HP Mini – Time for an Update Pt2
The reason I wanted to look at the Ubuntu Netbook Remix (UNR) was the HP MIE operating system wouldn’t connect to my wireless router using any of the security settings. So, after a quick look at the new desktop it was time to try out the wireless connection.
The icon for the connection is at the top right of the desktop.
Getting connected was simple. Click on the icon; select Create New Wireless Network. The pop-up form will ask for the name of the network. A drop down menu lets you select the type of security. I selected WPA & WPA2 Personal (None, WEP 40/128 bit Key, and WEP 128-bit Passphrase are the other options). Selecting a security setting, other than none, brings a Password box – I entered the key phrase and I was connected.
That was it – time to install Ubuntu.
Over the years I have installed dozens of operating systems. This was by far the easiest I have ever done.
Selecting Quit->Reboot from the Desktop – I again force the system to reboot from the flash drive. This time I selected the Install Ubuntu Netbook Remix. After getting the warning that installing the OS will wipeout all the data on my hard drive and answering the usual requests for my username, password and setting the time there was nothing else to do.
A few minutes later the system was up and running.
Getting the Updates
Even though I downloaded the latest version of the UNR – I knew there would be updates. For those not familiar with Linux, updates to both the operating system and application software come out on an ad hoc basis. It is a good idea to check for updates periodically, and always after doing an install.
On the Desktop select Administration->Update Manager.
The Update Manager will download a list of the updates that are needed and prompt you to “Install Updates”. Pressing “Install Updates” will bring up a password prompt (I like secure systems – some people don’t — they get hacked). From there you need to follow the prompts. It is a two step process. The system first downloads the data it needs, then requests permission to actually install updates. It is a long process, with a DSL connection it took just over an hour and a half.
Once the process is finished – reboot the system.
Getting New Applications
For most people the excellent selection of software will be enough. However, I am not most people. My main work horse is gFTP – a FTP program with a graphical interface. And, to do that I needed to do a little investigating. And, knowing how Ubuntu works helped — a lot.
Ubuntu uses an application called the “Synaptic Package Manager” to add, delete and upgrade all the installed applications. Selecting the “Synaptic Package Manager” from the Administration Desktop gives a listing of all the available applications. However, gFTP wasn’t among them.
A bit of background (some what simplified). Ubuntu is based on an older Linux system called Debian. Both systems keep lists of Linux applications that are known to work on any particular version of the operating system. In this case I was just seeing those programs that the good people at Ubuntu had tested on the UNR system. However, on the Administration Desktop there is a tool called “Software Sources” which will let you access the thousands of other applications that, in most cases will work, but haven’t been tested on the system.
From the “Software Sources” tool I selected the “Third Party Software” tab and checked the two options available. Back to the “Synaptic Package Manager” – which now has A LOT more applications and select gFTP. The system will automatically select any other packages that the application depends on and prompt you to start the install.
A few clicks later and gFTP was installed.
No matter which netbook you own, the Ubuntu Netbook Remix is worth a look. Since it can be run from a flash drive there is no risk. With its ease of installation and wide selection of application software it is the natural choice for those who want to do real work on their netbook.
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