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Could you Ubuntu too? 4 September, 2006

Posted by Jay Ball in open source, software.

There is a saying in NLP that goes something like “If you only have one choice you are a robot, if you have two you are in a dilemma, it’s only when you have three or more that you have real choice.”

So it is with operating systems. For most people, there is a choice of one, the Windows that was pre-installed on their PC when they bought it. For a small minority, there’s also the Apple OSX option. And then, of course there’s Linux. But Linux is scary for most people. Despite the friendly penguin, it is still the domain of the the alpha-geek.

Or at least it was.

Despite my diehard adherence to OSX, I’m writing this on a Apple PowerBook running Ubuntu, a desktop Linux OS that is getting a lot of coverage just now. And, from a first look, it’s not too shabby.

Billed as “Linux for human beings,” Ubuntu delivers a full graphical OS that is quite XP-like in its look and feel – although not as polished as the commercial alternatives. The basic install includes OpenOffice, Firefox and the popular open source image app, GIMP as well as a bunch of other software. The people behind Ubuntu also commit to issuing regular releases every 6 months. Oh, and of course, Ubuntu is free.

And that’s just the beginning.

Clicking Add/Remove gives you access to a library of other open source applications (over 200 at my count). There are office apps, educations apps, connectivity apps and programming apps. In fact, pretty much anything most human beings would want.

There are also a variety of Ubuntu flavours. There’s Edubuntu for the education market, Xubuntu for older machines and thin clients and even an Ubuntu Christian Edition among others.

There has been increased coverage of a whole variety of institutions moving to Linux and to open source over the last year. It’s not difficult to see why. If you were a cash-strapped school, public sector organisation or even a whole country, could you really justify paying for expensive commercial software when you can get something that’s good enough either for free or for the reasonably low cost of ongoing support? I don’t think I could.

Will I be giving up my OSX any time soon? No. Do I like the fact that there is now more choice than ever? You bet.



1. Blogs, news and more! - 11 January, 2007

very nice blog!mary

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