In my adventure to find what Linux Distribution best fits my needs, I came across Ubuntu. Well not really came across Ubuntu since it is the most popular distribution and was the first one I used when I started using Linux a long time ago. So let us see why Ubuntu is a good choice.
The Ubuntu installation is very simple with an easy to use Partition Editor. Ubuntu is one of the few installations that have a good idea what to do with the currently installed OS. Instead of installing Ubuntu you can also use the Live CD that comes packaged with the ISO you download. It has all the features of Ubuntu without having to modify your hard drive. It is a great way to see if Ubuntu is right for you. Also they have an online Ubuntu preview so you can take a quick tour of Ubuntu. In the installation you setup your first user account without setting up the root user. The first user will have root access so be careful that you don’t setup this user thinking it will be limited.
Ubuntu with Unity 7 gives a nice glossy look. The look goes from the login screen all the way to the shutdown options. On the login screen when switching between users, the background image will change to that users wallpaper. Of course this could have some issues if you want your wallpaper to be private. Ubuntu also comes with 3 themes, one of which is High Contrast so may not really be considered a theme. And with every linux distro you can find a ton of themes online. The sidebar that shows your “pinned” programs and opened programs is the same from the previous Unity releases but still looks nice. The icons “folding” in an accordion view I don’t like that much but it has to be done to show all the opened programs. The last thing is the Alt Tab view. They increased the size of the icons that appear and changed a few animations for it. I don’t think there is an easy way to change the icon size for the alt-tab menu though.
What Comes with Ubuntu
Most desktop installs come with a large set of applications for you to use, and Ubuntu is no exception. It comes bundled with the Mozilla software of Firefox and Thunderbird. LibeOffice 4 comes part of Ubuntu also with it’s Writer, Spreadsheet, Drawing and Presenter programs. This will allow you to have the normal office functions inside of Linux. Other than that the installed software you probably won’t care too much about. It does have VLC Client and Server installed, Calculator, Totem Video Player, Rhythmbox Music Player, Empathy chat client and a few others. Overall the software set was well thought out and probably doesn’t need too much modification or removal unless you prefer a specific application over those, such as Chrome or Pidgin.
Ubuntu Community and Support
Ubuntu is one of the largest Desktop Linux distributions, if not the largest. The community is very large and helpful with any issues you may come across. If you have an issue most likely it was posted and answered by the time you search for it. They have their own Stack Exchange Question site, along with forums and IRC Channels. Ubuntu releases a large update every 6 months in April and in October. They have been known to do releases between those dates with major updates such as in August with Ubuntu 10.04.1 LTS