Posts filed under 'Ubuntu'

Still using XP? Here’s 7 reasons why you should consider Ubuntu

Open office on Ubuntu
Open office running on Ubuntu

This post is generally aimed at people who still use only Microsoft Operating systems (e.g. XP, Vista, Win98) etc.

In this article I am talking about Ubuntu, which is a linux distro (distribution - think of it as a ‘version’ or ‘flavor’ of linux), however most of the points below could be applied to any modern stable Linux distro.

So, why should you consider Ubuntu (or another Linux distro)

  1. It’s safer: Right now, thousands of people are busy writing viruses, trojans, spyware, and malware aimed specifically at people who use Microsoft Operating systems. i.e. You. As if that’s not bad enough, millions of compromised machines (bots) are busy trying to hack and replicate into Microsoft PCs (like your PC). By switching to Ubuntu (or any Linux) you are removing this target off your head, and removing 99% of the threats your PC faces.
  2. It’s cheaper: If you have access to Internet, you can download it for just the cost of the Internet connection. Or, you could request a free CD be mailed to you, not only that, it costs less to run over the long run (see next few points for more information)
  3. It’s more efficient:Ubuntu is a more efficient OS - due to this it has less hardware requirements than Windows XP for example - i.e. it will run easily with less ram, a slower CPU, etc., compared to XP. So, running a PC with Ubuntu to achieve comparable performance as an XP equipped PC would reqiure less electricity, use less resources, contribute less to global warming, carbon etc. etc.
  4. It’s easier to install : Ubuntu usually includes most necessary drivers and can function with most hardware - in my experiments, it identified all hardware in all the machines I used it on, and it’s hardware support was better than XP (for example, it installed the relevant audio drivers for a PC, where XP was unable to install audio).
  5. It’s more stable: Ubuntu is very very stable. It rarely ever has problems/crashes. This is because it (and Linux which underlies it) is developped by a community of thousands of people who test and fix problems - therefore the software is much more heavily tested compared to Windows.
  6. It’s open source: Ubuntu is an open source operating system: what that means is the code which powers it is open source - i.e. it is available for anyone to download and examine. That means that thousands of people examine virtually all code and ensure there are no bugs, spyware, rootkits, backdoors etc. Now let’s take Microsoft Windows. Do you know what it’s source code contains? No? well neither do most people. Except for Microsoft Staff, nobody has a clue of what’s really inside XP.

    Think of open source like a restaurant where you can see the staff preparing your meal - you can see what ingredients they use, how they prepare it, etc - so you KNOW that your meal is safe, nobody spat in it (or worse) and it doesnt contain anything poisonous.

  7. It’s easy to use: Ubuntu works via a GUI (Graphical user interface). I.e. if you have used Windows you should be able to easily install Ubuntu, as well as use it for most simple day to day tasks.

Pre Ubuntu FAQ:

  1. Q: I don’t have the time to install it just yet - is there a way I can test Ubuntu without modifying my PC?
    A: Ubuntu’s installation disk functions as a live CD - what this means is: if you boot off it, your PC can run off the disk, and load and run Ubuntu! It will be a bit slower than if it were on your hard disk, but it includes most of the features of a proper installation.

    A live CD (IMO) is a masterpiece of engineering. How they managed to make an entire OS function off a CD on diverse hardware is simply amazing, but I digress…

  2. Q: Cool, but I’m not yet willing to switch my main PC to an Ubuntu?

    A: Here’s an idea - take a PC you no longer use, and set it up with Ubuntu and a net connection - then you can use it to try out Ubuntu (e.g. for surfing), and as time goes you can slowly switch over tasks you do on your Windows PC, to your Ubuntu PC. If you don’t have an extra PC you can easily pick a cheap used P3 for about $50.

    OR You could install Ubuntu on your PC in a multi boot configuration - i.e. both XP and Ubuntu can coexist on the same PC!!

FAQ on ME:

  1. Q: So, you are an Ubuntu Fanboy?:
    A: I’m not an anything Fanboy. I just find Ubuntu vastly superior to any Microsoft offering. My only regret is I did not try it earlier - I now want to convince people to give Ubuntu a try. If after you try Ubuntu you decide it (and/or linux) is not for you, that’s fine but you owe it to yourself to give Ubuntu a try and see the difference
  2. Q: Why Ubuntu? Why not another Linux distro?

    A:I personally prefer Ubuntu as it is quite stable, reliable, and has a big community. There are many other popular Linux distributions which are just as good - visit distrowatch.com and select your favorite.
  3. OK, How do I get started?
    I’ve written a guide on how to install Ubuntu, also some Ubuntu tips and tricks

13 comments January 21st, 2007

Have you tried Ubuntu yet?

Note: please see the excellent comments at the end of this article, which contain many corrections, clarifications and useful suggestions.

DivX playback on Ubuntu
DivX playback, Totem player, Windowed. 

One of my new years resolutions for 2007 was to use an open source operating system. I don’t mean try it out and forget about it - rather, I want to learn how to use it for day to day work (which I would normally do on an XP powered PC).

And each day I use this new OS, I’m amazed by how easy it is to use. The purpose of this little article is to give Windows XP users a rough idea on how easy it is to use Ubuntu, and see how Ubuntu compares with Windows XP

Pre installation FAQ

  1. What is Ubuntu? Ubuntu is an open source operating system. What that generally means is, Ubuntu can be downloaded for free, and you can use it on your system without paying for a licence.
  2. Yes, but isn’t that OS for Linux experts? Don’t you need to know Linux? Not necessarily. Ubuntu works mostly via a graphical user interface (similar to Windows XP, you use a mouse, click buttons, etc). Most operations are completed with a mouse. Very rarely you may have to perform some advanced operations using a terminal/console (like MS Dos window).
  3. How easy is it to install? Basically, you boot off the CD and follow the prompts. Installation is via a GUI.
  4. How do I get the CD? You can download an ISO image of the CD from http://www.ubuntu.com/ - burn this image onto a CD and boot off that CD.
  5. Will it recognise my hardware? Ubuntu recognised all hardware on my test PC without any problems. Contrast this with XP which required me to download additional drivers for VGA and Sound! Does this guarantee all your hardware will be recognised? No, but most of the time, it just works.
  6. Does it require a lot of space? Actually I was told (during the installation process) that you will need around 2.5GB of space, which is not bad considering that Ubuntu comes with many applications (e.g. Open Office), unlike Windows XP.
  7. But I only know how to use XP? How can I retrain myself to use Ubuntu?? The most surprising thing is, you don’t have to retrain yourself - most of the functionality of the desktop/etc is very similar to Windows XP. I don’t mean to say Ubuntu mimics Windows (they don’t), rather, if you are familiar with XP you should be able to find your way around Ubuntu easily. Actually, it’s more accurate to say both XP and Ubuntu are intuitive and follow common concepts and logical processes in their graphical user interfaces (translation: if you can use XP, you will probably be fine with Ubuntu).

The Ubuntu Experience

To give you an idea of what it’s like to use Ubuntu, I’ve got some screenshots here - click a thumbnail to open it on Flickr.

I was amazed at how many applications are included with Ubuntu - right out of the box, this OS seems to include everything I could think of - office software, DVD/CD Writing software, Email and Internet browser, graphics, etc, all included, fully functional, and ready to use.

The Desktop

Ubuntu Desktop
I’ve tweaked the menu to start from below (like XP) because I’m used to that :) Old habits.. You can see a screen shot of Ubuntu’s ’start’ menu here

As you can see, it’s a lot like XP - you have your “Computer”, and a taskbar which shows Tabs for windows, a clock, and a menu to launch programs, accessories, etc. Yup, just like XP - so nothing to relearn here as such!

Included Software:

Unlike Windows, Ubuntu includes a range of popular Linux applications for various tasks such as Graphics, Wordprocessing, etc. Most of these software packages are equivalent to (or better than) similar commercial Windows applications

Graphics Software:

Graphics

GIMP is a professional graphics software, similar to Photoshop.

Office software:

Ubuntu: Office applications: spreadsheet, wordprocessing, presentation, database..

Ubuntu includes Open Office which is similar to Microsoft Office - it includes applications for Spreadsheet, Word processing, database, and presentation.

Games:

Ubuntu Games

Ubuntu includes a large collection of preinstalled games

Security:

One big plus point of Ubuntu is, as with most Linux distros, it is very secure. Virus and spyware generally are not much of a threat (compared to Windows environment) as most attacks are directed against Windows.

Also, users aren’t automatically set up as administrators - and most admin operations require a password, so it’s harder for a malicious application to attack the system. 

Also, as Ubuntu is open source, the code is regularly checked by thousands of people worldwide, and bugs are quickly fixed.

Summary

Ubuntu is professional operating system, it’s simple to use, includes freeware versions of most Windows software, and, did I forget to mention, happnens to be FREE?

Over the next few days I will write more articles on my Ubuntu experience.

PS: Hi to everyone at http://www.groklaw.net/

22 comments January 2nd, 2007


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