Saturday, June 28, 2008

Ubuntu Linux


I've been a user of the Linux operating system since kernel 0.99 in 1994. I've watched it improve steadily over the past 14 years, but there was always some function or application missing that meant I had to keep at least one PC around with a current version of Windows on it. Linux could do 95% of the job, but sometimes I needed that other 5%.

Those days now appear to be over for me. I'm sure others got there before me, but now it's my turn.


I recently installed Ubuntu 8.04 Linux on two of my home PCs and I have to say it has exceeded all my expectations. I'm loving it.

I had tried the "live" boot from the Ubuntu CD (it's like a test drive) and a couple of things didn't work properly. That caused some hesitation, but one of my PCs is really just a sandpit to play in, so I threw caution to the winds and did a full install. The problems I had with the "live" boot did not occur with the full install. Everything worked right "out of the box". Video, sound, DVD, wireless network: all good.

I can do anything on Linux that I do on Windows: Internet browsing and e-mail, watch DVDs, rip and burn MP3 onto CDs / DVDs, watch videos on YouTube, whatever. Even better, the free Open Office suite replaces MS Office and does an excellent job.

Ubuntu is - at last - the Linux that does everything I need it to do.

Best of all, a program called "kdenlive" allows me to edit video from my digital camera and compose my own videos. This was the single thing - video editing - was what had kept me using Windows. Now I can do it all on Linux.

I'll happily recommend Ubuntu 8.04 Linux to anyone as a substitute for Windows. You can download a CD image from and go for it. It's free as in free beer.

BACKGROUND: "Ubuntu" is an Open Source community-supported software project started by Mark Shuttleworth, a South African who struck it rich during the tech boom in the late 90s. Ubuntu is an African word that means: 'Humanity to others', or 'I am what I am because of who we all are'. The name is in keeping with the Open Source origins of Linux, allowing anyone and everyone to have access to the source programming code for all parts of the system.

Linux is a community effort, not owned by any person or company. Ubuntu is just one of hundreds of linux "distributions". Shuttleworth's aim for Ubuntu linux is to create software for people who have little money so they can participate in technology. You can read the full story here.


  1. Nice post, I just was reading about the new Ubuntu alpha scheduled for October release... Looking very good

    I've been a big supporter of Linux for over a decade but have recently become sucked in by the slidey, shiny UI and unix-based power of Mac OS X. I've used Slackware through Redhat enterprise, Gentoo through Fedora, Yggdrasil through Debian and then some more. Each have their strengths, weaknesses and quirks but I've been a huge fan of what Ubuntu has been doing - not just in the product but the promotion, marketing and support as well.

  2. Chris S: Thanks for your kind words. :-) For what it's worth, I do intend to buy a Mac in the near future. Maybe next pay. LOL! I can't afford to replace all my systems, and I don't want to go proprietary of any sort over all. But I'll swap a Vista system for a Mac in a heartbeat.

  3. Kdenlive was what really convinced me that I could go 100% Linux and not miss much. Then I discovered Tovid (simple DVD authoring program that actually works) and realised that I could go 100% Linux and not miss *a thing*.

    Don't get me wrong though, it was nearly two years before I was comfortable enough and committed enough to remove the other two operating systems from my life.

  4. Could we know what was the problem you encontered while using the live session but was not present actually when you installed Ubuntu in your hard disk drive ?

  5. pytpyt: On e one system, when "live" booted, the sound did not work. On another system the sound did not work and the rt2400-based 802.11b wireless did not work.

    With a full install, the sound worked on both systems. The wireless was not visible during the install, but was configurable after the install and worked fine.


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