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First step to Installing gNewSense is downloading the cd images. This can be done using either torrents, or downloading the whole cd from our server. We do ask though that you use a mirror instead of coming directly from our site. This will decrease our network load, and hopefully speed your download
gNewSense (said g'noo sense) is quite low on resources, so runs fine on Pentium 3's and over. An equivalent CPU by another manufacturer (EG AMD) will be fine as well. The official spec. is listed here:
256 megabytes of RAM 3 gigabytes of Hard disc space.
Note there is no official minimum spec. for CPU speed, but I don't recommend running gNewSense on anything less then a 500MHz CPU. This ensures you will have a reasonably snappy box to work with.
If you do go lower, the smallest quantity of RAM the installer works with is 192mb of ram, and I suggest *strongly* against using this on anything less then 400MHz.
Other things which will ease your usage are:
Monitor and video card capable of SVGA Mouse Keyboard
Just a note:
Installing a new Operating system (OS) can be a very tricky thing. Thankfully GNU/Linux distributions are making the install easier and easier. This document guides you through installing the distribution gNewSense. It is written as a series of steps, with screen shots to try and illustrate what is happening. The first part of the instructions are without screen shots, as getting screen shots for this part of the guide would be very difficult. The second part (which actually covers the installer) will have screen shots, as will the post install configuration.
Remember as you go through this that the Distribution in question is still in the beta stage, and should not be used on production systems. I used it because it was convenient, and potentially useful if the documentation can be pushed back upstream.
Hardware supported by free drivers is a much smaller subset than that which has non-free drivers. Please be aware some hardware may not work.
Before you start:
- Turn on your PC, and enter the BIOS. (Getting into the BIOS varies between manufactures, and so you should check your motherboards documentation how to).
- Confirm your computer is set to boot from CDROM (Getting into the BIOS varies between manufactures, and so you should check your motherboards documentation).
- Press the eject button on the CDROM drive to make the tray come out. (Skip this step on slot load CDROM drives).
- Place CDROM in the tray, text/image side up. (On slot load drives slide the CDROM in, text/image side up)
- Press the eject button again to make the tray close. (Skip this step on slot load CDROM drives)
- Save your settings, and exit the BIOS, as per its documentation.
- Wait for the computer to POST, and it displays a black screen with the following text on it:
gNewSense Free as in Freedom LiveCD 1.1 deltad Press F1 for help, or ENTER to boot:
Press ENTER You should now be booting gNewSense!
If the computer goes pass the boot screen without showing it, its possible that your system can't boot from CDROM. If this is the case you will need something like smart boot manager to let you boot.
The CDROM spins up, scrolls a lot of text on the screen, and automatically logs into a Live session of gNewSense.
You have 2 icons on the desktop by default, "Examples", and "Install". Examples is example content from Ubuntu saved in open formats (Which we wont be worrying about now), which can be played from the CD or from the hard drive after install. Install runs the gNewSense installer, so that's where our interest lies.
The installer is a 6 step process, the first 5 requiring input, and the last one confirming your selections (I added a step 7, which is rebooting). It is a good idea to read the text accompanying each screen of the installer to get an idea of what its doing. I wont bother to write out each screens text here, but I will provide screen shots to compare to.
- Double click on Install, the installer launches.
Running the installer
Step 1 - Language Selection
The first screen asks you to enter a language to continue the installer in. As it happens, English is selected by default, so unless you want to customise the install this selection is fine.
Click Next to advance to step 2
Step 2 - Location and Time
By default New York, USA is the location selected for where you live.
To change this requires two steps.
- Step 1. Click on Australia on the map displayed. The window will zoom in.
- Step 2. Click on the marker that represents Adelaide on the map. All the settings at the bottom will change, and the Adelaide marker will blink.
Click Next to advance to step 3.
Step 3 - Keyboard Setup
Keyboard selection. The average Australian is using a US keyboard (all OEM PCs ship with one), so its a safe bet that you will be fine with the default selection. If your unsure, you can test by typing some keys into the test bar at the bottom of the window.
If your keyboard is not a US keyboard, you can choose any other from the list.
Click Next to advance to step 4.
Step 4 - Computer and User Details
Who Are You? This is the part of the installer where you can enter your real name, a login name, a password, and a name for your computer.
There are 4 primary fields:
What is your name?
Here is where you can put your real name in.
What name do you want to use to log in?
This is what's called your 'username'. This is usually a variation of your real name, without spaces or special characters.
Select a password:
Here you are required to put in a password. It doesn't have to be long (there are no security checks run by the installer), but you do have to enter it twice.
What is the computers name?
This is automatically filled in for you as loginname-desktop, or loginname-laptop, You can change the computers name or choose to leave it with the default.
Click Next to advance to step 5.
Step 5 - Drive Partitioning
'Prepare Disk Space' (partitioning)
The installer will allow you to do several partitioning modes, but the two automated ones are "Use entire hard drive" (only one OS installed), or "Resize ... and use freed space". If you want to dual boot (have more then one OS installed) you can click next (and advance to step 6) on this screen without changing anything, and the installer will work everything out for you.
If you want to only run one OS, select the next option down - Erase entire hard disk.
I should point out that if you want to customise the size of your swap file (Virtual memory) this is the time to do it, as after install it can be quite complex. This does require manually editing the partition table, which i don't discuss here though. The generally recommended quantity of swap is 1.5x the amount of RAM you have, however this is legacy information. On a laptop I recommend the amount of ram you have +100mb (for hibernation), and on a desktop '1.5x ram or 1 gigabyte, whichever is smaller'.
Click Next to advance to step 6.
Step 6 - Finalising Setup
Last minute check - Finalising choices.
The final screen lists all the changes that will be made, and allows you to start the install. Remember, this is your last chance to opt out or change settings! After you click install the installer will create new partitions, format them and install the files.
When Install is selected, the large window closes, leaving you with a small status bar that shows how far through the install it is. The status bar has text explaining what's happening and a 'time remaining', but you can probably ignore this and go make a drink, or play some games.
Step 7 - Reboot.
Crunch time - Finishing up.
When the install finishes, a window pops up asking if you want to keep using the live CDROM, or if you want to reboot into the newly installed system. Click 'Restart now' to reboot the computer (Note its not default, so you have to select it manually).
The system shuts down, ejects the CDROM, and asks you to press the [enter] key to reboot, giving you a chance to get the CDROM out. Press the enter key, and wait for the system to restart. By default it will boot your new gNewSense install.
Now try looking at Post Install for some tips on where to go from here.