Free and Easy: Why Linux Ubuntu Is Right For Me … and You

Below, that’s my 9-year-old son assisting me in setting up a music server catalog on Ubuntu.

ubuntu

Image credit Ant Pruitt for aNewDomain.net

Besides assisting with this particular project, my family is like most. The main use of the family computer is to access social media, email, play games and so on. Ubuntu Linux allows for all of this.

You already know Linux is an open-source operating system — it’s the biggest OS in the world because of its global community of developers.

These developers collaborate among each other as well as develop several different distribution types — or flavors — of Linux. They’re all shared and distributed free of charge. This is all done under the code of the GNU license, which allows that. And anyone can manipulate the code to their liking.

But if you think Linux is just for geeks, think again. And if you haven’t yet, meet Ubuntu Linux. A popular Linux flavor, Ubuntu might be ideal for some of your friends and family, too.

Let’s look at Ubuntu as a potential desktop operating system for consumers. It’ll be new to a lot of your less geeky friends but, luckily. Ubuntu offers the ability to test it out. You just download it and run it from a disc.

Ubuntu hardware requirements are modest. Even on older hardware system that has trouble with other operating systems will run Ubuntu pretty well. Amazingly well, in some cases.

Ubuntu Requirements
Image credit Ubuntu.com

About five years ago, I made the plunge into the Linux world. I wasn’t geeking out so much back then. But I was curious. More importantly, I couldn’t afford to upgrade my old computer. My computer back then was an elderly a Dell Dimensions 4600 system.

It was taking a beating from Windows XP hardware requirements. Try as I might, my computer was running extremely slowly — even after a fresh install of Windows XP.

After installing Linux, though, that old PC ran smoother and faster than I could have ever imagined. Linux has a tiny kernel. And with Linux, you don’t have to worry about additional license fees and costs. It’s totally free to download and install.  Nor do you have to have a high powered computer. Linux even runs well on Netbooks.

Ubuntu Desktop
Image credit Ant Pruitt for aNewDomain.net

I love that it’s possible to manipulate the interface for Ubuntu Linux to your liking. See my desktop view, above. It’s really easy to do.  Even with my mild geekery in setting up my desktop, I had to consider how my family would adjust to the new operating system.

My young children gracefully jumped into it and found the browser without a hitch. That’s all they cared about – the browser.  I even heard, “Daddy is this a new computer? It’s faster.”

Below, that’s my 9-year-old son assisting me in setting up a music server catalog on Ubuntu.

ubuntu

Image credit Ant Pruitt for aNewDomain.net

Besides assisting with this particular project, my family is like most. The main use of the family computer is to access social media, email, play games and so on. Ubuntu Linux allows for all of this.

The default web browser is Firefox. The operating system comes prepackaged with several social media clients for Facebook, Twitter, and instant messaging services. Just put in your username and password and you’re all set. Games for children are easily accessible as well as easy to download and install. Tons of other great software is available, too. It’s all done through the application store for free.

Why not give Linux — specifically, Ubuntu — a try? Tell your friends and family not to be afraid. This operating system isn’t just for geeks. It’s for anyone who wants a great computing experience — for free — and without new hardware.

Be sure to check out more information about the Linux creator, Linus Torvalds here on aNewDomain as well.

About the author

Ant Pruitt

Based in Charlotte, NC, Anthony Pruitt is an IT pro and senior contributor at aNewDomain.net. Follow him at @ant_pruitt or as +Ant Pruitt on Google +. Email him at Ant@aNewDomain.net

14 Comments

  • Lol! Wrong! He’s striving to be a uber geek 🙂

    thnx, for reading and commenting!

    -RAP, II

  • Were I not using a Macintosh professionally, I’d be using a Dell or HP running Ubuntu. I’m not kidding. It’s that good, plus there is a full set of *nix tools like vim, snarf, ispell, aspell, and the like, available through “apt-get” and its repositories.

  • I’ve been using Ubuntu almost exclusively since 4.10 as my desktop and server OS. Ubuntu surpassed Windows in user friendliness at 9.10 and especially now with Microsoft’s Playskool Windows 8, Ubuntu is poised to make significant gains on the desktop.

  • I have no desire to change OS’s, that’s how I know it’s a good one that people could use, if they just “broke the windows”.

    Thnx for reading and your comments!

    -RAP, II

  • I began experimenting with Ubuntu in 2009 and loved it from the beginning. Unfortunately my family only had one computer and my family didn’t understand Linux haha. I didn’t find dual-booting practical so I just sort of forgot about ubuntu for a while.

    • I disagree. My kids sit and dive right into it to get to their websites, etc. Thanks for reading and your comment, litesp33d.

      -RAP, II

  • Three relatives of mine are non-technical and just wanted a computer to play their online games, browse, check email, take online courses and other basic online tasks. I set them all up with Ubuntu a couple years ago and they love it. They were so intimidated with Windows and the many quirks and issues with using a Windows product, but were comfortable almost from the start with Ubuntu.

  • I’ve been using Linux for more than 15 years and until about 6 years ago I wouldn’t have suggested that any Linux desktop OS was ready for non-tech users. A major turning point was around version 4.10, when Ubuntu surpassed the Fedora/Redhat variants for user friendly. Ubuntu has since made desktop linux a viable alternative for the majority of computer users.

    Over the years, I’ve measured the “user friendliness” of the Linux desktop OS’s by how often I need to go into the command line to do anything (troubleshooting, installation, patching). I use the command line as a metric because that is the fear that many end users have when they think of Linux. I am a power user (I’m also an IT Engineer, but I don’t count my Linux server administration) and so if I ever have to go to the command line to get anything done as an end user, I consider it a fail for the OS. I haven’t had to do so in quite some time now.

    • Hats off to you, Steve. Linux admins are freakin awesome in my book!

      Great stuff using CLI, but you’re right about expecting a general user to run sudo apt get install or chown on a regular basis

      -RAP, II