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Sorry for the rant, but a couple times a year I get excited about trying linux, and then I donate. and then I download. and then I spend a few hours trying to get anything at all to work, and give up in frustration.

I just don't see how widespread adoption can ever be significant when:

"it is highly recommended that you verify the md5 sum or sha256 sum (hash) of the .iso file."

But each of those pages is (tens of?) thousands of words of esoteric detail.

I can't understand why it's so difficult- I'm an engineer by trade, but when I read the page 'Installation/FromUSBStick', I basically just quite- it seems to be 100,000 words on all the reasons why it's unlikely to work:

"Some USB pendrives and computers 'do not like each other'"

I mean if it's going to take 120 hours of personal time to just read all this, and an indeterminate amount of time on the three (!?) forums trying to understand it all, it makes it very attractive to just surrender to Microsoft and just let them have all of my personal data, and accept that I don't realistically have any control over any of this.

It's like 'step 1: quite your job and become an Ubuntu expert'

First question: is there an alternative to all the checksum stuff? will I inadvertently launch a nuclear missile if I ignore it? can I brick my computer if I ignore it?

Second question: is it just stupid of me to try to burn a bootable USB?

Third question: if I go to the store to buy a pack burnable DVD's, is there a reasonable likelihood that will work?

Thanks in advance for any guidance.

  • You're not trying to do this from OSX, right? I've never had a problem installing Ubuntu – cat Dec 22 '15 at 19:07
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    You do not need to donate. It's just if you want to support the developers. – Star OS Dec 22 '15 at 19:10
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    I do want to support these projects, though :-) – gerp124 Dec 22 '15 at 20:29
  • the dvd's actually work better, I always advocate using them over a usb - even though it is more convenient to use usb - the process of burning a dvd, and booting from them is simpler – Mateo Dec 22 '15 at 22:32
  • If you already have an ISO image then there is a really easy to use tool for making bootable USB drives (optimized for installing Linux) it's called UNetbootin. Try it. Of course you will have to make your BIOS/UEFI to boot from it (we can't tell you how to do that if we don't know what motherboard you have). – pvc Dec 22 '15 at 23:13
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First question: It is not needed, however you can use a sha5 or md5 hash finder (or something like that) and see if it matches with the hash of the iso. If it doesn't, then you have a corrupted/not working ISO. Download another one.

Second question: Don't burn a bootable USB! Use tools like Pendrive's Universal USB Installer to install it to your USB. Also, you don't wanna copy the ISO to the USB and it's done.

  • Thanks. Sorry I can't format this- I tried 'enter' for a line break, and it just published the comment. Looks like I'd need to devote another couple of months learning how to format in this discussion group. The digital divide widens. So I don't understand your comment 'Don't burn a bootable USB!'. Maybe I'm not using the language correctly- all I meant was 'can I take one of those things that you can stick in a USB port and put files on it, and make into a thing that will boot a computer with Ubuntu?'. – gerp124 Dec 22 '15 at 19:24
  • This is not a very descriptive answer. He should simply watch a YouTube video or something. Linux, especially Ubuntu, is not a a hard concept to grasp. – Max Kulik Dec 22 '15 at 19:25
  • @Max Kulik Just making the answer "watch a youtube video or something" is even less descriptive and insecure. – Star OS Dec 22 '15 at 19:27
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    @Max Kulik, ok, thanks for sticking with me this far, and being cool about my rant :-). Maybe it's this simple: on one of the pages I visited, I understood that I should download the ISO file, and so I did (ubuntu-14.04.3-desktop-amd64). Then I understood it to say that I should put it on a USB stick and try booting from it, and I did. I can select the USB drive from the BIOS boot menu, but it doesn't work. I'm getting the impression that maybe making a bootable USB stick is not just about having the file on the stick, that maybe the file has to be put on the USB stick in a special way? – gerp124 Dec 22 '15 at 19:50
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    Ok, so I'm an idiot. I'm sure you were both just waiting for that :-) Anyhoo... at least I'm as quick to admit it as to rant :-) up and running and exploring- thanks very much you guys! – gerp124 Dec 22 '15 at 20:13
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I'm sorry you are having so much trouble. I don't see where you indicated what type of computer system you have, and what operating system you currently use. I see you downloaded Ubuntu 14.04.3-desktop-amd64 iso. How new is your computer system? Does it use 64-bit addressing? Is your BIOS the newer EFI?

Can you boot from a DVD?

If you describe your system (make, model, date of manufacture) and tell us what you are currently running (some version of Windows, or Mac OSX), we might have more ideas of what problems you could be facing.

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  1. Also with windows it would be better to do an integrity check on large downloads, but you can skip it.
  2. Have you ever tried making a bootable windows install usb stick? Within Linux it is easy but from Windows it takes a bit more effort.
  3. Well even my mother installs and runs Ubuntu so I am pretty sure you can also. The easiest method if you do not have Ubuntu to make a stick is indeed burn a dvd.

You're lucky, you gain all the time you lost back because the system is actually ready for use after install. You do not have to separately install client software like drivers, office, email program, graphic tools etc; and if you miss something just click on it in software center to have it added.

Good luck!

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