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User Guide
(WUBI version)

Tom Sparks

March 2009

March 2010

Introduction Why Ubuntu Page ii

Chapter I WUBI Page 1

Chapter II Panel Page 2

Chapter III Applications Page 4

Chapter IV Places Page 6

Chapter V System Page 7

Chapter VI Desktop Page. 8

Chapter VII Email Page 9

Chapter VIII Browsers Page 11

Chapter IX Editors Page 13

Chapter X Synaptic Page 15

Chapter XI Terminal Session Page 16

Chapter XII Ubuntu Help Page 18

Appendix A Linux Concerns Page 19



There are many “flavors” of Linux out there today. You may have heard of Red Hat, Debian or
Corel. I've selected the Ubuntu because of many reasons, but, mainly because it is a
community developed and supported project that has become one of the most highly
regarded Linux distributions available.

The Ubuntu website says:

“Ubuntu is an African (Zulu) word meaning 'Humanity to others', or 'I am what I am because
of who we all are'. The Ubuntu distribution brings the spirit of Ubuntu to the software world.”

Also, the owner of the Ubuntu project is a South African named Mark Shuttleworth. A
millionaire, he has used all his own money to finance Ubuntu. It is estimated that there are 6
million users worldwide. He hopes to rival Microsoft someday.

The Ubuntu kernel is based on Debian GNU/Linux. The kernel is the central component of
most computer operating systems. Its responsibilities include managing the system's
resources and connects the application software to the hardware.

I have used Linux on my server since 1999. I have used Ubuntu in my desktop/laptop since
2005. I believe you should use Linux on your desktop also. To read why, click this link:

My plan here is to facilitate your conversion from Windoze to Ubuntu, making it as seamless
as possible. Don't get me wrong, there is a learning curve. Just like if you decided to switch
to Mac. But, it doesn't have to be time-consuming and painful. Or expensive.

One great feature of Ubuntu, is that when you need to update, load a driver, or load an
application, it automatically goes to the Ubuntu repository server and gets what you need. Of
course, you have to be connected to the internet for this to happen. Most of us are on
broadband these days, so thats not a problem.

Latest Ubuntu versions:

9.10 – Karmic Koala
9.04 – Jaunty Jackalope
8.10 – Intrepid Ibex
8.04 – Hardy Jeron
7.10 – Gutsy Gibbon
7.04 – Feisty Fawn
6.06 – Dapper Drake

Chapter I

Wubi is an officially supported Ubuntu installer for Windows users that allows you to install
and uninstall Ubuntu as any other Windows application, in a simple and safe way.

I've put it as the first chapter because if you are not already a Linux user, you will need WUBI
to easily allow you to “play” with Ubuntu without disturbing your Windows installation.
The installation executable installs Ubuntu in a folder on your C: drive, called Ubuntu. It then
creates a dual boot scenario, allowing you to choose Windows or Ubuntu each time you boot.
This is an excellent situation for checking out Ubuntu and for training purposes. It will allow
you to get familiar with the features of Ubuntu and help you decide to “make the switch”

Here are the steps for downloading and installing WUBI:

1. Go to and download the current installer program. As of today, it is
called wubi.exe, version 9.10.

2. Save wubi.exe to your C: drive, preferably in My Download Files. Your Firefox browser
should default all downloads to this folder.

3. The requirements on your Windoze system are:

384 MB ram
5 GB hard disk space
Windows 2000, XP or Vista

4. Go to the folder where you downloaded wubi.exe and double click it.

5. You will get a preference screen:

Select the size of the folder you want, 8Gb is adequate.
Select your user name and password. Ubuntu takes the name of your Windoze
system and backfills this for a user name.
When you click Enter, a directory called Ubuntu will be created on your C: drive and
Ubuntu will be loaded into it.
It also creates a dual boot scenario. This is a screen that will appear at bootup asking
you to select Windoze or Ubuntu. (For advanced users, this is located in the Ubuntu
folder under /boot/grub/menu.lst)

6. It will then reboot. Your Windoze system will be selected by default and you have to select
Ubuntu. When you do, it will boot up the Ubuntu desktop and download the necessary files for
Ubuntu from their server. It is roughly a 650mb download. On broadband, this will take about
10-15 minutes.

When the download is finished, it will reboot and bring up the Ubuntu desktop again. You are
now ready for the configuration. Sections II thru VI will explain this.

Chapter II

The first thing you will want to do is setup your panel. This is similar to the Windoze toolbar.
The default panel will show at the top of your desktop. You can leave it here, or click and
drag it down to the bottom for a more “Windoze-like” look. (Right click and delete the empty
panel at the bottom first)

There are several default items on the panel. Here is what my panel looks like:

Applications Places System | 36 F | 1:37 PM

Configure Your Panel

I configured my panel for the minimum number of items. I want all usable space possible on
the panel for minimized windows.

Right clicking on the panel gives you some choices in a pop-up:

Add to Panel:
Click this for a new window listing all the items possible to add to the panel. To add the
temperature, for example: Click on Weather Report in the Accessories section, then select
+Add. It will appear on your panel. To set for your city, right-click on the temp and select
preferences. The General tab gives you Display options and the Location tab allows you to
select your city. The first thing you should add is the Window List. This shows the minimiized
windows on your panel.

New Panel:
This allows you to make a new panel if you wish. It could be at the top of your desktop, or on
either side. Just make it and click and drag it where you want.

Delete Panel Items:

To remove an item from your panel, just right-click on it and select Remove From Panel.

The words on the left of the panel are links. Click on each one to get a pop-up window.

This is a list of all currently installed applications broken down by category. Hover over
Internet and you see all the applications dealing with the internet. As you can see there are a
lot of games and Other applications. These are all loaded by default. To add more
applications, see Chapter III.
To place an icon on your desktop for any of these applications, right click on the app and
select “Add this launcher to desktop”. You can also add a launcher to your panel, but I
wouldn't suggest it. Keep items on the panel to a minimum. Launch from your desktop.

This is a collection of various links. All are self explainable. Play with them to see what they
do. See Chapter IV for details.

This is where most of the configurations is done. As much as I can, I will detail Preferences
and Administration in Chapter 5.

Weather Report:
The 36 F is the Bellingham temperature. This is configured from the Add to Panel display.
See above.

I only display the time, not the date. If I want to see today's date, I hover my mouse pointer
here and the date appears.

You can also change the panel orientation and size by right-clicking on the panel and
selecting Properties. Some people have two panels, one at the top and one at the bottom.
Yo need to play with it to see what you like best.

Chapter III

The Applications link on your panel shows all the installed apps (programs). There are
several ways to add/delete apps, but I will explain the 2 most used here.

Method #1:
From the Applications link on the panel.
Click on Add/Remove. A window will appear showing the categories on the left and the
associated apps on the right. The ones checked have been installed, either by default or by
you. To install another app, check the box and then click on Apply Changes at the bottom.
You can install several apps at one time, too.

Apps can be deleted the same way. Just uncheck the box and Apply Changes.

Method #2:
From the Synaptic Package Manager under System/Administration or the icon on your
desktop if you have one.
This method requires you to know the name of the app in advance. Lets say you wanted to
install an app called Mozilla Thunderbird, which I recommend for your email program:
- Select the Status button on the lower left
- Select the Search button from the toolbar
- Type Thunderbird and click on Search
- Check the empty box next to Thunderbird and select Mark for Installation.
This will load the Thunderbird app and all associated programs needed to run it.

Removing apps is done in the same manner.

For Method #1, just uncheck the checked box and click on Apply Changes.
For Method #2, search for the app, uncheck the green box and select Mark for Removal.

Listed here are some of the most common apps you will probably need:

This is the most used browser in Linux. It should be your default. Each Ubuntu release has a
different version of Firefox installed. If you want the very latest version of Firefox, you will
have to download the tar.gz file and install it. I have both the current Ubuntu version – 3.0.16
that shows in Synaptic and the latest version from – 3.6.

I installed 3.6 in my home directory and point the desktop icon there.

This is the most used email program. It's written by Mozilla and should be your default.

This is a suite of programs that will read and write Microsoft Office files, including Word Docs,
Excel and PowerPoint Docs. It comes loaded in Ubuntu by default.

Movie Player
This is the program that plays all your video movies, including mp3, mpg, ogg, wav and mp4.

Rhythmbox Music Player

A program that plays music. I use it as my default

gThumb Image Viewer

A program that displays images like jpg and gif. I use it as my default

GIMP Image Editor

A program that allows image manipulation. It is similar to Adobe Photoshop, but much more
powerful. Gimp is an acronym for GNU Image Manipulation Program. GNU is a recursive
acronym for GNU is Not Unix.

Any of these application that are not loaded by default in Ubuntu can be loaded from
Add/Remove under the Applications link or with Synaptic.

Chapter IV

Click on Places to get a pop-up window:

Home Folder
This opens up a window showing you the equivalent of your C: drive on your Windoze
system. It is actually /home/yourname in the directory structure. From here you can access
all the files and folders in your home directory, like My Downloads, My Documents, etc.

This is a shortcut to the Desktop folder.

This is the equivalent of clicking on My Computer on Windoze. It lists all of the volumes
currently mounted on the system.

CD/DVD Creator
Not discussed here.

Not discussed here.

Connect to Server
Not discussed here

Search for Files

Allows you to search folders for specific filenames.

Recent Documents
A revolving list of the 10 recent documents or images that you have opened.

Chapter V

This is where the main configuration of Ubuntu takes place. I cannot go through every
configuration parameter here, but I will cover some important ones. The rest you will have to
play with to see what they do. Some config tools require root access. Supply the password
you used when you loaded WUBI. Click on System to get a pop-up:

Main Menu: This controls what you see under the Applications link on your panel.

Preferred Applications: Make sure you set your preferred apps for Internet and Multimedia

Screen Resolution: Set your preferred resolution here. Most use 1024x768 or 1280x800.

Screensaver : There are tons of them here. I uncheck Activate Screensaver because I have
an LCD Monitor and it is not needed. If you have a CRT, you should pick one.

Sounds: Take the default settings here.

Printing: This is where you would add your printer. Click on Add Printer and supply the
manufacturer and model and the driver will most likely be loaded automatically.

Synaptics Package Manager:

See Chapter X.

Time and Date: From here you can set the time, timezone, date and synchronize the time
with the internet servers.

Update Manager: Allows you to check with the Ubuntu repository to see if there are any
updates to your version. If you are up to date, it will tell you so. If there are updates you
need, they will be listed. Click on the Update now button..

Chapter VI

The desktop in Linux is the program that allows you to interact with the system via icons on
your monitor, along with the panel.

Ubuntu uses the Gnome Desktop. There are many desktops and x-window packages in
Linux. Another popular desktop is KDE and Gnome uses a lot of apps from this desktop.

Gnome looks a lot like your Windoze desktop. Icons can be added and removed easily.
To add an icon:
From the Applications list, right click on the app name and select Add this launcher to desktop

To remove an icon:
Right click on the icon and select Move to Trash

To change the size of an icon:

Right click on the icon and select Stretch icon. This will place 4 blue boxes around the icon.
Grab and move with the left mouse button any of the boxes to the desired size.

To add an icon other than an app:

Right click on an empty space on the desktop and select Create Launcher. Select Location
for the Type. Supply a Name. Use the Browse button to find the location of the file you want
for a target and click OK. (This has to be a file, not a folder)

To add a background:
Right click on an empty spot on the desktop and select Change Desktop Background. This
brings up the Appearances Preferences window. Select the Background tab, then select one
of the displayed images. If the image you want is not displayed, use the + Add button to
browse for it and add it.

From the Appearances Preferences window, there tabs for changing the Theme, Fonts and
Visual Effects. Play with these if you want to jazz up your desktop.

If you click on System on the panel, then select About Gnome, you will see a presentation that
explains more about Gnome.

Chapter VII

Like Windoze, Ubuntu allows you to have many different email programs. The default
program is Evolution Mail. I have never used this, but since it is the default, many people use
it. I use Mozilla Thunderbird, and have removed Evolution with Synaptic.

If you have a favorite email program, you can search for it in Synaptic and install it. If it's not
there, it's probably not supported in Ubuntu.

Thunderbird is very similar to Outlook Express and is very easy to configure and use. Since
it is not loaded by default you have to install it. Use Add/Remove or Synaptic.

Click on Applications/Add/Remove
Select Internet in the box on the left
Scroll down in the Application box until you find Mozilla Thunderbird Mail/News
Check the box
Click the Apply Change box at the bottom right
It will install Thunderbird.

Open Synaptic from System/Administration or the icon on your desktop
You have to supply the root password the first time you call it.
Click the Status button in the lower left area
Click the Not Installed button in the left box
Click the Search button from the toolbar and type Thunderbird
Scroll down to Mozilla-Thunderbird and check the box
Select Mark for Installation
Click the Apply button up on the toolbar
It will install Thunderbird.

After installing with either of these two methods, you will be able to create an icon on your
Click on Applications/Internet
Right click on Thunderbird
Select Add this launcher to desktop

Configuring Thunderbird is very similar to Outlook Express. Here is what you will need:
- Your email address
- Your account username and password
- The Pop3 and SMTP server names from your email provider
(For Comcast use and

To configure an account:
Open Thunderbird
Click on Local Folders in the left box
Click on Create a New Account
Email Account is selected - Next
Enter the From: name and your email address - Next
Select Pop and enter the incoming server name - Next
Enter your account username - Next
Enter Account Name, I.e, Comcast - Next
Verify your settings and click Finish

Your account is made, but you don't have the outgoing mail server name input yet.

To add the outgoing server name:

Click on Local Folders again and then on View Settings for this Account.
You will see your new account information in the box on the left.
Click on Outgoing Server (SMTP) at the bottom.
Click the Add... button
Input the Server Name for the outgoing server
Input the port number (default is 25, but your mail provider may use another)
Check the Use name and password box
Input your account username.
Select the TLS, if available button
Click OK

Your Account is created. Go back to the Inbox and click the Get Mail button on the toolbar. It
will ask you for your account password one time and remember it from then on.

Thunderbird has a very good help site. Click on Help then Mozilla Thunderbird Help.

Chapter VIII

There are many browsers available for use in Ubuntu. Some are:


The default browsers in Ubuntu are Firefox and Konqueror. I use Firefox, Opera, and
Konqueror. Some web page authors out there are stuck in the old paradigm that Internet
Explorer is the only browser available and they write their HTML code as such. Version 3.x
and above of Firefox has helped, but some sites still cause problems. I just don't go to them!

It's up to you which browser you use and since they are running on Ubuntu, with it's built in
virus program (ClamAv), they are very secure.

I will give you the steps to configure Firefox here.

Open Firefox
Click on Edit/Preferences
There are 7 tabs across the top. You need to make configuration changes on 6 of them:
- Startup Section: This is where you set your start page. Every time you open Fire fox it will
come to this page. If you don't have a homepage, I would suggest you set this to Show a
Blank Page and empty the Home Page box. This way, when you start Firefox, it comes up to
a blank screen and you don't have to wait to load a page every time. Then you can either
type in a web page address in the address box or use one of your Bookmarks.
- .Downloads Section: Check the first 2 boxes. Check the Save files to box and use the
Browse button to go to /home/yourname/mydownloads. Click the Open button.
(You will need to create the mydownloads folder in your home directory)
- Check the Always check to see if Firefox,... box.

Take all the default settings here.

- Fonts & Colors Section: Click the black down arrow in the Default font box and select sans-
serif. Do the same for the Size box and select 14. This is a good font size for most monitors.

Take the defaults for the History and Cookies Sections.
- Private Data Section: Check the Ask me before clearing private data box.
- Click on the Settings button: Check these boxes only:
Download History
Authenticated Sessions
Click OK

Take the defaults for the first two sections.
Warning Messages Section: Click on the Settings button. Click on the Settings button:
I am about to view an encrypted page that contains some unencrypted information
Click OK

Click the Update Tab
Uncheck all update boxes
This will prevent popups from Mozilla telling you that your out of date. The default version of
Firefox is This is the latest version available from the Ubuntu repository. It has not
been decided by them when they will start offering version 3.x.

Click the Close button to close the Preferences window.

If you want help configuring any other browser, just contact me.

Chapter IX

Editors are used mainly for creating documents in word processing. But some editors are
designed for writing programs and some are just straight text editors with little or no formatting
capability. I will list and discuss these three categories of editors here.

Word Processing
The most popular word processing editor, and the one you are probably most familiar with, is
Microsoft Word. It is part of the MS Office Suite. There is an equivalent editor in the Linux
world that is part of the OpenOffice Suite called Word Processor. It is capable of reading and
writing MS Word documents (.doc files) and has a great many of the same features. The
default file type is .odt, but can be changed to .doc using the Save As option.

OpenOffice comes standard in all versions of Ubuntu. It also has programs for reading/writing
spreadsheets (Excel-like), presentation documents (Powerpoint-like) and exporting a word
document to a PDF.

Screen and line editors::

ed: Original UNIX line-based editor, useful in scripts

Nedit: a great GUI style text editor and my personal favorite. I write most all of my HTML
and PHP code with this editor. It has syntax highlighting and formatting with built-in patterns
for over 15 different languages. Available at

Komodo: A very nice screen editor with a great global find/replace feature. Can be
downloaded here:

Pico/Nano: These are two of the default command line editors available in most Linux and
Free BSD distributions. I use pico for quick fixes on my server and my clients servers The
syntax of commands is explained at the bottom of the screen.

HTML Kit: A freeware editor mainly used on the Microsoft Windows platform.” It's available

SeaMonkey Composer: An open source HTML editor that is part of the Mozilla Application
Suite. It's predecessor was Netscape/Mozilla Composer. It is available at

Text Editors
gedit: A small and lightweight official text editor for the GNOME Desktop. Comparable to the
Windoze Notepad editor, but with a lot more features available. Comes standard in Ubuntu.

emacs: Provides a fully integrated user environment offering shell commands, mail
capabilities, internet access and many more options.

vi: This is the classic screen-based editor for UNIX. Not for the faint of heart! You should
really be an experienced command line person to use can get lost in here!
Apart from vim, there are a number of enhanced versions of vi, including elvis, nvi, and vile.
The vi editor works in two modes, command and insert.

vim: VI improved with enhanced support for programmers

If you have any questions about any of these editors, please contact me. I've used most all of
them at one time or another and may be able to help you.

Chapter X
Synaptic Package Manager

Even though Synaptic has been discussed previously, I thought I should cover it's features
again. It is a very important tool for updating your Ubuntu and installing and removing

When you click on Synaptic for the first time, it will ask you for the root password. This is the
password you used when you loaded WUBI. (Or another Ubuntu version). This is because all
of the things you do here are considered Administrative tasks.

Update Ubuntu:
Click on Settings/Repositories
Select the Updates tab in the Software Sources window
The first two boxes should be checked
Check the Check for Updates box and select how often to check. I check for updates Weekly
The last three items are user preference. I check Only notify about available updates box

The second part of this is the notification area on your panel. It you show this icon, you will
be notified as you specified above. To put this icon on your panel:
Right click on an empty spot on the panel
Select Add to Panel
Select Notification Area in the Utilities section
Click the + Add button
This will put the notification icon on your panel
You can move the icon by right clicking on it and selecting Move and sliding it
When an update becomes available, this icon will change color to orange

Adding/removing Applications:
To add an application:
Open Synaptic from System/Administration or the icon on your desktop
Click the Status button in the lower left area
Click the Not Installed button in the left box
Click the Search button from the tool bar and type the application name (or part of it)
It will search and give you a list. Scroll down to the application and check the box
Select Mark for Installation
Click the Apply button up on the tool bar
It will install the application.

To remove an application:
Follow the steps above, but using the Installed section, uncheck the box next to the
application name. When you click Apply, it will uninstall the app.

Chapter XI
Terminal Session

This application is similar to the DOS window in Windoze. It you are not interested in
accessing the hard drive directory structure from the command line, you should probably use
the GUI application. This is done by clicking on Place/Home Folder.

If you are a command line kinda person, here are a few commands of the hundred or so

cat: Show the contents of a text file on your screen.

cd: Change Directory to a subdirectory or one above in the tree.

cp: Copies the named file to the specified name. Ex: “cp file1.txt file2.txt”. Two identical files
now exist.

df -h: Gives a helpful view of the currently mounted volumes, showing size, used and
available space.

du: Shows the size of the current directory. in K bytes or Megabytes.

ftp: File Transfer Protocol. Used to connect to a server to transfer files. There are ftp
programs available that have a nice GUI interface. My favorite is gFTP from Gnome.

grep: Get regular expression print. Finds a string of characters in a text file.
Ex: “grep abcd myfile.txt” finds the letters abcd in the file called myfile.

ls -la: Lists all of the files in the current directory, along with their size, date created and

man: Short for manual, this explains the command in great detail. Ex: “man grep” Type q to
end the output.

mkdir: Creates a subdirectory in the current directory. Ex: “mkdir tom”.

more: Shows a screenfulof lines from a text file with a more break. Space bar gives another
screenful of lines and q stops the output.

mv: Moves the named file to the new name. Only one file remains.

pico: A small line editor for use on text files only.

rm: Deletes the named file. (for's not recoverable!)cp: Copies a file to another
name. You end up with identical files...different names.

rmdir: Removes a subdirectory in the current directory.

ssh: Secure Shell. Used to log into a server using the command line in a secure
environment. Ex: “ssh” will log into my server. Of course, you need the user
name and password!.

tar: A way to compress a directory. Similar to zip in Windoze. Ex:

“tar zcf tom.tar.gz tom” will zip the tom directory and create a file called tom.tar.gz.
“tar zxf tom.tar.gz” will unzip the the tar file and create the tom directory.
(Use the “man” command to see what the arguments zcf and zxf do)

You can use the man command to learn more about any of these commands. Man contains
all of the available commands.

Chapter XII
Ubuntu Help

There are several ways to get help with Ubuntu. Support Forums are great. They have a
search function to find the posts that you need and they usually cover many, many topics.
Ubuntu also has help and guide pages setup.

Sometimes it's just quicker to do a Google search on your topic and it will show you several
websites and/or forums that talk about the issue.

Ubuntu Forums: A discussion board at

Help Pages: The official Ubuntu Documentation for each of the last 4 releases. There is a
huge amount of data here, but it is very easy to navigate through. It is at

There is a special page dedicated to the latest version, 9.10 – Karmic Koala. It is at

If you are really serious about learning Ubuntu, there is a book you can buy called The
Official Ubuntu Book, by Benjamin Mako Hill. It is available on Amazon for $22.99. Covers it
all, from beginner to administrator. My pages of this book are worn out...

A good place to go for help with Gnome issues is

Appendix A
Linux Concerns

Ubuntu will run on both your desktop and laptop. Nowadays, laptops are as powerful as
desktops, sometimes even more. My laptop was custom built by and has
an AMD 64-bit TL60 processor, 1GB memory with an 40GB drive. This is MORE than
adequate for Ubuntu.

A word about dual boot scenarios. If you are currently running Windoze and want to learn
another OS, consider Ubuntu. It is no more difficult than learning MAC. The reason MAC is
secure is because the hackers are not targeting it like Windoze. They have a difficult time of it
with Linux.

It is very easy to load Ubuntu on your hard drive and run it concurrently with your Windoze.
You can do it with the latest Ubuntu Desktop CD or use WUBI. The Desktop CD has the ISO
file and can be downloaded from or ordered from them. It allows you to create a
space (partition) at the end of your Windows C: drive to load Ubuntu. You can tell it how much
space or let it decide. I usually recommend about 20-30% of the C: drive.

WUBI is explained here in Chapter I. It is a temporary solution that allows you to play with
Linux if you are trying to decide what OS you want to go with.

If you are tired of running Anti Virus and Spyware programs, give Ubuntu a try. You can take
all the time you spend protecting yourself on Windoze and use it to learn Ubuntu.

A word about applications.

If you are considering changing your OS and wonder if your specific applications will run on
the new system, you have to check with the 3rd party vendor that wrote the app and see if they
make a Linux platform version. There are a great many applications available in Linux that
are very similar to the Windoze version and your data may even be migratible. OpenOffice,
for example, reads and writes Word, Excel and Powerpoint documents with no problems.

Or, check this site for open source alternatives: