Before yesterday, I had resigned myself to the fact that Linux on the desktop was probably not very practical for most people. I used to use it, but Windows was always faster graphically, and the programs in Linux, while in many cases being better software, lacked a sense of togetherness.
On Wednesday, my computer crashed at home and would not reboot. I tried many things, but eventually decided to try a CD of Ubuntu Linux. (The version I had was called "Feisty Fawn," though I have no idea why.) I put an older hard drive in the computer and made it the primary "Master" and made my old Windows drive the secondary "Slave" drive. (Come to thing of it, the computer industry should probably drop those terms.) I booted up with the Ubuntu CD in the drive and it loaded quickly. It didn't INSTALL itself, but it just loaded the "kernel" of the software into memory and booted. Here's what it could do without even installing itself permanently into the system:
- Connect to my camera and download pictures.
- Connect to Charter cable without special software that I typically need for Windows.
- Print to my printer.
- It came with OpenOffice software that can read and write Microsoft Word, Excel, and Powerpoint documents.
- Burn CDs and DVDs.
So I installed it. Sandy loves it. It runs faster than Windows did. And I love it, because I found that it plays video games like Enemy Territory even better than Windows did.
If you have a newer computer with a fast video card (this seems to be about the only sticking point for a really good Linux experience for me) download and try Ubuntu. It's free, and you can try it without permanently installing it on your system, Boot it up, try it out, and then you can reboot and be back in Windows for one last look. You'll never go back.
And one more thing, they even have a version for Kids. So if YOU don't want to use Ubuntu, but have young children who are using computers, you can have them use Edbuntu and they can play with the computer without you needing to worry about them deleting your files. Why have them learn Windows anyway? When they get older, Linux-based computers will be the primary operating system, anyway!