Over at Aidan?s blog I?ve read about ?Ubuntu? several times and thought ?what the hell is that?? After a bit of research yesterday the answer can be found with this quote from the official Ubuntu site:
Ubuntu is a community developed, linux-based operating system that is perfect for laptops, desktops and servers. It contains all the applications you need ? a web browser, presentation, document and spreadsheet software, instant messaging and much more.
I use Microsoft Windows, always have, and I seem to be pretty heavily invested in it but I do like the idea of running a PC on completely free, open-source software, so I thought I?d check it out with the use of a Live CD downloaded from the site in form of an ISO file enabling me to give Ubuntu a go without having to install and just run the OS off the CD at boot.
Ubuntu comes complete with a variety of pre-installed software including OpenOffice, Gimp, and Firefox (see more details here), and all these were available when I ran it on my laptop, although I?d need to install more drivers to actually get access to my router. I tried out a lot of the features and I must say I was very impressed, firstly with the ease of use, and secondly with the range of software.
I?m under no illusions that there would be some problems if I switched over, notably with some programmes I use daily which have no Linux support, and so for the moment I?ll stick to Windows XP on my laptop. This may not be the case for my desktop PC upstairs which had a clean install last summer and is only used for basic desktop applications and web access. This would seem ideal as a project for getting a PC running on completey free software, although the project may have to wait a while until I?ve got more time, but with a new version of Ubunto, Version 7.04 (Feisty Fawn) released on April 19th it may happen a lot sooner.
In fact Ubuntu is proving quite popular with the French parliament due to switch over from Windows in June 2007, with plenty of other organisations making the switch. It also also worth noting that there are several variants on offer depending on your needs.
Please visit the main Ubuntu site for more information and downloads.