The VAR Guy

June 23, 2007

2 Min Read
Running Ubuntu: 5 First Impressions

I’ve finally had a chance to run my Ubuntu PC from Dell. I can see why the systems aren’t quite ready for all users. But I’ve got to tell you, folks. It’s clear to me that Ubuntu will be able to serve a large segment of the consumer population. In fact, Ubuntu is better than Windows in at least five areas. Here they are.

Oh, but first: Here are the specs for my new machine, in case you were wondering about the tech details.

Now, onto the 5 areas where Ubuntu beats the world of Windows.

5. Acquisition Cost: OK, that was a simple one. Free wins. Let’s move on.

4. Simple First-time Set-up: Aside from a bad monitor connection (my fault), setting up a Dell system with Ubuntu pre-loaded was quick and easy. No annoying Windows licensing windows. No long software activation issues. I’m not a guru at PCMag labs, but simple experience tells me Ubuntu boots up far faster than Windows XP and Vista. Microsoft’s development teams should look at Ubuntu and take note of the fast boot time.

3. Simple Desktop: There aren’t any craplets on the Ubuntu desktop. Twenty ISP icons don’t compete for $9.95-a-month dial-up access. In fact, there are NO icons on the Ubuntu desktop shipped by Dell. A simple Applications Icon in the bottom-left of the window, similar to Microsoft’s Start button, directs you to a few pre-installed applications — most notably OpenOffice.

2. OpenOffice: It’s a bit premature for me to say I love OpenOffice. But so far, so good. Each application — the word processor, spreadsheet, etc. — loads in a mere 5 seconds. FIVE SECONDS. And again, there are no annoying “activation windows” that distract you from your job at hand. It’s point-and-click productivity.

1. Firefox: There’s the open source Web browser, right on your tool bar at the bottom the the screen. I’ve read reports that Firefox is buggy on Ubuntu. I hope that’s not the case. The first impression is good, though. And it’s default home page directs me to Dell and Ubuntu support forums.

Sure, I also run Firefox on Mac OS and Windows. But there’s something reassuring about running an open source browser on an open source operating system. Sort of like peanut butter and jelly, they just seem to go together.

So what’s the bottom line? I’m not predicting that Ubuntu will displace Windows on the desktop anytime soon. But generally speaking, Ubuntu is now ready for a certain section of the consumer market.

Advanced users who are tired of spyware and bloatware will surely welcome Ubuntu. I’m not saying Ubuntu is more secure than Windows. But it certainly isn’t a big target for hackers.

I’ve been waiting about two years for a PC operating system that loads fast and stays out of my way. Sure, Mac OS fits that description. I can finally say that Ubuntu does as well.

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