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[Ben]:Ubuntu linux Discuss This [1 comment so far] View Comments
I think I mentioned Ubuntu Linux some time ago. At that point I had just played around a bit with it but I've had a chance to use it a little more since and am currently using it as my primary office OS.

First off, the install is as easy as a comparable Windows desktop install. If you're putting it on a computer that already has a Windows install, many preferences and settings are transferred during the process including bookmarks, backgrounds and so forth. I didn't have any problems with drivers.

Some basic features come with the initial loadout:
Firefox
Evolution - an Outlook clone that can synch with Exchange servers
OpenOffice - capable of interacting with Microsoft products up to 2003.
Gimp - a graphics application comparable to Adobe Photoshop 5.0
Terminal Server Client - Remote Desktop to available computers - including Windows boxes.
Media players

Additional applications are readily available at no charge using a simple package manager. The interface for the package manager could use some work, but if you know what you're looking for, installs are a piece of cake. Just select the application and click "Apply". It'll download and install the software automatically. I haven't had to restart the machine once for an install. Many, many times simpler than Windows.

Speed is approximately equivalent to Windows. The desktop can be configured to behave in a graphics intensive way (think MacOS or Vista) or in a much less resource intensive manner depending on system capabilities.

With a little bit of effort you can get some Windows applications running seamlessly (anything from 3.0 to Vista), if there isn't a feasible free and compatible alternative to existing applications. If that still doesn't work, you also have the option of creating a virtual machine for a Windows installation. The interface is kind of like having a locally hosted remote-desktop connection.

Network interoperability is great. I don't have any problem accessing our corporate network using my existing user information. It's sad that an alternate OS can interact better with a Windows-based network than Vista ...

Ubuntu is pretty lightweight. After setting up a few dozen new applications (large and small) and copying my old Documents file from Windows (which included some big files), I'm still well under the 5 gig mark and I seem to remember seeing about 2.5 gig for the pretty full-featured initial install. It finds the 20 gig partition I've set up for it pretty roomy.

The interface is very familiar to anyone who has used Windows or one of the more popular Linux GUIs.

Anyway, it's a neat OS that you might want to give a shot.
  2008-01-15
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