I finally decided last week to convert my new laptop to Linux. I was using the pre installed Windows 7 Home Premium (64 bit), which wasn’t horrible, but I am now much happier with Ubuntu 11.04, and here’s why.
First off, I really enjoy using Linux. I like that its Open Source, and that I can find the software I need without having to pay rediculous amounts of money for it, or having to acquire it through alternate channels. I’m all for paying for software, but let’s face it, when you want the software for home, non commercial use, and you’re on a budget, “free” is a wonderous word. If I were making money from the software’s use, or if I had money to burn, I’d be the first one to donate to software developers.
Two pieces of software that I’ve installed for instance:
Chromium Browser: I love the speed of this browser compared to FireFox, and its backed by Google who have produced some pretty decent software (including Android OS).
Virtualbox: I installed this, with the optional non-open-source extentions because I needed the extra USB support. This will allow me to manage my wife’s iPod using iTunes, and to use applications that I otherwise can’t be without due to proprietary Windows software requirements. As awesome as Linux is, we still live in a predominantly Windows world, and you can’t just ignore that fact.
My final comment, to show that its not all peaches and rainbows, is about the Unity interface, which is the new graphical desktop that you see in Ubuntu (if you have at least a semi-decent graphics card).
I actually like this interface for the most part. My only issue with it is the way it presents and manages the application menu. I find it very hard to find an app, unless you know the name of it (which if you install apps to try them out as often as I do, you don’t always remember). I don’t have any suggestions as to how to make this experience better, and perhaps there is already a way and I don’t know it, but as of now, that is my only complaint.
Ubuntu is available in a number of flavours including wight the KDE and XFCE environments, should Gnome not be to your liking. If you’re curious, why not download a live CD image, and give it a try? S live CD allows you to boot into Linux without the use of your hard drive (where Windows is installed). Then you can test and play around as much as you want without having to install it. Just remember that when you exit, you will lose all changes you made. Unless of course you make an Ubuntu live USB stick, but that’s another blog post, for another time.