I have installed Linux: Ubuntu a month back on my laptop and to my astonishment, the open source operating system is astounding. It is something I have been wanting to do for the past decade but never had the guts to do so. I am a person who is constantly haunted by the hunger to try something new which most of the time ends up in a terrible disaster. I get bored easily and that is why I always need to seek something fresh to fulfill my satisfaction. So I got confident enough to take it one step further into the typical dual-boot setup.
Installing Linux on my system was a breeze. I’ve downloaded the Ubuntu 7.04 Feisty Fawn ISO file and burned it on a CD. It took around 40 minutes for Ubuntu to be fully installed but I am guessing that it would take even less if it was installed on a faster computer. Ubuntu 7.04 starts up with a login screen which I am required to insert my username and password. After getting through the login screen, I am presented with the GNOME desktop environment. GNOME is the graphical user interface which sits on top of a computer operating system. Most of Linux distribution are based on the GNOME.
The user interface is pretty similar to the one of Window’s, not that I know of any other operating systems other than Windows. Like Microsoft Windows, GNOME also have horizontal menu bars. But instead of just one horizontal bar at the bottom, GNOME has two. One at the top and one at the bottom of the desktop. The top menu bar shows the different application and function that you can interact with just like Microsoft Windows Start button. The date and time is also displayed on the top right menu bar. The bottom menu bar shows currently active programs which when clicked will maximize onto the desktop. The trash can is also displayed on the bottom right corner of the menu bar. I find It rather easy to navigate through the applications from the menu.
Although at first I had some difficulties with connecting to the internet, I still managed to solve the problem with a little bit of googling and configuring. I even managed to install the latest driver for my ATI graphic card by using Envy. Envy is an application that detects the model of your graphic card (only ATI and Nvidia cards are supported) and install the appropriate driver. After successfully installing the driver, I am able to add extra visual effects to my working environment using Compiz Fusion. The extra visual effects gives a wobble effect to windows when they are dragged. A really slick effect for a desktop environment I would say. I can actually have more effects on Ubuntu desktop by installing the Advance Desktop Effect such as the Desktop Cube, Viewport Switcher, ADD Helper and Motion Blur.
To play my mp3s I need to use the Rhythmbox Music Player. I had to install the appropriate codex package first so that I can play most of the common music formats. With the default installation of Ubuntu, I would not be able to play music with .mp3 file extension or play movies with .avi file extension because they are restricted formats. So I need to install the w32codecs package to play them.
Updating Ubuntu is also very easy as I can do it over the network. All I need to do is go to Systems -> Administration -> Update Manager and click install update. I can also Upgrade to the latest version of Ubuntu. For example I want to upgrade my Ubuntu 7.04 Feisty Fawn to Ubuntu 7.10 Gutsy Gibbon. All of that can be done in Update Manager.
Ubuntu is a new experience for me but I am starting to love every part of it. For a Ubuntu beginner, I would say that I am very pleased with it. Very easy installation and updates and user friendly. And the best part of all Ubuntu is FREE.