Installing Linux Mint 11 “Katya”

A problem with a netbook left me with the need to perform a clean install of the operating system. So I have take the opportunity to record my experiences with the installation of Linux Mint 11. I had previously installed the Linux Mint 11 Release Candidate which would have worked as well but I thought I’d take the opportunity to download the torrent of the final version and help spread the load. I downloaded the linuxmint-11-gnome-32bit-dvd.iso file there is a 64bit version plus CD versions which don’t have the multimedia codecs and some of the software that are included in the DVD  versions but once Linux Mint is installed you can install the missing components by clicking on the Upgrade to DVD edition from the welcome screen or from the Administration section of the Mint Menu. Finally there are 32 bit and 64 bit OEM versions for the US & Japan where any software that contains any patented technology or propriety components. Visit the Linux Mint site here it is recommended that you download from a mirror site located near to you. Here are the steps I took to install “Katya”.

Prior to installing I carried out the following steps.

  • Ensure that the essential data was backed up, to do that I used the built in Backup Tool from Administration section of Mint Menu. Windows users migrating and wishing to overwrite your windows partition you will need to back up your files to an external disk using explorer
  • As I am using a netbook without a dvd drive I had to install the ISO image onto a clean USB flash drive. To do this I use unetbootin which is available in the repositories of most Linux Distributions, so simply select it from whatever package manager you use and install it from there. Windows users can download unetbootin for windows from here.

The Unetbootin Screen

 

      From this screen go to where it says Diskimage tick the box and then click on the ellipses button and select the downloaded image file from where ever you saved the file.

 

 

 

Before continuing ensure that the drive assignment for the USB drive is correct. For Linux users this will typically be an entry beginning with /dev/sd. The screen for windows users will be similar but will show a drive letter. When ready click on OK. The screen will change and show the following:

Unetbootin Progress Screen

The progress screen for Unetnootin

This will progress through until completion where it will show a button saying reboot now. Since this is not going to be installed on this computer however if you are installing Linux Mint 11 straight after this then click reboot now.







  • Now that the USB Drive is ready we need to insert the drive into the computer and boot the computer. You may need to choose the boot device from a menu if the computer does not have boot from USB set as a priority boot device. On my eee-pc I find keeping my finger on the ESC button brings up a menu to choose a boot you will press whatever works for your PC.
  • You will see a boot menu appear once the drive has been selected. From this menu select “Start Linux Mint”. The screen will go black as it is loading don’t panic. Note:  It was decided to drop the Plymouth splash screen which showed a nice screen whilst it was loading but due to problems with various proprietary graphic card drivers it didn’t provide a consistent look to the distribution so the black screen is now shown across all the different graphics cards.
  • Once the system has completed booting up you will see the initial boot screen.
Initial Screen when booting Linux Mint 11

Initial Screen when booting Linux Mint 11

From this screen you can test the system, this is useful as you can check out if all your hardware will work with Linux before committing to a full install, the only downside is that it is slower than a real installation and anything you change is not saved. But for testing purposes or for even secure web browsing this is sufficient.

 

 

  • When you have finished testing and are ready to install then click on the “Install Linux Mint” icon. This will take you to the first stage of installation which will ask you to select the language, this is an extensive list of languages so you should be able to find your native language there!
The Install Language Selection Screen

The Install Language Selection Screen

My only comment regarding this screen is it is sparse with no real welcoming text, some explanation in English would be better than nothing.

 

 

 

  • Once you have selected the language the installer will check that your system meets some basic requirements
Basic Installation Check Screen

Basic Installation Check Screen

This screen will notify you if you do not have enough available disk space, or if you are running on a notebook/netbook that you are connected to a power source, and finally that you have an active internet connection, in the screen shot you can see that the internet connection shows a red X as I neglected to setup the internet connection. To do this is very simple , simply click on the networking icon which in this case is showing the red x and provided your card is recognized then you simply need to select the network you wish to connect to and if you are connecting to a wireless network then select it from the list of detectable networks and enter any wireless security key for the network. Once I’d entered my wireless network details I clicked on back and then went forward again and it detected I was now connected. to the internet.

  • The next screen is where you decide what you wish to do with the disk, there are three options, since I am upgrading a previous installation I  selected the last option “Something Else”
Allocate Drive Space Screen

Allocate Drive Space Screen

The other two options are to install along side the other operating system, in this image it says linux 11 Katya, as when I was partitioning I set the swap partition to the wrong size and didn’t notice it until after I had installed the OS so I took the opportunity to take a screenshot of this screen too.

The other option is to replace the existing operating system.

  • I thoroughly recommend setting the partition size manually and setting three partitions, a swap partition, a “root” partition and a home partition. by seperating these out you can upgrade your OS without losing your data. So the following screenshots will show this process, it is relatively straight forward. As a guide for hibernation I set my swap partition to be the same size as my memory plus an extra two megabytes for overhead. The following screen shows my original disk partitions where I had an ntfs partition running Windows XP since I hadn’t booted into windows for nearly two years I took the opportunity to remove the partition.
Disk Partitioning Screen

The Disk Partitioning Screen

As you can see there are four partitions, I removed them by clicking on each partition and clicking delete. I then added the partitions, This time I set my swap partition to be the first partition, I do not know if this is going to provide performance or not, but it keeps the other partitions together.

 

 

Example Partitioning Screen

Screen showing the partitioning process

On this screen I am setting the swap space and this is where I made an error, I set the partition space to be 2048Mb or 2Gb however 2Mb where used for overhead. I wouldn’t worry about changing the location for the partition or the changing the Primary / Logical type, typically I let the installer handle this you only really need to worry about this if you plan on having lots of different partitions as the PC BIOS can only handle a maximum of 4 Primary Partitions.  The only thing really to worry about is the Use as option: from here you can select the filesystem type, Here I chose swap and then went on to set up the other partitions. I am only going to set up a root partition and a home partition on this netbook.

Setting the Root Partition

Setting the Root Partition

I typically set my root partitions to be around 20Gb, this is generally more than enough for the operating system files. Also the file system type in the Use as I’ve set to ext4. Also here I’ve set the mount point as / to make this the root file system.

Setting the Home Partition

Setting the Home Partition






Now I am setting the home partition, this is going to occupy the rest of the disk. Having a separate home partition is useful when upgrading Linux or even changing to a different  distribution  as you can change the operating system files only leaving all your documents intact. As you can see I have now selected /home as the mount point from the drop down list of potential mount points.





Screen showing the final partitioning scheme

Screen showing the final partitioning scheme

We are at the final partitioning screen with a final chance to review the changes before we progress any further.

 

 

 

 

Time zone selection screen

The time zone selection screen

The screen next screen shows us the timezone the installation program as detected us as being in, however if this is incorrect you can change this manually by clicking on the map.

 

 

 

Keyboard layout selection screen

The keyboard layout selection screen

Now we need to choose the keyboard layout, as I’m based in Bangkok my keyboard is based on the US layout, I could have chosen the Thai Keyboard from the layout but I wondered if it would lead me typing Thai only. I always add the Thai Keyboard after installation.  If you click on the detect keyboard layout button you will be asked to press some buttons on the keyboard and asked what characters you can see on the keyboard. As you can see as you are filling in this information the system is being installed, this makes the process seem to be quicker.

User Account Details Screen

The User Account Details Screen

This is the last screen of information you have to complete before sitting back and waiting for the installation to complete. Here you enter your details so that your user account can be created. If you are interested in increased security of your files then tick the encrypt my home folder option. You also set the name of the computer here, this will appear when viewing the network and on the command prompt in a terminal.

The Installation Slideshow

The Installation Slideshow


Now it is a matter of sitting and waiting, this shouldn’t take too long, but the installation process does involve downloading language files from the internet. Whilst you are waiting you will see a slideshow showing some of the features of Linux Mint.

 

End of Installation Screen

End of Installation Screen



Finally you can now either reboot the system or continue using the live image. I recommend rebooting and trying it out from the hard disk.








Once the system has rebooted all you need to do now is to add any extra software if required. This is straight forward simply go to the menu button and select software manager and choose the software you wish to install. The software manager is pretty mcuh the only place you will need to install programs. Programs in here have been vetted and known to be free of viruses and are fully able to work on your system, whilst software from other locations will not have the guarantees

A note to remember is that upon booting the computer will display a black screen so it may look like the computer is not doing anything but look for disk activity if the blank screen is shown for a long time and there is no disk activity then you may have a problem.