An Affair Gets Serious

Why would a faithful Windows user suddenly run off with a strange operating system? Lots of reasons, but anyway,  I did it.  I installed Ubuntu on my new laptop.

Two weeks after making the plunge, I have a bright pink screen with neat little icons along the left side.

But getting there wasn’t easy.

Naked and Afraid in Ubuntu

Yes, there are loads of instructions on-line, but they were all different. It was like asking a bunch of strangers how to make spaghetti.  Everyone had a different recipe and different ingredients.

After somehow managing to create a ‘boot usb’ I had to figure out how to bring up the boot screen in my new HP Pavillion laptop.

Various sources suggested F2 or F12  or ctr/what?/?!?!? or esc or tap-three-times…. I finally got F9 to work.  A black screen with teeny tiny yellowish text in the left corner came up.

Why is the print so small? Is it because you aren’t supposed to be there at all?

I felt I had infiltrated a top secret government laboratory.

The online advice called for creating 'partitions' - Windows on one side and Ubuntu on the other. Seemed like a safe bet.

But when I finally got the pink Ubuntu screen to appear, it didn’t fit my 13.5 inch laptop monitor.  It was about 9 inches wide with huge black margins on either side.  ACK!

Back to Google for some help.

Maybe a dozen hours later, I realized there WAS NO HELP!No one on the entire Internet had the answer. Whenever I typed in “Ubuntu screen size” all I got was endless repeated instructions on how to change the RESOLUTION.



A few other people had this problem, but no one had an answer. I went on endless wild goose chases into things like ‘-geometry’, when I hardly knew how to open up the!(@!terminal to begin with.

Whew!Feels good to get that rant out of the way.

How I fixed my Ubuntu 16.04 screen size problem:

(See above rant) I considered taking the laptop back to the store for help. Or just returning it. As a last resort, I decided to reboot and choose only Ubuntu this time - no Windows partition.

Well, that solved the problem.

The pink Ubuntu screen popped up and completely filled the display area.

After that, Ubuntu was happy. It was as if he was miffed that I was still partially a Windows user. Our relationship is so much better now that he knows I’ve chosen to be with him exclusively.

How I installed LAMP and got PHP to work on Ubuntu 16.04.

The first thing I wanted to do was install LAMP.   I had been using XAMPP on Windows.   Shouldn't be very different... Ha!  

There was a nice set of instructions on, which I followed except that I didn't realize I needed php7.0 - that's how clueless I am!   So,I found out how to request php 7.0, from - the post was from 2015 but when I scrolled down to the bottom of the comments, there was a simple statement: 

apt-get install php

which worked.    Except that it didn't.   When I tried to test it, the browser didn't recognized any of my php.    Well, that was weird.   Back to Google.

This one took a while.   I have no idea how long, since I was in such a state of distress that I lost track of time.  

Then fInally, finally, finally....   the ANSWER .

According to in a post "Ubuntu 16.04 and PHP 7 not rendering" I learned that I needed this:

  sudo apt-get install libapache2-mod-php

Popp, fizzzz - it worked! 

How I enabled browser errors in Ubuntu 16.04

I found a very clear set of instructions on Isabel Castillo's blog:
Another miracle - it worked!

Of course, Ubuntu and I have had some disagreements.   I wanted htaccess enabled but he kept saying no.  Google interceded for us, though it took several days in which we were hardly on speaking terms.   Here's how it turned out:

The instructions all said to edit this file:


and include

Options Indexes FollowSymLinks MultiViews
AllowOverride All
Require all granted

then this:
sudo systemctl restart apache2

I followed the instructions, but it didn't work.  Still no htaccess.

Finally, on 'askbuntu', I found a suggestion to remove the "multiviews" part.   I did, and it started working.   I have no idea why.   Or why the question was marked as 'off-topic' - this is the only place I got any help after way-to-many hours of searching.   So, I'm including this, in case it helps anyone else.

We are till together, working our relationship.

There are zillions of new terms in Ubuntu, that everyone seems to already know about: “Gnome” and “Unity” and ‘Mint’ and “kubuntu’ and “Gimp” and ‘droplet’.    Ubuntu and I spend a lot of time talking about his long and colorful past and how he has a lot of 'baggage'.   I try to be understanding, and he is sensitive to my cluelessness.

But now that we are committed to each other, I know we can work out the details.

Of course, no relationship is perfect all the time.  There were still some bumps:   Installing LAMP, understanding ‘permissions’,  figuring out how to use this ‘nano’ editing thing, and the ‘sudo’ command – is that short for something? Why can’t anything be in plain English?

But despite some emotional issues, we are till together, working on our relationship.

Addendum:   I think the screen size actually did have to do with the resolution.   I should have tried all the combinations - one of them probably worked, but why be cool and logical when you can panic and freak out instead!
Leave a comment