Wednesday, July 7, 2010
The truth of the matter is that Linux isn't really that well known in the United States. It's almost non-existent in stores (because it's FREE), and is most popular with a younger, geekier crowd. But Linux has a lot to offer and might be enough for most people's everyday computing needs. Enter Ubuntu Linux. Ubuntu is a flavor of the Linux OS that is centered around being easy to use. "Linux for human" beings as they say. Even if Ubuntu is easier to use and understand than other Linux-based operating systems, why would we want to use it?
I have spent a considerable amount of time tinkering around with the Linux OS, specifically Ubuntu and have discovered that it has much in common with both Windows and Apple OS. You might not know it, but both Windows and OSX has it's roots in the command-line text terminal interface. Like the old joke "See DOS run, run dos run," you type your commands into a text prompt. To make things a lot more user friendly the GUI (graphic user interface) was invented. The GUI let you control most functions with a mouse and keyboard visually. Linux operates the same way.
So what can you do on Ubuntu? You can browse the internet complete with watching flash videos on YouTube. You can download music from sites like AmazonMp3 and listen to it on your computer, you can rip your music to your hard drive as well. You can watch DVDs and videos, check your email, write a paper, print a document, play some games, instant message, view and edit photos, record and mix music, and much much more. Sounds like a Mac or Windows machine? That's because many of the programs that are available for Windows and OSX have a version for Ubuntu Linux or some sort of free alternative.
Ubuntu can't run Windows programs or MacOS programs (well, for the most part anyways). You will encounter times when you want a specific program and it's not available on the platform. But for 90% of what people do on computers, Ubuntu works as well or better at these tasks, and for FREE.
How about your hardware? Will it be compatible with Linux? The answer is for the most part, yes. Ubuntu isn't as resource hungry as modern OS's like Windows 7 and OSX so in many cases it can run better on older systems than these flashy new OS's.
Even if you don't plan on running Ubuntu on your primary computer, it can be a great addition to your computing household and since it's free, it's great to install on older computers instead of purchasing a new OS. Have an extra PC laying around? Install Ubuntu on it and set it up in the kitchen or game room for people to browse the internet. Been itching for a way to watch DVD's on that old laptop but don't want to pay for Windows? You've found a great and free answer.
If you're interested in trying out Ubuntu, you can visit their website and try their live CD today without making any changes or installing anything on your computer. In my next post I will walk you through the process of downloading and burning a live Ubuntu CD for you to try out, so hang tight if you need more instructions.