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---
date: 2017-04-10T11:27:13+01:00
title: AIMS Desktop
type: index
weight: 0
date: 2017-04-12T00:11:02+01:00
title: Getting started
weight: 10
---
## Welcome to AIMS Desktop
## Download AIMS Desktop
![AIMS Desktop Picture](/images/screen.png)
AIMS Desktop can be downloaded from https://desktop.aims.ac.za/download.
AIMS Desktop is a collection of software that allows you to do mathematics and science on your computer easily and efficiently. You need no exising software on your computer, AIMS Desktop installs an entire operating system that you can install standalone, or dual boot with Microsoft Windows or Apple macOS.
AIMS Desktop is a large download (over 3GB), if you're reading this from a mobile connection,
you might want to download it on a broadband connection instead.
It is maintained by AIMS (The African Institute for Mathematical Sciences), a pan-African network of centres of excellence enabling Africa’s talented students to become innovators driving the continent’s scientific, educational and economic self-sufficiency.
## Preperation
AIMS Desktop is free for anyone to use for educational, non-profit or commercial purposes. (See: Software Licences for more information)
AIMS Desktop installs a new operating system to your computer. It can be installed alongside
an existing system such as Microsoft Windows, Apple macOS, BSD or another GNU/Linux system.
{{< warning title="Note: This site is work in progress" >}}
We're planning to launch this site along with the AIMS Desktop 2017.1 release in June of 2017. In the meantime, you will likely find some missing content on this site.
Installation Media:
You will need a USB disk that is at least 4GB large. Preparing it as an installation
disk for AIMS desktop will overwrite all the data that's on there, so if you have important files
on that USB disk, you should move it to a safer location before writing the installer to disk.
If you're familiar with the dd command, you can use that from your Linux or macOS system to write
the command directly to a raw USB device.
If you're using Windows and don't have access to a Linux device, you can download the Rufus USB
tool at https://rufus.akeo.ie/ which makes writing USB disks from Windows really easy and that
tool has been confirmed to work with AIMS Desktop media.
Prepare your system:
The AIMS installer will do most of the work, however, here are some tips:
* **Back up your system.** Even though there is a very small risk of data loss, it's recommended
that you make a full backup of your system before installing. The installer in AIMS Desktop is
widely used and tested, but making a backup will also protect you against human error.
* **Disable secure boot.** AIMS Desktop doesn't yet support secure boot. If your laptop has this
enabled, you should disable it in the firmware before commencing installation. You will have
to consult the manual for your laptop or do an internet search for how to do this on your
machine.
* **Ensure you have enough power.** AIMS Desktop will take some time to install. If you're using
a laptop computer, ensure that you are connected to a power source.
## Installation
For the most part, the installation of AIMS Desktop is very simple. It uses a graphical installation
tool called Calamares (https://calamares.io) which guides you through the entire installation process.
One aspect to be mindful though, especially if you're dual-booting, is to be aware of the boot method
that your computer uses. Newer computers use UEFI, while older computers use BIOS/Legacy boot mode.
We've made it really easy to identify which method your computer uses to boot up. When you start the
AIMS Desktop live USB disk, it will show you the boot method in brackets.
![Boot modes](/images/getting-started/bootmodes.png)
*Booting in Legacy/BIOS mode to the left, booting UEFI mode to the right. The red underline has been added to these images for emphasis.*
When you press enter on either boot mode, it will start loading the live environment, and you should
see a loading screen similar to the one below. Startup will take a few seconds to a few minuted depending
on what kind of computer you have.
![Boot splash screeh](/images/getting-started/bootsplash.jpg)
*AIMS Desktop startup screen*
When it has finished booted up, you will be presented with the AIMS Desktop Live environment. The
live environment can do a lot more than just install AIMS Desktop, you can also use it to test
whether hardware supports the system, try out the software on AIMS Desktop, or show it to a friend.
![AIMS Live Desktop](/images/getting-started/aims-live-desktop.jpg)
*AIMS Live Desktop*
The installer icon is the first one after the main menu button on the top left side, as highlighed below. Click on this button if you'd like to proceed installing AIMS Desktop.
![Installer Button](/images/getting-started/installer-icon.jpg)
*Installer button, as highlighted above*
You will then be greeted by the installer. If you're unsure about some options like region,
keyboard layout, etc, then you can change it again in the settings manager after installation.
![Installer welcome screen](/images/getting-started/installer-welcome.jpg)
*Installer welcome screen*
Select the language that you would like to use during the installation, then click on next.
Then, choose your location and timezone. The city that designates your timezone might not
be the actualy city you're in, and is often the capital of your country.
![Time zone settings](/images/getting-started/installer-timezone.jpg)
*Time zone settings*
Next, we'll select a keyboard layout. Normall, you'll want to select a keyboard layout that closest
match your physical keyboard layout. In some cases, you might want a different layout to match
another computer you're using. The keyboard image in this screen will adapt so that you have a preview
of the option you have chosen, and you can also type test it in the typing space at the bottom.
![Keyboard selection](/images/getting-started/installer-keyboard.jpg)
*Keyboard settings*
Next, we have to allocate some space to install AIMS desktop to. The most basic method of installation
is to use the entire disk for AIMS Desktop. Do do that, you can choose the "Erase disk" option.
If you have another system installed, you can also choose to resize that system to make space for
AIMS Desktop, or to replace an existing partition with AIMS Desktop. In the future we're planning
to add an advanced partition section to this guide for using manual partitioning.
![Partitioning](/images/getting-started/installer-partition.jpg)
*Partitioning screen*
In the next step, we'll configure your first user for this system. This user will also be an
administrator user.
* **Full name:** You can enter your full name or part of your name in this field.
* **User name:** The user name must not start with a capital letter, can not container numbers, spaces or other special characters. Examples of user names are `mohammed`, `yasmine`, `sarah`, `mehdi`.
* **Computer name:** This is a name that you can use to identify the computer. It must also be lowercase alphabetical characters, but you can also use a dash, eg: `mohammed-pc`, `sarah-laptop`, `yasmine-macbook`, `mehdi-x280`.
* **Password:** Your password protects access to the computer. Use a password that won't be easy to guess. A password such as `password` or `latitude` or anything you would find in a dictionary would be too weak. Instead, you might want to consider using a phrase for a password, ideally something that is easy to remember but wouldn't exist in normal conversation, eg: `Bunnies drink water in October`.
![User setup](/images/getting-started/installer-user.jpg)
*User setup screen*
Before the installer starts making changes to your system, it will present a summary where you
can review the changes it will make. It's a good idea to look at least at the partitioning summary,
especially if you want to keep an existing system installed as well.
![Installer summary](/images/getting-started/installer-summary.jpg)
*Summary of installer actions about to take place*
When you're ready, click next to proceed with the installation.
{{< warning title="Remember to plug in" >}}
If you're installing on a laptop device and haven't yet connected it to a power source, then it is
highly recommended you do so before continuing.
{{< /warning >}}
See the [getting started guide]({{< relref "getting-started/index.md" >}}) for instructions how to get
it up and running.
## Acknowledgements
The AIMS Desktop project is maintained by <a href="https://aims.ac.za">AIMS South Africa</a> and
contributors.
### Meet the team.
<span> <img style="float: left; padding-right: 10px;" src="/images/faces/pipedream.jpg" alt="Photo of Jan" /> <h3> Jan Groenewald </h3>
Jan is the IT Manager at AIMS South Africa and have worked on various forms of AIMS Desktop since 2003.
He conducted the first deployment of desktops at AIMS using Debian Sarge
to Sagemath upstream packaging. Jan maintains AIMS meta-packages and focusses on science software and
software used for academic purposes in the system.
</span>
<span> <img style="float: left; padding-right: 10px;" src="/images/faces/highvoltage.jpg" alt="Photo of Jonathan" /> <h3> Jonathan Carter </h3>
Jonathan works part time at AIMS South Africa and maintains the PPA infrastructure, build scripts,
installer packages, this site and settings packages included in AIMS Desktop. Jonathan is currently
a Debian Maintainer in the Debian project. <br /> <br />
</span>
<span> <img style="relative; float: left; padding-right: 10px;" src="/images/faces/paddatrapper.jpg" alt="Photo of Kyle" /> <h3> Kyle Robertze </h3>
Kyle does intern work at AIMS and have worked on extensions to improve desktop usability, installer
improvements and documentation. He's also a Debian contributor and maintains packages in the Debian archive. <br /><br />
</span>
### External projects
AIMS Desktop is built on the shoulders of giants. Here are some of the projects that it is built on:
* <a href="https://calamares.io/about/">Calamares</a>
* <a href="https://debian.org">Debian project</a>
* <a href="https://gnome.org">GNOME Desktop Environment</a>
* <a href="https://jupyter.org/">Jupyter Notebook</a>
* <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linux_kernel">Linux Kernel</a>
* <a href="https://www.python.org/">Python</a>
* <a href="http://www.sagemath.org/">Sagemath</a>
* ... and many more
![Debian Logo](/images/projectlogos/debian_64.png)
![Firefox Logo](/images/projectlogos/firefox_64.png)
![Sagemath Logo](/images/projectlogos/sagemath_64.png)
![Octave Logo](/images/projectlogos/octave_64.png)
![Texstudio Logo](/images/projectlogos/texstudio_64.png)
![Geogebra Logo](/images/projectlogos/geogebra_64.png)
![LibreOffice Writer Logo](/images/projectlogos/writer_64.png)
![LibreOffice Calc Logo](/images/projectlogos/calc_64.png)
![LibreOffice Impress Logo](/images/projectlogos/impress_64.png)
![LibreOffice Base Logo](/images/projectlogos/base_64.png)
![LibreOffice Draw Logo](/images/projectlogos/draw_64.png)
<!--
### Kafui Odzanga Dake
![Photo of Kafui](/images/faces/kafui.jpg)
Kafui is the IT Manager at AIMS Ghana and have worked on package selection as well as QA on AIMS
Desktop.
-->
![Installation in progress](/images/getting-started/installer-installing.jpg)
*Installation progress*
The rest of the installation is automated. On a fast computer, will take around 10 minutes to complete.
On a slower computer, it might take as much as an hour.
To be continued...
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