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Linux for Human Beings
Oct 06, 2005 11:52 AM 4218 Views
(Updated Oct 06, 2005 12:00 PM)

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This article is meant for computer hobbyists, especially those interested in linux. Those people who have not used linux before may find this article difficult to follow. In case you are interested in linux and don't know how to use it, feel free to contact me.


If you use computer as a hobby instead of being forced to use it for your job, you must have heard about linux.


There are many ''flavours'' of linux. The most popular flavours in india are Fedora, Suse, Mandrake and Debian. Debian Linux , also known as ''the mother of all linuxes'' is a HUGE OS. The current version comes on 14 cd's. Fedora Suse etc all come in 3+ cd's


They are a nightmare to configure and install, eat up lots of space and contain bloatware ( yes even linux is getting this problem now.)


This is where Ubuntu Linux comes in. IT IS THE MOST DOWNLOADED LINUX CURRENTLY (according to distrowatch.com)


Salient Features


1) Single CD - aka Windows. You just pop one cd in, install everything and you still have (almost) all the things that you would normally require. (More on the multimedia stuff later)


2) Ease of use - Although the installation is text based, it is easier than debian or many other such installers. Also, there is no need to swap cd's during the installation.


3) Terrific Support- Ubuntu is completely FREE, but has better tech support than windows. Please dont expect support via telephone, but otherwise you will find 1000s of people willing to help you via email, forums and live chat.


4) Has a live-cd version- Want to try out Ubuntu without going through the fuss of installing it first? Download the live cd. It's a lovely thing: Pop the cd in, boot your computer and you are in Linux. Take the cd out , reboot, and you're back in windows or whatever OS you where using.


5) Terrific Package Management- Want to install that piece of software? Go to Synaptic Package Manger, search for the software you want to install and click yes. It will download it from cyberspace and install it for you with the correct settings!


Ubuntu uses the apt package management system, borrowed from Debian.


The lame-duck equivalent of Synaptic on windows would be the ''Add/Remove Programs'' in Windows. However Synaptic is far more capable, faster and easy to use.


6) Huge software respository- You'll never have to install any package by compiling it from source code. You can even use Debian's software repository.


7) Very Good Security- Logging in via root is disabled by default! you have to login using a normal account and use ''sudo'' to accomplish all system administration tasks. It is very difficult to make some stupid mistakes with your OS in Ubuntu.


8) Excellent Hardware Recognition- I have personally installed Ubuntu on over 20 different machines , and on all of them Ubuntu has detected the hardware and installed the correct drivers automatically. there's no need to go driver-hunting like in windows.


9) ITS FREE- You dont have to install any cracks, or pay anybody. Its also not the ''lite'' or the ''personal'' version. Its the full-blown stable OS, with all the features.


Drawbacks


1) No mp3s, no video, no DVD- support for all these format are disabled by dDamn Smallefault (due to licensing restrictions). You can of course enable it, but you need to have internet access.


2) Net is required.- for those pc's without internet access, Ubuntu is not very useful. you require the net to get new software, security updates, patches etc.


Suitability


1) For office use (as workstation) - EXCELLENT


2) For Home use (watching movies, playing games, doing homework, and browsing the net) - VERY GOOD, but some amount of familiarity with linux required


3) For use as Departmental / SOHO servers: EXCELLENT


Verdict


Download and use it if you are familiar with linux, especially debian. You are guaranteed to love it. If you are a first -time linux user, I would recommend Fedora or Mandriva. You can also try the live-cd of Ubuntu, to get a hang of it.


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