Build An Ubuntu Media Center

Build a media center on Ubuntu.

When downloading the Ubuntu operating system, you can either use a prepackaged multimedia distribution, or download and install each media component separately. The prepackaged form, called Ubuntu Studio, contains audio, video and graphics-editing software. Be aware, however, the software packages require dependencies, or helper programs, for the applications to work. Also, the software, if all the applications and themes are downloaded, can take up 1716 MB (megabytes) of hard-drive space.


Media Center from Synaptic Package Manager

1. Open Synaptic Package Manager by going to “System”, click on “Administration” and click on “Synaptic Package Manager” if you already have Ubuntu. If you do not have Ubuntu, go to Section 2 to learn install from Windows.

2. Search for “ubuntustudio” in the “Quick Search” engine included with Synaptic Package Manager. You will see “ubuntustudio-audio”, “ubuntustudio-video” and “ubuntustudio-graphics”. Right-click on the check box for the programs you want and choose “Mark for installation”. Click “OK” when a box appears asking “Mark Additional Changes?” Click “Apply”. Wait until the changes have been applied before closing Synaptic Package Manager.

3. Open the applications from the video, or audio or graphic packages that you chose to install. Each of these packages have their own software such as video or audio streaming and editing or graphic editing. The audio, graphic and video packages that you can download for Ubuntu Studio are applications like Kino, which is a video editor; The Gimp, which is a graphics manipulation package; and Audacious, which is a lightweight audio player.

4. Cut the programs that you don’t need by working within Synaptic Package Manager. Right-click on the items that you do not need and click “Mark for Complete Removal”. Be careful not to cut dependencies or support packages for needed programs, such as accidentally deleting the core application of “ubuntustudio-desktop”, which is the graphical user interface. Also, do not delete “Ubuntustudio-desktop,” which is what you use to see and navigate the desktop environment.

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Ubuntu Media from CD for Windows

5. Set your BIOS to boot from CD. The BIOS is the software that runs primary hardware functions such as the keyboard. Various ways exist to reach the BIOS depending on your computer. Purchase a blank 80-minute (700 Mb) CD and put it in your computer’s CD/DVD tray. You need Read/Write capability in your computer as well as CD/DVD burning software. In Windows, the Read/Write capability software is built into the operating system. Open “My Computer”, right-click the “CD Drive icon” and click “Properties”. Click “Enable CD recording on this drive” and “Automatically eject the CD after writing”.

6. Choose a Ubuntu distribution that will work for your computer by clicking on a link from the Ubuntu Studio website. Choose “PC (Intel x86) alternate install DVD” if your computer has Intel and AMD-type processors such as standard PCs that run Windows, as well as newer Macs. Choose “64-bit PC (AMD64) alternate install DVD” for those computers that use AMD64 or EM64T architecture, such as the Athlon64, Opteron and Core 2.

7. Wait for the download to complete. The files that will come up include ISO images or images of CDs or DVDs compiled as a single image file. Insert the CD into your computer’s disk reader. Close the tray. Right click on the ISO file and open your CD burner software. The CD is done when the tray ejects.

8. Slide the CD tray back into your computer. A splash screen will appear. Choose your preferred language. Choose either “Try Ubuntu” or “Install Ubuntu”. Select “Try Ubuntu” if you want to do other functions such as Internet browsing while previewing Ubuntu. Choose “Install Ubuntu” if you want to install Ubuntu. Choose your keyboard layout. The installation will detect your hardware and automatically configure the Internet network. Enter the hostname (thiis is the name that identifies your computer. You can make it as simple as your own name).

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9. Choose “Guided-use entire disk” if you want to do away with the present operating system. Click “Yes” when the splash screen asks if you want to use the entire disk. Select your time zone and set the computer clock. Create a log-in account with your username and password. Basic installation will begin. Choose which program collections you want to install. The installation process will continue for about 15 to 20 minutes. Select the default screen resolution when you are prompted. Installation will be done when you see “Finish the installation”. Click “Continue” and the system will reboot your computer to the start screen where you enter your username and password.