Gathering Information About the System

It is not difficult to install and bring up an Ubuntu Linux system. Nevertheless, the more you know about the process before you start, the easier it will be. The installation software collects information about the system and can help you make decisions during the installation process. However, the system will work better when you know how you want your disk partitioned rather than letting the installation program create partitions without your input. There are many details, and the more details you take control of, the more pleased you are likely to be with the finished product. Finding the information that this section asks for will help ensure you end up with a system you understand and know how to change when necessary. To an increasing extent, the installation software probes the hardware and figures out what you have. Newer equipment is more likely to report on itself than older equipment is.

Test the ISO file and test the CD/DVD

tip It is a good idea to test the ISO image file and the burned CD/DVD before you use it to install Ubuntu Linux. When you boot the system from the CD/DVD, Ubuntu gives you the option of checking the CD/DVD for defects (page 47). A bad file on a CD may not show up until you finish installing Ubuntu Linux and have it running. At that point, it may be difficult and time-consuming to figure out where the problem lies. Testing the file and CD/DVD takes a few minutes, but can save you hours of trouble if something is not right. If you want to perform one test only, test the CD/DVD.

It is critical to have certain pieces of information before you start. One thing Linux can never figure out is all the relevant names and IP addresses (unless you are using DHCP, in which case the addresses are set up for you).

Following is a list of items you may need information about. Get as much information on each item as you can: manufacturer, model number, size (megabytes, gigabytes, and so forth), number of buttons, chipset (for cards), and so on. Some items, such as the network interface card, may be built into the motherboard.

• Memory. You don't need it for installation, but it is good to know.

• SCSI interface card.

• Video interface card (including the amount of video RAM/memory).

• Sound card and compatibility with standards, such as SoundBlaster.

• Monitor (size and maximum resolution).

• IP addresses and names, unless you are using DHCP (page 538), in which case the IP addresses are automatically assigned to the system. Most of this information comes from the system administrator or ISP.

♦ System hostname (anything you like).

♦ Gateway address (the connecting point to the network or Internet) or a phone number when you use a dial-up connection.

♦ Addresses for nameservers, also called DNS addresses.

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