Ubuntu is an operating system based on Linux which is becoming more and more popular among PC users. So popular that even Dell is giving their customer the choice between Windows and Ubuntu. Governments and organizations are switching to Ubuntu. But why is it so popular? Why so much buzz about it? Well let’s see.
The live CD
Ubuntu’s live CD gives you the possibility to use Ubuntu without having to actually install the OS on your computer. It’s very useful if you want to see what it looks like. Simply follow the instructions on the download page to get the ISO file. Once you got it just burn the file on a disc. Finally restart your computer and you should be able to use Ubuntu. It’s as simple as this.
Installing Ubuntu, so simple
I tried to look for a dual boot setting, with Windows XP being on the main partition. But couldn’t find any tutorial clear enough at that time. Anyway, I finally decided to install only Ubuntu on my computer. The install was really simple and very quick.
In my case all the hardware was recognized directly… Ah no I forgot I had to install The ATI driver for my graphic card. But since it’s the same with windows… except.. that you have to install almost every single driver!
What kind softs you get for 0$?
Well, you get a lot, Open office (Word processor, spreadsheet and presentation soft), Gimp (drawing and photo editing tool), Firefox (well… web browser), evolution mail (your mail client), totem media reader are just a few of the soft you get out of the box. well that’s not it you also get a dictionary, a calculator, a notepad called Tomboy, a text editor and 17 games (Tetris is one of them … heu sorry Gnometris). When I think that for 400$ (if you don’t pirate anything) you get a few crappy games and paint! From a Billion dollars corporation it’s quite a rip off.
But I know that the list above is not enough to convince you, So run add/remove in applications to find thousands of other software, bit torrent client, Voip software, Instant messaging software, Burning tools, Dvd ripper, video editing software, games, network software, Windows emulating software and more and more and more! and more.
The choice of your environment
Ubuntu is using the Gnome environment. There are several version of Ubuntu, Kubuntu use the KDE environment, Xubuntu is using the XFCE Environment, Edubuntu, medibuntu and a few other. What I understood is that Kubuntu is good if you don’t want to be lost if you’re coming from windows because the environment is quite similar. That XFCE is a good environment for older computer, I guess Edubuntu is good for a school or student and Medibuntu is using codecs and software that are not open source.
I choose Ubuntu and its Gnome desktop. I really want to tell you how it looks like but it’s quite difficult. Since everything can be changed depending on your taste. The default setting has two panels one on the top of the screen and one on the bottom.
The one on the top display the different icons to your, applications, places (hard drive, external hard drive, CD, network etc..), system, Quick Icon, Sound volume, date hours calendar, exit button, and network information.
On the bottom you have a quick access button to your desktop, some space for the windows you are using, the usual trash and two to four workspace.
You can see what my desktop looks like
Your OS your taste
But like I told you you can tune it according to your taste. For example, I have Two little graph that show me the use of my CPU and my network. It’s possible to play with the transparency of your panels as well as there size and much more. You can choose different sets of Icons and windows theme, gnome-art is a good start to get some nice stuff.
For me the best stuff is compiz and beryl which are now under one name compiz-fusion. It’s a 3d eye candy effect you can add to your desktop. But more beautiful than the one on Windows Visa. Since my computer is a bit old and my graphic card doesn’t support full 3D, I can’t run compiz on my laptop, but it’s worth a look!
But no problem?
Actually, I didn’t have so many problem, things are different but not more complicated. With windows not everything run as smoothly as many people think (or want to make us think), don’t be stupid. The Ubuntu community is big and you can always get answers on the forum or on the web. The only thing is that some times help is written for power user, and difficult to understand. But I’m getting use to it.
Some developer don’t really bother with their Linux development, for example the Linux version of Skype is still in it’s 1.4 version and Video conversation are not possible. I know there is a lot of Voip soft with video for Linux but my friends and family use Skype. Anyway the next version should include video conversation.
Another thing is games, I have a laptop with an ATI Mobility radeon 9600, I was able to play many game back then, the unreal engine, the source engine where runing quite smoothly, but now I think I can’t run those games even using Wine (the windows emulator). I tried to install a 3d game called tuxrace I think, But it was lagging so much. So now I’m just not playing on my computer.
There is also a portable issue for me. I’m running out of battery so quickly! Ok my laptop is 3-4 years old, so my battery is not young anymore, and has a short life on XP too. I didn’t do any test and can tell you how long does it last. But My computer ran out of battery and switched off without any warning. But again, I guess there is a solution. And I did a few of them, I still need to find out how to change the brightness of my LCD screen and see if there is a way it would warn me when the battery life is critical.
Other then that no problem, only happiness!
Of course it’s my own experience, I can’t tell you that it will be the same for you. But Ubuntu has been running on my laptop for five months now and I will do everything in my power not to install windows again.