Ubuntu Linux on an HP RP5700

I recently had the opportunity to purchase four (4) HP RP5700 systems at $20 each. I’m not entirely sure what I’ll do with the others, but I’m installing Ubuntu Linux on one of them. Here are some notes along the way.

It’s odd how difficult Ubuntu makes it to find the checksums (MD5 hashes) for the ISOs you download. Forget security, how do you know it downloaded properly? It turns out there’s a whole separate page telling you what the checksums are.

Burning CDs is hopeless. Optical discs are such an amazingly useless medium. About one in four works at all, and those suffer from bit rot even quicker than floppy disks used to. The instructions for making a CD are fine, but the Burning ISOs HOWTO is available if you have problems.

I’m so glad we have USB sticks now. The instructions for making a bootable USB stick are somewhat arcane, but I have the computer science background that makes it look easy.

I had problems installing the bootloader. That’s a fatal error, I understand, from an otherwise unhelpful dialog box. A whole bunch of searching around brought this page to my attention, which explains what to do about certain kinds of grub installation failures.

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