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Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Service Update

The Google anti-spam approach for handling comments isn't working.

Last night I had to delete upwards of 700 spam comments from this blog which was both time consuming, dull and annoying. This morning they were back.

I have therefore decided to change the comments section so that you can no longer post comments anonymously. The only way to post comments is to sign up for a Google account.

I am sorry for the inconvenience that this will cause to those of you who leave genuine comments.

Nobody wants to read about virility drugs or designer handbags on a blog about Linux, so I had to do something.

If you have any comments that you would like to make about this service update feel free. Some of you might not like to sign up to Google to leave comments, if that is the case I am on twitter (@dailylinuxuser) and there is an email link in the top right corner.

Update On The Update

Well limiting the posters to Google only accounts didn't work. The spammers just created a Google account.

I have turned on comment moderation for the time being until whoever it is that has decided to spam the site gives up and moves on.


Service Update - The Comments Section On Everyday Linux User

Service Update

The Google anti-spam approach for handling comments isn't working.

Last night I had to delete upwards of 700 spam comments from this blog which was both time consuming, dull and annoying. This morning they were back.

I have therefore decided to change the comments section so that you can no longer post comments anonymously. The only way to post comments is to sign up for a Google account.

I am sorry for the inconvenience that this will cause to those of you who leave genuine comments.

Nobody wants to read about virility drugs or designer handbags on a blog about Linux, so I had to do something.

If you have any comments that you would like to make about this service update feel free. Some of you might not like to sign up to Google to leave comments, if that is the case I am on twitter (@dailylinuxuser) and there is an email link in the top right corner.

Update On The Update

Well limiting the posters to Google only accounts didn't work. The spammers just created a Google account.

I have turned on comment moderation for the time being until whoever it is that has decided to spam the site gives up and moves on.


Posted at 08:08 |  by Gary Newell

Monday, 17 November 2014

Introduction

One of my favourite gadgets is the trusty Acer Aspire One D255 Netbook. It isn't very powerful and in modern standards is not particularly cool but it is small, lightweight and great for taking on journeys.

Up until last week the netbook was running Lubuntu 14.04 and before that it was running Lubuntu 13.10 and before that Lubuntu 13.04. I have tried a number of different distributions on this netbook over the years but Lubuntu has been the go to distribution because of its performance.

I was preparing to write about the latest Lubuntu 14.10 release but instead decided to give the new Ubuntu MATE edition a go after seeing it in action as a live distribution on my far more powerful Toshiba Satellite Pro.

The specifications for the Acer Aspire One D255 are as follows:

  • Intel Atom Processor  N450 1.66 ghz, 512kb cache
  • 1 GB Memory
  • 160 GB HDD
The Atom processor isn't particularly powerful and there is clearly a shortage with regards to memory so any operating system that is installed on this netbook has to manage its resources well.

There are many benefits to using Lubuntu on this netbook. The performance is excellent. The desktop doesn't have lots of panels taking up screen real estate and the applications installed are all lightweight.

There are some issues with using Lubuntu. Abiword is both a blessing and a hindrance. I use Abiword for preparing articles for this site and for about.com on the way home on the train.

Whilst Abiword is great for basic notetaking and for maybe writing the odd letter it isn't as fully featured as LibreOffice Writer.

Lubuntu doesn't have any presentation tools or anything like LibreOffice draw. There is however Gnumeric for creating spreadsheets. I can honestly say that I have never used Gnumeric on this netbook, which means it is not a necessity.

On a netbook the most commonly used applications are the audio players, video players and of course the web browser. Lubuntu has Firefox, Audacious and MPlayer for these purposes.

So how well does Ubuntu MATE shape up against Lubuntu on this netbook?

How to get Ubuntu MATE

The first step of course is to show you where and how to get Ubuntu MATE.

The installation steps in these reviews can take up quite a bit of room so I decided to create a separate article showing how to download and install Ubuntu MATE.

The first thing to note is that the download kept failing with a network error and so I had to use the bittorrent link in order to retrieve the ISO.

The installation also took quite a while on the Acer Aspire One D255 netbook. It was a process that took around 30 minutes which was a fair bit longer than Lubuntu.

In complete contrast the installation of Ubuntu MATE on the Toshiba Satellite Pro took around 10 minutes to complete.

First Impressions






















If you used to use Ubuntu before Unity was released then you will notice that the Ubuntu MATE edition bares a striking resemblence to Ubuntu 10.04 (and every version prior to that).

The desktop has the traditional two panels associated with Ubuntu (circa 2010).

The top panel has three menus:
  • Applications
  • Places
  • System
The "Applications" menu consists of a list of categories including accessories, education, graphics, internet, office, sound and video, system tools and universal access.

Clicking on a category shows a sub-menu with the applications that are available for the chosen category.


The "Places" menu links to various folders on your computer including your home folder, the desktop, external devices, network folders and servers.

You can also search for files and view your most recently accessed documents.



The "System" menu lets you configure your computer.

For instance you can add printers, configure networks, keyboard layouts and display settings.





The top panel for Ubuntu MATE also includes system panel style icons such as network settings, audio settings, power settings and the calendar.

The bottom panel has an icon to show the desktop and a list of all the currently running applications. There are also workspace switching icons and the recycle bin.

Connecting To The Internet


Connecting to the internet with Ubuntu MATE is dead simple.

Simply click on the appropriate network icon in the system tray which is located in the top right corner and then choose the network you wish to connect to. If required enter the security key for the network.

Customisation

One of the nicest things about Lubuntu is the ability to customise the desktop.

Unlike the main version of Ubuntu that comes with the Unity desktop the Ubuntu MATE edition also provides a wealth of customisation options.

You can choose to leave the standard two panel setup as it is or you can remove one of the panels or add more panels.

The panels can also be set up the way you want them to be. For example the bottom panel can be amended to work more like a dock with a series of commonly used applications.

Each panel can have other items added to it including application launchers, clocks, applets, window selectors, weather reports, etc.



The thing that nearly everybody likes to change is their desktop wallpaper.

With Ubuntu MATE it is simply a case of right clicking on the desktop and choosing "Change desktop background".

A window appears with a number of available backgrounds. You can also choose your own by clicking on "Add" and navigating to the image.






















Applications

The thing that sets Lubuntu and Ubuntu MATE apart is the choice of applications.

Lubuntu strictly sticks to lightweight applications such as Abiword and Gnumeric and lightweight games.

Ubuntu MATE has pretty much the same applications available as the default Ubuntu Unity edition.

Accessories

  • Engrampa Archive Manager - Zip File Management
  • Galculator - Calculator
  • Pluma - Text Editor

Education

  • LibreOffice Math

Graphics


  • Eye Of MATE - Image Viewer
  • Shotwell - Photo Manager
  • LibreOffice Draw

Internet


  • Firefox - Web Browser
  • Hexchat - IRC Chat
  • Thunderbird - Email Client
  • Pidgin - Instant Messenger
  • Transmission - Bittorrent Client

Office


  • LibreOffice Calc - Spreadsheet
  • LibreOffice Draw - A bit like Visio
  • LibreOffice Impress - Presentation tool
  • LibreOffice Math - Maths tools
  • LibreOffice Writer - Word processor
  • Atril Document Viewer - PDF Viewer

Sound And Video

  • Brasero - Disc Burning
  • Cheese - Webcam Viewer
  • Rhythmbox - Audio Player
  • Totem - Video Player
The main thing to note is that Ubuntu MATE provides a more complete set of applications.

Thunderbird is a decent email client for those of you that still prefer to use a mail client over the standard webmail tools that are provided by services such as GMail.

Rhythmbox is a better audio player than the one provided by Lubuntu. You have the ability to import your music collection, listen to podcasts, Last.FM and there is great support for external audio devices such as MP3 players.

The Shotwell photo manager is a great tool for viewing all your images and totem is a decent video player.

All of these tools are great for when you are on the move and the fact that you can use Firefox for browsing the web makes Ubuntu MATE a great choice.

There is a little bit of a trade off though in terms of performance. Whilst using LibreOffice on the netbook there was a little bit of degradation. The cursor hung at various intervals and the menus would sometimes get stuck as shown below.






















It is worth noting that if you are using Lubuntu then there is no need to switch to Ubuntu MATE in order to use LibreOffice, Rhythmbox or Shotwell. All of these applications are available in the Lubuntu repositories.

Similarly if you choose to use Ubuntu MATE and you find that LibreOffice is too overkill you can install Abiword, Gnumeric and any of the other tools that come with the default Lubuntu installation.

At this point of course the only difference between Lubuntu and Ubuntu MATE is the desktop environment.

Installing Applications

There are a couple of tools provided by Ubuntu MATE for installing further applications.

The main application is the Ubuntu Software Centre.

The Software Centre provides a list of categories and a search tool to make it easy to find and manage software installations.

The alternative to the software centre is to use the apt command line tool.

In order to play MP3 files, watch Flash videos and play Flash games you either need to have checked the third party tools option whilst installing Ubuntu MATE or you can install the Ubuntu Restricted Extras package.

Issues

There were no real issues running the Ubuntu MATE edition on the netbook except that compared to Lubuntu there was more lag.

The menus in LibreOffice refused to hide once they were shown on the odd occasion.

Whilst importing music into Rhythmbox and importing photos into Shotwell the system became a little bit unresponsive but these two processes took most of the processing power of the netbook.

The netbook worked well when performing simple tasks such as watching videos, listening to music or browsing the web.

Summary

If you are going to use an older style netbook such as the Acer Aspire One then Lubuntu still rules due to the lighter desktop and lighter applications.

Ubuntu MATE wins when it comes to the choice of applications. Rhythmbox, Shotwell and LibreOffice are far better than the Lubuntu equivalents.

On a slightly more powerful machine the Ubuntu MATE edition is perfect. It certainly outperforms the Unity version on both my Dell Inspiron and Toshiba Satellite Pro.

Ubuntu MATE provides a glimpse of where we might have been today if Unity hadn't been developed. Having lived with Unity for 3 years though I have to say that I now prefer Unity over the older style interface. MATE might be fast but does it make you more productive?

This was the main reason that I chose to compare Ubuntu MATE with Lubuntu as I believe it is in direct competition for older style computers or computers with less power.

I think the Unity version of Ubuntu is superior to Ubuntu MATE and I also think that the Cinnamon version of Mint is better than the MATE version of Mint.

A more interesting comparison might be to compare Ubuntu MATE with the MATE version of Mint. Will Ubuntu MATE win back some of the users that switched to Mint because of Unity?

Personally I like the double panel that Ubuntu MATE provides over the single Mint panel. Other than that there really isn't much reason to switch back to Ubuntu or switch from Ubuntu MATE to Linux Mint.

If you are yet to make the decision as to whether to choose Ubuntu MATE or Mint then it really is difficult to separate them. You can read my review of the Mint MATE edition here (note version 17 has been released since then).

So to sum up, Lubuntu for speed and performance, Ubuntu MATE for applications and the toss of a coin to choose between Ubuntu MATE and Mint MATE.

It is worth noting that Ubuntu MATE worked reasonably well on the netbook but you don't have to have many applications open for performance to degrade. Lubuntu performs better with more applications open but limited memory, limited graphics and a limited ATOM processor obviously provides a somewhat limited experience.

Using Ubuntu MATE with lighter applications will make things slightly better but there is always going to be that trade off between performance and usability.

Finally, before I sign off, why is Ubuntu MATE called Ubuntu MATE?

  • Ubuntu is called Ubuntu because it is the main product. 
  • Kubuntu is Ubuntu with the KDE desktop. 
  • Xubuntu is Ubuntu with the XFCE desktop. 
  • Lubuntu is Ubuntu with the LXDE desktop. 
So why not Mubuntu? Why is it Ubuntu MATE? The same question could of course be asked for Ubuntu Gnome. Gubuntu anyone?

Thanks for reading.

Ubuntu MATE VS Lubuntu On An Old Netbook

Introduction

One of my favourite gadgets is the trusty Acer Aspire One D255 Netbook. It isn't very powerful and in modern standards is not particularly cool but it is small, lightweight and great for taking on journeys.

Up until last week the netbook was running Lubuntu 14.04 and before that it was running Lubuntu 13.10 and before that Lubuntu 13.04. I have tried a number of different distributions on this netbook over the years but Lubuntu has been the go to distribution because of its performance.

I was preparing to write about the latest Lubuntu 14.10 release but instead decided to give the new Ubuntu MATE edition a go after seeing it in action as a live distribution on my far more powerful Toshiba Satellite Pro.

The specifications for the Acer Aspire One D255 are as follows:

  • Intel Atom Processor  N450 1.66 ghz, 512kb cache
  • 1 GB Memory
  • 160 GB HDD
The Atom processor isn't particularly powerful and there is clearly a shortage with regards to memory so any operating system that is installed on this netbook has to manage its resources well.

There are many benefits to using Lubuntu on this netbook. The performance is excellent. The desktop doesn't have lots of panels taking up screen real estate and the applications installed are all lightweight.

There are some issues with using Lubuntu. Abiword is both a blessing and a hindrance. I use Abiword for preparing articles for this site and for about.com on the way home on the train.

Whilst Abiword is great for basic notetaking and for maybe writing the odd letter it isn't as fully featured as LibreOffice Writer.

Lubuntu doesn't have any presentation tools or anything like LibreOffice draw. There is however Gnumeric for creating spreadsheets. I can honestly say that I have never used Gnumeric on this netbook, which means it is not a necessity.

On a netbook the most commonly used applications are the audio players, video players and of course the web browser. Lubuntu has Firefox, Audacious and MPlayer for these purposes.

So how well does Ubuntu MATE shape up against Lubuntu on this netbook?

How to get Ubuntu MATE

The first step of course is to show you where and how to get Ubuntu MATE.

The installation steps in these reviews can take up quite a bit of room so I decided to create a separate article showing how to download and install Ubuntu MATE.

The first thing to note is that the download kept failing with a network error and so I had to use the bittorrent link in order to retrieve the ISO.

The installation also took quite a while on the Acer Aspire One D255 netbook. It was a process that took around 30 minutes which was a fair bit longer than Lubuntu.

In complete contrast the installation of Ubuntu MATE on the Toshiba Satellite Pro took around 10 minutes to complete.

First Impressions






















If you used to use Ubuntu before Unity was released then you will notice that the Ubuntu MATE edition bares a striking resemblence to Ubuntu 10.04 (and every version prior to that).

The desktop has the traditional two panels associated with Ubuntu (circa 2010).

The top panel has three menus:
  • Applications
  • Places
  • System
The "Applications" menu consists of a list of categories including accessories, education, graphics, internet, office, sound and video, system tools and universal access.

Clicking on a category shows a sub-menu with the applications that are available for the chosen category.


The "Places" menu links to various folders on your computer including your home folder, the desktop, external devices, network folders and servers.

You can also search for files and view your most recently accessed documents.



The "System" menu lets you configure your computer.

For instance you can add printers, configure networks, keyboard layouts and display settings.





The top panel for Ubuntu MATE also includes system panel style icons such as network settings, audio settings, power settings and the calendar.

The bottom panel has an icon to show the desktop and a list of all the currently running applications. There are also workspace switching icons and the recycle bin.

Connecting To The Internet


Connecting to the internet with Ubuntu MATE is dead simple.

Simply click on the appropriate network icon in the system tray which is located in the top right corner and then choose the network you wish to connect to. If required enter the security key for the network.

Customisation

One of the nicest things about Lubuntu is the ability to customise the desktop.

Unlike the main version of Ubuntu that comes with the Unity desktop the Ubuntu MATE edition also provides a wealth of customisation options.

You can choose to leave the standard two panel setup as it is or you can remove one of the panels or add more panels.

The panels can also be set up the way you want them to be. For example the bottom panel can be amended to work more like a dock with a series of commonly used applications.

Each panel can have other items added to it including application launchers, clocks, applets, window selectors, weather reports, etc.



The thing that nearly everybody likes to change is their desktop wallpaper.

With Ubuntu MATE it is simply a case of right clicking on the desktop and choosing "Change desktop background".

A window appears with a number of available backgrounds. You can also choose your own by clicking on "Add" and navigating to the image.






















Applications

The thing that sets Lubuntu and Ubuntu MATE apart is the choice of applications.

Lubuntu strictly sticks to lightweight applications such as Abiword and Gnumeric and lightweight games.

Ubuntu MATE has pretty much the same applications available as the default Ubuntu Unity edition.

Accessories

  • Engrampa Archive Manager - Zip File Management
  • Galculator - Calculator
  • Pluma - Text Editor

Education

  • LibreOffice Math

Graphics


  • Eye Of MATE - Image Viewer
  • Shotwell - Photo Manager
  • LibreOffice Draw

Internet


  • Firefox - Web Browser
  • Hexchat - IRC Chat
  • Thunderbird - Email Client
  • Pidgin - Instant Messenger
  • Transmission - Bittorrent Client

Office


  • LibreOffice Calc - Spreadsheet
  • LibreOffice Draw - A bit like Visio
  • LibreOffice Impress - Presentation tool
  • LibreOffice Math - Maths tools
  • LibreOffice Writer - Word processor
  • Atril Document Viewer - PDF Viewer

Sound And Video

  • Brasero - Disc Burning
  • Cheese - Webcam Viewer
  • Rhythmbox - Audio Player
  • Totem - Video Player
The main thing to note is that Ubuntu MATE provides a more complete set of applications.

Thunderbird is a decent email client for those of you that still prefer to use a mail client over the standard webmail tools that are provided by services such as GMail.

Rhythmbox is a better audio player than the one provided by Lubuntu. You have the ability to import your music collection, listen to podcasts, Last.FM and there is great support for external audio devices such as MP3 players.

The Shotwell photo manager is a great tool for viewing all your images and totem is a decent video player.

All of these tools are great for when you are on the move and the fact that you can use Firefox for browsing the web makes Ubuntu MATE a great choice.

There is a little bit of a trade off though in terms of performance. Whilst using LibreOffice on the netbook there was a little bit of degradation. The cursor hung at various intervals and the menus would sometimes get stuck as shown below.






















It is worth noting that if you are using Lubuntu then there is no need to switch to Ubuntu MATE in order to use LibreOffice, Rhythmbox or Shotwell. All of these applications are available in the Lubuntu repositories.

Similarly if you choose to use Ubuntu MATE and you find that LibreOffice is too overkill you can install Abiword, Gnumeric and any of the other tools that come with the default Lubuntu installation.

At this point of course the only difference between Lubuntu and Ubuntu MATE is the desktop environment.

Installing Applications

There are a couple of tools provided by Ubuntu MATE for installing further applications.

The main application is the Ubuntu Software Centre.

The Software Centre provides a list of categories and a search tool to make it easy to find and manage software installations.

The alternative to the software centre is to use the apt command line tool.

In order to play MP3 files, watch Flash videos and play Flash games you either need to have checked the third party tools option whilst installing Ubuntu MATE or you can install the Ubuntu Restricted Extras package.

Issues

There were no real issues running the Ubuntu MATE edition on the netbook except that compared to Lubuntu there was more lag.

The menus in LibreOffice refused to hide once they were shown on the odd occasion.

Whilst importing music into Rhythmbox and importing photos into Shotwell the system became a little bit unresponsive but these two processes took most of the processing power of the netbook.

The netbook worked well when performing simple tasks such as watching videos, listening to music or browsing the web.

Summary

If you are going to use an older style netbook such as the Acer Aspire One then Lubuntu still rules due to the lighter desktop and lighter applications.

Ubuntu MATE wins when it comes to the choice of applications. Rhythmbox, Shotwell and LibreOffice are far better than the Lubuntu equivalents.

On a slightly more powerful machine the Ubuntu MATE edition is perfect. It certainly outperforms the Unity version on both my Dell Inspiron and Toshiba Satellite Pro.

Ubuntu MATE provides a glimpse of where we might have been today if Unity hadn't been developed. Having lived with Unity for 3 years though I have to say that I now prefer Unity over the older style interface. MATE might be fast but does it make you more productive?

This was the main reason that I chose to compare Ubuntu MATE with Lubuntu as I believe it is in direct competition for older style computers or computers with less power.

I think the Unity version of Ubuntu is superior to Ubuntu MATE and I also think that the Cinnamon version of Mint is better than the MATE version of Mint.

A more interesting comparison might be to compare Ubuntu MATE with the MATE version of Mint. Will Ubuntu MATE win back some of the users that switched to Mint because of Unity?

Personally I like the double panel that Ubuntu MATE provides over the single Mint panel. Other than that there really isn't much reason to switch back to Ubuntu or switch from Ubuntu MATE to Linux Mint.

If you are yet to make the decision as to whether to choose Ubuntu MATE or Mint then it really is difficult to separate them. You can read my review of the Mint MATE edition here (note version 17 has been released since then).

So to sum up, Lubuntu for speed and performance, Ubuntu MATE for applications and the toss of a coin to choose between Ubuntu MATE and Mint MATE.

It is worth noting that Ubuntu MATE worked reasonably well on the netbook but you don't have to have many applications open for performance to degrade. Lubuntu performs better with more applications open but limited memory, limited graphics and a limited ATOM processor obviously provides a somewhat limited experience.

Using Ubuntu MATE with lighter applications will make things slightly better but there is always going to be that trade off between performance and usability.

Finally, before I sign off, why is Ubuntu MATE called Ubuntu MATE?

  • Ubuntu is called Ubuntu because it is the main product. 
  • Kubuntu is Ubuntu with the KDE desktop. 
  • Xubuntu is Ubuntu with the XFCE desktop. 
  • Lubuntu is Ubuntu with the LXDE desktop. 
So why not Mubuntu? Why is it Ubuntu MATE? The same question could of course be asked for Ubuntu Gnome. Gubuntu anyone?

Thanks for reading.

Posted at 00:12 |  by Gary Newell

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Introduction

It is amazing what the word "ultimate" does to a title.

In all truth this guide will show you how to install Ubuntu MATE on a computer with a standard BIOS. If you are looking to install on an EFI based system then a future guide will cover that.

How To Download Ubuntu MATE

Click this link to visit the Ubuntu MATE download page

There are two versions available for download, 14.04 which is the long term support release and 14.10 which is the latest release. (Unless you are reading this beyond April 2015 in which case 14.10 will no longer be the latest release).

There are a number of download links available as well as bittorrents. I found the download links to be fairly unstable and on a few occasions the download dropped out. The bittorrent worked much better. If you aren't going to use the bittorrent it is worth using a download manager so that you can resume from where you left off if a dropout occurs.

When the ISO file has finished downloading, you will need to either burn it to a DVD or create a bootable USB drive.

To burn the ISO to a DVD use your favourite DVD burning tool.

Click here for a guide to create a bootable Linux USB drive.

Boot Into Live Ubuntu MATE USB/DVD


Leave the DVD or USB drive you created in the previous step connected and reboot your computer.

A menu should appear with an option to "Try Ubuntu MATE". Select this option.

If no menu appears, restart the computer again and look for the key required to enter your BIOS setup. It will flash up very quickly as you boot up and will either be a function key or the escape key.

When you are in your BIOS look for the boot order. Make sure that the device you are using for booting Ubuntu MATE appears before the hard drive in the boot order.

Installing Ubuntu MATE

To start the installer click on the "Install Ubuntu MATE" icon on the desktop.





















The installation is fairly straight forward.

The first step is to choose your language and click "Continue".





















You now have the option to connect to the internet. There are advantages to being connected such being able to have updates automatically applied during the installation.

If you have a poor internet connection and it is likely to drop out I would recommend not connecting and to apply updates after the installation.

If you choose to connect, select your preferred network and enter a password if required. If you do not want to connect choose the "I don't want to connect to a wi-fi network at this time" option.

Click "Continue' to move on.





















The third screen shows you how prepared you are for installing Ubuntu MATE.

To install Ubuntu MATE you should:

  • Have at least 6.3 gigabytes of disk space
  • Be connected to the internet
  • Be connected to a power supply
The 6.3 gigabytes hard drive space is the only must have of the three options.

I discussed the internet option in the previous step and whilst it is useful for applying updates during installation it can also be a hindrance if you have a poor internet connection.

You only need to be connected to a power supply if your battery isn't going to last for the period of time that the installation takes. Generally if you have more than 45 minutes worth of power left you are fine.

The installation will take anywhere from ten minutes to half an hour depending on your machine's credentials and of course if you choose to download updates, your internet connection speed.

There is a checkbox at the bottom of the screen asking whether you want to install third party software. By checking this box you will be able to play MP3s and watch Flash video files. I generally leave this unchecked and install the Ubuntu Restricted Extras package after the main installation has completed.

Click "Continue" to move on.






















The next screen is likely to be different to the one shown above but will have similar options.

Prior to installing Ubuntu MATE I had a version of Linux called Lubuntu installed. The installer has picked this up as being another version of Ubuntu and so the options I received were to:

  • Erase Lubuntu and re-install (although I would be installing Ubuntu MATE)
  • Dual boot Lubuntu and Ubuntu MATE
  • Erase Lubuntu and install Ubuntu MATE instead (note everything will be erased)
  • Something else (Set up the partitions the way you want them)
If you are coming from Windows the options are likely to include options to erase Windows and install Ubuntu MATE, install Ubuntu MATE alongside Windows or something else.

This guide shows you how to install Ubuntu MATE as a sole operating system and so the option to choose is erase the current operating system (i.e. Windows) and install Ubuntu MATE.

Make sure you have taken a backup of the current operating system in case you need any of the files in the future or you need to get the original operating system back. Use Macrium Reflect To Do This On Windows Systems.

Choose the appropriate option and click "Install Now".

 

The next step is to choose your time zone. Simply click on your location and click "Continue".


As well as selecting your timezone it is important to choose the correct keyboard layout for your computer.

Select the language and format of your keyboard and then click "Continue".

The final step is to set up the default user. Enter a name, a username and a password for the user.

Select whether you want to login automatically or whether you require the user to log in on each and every boot.

Post Installation Tasks

After you have finished installing Ubuntu MATE you should open up the Ubuntu Software Centre and search for the Ubuntu Restricted Extras package if you chose not to install the third party extras.

This will allow you to listen to MP3 files, play Flash videos and use common fonts such as Arial, Verdana and Tahoma.



The Ultimate Ubuntu MATE Installation Guide

Introduction

It is amazing what the word "ultimate" does to a title.

In all truth this guide will show you how to install Ubuntu MATE on a computer with a standard BIOS. If you are looking to install on an EFI based system then a future guide will cover that.

How To Download Ubuntu MATE

Click this link to visit the Ubuntu MATE download page

There are two versions available for download, 14.04 which is the long term support release and 14.10 which is the latest release. (Unless you are reading this beyond April 2015 in which case 14.10 will no longer be the latest release).

There are a number of download links available as well as bittorrents. I found the download links to be fairly unstable and on a few occasions the download dropped out. The bittorrent worked much better. If you aren't going to use the bittorrent it is worth using a download manager so that you can resume from where you left off if a dropout occurs.

When the ISO file has finished downloading, you will need to either burn it to a DVD or create a bootable USB drive.

To burn the ISO to a DVD use your favourite DVD burning tool.

Click here for a guide to create a bootable Linux USB drive.

Boot Into Live Ubuntu MATE USB/DVD


Leave the DVD or USB drive you created in the previous step connected and reboot your computer.

A menu should appear with an option to "Try Ubuntu MATE". Select this option.

If no menu appears, restart the computer again and look for the key required to enter your BIOS setup. It will flash up very quickly as you boot up and will either be a function key or the escape key.

When you are in your BIOS look for the boot order. Make sure that the device you are using for booting Ubuntu MATE appears before the hard drive in the boot order.

Installing Ubuntu MATE

To start the installer click on the "Install Ubuntu MATE" icon on the desktop.





















The installation is fairly straight forward.

The first step is to choose your language and click "Continue".





















You now have the option to connect to the internet. There are advantages to being connected such being able to have updates automatically applied during the installation.

If you have a poor internet connection and it is likely to drop out I would recommend not connecting and to apply updates after the installation.

If you choose to connect, select your preferred network and enter a password if required. If you do not want to connect choose the "I don't want to connect to a wi-fi network at this time" option.

Click "Continue' to move on.





















The third screen shows you how prepared you are for installing Ubuntu MATE.

To install Ubuntu MATE you should:

  • Have at least 6.3 gigabytes of disk space
  • Be connected to the internet
  • Be connected to a power supply
The 6.3 gigabytes hard drive space is the only must have of the three options.

I discussed the internet option in the previous step and whilst it is useful for applying updates during installation it can also be a hindrance if you have a poor internet connection.

You only need to be connected to a power supply if your battery isn't going to last for the period of time that the installation takes. Generally if you have more than 45 minutes worth of power left you are fine.

The installation will take anywhere from ten minutes to half an hour depending on your machine's credentials and of course if you choose to download updates, your internet connection speed.

There is a checkbox at the bottom of the screen asking whether you want to install third party software. By checking this box you will be able to play MP3s and watch Flash video files. I generally leave this unchecked and install the Ubuntu Restricted Extras package after the main installation has completed.

Click "Continue" to move on.






















The next screen is likely to be different to the one shown above but will have similar options.

Prior to installing Ubuntu MATE I had a version of Linux called Lubuntu installed. The installer has picked this up as being another version of Ubuntu and so the options I received were to:

  • Erase Lubuntu and re-install (although I would be installing Ubuntu MATE)
  • Dual boot Lubuntu and Ubuntu MATE
  • Erase Lubuntu and install Ubuntu MATE instead (note everything will be erased)
  • Something else (Set up the partitions the way you want them)
If you are coming from Windows the options are likely to include options to erase Windows and install Ubuntu MATE, install Ubuntu MATE alongside Windows or something else.

This guide shows you how to install Ubuntu MATE as a sole operating system and so the option to choose is erase the current operating system (i.e. Windows) and install Ubuntu MATE.

Make sure you have taken a backup of the current operating system in case you need any of the files in the future or you need to get the original operating system back. Use Macrium Reflect To Do This On Windows Systems.

Choose the appropriate option and click "Install Now".

 

The next step is to choose your time zone. Simply click on your location and click "Continue".


As well as selecting your timezone it is important to choose the correct keyboard layout for your computer.

Select the language and format of your keyboard and then click "Continue".

The final step is to set up the default user. Enter a name, a username and a password for the user.

Select whether you want to login automatically or whether you require the user to log in on each and every boot.

Post Installation Tasks

After you have finished installing Ubuntu MATE you should open up the Ubuntu Software Centre and search for the Ubuntu Restricted Extras package if you chose not to install the third party extras.

This will allow you to listen to MP3 files, play Flash videos and use common fonts such as Arial, Verdana and Tahoma.



Posted at 22:16 |  by Gary Newell

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Introduction

I have been using Ubuntu 14.10 since it was released on the 23rd October, 2014. During that time I have been trying to work out how to write this review because on the face of it, nothing much has changed.

I was half tempted to just post a link to my review of Ubuntu 14.04 and say "Thankyou for reading".

Instead I think I have come up with enough material to form a review. For those of you who are currently using 14.04 I will highlight the main differences as listed in the release notes first and then you can decide whether to continue reading or not.

For those of you new to Ubuntu, 14.10 is the latest release and will continue to be so until Ubuntu 15.04 is released in April 2015.

What Is Ubuntu?

Everyday Linux User focuses on desktop Linux and as such I am not too bothered about reviewing the cloud or server versions.

The Ubuntu website says this about the desktop version:
"Enjoy the simplicity of Ubuntu's stylish, intuitive interface. Fast, secure and with thousands of apps to choose from, Ubuntu gives you a clean and streamlined experience that makes it easy to do whatever you want".
The Unity interface that comes as standard with Ubuntu does everything right that Windows 8 has managed to mess up so badly.

Ubuntu is a GNU/Linux distribution which is both easy to use and modern.

Differences Between Ubuntu 14.04 And 14.10

Ubuntu 14.04 is the long term support release. If you seek long term stability without the requirement to upgrade regularly then you should install Ubuntu 14.04.

Ubuntu 14.10 will be supported for 9 months but having joined the interim release cycle you will more than likely continue to upgrade again in just 6 months when 15.04 is released and then again in 15.10.

There are benefits to using the interim releases such as updated kernels and updated applications but there are likely to be downsides going forward especially when newer technologies such as MIR and SystemD become the defaults.

Ubuntu 14.10 is a maintenance release with a number of upgraded applications and an upgraded kernel.

Ubuntu 14.04 was released with kernel 3.13 and for 14.10 this has gone up to 3.16. The benefits of the newer kernel include improved performance for NVidia, Intel and ATI devices. There is also improved performance with regards to suspend and resume times.

For the desktop edition of Ubuntu there have been a number of bug fixes included for Unity and improvements have been made for High-DPI displays.

The version of Firefox is now 33 and Chromium is 38. GTK is updated to 3.12 and QT is upgraded to 5.3. Ubuntu 14.10 also comes with LibreOffice 4.3

Click here for the full release notes for Ubuntu 14.10.

How To Get Ubuntu

Click here to download Ubuntu 14.10.

You will have to scroll down the page to find the Ubuntu 14.10 release as Ubuntu 14.04 still takes centre stage.

I have written various guides showing how to install Ubuntu including:
The dual boot guide will probably work for most of you without having to follow all of the steps and the requirement for turning off secure boot isn't absolutely necessary. I am working on an updated guide.

If you are going to dual boot it is probably a good idea to backup Windows 8.1 first.
You can also buy a Ubuntu USB drive or DVD drive. This is a great option for those people who have a poor internet connection and saves the short time and effort required to create one of your own.

First Impressions

Ubuntu 14.10 isn't going to provide current Ubuntu users with much of a surprise but for those of you who haven't tried Ubuntu before the screen basically contains a desktop, quick launch bar and a panel at the top.

The Ubuntu launcher on the left shows icons for all the most commonly used applications such as a file manager, web browser, office suite, software manager and settings. You can rearrange these icons and replace them with icons for the applications you use the most.

Click here for a full guide showing how to use the Unity Launcher.

In the top right corner are some icons which are used for setting up the network, choosing your language, bluetooth settings, power settings, audio settings, the clock and general user settings.

Pressing the super key (Windows key) on the keyboard or clicking the top icon on the launcher brings up the Unity Dash.

Earlier on I stated that Ubuntu did everything right that Windows 8 got horribly wrong.

The dash is a perfect example of this. In Ubuntu the launcher stays visible and is a quick and easy way to launch your favourite applications. The dash is used for everything else.

Anybody who has used Windows 8 will note that you could be using the desktop and running a desktop application and then you decide to run another application. Pressing the Windows key takes you back to the tiled window. The mouse then has to go to the right side of the screen to bring up the search tool. You are then able to find the application and run it. This will make the application appear on the desktop again.

The mouse is basically going all over the place and the user loses the view of the application they were initially running.

With Ubuntu the launcher keeps track of everything that is running and the dash merely overlays the applications underneath. Mouse usage is kept to a minimum.

The search tool within Ubuntu is incredibly good and most applications and files can be found within a couple of key strokes.

The dash also includes a concept called scopes (or lenses). By default in Ubuntu 14.10 the scopes include applications, files, videos, audio and photos. For some reason the lens for social media has disappeared in Ubuntu 14.10 but I will come back to that later.

Connecting To The Internet


Connecting to the internet is fairly straight forward. Click on the network setting icon in the top right corner and click on the desired network. 

If you are connecting to a wireless network you will be asked for the security key for that network. This will be remembered for subsequent connections.


Flash and MP3


During the installation of Ubuntu you are asked whether you want to install 3rd party tools and this includes the necessary codecs to run Flash videos and play Flash games.

You can also install Flash via the repositories by either installing the Flash installer or by installing the Ubuntu Restricted Extras package.

The restricted extras package includes fonts that are commonly found within Windows and the codecs required to play MP3 audio.

Audio

The default audio application within Ubuntu is Rhythmbox. 

You can import your current music collection, listen to podcasts and listen to online radio stations using Rhythmbox. Rhythmbox also integrates well with external audio devices.

Until you have imported music into Rhythmbox, the music scope within the Unity dash will remain empty.

The Unity Dash can be used to search for and filter audio by decade and genre.

Video


The default media player within Ubuntu is called Totem. The Unity Dash can also be used to view videos that are installed on your system. In addition to this the Dash will also show online videos.

Photos


The default photo manager within Ubuntu is called Shotwell and this can be used to organise all of your photos and run slideshows.

There is a lens within the Unity Dash which can be used to search for and view photos. Until the photos are imported into Shotwell nothing will be displayed within this scope.

Applications

Ubuntu 14.10 comes with the following applications by default:
  • Screenshot
  • GEdit - Text editor
  • Terminal
  • Calculator -
  • LibreOffice - Office Suite
  • Document Viewer - PDF Viewer
  • ImageMagick - Image Editor
  • Brasero - Disc Burning
  • Cheese - Webcam Viewer
  • Firefox - Web Browser
  • Empathy - Instant Messenging
  • Solitaire - Game
  • Mahjongg - Game
  • Rhythmbox - Audio Player
  • Remmima Remote Desktop
  • Shotwell - Photo Manager
  • Sudoku - Game
  • Totem - Video Player

Installing Applications

The Ubuntu Repositories have thousands of applications that can be installed.

One way to access the repositories is to use the Ubuntu Software Centre.

The Software Centre has a number of categories that can be browsed and a search tool to find an application by name or keyword.

When you have found the application you wish to install you can click the "More Info" button to get further details or "install" to install the application.

Customising Ubuntu

The first thing you will probably want to change is the desktop wallpaper.

You can change the wallpaper by right clicking on the desktop and choosing "Change desktop background".

Ubuntu comes with a number of different wallpapers or you can add your own by clicking the plus (+) symbol and navigating to the image you wish to use.

You can also change the size of the launcher icons. If you have poor eyesight you might choose to make them larger or if you are using a netbook you might choose to make them smaller.

You might wish to hide the launcher completely when not in use and this can be achieved by choosing the appropriate option on the behaviour tab.

There are other behavioural and appearance settings that can be amended within Unity and the easiest way to set them is to use the Unity Tweak Tool which can be found in the Software Centre.

There are too many tweaks that can be applied to list them all here but for example you can hide the launcher, change the launcher icon colours, amend the way the search tool works, amend the panel settings, change keyboard shortcuts, change the window manager settings and change desktop settings.



Web Application Interaction

I mentioned earlier that the social media lens appeared to be missing in Ubuntu 14.10.

It is also worth noting that Twitter was missing as an option within the Online Accounts feature.

I installed the Friends scope from within the Software Centre and the Twitter option appeared within Online Accounts.





Unfortunately despite setting up my Twitter account within Online Accounts no messages have come through yet on the Dash.



If you go to a popular web application, such as Twitter, you are asked if you wish to integrate it into Ubuntu. This has the effect of running the web application as if it is a standard desktop application. Anybody who has used Peppermint Linux will be used to this concept.

There are dozens of web applications that this works for and most of them work successfully including Youtube.


One that didn't work so well was Grooveshark. The web application kept coming up with a Flash player error. There is an option to use the HTML 5 version but this basically just opens another browser window so you may as well have just loaded Firefox in the first place.

Netflix and Chrome

Netflix is supposed to run natively within Ubuntu now without any spoofing, fairy dust or wizardry.

To try it out I installed Chrome, by going to Google's website and downloading the latest stable version. I then loaded Netflix into my browser and hey presto.

Issues

I would be lying if I told you that I hadn't run into the odd issue whilst running Ubuntu 14.10.


For example, Unity spurted out an error whilst loading the music lens for the first time after importing music into Rhythmbox.

I have had other similar crashes with lenses, especially whilst trying to get the friends scope to work.

99.99% of the time Ubuntu 14.10 works without error but just occasionally the do you want to report this error dialogue appears and most of the time when it occurs I was blissfully unaware that there was an error because nothing bad appeared to be happening.

Summary

Ubuntu 14.10 is another nice little step forward for Ubuntu without being spectacular.

Linux has faced many hurdles over the years such as lack of MP3 support, Flash support, hardware support, gaming, decent software, running Windows applications and recently Netflix. All of these issues can now be filed away as "used to be an issue".

Ubuntu is one of the more popular distributions for a reason. As Windows users love to say "It just works" and for it just does.

Thankyou for reading



 

















An Everyday Linux User Review Of Ubuntu 14.10

Introduction

I have been using Ubuntu 14.10 since it was released on the 23rd October, 2014. During that time I have been trying to work out how to write this review because on the face of it, nothing much has changed.

I was half tempted to just post a link to my review of Ubuntu 14.04 and say "Thankyou for reading".

Instead I think I have come up with enough material to form a review. For those of you who are currently using 14.04 I will highlight the main differences as listed in the release notes first and then you can decide whether to continue reading or not.

For those of you new to Ubuntu, 14.10 is the latest release and will continue to be so until Ubuntu 15.04 is released in April 2015.

What Is Ubuntu?

Everyday Linux User focuses on desktop Linux and as such I am not too bothered about reviewing the cloud or server versions.

The Ubuntu website says this about the desktop version:
"Enjoy the simplicity of Ubuntu's stylish, intuitive interface. Fast, secure and with thousands of apps to choose from, Ubuntu gives you a clean and streamlined experience that makes it easy to do whatever you want".
The Unity interface that comes as standard with Ubuntu does everything right that Windows 8 has managed to mess up so badly.

Ubuntu is a GNU/Linux distribution which is both easy to use and modern.

Differences Between Ubuntu 14.04 And 14.10

Ubuntu 14.04 is the long term support release. If you seek long term stability without the requirement to upgrade regularly then you should install Ubuntu 14.04.

Ubuntu 14.10 will be supported for 9 months but having joined the interim release cycle you will more than likely continue to upgrade again in just 6 months when 15.04 is released and then again in 15.10.

There are benefits to using the interim releases such as updated kernels and updated applications but there are likely to be downsides going forward especially when newer technologies such as MIR and SystemD become the defaults.

Ubuntu 14.10 is a maintenance release with a number of upgraded applications and an upgraded kernel.

Ubuntu 14.04 was released with kernel 3.13 and for 14.10 this has gone up to 3.16. The benefits of the newer kernel include improved performance for NVidia, Intel and ATI devices. There is also improved performance with regards to suspend and resume times.

For the desktop edition of Ubuntu there have been a number of bug fixes included for Unity and improvements have been made for High-DPI displays.

The version of Firefox is now 33 and Chromium is 38. GTK is updated to 3.12 and QT is upgraded to 5.3. Ubuntu 14.10 also comes with LibreOffice 4.3

Click here for the full release notes for Ubuntu 14.10.

How To Get Ubuntu

Click here to download Ubuntu 14.10.

You will have to scroll down the page to find the Ubuntu 14.10 release as Ubuntu 14.04 still takes centre stage.

I have written various guides showing how to install Ubuntu including:
The dual boot guide will probably work for most of you without having to follow all of the steps and the requirement for turning off secure boot isn't absolutely necessary. I am working on an updated guide.

If you are going to dual boot it is probably a good idea to backup Windows 8.1 first.
You can also buy a Ubuntu USB drive or DVD drive. This is a great option for those people who have a poor internet connection and saves the short time and effort required to create one of your own.

First Impressions

Ubuntu 14.10 isn't going to provide current Ubuntu users with much of a surprise but for those of you who haven't tried Ubuntu before the screen basically contains a desktop, quick launch bar and a panel at the top.

The Ubuntu launcher on the left shows icons for all the most commonly used applications such as a file manager, web browser, office suite, software manager and settings. You can rearrange these icons and replace them with icons for the applications you use the most.

Click here for a full guide showing how to use the Unity Launcher.

In the top right corner are some icons which are used for setting up the network, choosing your language, bluetooth settings, power settings, audio settings, the clock and general user settings.

Pressing the super key (Windows key) on the keyboard or clicking the top icon on the launcher brings up the Unity Dash.

Earlier on I stated that Ubuntu did everything right that Windows 8 got horribly wrong.

The dash is a perfect example of this. In Ubuntu the launcher stays visible and is a quick and easy way to launch your favourite applications. The dash is used for everything else.

Anybody who has used Windows 8 will note that you could be using the desktop and running a desktop application and then you decide to run another application. Pressing the Windows key takes you back to the tiled window. The mouse then has to go to the right side of the screen to bring up the search tool. You are then able to find the application and run it. This will make the application appear on the desktop again.

The mouse is basically going all over the place and the user loses the view of the application they were initially running.

With Ubuntu the launcher keeps track of everything that is running and the dash merely overlays the applications underneath. Mouse usage is kept to a minimum.

The search tool within Ubuntu is incredibly good and most applications and files can be found within a couple of key strokes.

The dash also includes a concept called scopes (or lenses). By default in Ubuntu 14.10 the scopes include applications, files, videos, audio and photos. For some reason the lens for social media has disappeared in Ubuntu 14.10 but I will come back to that later.

Connecting To The Internet


Connecting to the internet is fairly straight forward. Click on the network setting icon in the top right corner and click on the desired network. 

If you are connecting to a wireless network you will be asked for the security key for that network. This will be remembered for subsequent connections.


Flash and MP3


During the installation of Ubuntu you are asked whether you want to install 3rd party tools and this includes the necessary codecs to run Flash videos and play Flash games.

You can also install Flash via the repositories by either installing the Flash installer or by installing the Ubuntu Restricted Extras package.

The restricted extras package includes fonts that are commonly found within Windows and the codecs required to play MP3 audio.

Audio

The default audio application within Ubuntu is Rhythmbox. 

You can import your current music collection, listen to podcasts and listen to online radio stations using Rhythmbox. Rhythmbox also integrates well with external audio devices.

Until you have imported music into Rhythmbox, the music scope within the Unity dash will remain empty.

The Unity Dash can be used to search for and filter audio by decade and genre.

Video


The default media player within Ubuntu is called Totem. The Unity Dash can also be used to view videos that are installed on your system. In addition to this the Dash will also show online videos.

Photos


The default photo manager within Ubuntu is called Shotwell and this can be used to organise all of your photos and run slideshows.

There is a lens within the Unity Dash which can be used to search for and view photos. Until the photos are imported into Shotwell nothing will be displayed within this scope.

Applications

Ubuntu 14.10 comes with the following applications by default:
  • Screenshot
  • GEdit - Text editor
  • Terminal
  • Calculator -
  • LibreOffice - Office Suite
  • Document Viewer - PDF Viewer
  • ImageMagick - Image Editor
  • Brasero - Disc Burning
  • Cheese - Webcam Viewer
  • Firefox - Web Browser
  • Empathy - Instant Messenging
  • Solitaire - Game
  • Mahjongg - Game
  • Rhythmbox - Audio Player
  • Remmima Remote Desktop
  • Shotwell - Photo Manager
  • Sudoku - Game
  • Totem - Video Player

Installing Applications

The Ubuntu Repositories have thousands of applications that can be installed.

One way to access the repositories is to use the Ubuntu Software Centre.

The Software Centre has a number of categories that can be browsed and a search tool to find an application by name or keyword.

When you have found the application you wish to install you can click the "More Info" button to get further details or "install" to install the application.

Customising Ubuntu

The first thing you will probably want to change is the desktop wallpaper.

You can change the wallpaper by right clicking on the desktop and choosing "Change desktop background".

Ubuntu comes with a number of different wallpapers or you can add your own by clicking the plus (+) symbol and navigating to the image you wish to use.

You can also change the size of the launcher icons. If you have poor eyesight you might choose to make them larger or if you are using a netbook you might choose to make them smaller.

You might wish to hide the launcher completely when not in use and this can be achieved by choosing the appropriate option on the behaviour tab.

There are other behavioural and appearance settings that can be amended within Unity and the easiest way to set them is to use the Unity Tweak Tool which can be found in the Software Centre.

There are too many tweaks that can be applied to list them all here but for example you can hide the launcher, change the launcher icon colours, amend the way the search tool works, amend the panel settings, change keyboard shortcuts, change the window manager settings and change desktop settings.



Web Application Interaction

I mentioned earlier that the social media lens appeared to be missing in Ubuntu 14.10.

It is also worth noting that Twitter was missing as an option within the Online Accounts feature.

I installed the Friends scope from within the Software Centre and the Twitter option appeared within Online Accounts.





Unfortunately despite setting up my Twitter account within Online Accounts no messages have come through yet on the Dash.



If you go to a popular web application, such as Twitter, you are asked if you wish to integrate it into Ubuntu. This has the effect of running the web application as if it is a standard desktop application. Anybody who has used Peppermint Linux will be used to this concept.

There are dozens of web applications that this works for and most of them work successfully including Youtube.


One that didn't work so well was Grooveshark. The web application kept coming up with a Flash player error. There is an option to use the HTML 5 version but this basically just opens another browser window so you may as well have just loaded Firefox in the first place.

Netflix and Chrome

Netflix is supposed to run natively within Ubuntu now without any spoofing, fairy dust or wizardry.

To try it out I installed Chrome, by going to Google's website and downloading the latest stable version. I then loaded Netflix into my browser and hey presto.

Issues

I would be lying if I told you that I hadn't run into the odd issue whilst running Ubuntu 14.10.


For example, Unity spurted out an error whilst loading the music lens for the first time after importing music into Rhythmbox.

I have had other similar crashes with lenses, especially whilst trying to get the friends scope to work.

99.99% of the time Ubuntu 14.10 works without error but just occasionally the do you want to report this error dialogue appears and most of the time when it occurs I was blissfully unaware that there was an error because nothing bad appeared to be happening.

Summary

Ubuntu 14.10 is another nice little step forward for Ubuntu without being spectacular.

Linux has faced many hurdles over the years such as lack of MP3 support, Flash support, hardware support, gaming, decent software, running Windows applications and recently Netflix. All of these issues can now be filed away as "used to be an issue".

Ubuntu is one of the more popular distributions for a reason. As Windows users love to say "It just works" and for it just does.

Thankyou for reading



 

















Posted at 21:26 |  by Gary Newell

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Introduction

After reading my article on installing and playing Minecraft using Ubuntu, a reader asked whether it was possible to play other games using Ubuntu such as "The Sims" and "Civilisation".

I have written articles previously showing how to use PlayOnLinux to install classic Windows and DOS games. The user in question was having issues with a missing file error so it made me wonder whether there was a problem that I could resolve.

I therefore decided to try out "The Sims" to see if I could install it and play it on a computer running Ubuntu.

The version I am using is "The Sims 3" which I bought on CD a couple of years ago and I haven't really found time to play it yet.

Install PlayOnLinux

PlayOnLinux is available in the Ubuntu Software Centre.

Open the Software Centre by clicking the icon on the launcher that looks like a folder with an "A" on it or by pressing the super key (Windows key) on your keyboard and search for "Software Centre".


Once you have the Software Centre open use the search box in the top right corner to find "PlayOnLinux" and then click "Install".

You can also use the terminal to install PlayOnLinux. The quickest way to open a terminal window in Ubuntu is to press CTRL, Alt and T at the same time.

Within the terminal window type the following:

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install playonlinux

Install The Sims

There are lots of steps to follow and lots of screenshots but it is fairly straight forward.

First things first, place the CD in the drive and open PlayOnLinux.

Click "Install a program".



Choose the games category and then click the "install a non-listed program" link.



Click "Next" at the welcome message.









The next screen asks if you want to create a program in a new virtual drive or edit an existing one.

Generally you would edit an existing one if you have made a mistake.

Click "Install a program in a new virtual drive" and then click "Next"


Enter a name for the virtual drive for your application. It can't contain spaces. As this guide is about installing "The Sims" it might be a good idea to go with "The_Sims".

Click "Next".




You can now configure various aspects of the virtual drive. For instance you can choose a specific version of WINE or configure WINE to base itself on a different version of Windows or to change the screen resolution. You can also install extra libraries.

I always leave all this stuff until after the installation.

Click "Next".

You can now choose whether to create a 32 bit or 64 bit installation.

The version of The Sims I am using is "The Sims 3" which was released as a 32-bit binary and therefore I chose to create the 32-bit Windows Installation.

Click "Next".


The next step is to choose where you are installing from.

If you aren't installing from CD click the "Select another file" and navigate to the location of the installer.

If you have a CD click on the CD-ROM and click "Next".

The installer for "The Sims" should start.

Choose your setup language and click "OK".




At "The Sims installer welcome screen" click "Next".








Choose your location and click "Next".








Check the box to accept the terms and conditions and click "Next".

(You have read them first though haven't you. I mean, we all read the terms and conditions. They are incredibly important after all).



Enter the product key that came with your version of "The Sims". If you bought a CD it should be on the back of the booklet inside the CD case.

Click "Next".



You can now decide whether to go for a typical installation or a custom installation.

I chose the "Typical Installation".

Click "Next".



Click "Install" to begin the installation.








After the installation has finished you will be asked whether you want to participate in their customer experience improvement scheme.

I never say yes to these things but if you want to check the box.

Click "Next".

EA, please just let me play the game!.

Yet more questions. Do you want to install the latest download manager?

Again I chose no as I'm not sure how well this would work using PlayOnLinux. Click "Next".


Done. Well almost.

The Sims has now been installed but there are still a few more steps before you can play it.

Click "Finish".



Create a shortcut for The Sims within PlayOnLinux and on your desktop by selecting TS3.exe.

Click "Next"






You can now try The Sims from your desktop or from within PlayOnLinux by clicking on the icon but I found that it messed with my screen resolution.

To fix this from within PlayOnLinux, select Configuration from the toolbar. When the configuration screen opens click the "WINE" tab.

Click on the "Configure WINE" option and when the "WINE Configuration" window loads click on the "Graphics" tab.

Check the "Emulate a virtual desktop" checkbox and then enter the screen resolution for your monitor.



You can find your screen resolution information by clicking the settings icon on the launcher (cog and spanner).

From within the configuration settings select "Screen Display".

Your screen resolution will be displayed.

After setting the screen resolution, click "Ok" to finish configuring WINE.

 

Summary


I have played the game a few times in the past few days and I have been able to load and save games flawlessly and play without any errors.

I hope this guide helped and thankyou for reading.

Another Great Free Roleplaying Game

I have teamed up with GoodGame Studios to bring some great online games to the Everyday Linux User website which can be played from your browser.

The good news is that the games are all free to play. November's game is GoodGame Empire.

Become the lord of a castle and turn your small fortress into the capital of the entire kingdom in this exciting online strategy game. 
Establish a mighty army to defend your realm and extend your territory. Forge alliances with other players worldwide to crush your enemies, and become the sole ruler of a mighty empire!

GOODGAME EMPIRE OFFERS:

  • Become the lord of a castle and turn your small fortress into the capital of the entire kingdom in this exciting online strategy game. 
  • Establish a mighty army to defend your realm and extend your territory.
  • Forge alliances with other players worldwide to crush your enemies, and become the sole ruler of a mighty empire.
  • Combat against other players and an alliance system 
  • A dynamic world map Strategic battles using various units and siege tools 
  • The ability to upgrade your castle with numerous buildings 
  • Resource Outposts for securing more supplies 
  • An entertaining campaign with missions and attractive rewards













How To Install And Play Sims 3 Using Ubuntu

Introduction

After reading my article on installing and playing Minecraft using Ubuntu, a reader asked whether it was possible to play other games using Ubuntu such as "The Sims" and "Civilisation".

I have written articles previously showing how to use PlayOnLinux to install classic Windows and DOS games. The user in question was having issues with a missing file error so it made me wonder whether there was a problem that I could resolve.

I therefore decided to try out "The Sims" to see if I could install it and play it on a computer running Ubuntu.

The version I am using is "The Sims 3" which I bought on CD a couple of years ago and I haven't really found time to play it yet.

Install PlayOnLinux

PlayOnLinux is available in the Ubuntu Software Centre.

Open the Software Centre by clicking the icon on the launcher that looks like a folder with an "A" on it or by pressing the super key (Windows key) on your keyboard and search for "Software Centre".


Once you have the Software Centre open use the search box in the top right corner to find "PlayOnLinux" and then click "Install".

You can also use the terminal to install PlayOnLinux. The quickest way to open a terminal window in Ubuntu is to press CTRL, Alt and T at the same time.

Within the terminal window type the following:

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install playonlinux

Install The Sims

There are lots of steps to follow and lots of screenshots but it is fairly straight forward.

First things first, place the CD in the drive and open PlayOnLinux.

Click "Install a program".



Choose the games category and then click the "install a non-listed program" link.



Click "Next" at the welcome message.









The next screen asks if you want to create a program in a new virtual drive or edit an existing one.

Generally you would edit an existing one if you have made a mistake.

Click "Install a program in a new virtual drive" and then click "Next"


Enter a name for the virtual drive for your application. It can't contain spaces. As this guide is about installing "The Sims" it might be a good idea to go with "The_Sims".

Click "Next".




You can now configure various aspects of the virtual drive. For instance you can choose a specific version of WINE or configure WINE to base itself on a different version of Windows or to change the screen resolution. You can also install extra libraries.

I always leave all this stuff until after the installation.

Click "Next".

You can now choose whether to create a 32 bit or 64 bit installation.

The version of The Sims I am using is "The Sims 3" which was released as a 32-bit binary and therefore I chose to create the 32-bit Windows Installation.

Click "Next".


The next step is to choose where you are installing from.

If you aren't installing from CD click the "Select another file" and navigate to the location of the installer.

If you have a CD click on the CD-ROM and click "Next".

The installer for "The Sims" should start.

Choose your setup language and click "OK".




At "The Sims installer welcome screen" click "Next".








Choose your location and click "Next".








Check the box to accept the terms and conditions and click "Next".

(You have read them first though haven't you. I mean, we all read the terms and conditions. They are incredibly important after all).



Enter the product key that came with your version of "The Sims". If you bought a CD it should be on the back of the booklet inside the CD case.

Click "Next".



You can now decide whether to go for a typical installation or a custom installation.

I chose the "Typical Installation".

Click "Next".



Click "Install" to begin the installation.








After the installation has finished you will be asked whether you want to participate in their customer experience improvement scheme.

I never say yes to these things but if you want to check the box.

Click "Next".

EA, please just let me play the game!.

Yet more questions. Do you want to install the latest download manager?

Again I chose no as I'm not sure how well this would work using PlayOnLinux. Click "Next".


Done. Well almost.

The Sims has now been installed but there are still a few more steps before you can play it.

Click "Finish".



Create a shortcut for The Sims within PlayOnLinux and on your desktop by selecting TS3.exe.

Click "Next"






You can now try The Sims from your desktop or from within PlayOnLinux by clicking on the icon but I found that it messed with my screen resolution.

To fix this from within PlayOnLinux, select Configuration from the toolbar. When the configuration screen opens click the "WINE" tab.

Click on the "Configure WINE" option and when the "WINE Configuration" window loads click on the "Graphics" tab.

Check the "Emulate a virtual desktop" checkbox and then enter the screen resolution for your monitor.



You can find your screen resolution information by clicking the settings icon on the launcher (cog and spanner).

From within the configuration settings select "Screen Display".

Your screen resolution will be displayed.

After setting the screen resolution, click "Ok" to finish configuring WINE.

 

Summary


I have played the game a few times in the past few days and I have been able to load and save games flawlessly and play without any errors.

I hope this guide helped and thankyou for reading.

Another Great Free Roleplaying Game

I have teamed up with GoodGame Studios to bring some great online games to the Everyday Linux User website which can be played from your browser.

The good news is that the games are all free to play. November's game is GoodGame Empire.

Become the lord of a castle and turn your small fortress into the capital of the entire kingdom in this exciting online strategy game. 
Establish a mighty army to defend your realm and extend your territory. Forge alliances with other players worldwide to crush your enemies, and become the sole ruler of a mighty empire!

GOODGAME EMPIRE OFFERS:

  • Become the lord of a castle and turn your small fortress into the capital of the entire kingdom in this exciting online strategy game. 
  • Establish a mighty army to defend your realm and extend your territory.
  • Forge alliances with other players worldwide to crush your enemies, and become the sole ruler of a mighty empire.
  • Combat against other players and an alliance system 
  • A dynamic world map Strategic battles using various units and siege tools 
  • The ability to upgrade your castle with numerous buildings 
  • Resource Outposts for securing more supplies 
  • An entertaining campaign with missions and attractive rewards













Posted at 13:51 |  by Gary Newell

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