Tag Archives: Ubuntu

Why We Chose Ubuntu — Post by Michael J. Findley


Our very first computer was a Coleco Adam. Production began in 1983 with two tape drives. We were the only people in our user’s group (does anyone remember those?) with a floppy drive. It also had the power supply in a daisy wheel printer which sounded much like a machine gun.

After the Adam, we purchased a Tandy 1000 and then two Commodore Amigas, a 3000 and a 1200. The demise of Commodore forced us to the Microsoft Windows platform. To this day, I like the Windows 98 OS as their best operation system. Compared to the Coleco Adam and Commodore Amiga, Microsoft and Apple are both clunky, inefficient and open to security breaches.

Microsoft started off poorly and each version is slower, less efficient and more difficult to use. Every generation of windows requires a month’s learning curve to find out where Microsoft hid the features we had come to depend on.

Ubuntu is a Linux distribution. Linux is an operating system for personal computers. Development began when Finnish student Linus Torvalds released the source code in 1991 prohibiting commercial distribution. Though the coding is different, it follows the same philosophical approach as UNIX, so the name Linux combines the name of the original coder with UNIX.

Ubuntu can access the data from the Windows 7 partitions of the hard drive. Though it frequently requires a password, such as downloading anything and even entering the system, it is far more secure than either Windows or Apple.

Ubuntu loads in less than 20 seconds. Ubuntu has tools which work as well as the Windows tools, for our purposes, such as Blender, LibreOffice suite, Inkscape and GrafX2. The Ubuntu site has drivers which can be downloaded easily and to this point, flawlessly. Though every icon seems to be in a different location, they all work as well or better than the Windows equivalent.

One obvious fact is the speed. When Windows users get a new computer with no additional programs, it usually seems fast. But as programs are added and windows keeps sending updates, the computer will run slower and slower. Ubuntu does not do this; programs usually open instantly. Even a cold boot is under 20 seconds.

Ubuntu is the largest Linux distro available. To date, every download has worked without a problem. When we do not understand something, such as how to load a new font, there are detailed and accurate online instructions.

Probably the most satisfying and the most frustrating aspect of Ubuntu are the terminal (Windows command line interface) and the need to use it. Many things must be keyboarded through the terminal. These commands work well and allow you to have more control than any Windows OS ever had. At the same time, mistakes can damage your Ubuntu operating system and detailed instructions on-line can be difficult to find. So far, we have found many people willing to help. We are grateful for the help. It has been a real lifesaver.

Ubuntu is not perfect. We have run into unusual system crashes, but not many. We have also needed to restart the computer, but this is also rare. The initial install only required one restart after the entire system was installed.

Ubuntu takes time to get used to. Though it accomplishes the same work as any other Operating System, it requires getting used to. We chose the default Unity layout because it was so easy to install.

Since there are a few programs we must use which do not run on the Linux OS, we must use both Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. Each time we use those, our appreciation for Linux grows.

Image Credit: Author Kaiiv. Original uploader was Kaiiv at de.wikipedia This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Germany license.

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Joining the Ubuntu/Linux Community — Post by Michael J. Findley

linux penguin ubuntu

We left the MS Windows/Apple world. With very little knowledge of computers, you can too. Linux is a free operating system which was originally based on Unix. We have contemplated making this move for years. There will be a follow-up blog of why we made the move, but this is a how-to blog. Though there are thousands (an infinite number?) of ways to set up Linux, there are two very easy ways of getting Linux on a laptop.

The first is to purchase a computer with Linux installed by someone else. This is the easiest and includes tech support. Companies which sell laptops with Linux already installed include System76, ZaReason, Dell, ThinkPenguin, and EmperorLinux. This is more expensive. Though Dell frequently changes their product line, for today, here is a link to their $1200 laptop with a Linux Ubuntu operating system. http://www.dell.com/us/business/p/xps-13-linux/pd

We purchased two refurbished Windows 7 computers for under $800 from a shop which refurbishes computers. There are thousands of such shops throughout the United States. Refurbished Windows 7 computers are also available in many foreign countries and thousands are available online. Included in the price was repartitioning the hard drives with 50 Gig partitions for Linux. The dual boot system allows Ubuntu to access data from the Windows 7 partition. The Linux partition is only needed for the Operating System and Linux programs such as LibreOffice, Inkscape, Blender, GrafX2, Font Manager, etc. We found a dual boot system to be the easiest to install and use. Using Windows 7, download Ubuntu from here http://www.ubuntu.com/download/desktop.

Burn the download to a DVD, then follow these instructions. http://www.ubuntu.com/download/desktop/install-ubuntu-desktop

Be certain you write down ALL USERNAMES AND PASSWORDS.

It really is this simple. Purchasing a new computer is actually more difficult to get particular features that you want, since there are many refurbished Windows 7 choices. Even with a dual boot system, which is much slower, the system boots up in about 18 seconds.

Anything which can be done on Windows or Mac can be done with on Ubuntu. The single greatest issue is a lack of tech support for Linux in general. However, to date, everything we have needed to do with Ubuntu is available by asking on Google.

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