The Ubuntu Experience
What is Ubuntu?
Ubuntu is an Operating System just like Microsoft Windows. It runs on the Linux kernel. Ubuntu’s greatest advantage over Microsoft Windows is that it is completely free (and legal)for anyone in the world! Also it is an open-source software so advanced users can even modify/tweak it to make it work better. Ubuntu is not only a free/open-source software itself, every single software that comes preloaded with Ubuntu is also open-source. Ubuntu contains a wide range of free necessary software, which you would otherwise end up paying for.
Lately Microsoft has heavily priced the Office 2007 range of tools making it highly unaffordable for the average user. Open Office is a free office suite that contains most necessary office tools such as Calc(similar to Excel), Presentation(similar to PowerPoint), Word Processor (similar to Word) and Draw(similar to Visio 2007). The OpenOffice interface is largely similar to Microft Office 2003 making it easy to get used to.
A sreenshot of OpenOffice Word.
Photo Editor (GIMP and F-Spot Photo Manager)
The GIMP Image Editor Contains several tools similar to those of Adobe Photoshop Essentials. It can be used to modify, crop and do other advanced tasks with your images. The F-Spot photo manager works a lot like your usual photo mangers like Picasa and others. Both of these graphics programs are completely free and open-source.
A screenshot from F-Spot Photo Manager.
Rythbox Music Player and Movie Player:
The Rythmbox Music Player is a music player similar to iTunes. It can play all sorts of music formats (MP3, AAC) and also accept connections from your iPod, PlayStation Portable(PSP) and other devices. Rythmbox can also help you organize your library and buy music from the net. Movie Player works a lot like Windows Media Player and can play all sort of video file formats.
Browser and E-Mail Client:
Ubuntu comes with the web-browser Firefox and e-mail client Evolution Mail. Evolution Mail works lots like Outlook 2007 and can manage both your email as well as a calendar, memo, appointments etc.
Empathy Instant Messenger:
This instant messenger can be used with several instant message services such as GTalk, Yahoo! Messenger etc.
Empathy Intsant Messenger
The Brasro Disk Burner is a disk burning utility similar to Nero. Ubuntu is also capable of Remote Desktop Connections and also features Ubuntu One which is like your personal drive on the net similar to Window Live SkyDrive.
Ubuntu can be customized to any extent. If you don’t like the Ubuntu desktop looks, you can make it look like a Mac or Windows desktop. Ubuntu also comes with various desktop visual effects many similar to Windows Aero interface. Ubuntu and its software are completely free forever so you don’t have to worry about licenses getting expired and renewing software.
No fear of Viruses and Worms:
Ubuntu’s structure is completely different as compared to Microsoft Windows. No application is allowed to access the root directory unless it has user-authentication. This prevents any virus/trojan/worm attack. Also very few people (or perhaps no one) bothers to write viruses for Linux as it is so uncommonly used (an unfortunate truth). With no fear of viruses you don’t have to spend huge sums of money on anti-virus software (which will account for a huge saving).
Ubuntu Software Center:
The Ubuntu Software Center contains a large variety of free software. It includes 3-D games, Internet applications, programming accessories, educational stuff etc. Software Center makes it extremely easy to browse and download software from the net.
Ubuntu Software Center
Ubuntu releases a new version of the OS every six months. The version latest version is 9.10 Karmic Koala and the upcoming release is 10.04. Every new version adds new features such as faster boot times, improved software etc.
The past two releases (9.04 and 9.10) have laid considerable focus on improving OS boot times. On my computer, which has a Pentium Dual core 1.87 GHz and 3 GB RAM, Ubuntu boots up in just hardly 1 minute.
How easy is it to install:
Ubuntu is very easy to install on your computer and you need not be a computer expert to be able to install it. You have the option of installing Ubuntu along with your previous Mac/Windows installation or completely deleting Window/Mac and replacing it with Ubuntu.
So why is’nt Ubuntu commonly used:
Reason 1. Over the past few years, people have developed a mindset that “free software never works” and “free software is dangerous” etc. Well if you look at Ubuntu, it is certainly not like that.
Reason 2. Canonical (Ubuntu’s creators) being a non-profit organization does not have sufficient funds to advertise Ubuntu enough. So many people of unaware of Ubuntu’s existence.
An Example of How customizable Ubuntu is:
I love the looks/theme of Apple’s Mac OSX. So i decided to dress my Ubuntu in the Mac OSX style. First I downloaded a program called Avant Window Navigator. You can download this program from the Ubuntu Software Centre. Next i downloaded another program called Mac4Lin from here: http://sourceforge.net/projects/mac4lin/ After it finishes downloading, just extract it and click on the install file. Voila! In barely two seconds the program will install and run the Mac OSX desktop theme! Here’s some screenshots:
If you wish to download and try Ubuntu, go here : http://www.ubuntu.com/