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Ubuntu - what is this Linux stuff?

review from ClifNotes, Jun 2006


What is Linux?

Linux is a free open source operating system for PCs. It's an alternative to using Microsoft Windows. I've been playing around with a few Live CDs and I think it's pretty cool. A Live CD will let you try out an operating system without actually having to install it.


What's so great about it?

I paid $90 to get the Windows XP operation system for the PC I use now, and the coolest thing about most Linux operating systems is that you can download and use them for free.


How do I use it?

It's pretty easy once you figure it out. Just download an ISO file and burn the the ISO image to a CD. I recently tried a Live CD version of Linux called Kubuntu. Bill McC, a friend of mine at work, gave me the CD. I popped it into my PC at home, then rebooted my PC, and within a few minutes, I was surfing the internet using Kubuntu. It detected most of my computers devices and my wireless internet connection with no help or hassle. It does almost every task my current Windows XP can.


I don't want to confuse you at this point, but Kubuntu is a KDE desktop version of the more popular Ubuntu Linux. I actually recommend a new user try Ubuntu first, because there is far more support for it.


What's the downside?

Linux may not be easy to use for beginners. Up until the last few years, you had to be a real geek (or just tech smart and adventurous) to be able to get a copy of Linux running on your PC. It's getting easier now, but if you run into any problems, you may have to put on a big thinking cap and get some help from a linux geek. Fortunately, there is usually lots of help available online.



Quote from Ubuntu

Ubuntu is a complete Linux-based operating system, freely available with both community and professional support. It is developed by a large community and we invite you to participate too!


The Ubuntu community is built on the ideas enshrined in the Ubuntu Philosophy: that software should be available free of charge, that software tools should be usable by people in their local language and despite any disabilities, and that people should have the freedom to customise and alter their software in whatever way they see fit.


These freedoms make Ubuntu fundamentally different from traditional proprietary software: not only are the tools you need available free of charge, you have the right to modify your software until it works the way you want it to.