Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Want a capable OS? Try Ubuntu 7.10

As of a short while ago (say 2 months), I would have recommended Ubuntu Linux to anyone who wanted to play around with a second operating system. Would I have recommended it to anyone as their main OS? No, not a chance.

Would I recommend it now? Why yes I would.

Shortly after removing Vista installing Windows XP less than a month ago, it too began running very slowly, and one night I finally found out what the problem was. A nasty scratching and screechy sound from my hard drive signaled the end of a less than 6 month old drive. A trip to Best Buy and a free 250GB hard drive later I'm back up and running.

Only this time I'm not running XP.

I decided to install Ubuntu 7.10 in conjunction with Windows XP. Since installing over almost a week ago, I've used XP two or three times at the most. Ubuntu is simply awesome.

Sure, there were some problems to overcome. My wireless internet needed a little tweaking before it would work and of course there is always the shock from moving from Windows to Linux. However, since I use a lot of open source free software for Windows, it wasn't hard to find their Linux counterparts. The biggest difference is switching from MS Office to or AbiWord (I like AbiWord the best).

Pidgin replaces AIM and Windows Live (If you have Windows I recommend you download this as well, it's light and quick). Rhythmbox replaces iTunes. GIMP replaces, well, GIMP (I use this on Windows as well). In addition, a nifty little program called Wine allows some Windows programs to work. If you must use MS Office, CrossOver is a pretty good program for that, though it is not free.

Once you get your bearings, feel free to play around with my favorite part of Ubuntu, the graphics. I've enabled Compiz-Fusion to give me cool window effects, effects that rival those of Windows Vista. My personal favorite addition is the Avant Window Manager (AWN). AWN creates a OSX style dock on your screen, complete with animations and reflections. And to my Mac readers, can your dock curve? I didn't think so.

If you're looking for a capable and cheap (read free) operating system, look no further than Ubuntu 7.10. Come April, Ubuntu 8.04 will be released, and this operating system should be even better.

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