data in Windows partition. Then it will scan your hard-disk and show the partition table of the hard-disk. You should see the ext3 primary partition and the swap space that you’ve created earlier. ‘Edit’ the ext3 primary partition to set ‘Use as: ext3’, and set ‘Mount: /’ ( ‘/’ is the root). Then, ‘edit’ the swap space to set ‘Use as: swap’. That should be it. Click several more ‘Next’, and Ubuntu will begin installing. All these are standard procedures. More details can be found at psychocats.net.

When the installation is completed, your laptop should reboot, and you will see a GRUB menu that let you select which OS to boot into. Boot into Ubuntu. There are some tweaking needed at this point. I myself was a Ubuntu Feisty Fawn 7.04 user before this. When I first booted into 8.04, I noticed it’s less responsive, which troubled me. Soon, I realized it’s due to Compiz Fusion that is installed by default. Since the graphic card on my laptop is very basic, there are some functionality that I need to turn off. Ubuntu does not come with a GUI to configure Compiz Fusion, so I need to install CompizConfig Setting Manager (ccsm). Open a terminal, and do:

sudo apt-get install ccsm

At prompt, enter the ‘root’ (which means administrator) password. Once it is install, use Alt+F2 to fire up a ‘Run Application’ window. Type ‘ccsm’ and return. ccsm is whiere you can customize all Compiz Fusion effects. Turn off/Disable everything under ‘Extras’ and ‘Image Loading’, I find them quite useless. Now, Ubuntu should be a lot more responsive. You can play with all the features offered by Compiz Fusion for some days, or even weeks. Trust me, they are addictive. Anyway, I want to keep going, so play with ccsm later.

One thing that never works out-of-box in HP laptops is the audio. However, things a re a lot less complicated with Hardy Heron, since useful packages have been installed by default. How to get sound to come out? It’s rather easy, do:

sudo gedit /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base

and add this line at the bottom:

options snd-hda-intel model=CONEXANT

Restart, and it should work now. If it doesn’t, type ‘alsa-mixer’ in terminal and adjust the appropriate volume. Also, right click on the speaker icon at the taskbar to see if it is muted, and to see if it uses the right device — it should be HDA Intel (Alsa Mixer).

Hardy Heron uses Firefox 3 Beta 5 as the default browser. Although I have heard hypes about Firefox 3, it does not seem as stable and as fast as advertised imo. Nonetheless, it’s a great browser, except that very few add-ons are available at this time. There are a few nice, essential to me in fact, add-ons that you should try: Easy DragToGo, Session Manager & FireGestures. I’m still waiting for the stable release of del.icio.us add-on, which may not hit anytime soon.  But, how to watch Flash or open PDF in Firefox 3 you wonder? For flash, it’s very easy. Just go to Youtube and randomly pick one video. Firefox will say you are missing some plugin and ask if you want to install it. Say yes and you’re done. To install Adobe Reader, it’s more complicated. You need to add Medibuntu repositories then do:

sudo apt-get install acroread mozilla-acroread acroread-plugins

Details are here if you really want to do it.

Since you’re doing dual-boot, you want to share files between the two OS-es. But, you can’t read Ubuntu file system from Windows, and neither the other way. Well, Hardy Heron has made this very easy. Just do:

sudo apt-get install ntfs-config

then you will be able to read Windows file system. If, on the other hand, you want to read Ubuntu file system from Windows, then go to fs-driver.org, and follow the directions there. Seriously, if you haven’t used previous releases of Ubuntu, you don’t know how troublesome it was to get this, as well as the flash player, to work. You should appreciate how much Ubuntu, or Linux, has progressed.

You may be annoyed that you have to type password every time you log in. But you don’t have to, actually! Just go to System->Administration->Login Window: Security tab->tick Enable Automatic Login. Also, you don’t like the looks of Ubuntu desktop? Go to gnome-look.org and look for great themes there. Also also, if you miss the Task Manager in Windows, you can find it at System->Administration->System Monitor

Lastly, if you want to type Chinese, go to System->Administration->Support: Supported Language->tick Chinese, Input Method->tick Enable support...

That’s it! You now have a fully functional OS that uses a lot less memory, is reliable, and can do much more (except gaming that is)! I recommend you try \LaTeX, ssh, scientific computing on the Linux OS and you will never look back. Good luck!!

edit: if you want something more from Ubuntu, read here.

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