Thursday, 28 April 2011

Ubuntu 11.04 out today

Why is this surprising?  Well of course the date of release of the new version of Ubuntu has been known for some time and indeed these releases come around every 6 months.  The fact that 11.04 (so named because it is in the fourth month of year 11) has been launched today is not a surprise at all.

Ubuntu is of course a computer operating system - an alternative to Microsoft Windows or Apple Mac's latest expensive offering may be.  I started playing with Ubuntu about 4 years ago as a result of 'force majeur'.  I had been thinking of trying it out for quite a while, but when my new desktop PC's hard disk failed under warranty and the supplier had gone bankrupt I was not prepared to pay anyone for a new copy of Windows.  So the adventure started!  Ubuntu is totally free but totally worth as much as Windows!

As you might know, Ubuntu is a version of Linux, and Linux is a version of Unix.  Unix users have always maintained (from their 'ivory tower') that 'their' operating system was secure and powerful and free from viruses.  Everyone else has been 'taught' that it is simply non-intuitive and impossible to use.  So is this true?

After a few years I suppose you might expect that any semi-intelligent person could persuade themselves of anything, so my own experience is merely anecdotal.  However, I have one desktop, one laptop and one netbook running Ubuntu.  When I last had to buy a new laptop and considered returning to Windows (or Windoze as Linux users like to say) I made myself a list of things that I would miss about the two operating systems.  Result:

Windows 7 - 1 thing (namely Microsoft Excel).
Ubuntu - 11 things (subject of another blog post perhaps)

As a reasonably knowledgeable PC user and fixer, I suppose that is not surprising either.  However, the interesting thing is that people around me have been easily convinced.  These are people who want to use their PC, not to spend time learning about it and trying out new things.

My mother - well into her 70s - has had a PC for nearly 15 years.  She started off with Windows 3.1 (on a cast-off PC), and had graduated to XP.  She complained about a year ago that her PC was getting terribly slow (4 minutes from switching it on to getting to Google).  I suggested trying Ubuntu instead of Windows, and much to my surprise (even shock) she agreed.  (Result: 1 minute from switching on to reaching Google.)  She hardly ever looks back and has even installed a newer version herself!

But what about the younger generation?

My 16 year old daughter decided to buy a netbook and after only 2 weeks managed to get something nasty via Facebook (I think).  Windows 7 was not easily recoverable.  (I tried!)  Surprisingly she agreed to try Ubuntu.  She hasn't looked back either - and believe me, its not because Dad can do no wrong.

Finally (for the time being) my 13 year old son had a similar problem and I decided to try to convert him too.  We are one week into the experiment, but so far so good!

Windows - watch out!  Linux really is coming!

The question is - how long can I resist downloading the new version of Ubuntu?  I feel strangely reluctant but somewhat tempted.  What I have got is working and I don't like to rock the boat.  But maybe the new version is even better.  We'll see!


chthoniid said...

Do you run the machines in a dual boot mode, or as a completely stand alone system?

Plasma Engineer said...

Sorry, your comment got incorrectly marked as spam, but I've rescued it now.

I have dabbled with dual boot but now I just have Ubuntu installed. On my desktop I use VirtualBox to run a copy of WinXP in a window, but I only use it a couple of times a month.