Jun 24, 2007
From the Ubuntu.com 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. "
As defined by being "Open Source Software (OSS)", it's free . You can download it right off their site and install it within only a few hours. The GUI (graphical user interface) will be very familiar to you if you are a Mac user since Mac OS-X is based on Linux technology and uses the Beryl graphics libraries.
From the Beryl project site:
"Beryl is an OpenGL accelerated desktop that seeks to provide a free, open source desktop experience to the community that reflects the wishes of the users."
I will have to say that the transition has been very smooth. The user experience is so much better in that the booting of the computer takes only a few seconds and once you are viewing the Desktop, there's no additional time for programs to be loaded. Whenever you click on a program icon, the program opens up instantly - no long delays like Windows. *shudder*. And if you are a Photoshop junkie like me, there is the Gimp Shop solution which is an open source solution to Photoshop with a skin that makes the application look and run just like the original thing. I'm not a gamer so I can't vouch for what the capabilities are in that field. Having used Firefox for years now, I'm pretty much set on a browser and Open Office is very good for your writing/spreadsheet needs.
One of the coolest aspects is that everything is customizable. And by everything, I mean everything. I've been able to change which shortcut keys to do anything on the system and change my windows styles. Another very cool feature is that all the programs you'll ever need are already in the repository just waiting for you to click on "install" and you'll download it and install it within seconds. No more searching websites to see which is the latest version of something you need nor choosing what hardware/software you are using - it's already done.
Anywho, this is meant to be a small intro for anyone not familiar with the Open Source community and may want to convert... (convert! convert! ) Okay, that wasn't very convincing. But did I mention it's free and it's even prettier than a Mac?