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Ubuntu



Ubuntu is a complete Linux operating system, freely available with both community and professional support. The Ubuntu community is built on the ideas enshrined in the Ubuntu Manifesto: that software should be available free of charge, that software tools should be usable by people in their local language and despite any disabilities, and that people should have the freedom to customize and alter their software in whatever way they see fit.

  • Ubuntu will always be free of charge, and there is no extra fee for the “enterprise edition”, we make our very best work available to everyone on the same Free terms.

  • Ubuntu includes the very best in translations and accessibility infrastructure that the Free Software community has to offer, to make Ubuntu usable by as many people as possible.

  • Ubuntu is shipped in stable and regular release cycles; a new release will be shipped every six months. Every two even years an Ubuntu long term support (LTS) release will become available, that is supported for 5 years. The Ubuntu releases in between (known as development or non-LTS releases) are supported for 9 month each.

  • Ubuntu is entirely committed to the principles of open source software development; we encourage people to use open source software, improve it and pass it on.


Ubuntu is suitable for both desktop and server use. The current Ubuntu release supports Intel x86 (IBM-compatible PC), AMD64 (x86-64), ARMv7, ARMv8 (ARM64), IBM POWER8/POWER9 (ppc64el), IBM Z zEC12/zEC13/z14 and IBM LinuxONE Rockhopper I+II/Emporer I+II (s390x).



History


Ubuntu is one of a number of Linux distributions. The source code that makes up the Ubuntu Linux distribution originates from another, much older Linux distribution known as Debian (so called because it was started by two people named Debra and Ian). Debian is still a widely respected operating system but came under criticism for infrequent updates and less than user friendly installation and maintenance (though these areas have shown improvement recently).


A South African internet mogul (who made his fortune selling his company to VeriSign for around $500 million) decided it was time for a more user friendly Linux. He took the Debian distribution and worked to make it a more human friendly distribution which he called Ubuntu. He subsequently formed a company called Canonical Ltd to promote and provide support for Ubuntu Linux. In addition Shuttleworth has formed and funded (to the tune of $10 million) a foundation to guarantee the future of Ubuntu.


The rest, as they say, is history. Ubuntu has since gone from strength to strength. Dell and other hardware vendors now ship computers pre-loaded with Ubuntu Linux and Ubuntu usually tops the chart at DistroWatch.com (a web site which tracks the popularity of the various Linux distributions).


If you are new to Linux, or already use Linux and want to try a different Linux distro it is unlikely you will find a better option than Ubuntu Linux.



Downloading Ubuntu

Step 1 − To download Ubuntu, go to the following url − https://www.ubuntu.com/download/desktop



Step 2 − On this page, there is an option to download the older versions of Ubuntu if required. Click the Alternative downloads and torrents link.



Step 3 − Go to Past releases link. It then presents a page with all the past releases of the Ubuntu software.




Installing Ubuntu


Now let’s learn about installing the desktop version of Ubuntu. For the purpose of this tutorial, we will go with the latest version which is 16.04. The installer is a ISO image which can be mounted on a DVD drive or USB stick. Once the image is booted on the machine, following are the steps for installation.


Step 1 − The first screen allows us to either install or try out Ubuntu. The try out option allows us to see the features of Ubuntu without actually installing it. However, we want to use Ubuntu, so let’s choose the Install Ubuntu option.



Step 2 − The next screen gives you 2 options. One is to download updates in the background while installing and the other is to install 3rd party software. Check the option to install 3rd party software. Then click the Continue button.



Step 3 − In the next screen, the following options are presented −

  • The disk is erased and the installation is carried out. If there was another operating system already on the disk, then Ubuntu would detect it and give the user the option to install the operating system side by side.

  • There is an option to encrypt the installation. This is so that if anybody else were to steal the data, they would not be able to decrypt the data.

  • Finally, Linux offers a facility called LVM, which can be used for taking snapshots of the disk.

For the moment, to make the installation simple, let’s keep the options unchecked and proceed with the installation by clicking the Install Now button.



Step 4 − In the following screen, we will be prompted if we want to erase the disk. Click the Continue button to proceed.



Step 5 − In this screen, we will be asked to confirm our location. Click the Continue button to proceed.



Step 6 − Now, we will be asked to confirm the language and the keyboard settings. Let us select English (UK) as the preferred settings.



Step 7 − In the following screen, we will need to enter the user name, computer name and password which will be used to log into the system. Fill the necessary details as shown in the following screenshot. Then, click the continue button to proceed.



The system will now proceed with the installation and we will see the progress of the installation as shown in the following screenshot.



At the end of the installation, the system will prompt for a restart.



Step 8 − Click the Restart Now to proceed.



Once the restart is complete, log in with the username and password.



Once logged in, the desktop is presented as shown in the following screenshot.



We now have a fully functional version of Ubuntu. In the subsequent chapters, we will look at the various features available.



Features of Ubuntu

Following are some of the significant features of Ubuntu −

  • The desktop version of Ubuntu supports all the normal software on Windows such as Firefox, Chrome, VLC, etc.

  • It supports the office suite called LibreOffice.

  • Ubuntu has an in-built email software called Thunderbird, which gives the user access to email such as Exchange, Gmail, Hotmail, etc.

  • There are a host of free applications for users to view and edit photos.

  • There are also applications to manage videos and it also allows the users to share videos.

  • It is easy to find content on Ubuntu with the smart searching facility.

  • The best feature is, it is a free operating system and is backed by a huge open source community.



Advantages:

  1. What I like about Ubuntu is its relatively secure compared to Windows and OS X. There are hundreds of thousands of viruses, worms and trojans targeting windows users. Other users who have ill knowledge of viruses become their victims and some have their information compromised as not all kinds of viruses can be detected by anti viruses.

  2. Creativity: Ubuntu is open source. Before Precise Pangolin was relased (12.04LTS) every 6 months a new version of Ubuntu used to be released. The new versions come with better or improved apps, additional system features/softwares, fonts, backgrounds, themes and more. Consider Windows XP, its been in the market for more than a decade now. Till todays date there are millions of computers out there which run on windows XP. With Mircosoft it takes them nearly a decade to relase a new version of their product. Clearly it can be implied Ubuntu is evolving at a much faster rate than Windows. Despite Microsoft having released Windows Vista, or 7, I do not see any big difference between them when comparing it with windows XP. The idea behind Windows Vista and 7 is still the same. Same types of files .dll,.sys,.NetFramework, NTFS,start buttons are common in all windows distros (execpt windows 8) since evolution of Windows 95. The only change between them is the visual appearance. However there are small improvements made to Windows 7 that makes comparison next impossible with XP

  3. Compatilbility- For users who are used to Windows, they can run their windows apps on Ubuntu as well with sotwares such as WINE, Crossover and more. Therefore they wil get a similar experience as running the application on a Windows computer.

  4. Popularity: Ubuntu is the most popular Linux distro till today. The reason of its popularity is due to the creativity and the excellent support in the Ubuntu forums which I personally like. And its still being improved day by day.

  5. Ubuntu comes with all the software pre-installed that one would ever need and use. This is one major advantage with all Linux distros. Unlike Windows which just comes with the recycle bin and other basics like calulator, wordpad and Windows Player.


Disadvantages:

  1. Compatibility: When manufactures make a computer, they have an assumption that the computer will run on windows. They therefore have to first provide support for the hardware in terms of availability of drivers and other issues. With Ubuntu there is less hardware support. Case in point: Dell does not support Ubuntu operating systems which I am currently using. I wanted to upgrade my graphics card but since my OS is not supported it makes it difficult for me to obtain support even if upgrade. Therefore windows has far better support than Linux. Another case in point: With the newly released Ubuntu 12.04 it was difficult for me to configure my modem to work on it. On Ubuntu forums and other related sites have many questions on Internet problems on Ubuntu 12.04 however some of them are solved.

  2. Gaming: This is the biggest advantage to Windows. It is not possible to play mordern games on Ubuntu. One thing for sure is the thousands of games released by various companies cannot run on Ubuntu unless you use an emulator. And WINE being popular is not an emulator. Even the game that runs on Ubuntu the graphics will not be similar to that of Windows computer. Windows users will agree with what I am saying. Another thing is graphic support on Ubuntu is relatively poor when compared with Windows. Look at how many add-on’s are available to enhance graphic experience on Windows and because of this personally like Windows for purposes of gaming till today’s date

  3. Availability of softwares- I will agree that Linux has thousands of free applications and sotwares available. However if I do not find an application then a substitute will be available. The substitute software may or may not be able to do specific functions that I want. Case in point: In Ubuntu I use WinFF as a video converter. WinFF is damn slow when converting large videos, it can only convert limited type of video files it will take forever for it to complete. Comparing that with AVC(Any Video Converter), the MAXIMUM time it will take is 1 hour. A large number of video formats are supported. People who have used this will understand what I am talking about Yes the substitute is available but its not very useful. It discourages me to use it. And beacuse of this Microsoft has a significant market share than Apple or Linux.

  4. With Ubuntu (by default) cannot be able to play Mp3 files. Ubuntu will definitely have a bad impression to one who is new to Linux. In windows you do not need to install additional codecs or even if you need its not restricted unlike Ubuntu where by Mp3 formats are restricted. Ubuntu is therefore not as mature as Windows is.

  5. Availability of support – I know I said this is one of my favorite advantages but what if I experience a new kind of a problem with Ubuntu that other users haven’t? If I post my problem on Ubuntu forums it will take nearly 2 months or more to get a solution. But with Microsoft they respond within weeks if not days. Also other Windows users will have experienced similar problems and posted a solution to it or if not, then an alternative to it.



Source: Wikipedia


Sofia Singh

The Tech Platform

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