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Inside Ubuntu 9.04

Critics are calling 'Jaunty Jackalope' as slick and seamless as Mac OS X. We uncover the Linux distro's pitfalls and gotchas -- as well as its hidden delights.

Always run a full system update after installing Ubuntu.
(click for image gallery)

With each release to both the left and the right of the decimal point, Canonical's Ubuntu shapes up all the more as the Linux distribution for the end user. Critics are calling it as slick and seamless as the Mac's OS X, and it's come that much closer to being a one-for-one replacement for the Windows operating system as anything yet seen.

That said, Ubuntu isn't without its pitfalls and gotchas -- as well as its hidden delights -- and in this article we'll explore the installation and setup process, walk through some of the configuration and tweaking, and reveal a few pointers that you might not stumble across on your own.

How To Get Ubuntu 9.04

There's no shortage of ways to obtain a copy of Ubuntu. You can get it via one of the official download servers, a local download mirror, BitTorrent, a manufactured CD, or even a CD copied from a friend. This isn't commercial software, remember? No code cops will bust your door down for spreading the open source love. The official download server is here.

Whichever method you use, make sure that your copy is intact and genuine. If you've downloaded an .ISO, grab a program that generates MD5 or SHA1 hashes (such as HashMyFiles) and check to make sure the file you've downloaded has the right checksum . If you just have the CD, boot it and select the "Check disc for defects" option; the resulting test may take a while, but better to find out now if the copy you have is defective than to find out halfway through an install.

Be sure also to download the right edition and processor build. If you're in doubt, the stock x86 Ubuntu 9.04 desktop should cover most of the territory. The alternate install CD is for situations where the right drivers are not immediately available or where you need an unconventional level of customization.

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