Problems, problems . . .
The DVD is amazingly good at automatically booting and running on a huge number of systems, but it isn't perfect. There is only so much software that you can pack on one DVD and that includes drivers for hardware. That said, most problems with booting the Ubuntu live DVD can be resolved.
You might have noticed when the boot screen came up (refer to Figure 2-2) that there were a number of options at the bottom of the screen: <F1> Help, <F2> Language, and so on. Some of these are fairly obvious. Pressing <F1> gives you further assistance. If you don't want to run Ubuntu with English as the default language, press <F2> and select an alternate from the list. Closely related is <F3>, which lets you select an alternate keyboard for the language of your choice.
Getting a proper graphical display is not generally a problem, but if all else fails and you still can't get a good, clear screen, try pressing <F4> and selecting VGA as your video type. Ordinarily, Ubuntu scans for and assigns the proper video driver based on your card. Several accessibility options are also built in to the boot screen that allow users with visual impairments of varying degrees to choose a more suitable environment. There are also settings for users with minor motor difficulties who may have trouble with a mouse or other pointing device. You can access these at boot time by pressing <F5>.
As the system boots, most everything is done for you. This is what is referred to as Normal mode and it is the best choice, 99.9 percent of the time. For those who might want total control over every aspect of the boot, device detection, hardware configuration, and so on, it is possible to switch to Expert mode by pressing <F6>.
Boot Level Options
The biggest set of boot changes are those that can be added to the boot command prompt itself, directly beside the Boot Options label. For instance, it is possible that you might experience lockups on boot or strange hardware glitches that stop the system from booting, a not uncommon problem with buggy APIC controllers (Advanced Programmable Interrupt Controller). To disable the APIC, press <F6> to bring up the boot prompt, then add this line to the end of the existing options:
Press <Enter> and the machine will boot normally but with the APIC disabled. Some of the prompts do not deal with actual problems. They just speed things along. An example of this has to do with network configuration. Normally, the Ubuntu live DVD will configure its network card for DHCP with the idea that an address will automatically be provided by another machine on the network. You can always change this after the system is up (networking is covered in Chapter 7), but it is possible to force a static IP address at boot time.
To see a much more comprehensive list of boot parameters, press <F1> to enter the help screen, then press <F5> for an overview of boot parameters, <F6> for parameters dealing with specific machine hardware, <F7> for parameters related to disk controllers, and <F8> for those related to the boot process itself.