A CASE FOR UBUNTU
What is Ubuntu?
Ubuntu is a fully-functional, modern operating system and is supported, ran, and developed by Canonical, as well as corporations, companies, and individuals all over the world. It is the third most popular desktop operating system and is no longer just for power-users and nerds!
From the standpoint of someone who’s worked with personal computers, supporting novice users for a fair amount of time now, Ubuntu is to the point where I am comfortable recommending it to family, friends, and others knowing that I will be called on to support them when questions or problems arise (in fact, this would be a welcomed change from supporting the various, often costly or time consuming, problems that Windows is subject to).
Ubuntu is super easy to use and I strongly suggest it to just about anyone for doing just about anything (and this is not hyperbole)!
Caveats & A Bit of Perspective
While Ubuntu is super easy to use, and Ainer.org’s Recommended Operating System, it is still just a tool (as is all software) and as with any tool, there are pros and cons to using it for any given task. However, the cons are quickly diminishing while the pros are growing at a phenomenal rate (and already outweigh the cons for most uses). Currently, other than watching Blu-ray’s, streaming Netflix, or mainstream, commercial gaming Ubuntu is likely going to work for you on a personal computer (and see the links provided for potential alternatives in the meantime!).
With the ongoing advancement and adoption of Ubuntu (and GNU/Linux in general) the above shortcomings (and any others that I might not be aware of) should not hold true for long. Additionally, the problem here often does not lie with Ubuntu’s software itself, but with the adoption of this operating system by third-parties (such as software and game developers) and by restrictive copy-protection technologies and legislation (such as Digital Rights Management and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act). However, with more people beginning to use Ubuntu, the existing companies (as well as many new ones) are responding and moving to support this growing market. Similarly, governments, at least in some small ways, are responding as well to protect this market diversification.
With the rate and force at which the Internet and personal computers have impacted and influenced our lives, it’s easy to lose perspective and miss the fact that we’re living in a phenomenal time and experiencing the very, very beginning of a new technology whose impact upon our lives, culture, and society cannot be exaggerated. Only now are we beginning to adapt (socially, and governmentally) to these new technologies, and I have only hope in regards to what the future holds. Microsoft, Apple, given a generation or two, these current giants may be held in a similar light as nearly all automobiles prior to the Ford Model-T, the first affordable automobile thanks to mass production and interchangeable parts.
So, now that we have a bit better of an idea of what Ubuntu is, what it is not, and where it might fit in, why Ubuntu? Why not some other alternative? Well, Ubuntu is Ainer.org’s recommend operating system for many reasons, but those reasons all ultimately boil down to a single one, and that reason is: ease of use.
With Ubuntu, we can have a complete, fresh install in about fifteen minutes.
Also note that a fresh install of Ubuntu doesn’t just include some junk software and a bare minimum of features that will allow us to install other programs (that we’ll actually use), it includes a full office suite (Libre Office, compatible with Microsoft Office documents), a modern and extensible web-browser (Firefox), a chat client (Empathy, which supports Google Talk, AIM, Live, Yahoo, Facebook, and more!), an E-mail program (Thunderbird), an integrated Software Center and Update Manager, various utilities and technologies to ensure the system stays properly functional (Disk Utility) and doesn’t slow down (no need to defrag), and various applications to meet just about any need right out of the box.
Additionally, the system comes with reasonable and secure system defaults and this all takes up less than five-gigabytes (5 GiB) of space on the hard or solid state drive (HDD/SSD). Further, there’s no need to worry about installing, updating, and running, resource consuming, anti-virus software (let alone the viruses themselves!) as Ubuntu is not subject to viruses!
In Ubuntu we don’t have to mess with updates for each and every different program and the operating system itself, as they’re all integrated into the Update Manager (and all automatically checked without incessant pop-ups, and without resource consuming third-party update programs!). We also don’t have to worry about our system suffering significant speed decreases from normal usage as Ubuntu was designed, from the start, to run enterprise class software which may need to be running for years without interruption!
Since Ubuntu is legitimately free, we don’t have to worry about dropping a couple-hundred bucks the next time Microsoft or Apple decide to release an “upgrade.” We also don’t have to worry about jumping through any hoops with registration, activation, or any other DRM nonsense.
If we ever have any problems there are literally tens of millions of other users and developers out there, many which have likely already had, and solved, our problems.
If worse comes to worst, the source code, and all the layers on top the source, are open and anyone with the ability can fix or expand it. There is never a point where we are at the mercy of Microsoft, Apple, or any other single organization (not even Canonical, due to up-stream and down-stream projects!). We never have to wait for any organization to decide if it’s cost effective to fix or change the system, as the system is open to all (corporations, companies, groups, and individuals alike)!
Similarly, there is no waiting for a feature to clear corporate bureaucracy and there is no waiting several years for it to come out with the next major release (which often cause more problems than they fix, e.g: Windows Vista, and, maybe, Windows 8) as Ubuntu has regular bi-annual releases, as well as enterprise grade Long Term Support (LTS) releases every two years.
Much of the above benefits could be said for just about any GNU/Linux distribution. Ubuntu is simply the implementation of GNU/Linux that I can recommend to non-techie friends and family and the one that, after much, and often repeated, sampling and testing, I have settled on (again, ultimately, for ease of use).
And that’s it, a case for the Ubuntu operating system. Please let us know if you decide to give it a try, or if you have any questions following reading this. We’re always happy to answer questions, and get you pointed in the right direction!