Week 1 – Installing Linux and basic usage

This post is part of ‘Linux servers’ -course. 

Introduction

In this blog post I go through the first assignment of ‘Linux Servers’ -course. It involves downloading Xubuntu ISO image, mounting and installing it, as well as going through basic usage, such as application installing via package manager.

The excercises

Task a)

Create a bootable Linux live USB. Try it on a computer other than the ones in school. The Assignment does not require an install — if you do, first take backups. If you managed to create the USB in class, you can make a report from the top of your head. If you choose to do so, remember to mention this.

I did the bootable USB during class, so the following is straight from the top of my dome.

Step 1 – Getting the Xubuntu image

The first thing to do was getting the .ISO live image of Xubuntu from https://xubuntu.org/download/. We were informed by Tero (The teacher or El Héfé) that version numbering of Xubuntu is based on a yy.mm format, and that there are basically two versions: LTS (Long Term Support) and non-LTS. The Long Term Support version has a 3-year support cycle, whereas regular stable releases have a support cycle of 9 months. I decided to choose the latest stable version, which as of writing this was 18.10. Most (if not all) modern computers are running the 64-bit architecture, so I naturally chose the amd64-version. File size was around 1.5 gigabytes, which is not much considering today’s USB-stick sizes.

Step 2 – Making a bootable ISO

Next step was to make a bootable USB with the Xubuntu image. Me being on a Windows-machine, there is several software available for this. I had previously used Rufus for creating bootable disks, so I decided to go with that. I chose my USB device in Rufus and then browsed for my downloaded Xubuntu .iso file.

Step 3 – Booting to Linux

This is where I started from in home, Sunday 20.01.2019 17:00

Getting to BIOS or boot menu

The system I used the Linux on is an ASUS X550J i7 Windows 64-bit laptop. Because of UEFI, getting to boot menu can sometimes be tricky, compared to what it was in the past, as Windows’ fast loading times are enabled by bypassing the old boot checks and POST messages that occur on older machines.  Solutions include using a feature in Windows, among others.

I, on the other hand, have a broken, leftover installation of Windows along with my working one,  which I haven’t been arsed to remove. This means that every time I cold-boot my laptop, I need to enter BIOS and exit it and it magically loads the working Windows boot UEFI.

From BIOS I entered the boot-menu tab and chose my newly created bootable USB as the drive to boot from.

IMG_20190120_174520.jpg

The system now loaded Xubuntu boot menu, from where I chose the default option ‘try Xubuntu without installing’.

IMG_20190120_181500.jpg

Task b)

 

List the hardware on the computer you tested Xubuntu with (‘sudo lshw -short -sanitize’).

In order to do this, I had to open terminal emulator, which obviously is native to Linux, and type the previously mentioned command. I noticed that Xubuntu obviously doesn’t have Scandinavian keyboard mapping by default, so – was not where I thought it would be. I remember the US layout pretty well, but this can be confusing for some.

I typed the command into terminal and after a while of gathering, I got a list of hardware currently on my machine.

TGgUHse.png

Task c)

Install three programs that are new to you. Try every program.

Task d)

What license(s) do these programs use? Explain briefly which rights and responsibilities come with said license(s)

GIMP

I started by installing a free but powerful photo editor called GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program), which I did  by typing “sudo apt install gimp” into terminal. After this, the program appeared in the ‘start menu’ as Windows users would probably call it. Another option is to type the name of the program into terminal. It is made under GNU General Public License V3 which allows one to download, use (including commercial use), copy, distribute and edit said software. You cannot sublicense or hold the original creator liable for damages.

fhhzlNk.png

Brutal Chess

Second app that I installed was a 3D chess game called Brutal Chess. I also installed this by typing “sudo apt get brutalchess”.  The original website for the game doesn’t work, and I couldn’t find as to what license said game uses, so I’m assuming that It’s listed under ‘free license’. If no other license is specified, this is generally covered under general copyright laws.

Brutal chess? More like too easy chess

Foxit Reader

Third app that I chose to install was a PDF reader called Foxit Reader. This time, I decided to try out how installing things works if you don’t use a terminal. What I got was (after extracting the tarball zip) a very common install wizard that you see when installing apps in Windows. Foxit reader is a closed source software, their license allows you to use their software for free, but doesn’t allow modifying the software via reverse engineering, decompiling, or other ways of disassemblying the product.

7WWhtkS.pngesZecLO.png

Task e) List the software you use (for example MS Word), the purpose of each software (such as “Text editor”) and an open source Linux-equivalent (such as LibreOffice Writer). If there is no open source alternative for some program, be sure to list them also.

 

*I am not sure if the teacher meant free or open source

Visual Studio Code

I use mainly Visual Studio Code as my IDE for programming, and a good (or better) alternative is Atom, which is developed by GitHub and is free and open source.

Discord

 

For communication, I use mainly Discord. A linux equivalent of it exists, however It’s not open source.

Chrome

 

People tend to favor Firefox over Chrome, but I’m so used to being Google’s slave that I use Chrome, as it syncs automatically with everything in my Google account. Chrome is also available for Linux. There is also an open source version of Chrome called Chromium.

MS Word\Text editors

 

LibreOffice Writer is a good alternative to MS Word, not just for Linux but also for Windows.

Notepad++

 

Notepad++ is a powerful text editor, but a little short of an IDE. A good alternative in Linux is Notepadqq.

By the time I was through with the assignment, the time was 20:30 on Sunday 20.1.2019. Whole assignment took around 2 hours with breaks.

Update 27.1.2019:

 

Added an introduction, updated computer specs, fixed some typos.

References:

Computer used:

ASUS X550J (X550JX)

Intel Core i7 4720HQ

Nvidia 950M

8GB Ram

Karvinen, Tero introduction to Linux Servers -course & homework assignments

http://terokarvinen.com/2018/aikataulu-linux-palvelimet-ict4tn021-3004-ti-alkukevat-2019-5-op

The Xubuntu team, Xubuntu download and explanation of LTS

https://xubuntu.org/download/

The GIMP Team

https://www.gimp.org/about/COPYING

Wikipedia, Definition of free license,

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_license

Foxit Software Inc. Licensing & Eula

https://www.foxitsoftware.com/pdf-reader/eula.html

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