Product Type: other Operating Systems
Newest Review: ... versions of linux. But it was nothing like that at all! I decided to install Ubuntu 10.04 as part of a dual boot system on my laptop bec... more
Ubuntu - improving all the time
Member Name: xcorlett
Date: 03/03/09, updated on 03/03/09 (68 review reads)
Advantages: Better than windows in almost every aspect
Disadvantages: Fewer programs work on linux (especially gaming). The terminal sucks.
Ubuntu is a free operating system. It is linux based, with the linux kernel sitting at the core. It has been community developed for many years and the latest version as of March 2009 is 8.10. I installed it 18 months ago on my desktop and haven't looked back since, and it's now on my laptop too. It's very fast, very reliable and serves 99% of my needs that windows did. Do I still use windows? I have a virtual copy of windows installed using the free Sun VirtualBox virtualisation software. It allows you to run most operating systems in a window inside of other operating systems. So, I can still use Adobe Illustrator and test my website designs from inside windows without having to shutdown my computer.
Is it ready to replace windows?
This is the key question.
Most people who are experienced with computers will have no problems, and will relish not having to use windows. It is a fast, intuitive operating system that is being constantly updated and improved. Software is 99% free of charge and is often as high quality as their windows counterparts. For example, the core office application is OpenOffice.org. This package does what Microsoft Office does, but for no cost. It can read and write to office formats, so portability is not a concern.
Installing applications is a breeze if they are available in the software repositories, where all you have to do is search for the program in a list and hit install. Uninstalling is the opposite and is just as easy. If it isn't available in the repositories, this is where Ubuntu (and linux in general falls down). There is this thing they call the.... "Terminal". Anyone who remembers ms-dos will be familiar with loading it up to access parts of windows. Well, the terminal is similar. It is the text input zone which allows you to do all sorts of thing that haven't been implemented into the GUI (graphical user interface) yet. It's relatively complicated, will waste your time and frustrate all but experienced linux users. Having said that, Ubuntu has never crashed on me and the only problems I've had have been minor, so I guess the time i've spend in the terminal issuing commands seems less that the time I would have spent fixing Windows.
For someone who is new to computers, Ubuntu might just work. If you want to do nothing more that surf the net, write some documents, read some e-books and play solitaire, well Ubuntu will do that for you without a hitch. It can even install itself through windows just like you'd install any other program.
What about gaming? Well, that is a problem. Linux users will try and tell you that they have many excellent games available. Well, there are some good ones but in reality high-performance gaming on linux sucks. So keep windows as a backup if you like to play games a lot!
How is it to use?
It's prettier than all windows versions - turn on the high end graphics package and it's much sexier than vista, with wobbly windows and all sorts of animation. Nothing quite beats the latest Mac OS for sleek looks. It'll run on really slow computers and adapts its features to your computer speed. By default, all the applications are accessed via the top menu bar. A list of currently open apps is displayed at the bottom. You can have several desktops open at once and can flip between them in an instant. It's even possible to drag windows from one desktop to another, giving the impression of a very long counter-top with lots of space for your paperwork. Files are access in a similar way to windows, though folders. All your user data is stored in a folder called "home". This helps with backups.
*Most* hardware is compatible with Ubuntu and will install without any extra help, especially on the latest versions 8.04 and 8.10. Some older cards may require extra user help.
If you need help, check out the Ubuntu forums at ubuntuforums.org. If you know nothing about linux and need to get something done in the terminal or you need to install an unusual piece of hardware, it shouldn't be too hard to look at the forums and find instructions on exactly how to proceed. Just copy and paste!
I could say a lot more about Ubuntu - but I have just outlined what I think about the main points. It is user friendly for the most part, has plenty of comparable software and is easy to install and set up. For most people, it is now a windows replacement, but I recommend keeping windows installed as a separate partition or as a virtual operating system for those programs which you may still find yourself needing.
Summary: Ready for most windows converters now.
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