Simple Ubuntu Server: Part 1 – Initial Installation

Welcome to Part 1, the initial installation of a simple Ubuntu server.

In this part, you will see how to get your Ubuntu server installed, from downloading to the various installation options. Part 2 will pick up where Part 1 left off, with partitioning and finishing the installation of your new Ubuntu server.

The first step is, of course, to download the ISO file for the Ubuntu server version you want to use. These files are found on Ubuntu’s website, here:

http://www.ubuntu.com/business/server 

Most recently purchased or built computers will have a 64 bit capable processor processor, which means you should choose the 64 bit version from their download page, here:

http://www.ubuntu.com/download/server
server-versions

Downloadable versions

As for what version of the server itself you should download, I suggest the long-term support versions which come out every 2 years in the spring and provide support for 5 years from their release date. The most recent LTS version is 12.04.2. If you are not concerned about support duration, you can download the other release, which at the time of writing is 12.10, and is only supported for 18 months. For this server, I will be using Ubuntu Server 12.04.2.

The first screen you will encounter after downloading, burning and inserting your Ubuntu server disk will ask for the language you want to use.

language

Language prompt

After which you will arrive at the splash screen, showing your options.

Splash screen

Splash screen

In this post, I will be selecting the Install Ubuntu Server option, but here is a very quick rundown of the other options:

  • Multiple server install with MaaS – This is Canonical’s “Metal-as-a-Service” way of looking at hardware. If you don’t care about the actual physical specs of any one server and have many servers to deploy, you can use this. There are tons of articles out there if you are more interested, but the jist is that you use MaaS to organize your server hardware, the Juju to manage your services and applications
  • Check disc for defects – this runs through disk checks to verify the integrity of the installation disk that you just burned. It won’t find all errors, but it’ll find large ones that occurred during the burning process or download process (a better way to verify the download would be to MD5SUM it). I highly suggest burning theĀ iso file to disc on the slowest burn setting supported by your burner and the disc itself to prevent buffer underrun errors.
  • Test memory – This launches memtest86 to test your RAM. You can download a standalone version of memtest86 as well.
  • Boot from first hard disk – Pretty straightforward. It boots from the first hard disk in your system
  • Rescue a broken system – Selecting this option will allow you to mount your disks in the steps following, then give you a couple options such as executing a shell, reinstalling GRUB, etc.

Once you select to install the server, you will be prompted to select a language again. This is the language that will be installed to your computer, versus the previous prompt which was the language the installer would present itself in onscreen.

Language to be installed

Language to be installed

Next up is the location.

Location

Location

Then the keyboard recognition (I’ve never had a problem with this, but those of you in other countries with non-standard keyboards may have to use this feature).

Detect keyboard

Detect keyboard

And keyboard layout selection.

Keyboard layout

Keyboard layouts

I don’t even know if many of these keyboard layouts are even found in the wild anymore…

Keyboard layouts

Keyboard layouts, submenu

Once it runs through its detecting hardware, loading additional components and a few other things, you’ll be prompted to enter the hostname to be used for the system. This will be the name for the server you are installing and visible over the network. As you can see, I called this one “myubuntuserver”.

Server hostname

Server hostname

Next up is the information for the first user on the system (i.e. you), which is just a string of text that is associated with the username entered in the next prompt

username-string

Full name

username

Actual username

password

Password

password-bad

Bad password

After you enter your password, you will be prompted to repeat it to ensure you entered it correctly the first time. If your password is too short (<8 characters) it will prompt you to enter a longer password for better security. Note that UNIX-password rules are not enforced here, so while you can enter dictionary words and have no numbers, symbols, etc., you still probably shouldn’t (you can change this later, but what if you forget to or get lazy? best just do it correctly the first time).

You will now be asked if you want to encrypt your home directory. This is a good idea for personal computers or servers where you will be storing sensitive information. The basic way it works is that your home directory is automatically decrypted at login and encrypted in AES256 at logout. For this simple server, I’m selecting not to encrypt the home directory.

Encrypt home directory

Encrypt home directory

The time zone prompt is next. If it isn’t correct you can hit no and select it manually.

Timezone

Timezone

This is the end of Part 1, Part 2 picks up with partitioning.

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One Response to Simple Ubuntu Server: Part 1 – Initial Installation

  1. Pingback: Simple Ubuntu Server: Part 2 – Partitioning and Final Setup - Use[ful][less] Knowledge

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