This isn’t a terribly technical post, but with as many potential problems as can arise when installing Ubuntu, it might be useful to have a short list on how to work around those problems. In that case, call this an informal drill-down on ways to get Ubuntu on your machine.
Alternate (install) CD of 6.06.1. My favorite way. Put the disc in, restart and get to work.
Desktop (live) CD of 6.06.1. A little uneven, but sufficient for most folks. Most problems that occur here are avoided with the installation CD. So if this doesn’t work. …
Server install from the alternate (installation) CD. A second-place favorite. Useful for circumventing GUI issues or building up a bare-bones system from scratch. If you’re actually shooting for a GUI (in other words, your goal is not to build a text-based server), then you’ll probably need an Internet connection.
Upgrade from 5.10, using one of the above methods. A bass-ackward way of doing things, but not unheard of. If you have a machine that just doesn’t like Dapper, you can get it up to date by installing an earlier version (through one of the above methods), and dist-upgrading. You will want a high-speed Internet connection, since you’re essentially downloading the entire distribution again, and installing it over top of your old one. Double- and triple-dist-upgrading would be a bandwidth nightmare.
Net boot. I haven’t done this yet, and I’m wondering why. I’ll have to set up a machine that will boot across the network and try it out. Methinks it will take ages, but will be a good learning experience.
Install from ISO. It is possible to boot grub so it starts up an ISO (on the hard drive or a USB key), and install from there. This is another one of those things that I haven’t done yet, but this one I’m not so eager to try. Not that it wouldn’t be fun … I just think it’s a bit far-fetched to be practical. It’s too easy to just pull a defective CDROM and do it the conventional way.
Yank the hard drive and install on a different machine. Drastic, to say the least. I used to do this with slow Windows machines when I wanted to put XP or something on a machine that was slow or proved recalcitrant. It also requires some hefty reconfiguring.
Tar an entire installation, copy it to a new machine and untar it. This is one I’m keen to try out. vaibhav mentioned it here first, although I’ll have to pick his brain for details. I like the idea of copying an entire OS to a CD and plopping it down into place. The perfect solution for low-memory, CD-less laptops, etc.
I think that’s about it. There are minor variations to each technique that don’t require elaboration, but if you can’t get it done the old fashioned way, there are lots of options.
EDIT: I forgot one! Cross-distro hybridizationification. Start with one distro — say, Dreamlinux — then edit the repository list to cross into familiar territory — like Ubuntu. You end up with some really wacky combinations, but you can get some funny things done that otherwise wouldn’t be possible.