Your newly-minted CD is bootable. Put the disk into the CD reader, close the tray, and power-up the computer. If the BIOS is set (as it probably should be) to boot from the CD before booting from the hard drive, the system will now boot into Linux.
Typically, recent versions of Ubuntu give you two choices – try the software – and install the software. Selecting the “try before you buy” option causes Ubuntu to load into memory and lets you run programs from the CD.
This process runs slower than a regular installation (because of the relatively slow speed of the CD drive) but it gives you the opportunity to (a) make sure that Ubuntu will actually run on your hardware, and (b) let you look at the operating system – in action – and try any of the associated applications – hence, the concept of the “Live CD”.
|The Linux-Live CD’s (the Ubuntu distro is only one such beast) are marvels of technology. Essentially they are boot disks that load the Linux operating system into the memory of your machine, and provide a wide range of system tools and applications that run directly from the CD, so that you can try many of the features of Linux on a temporary basis.|
Using the live-CD in this way doesn’t write anything to your hard drive. Shut down Ubuntu, remove the CD from the tray, reboot your computer, and it will function completely normally.
Of course, if you want to make full use of the power and flexibility of your Linux distro, you will need to actually install the software onto your hard disk. Fortunately, Ubuntu’s creators have foreseen your desire, and have provided an on-screen icon to allow you to easily start the installation process…