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Ubuntu: A New Competitor in the OS Battle?
With the recent release of Windows Vista, many users are considering switching
Ian Murray (player)     Print Article 
Published 2007-06-04 11:35 (KST)   
Tux, the penguin often associated with Linux
©2007 Larry Ewing, Simon Budig, Anja Gerwinski
You've probably heard about Linux. Linux is, in few words, an operating system, just like Microsoft's Windows or Apple's Mac OS X. You've also probably heard that Linux is a very complicated operating system, and that only very experienced users can use it. You'll be surprised to know that is not completely true.

Linux (it is actually called GNU/Linux), was developed in 1991(*) by Linus Torvalds. His intention was to create a completely functional operating system based on UNIX, a very popular OS (operating system) at the time. The idea was to create a very stable, secure and reliable platform to work with. One of the most important aims of the project was to release it as an open source project, which means; everyone can use, modify and redistribute it. It was then when the whole Linux world began.

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Linux was initially a very simple, yet very powerful OS. It had no graphical user interface, which means, you could only work with it via a command line (basically a black background with white letters). Being an open source project, thousands of programmers around the globe began to help with the development of Linux, meaning there's no company or enterprise behind the OS. It is entirely "community driven."

Since the release of Linux, many groups began to modify it according to their needs. Some groups would create a whole new OS based on Linux, which would serve the purpose of serving web pages; others would modify it to make mathematical calculations, etc. From these "distributions," as they're called, two of the became extremely popular (Debian and Slax), and many people started to modify these two distributions.

After the releases of Debian and Slax, hundreds of different versions of Linux started to appear. One of those, focused on users with few experience, so they could use Linux without much technical knowledge. This distribution is called Ubuntu.

Ubuntu is a very user-friendly OS, based on Debian, which is pretty easy to install (even easier than Windows XP), use and get familiarized with. One of the main advantages it has is that it comes with a lot of bundled software: Office suite, Web Browser, Instant Messenger, Email client, etc. If a piece of software doesn't come preinstalled, it can easily be acquired through an install utility, which downloads and configures any software you select. Most importantly: everything is absolutely free.

Ubuntu Linux Logo
©2007 Canonical
Since the release of Windows Vista, which has had a lot of drawbacks in the last months, a lot of people have considered switching to an alternative OS.

Considering Vista's pricing and incompatibility, Linux appears to be a very good option. If it comes to visual effects and eye candy, Ubuntu Linux has some amazing visual effects, which consume very little resources compared to Vista. Some PC retailers such as Dell Computers are offering notebooks and desktop PC's with Ubuntu preinstalled and preconfigured, which makes it very easy to get started with Linux.

One of the most important advantages of Linux, is its security. There are roughly no viruses, spyware or malware for Linux, and security issues are solved within days when found. An antivirus suite is absolutely unnecessary, which allows a PC to run a lot faster and efficiently. Navigating on the internet is no longer a dangerous journey, and keeping the OS up-to-date is as easy as it is on any other operating system.

If you want to try out Linux, feel free to visit Ubuntu's Web page at www.ubuntu.com, and order your free CDs, or download the images and burn the CDs yourself. Everything is as easy as recording a music CD, and if you run into any problems, there's an entire community of users waiting to help solve them.
(*) Please note:
From Wikipedia: "In 1991, Linus Torvalds, a Finnish student, used such tools to produce the Linux kernel. This could be combined with the GNU system to make a complete operating system. Most people use the name Linux to refer not only to the kernel, but to the combination of the Linux kernel itself plus the GNU system, which Richard Stallman claims unfairly disparages the value of the GNU project, as discussed below in GNU/Linux.
©2007 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Ian Murray

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