ACM ICPC World Finals Contest Image Installation Directions

This page describes how to create a hard disk containing the current ICPC World Finals contest image. The contest image consists of the Ubuntu Linux operating system and its tools and utilities, together with contest-specific tools such as the Eclipse development environment and the Contest Control system.

Creating a contest image on disk involves four basic steps: downloading a boot image file; burning the boot image onto DVD; booting a machine from the bootable DVD; and following the instructions provided by the boot image to install the complete contest system on the hard drive of that machine. The option to run the image "live" from the DVD instead of installing it on the hard drive is also available.

During the installation process you will be given the opportunity to specify basic configuration information such as which partitions on the hard disk to use (or not use), and to create a login account name and password. Once the complete contest image has been installed on the disk, the installation procedure will prompt you to restart the machine; doing so will start Ubuntu Linux running. You will then be able to log in using the account name and password created during the installation process; this will put you at the Linux desktop configured exactly as it will be for the World Finals.

NOTE: the account created during the installation process is "privileged", in that it has permission to execute the sudo command to perform super-user ("root") operations. However, you will NOT have permission to use the sudo command or the root account/password during the World Finals; we do not recommend using root privileges to change anything in your machine configuration, as this will cause it to be different from what will be available at the World Finals.

Summary of required steps:
  1. Download ubuntu-18.04.1-icpc2019-20190130-amd64.iso . This is the boot image file (3.1 GBytes). Checksums can be found here.
  2. Burn a bootable DVD using that iso file.
  3. Boot the target machine from the DVD.

The first screen you will see is an Install screen allowing you to choose from two options: Try Ubuntu without Installing and Install Ubuntu; press the Install Ubuntu button. NOTE: if the mouse does not work, use the TAB key twice to reach the Install Ubuntu button, then press ENTER. If you do not get to the Install screen you may have to do some troubleshooting, see below. NOTE: there may be a third option on the screen, Wipe Disk and Install Contest Image. You should not select this option.

Next the system will prompt with a series of screens allowing you to specify the details of the installation. Select the appropriate entry on each screen and then click the "Continue" (or "Next") button to advance to the next screen. The option screens are as follows:

Preparing to install Ubuntu

Confirm the specified characteristics, then click "Continue" (again, if the mouse doesn't work then use TAB to highlight the Continue button)

 Installation Type 

If the installer detects other operating systems already installed on the machine, it will list them; it then wants to know into which disk partition you want Ubuntu Linux installed. If there is no data on the disk which you wish to retain, select the Erase disk and install Ubuntu option; otherwise, specify the partition where Ubuntu Linux should be installed. Be aware that doing this will destroy any existing data in the selected partition! Click "Continue", and then on the following screen, choose "Install Now".

 Where are you? 

Choose the time zone where this computer will be located by clicking on the map or tabbing to the text box and typing the time zone name (the down-arrow key will display a list of available names). Click the "Continue" button when you are done.

Keyboard Layout

Choose the keyboard option which most closely matches the computer's keyboard. Normally the "Suggested Option" is the best choice.

Who Are You?

Specify the parameters for the default administrator account. Ubuntu works by creating a privileged user account intended to be used to manage the system (as opposed to other Unix-like systems which use the root account directly for this purpose). This screen allows you to configure the parameters for this privileged account. Subquently, administrative operations on the machine would typically be done by logging in to this account and then using "sudo" to perform root operations. [1]

Once you have completed the above steps the installation will begin. The installation takes a few minutes; a progress bar displays the status.

Installation Complete

When the installation is complete it will ask you to restart the machine. Pressing "Restart Now" will prompt you to remove any installation media (the DVD) and press ENTER to restart. Restarting will boot the machine into an environment which contains all the utilities, libraries, compilers, applications, integrated development environments, and other tools and documentation which will be provided on the actual team machines at the Contest.

[1] This is a common source of confusion for people new to Ubuntu. There is no default password on the root account, and there is no point during the Ubuntu installation where you are asked to provide one (as is typical on other Linux installations, e.g. Fedora and CentOS). [Actually, saying "there is no password" is a bit misleading, as it implies you can login without providing a password - which would be a major security hole. Technically, the root account by default exists but is "locked out" -- that is, there is NO password which will be accepted to allow a login to that account.]

The way Ubuntu provides root access is as follows. When you install Ubuntu, the installation procedure asks (during the "Who Are You?" step) for a user account name and password. It automatically creates and installs that account in a group which has root access - meaning the account is allowed to execute the "sudo" command. When you login using this account, you can execute commands which require root privilege simply by preceding the command with "sudo". For example, to create a new account named "team999" which is in group 3000 you would type the following:

    sudo adduser --gid 3000 team999
This will prompt for the current account password (NOT the root password), and then execute the command as root. If you have a bunch of root-level operations to do and get tired of typing "sudo" in front of every command, you can instead type sudo bash. This will start a (bash) shell (after first prompting for the account password); that shell will display the standard "root prompt" (#) and will execute every command typed as root. (The command sudo -i is similar but has the effect that the default shell is used and the shell reads the standard initialization files, such as .profile and .login). If you really want to change the root password you can do it with sudo passwd. See this page for further details.

Note that, as stated above, team accounts will not have root access or sudo capability during the World Finals.

Troubleshooting the install

On some machines (including on the Lenovo Thinkpad W540) you are required to have a more hands on approach to the install. I.E. shortly after the machine starts booting from the DVD, you see the "Ubuntu" in the middle of the screen with an image at the bottom of the screen. Press any key (ex: space) to access the boot menu. Use arrow keys to navigate to which Language you want and hit enter. Then hit F6 to bring up "Other Options". The W540 required the "nomodeset" to be highlighted and hit enter to select it. That puts an "x" beside "nomodeset" to indicate it has been selected. Hit ESC to leave that menu. Then you can select Install Ubuntu and follow the normal part of this guide. Some machines may require the "noapic" and/or "nolapic" to boot properly.

Views since May 1, 2018

Revised: Tue Jan 29 20:48:51 CST 2019