By Jonathan Hobson

Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Precise Pangolin: Kick-start your installation

By Jonathan Hobson

Ubuntu 12.04 has arrived and this is the guide to get you up and running in no time at all.

Representing the latest release in an excellent pedigree there is no doubt that Ubuntu 12.04 LTS looks great and does the job exceedingly well. Naturally, things may feel different, particularly in view of the new features found, but on the whole we are going to discover that Ubuntu remains steadfast, reliable, easy to use, highly customisable and secure.

So let’s begin …


Assuming that your host computer meets the specific requirements you will need to download an iso image of Ubuntu 12.04.

You can obtain this from the Ubuntu Website where you can elect to choose either, the 32-bit or 64-bit version; but given the range of multimedia plug-ins associated with today’s desktop environment the 32-bit version is advised (by Canonical); but I would suggest using the 64-bit version.

When the download is complete:

  • Burn the image to a blank CD with your favourite CD/DVD burning software.
  • Insert the media and boot from that drive.

You should be aware that during the installation an active internet connection is required and for those wishing to install this operating system on a mobile device (i.e. Laptop or Netbook), it is advised that a mains power supply is used or made available throughout this process.


In this first part of this article we will take a quick trip through the typical installation process.
From the boot screen, select your language and choose “Install Ubuntu”

On the next screen you will be shown the requirements of the installer.
Ensure that the following checkboxes are ‘selected’.

  • Download updates while installing.
  • Install this third-party software.

In many respects, I would say that checking these boxes should be considered as a requirement as this action will ultimately make the entire process a little easier.

In the next screen we will simply confirm that we want to erase the contents of our hard drive and install Ubuntu.

These guidelines are for a typical installation.
If you are attempting to ‘dual-boot’ then your screen may look different at this stage.

To proceed, choose “Erase disk and install Ubuntu” and click “continue”.

As the installation method chosen will remove all the data from our hard drive the resulting screen will act as a confirmation of our previous instruction.

If you have made a mistake and wish to salvage any existing data (or attempt a completely different type of installation)
then this is the time to quit and to start again.

Confirm the correct hard disk has been chosen and if you are happy to proceed, click ‘install now’.

Ubuntu will now begin the installation process and the installer will ask a few simple questions.
Don’t worry, there is no time limit.

The first screen will ask us to confirm our time zone/location.

By using your mouse simply choose your closest geographical location.
When done, click ‘continue’ to proceed.

The next screen will ask us to confirm our keyboard layout.

Again, this is relatively straight forward and a test field is provided in order that we can validate our selection.
As before, when done, click ‘continue’ to proceed.

The final screen will ask us to create a user identity.

Start with your name or preferred alias and complete the subsequent fields.

In general all usernames/passwords/computer names should be no longer than 16 characters long and they should not contain spaces or non-standardised characters.
Remember to keep your password safe at all times.

When done, click ‘continue’ to proceed.

The basic steps are now complete and from this point onwards (and until prompted) you can click through the feature dialogue on the main installation screen by using the left and right arrows on the main display area.

Please be patient.
Depending on the speed of your internet connection the installation process may take some time and when complete you will be required to reboot.

As indicated below click ‘restart now’ to in order to complete the process.

Your computer will now reboot and ask you to remove the installation media from your optical drive.
(You will be asked to confirm this by pressing the ‘return/enter key’).

After a successful reboot you will be welcomed by the Ubuntu 12.04 login screen:
Login with the password created during the installation process to uncover your crisp and shiny new desktop.

Well done, you have now successfully installed Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Precise Pangolin.
And this is where the fun begins …

What happens after first boot

Just like a typical Windows desktop, Ubuntu will automatically check for updates and depending on the options available to you, you may be asked to:

  • Confirm the use of any optional drivers for your video card (You can also find this in System Settings > Hardware > Additional Drivers.)
  • Install operating system updates.

With regard to system updates, when prompted simply click the ‘yes’ button to update.

If you are not prompted to update the system you can always start the ‘Update Manager’ by opening the ‘Dash’ and typing ‘Update Manager’ into the search bar. When found, click the icon to open the tool. Choose ‘check’ and then ‘install updates’ if any are available.

And that’s it …

In the next installment we will take up the running with a check-list of post install ‘tips and tricks’ that will deliver a fully functional desktop computer suitable for most home and office environments, but before we ‘jump in’ I am sure you may want to spend some time discovering your new system. There are lots to discover and may I suggest starting with Ubuntu One, Terminal, Rhythmbox, Shotwell Photo Manager, Gwibber, Libre Office, and Transmission to name but a few.

Until next time, have fun …

  • Hi Jonathan.

    I don’t usually comment on posts, but this time I felt that I should because I wanted to thank you for it. I have read maaaany posts on the net, about many things. However, yours must be one of the best ones that I have ever read. It was clear, accurate [I nearly wrote “precise”], well structured and totally helpful. I am going to pass it on to anyone that plans to install Ubuntu.

    I am rather new to Ubuntu. Begun with 11.04 and did a fresh install for 11.10 and will also do a fresh install for 12.04. I have been in the Windows camp for many years and had always hoped that someday a Linux distro would be “ready” for me to try without issues. I don’t have time to deal with incompatibilities. So, I was happy to hear that Ubuntu 11.04 was at that stage of readiness. I bought an Acer Aspire One D255E, upgraded it to 2 GB RAM and installed Ubuntu. I was very pleasantly surprised by what I found. Since then, I have been trying new things, have installed various packages, etc. I use the netbook mainly for net work. For our work in my graphics design business we have to continue using Windows 7. For me, regretfully, there is still no really good alternative to Outlook, Excel and to Adobe software. The other issue is that all our workstations have two RAID 1: for the OS and also for all our data. Installing RAID 1 in Windows 7 is super easy. Unfortunately Ubuntu workstation does not make it easy to install RAID 1. I am sure it can be done through the terminal [Ubuntu server supports RAID] but I don’t feel that comfortable with doing stuff that way yet … I am new to Linux.

    I was also happy to see that you are from England. I have many great memories of my university years there. I am Canadian and live in Mississauga, a city next to Toronto.

    All the best and thank you again for your contribution to the Ubuntu/Linux world. I want to make certain that I read all your posts. Please let me know if there is a way that I can subscribe to them.

    Best regards.


    • @ Gustavo

      Thank you for your kind words. I am glad you found the article helpful.

      Email. Have you never tried Thunderbird? If you do, goto ‘addons’ and download Lightning which will give you the same kind of calendar interface as found in Outlook. There are plenty of addons to choose from, just like Firefox. Whereas something like Wine or Virtualbox would allow you to run Windows 7 Software seamlessly over you Ubuntu installation or Virtualbox would allow you to run Ubuntu on top of your Windows 7 system. It is a very flexible system and great fun.

      I am very glad I could help … stay tuned.
      More coming next week.

  • Patrick

    What is this? A basic install guide for Ubuntu Desktop on SitePoint, a site supposedly for web developers and designers? Apart from the fact that the tone of this article suggests that it’s aimed at a complete computer novice (hardly the type to be reading SitePoint), wouldn’t a more useful article be a guide to installing Ubuntu Server 12.04, and an explanation of the new features? Or perhaps talking about how you can install Ubuntu on a virtual machine using something like VirtualBox and use it as a full server testing environment, as an alternative to something like WAMP/MAMP?

    The audience here is web professionals. We understand how to operate our own desktops, without any of these “When done, click ‘continue’ to proceed” guides. A discussion of the latest server technology, something we use in a professional capacity to create and deploy websites (i.e. the things that SitePoint is supposedly here to talk about) would be infinitely more useful, interesting and relevant to us. Click ‘continue’ to proceed? Really? Gosh, how would I ever have been able to navigate through these cryptic installation menus without this guide here to give me vital advice like that? Seriously, the Ubuntu install process is not complicated enough to warrant the production of this guide, especially for the desktop edition. The Ubuntu installer is self-explanatory, and regurgitating their instructions using slightly different wording is not beneficial to anyone.

    I don’t want to just be negative here, but this article is pointless and out of place.

  • JES

    Hello, Jonathan — very helpful summary. (Or it will be, once I get around to upgrading from 10.04. :))

    Just out of curiosity, do you recommend any particular Web design/development package? I’ve been using Quanta Plus under 10.04 but am not very satisfied with it (and seem to remember hearing rumors of its demise). Under Windows at work, I’ve been using Dreamweaver — not expecting something that fully featured (or, um, bloated if you prefer). But Ubuntu has stumped me so far.

    Any thoughts?

    (And fwiw, I’m not at all adverse to hand-coding HTML, CSS, etc. The main feature I’d be interested in, above all else, is just a robust template-based system.)

    Thanks again for this piece in the meantime!

    • @ Jes

      Hi there …
      Thank you for the kind words.
      In answer to your question, how about:

      Bluefish Editor.
      This is a nice and easy one. Highly configurable and I use it mysefl for HTML and CSS specific jobs. Most of the Ubuntu community likes this one, so have a go but then look at Kompozer …

      Similar to Bluefish but has the WYSIWYG feature. Worth checking out, and just a few clicks away via Synaptic.

      CSSed Editor
      A pretty cool CSS toolbox/editor with auto-completion.

      A really quick php based editor that also handles html and css. I use this one from time to time.

      jEdit/Geany (installed above)
      These are good if you want something similar to Notepad+

      Eclipse and/or Netbeans
      Both are IDEs but will happily support your needs plus do a lot more.
      Eclipse has a massive community and alot of plug-ins, but I am more of a Netbeans person – as it grows with me and does almost everything I need on bigger projects.

      And other options (if you still want to use Dreamweaver). Try using Wine, or easier still – Playonlinux. Or for some real fun, Virtualbox (then you could have a number of operating systems at your disposal with all the relevant software in seamless mode … very cool and you can still find a use for an old version of Windows XP).

      However, while you are still using Ubuntu 10.4 (I do like Lucid) – open ‘Synaptic’ and do a search on the software listed above and have a go …..

      Overall, I would have look at Netbeans for larger sites and use Bluefish/Kompozer for smaller sites (but this is just my personal opinion – it’s yours that matters). Oh and try virtualbox.

      Hope that helps.

    • airtonix

      bite the bullet and accept that dreamweaver is less thatn good.

      start with sublime text 2, get the package installer addon.

      next learn to use git, if you aren’t using git then you’re asking for trouble.

      Once you have the basics of git, install the git addon for sublime text 2.

      If you reallly want static templates, investigate something like jekyl

  • Majjid

    I installed all stages successfully remove CD press enter reboot to two icons install and exmaple. I installed on 16g flash drive P4 laptop. No OS. I had Ubuntu 10 upgrade to 11.04 fine. I installed on fully erase repartition and flash shows file system on it 3.2g used 12g free. I had wired internet all along. 1g ram. I repeated installation several times with erase option no change

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