(I’m a complete noob when it comes to Linux and Ubuntu. I’m not a developer, programmer or anything. I’m a user. If you know more than I do–and that is likely–feel free to leave a comment and correct me where I’m wrong. Also note this is written for those using Windows or Mac boxes. Thanks)
I began using Ubuntu last fall when I became increasingly frustrated at the bloated anti-virus and Internet security programs Windows required. When users are required to upgrade their equipment every few years simply to keep performance the same, something is wrong. I wanted out…and not to spend a fortune buying a Mac.
I downloaded 8.04 to a partition on the hard drive and was immediately impressed. It worked well and fast and had absolutely no problems getting started. I played with it for a few evenings and evangelized my wife on its benefits before I had to leave town for a few days, asking her to seriously consider whether she could make the switch.
She made it before I was ready to, as it turns out. She found KmyMoney to be an excellent replacement for Quicken. However I was unimpressed with the photo software choices, and had a hard time finding one to work the way I wanted it to.
Then we upgraded to 8.10. That didn’t go so well. I had problems with the graphic system, and had to switch back and forth to Xp to research why nothing was showing up on the screen. I also had some problems with setting the screen resolution and was getting increasingly frustrated, even while M was enjoying it more and more.
Then Ubuntu 9.04 was released. I hesitated upgrading, scanning the message boards to see if there were problems, reading some online reviews. I hesitated longer until I read this. It hooked me. I started the upgrade process and held my breath.
The upgrade was (nearly) seamless. Of course, I’d learned a lot about Ubuntu and Linux since the last upgrade, so I wasn’t overwhelmed to have use the synaptic package manager to remove a faulty package and finish the last updates.
Everything works better. It’s faster. The slightly-loopy apps that caused mild annoyances are polished and simply run. Fast. There are more appearance tweaks and eye-candy options than I can fathom, all of them customizable. Here’s a screenshot of my current choices:
OpenOffice 3.0 is wonderful. The photo software I’ve grown used to and whatever was wrong before has been fixed. Marjorie has even found an music scoring application that is far better than the (very expensive) version of Encore she used to use–ok, her version was old, but it was still expensive. The new app (MuseScore) is free. As is all software for Ubuntu.
The worst things about Ubuntu, or any other Linux distribution, is the lack of ported software. Almost no software company ports their Windows or Mac software to Linux. If you have to have a certain Windows app, then you still have to use Windows for the most part. I’ve gotten BibleWorks to work under Ubuntu. And Neverwinter Nights actually posted a Linux engine on their official website, but these are large exceptions.
All in all, if you’re curious, this is the version to try.
I’ll rate it 9.0 out of 10.