Installing Linux Mint 8
Linux Mint is based on Ubuntu, is based on Debian. Like most distros, Mint boots 'live' straight from the CD. Once up and running, a desktop icon can be clicked to install the operating system onto a hard disk. Note that installing a new operating system will generally remove any existing OS and also lead to data deletion, so back up everything first.
An important aspect of the install is what partitions - or slices - to set up and the reader is encouraged to be familiar with these concepts before beginning. Although the install routine can automate the process, these instructions comprise manual slice/partition configuration.
Download the ISO file (and the User Guide) from the Linux Mint Website. Burn an install disc.
Boot to the live disc and wait for Mint to load into system RAM. Once up and running, click on the install icon. Part 1 prompts for language selection and then click 'Forward'.. (screenshot).
Part 2 relates to county/region and time zone. 'Forward'.. (screenshot).
Part 3 keyboard layout default is USA. 'Forward'.. (screenshot).
Part 4 is where you decide whether to blow away the whole disk (not recommended) or manually specify partition sizes and locations. 'Forward'.. (screenshot).
Part 5a Click on the 'New Partition Table', note the data loss warning, click 'Continue' and 'Forward'.. (screenshot).
Part 5b Note the hard disk device is referred to as /dev/sda. At the moment it's just free space (a digital vacuum). Click 'Add' to create the first partition inside the free space. 'Forward'.. (screenshot).
Part 5c The Primary Partition is where the operating system will reside. Allocate how much space to use (10 000 = 10GB) at the beginning of the free space. Other Logical partitions can be created later for data storage. Use EXT4 and specify the mount point as /. This will be the root directory of the primary partition. In Windows terms it is comparable to C:\. 'OK', 'Forward'.. (screenshot).
Part 5d Linux has called the primary partition /dev/sda1. There is still some free space where we need to create a swap partition. This is an invisible part of the hard disk which Linux uses for virtual memory - basically to make it run faster (Windows uses a file, not a partition, for virtual RAM). With the free space highlighted, click 'Add' to create the swap. 'Forward'.. (screenshot).
Part 5e The swap partition is a logical drive of specified size (approximately the same size as the amount of system RAM). Select 'Use as:' swap area and there is no mount point. 'Forward'.. (screenshot).
Part 5f Summary screen. Linux has called the swap partition /dev/sda5. 'Forward'.. (screenshot).
Part 6 Specify a login ID and computername. Note that the root user will not be enabled (see Enabling the root user for reference). 'Forward'.. (screenshot).
Part 7 Finally click 'Install' to get on with it, or click 'Advanced' to specify extra options. 'OK', 'Install'.. (screenshot).
The install itself can take a while depending on system and optical drive speeds. Go and make a coffee. Once finished the installer will prompt for a reboot and removal of the CD from the drive. On booting, I found that Mint had picked up and seemlessly provided drivers for all the hardware on my Compaq C700 laptop - not a bad feat for a free operating system.
Congratulations, you are now the owner of a well-developed and rather attractive Linux system. You are also now free from the stranglehold, costs and constraints of Microsoft Windows..