Saturday, 20 October 2007

8 steps into Ubuntu

You are new to Ubuntu? Here are 8 steps to remember in order to enjoy working with it.

1. Ubuntu is not Windows

If you come from a Microsoft Windows environment, you might expect everything to work the same.
Drop this expectation!
If you don't, you will always compare Windows with Ubuntu and will not benefit from the differences between the two.

2. Different GUI

The first and most obvious difference is the Graphical User Interface, the way information is displayed on the screen and the way how you can interact with the machine.

With Ubuntu you can choose your favourite Edition:
  • Ubuntu (easy to use Gnome based user interface)
  • Kubuntu (highly customizable KDE user interface)
  • Xubuntu (optimized for old and slow machines)
  • Gobuntu (no restricted software included)
To get the most out of Ubuntu, start experimenting. Things follow a certain logic that is concise and clear.

3. Different CDs

Ubuntu comes in different packages:
  • LiveCD (Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu) lets you start Ubuntu from CD, play and experiment with it or install a standard set of applications on your PC
  • AlternateCD is for installing special hardware or configuration requirements
  • Server CD is required to install out-of-the-box server systems
If you are new to Ubuntu, you should be fine with the LiveCD. You can download any of the above from here.

4. You cannot destroy anything

Ubuntu protects essential parts of the computer system from being changed in a way that the system stops working. Every change that is considered critical is cross checked and authorized by you by entering your password again.

Ubuntu cleans up after all changes so there are no left overs from previous changes.

You may loose some personal adjustments but the system generally protects you from altering the system inoperable.

5. One CD covers all

Ubuntu comes with everything on board.
  • Email -> Use Thunderbird (my favorite) or Evolution
  • Internet -> Firefox
  • Office productivity -> OpenOffice is a complete suite of applications that allow you to write documents, calculate spread sheets, present slide shows, access databases and some things more
  • Entertainment -> Sound Juicer, Media Player, RythmBox, Serpentine CD Creator and others come out of the box
There are more applications in the software repository that comes with Ubuntu. You can install, test and deinstall any of them without the risk of degraded performance or instability of your system.

6. Under the hood

Every 6 month a new version will be released. You can upgrade to these new versions automatically and at no extra cost. You choose the time and authorize individual updates at your own leisure.

Security issues are fixed and shipped to you during these periods. To update your system you can choose between fully automated or individually authorized procedures. There is no hidden updating of system components.
You get what you ask for. Nothing less, nothing more.
7. Yes, there is a console window

Most things can be done from the graphical user interface. Some actions are more efficient or only possible using a special command window: the Console.

Don't panic. You will use the console only on rare occasions where you want to query your machine about specific details usually required to fix problems.

See my blog entry about the most useful commands.

8. Help where help is due

There are zillions of books on Windows available. There are only a few books on Ubuntu out.

Information is conveyed over the Internet.
  • A good starting point would be Ubuntu's homepage
  • Special search engines cover Ubuntu topics
  • There are User groups around the world. (If you happen to be Austrian, here is a good choice)
  • You can get professional support from Canonical or RSB at a reasonable fee.
Good luck!

No comments: