This is simply a log of what I did to my machine while I was getting mining working. It will probably cause your computer to catch fire. If you think fire is fun to look at, then proceed with reading or even following these instructions.
I like to have more use for my computers than just mining, like sitting down at it to use a web browser, so this is not a headless configuration.
I installed the ubuntu-11.04-dvd-amd64.iso.torrent version of Ubuntu onto an AMD-core tower with /boot, encrypted swap, and encrypted / in three primary partitions using the text installer. The packages I picked were the Ubuntu Desktop group (default) and OpenSSH server.