UNetbootin – Installing Linux without a CD

I have a Thinkpad X30 subnotebook without any optical drives. Every time I have install a different or new version of a Linux distribution I have to borrow a USB cdrom drive from a friend or a USB floopy drive :(. Happily this is all over now since I can use UNetbootin to install Linux from internet.

The installation amounted to downloading a .deb file from UNetbootin and installing this either by clicking it in the graphical user interface or by hand:

root@bohr:~# dpkg -i unetbootin_ubuntu710rev99_all.deb

This creates a special boot option called “UNetbootin” in grub and when this is selected a textbases (ncurses) installer starts. I guess this would intimidate some newcomers but I my own biased opinion it really as easy as everything else.

The standard questions are the answered and the partition setup part is done. One thing I did before I ran the installer was to check the current partition layout by writing:

root@bohr:~# df -h
Filesystem            Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/sda3             9,7G  6,7G  2,5G  73% /
varrun               1014M  112K 1014M   1% /var/run
varlock              1014M   12K 1014M   1% /var/lock
udev                 1014M   96K 1014M   1% /dev
devshm               1014M     0 1014M   0% /dev/shm
lrm                  1014M   33M  981M   4% /lib/modules/2.6.22-14-generic/volatile
/dev/sda6             186G  125G   53G  71% /home

Which tells med that /dev/sda6 is the partition the holds my /home folders. With this knowledge I can chose to only install wipe the current / partition and keep all my user files and settings. 🙂

The rest of the install is quite straight forward and there is only one real caveat – remember to chose either Ubuntu, Kubuntu or Xubuntu desktop during the “Software selection”. Otherwise the installer will not install a graphical interface which again would horrify newcomers. 🙂

One slightly annoying issue was the installer did not configure my screen correctly which resulted in a flickering screen with some stripes across. I was annoying but did hinter the installation and it is not a UNetbootin problem but rather something todo with the Ubuntu installer.

Final words
I think this is a amazing piece of software. I have been wanting software the could do this for many years now and I am really happy to get rid of the floppy disks and CDs. For newcomers the option install UNetbootin from Windows is really something – since it saves the user of the hassle of burning CD. The only thing to keep in mind is that a fast internet connection is need. I have a 10/10 mbit which makes this a great option for me.

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