1. What is the OULD Project?

The aim of the project is to establish a common Linux desktop within OUCS, and offer some peer support. It is not a managed desktop, but provides a supported base system on which users can build and from which they can restart for disaster recovery. Support is provided using an (archived) internal mailling list to capture a knowledge base as a set of web pages.

The simple idea is to standardize on Ubuntu, to smooth the way by creating local virtual packages and to package local software as needed.

2. Getting started with OULD

2.1. Introduction

The basic principle of OULD is that a user will take the latest version of an untouched Ubuntu CD, install it, and then add other software. These additional bits of software will be added using Ubuntu's standard way of installing packages.

The additional software consists of:

  • a base configuration package which makes local setups for apt, printers, firewall, etc.
  • virtual packages which bring in recommended existing packages
  • packages for locally-written software
  • packages for software which is not in the normal Ubuntu repositories and is packaged locally.

There are therefore two steps: first install Ubuntu, and then install additional software.

2.2. Installing Ubuntu

Use the following steps to install Ubuntu:

  • Obtain a CD containing Ubuntu. The easiest way to do this is to download the .iso image from the Ubuntu downloads page and burn it to a CD yourself; otherwise, you can email ould@rt.oucs.ox.ac.uk to request a CD.
  • Ensure that the BIOS of your PC is configured to boot from the CD drive.
  • Insert the Ubuntu CD into the drive and reboot the PC.
  • After a while, the Ubuntu desktop should appear on your PC. The Ubuntu CD is a Live CD, i.e., you have a working version of Ubuntu that is running from the CD.
  • On the Desktop, you should see an icon labelled Install. Clicking on this icon will install Ubuntu to a part of, or all of, the PC's hard disk.
  • Click on the Install icon.
  • It first invites you to choose a language.
  • It then asks you to indicate where you are: click on England and then click on the marker for London.
  • It then asks you to choose a keyboard: choose [United Kingdom].
  • It will ask you for some personal details: type in your name, a username, a password (twice) and the name of your computer. For your username, type in your Oxford SSO username. If your computer is registered in the DNS as fred.oucs.ox.ac.uk then enter fred as the name of your computer.
  • It will then ask you about how much disk space is to be allocated for Ubuntu. Several options are given:
    • If the PC already has an operating system on it, then one of the options will be to [Use the largest continuous free space].
    • You could choose to trash the disk by using the [Erase entire disk] option.
    • Finally you may wish to configure the disk yourself, in which case choose the option labelled [Manually edit partition table].
    After you have made this choice, it will install Ubuntu.
  • When it has done this, it will say Installation complete: Restart now. Click the button to restart. As part of this restart, the CD will be ejected. At this point, take out the CD and press <Enter> on the keyboard.
  • After it has restarted, a login box will appear.
  • Log in using the username and password that you chose earlier.
  • When the desktop appears, an icon will appear on the panel (the bar along the top of the screen) with a pop-up saying Software updates available. Click this and follow the instructions given (note: doing these updates will require a reboot).

2.3. Installing additional software

OULD provides additional software. To install these additional pieces of software you will first install the ould-config-current-deb package and then you will install one of:

  • ould-desktop: normal desktop tools
  • ould-laptop: as ould-desktop, but with the addition of the VPN client
  • ould-developer: the same as ould-desktop, but with the addition of the Apache web server, PHP, Java etc.

Finally, you optionally install one or more of:

  • ould-oucs-printers: the printer configurations for OUCS
  • ould-tei: TEI tools

You can either install these packages from the command line or from a GUI interface. Both are described below.

2.3.1. Using a GUI to install the OULD packages

After having installed Ubuntu, you can use a GUI to install the OULD packages as follows:

Firefox should offer to run the GDebi Package Installer on it or save it to disk.

  • Choose GDebi and let it install the package.
  • Start up Synaptic by going to System|Administration|Synaptic Package Manager.

In Synaptic, click on Reload in order to refresh the repositories database.

This has installed the ould-config-current-deb package. It enables you to install the other OULD packages. To do this:

  • Search in Synaptic to find ould.
  • Use Synaptic to install one of:
    • ould-desktop
    • ould-laptop
    • ould-developer
  • If you wish, use Synaptic to install one or more of:
    • ould-oucs-printers
    • ould-tei

2.3.2. Using the command line to install the OULD packages

After having installed Ubuntu, you can use the command line to install the OULD packages as follows:

  • Start up a terminal window by going to Applications|Accessories|Terminal.

  • Then type in the following commands:

    cd /tmp
    wget http://tei.oucs.ox.ac.uk/teideb/ould-config-current.deb sudo
    dpkg -i ould-config-current.deb

    The sudo command will ask you for your password (the one you entered earlier when installing Ubuntu).

  • To refresh the repository database, type:

    sudo apt-get update

    This has installed the ould-config-current-deb package. It enables you to install the other OULD packages.

  • You can use the following command to find out the names of the OULD packages:

    apt-cache search ould --names-only
  • At the command prompt, type one of the following:
    sudo apt-get install ould-desktop
    sudo apt-get install ould-laptop
    sudo apt-get install ould-developer

The OULD packages should now be installed.

3. OULD on a USB key

It is easy to make a bootable USB key of Ubuntu, so that you can carry around an operating system in your pocket. Use the tool at System/Administration/Startup Disk Creator to make one from your running system.

4. Support

Please join the OULD discussion list (oucs-ubuntu@maillist.ox.ac.uk): send a blank email to oucs-ubuntu-subscribe@maillist.ox.ac.uk and you should receive an automated reply telling you how to confirm your request to join the list.

There is an OULD wiki which may offer useful advice, and to which you are encouraged to contribute with your own advice and experiences, successful or otherwise!

If you use this documentation to install Ubuntu onto a PC, please add your comments to the OULD Wiki User Reports page. In particular, record any difficulties you encounter, and any other packages you have installed. Not only will this give you a record of what you did for future reference, but it will help others.

Conversely, if you run into difficulties when installing OULD, you may find it useful to look at the User Reports page to see if someone else has had the same problem already.

The RT queue for OULD problems is: ould@rt.oucs.ox.ac.uk