Preparing for Installation

The first step was to download the Ubuntu Studio distro (12.04 LTS) which I did from UbuntuStudio.org. I chose the 64 bit version to make full use of the hardware in the Workstation. As I wanted to install the distro from a USB Flash drive and not a DVD, I then downloaded the wonderful little tool from Pendrive Linux that does it all for you.

There are excellent instructions on how to install the iso image that you download from the studio website onto your flash drive, so I’ll skip over that bit…

As the workstation is using 3 monitors, I was somewhat concerned that I would lose functionality with Linux but a little bit of research told me that the chances of getting the third monitor to work were good. Two of the three monitors are plugged straight into the graphic card. The third is using a USB to DVI interface for which there is no official Linux driver … but there may be some workarounds.

So, once the BIOS had been set to boot from the USB drive first, it was time to give Ubuntu Studio a test drive and check how much of the hardware was still working!

The First Major Problem: Partitioning!

Everything seemed to work well, including the wireless mouse and so on. The third monitor had a nice green screen, which I was hoping to see. It indicated to me that I had a good chance of getting it working – as promised.

I started the installation program and it confirmed I had at least 7,5 Gb of HDD space, a working internet connection and asked me whether I wanted to download updates as I installed (“yes, please”) and whether I wanted third-party licensed software, such as MP3 decoders (“definitely, yes, please!”)! So, I hit continue, and after quite a while waiting…..

….I was faced with my first problem.

I was offered 3 choices: 1) Install alongside Windows (the choice I wanted!), 2) Replace Windows or 3) Something else (????). I clicked on the first choice only to discover that it would not allow me to install Ubuntu on my C Drive, but only on the external Hard Disk! I was not a happy camper! :)

Exploring all of the options in Choice No. 3 seemed to offer no safe way of making any room on my Primary disk for the Ubuntu installation. It was then I remembered using a partition resizing utility from the days back when…!!! A quick search through the system utilities menu revealed the program I sought: Gparted.

Gparted – Holy Grail of Partitions

Identifying which of the drives was my boot drive (the Hitachi and not the Seagate) as windows labels weren’t applied was a minor irritation, and I soon found that by right clicking on /dev/sdb I could click on the re-size option and actually drag the boundary to left to make enough room. I left about 200 Gb and noticed that for formatting this new partition I had lots of choices, including a swap drive (I had forgotten that Linux required a swap drive!) and the new ext4 format. So, I chose this – leaving about 10 Gb to be formatted as swap drive.

Following a reboot, I again entered the Installation program and was disappointed to find that Choice 1 was still only showing my external HDD. Choice no. 3, however showed all my new partitions – yay! I had an /dev/sdb2 as ext4 and a /dev/sdb3 as swap!

Almost there now…

I needed to show the installer where to put its Linux. I had to set a mount point. The column is clear in the partition table, but how to do it? Doubling clicking the partition line brought up a dialogue where I was again asked what type of formatting I required (ext4 – d’oh!), whether I wanted to change the size, a tick box for formatting (ticked this as it was probably best to format it afresh) and a mount point option! I clicked the drop-down and selected theĀ  ‘/’ symbol, which I remember as being the symbol for ‘root’ or the starting point.
All looking good…. and all that remained was to click the “Install now” button! So here goes…..

It’s asking me my time zone (guessed it correctly), then the keyboard layout I want to use – all the while copying files in the background – and then asked me for my login details. You then get to play with a pretty slideshow showing you all the wonders of your soon-to-be-in-your-grubby-mitts installation! Ooh – exciting stuff! :)

The Blog becomes officially defunct

For quite some time now, the trials of a Linux Newbie have ceased and the blog has therefore ceased. After much time (and pleasure) getting the system working, I started a new project with m Partner – the Celtic Myth Podshow. Now whilst it’s true that many podcasts are produced on the Linux platform, it is also true that the most rofessiona software is proprietary and I have had to return to Windows.

So it is with some sadness that this blog has reached the end of its useful life but I shall leave it here so that others may start their own experiments. I will continue to monitor and approve comments so that you guys can respond to each other and what I have said in the hope that it can still grow to be useful considering that Ubuntu has gone through several generational changes since I wrote the blog.

I did have a minor flirtation setting up Ubuntu as a Media Centre using XBMC and Boxee with some success only to find that when I transferred the machine to my analog television Ubuntu would not display a picture – so that was that. Back to XP :(

With thanks and respect to those who continue the project…

Installing Squid proxy server in Ubuntu

Squid is a proxy http server that speeds up getting pages from the internet by keeping copies of commonly accessed pages or graphics instead of downloading them each time. To install it:-

1. From a root terminal type apt-get install squid

2. Open gedit /etc/squid/squid.conf

3. Find the TAG: visible_hostname and after the comments section add visible_hostname <hostname> where <hostname> is your machine’s hostname.

4. Check http_port is either set to 3128 or a port number that you can remember for configuring your browser.

5. Close and save

6. Type adduser squid and specify a password

7. Restart squid by typing: /etc/init.d/squid restart

8. Stop the service by typing /etc/init.d/squid stop

9. Test it in debug mode by typing squid -z (which creates the cache files)

10. Type squid -NCd10 to test squid in debug mode and leave it running.

11. Open Firefox and type the URL localhost:3128 or whatever port you chose. It will fail to retrieve a page, but at the bottom it will confirm that the error is generated by squid.

12. Back at the Terminal type CTRL-C to cancel the debug mode

13. Start squid for real with /etc/init.d/squid start. It will start automatically from now on.

14. To configure Firefox to use squid, go to Edit>Preferences and click Advanced.

15. Click Network>Settings and then Manual Proxy Configuration. For http proxy, enter localhost and for port 3128 (or whichever port you chose).

16. Then click OK and close the Preferences dialogue.

17. Now go to any webpage. If you get the page, it’s working!

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