19 minutes ago
Saturday, June 28, 2008
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 ubuntu.com 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.