Why I love Linux

April 21st, 2010 in .Blogs .Laptops & Netbooks .Products
Bobby O’Reilly
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I’ve been using Ubuntu exclusively on my main work PC and all my netbooks and laptops for over two years now. Next week I’ll be updating them all to the latest version of Ubuntu, 10.04, when it launches. Each time I upgrade like this, I become more convinced that I’ll never need to go back to Windows.

Apart from the fact that I get loads of new features for free – and this time round it’s social networking from your toolbar – every new release is more stable, supports more hardware and is faster than last time round.

As an operating system, Linux is massively misunderstood. It’s really not hard to use – anyone who knows how to use Microsoft’s Windows or Apple’s OSX will quickly understand the familiar cues of the Gnome desktop that is the face of a default Ubuntu install. Those who want to get more out of it than a traditional operating system will find it bends swiftly to their will.

For example, one of the most important things about Linux to me is that I can customise it completely to my own taste and needs. If I want more desktop space, I can delete the task bar and replace it with a dock. If I want a different theme for my window borders, I can simply download them from Gnome Look.

I also like the ethos of free software and the new business models that are springing up around its development.

Its on netbooks that Linux really shines, though. My trusty EeePC 901 has had pretty much every flavour of Linux possible installed on it over the last few years, some have been erased pretty quickly, others have hung around for a while. Most recently, I tried out Intel’s Moblin project, and outstandingly quick operating system that’s tailored to the Atom hardware perfectly and boots from cold in just 15 seconds.

Right now, though, my 901 is running the beta of Ubuntu 10.04. I’m very impressed, to say the least. Not only does it boot almost as quickly as Moblin, but it comes with everything I need. Like a word processor, media player and Adobe PhotoShop-like image editing program. The new netbook interface is a massive step forward too – you can pin menu items to the front page for quick access, but never lose the ability to quickly browse through the entire contents of your machine in a simple manner.

It’s a strong start to what’s going to be an interesting year for ultraportable PCs and Linux. With Google’s Chrome operating system just around the corner, and several tablets based on the Android OS waiting to take on Apple’s iPad, it’s likely that even if you’ve never heard of Linux before, by 2011 the chances are you’ll own at least one device that runs it.

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