Kubuntu 7.1 Install – Dell Inspiron 1150 – Part 1

This is part 1 of another multi-part post on upgrading the Dell Inspiron 1150 laptop.

My laptop already has Windows XP installed so I will be dual booting Kubuntu 7.10.

My first step is to back-up all my data as Kubuntu will be re-sizing and creating new partitions. This can be dangerous when it comes to keeping your data, so a word to the wise.

After backing-up I rebooted and inserted the 7.10 Live CD.

The CD booted and eventually displayed a KDE desktop that included an icon for installing to the hard drive. I clicked on the icon and the install began.

I won’t go into all the details because it’s not all that different from any other install. I will, however, note when things didn’t go as expected.

For instance, the install gives you the opportunity to set your partition size. I assumed here that this is referring to the size of the new Kubuntu partition, not the size of your present Windows partition. I was wrong. So, one of my Windows partitions (I have two, since I partition the drive in to C: and D:, where D: is where by data is stored) was much downsized.

This might have been a disaster had I had more data on that partition than I allowed for and did not have a back-up.

Immediately after setting the partition, the screen went black. I have no idea why that happened but by moving the mouse the screen came back. At no time during the balance of the install did this happen again.

After about 30 minutes of installing it was ready for a reboot and “final” configuration. I put final in quotes because, actually, there will be hours of configuration to get to a usable desktop. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

After rebooting, it looked like the audio, video, mouse pad, and Ethernet Internet access were correctly detected and configured. That said, there appears to be intermittent problems with video and the mouse pad.

In any case, at the time of this writing, there are about 70MB of updates to be downloaded to update the CD install. In running the updates, Adept Manager slowed at 82% while “configuring apt” and then scanning the mirrors and security updates. There was another slow down at 94% while configuring hardware.

After downloading, the updates installation began and progressed until reaching 59% where it stopped and said “There was an error committing changes. Possibly there was a problem downloading or the commit would break packages.”

I don’t know why a new install like this would have this problem. All I can say is I opened a terminal window and typed in “sudo apt-get update.” After running, this seemed to solve the problems. Knock on wood, so far, no other similar problems have surfaced.

Once that was cleared, I decided to use Adept Manager to install Mozilla Firefox. Unfortunately, as of this writing, Kubuntu does not have the latest version in its respository but I installed what was there anyway.

At this point, you have a desktop that is somewhat crippled because no commercial software is installed. This means, for example, MP3 music does not play. If you live in a sane country, you may be able to install what Kubuntu calls restricted formats. Following the link takes you to the instructions. Note, it refers to something called “Synaptic”. I’m not sure what that is referring to. I couldn’t find this installed, although it could have been. In any case, you could use Adept Manager to install Synaptic or you could probably just use Adept Manager instead.

Once found and the installation begun, you may notice the installation stops, displaying what lookes like a ncurses generated splash screen showing Sun Java. It appears Sun wants you to click on the OK button but if you use your mouse, it will not accept input. What you need to do is to tab into the window and then hit the Enter key. This moves it to the next screen where you again tab to the OK button and hit enter. This appears to be all the user input it needs and proceeds to the end.

As noted in the beginning, I also have Windows installed. You would think Kubuntu would note that and make the changes needed to mount this partition. But you would be wrong. Not only must you manually edit a configuration file, but even when you get access, it is read only. Sigh.

In any case, here are the instructions to mount your Windows partition.

The next part will go through the steps required to get wireless access going. Since I haven’t tried it yet and since this will be a long process, don’t look for this update until much later in the week or even next week. But don’t worry, I will do other updates in the mean time.

Aloha!

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