Monday, August 28, 2006

How I Ditched Windows with Linux (UBUNTU)

My windows OS has been constantly giving me problems recently..

No, there are no problems on my hardware, just the cranky Microsoft Operating System trying to give its hell to the user. I am not going to re-install the entire windows all over again.

If I was ever to re-install a new OS, it will have to be something better than Windows..

For eye candy, the new MACBOOK PRO definitely attracted me for some time.
However, the price of the delectable Apple laptop isn't something which I consider cheap, not even by its 24 or 36 months installment plans..

The next alternative I had was to run Linux.
And so, a few magazines and some downloads later, here I am running Linux using the Ubuntu distro.

As to how I decided on which distro to use, the following website gave me a very good idea. Website for top 10 Linux Distros

Apparently, though Linux is free, there are also many commercial versions with proper support.
However, these commercial releases also have their own "Free" versions with public forums support from users all around the world.

Some say that the "Free" versions are actually testing platforms for the commercial releases.
ie Novell SUSE vs OPENSUSE [ both also available off Novell's website apparently ]
ie Red Hat Linux vs Fedora Core [ from same company also ]

And what made me choose UBUNTU [ other than the fact that it is at the top of the list in DISTROWATCH ] ?

See the extract of the description of UBUNTU's history from Distrowatch's Summary of Ubuntu

UBUNTU has stormed the Linux distribution scene like no other Linux project before. It has done so in a fashion resembling a highly sophisticated player: it seems to have first observed all other major distributions, learnt from their mistakes and combined the best features of all of them into one superior product. A six-month's release cycle, up-to-date package set, a clearly set product lifetime (at 18 months), fast download mirrors, great documentation, even free CDs and free shipment of CDs anywhere in the world to those interested in the distribution. That's Ubuntu.

The project is funded by Mark Shuttleworth. Those who have never heard the name, Mark is a South African entrepreneur who made a fortune when he sold his company, Thawte Consulting, to Verisign, for US$575 million in late 1999. He appears to be a generous person: after the sale, he reportedly paid bonuses of one million Rand each (about US$163,000 at the time) to every one of his employees. He also founded several educational and open source initiatives around South Africa, including Go Open Source. While it is not yet clear how Mark's Canonical Limited intends to make money from Ubuntu, the distribution is certainly off to a good start, at least in terms of getting the name into public consciousness and offering a solid alternative to more established Linux distributions.

On the technical side of things, Ubuntu is based on Debian Sid (unstable branch), but with more up-to-date packages, inclusive of the latest GNOME packages. The distribution is designed to be used on desktops and servers, with a supported upgrade path from Debian 3.0 (Woody). One of its more interesting features is the fact that the "root" account is disabled by default; the first registered user after installation is granted superuser privileges through the "sudo" command. This measure, while it might sound like an inconvenience at first, has to be applauded since it encourages good security practices.

Pros: Great community of developers and users; fixed release cycle and support period; upgrade path from stable Debian provided
Cons: Ubuntu's backers have not yet built a viable business model around the distribution
Software package management: APT (DEB)
Free download: Yes

Firstly, they ship the CDs to you free of charge [ take 4-6 weeks ] but what a committment this is even though they haven't figured a way to make money out of it yet..
Well, of course it is also downloadable off multiple mirrors, with today's connection speeds, it may just be faster to download, depending on where you are located.

Secondly, the boss himself actually paid his ex-employees an equal share when he sold of his ex-company to VeriSign. A whooping US$163000 to each employee. It goes to show his committment to his employees and with his UBUNTU totall free, again shows off his committment, now towards the society.

I quote the elaboration of the word "Ubuntu" from the Ubuntu website itself.

UBUNTU : an African word, meaning " Humanity to others" or "I am who I am because of who we all are"

The UBUNTU linux distribution brings the spirit of Ubuntu to the software world.

In short, and in my own words...

Some eye candy for linux here [ aka how the linux can be made to look like the MAC OSX ]
Mac OSX Desktop look with Mac Style Launcher

Video of the OSX style eye candy for windows effects [ Much better than windows ]

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