Penguin's Rule ~ Ask The Admin

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Penguin's Rule

ubuntu laptop dellTime for some slightly more technical blogging.

Today's topic....Linux.

Some of you may have heard of Linux. Here's what it is in a nutshell. An operating system for a computer, not unlike Windows or Mac. But there is a can be free!

There are a lot of fun things with Linux and a lot of distributions that are freely available out there. But there is one in particular that I'd like to talk about.


I've tried various flavors of Linux in search of an OS that I may potentially use to replace my home Winblows PC with. This is it. I've tried several Fedora distros, Red Hat, and a few other smaller, possibly defunct distributions. But Ubuntu is the real deal.

The installation is easy. Pretty simple GUI install for the n00b, if you will. Pretty straight forward. And it will work on low end machines and most PCs that I've tried.

Now the problem with n00b-linux installs is hardware compatibility and the learning curve of getting used to the new OS. Ubuntu really digs into it. I did have a problem with the previous version going on a laptop with an Intel video chip and full compatibility. But that is gone now.

The other thing that is tough for people is the learning curve. It takes a while to find applications you want to use and how to use them. Installation of an application can be tricky at times if you're shy of digging on the net and tinkering around with a command prompt. And also, the applications you've grown accustomed to are simply not there.

However there are alternatives, and that is what Linux and the Open Source movement are all about. Use OpenOffice instead of MS Office, although you can use MS Office with WINE...long story...not for the faint of heart.

As far as can use Thunderbird from Web browsing is best done through Firefox, also from Mozilla...and again, all free!

There are a lot of other gadgets and cool pieces of software within Ubuntu that need to be explored and tinkered with. Don't be shy. Find an older PC, download it, burn it to a disc and give it a shot. Take the time to learn this OS as it can be a viable alternative for most home uses, rather than getting put into the revolving door of Microsoft's every-couple-years need to upgrade the hardware and OS just to keep up.

Or, if you have the means, Dell has just begun selling Ubuntu preloaded on laptops and desktops.